GDCEurope: Cutting the Red Tape

4 09 2005

Just back from GDCEurope 05. This year in the grandiose setting of the cafe royal.
First year I have spoken at the event, nerve racking and exciting.
I followed Phil Harrison’s key note, and although I didn’t reach many developers, the audience was a really good mixed bag.
My lecture seemed to go well – good audience participation, and the feedback was all positive.

BBC Article

and from the Guardian

Iain Simons from Next Gen News says”
The conference directors should be justly proud of the achievement of GDCE 05, held in London these past three days. With the comprehensive program, excellent front-of-house production values and exciting event culture, GDCE has evolved into much more than a spin-off of its West Coast sibling.

Perhaps one of the keys to this, is that is unashamedly focused on ‘European-ness’ in its conception and programming. This is evident in the case studies, the tone of the event and rises from the specific decision to create an advisory board of European developers.

At three full, intense days GDCE manages to deliver a huge amount of content without feeling like it’s straining at the seams. At the size it is at present, there’s a measure to it that gives delegates time to digest what they are seeing and hearing and one senses that it is probably now at the boundaries of that size.

Whilst there is a clear exponential growth that the conference is enjoying (this year was hugely over-subscribed) it would be wise of the organizers not to succumb to the temptation to over-grow it beyond what it is now. To do so would lose some of the unique atmosphere and balance that it currently possesses in spades.

The case studies track this year was particularly strong, with insightful and candid studies from Lionhead (Black and White 2) and SCEE (Wipeout Pure) amongst others. The other tracks, production and management issues and techniques and tools also all delivered solid programs.

In almost direct opposition to the recent EIEF in Edinburgh, what was achingly apparent from this event was the effort that had been put into creating content for it. A hallmark of the Edinburgh event was an over-reliance on panel discussion, but this event had comparatively few. Instead, delegates were treated to intelligent people sharing their intelligent thoughts in a prepared, accessible and lucid style. Unsurprisingly, it works very well.

A final panel discussion featured Hermen Hulst of Guerrilla Games (Killzone) and Jason Kingsley from Rebellion among others.

The discussion was almost chaotically broad ranging, taking in gender diversity, outsourcing and alternative business models amongst other themes. The most important question though, was probably asked first: What are the biggest problems facing European developers at the moment?

Jason Kingsley said, “the biggest problem is the lack of talented people.” Realizing that that statement probably needed a little more qualification he went on to add, “..can I clarify that… what I meant was that finding them and empowering them is the problem… I’m sure there are lots – but finding them is very hard.”

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