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A Brief Summary of Wolfire At GDC 2010

Add Comment! By John Graham on March 15th, 2010

Some of you probably noticed that I have been neglecting my live chat duties on Wolfire's contact page. The reason was that while the rest of the team spent most of their week fighting the good fight on Overgrowth, I was hanging out at GDC 2010 in San Francisco.

The Independent Games Summit

Tuesday marked the start of the Independent Games Summit. It was great to see all the indies together again. Many of the guys I hadn't seen since Austin. The summit kicked off with Ron Carmel's explanation of the new Indie Fund which sounds like a cool way for indies to raise capital for gaming projects without getting pwned by the terms of a standard publishing contract.

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Photo courtesy of the Game Developers Conference

I also had the great honor to give a speech about our practice of Open Development. It was similar to the 60 minute GDC Austin PR presentation except there was even more I wanted to talk about (Game Connection Lyon and the Organic Indie Preorder Pack) and I only had a 30 minute time slot to do it in.

I think the speech went pretty well except for a random error that popped up right when I tried to play the infamous Race Course video. I suspect the Whale Man had something to do with it, but fortunately I was able to work around the problem without losing too much time. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Deckard Cain impressions may have occurred over the course of the speech. Aubrey kindly attempted to record the presentation with my digital camera but it ran out of battery power. :(

The Independent Games Festival (IGF)

One of the most exciting parts of GDC was definitely the Independent Games Festival. There were so many good games this year that it was a real treat to walk from booth to booth trying them out.

You can see from the final awards tally that Andy Schatz, whose exceptional disc golf skill we mentioned earlier in the week, ended up winning the grand prize for his expertly-crafted game Monaco. I played Monaco first hand with Andy and I assure you it was quite entertaining. It feels a little like a cross between Thief, Schizoid and the Lost Vikings.


We managed to move around to quite a few of the after-parties where most of the networking tends to take place.

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Me and Dave chilling with the DToid robot.

Also, the awesome guys from ModDB happened to be in town promoting their new online distribution platform, Desura. Thanks to Dave Traeger's awesome schmoozing skills, we were even put on the list for the Destructoid party. It was really awesome to shake hands with Anthony Burch who has given us repeated shout outs.

Miscellaneous Commentary

  • Last year the independent games summit was given a room which could fit about 100 people. This year, our lecture hall was big enough to seat over 500 people. Perhaps this is a good omen for indies.

  • The second-to-last day of GDC is traditionally kilt day for all the conference volunteers. Sadly, I didn't get the memo in time so I was not able to join in, but I'll be ready next year.

  • Edmund McMillen, whose project Super Meat Boy was an IGF finalist, also happens to be growing a mean beard. Whose do you think is mightier?

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My beard might have met its match.
  • I ran into Mega64 while I was wandering around and made a point of shaking their hand and thanking them for their marvelous videos.

  • Google gave me and the other GDC speakers a free Droid smartphone, so now even if I'm not at my computer, I'll be able to read and respond to customer service emails. I've never had a smartphone before and so far it feels like the Droid is smarter than I am. :)