GDC 2019 – Talks, Intel Student Showcase, and Magic with WotC

I just got back from GDC… Woo what a trip!


There were so many cool experiences it would be impossible to go through them all, so I’ll just hit the highlights.


This was my first year going to talks, and I’ll definitely be doing that again in future years. I’ve been mulling around the idea of writing some curriculum to expose middle and high-school students to technology through game dev, and there was an amazing talk by AP Thomson at NYU Game Center about teaching flexible system design with procedurally mixed student projects. If you’re interested in computer science education, I would highly recommend checking that out in the vault (it’s titled “Stone Soup: Procedurally Mixing Student Projects to Teach Flexible System Design”). I really think that the concept of orchestrator-designer schemes for teaching coding makes a ton of sense, and can really be scaled to any class size or skill. Modern tools are so unbelievably advanced, that with some setup you could easily abstract as much or as little as you’d like away from your students. There were so many good talks I can’t mention them all, which is too bad. To anyone looking to go to GDC in the future, spring for summits, you won’t regret it.


On Thursday, my thesis team presented our game Sky Shepherd at the Intel student showcase. I had the opportunity to act as the face of our team and present the game to browsing devs. It was amazing to see how far our game has grown over the 5 month development up to that point. We got tons of positive feedback, and I met a ton of interesting dev from all over the country. We were even stationed next to UT Austin (the city I grew up in). Public speaking is really difficult for me, but I really enjoy putting myself out there and practicing those skills.


I also had the opportunity to play Magic: The Gathering with a bunch of Wizards of the Coast employees and Magic content creators. I learned how to read with the help of Magic cards, so I’ve been playing for a very long time. It was awesome to get to see what those personalities are like and share the love of that game with people who make it happen.


On the note of being social, last year (my first GDC) I was totally overwhelmed and lost. I barely spoke to anyone. This year I was determined to put myself out there and meet as many people as possible. I smashed my own expectations and am really proud of myself. All in all, I had a blast.


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