GDC – A newbie’s struggle

So I will be attending GDC for the first time ever this year.

I’m pretty excited about it but also a bit nervous.

Steam Dev Days was a blast and was very constructive, it feels very nice to talk to other game developers which is not something I get much of a chance to do here in South Florida. Going to conventions is really a breath of fresh air and an overall awesome experience.

So why am I nervous about GDC? Because it’s the first time I may actually meet some media face to face, for one. Another is that I’ve never attended before and I still feel unsure about my choice of pass (“Expo”) not being good enough to network/meet people efficiently.


The GDC Pass Dilemma


I tried to reach out to a few people about which pass to get for GDC. Being a cash strapped indie funding everything out of my own pocket, its really hard to drop close to a grand or more to attend a conference. It’s a real struggle to convince myself to spend the money there rather than on the game itself, a struggle I really wish I didn’t have to go through but happens every time.

I went with the Expo pass this year because people told me that it should be enough for networking, which is my primary goal for attending GDC. The talks and summits look amazing, don’t get me wrong, but the main reason I didn’t shell out the cash for those reasons alone are

1) I don’t have enough time off to take a whole week for the summits

2) The talks look awesome, but this is all content I can absorb later on at my own leisure online, plus, is not necessarily helpful to me a this stage of development for the game.

Thus my choice for the Expo pass was made more solid, however there’s one thing that still bugs me and concerns me very much, that the Expo pass doesn’t provide:

“Access to all GDC mixers”


My main purpose for attending GDC this year other than basking in the game dev experience is to meet people. That means you, whoever is reading this if you are at GDC. It also means press, other devs, whoever. I want to meet everyone there. So after reading that the Expo pass does NOT have access to “All GDC Mixers’ I am a bit concerned. I mean, there’s no descriptions about this on the site, no list of events, and the web seems completely devoid of any talk or description of what these mixers are and who goes to them.

The question is, how important are they, and are they worth the $800+ dollars it would cost to upgrade to a pass that grants entry to them, even if I can’t make the Summits at all (Summits are the 1st 2 days of the week).

I really wanted to get my hands on an Indie Game Summit pass but I missed the boat on that one, much to my disappointment.

If anyone has any sort of experience with GDC I’d love to get your input. I believe I can still upgrade my pass for a limited time, but that window is closing soon. I’d love to get some feedback in case I’ve made a huge mistake!

2 Comments. Leave new

Richard Griffiths
April 18, 2014 8:07 pm

What was your conclusion from the ‘GDC mixer’ question? How did it work out for you in the end? =)


No idea still on what these Mixers might have been. GDC was kind of a weird experience for me. Very confusing coming into it not knowing anyone or how things work. It seemed like most people had their agendas and stuck to it, pre-arranged meetings and such. The only part of GDC that felt organic to me was The Lost levels indie part of it, but even that was a bit weirdly “clicky”

I haven’t been anywhere like that since High School. It was a bit weird.


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