March 16-20 will not be GDC this year. The event has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.
(They’re talking about doing something else in the summer that will be GDC or GDC-esque, but it’s hard to know at this point what that will look like, and it’s hard to imagine it will have anything like the same scope.)
I suspect this is the right choice, but it’s also a significant loss for many people who were relying on it for various personal or business reasons.
Meanwhile, this occasion is also an opportunity for talking about and reflecting on how the advantages of GDC might be made more accessible to people from more backgrounds. Solutions that we come up with for the current situation might have some broader applications later.
So some resources:
https://gamedev.world/relief/ . Some developers have invested a lot in being able to go to GDC, and this turn of events can be really problematic for small indies or companies that are otherwise on the edge. This fundraiser looks at ways to help offset that for people.
Mental and Emotional
Take This has some advice on emotional handling if this is more distressing than you expected.
Professional Visibility for Speakers
If you’ve written a talk and now don’t have anywhere to give it, there are some conferences currently accepting pitches for events later in the year. The Nordic Game conference has its call for speakers open through March 4, for instance.
UBM has also said that they’ll be accepting recorded talks and putting them on the GDC Vault and on YouTube for free. Whether that’s a good deal for you will depend on your individual circumstances (and how hard it is for you to set up a recording that you wouldn’t find embarrassing). But it may mean that some talks are available to the general public that otherwise wouldn’t have been.
Community and Knowledge-Sharing
notGDC is an initiative that’s been around since before GDC was canceled. It’s meant as a way for people to share information and enthusiasm around games, without needing to splash out on travel. The website is still up and they are coordinating events.
In narrative games specifically, NarraScope is still expected to happen this year — late May, in Illinois. Feral Vector is one of my favorite indie spaces just for its relaxed and friendly vibe; that is upcoming in the UK as well.
Local events like meet-ups are also a useful way to develop ongoing connections and support, and find people who will help you through a long project; as always in this post, I’ve listed below the events I know of in the interactive narrative space.
For developers looking for connection and support, there are a number of Slack and Discord channels that allow for some connection. Some of these require you to be invited, but some will take open applications. A couple that I know of:
The hallway conversations and the dinners
The things I will find hardest to replace myself are
- social, in-person time with friends, former colleagues, and people I have been wanting to meet. Video calls exist, but a meal with someone is a different kind of experience, one that feels more personal and less like work.
- chance meetings. In-person events vs online ones are like bookstore browsing vs Amazon searching: they let you find things and people that you didn’t know you were looking for. That element of randomness is actually really useful.
- time set aside. The week of GDC, I’m not generally expecting to do anything else, which means a relative lack of distraction and ability to be wholly engaged in what’s going on there.
I’ve heard a few people talk about Google Hangouts with people they’re missing at GDC, and that’s something I’m still thinking about — especially if they’re not 1-1 hangouts (which can be a bit time intensive) but perhaps 4-6 person chats with a group of people of shared interests. Mulling whether there’s something worth exploring in that model.
Continue reading “End of February Link Assortment (and a bit about GDC Cancellation)”