After a whirlwind of excitement (by which I mean a 5 hour delay in Dallas), I finally arrived in San Francisco last night to be bombarded with social greetings. We're staying at the Hotel Palomar, which is multitudes better than they sketchy place we stayed last year (sans purple track lighting and a palm tree painted on the wall, though) and much much closer to the convention center.
Andy and I met up with Drew and some of the Insomniacs and there was much greeting and hugging. Amusingly, Insomniac and Schell Games seems to have booked the same hotel. Before long, Reagan joined us, having "heard my laugh" from God knows how far across the floor. I'm flattered that my laughter is a beacon, but occasionally embarrassed by how loud it apparently is!
There was chattering and drinking and people came and went and I gave out many hugs. Jesse stopped by, and Schell Games Austin showed up, and then the ETCers started filing in. It was much fun! These are the sorts of social encounters that I truly enjoy, rather than exhausting myself at the IGDA party.
This morning I hit up Clint Hocking's lecture on Fault Tolerance, which was about Intentionality and Improvisation in the design of Far Cry 2. There, Drew and I found and greeted Olivier, and subsequently threw things at Brenda Brathwaite a few rows in front of us (she brandished threateningly and there was much giggling from our row).
The talk itself was very interesting! I thought that looking at gameplay patterns in a cycle of composition/planning phases and execution phases was a pretty insightful way of analyzing how a player interacts with the game, and one I hadn't thought of before. While I think his use of the word "Improvisation" was misleading, the ideas behind it were sound and fuel for much thought. Plus, after chatting with Brenda Harger afterwards, we agreed that having the phrase "Improvisation" more accessible in this industry was a good thing, even if it was not being used accurately. Having it get exposure may lead people to investigate, and that's always good!
After the talk, Drew and I went and grabbed lunch with a friend of his from Infinity Ward whose name slips me. The fancy food court in the shopping center is just as delicious as I remember it! Paninis for the win!
As I expected, I was exhausted after lunch, and in need of a nap. I think I'm pacing myself much better than last year, now that I have an idea of how GDC is gonna roll. Looking forward to social gatherings tonight! Stay tuned for ADVENTURE!