Game Developers Conference organizers are committed to cultivating space for attendees of all stripes and skill levels to grow their game industry careers, and today we wanted to highlight some notable opportunities GDC 2020 attendees will have to learn about, discuss, and work towards meaningful change in the industry.
While every GDC encounter is a chance to learn, attendees are encouraged to check out the Advocacy track at GDC 2020, which will continue to be updated with GDC 2020 talks (touching on everything from diversity to censorship to quality of life) aimed at providing a forum for discussion and effecting change in the game industry.
First and foremost, don't miss the Fair Play Summit on Tuesday (March 17th) of GDC 2020, where you'll find experts from across the game and tech industries sharing new insights and advice on everything from fostering diverse and inclusive communities around your games to designing games that help make the world a better place.
For example, in his Fair Play Summit talk on "Leveraging Social Physics to Architect Stronger Communities" Spry Fox's Daniel Cook will show you how, by understanding the natural social physics of how humans form relationships, you can design more stable communities that explicitly acknowledge the natural process of trust and relationship formation.
Expect loads of examples from Spry Fox games, as well as some practical advice about applying social psychology principles to your next project!
After the Fair Play Summit concludes you can look forward to a broad array of Advocacy track talks to check out Wednesday through Friday of GDC week, starting with "'Apex Legends': Fighting for Character Representation and Diversity" from Respawn's Mohammad Alavi.
It's a timely talk in which you can expect to learn about the specific roadblocks Respawn continues to face as it grows its cast of diverse characters. While the examples will be specific, Alavi hopes the lessons learned transcend the development process of Apex Legends and apply to all forms of media and character creation.
Plus, In "Battling Burnout: The Side Project Ritual" veteran game developer Laralyn McWilliams aims to give you a guided tour through the many benefits of creative rituals, especially around side projects. Yes, you can build skills or even kickstart your indie career, but more important, side projects can be refreshing, rebooting, and restorative. Even if you whittle away at your side project for years--even if you never release it--the act of ritual creation is part of the evergreen path to both confidence and healing.
And in "Mental Health State of the Industry: Past, Present & Future" Take This executive director Eve Crevoshay will discuss the cultural norms that have pervaded the industry over the last several decades, how those impact mental health in expected and unexpected ways, and how future research and operational and cultural changes can improve the working life game makers.
Expect to walk away with a detailed understanding of what steps key organizations are taking to address mental health in games, and how to become part of these efforts through advocacy and action!
If you're at all curious about the history of labor in the game industry definitely don't miss "The Uncredited: A Lost History of Labor in Games", a great Advocacy track talk being given at GDC this year by New York University's Laine Nooney.
An accomplished game historian and scholar, Nooney will recount the rise of the American computer game industry across the final decades of the 20th century, told via the point of view of three women who worked in sales, customer service, and technical support at Sierra On-Line. This promising talk aims to expand our sense of "who counts" in games, and offer a longer timeframe for thinking about labor politics in the industry.
Important concerns about chronic health disease in the industry will be addressed in "Adapting: Working in Games with Chronic Illness", a promising GDC 2020 talk from Sony Interactive's Victoria Dorn. Chances are you or someone you know deals with chronic illness, and Dorn aims to discuss how folks dealing with such illnesses can still lead a relatively normal work life, and how you as a co-worker, boss, or fellow human being can help make their life a little easier.
Expect to walk away with new ways to navigate the workforce more effectively, if you have chronic illness, while those without will be more aware of folks living with these unpleasant health issues and be able to provide better support!
And of course, you won't want to miss out on the perennially popular #1ReasonToBe panel at GDC 2020, where women from around the world will share their #1ReasonToBe in this industry, their stories, their challenges and their dreams. Together, Panelists Laia Bee (Pincer Games), Paula Ruiz (Deconstructeam), Camila Fisher (Independent), Alhvi Balcarcel (Selva Interactive) and Bahiyya Khan (Independent) aim to help broaden our perspectives by sharing fresh insights into different realities and cultures that are not traditionally visible in the game industry!
There's many more great talks in store for you on the GDC 2020 Advocacy track, including a ton of great roundtable sessions aimed at fostering discussion about a diverse array of industry issues, so make sure to check out the full list for yourself!
Next year GDC 2020 runs from Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 20th. This will be the 34th edition of GDC, and now that registration is officially open, you'll want to take a look at the (ever-expanding) session schedule and your GDC pass options -- register early to lock in the best price!