I am a little nervous. I’m leaving for San Jose to attend the Game Developers Conference one week from tomorrow. Why am I going to the Game Developers Conference? I am not a programmer, or a designer, or an academic, or a producer, or a professional games journalist. I am not even in the games industry, however… However… I have a “crazy” idea. Nothing so grand as a game concept. It’s at the Game Developers Conference that I hope to speak to people about this idea. I do not think I will be spamming people with CVs, since my mission is purely information-gathering at this point. I hope to get some feedback so that I can better assess my plans. I am tight-lipped about it because I am not sure that it can/would/will work. Fear of failure. Self-doubt. So, sorry — I don’t think I will post about it publicly unless/until Good Things are underway. I haven’t even been forthcoming about this. I’d be okay to speak about it privately though, so if you’re curious, get in touch.

Other reasons for attending, less personal ones, are that I am interested in games and the industry and the background goings-on, pure and simple. I imagine that it will be enlightening to attend. I think I have little control over where I will be assigned to work, and what sort of free time I will have to attend sessions, so I won’t set my heart on attending the “big” events.

I was chatting to one of my LJ friends on MSN last night. She is in the industry, but unfortunately she is unable to attend the GDC. I was stressing out about what to wear. I should not have been stressing. According to the FAQ distributed by the people running the Conference Associate programme, dress is “casual” and one should wear very comfortable shoes. We will be on our feet for long periods of time. Casual is good. I have never been fond of “professional” office attire. I was assured that whatever I wore would probably be okay, considering the type of work I would be doing. Also, “it’s the games industry” so casual dress is the done thing. Still, the fact that I’m an “outsider” attending this conference causes a bit of anxiety, thus the irrational “OMG what do I wear?” conversation.

I am not too nervous about actually doing my duties as a Conference Associate. I would say that I am a very experienced convention staffer. I have been working at conventions since 1998. I am a department head at Otakon this year. Actually, hang on. I run two departments. One is at-con, and one isn’t. I don’t know how they managed to con me into it, but they have. Anyway, I know what kind of work people do behind the scenes at conventions. It’s true that fandom conventions are different from industry conventions. I am fully aware that I will have to adjust to how things are done at the GDC. Having completed the online training tutorial and read the FAQ, the operating procedures are not too different from what I am used to, however I will read over these documents a few more times before I arrive in San Jose.

I am particularly excited about the Conference Associate D&D game on the Monday and the Tuesday. I was lucky, they liked my character concept, and the DMs were kind. I’m playing a Changeling Rogue. Her name is Vyth. Id is going to help me tweak my character tonight.

The DMs are using a point-buy system for assigning Ability Scores. This means that some of my scores will be pretty weak since I want my Dexterity and Intelligence scores fairly high (important for Rogues). The idea right now is to have Vyth take Exotic Weapon Proficiency so she can specialise in a weapon that Rogues are not automatically proficient with, and Weapon Finesse so that she can apply her Dexterity Modifier to her Attack Bonus, rather than her Strength Modifier. This means that I can nerf my Strength Ability score a bit without worrying too much about not being able to hit things. Also on the programme tonight is selecting Equipment and Skills. We have been allocated some gold towards the purchase of equipment, and I think some magical item purchases are in order. I think I will need magic to offset my character’s weaknesses.

Another exciting thing is that I am planning on meeting one of my London friends in California before the GDC gets underway. He was in my D&D group for a couple of months before becoming an international jet-setting physicist doing research for his PhD. Now he’s a practising physicist doing something with magnets. I didn’t actually communicate with him much until recently, and it should be good fun to see him. It’s been about five years.

Plans for the weekend include:

  • Laundry
  • Pack
  • Re-read Conference Associate FAQs
  • Re-read itinerary
  • Print things
  • Study maps
  • Speak with/IM Doc Essex re: meeting up plans
  • Speak with/IM Doc Carson re: recommendations from his friend for things to do in San Jose
  • Haircut
  • Finalise and submit character stats for CA D&D game
  • More things as they arise

  7 comments for “Nerves

  1. 10 March 2006 at 16:37

    I wouldn’t worry about it. Not everyone at the show is a game industry professional. There are frequently lots of students and even just people who are curious (though it is a bit of a steep price for curiousity, IMO). There will be lots of folk milling about, and none of us have our job titles stamped on our foreheads. No one will know what you do or don’t do. You’ll be totally fine!

  2. 11 March 2006 at 07:33

    :-) Thanks. I’m looking forward to it.

  3. 11 March 2006 at 07:48

    Brinstar –

    I’m really looking forward to hearing about your experience there. I would love to be going myself, so will be looking to Acid For Blood for my vicarious experience. You will have a great time being the Rouge of the GDC!

  4. 11 March 2006 at 19:04

    As I haven’t got a laptop (waiting for 14.1″ LCD laptops with nice graphics cards), I’m going to try my best to do some blogging whilst there. I will find a way!

  5. 14 March 2006 at 16:52

    First time visitor, but I just wanted to mention not only that you have a solid site here, but that I envy you greatly for your ability to make it to GDC.

    I, unfortunately, will be living vicariously from the sidelines. I was able to make it to the AGC, and one word of advice (spoken from missed opportunity, it was my first such event), make sure you talk to people. Even if they seem all standoffish and professional and whatnot, most of them are actually very friendly and more than willing to talk (especially if you know something about whatever it is they have or are working on).

  6. 15 March 2006 at 05:53

    Andrew: Thanks for stopping by. And thank you for the advice. I will do my best to overcome my inherent shyness. :-) I’m looking forward to learning more about the games industry straight from the pros.

  7. Rob
    15 March 2006 at 09:17

    re: things to do in San Jose

    A few of us geek/software developer types are getting together for dinner next Monday at 6:30. It’s at House of Siam (151 South Second St). If you’re interested, comment on the post at or send me an email.

    Outside that, San Jose’s just a nice place. The public transport there’s supposed to be pretty extensive, I think you can get yourself all the way up to San Francisco. We usually rent a car and try to mix up the tourist stuff between city things and natural things.

    Enjoy the conference.

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