I was fortunate enough to attend GDC 2010 in vibrant San Francisco and WOW, what an experience! It was a very busy few days with lots of running around, meetings, talks and gatherings! I wish I took more pictures but I’m lousy at photography and the ones that I took are all very ‘meh’.
Justin and I had the honor of meeting with Hitoshi Sakimoto on our first day there and he was one of the most pleasant, soft-spoken individuals I’ve ever met. Hitoshi Sakimoto (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitoshi_Sakimoto) has composed music for games like Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XII, Ogre Battle, Legaia 2, Odin Sphere, Breath Of Fire, Valkyria Chronicles to name only a few. He also composed MY FAVOURITE shmup soundtrack ever for Gradius V, which in my humble opinion, is the finest space shmup ever built. (I nearly bought a second copy of it for the PS2, just to have in it’s original wrapped form! It’s a rare gem IF you can find it.) We spent some time sharing stories and actually talked about Out Of Hell and our plans for the future. At the end we exchanged business cards, he wished us luck and success on our future projects and took some pictures! This was an unbelievable start to an unbelievable trip.
(From left to right: Dmitri, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Justin Lassen, Long Nguyen)
Our next order of business was to visit the Epic booth which was an ‘unreal’ experience! There were really kind and motivational things said of Out Of Hell, the hard work and the time that had gone into it. We sat in on a UDK demonstration outlining some new and powerful features and tried our hand at UDK running with 3D Vision support which was fantastic. If the GDC trip had ended there for me, I still would have left a very, very happy man.
We dropped by the Intel booth where I saw an Out Of Hell video used as part of a demonstration to show off some really exciting new sound technology! It was surreal seeing that, especially when one of the zombies got shot and groaned, and I let out the EXACT same groan only louder (I recorded myself doing all the zombie noises for Out Of Hell) and everyone at the booth burst out in laughter! It was great times!
Here is one story I’m sure all of the Silent Hill fans out there would appreciate. After our final meeting on the second day, I was completely wiped so I told Justin that I needed to head back to the hotel to rest up for a couple of hours or so. About 30 minutes after I left, Justin met none other than Akira Yamaoka! AKIRA YAMAOKA!!!! Legendary composer and producer behind the Silent Hill series, THE MAIN INSPIRATION behind Out Of Hell!
When Justin told me about this later at a party my jaw hit the floor and didn’t come back up for a good 15 minutes! If only I hadn’t wussed out and stayed just that extra half hour!
So here is what I learned from going to the GDC folks: SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK!
I was also honored to attend a party full of game industry vets and legends on one of the nights. The evening was actually kind of a blur to me. I didn’t feel worthy enough to be shaking hands with, let alone being in the same room as these people! I met so many great people that night from indie devs (some with roots in the modding scene) to legendary game creators responsible for some of the greatest games in the industry. I even met with geniuses Tim Cain of Fallout fame and Lorne Lanning who created the Oddworld series! It’s definately one of those times where I wish I could redo over again just so that I could have more meaningful things to say but in all honesty I was too awe-struck and I blanked!
I have so much more I’d like to write but it would just become a wall of text, so I’ll end it here by saying that my first GDC experience was AMAZING, we had a lot of great meetings and I met so many great people, all of whom I never thought I’d have the pleasure of shaking hands with! Thanks to all of those involved for making this such a memorable trip and I hope for many more like it in the future!