Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Reboot red (Banff)

So recently I went to Canada for reboot banff, although tbh half my reasoning was to go to the games conference, and half was to go on holiday with my wife as we had been there a long while ago and loved it, so we knew it would be a great place to go visit. This was a pretty small games conference (500ish people), when you compare it to the likes of GDC, but it was worthwhile, the talks were mostly good, and the atmosphere (in every way) was just so much better.

One of the things I really dislike about GDC is its price tiers. You are literally barcode scanned when entering a talk to check you are sufficiently wealthy enough to hear what is being said. The top tiers are stupidly pricey. I’m a bloody successful developer, but I’m not paying thousands of dollars just to sit in a few room and hear people tell me about the way they used shaders in their AAA game, or to give us a post-mortem that is 50% advertising and pitching for a better job at another company…

Everything in reboot is the same price, plus you get FREE coffee and buns/cakes/yummy things in the morning and afternoon and a FREE buffet lunch. Everyone mingles, everyone is chill. There are no torturous queues to be able to spend $5 on a crap cup of coffee… its ace.

Plus for fucks sake…banff. I’m sure we all know about the insane homeless problem and literally shit problems in San Francisco. and here is a picture I took at banff from my hotel window:

I was celebrating something while I was there, so we did something truly insane and went on a helicopter trip to the nearby mountains, and I cannot convey the awesomeness of this with a mere photo like this:

But trust me it was amazeballs.

The hotel that the conference was at is very nice, although you need deep pockets to eat there each night, but luckily the town is way cheaper and a very pleasant walk 15 minutes along a clear glacier-water stream. Hardly a chore. We saw a fair few deer on our walks there, although TBH living in the UK we have deer in our garden now and then but still…its pretty cool.

The talks were a nice variety, a fair few businessy ones which I found interesting. Some slightly avante-garde ones too, but I chose mostly business and industry ones. I went to probably 4x as many talks at this as I do at GDC, which is amazing really, given GDC has about 50,000 talks (about 5 of which you can go to as an indie…).

Anyway, the real value in these things is the over-dinner and after-party chats with fellow devs. I met some new people, re-connected with old friends etc, and it was cool. I definitely learned some things, and its good to take the pulse of other indies in person. Would I go next year? Maybe… I don’t know what to do about GDC. I’m thinking NO, mostly because of flying, but it will be Democracy 4 launch year so maybe I should? Still undecided.

But I give reboot 5/5. You should go.

6 thoughts on Reboot red (Banff)

  1. Not to put too fine of a point on it, but isn’t the flight to San Fran vs. the flight to Banff Canada still a considerably long one from the UK? In any case, sounds like definitely a good trip!

    Just realized that the conference was over Halloween (Oct. 31st) — something big in the states that usually requires family/socializing time.

  2. I was reading Job Blow’s twitter feed a month ago, and he was posting pictures of drug needles that are scattered all over the place in his city, while complaining that the rents are very expensive. One of his commenters said, they won’t be going to GDC because of it. You won’t find those pictures because he deleted the thread.

    All the American East coast liberal cities are like that. Seattle, the druggies call it Freattle. There’s a documentary on Youtube called Seattle Is Dying that shows how bad it is there. San Francisco has a big homelss problem along with street defecation. In LA they will have 10 years of blackouts, because the power grid was so badly maintained it is causing wild fires. There’s a joke about California. What is the difference between California and the Titanic? The Titanic had its lights on as it sank.

    I also saw a programmer getting angry about the GDC. He said the speakers don’t get paid a dime, and they were still charging people to see the archived videos long after the event was over. He started his own convention called Handmade.

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