Three towering complexes stand staunch against the city's cold. Thousands of game developers spill from their doors. Excitement buzzes beneath the ground, from the basements in which countless huge humming computers try to process the tech-heavy new games that they are demonstrating. Back above ground, over-eager girls press energy drinks into the hands of passers-by.
Held annually in San Francisco, the Game Developers Conference draws people from all over the world to spruik their games and learn from the best developers in the business.
So what draws an Australian developer across the seas to the GDC? We tracked down the Australians milling about the Moscone Centre for their thoughts on development, promotion, and yes, maybe even the parties.
Alexander Bruce, also known as Demruth, has attended GDC the past three years to enter his mind-bending game Antichamber in the yearly Independent Games Festival. He was also a speaker at this year's GDC.
“GDC is something that every developer should go to if they can afford the time,” says Alex. “If you don't have the money for it, it's well worth saving for, because it's the most useful event of the year. I've met a hell of a lot of new and interesting people at every GDC I've attended, and I always end up returning to work re-energised for the year ahead.”
This year, Antichamber picked up a major IGF award for Technical Excellence.
“The IGF is a real beast of a competition,” he says, “and this year was pretty brutal as far as high-quality competition goes.”
At this year's GDC, Antichamber beat out the likes of highly-anticpated titles such as Fez and Spelunky at the gaming world's biggest indie awards ceremony.
Besides preparing for the IGF awards, did he have any time to do other things?
“This year was pretty rough, as far as freedom went,” he says. “I didn't get to see any sessions at all, because I was preparing my own sessions during the Independent Games Summit. I did manage to get to a couple of parties, but because I had to be up early every day, I tried not to hang around them for too long.
“I'd recommend spending a lot of time going out for meals or drinks with others. Half of the good networking that happens at GDC happens away from the convention centre itself.”
We've been watching Antichamber's progress for years now, and Alex's pink suit goes hand-in-hand with that.
“You know, I'm actually getting near the stage where I should retire this one,” he jokes. “I'll have the release of my game coming up soon, and I'm thinking that I should buy a new one to celebrate. This one has had more than its fair share of wear and tear.”