Its GDC Time!
Thanks to Pro Helvetia we were able to be part of the SwissGames delegation at the GDC in San Francisco this year. It was definitely one of the highlights in our story as a company so far and we had an amazing week.
In the following lines we will tell you a little bit about our experience.
It all started with a long flight from Zurich to San Francisco. A few classic movies and some pre downloaded Spotify playlists made the time pass faster and a beautiful Friday evening in the “City by the Bay” awaited us. Our simple hotel was right on the border between Chinatown and Little Italy, probably one of the busiest areas of the city. There are a lot of nice little cafes, restaurants and bars and – of course – a lot of very busy Asian stores and markets. A 10 minute walk would bring us up to the telegraph hill where the view over downtown and the bay is just amazing. This area is full of the typical steep streets and old fashioned Victorian houses that San Francisco is known for.
On Saturday, Swissnex welcomed us to their fantastic location at Pier 17. After a small introduction and briefing we had the opportunity to pitch our game in front of a few industry people to prepare ourselves for the exhibition, following a nice apéro. After the business we went back to Little Italy to have a Mexican dinner with the people from Team Kerzoven.
Sunday was mostly free time, beneath a little preparing and catching our badges for the events. In the evening we were part of the CourageXL, a party at the nice Art-Deco-Club “The Great Northern”. We could set up our game and merch right on the dancefloor and we got vouchers for drinks that we could give to people who tested our game. All in all the event was very hectic and noisy but we had a great time there.
On Monday and Tuesday we were part of the Game Connection America, a business event located in the VIP floor of the Oracle Stadium where the San Francisco Giants play baseball. The very unique location matched perfectly with the very nice staff and participants. We had some interesting meetings and met a lot of new people from the field of game development.
Also on Tuesday we had the opportunity to pitch at the European Showcase, another side event happening at the Swissnex location. On this day the weather has changed a bit and San Francisco showed its stormy side. It was raining sideways and walking through the city with all the material from the Game Connection event was very tricky. Rest in Peace, dear umbrella. In the evening another Courage playtesting party happened at a club called “The DNA Lounge”. Just like on Sunday evening, it was very loud and crowded but also a lot of fun.
On Wednesday GDC finally started. We had an exhausting but also fun three days at the Moscone Center. As always, the SwissGames booth was very eye-catching, beautifully decorated and also well organized. We were busy all the time because there was nearly always someone playing our game. We got a lot of feedback from the crowd which helps us a lot for further development of the game. We met a lot of nice people from the industries as well as students with whom we could exchange ideas and talk about games and development. Besides that, we had a bunch of meetings with interested publishers and we could also spend some time with the press to talk about our game. If time allowed, we were able to stroll a bit through the fair and visit the other exhibitors. We had the chance to listen to talks, get introduced to some software and talk to people from the big companies like Unity and Microsoft, which was a nice change from the daily routine at the Moscone Center.
On Friday, after dismantling the booth, the whole delegation was invited by Pro Helvetia to a nice pizza dinner. Later we met at a really cool club filled up with arcade machines. Well, this time we didn’t have to exhibit our games and we were very happy to just enjoy the evening together and cheering and challenging each other in play sessions.
Saturday was our only 100%-off-day. We didn’t even open our laptops and we went out with the guys from Ninoko to explore the city. The day was very sunny and we enjoyed every moment, went to some Cafes and Museums and also did a little bit of shopping. We were really happy to have a day off after 8 exhausting business days.
Sunday was all about checking out, buying some stuff and then we relaxed a little bit in a park before we headed off to the airport with a backpack full of good memories.
We had a very nice and also intensive time in San Francisco. We want to thank Pro Helvetia & Swissnex for the opportunity to exhibit at this years GDC and we also want to thank the other studios of the delegation and of course all the other developers, industry people, organizers, speakers, students and visitors for strolling by, testing our demo and chatting with us.