Live and Direct

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Back from GDC

I got back from GDC on Friday morning. On the whole, I had a great trip. I stayed with friends from my old studio and got a chance to catch up on various news about mutual friends and colleagues, as well as watch them hatch their newest initiative in their ongoing quest for world domination, in the form of a really cool company making videogames the right way. Their game really was the buzz of the Game Connection event, so things are looking good.

GDC is a lot less frantic and loud than E3, but it's still pretty silly. It's a cross between a trade expo and a swap meet, with scores of studios, publishers, and other assorted industry types hawking their wares or looking to hire the next exploitable genius. So I did my best to play along, hawking my wares as an exploitable genius. The response was pretty positive, with most of the major studios or publishers in the Puget Sound region expressing interest in my resume and asking for further info. We'll see what happens there. I also got a chance to talk with the book publishers interested in my book on independent game dev, and we ironed out some of their concerns about content and approach. They also seem okay with the possibility that the book might take longer to write if I get a job in the industry again.

In the evenings, I spent a lot of time at parties sponsored by various game companies, drinking a lot of booze paid for by somebody else. The point of these occasions, I suppose, is to make networking connections with other people in the industry, which I tried to do as much as possible. But mostly, I ended up meeting and catching up with people I used to work with. It was an interesting experience, coming so quickly on the heels of the SCMS film and media studies conference. In academia, the word "networking" causes people to make the Mr. Yuk face and sniff comments like "careerist" and "superficial." Almost as if to prove that they are not motivated by career concerns but by their love of the higher cause of knowledge, academics seem to go out of their way to be rude, combative, and dismissive of each other, particularly if their interactors are in the same field of study. Conversely, every person I met at GDC was making an effort to be affable and interested. Even people who have an active reason not to like me very much. Granted, this friendliness was usually motivated by professional interest, but at the end of the day, given the choice between people acting like a-holes in order to prove how intellectually serious they are and people acting like your best friend because they want to see if you can make them money somehow... Actually, neither of those options sounds all that great when expressed in those terms. Hmm. Well, at least the GDC parties usually had free alcohol.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Job stuff

I've recently been sending out more official-type inquiries, as well as a few resumes, regarding jobs in game development, and the feedback has been positive. I just had a phone interview with a major developer in the area which will remain nameless for the moment (don't want to jinx things). Word from my referents/contacts is that it went well, so I should hear back in the next couple of weeks. The timing is good, as I'll have plenty of time to go to GDC and otherwise see what opportunities present themselves before potentially being asked to make any commitments. I think it's a good sign that I'm getting positive feedback right away. I've been worried that I might fall in between the cracks, since I don't have as many years or finished games to my credit as I would like. So we'll see what happens.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

All's well

So I've sort of dropped off the blogging front for a while, mainly because there's not much to tell. I've been holed up reading and preparing notes for my first book chapter, which will likely be the easiest one. From there on out, there's a ton of research to do on areas I'm not that familiar with, which will be fun but also very challenging. I also hope to attend GDC in a few weeks, provided I can put all the pieces together.

I've been thinking alot about friends lately. I generally think of myself as a pretty independent person, so much so that I often overlook the immense importance of friends and family. Over the last two years, Sara and I have pretty much been our entire social sphere. We met some great people in San Diego and Denmark, but in SD I was often to busy to really get to know people, and in Denmark, well... let's just say the Danes can generally be stand-offish. Pleasant, polite, but distant. I appreciate the irony in this, as the very same adjectives have been used to describe me on more than one occasion by people I don't know well.

But I was reading Joygantic's post about surrounding himself with positive and interesting people, and I was again struck by how much more pleasant life is when you have a broad circle of people to share it with. We've had more social contact in the last month than we had in an entire year in Denmark, and it's been great to see the variety of ways in which this has made our lives infinitely more enjoyable. So I guess this is a late Valentine to the people who've made us feel so welcome to be in Seattle again.