2 November, 2005
Yeah, sit down and let me rant a bit.
So, what is it with the people choosing talks at the Game Developer’s Conference? Once again I look at the rejection letter and I have a Rodney Dangerfield moment.
It’s not for lack of trying, either. I’ve submitted talks for the conference for the past five years, trying to find something that they’ll find appropriate. I’ve offered to talk about game design, scripting languages, business issues. I’ve submitted lectures, panels, and even a roundtable. Nothing.
Of course, the wonderful system for reviewing talks gives NO feedback whatsoever. Was my talk too elementary? Not deep enough? Not organized enough? Do they hate me personally? No way of knowing, just get the rejection letter in the mail every year about this time and my wondering why I get no respect.
It boggles my mind, because I thought I had some sure-fire talks. Last year I organized a panel with myself, Daniel James, Andy Tepper, and Dr. Cat talking about the economics of running an indie online RPG. Got rejected, but the panel showed up for the MUD-Dev conference that year and was a smashing success. (Interestingly enough, Daniel James and Andy Tepper both had talks at this year’s GDC, though.) This year I submitted a proposal for a roundtable on starting and running a game business, a topic that a book publisher has been falling over themselves to have me help co-author and edit. Not good enough for a talk at the GDC, though.
The only time I got to speak at the GDC was when I got put on a panel at the last moment due to a cancellation. The panel wasn’t all that interesting for various reasons, but I’ll not go into that right now. Of course, the panel got a very negative rating with comments like, “Have successful companies speak next time.” I figure this is probably the attitude of the people reviewing the talks: “Some loonie calling himself “Psycho”-something working on a game that’s barely a footnote of history? What could he possibly know?”
And, yeah, I know the system is highly political; people that have spoken before seem to get preference, and they like to rely on tried-and-true talks instead of getting new blood in there. For example, most of the years I’ve gone to the GDC the online RPG based talks have been dominated by Raph. I enjoy Raph’s talks, but it wasn’t until he decided that he wasn’t going to give virtual world themed talks one year that we finally saw some new people talking about the subject.
To be honest, though, I’m not really too upset about it even though the topic makes for a good rant. The GDC has slowly becoming irrelevant for people in the industry for a while. People rarely go to the conference for the talks, which they know are mostly recycled from last year. It’s all about the networking. And, I’ve found a way to get into the conference for free, so I get my networking in just fine. I much prefer smaller and more intelligent conferences like the GLS conference or the AGC.