You Never Forget Your First Time at GDC

Maggie Gourlay - February 22, 2017

Although I worked in QA for Electronic Arts, I never had an opportunity to go to the Game Developers Conference (GDC), though I always wanted to. It’s a really big deal and I’ve heard stories for years from friends and past coworkers about how much fun it can be. And whether they met new people or heard outstanding talks, everybody remembers the first time they got to go.

It’s the kind of event where students will save up all year to pay the admissions fee out of their own pockets (it’s not cheap), piling into a single hotel room and fighting for sleeping bag space with the hope of making a connection to break into the industry.

And now, finally, it’s my turn to go…with VictorOps! We’re looking forward to seeing our gaming friends and customers as well as hearing about their experiences building, deploying, and supporting games. I might even find myself in DevOps-y sessions ranging from Advanced Agile Game Development Practices to All Systems No: Learning from the Doomed Launch of ‘Brigador’.

Slay Downtime

From guardian of games to guardian of fires

For those of you who know gaming but aren’t familiar with DevOps, it’s like systems administration and release engineering rolled into one. Last year, I gave a talk at DevOps Days Raleigh and wrote a blog post in which I explained how testing games and gaming prepared me for testing VictorOps (DevOps software for real time incident management). You encounter:

  • time-sensitive, rapid-fire activity requiring fast, quality actions, like first person shooters

  • group coordination skills, like a raid in WoW

  • problem solving skills, like in Monument Valley

VictorOps needs to support all of these activities, while helping people to better coordinate their raids, helping them be victorious.

So given my background, you can imagine how much I am looking forward to packing my foam sword and heading to the event next week (does anyone know the TSA regulations on foam weapons?! Do I need to check a bag?).

Get to play with new technology

So, in addition to seeing how much DevOps practices have influenced gaming development  and attending lots of lectures, workshops, and networking events, we’ll all get to wander around and try out the newest, coolest things.

Every year, new games and new hardware are announced or previewed at GDC. There may have been rumors or press releases about the new technology, but at GDC, people actually get their hands on it. For example, Microsoft officially announced their HoloLens VR headset two years ago.  Then last year, people actually got to play with them and I hear the experience was pretty profound.

Connect with subgroups of people like you

People also go to GDC with the intention of meeting more people like them. You’ll see meetups for Latinos in gaming, women in game development, Japanese speakers making games in the US, and other subgroups.

GDC is the place for connecting with other people who make or want to be making games. It’s about community, the sharing of stories and knowledge, and rejoicing in our common enthusiasm for games. I am excited to be going to GDC this year and am looking forward to reconnecting with old friends as well as making a bunch of new ones! We’ll be there in the fray.

GDC Team

Look out for VictorOps, and me in my unicorn t-shirt

If you are lucky enough to head to GDC next week, come visit VictorOps at Booth #137 in the South Hall, and maybe win a pair of wireless gaming headphones while you’re there.

We’re very excited to talk to those of you who have made these amazing games. And more than anything, we want to build things that support you.