10 Tips of Things I Learned from My First GDC Experience

Last year, I had the incredible opportunity to attend GDC thanks to a scholarship, and it was truly a game-changer for me.
However, navigating San Francisco during the conference posed its own challenges, especially given the city’s economic situation.

Here are 10 tips I gathered that might be helpful for first-timers:

๐Ÿ›Œ 1) Accommodation:ย 
Be mindful of where you stay, especially if you’re traveling solo. Research safe neighborhoods in advance.

๐Ÿ’œ 2) Safety First:
Sadly, there have been concerning incidents at after-parties. Consider skipping them and prioritize your safety. I opted for relaxing evenings at the hotel after the conference sessions.

๐Ÿ’ธ 3) Budget Wisely:
San Francisco is notorious for its high cost of living. Plan your expenses ahead, including meals and transportation.

๐Ÿ‘Ÿ4) Comfort is Key:
Trust me on this one โ€“ wear comfortable shoes! The convention center is massive, and you’ll be doing a lot of walking between sessions.

๐Ÿ’ง5) Stay Hydrated:
With the hustle and bustle of the conference, it’s easy to forget to drink water. Keep a bottle with you to stay hydrated throughout the day.

๐Ÿ˜Œ 6) Patience Pays Off:
The last few days of the conference can get hectic, especially around the booths. Be patient and brace yourself for crowds if you’re eyeing some swag.

๐Ÿ—ฃ 7) Prioritize Round Tables:
While all sessions are recorded and available in the GDC Vault, round table discussions are not. If you’re considering attending round tables, prioritize them as they offer unique, unrecorded insights and networking opportunities.

๐Ÿ“ธ 8) Explore the City:ย 
If you have some downtime between sessions, consider exploring San Francisco. I personally visited the Walt Disney Family Museum and it was an unforgettable experience. Learning about Walt Disney’s story and seeing original sketches from beloved childhood movies was incredibly inspiring. Don’t miss out on exploring the city’s rich cultural offerings โ€“ it’s a worthwhile break from the conference hustle!

๐ŸŽฎ 9) Explore Indie Games:
During the expo days, I was in awe of the sheer number of amazing indie games on display. If you’re a fan of indie games, I highly recommend checking them out. You’ll discover unique and innovative titles that may just become your new favorites!

๐Ÿ 10) Beat the Badge Line:
If you’re arriving a day before the conference, try to visit the convention center to collect your badge. If that’s not possible, plan to arrive early on the first day, as the badge pickup line can get incredibly long.

Attending GDC was an enriching experience that not only expanded my knowledge but also taught me valuable lessons about navigating industry events. If you’re heading to GDC for the first time, I hope these tips come in handy.

Can’t wait to see what GDC 2024 has in store for all of us! ๐ŸŽฎโœจ๏ธ

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