GDC 2017 - 3 Pairs of Earplugs, 1 Pair of Headphones

It's a almost two weeks past GDC and I'm almost recovered. Figure it's better to throw some thoughts on here where I can look back in year, lament that I don't scale my photos consistently, and remember the blur that was GDC 2017. Abridged version, I learned a lot, hung out with the game audio crowd, and lost all sense of my being and was transformed. Pretty normal year, really.

The big takeaway for 2017 is we're a tight knit bunch, but working on being more inclusive to new voices and new ideas is important, even if they are filthy Mac users.


Tough to pin a "Best Talk" ribbon on anyone this year, because there were so many great ones.

-Matt Lee Johnston's opening to the Bootcamp on Tuesday was phenomenal, and helped reset some of my expectations, career wise. His points on team construction, advocating for your department, and standing up for your work hit home.

-Michael Csurics killed it, even in his more restrained style this year (seriously, watched him chug a honey bear just so he could speak, guy's committed), walking through the dialog recording for 'Tacoma.' Wig micing with DPA 4061!?! Whaaaaaat? But it worked, and the game sounds great.

-Andrea Toyias ran two days of VO casting and directing round tables. I felt crushed after day 1, just, destroyed, with the weight of everything that we could be doing and reflecting on the work I wanted to do. Day 2 lifted me up, and reaffirming I'm on the right track. Also, crying orcs (you had to be there.) There were legit handouts, which is above and beyond, but with only 2 hours, no way to cover everything. It was also interesting to see how other dialog teams deal with challenges, and how nobody has a magic bullet or a secret, it's just all iteration.

-The Sound Design on a Deadline round table (day 2, missed day 1, ughghghgh so many talks) was great, and a great mix of experience, from AAA to students. Kristin Quebe and the other moderators did a great job keeping things on track, and continually good guy/karaoke organizer Luca Fusi had some great points, as did Laurence Peacock from Blizzard (and Fallout, yes, that was my 'Squeeeee!' fanboy moment of the week.)

Those are just a few that I have longer thoughts about, but if you have access to the Vault, Khris Brown's talk on VO sound effects from the Bootcamp is a must watch, along with Sally Kellaway's laser fast VR audio talk. Guy Somberg presented a sequel to his audio programming talk from 2 years ago, and his book is out. Both are worth picking up, and if you have a question about volume sliders...

Carousel Con

This was the inaugural Carousel Con, an informal event put on by Matt Marteinsson at Klei, patron saint of the Game Audio Slack, half of Reel Talk, and all Canadian. 10ish minute microtalks over lunch behind the carousel, and very different than what GDC had this year. Jay Fernandes did a great talk about his butterfly video, while Chris Tammik did a quick dive into audio programming and team composition. All the talks were interesting, and seeing the community come together was amazing, and hey, there were buttons. I think these were all recorded, but the YBGPD were out in force once they realized we were all together. #hooliganismofgameaudio?


The 0700 Sightglass Coffee meetups continue to be required attendance. Compared to two years ago, the crowd is much bigger, and much, much more diverse. The stereotype of the bearded audio guy in black jeans and a band t-shirt has been supplanted by audio folks from, more diverse (non-Canadian) backgrounds and around the world. Instead of one or two women, there were dozens, which is a huge change. Gwen Guo from IMBA out of Singapore did a nice write up of her thoughts that's worth a read. Overall, it feels like this GDC sent everyone out into the world to do stuff, instead of lament our notable hangovers and sore feet. So I'm off to rewrite my Excel > Doc script converter, and maybe bake some more cookies.