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Mitu @ GDC – Day 1

So today (well, now it’s technically yesterday of course!) was my first day at GDC. And wow, it has been one of the craziest days I’ve ever had! The main conference hasn’t even started yet and I am so, so glad I was able to come along; I’ve had some really great conversations with some really great people regarding my own venture – it’s been amazing hearing the stories of those who have been there and done that in terms of launching successful start-ups. I’ve also learned that the international games industry is kind of a small world!

 
So I’ll post my own round up of the day here – bearing in mind I’m actually writing this on the Caltrain on the way back to the hotel (an hour’s ride) and don’t have any internet access nor my memory stick duo adapter, so this will be photo-less for now. I will add the photo additions and spruce this up a bit later, quite possibly. I’ll embolden the ‘key’ events I attended today.

Serious Games Breakfast – A breakfast organised by the British Consulate and UK Trade and Investment, with Professor Stone from the University of Birmingham as the speaker. He spoke about the work going on in his own university in terms of games technology, and how that’s being applied to the defense industry for various training-related purposes. It was nice hearing about how the Professor Stone’s group actually commercialises the research they do, too, as that’s not something that happens too much across academia. I made contacts with some really interesting and useful people too after the presentation – so all in all, a really worthwhile event!

After this, I had some free time to kill until lunch, so I decided to have a look around the Moscone Center buildings. I started in Moscone North (opposite the W Hotel where the breakfast was) where I officially registered and received my badge. I then went over to Moscone West and picked up my wristband for the IGDA party in the evening. After checking my emails, I checked out the GDC Shop and picked out a few things I’d love to buy (books, a hoodie, a t-shirt) – unfortunately I’m completely broke till later on in the week though so that’s a shame – I hope it doesn’t all sell out!

Heading upstairs to the Intel Interactive Lounge, I saw some interesting 3D stuff going on. I spoke to a guy from TDVision about the cool things his company are doing with 3D – and also had a go on their headset. There’s a picture of me:

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UK Developer & US Publisher Luncheon – Soon after all this, it was time for the lunch, again thanks to the British Consulate and UK Trade and Investment. Ian Baverstock, CEO of Kuju Entertainment, delivered a really great speech about the Creative Industries in the UK. It was also great to briefly hear his experiences of how he got into the industry 15 years ago, and I also met and chatted to him a bit afterwards to hear a bit more about this, and his stance and advice about entrepreneurship in general. I also spoke to a few other great companies and people about my venture and about starting up in the industry. Again, a really worthwhile event!

After the lunch, I managed to meet up with Dr Jonathan Sykes and a few researchers from his lab in Glasgow Caledonian University – I’d previously got in touch with them a few months ago when I started my PhD because they’re working on some interesting stuff there, so it was a bit funny we finally met all the way out in San Francisco! It was nice to finally meet them all over lunch/coffee and hear a bit more about what they’re doing.

 
I then went to the Emotiv Product Launch Event in the Metreon Theatre – I’d been lucky enough to win some tickets for this event, and for obvious reasons related to my areas of interest in research, I was very keen to see what they were up to. The launch event was interesting and I got some great photos – however the product, although very cool, unfortunately had some technical problems in terms of the proprietary wireless technology they use, due to interference from all the cellphones etc in the room. I will do a separate write up about the Emotiv Launch Event later (once my photos are off my camera), but for now, you can read more about what happened and what the press thought at Joystiq. Personally, I’m looking forward to hearing their speaker sessions throughout the conference and seeing the technology in action, and I may perhaps visit them at their Expo booth tomorrow.

Finally, the day ended with party time! For those who may not know, GDC Parties are an important part of the whole conference experience, and are great for networking within the industry. I’d planned to go along to the IGDA party so Stuart (another Kauffman Fellow also there for the day) and I headed there at 8pm. Again, I managed to meet some really great people, and had a chat with the President of Ironworks about his thoughts on entrepreneurship, which, as always, was really great to hear about the experiences of successful people and how they got started. Later on, we also managed to meet up with Jon again, and after I bumped into Darius Kazemi, he led us to the Linden Labs Party.

I was really excited to rather fortuitously (and completely accidentally!) meet a whole bunch of people from The Education Arcade at MIT and GAMBIT, as I’ll be starting my three month internship  there in just a few weeks! It was great fun meeting them (and I managed to get into the private section of the party too!). Again I met some really great people, so although it meant a really long day, I’m very glad I went along!

So tomorrow is another day – and it’ll be even more productive and even more crazy, I imagine, as I’m actually attending sessions from tomorrow onwards – I have my whole day planned full of really good sessions, so I’m looking forward to that and also to meeting even more great people – I already have a couple of meetings planned so hopefully that’ll go well!