I probably would have gotten more out of this year’s Austin GDC if I hadn’t spent the whole time worrying about all the packing and moving that was going to be waiting for me when I got home. I spent quite a bit of time between sessions scanning craiglist for (relatively) cheap apartments in San Francisco rather than pestering speakers or hustling for party invites or whatever it is one is supposed to do at conferences to become a better designer. I still managed to have some pretty good conversations with people, though.

If I did notice one thing that seemed to be on everyone’s mind, it was how games might relate to that whole Web 2.0 thingamabob. It seemed to me, though, that while everyone was talking about how everyone’s talking about Web 2.0 and games, not very many people were actually talking about Web 2.0 and games. (Read that sentence a couple more times; it will make sense eventually.) I also think that I ended up disagreeing with a lot of what one of the few people who does talk head-on about these things — Raph Koster, natch — said in his session on “Designing for Everywhere,” but I need to chew on that a little more before I get all ranty.

At any rate, I wasn’t as diligent about blogging the conference as I should have been, but I did manage to post a few notes on Twitter (when its freakin’ servers were up). In lieu of any coherent thoughts, here are some reductive one-liners:

  • Landing in Austin for AGDC. It’s monsoon season, apparently.
  • Whataburger: not as good as they say, not as bad as I’d feared.
  • In an underwhelming keynote by Blizzard president. Desperately needing coffee.
  • Koster: User experience design is completely separate from game design. Me: *cry*
  • Patrick Redding: Narrative and game design are best when they motivate and support each other.
  • Community management panels are much more loose and fun than design lectures.
  • Sulka Haro: Pixel art “looks just as old now as it did 7 years ago.”
  • Haro: “Celebrate the fact that people do stuff.”
  • Damion Schubert: lots of good insights on maintaining a long-term relationship between a player and an MMOG.
  • Bailing out of a high-calorie, low protein panel on inspiring community engagement.
  • Panel of starter-uppers reminding me that I don’t want to run my own business.
  • The Fat Man and company playing “Y-O-D-A” at Maggie Mae’s.
  • Humidity can be measured by how long it takes your hair to completely frizz out. Today: instantaneous.
  • Chris Bateman: “If you hate the people you work for, suggest a branching [narrative] structure!”
  • The tacos I had for lunch are going to stick w/ me for a long time, I think.
  • Panel bickering over microtransactions and RMT; who’da thunk that the SOE guy would be the sensible, level-headed one?
  • Nearly sweat to death looking for coffee in downtown Austin. Will never joke about over-starbucksification again.
  • Women in Games: Dona Bailey (creator of Centipede) on expanding yourself and the kinds of games you make.
  • WIGI panel: you can’t diversify your market unless you diversify your product, and to do that you need to diversify your dev team.
  • The only thing harder to find in Austin than coffee is a freakin’ taxi.