My GDC2008/San Francisco schedule

I’ve been looking at the GDC2008 schedule, working out what I want to go to through the days. This is currently my plan with notes (with lots of conflicts too, urg! I’ll be sorting them as I figure out what to see in what order, since some are repeated things).

My main aims for the conference are:

  • Get to the AI talks and roundtables
  • Check out the IGDA presence, and at least one of their roundtables
  • Go to as many of the censorship talks so I can continue my updates at the IGDA wiki, and because I find it quite facinating
  • Go to at least one of the preservation roundtables, for the obvious I’m working with that SIG πŸ™‚


I’m arriving Saturday – a hefty flight, so will get in at 2:30PM (1631 hours), and likely won’t have time to do anything, apart from getting used to the time difference – my flight actually leaves at only 1320 hours, so yeah, the trip takes a while πŸ™‚

Planned stuff for the plane: Nintendo DS (Advance Wars: Dark Conflict), Macbook (Reading up some stuff/playing something like OpenTTD), Books! (I’ve ordered a few, but in anycase have some Iain M. Banks and a good C++ book to continue reading).


Touristy things for me πŸ™‚

I might go to Alcatraz, and check out Pier 39, and do some shopping. I’ll have to get used to these strange forms of American money – they don’t even have sides, nevermind the crazy names like “Quarter” or “Dime”! πŸ˜€

Notably, the new Phoenix Wright game will be out in NA on the 19th – I’ll see if I can pick it up early πŸ™‚ (If not, I’ll have a look for it on Saturday).


Note: There is none of the “general” stuff today or Tueday, like the pavilion or anything.

Session Speaker(s) Day Start End Notes
(102) Staging Workshop: Visual storytelling masterclass Andrew Lindsay and Mark Travis Mon 10:00AM 6:00PM Since I have an all-access pass I’m going to go to the one day event Staging Workshop: Visual storytelling masterclass, since I am interested in the area of storytelling design, and there is a mention of AI. In any case, there are not many programming specific workshops for Monday and Tuesday except graphics-related ones, and on Tuesday, I want to do scholarship activities.

Monday Evening

Talk is hot on a scholarship meal – good chance to try a San Francisco restaurant if I didn’t on Sunday.


The scholarship activities start at 1-2PM, although a tour might be earlier. I might possibly be able to do something in the morning but at the moment, it’s unplanned space – the studio tour might be early morning! In the afternoon, if the scholarship stuff ends early I might go to the end of one of the ongoing day workshops.

Tuesday Evening

What else but the IGDA party? 8PM-Midnight, and luckily I’m over 21! (Those crazy American drinking laws won’t get the better of me thankfully!)


The first day of sessions. In addition to the below, I’ll visit the IGDA booth, maybe before the first talk if it’s open, and perhaps the pavillion. I am still looking at the talks for gaps I have too.

Session Speaker(s) Day Start End Notes
Game Industry Advance: An IGDA Open House (Day 1) Jason Della Rocca and Mitzi McGilvray Wed 9:00AM 10:00AM Either I’ll go to this IGDA Open House, and miss the first Preservation roundtable, or will miss the first preservation roundtable to make this – the second one falls on the Fable 2 talk.
Preserving Games: Saving the Past and Present Now (Day 1) Henry Lowood Wed 9:00AM 10:00AM First roundtable of 2, I will decide to go to this or the IGDA Open House.
Developers in the Crosshairs: Mature Content, Censorship, and Design Choices (Day 1) Daniel Greenberg Wed 9:00AM 10:00AM Censorship talk, I will likely miss this to go to one of the above ones but will make the second.
Censorship of Game Content – A Report from the Trenches Lawrence Walters Wed 12:00PM 1:00PM This is worth going to see, and I’ll be taking my notebook.
Artificial Intelligence in Computer Games (Day 1) Neil Kirby and Steve Rabin Wed 2:30PM 3:30PM Roundtable day 1; AI; should be great.
Standing the Test of Time: A Q&A with Sid Meier Noah Falstein and Sid Meier Wed 2:30PM 3:30PM Sid Meier is a great developer, and I’m noting this down in case it is worth getting the audio after – I won’t be missing the AI roundtable.

In addition, I should go checkout the IGDA booth, the Career Pavilion, and see what the “Microsoft XNA Games Studio AI Challenge” is too.

Career Pavilion Booth Crawl
Wednesday, February 20, 4:30-6pm

Wednesday Evening

There is the Game Choice Awards, which I’d like to see because of the Lifetime, Pioneer and Ambassador awards – as well as it being an excellent year for games I’ve enjoyed (Portal, Bioshock, and others). I’d otherwise have gone to the IGF awards, which no doubt will be good.


There is a keynote, not on the schedule builder site, I want to see; The Next 20 Years of Gaming by Ray Kurzweil. I added it below.

Session Speaker(s) Day Start End Notes
Playing to Lose: AI and “CIVILIZATION” Soren Johnson Thu 9:00AM 10:00AM Civilization is damn addictive, and the AI is pretty good give the games complexity. Well worth going to this.
The Next 20 Years of Gaming Ray Kurzweil Thu 10:30AM 11:30AM This keynote should be interesting.
Self-Censoring Potential Content Risks for Global Audiences: Why, How and When Tom Edwards Thu 12:00PM 1:00PM More on Censorship, could be interesting.
Streaming Open World Pathfinding Quinn Dunki Thu 12:00PM 1:00PM This should be good – dynamic, (huge) open worlds and how the AI and pathfinding copes with it.
Preserving Games: Saving the Past and Present Now (Day 2) Henry Lowood Thu 2:30PM 3:30PM This is the second roundtable for preservation. I will probably go to this one.
Chills and Thrills: Undefined Behavior in C++ Pete Isensee Thu 4:00PM 5:00PM This sounds like an interesting C++ programming thing to go to.
Developers in the Crosshairs: Mature Content, Censorship, and Design Choices (Day 2) Daniel Greenberg Thu 4:00PM 5:00PM This clashes with the C++ programming, I am undecided which to go to since I’ll not be going to Wednesday’s
Artificial Intelligence in Computer Games (Day 2) Neil Kirby and Steve Rabin Thu 5:30PM 6:30PM AI roundtable 2, awesome πŸ™‚

Thursday Evening

Suite Night is on Thursday evening, including a Social, among the bars it’s hosted at.


I’ve got a huge gap from 10AM to 2:30PM, which I need to fill. I’m still looking at things to go to. I do have something for the final hour of the day however.

Session Speaker(s) Day Start End Notes
Creating a Character in DRAKE’S FORTUNE Christian Gyrling Fri 9:00AM 10:00AM This is about AI and animation, although it clashes with the panel below.
Artificial Intelligence in Computer Games (Day 3) Neil Kirby and Steve Rabin Fri 9:00AM 10:00AM AI part the third, the panel today. I’ll likely go to this over the Drake’s Fortune, although I might pick up the audio from the Drake’s Fortune talk.
Game Industry Advance: An IGDA Open House (Day 2) Jason Della Rocca and Mitzi McGilvray Fri 2:30PM 3:30PM Although it clashes with Fable, I might make this if I don’t go to the Wednesday one.
FABLE 2 –The Big Three Features Revealed Peter Molyneux Fri 2:30PM 3:30PM Fable – obviously the dog is very AI, and Peter Molyneux is quite a good speaker. Likely will be interesting at least.
Academics/Students Group Gathering Susan Gold Fri 4:00PM 5:00PM This I might go to, but unlikely, due to the Halo 3 AI thing – although the event is 4-5 at the IGDA booth, I might go earlier before the Halo 3 talk (after the Fable or IGDA event) to check the booth out a bit.
Building a Better Battle: HALO 3 AI Objectives Damian Isla Fri 4:00PM 5:00PM FPS AI is a big thing, this would be interesting to see.

Friday Evening

There is the Game AI dinner – I’ll get specifics at the AI roundtables. Other acitvities I might have gone to otherwise would have been Jonathan Coulton or Video Games Live.


I’m still looking for things to go and do, depending on the weather, and will pickup Phoenix Wright if I didn’t before to play on the plane back.


Going home! Well, at 1230 hours, at least. If my hotel’s check out time is latish I might be able to do last minute touristy shopping in the nearby places, or more likely, try and pack all the stuff I got from the conference in my suitcase.

2 thoughts on “My GDC2008/San Francisco schedule”

  1. Oye. I still need to sit down and snoop through everything thoroughly. Looks like you’ve got a solid foundation in the works. Alcatraz would be a sweet journey. One of my favorite movies is The Rock. >;o)

  2. Well, it seems like you’ve got yourself a plan! And yeah, American money doesn’t make sense, I still get the dime and five cent coins mixed up sometimes.

    Alcatraz is great and yeah, Pier 39 is an interesting place to visit but the food is overpriced, check out Chinatown, Japantown or Mission for good, affordable restaurants. πŸ™‚

    See you at GDC!

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