GDC 2018 – Parties

Here’s a summary of some GDC 2018 parties and events based on my experience, hope it’s useful for someone planning their next GDC journey!

For each one, I tried to categorize it under a type and rated how interesting it was FOR ME. I also marked the parties where I think you should still have a good time even if you go alone (this is important if you don’t have friends ūüė¶ )

Kongregate Party

  • Type: Corporate, Academic
  • “Hmm… Interesting!” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes
20180319_160323
Networking like a pro. Also, free food yay!

After an initial networking time (lots of good food and drinks), there were three talks: one about the current status and plans for Kongregate (nice one), a pretty weird one about ideation in games which was fun, and another one (pretty good and practical) about taking the right amount of risks while developing a game.

20180319_180042

Pocket Gamer Party

  • Type: Club Party
  • “Hmm… Interesting!” rating: 1/5
  • Lonewolf OK: No
20180319_232242
Having lots of fun

This year, as far as I could see, it was a fairly standard club party. Drinks were a bit expensive. It’s loud so it’s hard to network except on the line to enter the club. Also since it’s on Monday it may be a bit out of place to get crazy when you are on GDC for business.

20180319_233113

IGDA Serious Games @ Google San Francisco

  • Type: Academic
  • “Hmm… Interesting!” rating: 2/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

20180320_154557

I’m not sure how I ended up in this one. It was interesting tho I didn’t do any networking since I just didn’t feel this was my target community. There was a talk about applying serious games to youth audiences and then a short ceremony to deliver community contribution awards.¬†Still nice to check out Google San Francisco building with a great view of the Bay Bridge.

There was good food too.

20180320_164020

Github Party

  • Type: Game Showcase
  • “Hmm… Interesting!” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

20180320_191650

Some games (not many) put together in the awesome Github HQ at SF. The main conference area was occupied by a versus game where you competed in different obscure games for about 10 seconds. There was also a multiplayer coop game where you had to navigate in a ship-like thing with your friends, and another one you controlled with a telegraph-like device.

20180320_203610
Meeting Leaf Corcoran, one of the masterminds behind itch.io

The cafeteria was open for you to bring your laptop and display your game, I saw a couple interesting games there. This one was the one I liked the most for networking (with other developers) due to the nice ambient (great chiptunes!) and everybody being a geek there.

It was supposed to be a celebration of the Global Game Jam but I didn’t really see anything related to it.

20180320_211752

The Other Party (GameJolt Party)

  • Type: Game Showcase Party
  • “Hmm… Interesting!” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

20180320_213927

Lots of games put together in a club. Music was a bit¬†loud but you could still interact with the game developers, play cool games and network. Pretty cool if you’d like to check and play some games.

20180320_222833

Roguelike Developers Meetup

  • Type: Networking
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 5/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

20180321_153541(0)

We met together and talked about our games and projects, around 20-25 people showed up which was nice. Planning to do something cooler for next year (hope I can gather enough people again!)

20180321_164959
The awesome developers of Caves of Qud

GDC XPerience Networking Mixer

  • Type: Networking
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 1/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

This one was a bit of a let-down, but maybe I was expecting too much. Basically, the entry fee (around 20 USD) gives you access to a hotel rooftop bar to chat with other developers. Met a couple interesting people there tho, but I think they hyped the event and failed to give it more spice.

Nice view of the city tho.

20180321_194441

that.party

  • Type: Game Showcase + Club Party
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: No

20180321_201650

One of the most popular “public” parties at GDC time. Some interesting indie games were being displayed too, and I met some roguelike developers too.

20180321_210704.jpg

Drinks were a bit expensive, but the electronic music was super cool. Gather some Friends and go if you like electronic music and video games!

20180321_221923

Zynga party

  • Type: Arcade party
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: No

20180322_185046.jpg

Zynga opened their offices for people to go in, interact with their employees and get a glimpse of what it’s like to work with Zynga. Arcade machines, slot car racing, shuffleboards, three type of hamburgers, beer and drinks. Great to have a fun time with friends! They also provided shuttle service from and to the Moscone.

20180322_175926.jpg

5th Latin American Gathering at GDC

  • Type: Networking?
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 1/5
  • Lonewolf OK: Yes

This one had the potential to be good but I think the venue choice was not very good for the event: it was too loud, too dark and the space reserved for the event was far too tight to fit that many people!

A real shame since I was really interested in meeting other devs from Latin America. I hope next year it’s better!

Marioke

  • Type: Karaoke Party
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: No

20180322_210443.jpg

Same venue as that.party (smaller space tho). Nerd people yelling popular karaoke songs with their lyrics changed to be related to games and gamedev. Nice time if you like karaoke and you bring your nerdy friends.

20180322_223105.jpg

I’m told some famous indie devs can be found around but since I don’t know any that didn’t appeal much to me. This year they also had Botnik displaying cool predictive text stuff including Pokedex entries, sentences that Cloud would say to Tifa on FF7 and more cool stuff.

20180322_210315
I created this one

It was also open tab so cheap/free drinks, yay!

Pow x 7 Bonus Round

  • Type: Chiptune Party
  • “Hmm… Interesting” rating: 4/5
  • Lonewolf OK: No

20180323_235153.jpg

This one had two ambients, one more chill with video game music and the other crazier with stronger chiptune music and people dancing around. Nice way to close GDC, just for fun!

California, March 2018

Took 903 pics on this last trip:

  • 264 at Computer History Museum
  • 104 at Fort Point
  • 46 at North San Francisco
  • 96 at GDC Day 1 (Kongregate and Pocket Gamer parties)
  • 90 at GDC Day 2 (IGDA Serious Games + Github party + GameJolt Party)
  • 85 at GDC Day 3 (GDC Expo + Roguelike meetup + That.Party)
  • 129 at GDC Day 4 (GDC Expo +¬† Zynga party + Marioke)
  • 52 at GDC Day 5 (GDC Expo + Downtown SF + Pow X 7 Bonus Round)
  • 37 at Stanford Area

There is a lot of cleaning up to be done!

20180322_170737

Slashware Battlestations

SZDev01 – White Knight

The original battlestation of the ancient era; it was abandoned after more than 10 years of service, its initial white appearance already dimmed into a yellowish hue.

  • Year: 1993
  • Build: Custom PC Clone
  • Processor: Intel 486
  • RAM: 8MB
  • Storage: 80MB
  • Type: Desktop
  • Pilots:¬†Slash
  • Status:¬†Lost
  • OS:¬†DOS 6.1

SZDev02

Acquired by Slash with his initial earnings as a junior software developer, it was a huge upgrade compared to the 10 years old White Knight. It was used to developed the first batch of roguelikes in Java.

  • Year: 2003
  • Build: Custom PC Clone
  • Type: Desktop
  • Pilots:¬†Slash
  • Status:¬†Decomissioned
  • OS:¬†Windows XP

SWBS01

The station used to establish the first Slashware fortress. Some more roguelikes and also Pixal saw a lot of development on this machine, it was already near its end of life when the marble halls were inaugurated.

  • Year: 2006
  • Build: Custom PC Clone
  • Type: Desktop
  • Pilots:¬†Slash
  • Status:¬†Decomissioned
  • OS: Windows¬†XP, Ubuntu

SWBS02 – Greyhound

The oldest battlestation which remains still operational, it was originally used by slash while acting as knight of the orange circle, leading a development team on NetSac.  It came bundled with a nasty virus called Windows Vista, but its software was then cleansed for good. This was the main battlestation for Kram during the times of the slashwareknights.

  • Year: 2008
  • Build: HP
  • Type: Laptop
  • Pilots: Slash, Kram
  • Status:¬†In reserve.
  • OS: Windows Vista, Ubuntu

SWBS03 –¬†Necktie

The first hardware acquired for¬†the failed plans for the expansion of the slashware fortress. It was used almost exclusively to develop business software including Quadrigan and BPX. Although no longer¬†part of the¬†Slashware fleet, it’s still active and keeps being piloted by Straust to these days.

  • Year: 2012
  • Build: Custom PC Clone
  • Type: Desktop
  • Pilots:¬†Straust
  • Status:¬†Sold
  • OS: Windows 7

SWBS04 –¬†Fishing Rod

Also acquired for the first Slashware Fortress. Unlike the Necktie, it was acquired mainly to pursue the second objective: game development. It fulfilled its mission covering the required evolutionary steps of failed advergaming, educational and freemium games, leaving lessons by the end of the Slashware Fortress era.

  • Year: 2012
  • Build: Custom PC Clone
  • Type: Desktop
  • Pilots: Axel, Slash
  • Status: Damaged, active
  • OS: Windows 7

SWBS05 – Shiny Falchion

Acquired mainly to pursue the development of iOS games. It’s slash’s current battlestation.

  • Year: 2013
  • Build: Macbook Pro
  • Pilots: Slash
  • Status:¬†Damaged on battle
  • OS:¬†None

Ananias hits 50.000 installs on Google Play

It’s been a long time, but Ananias finally managed to hit the 50.000 installs mark on Google Play, last time we checked in 2014¬†we had 20.000 installs, back then I thought it would take three months for the game to reach the¬†next¬†milestone. Following are some insight on it’s journey to the 50.000.

stats1

It took 2 months for the game to jump from 10.000 to 20.000 installs, yet it took¬†22 more months to hit the¬†50.000 mark… of course, installs rate slowed down a whole lot but still is about 40 per day.¬†No investment on advertising campaigns yet. The iOS versions isn’t out yet either.

stats5

Getting the rating up after its initial fall has been a great challenge. Even with all the work going into the game I have only managed to increase 0.18 on the average rating these two years (from 3.45 to 3.63). With 2075 ratings, it will be very hard to get it over 4.0

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-9-00-14-pm

There’s hope still… there have been months of overwhelmingly positive feedback which I hope can be repeated once the final version of the game is officially released. One thing I managed to do is having more than 2x 5 starts ratings than 1 stars, though still not a big margin.

stats3

Countries-wise, we are in a very similar position than in our previous milestone. United States and Russia keep in front with Brazil rising into the ranks and South Korea and Canada keeping on the list for 50% of Ananias installs.

stats2

One interesting metrics are the current installs by device, 4750 vs 3703 , actually 1.000 less installs in 22 months… which I don’t think it’s that bad since it’s natural for people to lose interest on the game, I think I’ve managed to keep the drop rate low.

stats4

Google Play has a new metric which only includes “active devices”; it shows that there are currently 2303 active installations. How many of these are active users? it’s hard to know since I no longer have metrics for that in place.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-9-11-30-pm

Lastly, we have the (paid) fellowship edition with 702 installs. We don’t have a means to compare since back then only the free edition was out.

In summary, here are the installs numbers so far on Google Play: 50.021 total, 3703 current, 2303 active, 702 paid

Goals? I still dream on having one million downloads some day.

 

 

Roguelike Celebration 2016 San Francisco

Last September 17 the first ever “Roguelike Celebration” was held in San Francisco, California. Over 200 roguelike-likers and developers from all around the world met on a day-long journey to celebrate roguelikes.

roguelikers
Most of the speakers and organizers (I *totally* didn’t paste a pic of myself in the back row)

There were 18 main talks plus some other fun roguelike-related events. They were all recorded and you can find them over the Roguelike Celebration YouTube channel.

My talk, “Get your game done: Experiences through the development of 13 roguelikes” was pretty well received. There were two parallel tracks for talks so I shared my time slot with¬†the developers of Dwarf Fortress! even then¬†I had a decent audience of people, some of¬†which told me they found it useful. You can find the slides here

This event was a great opportunity to get more people to know about Ananias!

As usual, I missed the opportunity… forgot to bring any kind of informational material or merchandise, didn’t even print a page with the game website URL… At least Glenn Wichman, one of the creators of Rogue, mentioned my game as his favorite roguelike during the event’s main talk ūüôā

An exciting part for me was finally having a chance to meet people from¬†far regions of the world with whom I have shared this passion for so long…

20160917_103840
David Craddock interviews the three developers of the original unix rogue: Michael Toy, Glenn Wichman and Ken Arnold.
20160917_151401
Tarn and Zach Adams, developers of Dwarf Fortress
20160917_130158
Having lunch with the devs of Unix Rogue and ADOM
celebration
My talk about getting roguelikes done
biskup
Thomas “The creator” Biskup, ADOM developer. Someone I have wanted to meet in person for years

cogmind

Josh Ge, developer of Cogmind

rogue
Rogue for AtariST with its developer, Glenn Wichman!
david
David Craddock, author of Dungeon Hacks and many other videogame books. 

Some other awesome people which unfortunately I didn’t get to interact much with, hopefully next time:

  • Nick Montfort – Author of Twisty Little Passages
  • Brian Walker – Developer¬†of Brogue
  • Nicholas Feinberg – Developer of Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup
  • Zack Johnson – Creator of Kingdom of Loathing
  • Jason Grinblat – Designer of Caves of Qud
  • Kate Compton – Creator of Tracery and loads of generative art
  • Jim Shepard – Creator of Dungeonmans
  • Drew Streib – Operator of NAO
  • George Moromisato – Creator of Transcendence
  • Alexei Pepers – Presenting academic research on accessibility and Nethack
  • Erik Osheim & Robert Au – Members of the Angband dev team

Looking forward for the next Roguelike Celebration!