This past week, students from Bradley’s interactive media department boarded a flight to San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference (GDC).
The GDC is an annual conference where students and non-students from all over the country get together to attend talks given by multiple game design professionals and walk around a show floor of several different games.
Here students can make connections with professionals from across the board of interactive media from virtual as well as tabletop games. At the GDC this year, there was a new component that was extra special for Bradley students who attended.
“Bradley University actually had a booth on the show floor showing off the University’s Department of Interactive Media,” sophomore game design major Rachel Rudy said.
Students showed off their capstone projects and the major program at the booth to professionals and possibly people who would be able to sponsor Bradley to help gain more interactive media students.
As an experience, the conference felt surreal to students who attended. Since the conference hosts professionals in the industry, students were able to interact with some big names in the field, even while just waiting for food.
“I would just be standing in line for food or to get into a talk and I would turn around and start talking to the guy next to me and he would be the director for Riot Games,” sophomore game design major Oliver Creighton said. “It was such a crazy experience getting to talk in a very casual setting with these people about the industry and life in general.”
Not only do students get to meet some big names, but they are also able to look out for potential job offerings with the companies that attended along with them.
“It’s a great networking opportunity because there are so many people there who have jobs in the industry,” Rudy said.
Some students who attended also had the job of being a conference associate. On the GDC website, the roles of a conference associate ranged from guarding doors, assisting the speakers, filling conference bags and much more.
This led to many busy days jumping from working to getting an all-access experience of the conference itself.
“[My days] were jam-packed. You didn’t want to miss anything,” Rudy said. “I regrettably didn’t get to see much of San Francisco, but it was totally worth it just to meet so many people from the games industry.”
Missing out on the sights of San Francisco being worth it was a sentiment that many students felt while attending the conference because of the opportunities that it granted for their future careers.
“A lot of it [the conference] was just going to see speakers, talking to speakers afterwards, discussing what they’re looking for in people,” Creighton said. “Because I am still a student I haven’t broken into the industry yet and it was very nice to ask around for what people are looking for in new hires.”
The next GDC won’t be until the week of March 18, 2024, so students have plenty of time to compile their portfolios for the next conference.