Going to GDC is a hell of experience, but due to the amount of work GILP Studio put on their game for GDC, they took a break for the whole week, so I also had to. Not that this is a bad thing, going to a conference and being exposed to so much new stuff makes your brain produce a lot of dopamine for that time so you kinda feel “down” the days after. The point here is I took a break for a week and I’m writing this post to assimilate everything that happened these two weeks.
Game Developer’s Conference 2019
I arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday, 11am after two long and tiresome São Paulo – Toronto, Toronto – San Francisco flights. GDC was happening already, but my pass didn’t allow me to do much on Tuesday, so I went there just to see how it was, take my badge, get to know the surroundings, etc… I got early to the AirBnb and crashed on bed.
Indie Games at GDC
It’s always interesting to see the Indie Games on these kind of events, I didn’t know a lot of them, but I could spot Return of the Obra Dinn and Minit (picture), but also Wandersong (aaand Drawdog), but there were plenty of other interesting games that I, unfortunately, didn’t have enough time to go through.
I had the opportunity to exchange a few words with Lucas Pope (Papers, Please and Return of the Obra Dinn) and Noel Berry (Celeste) – I like chatting with people so I can see what kind of mindset led them to their work. Lucas Pope, for example, has an approach of using limitations, on Paper, Please you can only interact with the ambient through a Booth and only by analyzing, accepting or denying people entrance to your country. On Return of the Obra Dinn, the only way to get information on story events is by a dead character, and also the huge visual limitation, as the whole game is 1 bit.
With Noel Berry I had more of a technical conversation about different technologies, all in all, I could see he liked rolling his own stuff using XNA(or FNA or MonoGame), which is interesting and totally different from what people are doing nowadays. But it is interesting as it gives more control to the developer and the game overall is lighter, as there isn’t too much engine stuff there.
Unity at GDC
When I arrived into the Unity Booth at GDC, I felt extremely… comfortable?
I’ve been using Unity back-and-forth (having pauses to try using C++ and GameMaker) for about 4 years now and watching almost all of their public presentations, keynotes I happened to like the engine as well as the company behind it.
At the Unity Booth I got a free shirt (yay!) and took a deep look on their Adaptive Performance demo (which runs with Megacity), their new High Definition Render Pipeline demo and a demo with lots of the new 2D tools they are working on or improving.
There was also a Mobile section with a game really similar to Clash Royale (I think the name was Unity Roylale) that used pretty much all of the new Unity stuff into a mobile game, it was said the project will be going public in a few months (you heard here first).
There was also a showcase of their new Multiplayer architecture (which is a Unity + Google thing), it was on Unity Royale but it was also on Google’s Booth. Awkward Story. I saw it first on Google Booth and got really interested so I spent like 10 minutes talking with the person there (I think her name was Karen) and at some point I asked with which version this feature would come out and… proceeded to explain the release system Unity does. I have no idea why I started doing that as I’m not the kind of person that explains stuff out of nowhere. While doing that my brain just went like “Dude, you are talking with someone that WORKS at Unity Technologies”, so I just cut the explanation really short and simplified, said sorry and asked if it was correct. Apparently she didn’t care much and explained how the release was going to be.
But when I remember I did that I still feel like facepalming myself to death.
We need to talk about Unreal and Epic Games
Unreal Engine won, hands down, my award for “Best Booth” and everyone’s else too probably. Before GDC even begin people were like: “Epic Games won billions with Fortnite, they are going to throw money away at GDC”. And, oh boy, they were correct: Free beer, cookies, soda, t-shirts, bottles, socks, huuuuge booth and they also gave money to some of their games have their own t-shirts.
I’ve never extensively used Unreal Engine before but being there made me want to (unfortunately, I probably won’t) and I could play a little bit of two amazing games: Morphies Law and Kine.
But besides these indie games, not much attracted me on Unreal’s Booth because I’m not an user, which was just expected. Free bear, soda and cookies were great though, thanks Epic Games, keep it going!
On the last day of GDC, rumor were that they were giving extra t-shirts (it was said that it was one per person, so I got one on the first day) so I went there and was like “Hey… I would like a M or L please” and the woman working there came back with 4 t-shirts, and I was like… “Okay…. Thanks!”
At the end I ended up with the image on the right where I got 8 t-shirts from Fortnite, Unreal Engine and games made on Unreal.
Of course I can’t forget to talk about Areia.
Areia is the game GILP Studio (the studio I’m working on) is currently developing, although I’m not actively working on it, it was a huge GDC for them!
From what I could see, Areia’s got a lot of attention on the GDC Play section, which features games from smaller studios, studios that usually don’t even have enough budget to attend GDC by themselves. Which is great since they are working for Publishers and funding to keep working on the game.
And also it is because of Areia and GILP Studio I could be at GDC and meet a lot of awesome people from Guildhall and RIT! At one point I was playing Mowin’ & Throwin’, a 4 player party game, with Marcelo (the Designer on GILP) against two of the developers of the game, which also studied at Guildhall with Marcelo.
Cool! Check Mowin’ & Throwin’, it’s a really good game!
San Francisco is great I want to live there. That’s the takeaway from the city. I could go to Chipotle (something I love from the bottom of my heart, please come to Brazil!) and try different Korean restaurants. At one night we went to an Indian Restaurant with some people from RIT (where the programmer from GILP Studio did his Master’s), and damn it was great.
On the other day we went to a Korean Restaurant, on Chinatown, for a lunch with people from Guildhall (where the Designer from GILP Studio did his Master’s) and there I was, when I realized two of them worked on Ark and we discussed a lot of points around the development of Ark and somehow the conversation ended up in Politics.
Although not much happened, it had an impact on me and I took one week to think about life in general, and here are my conclusions.
- I decided to focus on using Unity engine. Recently, I’ve been looking into Godot, GameMaker, C++ engines and MonoGame thinking on a path I could go in the future in case something happened with Unity. But I decided to focus on Unity and take the risk of it going into a bad path, worst case scenario, I just have to learn a new tool, which wouldn’t take that much time.
- I gave some thought on the limitation’s approach I talked about and I will try to use it more on my design approach.
- I realized, for once and for all, that Brazil is not a good place to be in case you want to be a game developer. I already knew that and I’m on my away of getting something to go abroad, but, there’s always the thought of “Maybe things could go well here”, but this time, I really think things can’t go well here.
The Next Week
When I take a “break” I like coming up with prototypes and programming things just out of curiosity. So I programmed my own platformer controller in Unity from scratch, which was nice because I could get the base class (which handles movement) working with 284 lines, way less than I expected.
The Player Controller currently has 199 lines and I have a character moving around, jumping and wall jumping satisfactorily.
Here is the story of how I started my Fifth Platformer back to back! This is actually a prototype for something I might work later this year.
And the reason I created this prototype is I wanted to test a new way to set gravity and control better the jumping.
Here’s my variables.
This is the best platformer controller I’ve programmed and, as you can see, the key is defining gravity as a function of jump height and time! (Don’t tell Isaac Newton).
Anyway, this was just a random mid month update post talking about GDC, so I wouldn’t have to approach these topics on the Monthly Update.
Hope y’all have a great day!