GDC 2024

This past week marked my fourth trip to Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. So much happened during this busy week and I wanted to share some of my highlights.

GDC Signs above entrance to Moscone South Hall
GDC Registration at Moscone South Hall

This past week marked my fourth trip to Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. This year's was particularly special as it was the first time I attended as part of a team actually working in the game industry. I joined the team at Mythica last year and we have been hard at work preparing for our "Hello World" moment at the conference. It was really fun attending with teammates who had never been to GDC before. It was kind of like experiencing it anew through their eyes.

So much happened during this busy week and I wanted to share some of my highlights.

Checking In

We stayed at the Galleria Park hotel and I absolutely recommend it. The rooms are super comfortable and the staff is very friendly and accommodating. I was actually able to check into my room at 7am, which was very helpful as I had a full day planned. They also do a nice happy hour from 5-6 where they serve free wine and gin martinis.

Badge pick up was very easy, though the badges themselves were much flimsier than my last trip in 2019. Less plastic though, so that's fine. They also had gender ribbons and colored dots to indicate your willingness for handshakes or keeping distance.

Summits and a Substance Party

Monday and Tuesday are primarily days to attend sessions for the various summits, of which there are many. There are summits for various areas of specialty like AI, Tech Art, and audio, as well as more general ones like Independent Games, Community, etc. You'll also find companies like Unity and Adobe will have their own track of sessions around their products. First thing, I met up with my colleague Max and we attended the Substance Days keynote. We also registered for the "Substance Days Afterparty" that evening.

The Substance Afterparty was kind of a bust. Funnily enough, this was actually my first time attending a GDC party. It was held at the Executive Order Bar and Lounge, an American History/Politics themed venue. It was super loud and made it hard to chat with other folks. We wound up leaving early and meeting up with some friends from Mythica at the hotel.

Mythica Canopy Event

Tuesday was a big day for Mythica. We held our Canopy event, where we not only had several panels discussing AI and world building, but also debuted a first look at what we are building with our first trailer. You can check that out here...

We worked really hard on this the past six months and are so excited to start sharing some of that work. The event itself was amazing. It was great to meet others from the industry and Sam did a fantastic job with the panels. Those should be up on the Mythica YouTube channel in the coming days.

An Unreal Wednesday

Sorry, I love a good pun. Wednesday is the day the conference really kicks into high gear. The show floor opens, the awards shows are in the evening, and a lot more folks arrive.

The morning started out with the much anticipated State of Unreal session. This was held at the large theatre at the Yerba Buena Gardens. Max and I arrived a full hour before the event and it was already quite a long line. The presentation was very well done, lots of new features and "wow" movements. You can watch a video of this session on the YouTube.

Developer's Concert

Next up was a GDC first "GDC Main Stage: A Developer's Concert". This absolutely blew us away. Austin Wintory conducted an incredible orchestra and Troy Baker co-hosted. They played music from a variety of classic games as well as from a selection of games that released in 2023. I really hope they make this an event at the conference every year. I'll share a short clip I captured for my colleague Cat, who is a huge Bioshock fan.

The Show Floor

While the show floor this year felt a bit diminished compared to my last trip in 2019, it still delivered a lot. Unreal had probably the biggest presence on the floor with a huge multi level booth. They had a small theater set up at the booth where they put on presentations throughout all three days. I definitely picked up some good tips and ideas from the presentations on Nanite and Stylization techniques. They also had a massive Fortnite pinata made out of Legos. If you visited the booth you could walk away with a t-shirt and a smaller Lego Fortnite set.

We also had a ton of fun checking out game demos across the floor. The Alt. Ctrl. GDC area which includes a selection of games made with non-traditional controllers is always a blast. There were a few VR games we really enjoyed as well. We took on a virtual superbike course with VRider by VRAL Games and faced our fears in NOPE Challenge by Happy Manic. I must have really enjoyed them as I somehow walked off the floor with a freshly purchased Quest 3 from the Meta booth. I suppose I was due an upgrade from my old Oculus CV1.

The rest of the show was a bit of a blur of meetings, sessions, chatting with folks at booths, playing games, and bonding with the team. Since we are all remote, we don't see each other in person too often.

It was an incredible week that went by all too fast. I always come back from GDC with a thousand ideas as well as with a combination of energy and complete exhaustion. Already looking forward to 2025!