Game Developers Conference 2022 personal notes
Game Developers Conference is a a yearly conference about leading trends and development in the video gaming industry. Which was hostedin San Francisco’s charming convention center, the Moscone Center. As of 2022 it’s back in it’s physical form and will be hosted in SF proper instead of an all-digital event this year. During the week of GDC it’s a great opportunity for gaming enthusiasts, aspiring game developers or industry veterans in the Video Game industry to connect, network, learn, showcase and celebrate gaming and the culture that manifests from it.
For the run-down of what Game Developers Conference covers, you can refer to the conference overview on their main page. GDC 2022 Conference Overview
Honeycomb has been present at the conference for the past two years and we have presented a couple talks about how Honeycomb can improve the experience in gaming for users, developers and operators. This years talk focusing on how to improve player and customer happiness, given by Charity Majors.
Honeycomb’s booth was minimalistic and charming, we had a booth with product slides explaining and introudcing returing and new customers to Honeycomb, the product, as well as how observability can provide insights into a gaming infrastructure or development workflow. We had solution architects, sales representitives as well as key people such as the CTO, Head of the Gaming vertical, and Director of Field Events + Community all present at times throughout the GDC expo.
In the past we have also given a talk on Insight in to instrumentation for dedicated game servers, which was presented by Liz-Fong Jones, Kent Quick and Michael Simo during the online virtual manifestation GDC in 2021.
If you want to find more information about Honeycomb’s previous presentations, you can review the recorded presentation or slides provided below.
- Observability Into Game Server Deployment & Performance Through Instrumentation
- Happy Engineers AND Happy Players: The Recipe for Effective Teams
When figuring out what sessions resonated with me, and which ones I wanted to attend I had a few things wandering around in my mind:
- is this relvent to the industry that I am in?
- is this relevant to the types of games I like to play?
- will this affect the future of a platform I am using?
- how does virtual reality tie into this (I’ve been a VR fan since ~2016 and the release of the HTC Vive, so I keep this on my radar)
Some questions I ended up adding after seeing the expo floor:
- is this connected to the perceved future of web3?
- can this improve and create diverse culture in communities I’m involved in?
What I was suprised by:
- the amount of talks addressing culture (is this due to recent year lawsuits and then notorius cases of gamedev work/life balances in the past years?)
- what’s next for gaming? - metaverse, VR++, (i do have to mention web3, as much as I dont want to say since there was a suprising large presenst for those types of companies there, maybe 10-20 booths relevant to that)
- initial reality of web3 in gaming “play to earn” (as a player, vaugly heard ubisoft doing something but lots of backlash around this topic recently) - but okay there was one concept “interoperability” which developers mentioned you would unlock a unique code or item which then would be allowed to used in different games to claim similar exclusive rewards. This concept I found nice, since transferring progress between games that aren’t inherenintly related is quite rare.
What I wanted to do
Before attending the event, I reviewed the schedule and knew there were a few different things I wanted to do at this event alongside networking:
- Attend the IGF + GDCA awards
- Visit the booths that have technology/games I was interested in
- Try out alt.ctrl.gdc
- Talk with the Unity developers
- Attend talks regarding diversitiy in gaming, dedicate game servers, improving player experience
- Network with fellow gamers, gamedevs and chat about problems/experiences
- talk to someone about game jams
- remote shift in gamedev, how has that affected the industry?
What I got to do
I pretty much got to do most everything that I had thought of checking out when putting my list together on Mon/Tuesday of talks/places to visit.
- unexpected run-in with a couple of online creators (one that i’ve been following for 10+ years)
- social network with coworkers and fans of gaming at after-parties.
- attend lots of helpful sessions on fair play and accessibility and diversity in gaming.
- network with some like-minded game developers
- go FULL CIRCLE and talk to gameserver hosting companies that unexpected led me into the tech world when I was 15 years old
- IGF/GDCA Awards
- Seeing Charity talk in person!
- networking on expo floor
- session panels in the west hall, (Fair Play Summit, several diversity talks too)
- lots of chatter about building safe and diverse communities
- expo setup
- networking with other expoers
- shop 1
- booth finish
- social (gott’s with honeycombers)
- EXPO hall live!
- GDC main stage opening
- fair play summit cont.
- solo game development stories (chatted with some people who attended Global Game Jam - a game jam I actually don’t particiapate but likely will next time)
- IGF + Gamers Choice Awards (inscryption won both for the first itme ever)
Independent Games Festival + Gamer’s Choice Awards
This was one of the events I was most excited for, I’ve been personally following the awards for about a decade, so it was amazing to have the chance to be part of the physical audience this time.
The crowd was hyped and a bunch of brand new, indie and student games were revealed over the course of the ceremony. One of the games stood much much more than the others, winning awards in Execellence in Audio, Excellence in Design, Excellence in Narritive as well as the IGF Seumas McNally Grand Prize!
Inscrpytion, which plays like a mysterious, horror, escape room adventure with a deckbuilding aspect where you corral forest critters and adventure on a journey to find more about the mysterious Leshy’s cabin.
- charity talks
- honeycomb booth chatter
- cont. session talks
- game jam mentoring session
- closing remarks
- more networking
Personal Networking Highlights
out of the plethora of networking opportunites I had, the following stuck out to me:
- Some of the international gaming presences, including developers from Switerzland, Brazil and Spain!
- lot’s of students or new game dev teams at ctrl.alt.delete
Unity Talked with several engineers at Unity about the future of MLAPI, 2D features, a new data-driven relationship system they are working on called DOTS as well
Apex Hosting / Servers.com A very nostalgic chat bringing me back to my 15 year old self hosting dedicated game and voice servers for gaming communities that my friends were involved in. I was able to chat with the three different server providers about their own reasons on how they got into technology (often through gaming like myself), chat with how they go about creating images/containers for each indivual game, chatting about infrastructure differences between how I currently host games as well as them. I went back and forth to these guys over the days as I resonated with them a whole ton and had some good conversations there.
“Without gaming, I wouldn’t be working in the technology field.” - a quote of mine that I mentioned to honeycombers, but especially is very relevant here since this is the full circle experience for me. My first foray into systems administration and server administration was through managing Counter-Strike 1.6 and then later Counter-Strike: Source servers alongside Ventilo starting around ~2004-2005
- Chatted about “physical / old school merch”
- physical store opening rumors (i had heard through the grapevine)
- random people at lounge areas, mostly had a routine of asking:
- what platform do you play on?
- favorite game genre?
- what got you into gaming?
- do you have a current game obsession?
My full write up on behalf of honeycomb.io
I attended the conference thanks to fantanstic hard working people at Honeycomb.io! https://www.honeycomb.io/blog/key-takeaways-gdc-2022/?