GDC Diary Day Something: Something Something Help Me

I normally make it further before GDC breaks me. It’s normally Friday before I lose track of time, space and consciousness. This time it happened on Wednesday, and it’s now somehow Friday and I’ve not written the diaries for half the week. GDC eats you, until all of time is a blur of sessions, chats, games and walking through the hypnotising grids of San Francisco from diner to convention centre to Starbucks to diner to bed to diner to Starbucks to convention to diner…

But what an incredible time it is. It’s such a privilege to witness the uniting of the indie and mainstream developer worlds, watching paths cross, connections get made, ideas be inspired, and attend sessions designed to effect real, significant change in our strange industry.

Next week, which will somehow be conjoined to this week in an unbroken cruel way, will see my attempt to bring my cold-ridden bodysack into writing up much of what I’ve seen, played and been inspired by. I am genuinely looking forward to it, the way someone with a broken leg may look forward to going for a walk. I am in a spiral of tiredness that makes the concept seem so impossible. However, fortunately it hasn’t prevented my being a misanthropic git, and as such, I have two new rules for GDC 2015, alongside WALKING DOWN THE DOWN ESCALATORS YOU LAZY BASTARDS, and removing lanyards when in a different zipcode from the convention center.

First up, no top hats. No, this is really an issue. There are so many people wearing top hats. Some have steampunked them, some haven’t, and all are to receive one final warning before a lifetime ban. Last year there was a plague of fedora-like hats, something dangerously encouraged by Notch, and then entirely out of control. I’m not sure what happened in the year since to see this evolve to top hats, but NO. No no no.

Secondly, waxed moustaches. This, perhaps like the top hat, must have felt like that guy’s ‘thing’. Turns out this year it’s every other guy’s ‘thing’. People have to think of something more distinctive to do with their facial hair next year. Can I suggest weaving in beads? Or maybe some sort of moustache-mohawk?

What I’m trying to do, essentially, is stopp game developers from turning into ringmasters. It’s what I’m here for.

I must also chronicle one of my favourite moments this year. I went to buy one of the amusingly overpriced bottles of soda from the stall in Moscone North, and spotting an attendee busily chatting away with the splendid lady behind the counter, rearranging the barrier ribbons that established the queuing. Listening in, I quickly realised that he was redesigning her level. He’d spotted pathfinding issues, and was fixing them, laying it out differently to better channel the player through. Explaining his thinking to the lady, she – without sarcasm – gave him the benefit of the doubt saying, “You’re the game designer, hon.” The gamification of game conventions. Only at GDC.

The other phenomenon of this place is it’s the first time I’ve seen Google Glass in the wild. I’d like to offer some pragmatic thought on this matter: it looks very silly. I’m really not sure why they’re not designed to be more inconspicuous, to just look like a pair of glasses. (Well, I can think of mean reasons why people would want to make sure everyone else knows they’re wearing Google Glass, but I like to try to avoid being judgy – you know me.) I can’t stop myself from staring, however. I just want to know what they see. What insight do they have that I do not? Can they see my underwear? And information about from where I bought my underwear?

RPS: Bringing you all the main GDC news.


  1. X_kot says:

    That’s some cutting-edge commentary! But be careful, John: you’re starting down a path that will, inevitably, turn you into the gaming industry’s Joan Rivers.

  2. Fry says:

    Perhaps “you might want to go easy on the coffee, hon” might have been the appropriate response.

    • qrter says:

      I’d go for a short, sharp slap.. perhaps followed by “some people here actually have work to do, you know”.

  3. Runs With Foxes says:

    Would also be interesting to hear something about the GDC presentations and less about what people are wearing.

    E.g. a Paradox developer gave a presentation about Crusader Kings II the other day, and I haven’t seen any sites actually reporting on it. That’d be a good thing for a PC-focused site to write about.

    • John Walker says:

      You may have missed the “diary” part in the title. I will, of course, be writing up a lot of the show, as it says in the text here, next week.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    These kind of posts are exactly why I keep coming back to RPS, and why my doesn’t turn into a boring pile of steaming bollocks of bordem.

    RPS makes me smile.

    That’s enough.

  5. serioussgtstu says:

    “maybe some sort of moustache-mohawk?”

    What a great idea John, but I would like to add that all moustache-mohawked gentlemen could wear trendy brown shirts and greet each other with a fun secret handshake. For example, they could raise their right arm in the air, click their heels and shout a fun catchphrase like “Hello!” or just “Heil!”.

    • John Walker says:

      I’m fairly sure Hitler’s moustache wasn’t made of enormous protuding spikes. But you know, interpret it how you will!

      • serioussgtstu says:

        That would be completely tasteless. I was referencing Charlie Chaplin’s character in ‘The Great Dictator’.

      • Jackablade says:

        Oh, that’s what you’re calling a moustache-mohawk. I was imagining a hulihee beard that somehow looped around up to a mohawk.

  6. mpk says:

    Because I have had wine tonight, the moustache-mohawk reference upset and frightened me.

    And then I realised I was confusing mohawks with tomahawks and everything was okay.

  7. Cutter says:

    How many hipsters does it take to attend the GDC? Oh, you’ve probably never heard of it, it’s a pretty obscure number.

  8. egg-zoo-bear-ant will e 91 says:

    I think there might be too many “ings” in that line about barrier ribbons in the seventh paragraph. Good work though! Looking forward to the next Rumdoings podcast too. A good place to go for similarly non-gamey discussion.

  9. DanMan says:

    Can they see my underwear?

    I’m surprised you’re wearing any.

  10. Dances to Podcasts says:

    Demand that the tophatwearers make a steampunk game to match. Put yer money where yer mouth is!

  11. DickSocrates says:

    Accent: British
    Underwear: Primark panties, stockings, suspender belt and brasier.

  12. Sivart13 says:

    John, I think the majority of the offenses you mention probably came from these folks (who apparently made Organ Trail):

    He/They had a pretty conspicuous getup, I guess for marketing purposes but maybe that’s just how they live?

    anyway pip pip cheerio carry on

  13. Radiant says:

    John, you’re railing against quite a few things in your old age,

    My ex had a saying:
    If you wake up and try to solve one problem, congratulations you’ve solved a problem.
    If all day all you see are problems you’re the problem.

    But then again she was an AWFUL HUMAN BEING.

  14. HaVoK308 says:

    GDC is not for the Gaming Press. It was invaded by them. This article sounds like a Liberal wanting people to live how they believe they should. Talk how they want you to talk, wear what they want you to wear, look how they want you to look, ect.

    • John Walker says:

      It’s weird, because I was invited!

      But I’m glad that the severity and authority I carry about these matters has been successfully conveyed.

  15. sinister agent says:

    Can they see my underwear?

    Of course they can, John. They’re not blind, and you can’t count on everyone being too polite to tell you to put some clothes on forever.