GDC 2017 Wrap Up
Sunday, March 26, 2017
By: Matthew Doucette

From February 27 to March 3, 2017, we attended GDC 2017 in the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California!


GDC Veterans:

This marks our sixth time to GDC:

  1. GDC '10
  2. GDC '11
  3. GDC '12
  4. GDC '13
  5. GDC '14
  6. GDC '17 (this trip!)


Pictures - GDC:

GDC All Access + VRDC badge, a more than $3,000 CAD value, funded by NSBI and Xona Games.
 NSCC Truro Campus also fund the trip, as I am head of their Game Development program.

GDC welcomes you!

That's me, at IGF.
The right-most yellow banner, not including the one cut off, was INSIDE by Playdead!

Trance Blast Master by Hard Chill Games, a Nova Scotian indie game studio, and one of our friends!

Epic Games and their Unreal Engine.


GDC Expo.

IGF, GDC, Game Developers Choice Awards.
Indie Megabooth was also inside.

GDC Expo.

Oculus booth.

Unity booth. They were doing free tutorials every day.

Friends in the games industry, at Mel's Diner! Left to right:
Dave Voyles / Microsoft
Shaun Mahoney / Hard Chill Games
Jason Doucette / Oracle
Matthew Doucette / Xona Games
Annie Vu Diaconu / Lyft.
Talent everywhere you look.

Xbox booth. One of them.
Here, we met a lot of the ID@Xboxcrew we know through emails!

PlayStation booth. One of them.

Indie Megabooth. It's a dream of ours to be accepted in here.


GDC Highlights:

A few highlight meet-ups:

  • Unity:
    • Invited to meet Unity at their head offices:
      • Met Mark Choi, head of Developer Analytics
      • Met Lauren Feldman, Senior Product Manager of Unity Analytics.
    • Met David Della-Rocca, Sr. Manager, Education Business Development at Unity.
    • Met Ashley Alicea, Event Coordinator at Unity.
  • Microsoft:
  • Epic Games / Unreal Engine:
    • Met Mike Fricker, Technical Director of Epic Games.
    • Met Luis Cataldi, Director, Education, and Learning Resources of Epic Games.
  • Indie Game Studios:
    • Met Dan and Gary from Dan and Gary Games, makers of Super Daryl Deluxe, an award-winning indie title in the making.
    • Met developers of indie hit Snake Pass, just released on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Windows, Steam, and Xbox One.
    • Met Dan Healy of Roblox.
    • Met Ramon Nafria of Abylight Studios, publishers of Super Hydorah (remake of Hydorah), an indie shmup coming to Xbox One. We met on TIGSource! This was a major highlight of my GDC, and one of the few moments where I geeked out as a gamer rather than a game developer.
    • Met Tom Spilman of Sickhead Games, major force behind MonoGame, the successor and cross-platform implementation of XNA,  and PS4 -- and Xbox One (shh!) -- porter of our Score Rush Extended. Funny story, when we received ACOA funding for our PS4 port, we had to explain what "Sickhead Games" was all about!
  • Musicians:
    • Met Penka Kouneva, composer of  Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen video games. Thanks to Wanda Meloni of Gaming Business Review for the introduction!
  • PR / Marketing:
  • Graphic Design:

We met many, many more amazing individuals in the gaming space... These are just a few personal highlights.


San Francisco:

Just a few pictures of San Francisco itself:

39 stores high, at The View.


Beautiful building.


Viper, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and West Coast:

One of the best parts of this trip was getting to see my brother -- and co-founder of Xona Games -- Jason Doucette, who works out of Seattle for Oracle (previously Amazon). Also, I got to see and drive his Viper for the first time!

Seeing Jason's Viper for the first time!
Representing NSCC Truro Campus: I am head faculty (unofficial title) of their Game Development program.
(Jason; sitting in car, me; standing next to car.)

Viper at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca's infamous corkscrew, a 3-story drop.

Laguna Seca tower.

Jason trying to capture the rear tire width on film (345mm / 13.6" wide).

Viper at the track.

Stopped to eat McDonald's!

West coast. Beautiful.


GDC 2017 San Francisco -- YouTube playlist.



So, how do we pay for these trips?

This year, it was beautifully complicated, with funding from 5 separate entities:

  1. NSBI (Nova Scotia Business Inc.)
  2. NSCC Truro Campus (Nova Scotia Community College)
  3. Xona Games (the company)
  4. Jason Doucette / Oracle (personal)
  5. Dave Voyles / Microsoft (personal)

NSBI picked Xona Games to represent Nova Scotia at GDC. We love them for this. They have continually been a force of support for Xona Games. They can be creditted for pushing us to go to our first conference, MIGS 2009. They funded the GDC pass, matchmaking, and more.

NSCC Truro Campus has a Game Development program, that I am now head faculty of (not an officially title). They helped fund my travel, accomodations, and meals. I represent NSCC and help keep them connected to the games industry. I also reach out and answer questions students have. As a bonus, I also run Xona Games:

Xona Games contributes to NSBI's funding plus covers miscellaneous costs. Of course what Xona Games does at GDC is try to release profitable games! It includes talking to indie studios and to publishers and distributors. This helps pave the way for NSCC students to do the same. In my short stint here at NSCC -- still in my first year -- two student groups have formed their own indie game studios, inspired / mentored by Xona Games. One company is Cuirass Entertainment, who already has a game passing in Steam Greenlight. (Wow.)

Jason and Dave's contributions were significant. We shared accomodations -- that means sleeping on the floor -- and they helped save about $1,600 CAD.

The best thing about it, everyone wins. Everyone furthers their agenda. Only good comes of this.


That is all.



About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $180,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.

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