Game Developers Conference 2016

Posted on Wednesday March 16th 2016 at 23:09

Klara Smits, Nele Custers and Samantha Fernandez have won the Belgian Game Development Championship and their prize is a trip to the GDC 2016 conference, which takes place March 14-18 at the Moscone conference centre in San Fransico, CA. Robby and Steven, the teachers who are accompanying them, write down their impressions.

Monday and Tuesday: Preconference summits

To say that the GDC is huge would be an understatement. Even at the preconference, which took place on Monday and Tuesday the lineup of speakers was impressive. Literally hundreds of sessions take place, by all sorts of people, including big names next to young and promising developers, all providing inspiring thoughts and a wealth of practice examples. And of course lots of demos to be played!
Highlights of what we saw in the past days are without a doubt very personal and subjective. This short overview gives a summary of the different sessions we attended. 


  • People are in awe when they see us coming, mostly because they think LUCA School of Arts is a division of LucasArts.
  • Attended many sessions in the Game Education Summit. Nice talks about the importance of teaching students to pitch game ideas in the right way (Paul Killduff-Taylor), creative ways of teaching game programming (Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris) or the value subversive play exercises (Paolo Pedercini).
  • Sessions in the Independent Games summit are always inspiring, as they are given by people who have lots of industry experience. it is very cool to hear the stories behind such games as Framed and Alphabear!
  • The sessions in the Audio summit gave me good ideas of things to use in my crossover courses with music composition students.
  • Cool games I have played: In the Shadows | | sU and the Quest for Meaning | Longstory
  • Robby

    I switched mainly between the narrative and education summit. This meant that the first 2 days consisted of me running from talk to talk without any time to spare! It is very inspiring to see colleagues from all around the world, sharing their knowledge, research and practices. Especially the narrative innovation showcase, which showed projects that push the borders of interactive narrative and the game design talk by Eric Zimmerman about using games to teach games, gave me new insights on how to improve my own courses.

    GDC also facilitates engaging in a dialogue with the speakers, which means one easily starts talking to them afterwards and invite them for a guest lecture. Networking is therefore my main activity at the moment! Although jetlag and a combination of high intensity days and short nights is starting to show, the pure adrenaline and beauty of having so many people in one place who all share the same passion for videogames is awe-inspiring and will keep us going far beyond this week alone. We will be singing the game-gospel that’s being preached here when we get home, be prepared!

    The game designers

    Klara, Nele and Samantha are having a good time and at the end of every day we find them exhausted from all the sessions they have done and the people they have been talking to. They have mainly attended workshops in the Animation, Artificial Intelligence and Design summits, and from what we have heard, they have learned tons of new techniques and new practices.

    Next up

    On Wednesday the conference starts for real!

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