I'm rather unaccustomed to waking up at what I think is 8 am to have it be 5 am. Welcome to the West Coast. The nice part about that is it gives me plenty of time to plan my day and get all energized and happy. What kind of games will I see? What kind of cool people will I meet? Most importantly, how many pens can I collect?
It has rained every day since we got here, and is supposed to rain every day until we leave. Today was the only nice day, and I was planning to take full advantage of it by taking as many pictures as possible (yet managing to forget my camera cord at home... I knew I forgot to pack something!) and walking around outside a lot. The rain has been affecting my back and my foot from a previous car accident, so I've been having to munch on Tylenol with every meal to get around. In a city like this where walking is pretty much standard for a tourist, you just grin and bear it.
In reality, San Francisco is a very cool town, and is picture perfect for GDC. The conference kicked off on Monday, but most of the good stuff didn't begin until today. On Tuesday we got our basic information, as well as our badges. They are very cool - they are scannable, so you can get information by being scanned in someone's database, or being checked in for raffles and the like.
Back to today. I was up raring to go early, and I headed down to explore West Hall some. That is where most of our interviews took place and where most of the career opportunities are set up. You can walk around and talk to people from EA, Blizzard, Harmonix, Activision, Disney Animation, and a myriad of others. A lot of hopeful employees were there with all sorts of resumes. Some had DVDs, some had little flashy lights attached to their resume, and one person actually sang a little song before he gave their resume to the employer. Seriously. (I clapped.) I learned a lot about what companies actually want on your resume, what they see a thousand times, and what can be done to set you apart from the rest.
North Hall is where the majority of the companies are set up to advertise or have information. It's also where our inaugural "official" GDC interviews kicked off.
Our first interview of the day was with a company that makes full motion vests for a variety of games. They are doing a lot with FPS (which Mikel tried) and with racing games (which I tried), and are hoping to branch out to RPG very soon. My experience was very fun, I got to run a car around a track, feel the appropriate g-forces, and felt someone crash into the back of me. Ow. They use the helmet to emulate things whizzing by your head (a mace, perhaps?) and actually use puffs of air if the thing gets close. They were a very popular booth the entire day, so I really enjoyed my chance at the racing game.
After that, we went to Vivox's booth. They are a voice chat company that allows you to have both the functionality of Teamspeak with the ease of any instant messenger, plus the ability to page people using actual SMS text messaging - all in the same program, for both PC and Mac. It by far and away was one thing I can't wait to use when it's available. It also has voice masking, so my normal voice saying "I don't like Keebler Elves. They scare me." went from female, to male, to Cylon, to Dragon, to.. you guessed it, an Elf. Some of the options you can actually make your voice higher or lower, differing all sorts of things. They demoed how they've applied it in Second Life, and other possible uses. It was fascinating to see all the work put in, and all the stuff they still want to do. I will definitely be using this product.
After this, we had some time to kill before the mob for free lunch, so we wandered around North Hall a bit more. There were a lot of booths that were pretty cool: Eve Online, Nintendo, Sony, and a bunch of other, smaller ones. There is even a booth with a cute little robot that's a dog/dinosaur hybrid, which I entered to hopefully win at the end of GDC. Cross your paws for me!
Wandering around, I got the opportunity to talk to and meet a lot of people from all areas of the US as well as around the world. I think I met someone from every continent (except Antarctica) today. I also found out Lara Croft is much taller than I am... and much more in shape.
Our final interview of the day was with Queensland Games, a group out of Australia. They are a unique entity in that not only are they based out of Australia, they have many companies that you wouldn't think of being there involved. You might have heard of them from the 2 latest Spyro releases or, better yet, Destroy All Humans.
They told us all about a new game that is due out I believe later this year that actually makes me want to buy a 360. We'll be covering it on the site, so keep watching out for it! These guys were super friendly and I know I'll be visiting them at least once more before the con is over to just say hi. They are very into their product, very very knowledgeable, and make me want to move to Australia to work for them. You don't hear about companies in the US like this. On Fridays at 4:30 they quit making people work, bring in game systems, and pop a beer and order pizza to help everyone relax after a long day of work. Yeah, I'd love to work there!
With that interview done, we were done officially for the day. Mikel headed back to the hotel, and I decided to make the 12+ blocks one way trek to see a bookstore where some of my favorite authors used to hang out. City Lights (www.citylights.com) was where both Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg used to hang out and read and write. I went in and I knew instantly that this was totally worth the painful walk. For someone who loves to write, having a very tight budget at a bookstore that literally had every one of my favorite authors and multiple titles I wanted was agony. Fortunately, I took many pictures, and left with 3 books (two as presents) and made the journey back to the hotel. If and when I come back to San Francisco, I'm coming back here.. with a lot more money. I was very, very happy to come back and empty my bag out of all the stuff I got today - who knew flyers could get so heavy?
It's now 12:46 "my time" and 9:46 on the West Coast, so I'm going to stare at the Lunar Eclipse a bit more, grab some food, and hit the very comfortable oversized snuggly bed to rest up for tomorrow. It's going to be another very exciting day and I can't wait.
Oh, and I only got 5 pens today, but I have another entire vendor room to go through. I'll update the count tomorrow!