Head Level Designer of Flaming Brain Studios. And I am a Newb!
We woke up at 8am this morning with a total of four hours of sleep (more like 7 for me because I slept in the back of the car). We ate some stale continental breakfast and headed off for the conference in the cool North Carolina morning weather.
We started the conference off with with Monetizing Your Flash Games. This talk was surprisingly good. The speaker was some 15 year old who made $45,000 last year. This was followed by Winning a Contract, which didn't have much to do with "winning" a contract. But, the talk did have a lot of great tips when you try to make a Facebook / other casual game.
We then went to a panel sessions about Getting Into the Game Industry. This was the highlight of the day. It had big name devs from Insomniac, Epic, EA, and a few others. I took a page worth of notes on what the experts said to do.
The day slowed down after the panel talk. The Indie Game on a Shoe String Budget was alright. It should have been called "My Personal Life Story" of the speaker. The Level Design Using UDK was a bust. We left after just 15 minutes. It was geared more towards people who knew nothing about what the Unreal Engine / UDK was.
Hopefully, tomorrow will be a lot better. The conference isn't a let down, but it's not what I expected. On the bright side, Raleigh is beautiful. I would love to live here, minus all the pollen. Staying with Adam and Ian is proving to be hilarious also. If anything, we will get a few more business cards passed out, but I don't think we will gain a sponsorship.
We decided to sleep in an extra hour today, since there was no talk we wanted to listen to during the first session. The first talk we went to was another panel discussion called "The Future of the FPS." This made the whole conference worthwhile. I really loved this talk because this was one that was actually full of BIG names from the industry. There was a producer from Epic, the co-founder of Red Storm (Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six), a designer from Insomniac, and another that I can't remember. They talked about where the industry was headed with the FPS, where it's been, and what makes a good FPS.
The next talk we went to was a keynote talk from a guy who has worked on every Vin Diesel movie / game. This was awesome because he wrote the script for The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. In case you don't know, this was one of the few games that got the whole movie to game right. He was a hilarious speaker and actually knew what he was talking about. He gave a lot of insight into what the writing industry is like for games.
The final talk of the day was a current features talk on the Unreal Engine. They are coming out with some epically (no pun intended) content. Epic showed some examples of texture painting before going into the real ingenious stuff. They are coming out with a spline tool that will allow for easy cables and vines (this is amazing). They are also coming out with an "auto city" tool. Basically, you put a volume into the level and set some attributes, and you get a full building.
Right now, we are in a hotel halfway between Raleigh and home. The tire on my car was deathly close to exploding due to the tire wearing down to the steel. Luckily, Adam had to pee and we found it when we pulled over. My AAA card got us a deal and we're in a king size room for half the price :)
Overall, this conference was good, but not great. It is on the line on if we would come back to it next year or not. We learned some good things from it, but it wasn't what we exactly expected. Hopefully next year we will be able to go to something like the GDC out of California.
Thanks for reading,
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