Funomena had a busy week at GDC – with many meetings, events and sessions to attend. It was lovely to have friends in town, to attend and host parties, and of course, to have deep, heart-to-heart conversations about what it means to make games (and why we do it even when it’s hard). But we also spent a lot of time this year as a studio volunteering time to help make GDC more awesome.
This started on Monday and Tuesday with the Game Design Workshop tutorial session. I have been an instructor in for 13 years now, Eileen for 3, and for Ted it was his first year volunteering! The hands-on, two-day tutorial session involves working directly with small groups on exercises that teach people how to design using the MDA framework. Because of the variety and quality of developers who participate, GDW is always just as much of a learning experience for the people teaching as it is for the attendees. This was another year of record-breaking enrollment, with almost 200 people participating across the 2 days of events.
Later in the week, several Funomenauts worked hard to get everyone set up, practiced and ready for Friday afternoon’s 2-hour Experimental Gameplay session. Attendance was packed again as usual. This is now the 12th annual meeting of the session, and this year’s presentations ranged from games about sex, poetry and intimacy to wackily sped-up chess, perceptual puzzle games and games with alternative input (Leap Motion, Oculus). You can read a bit about it here on Polygon, and also here on BoingBoing.
We were thrilled to start the session with Tale of Tales discussing prototypes that led to their IGF Nuovo-winning title Luxuria Supurbia. Even more thrilling, we were able to share with the GDC attendees the inspiring work of Mahdi Baharami – a young Iranian designer who submitted to EGW for the first time when he was just 16! You can read a bit about his games and personal journey here.
Thanks to everyone who participated in both sessions, and especially to those Funomenauts who took time out of their conference schedules to make sure they both went so well. When the video of the session goes live, we’ll be sure to post it.