Apparently, I forgot to actually post this.
On my first day, I participated in the Scrum Essentials tutorial. I learned a lot about managing our game development process. It’s a bit difficult to apply the fundamentals of scrum/agile development to our trio, but the lessons learned will definitely help our process. I learned a lot that I can take with me past this stage of my career.
I spent the second day at the Level Design in a Day tutorial. It was thrilling to be in the room with so many honored game industry vets. I learned a lot about concept and structure of level design. My ears have never been as perked up as they were when I was at the Interesting Decisions talk by Sid Meier.
With all that education behind me, I realized how under-prepared I was for the real reason to be at GDC. Despite not having a portfolio, going around to the developers at the booths in the career pavilion was eye opening. I asked around about what they were looking for in a game designer. I heard so many different answers. Here are some paraphrased quotes.
We want to see that you can add value to existing games, or be a genius. Improve or mod an existing game to get our attention.
We want to see your game documentation.
We want to see game concept summaries and documentation samples. Full documentation is too much for us to want to look at in a portfolio.
Our designers are also story writers, so we want to see writing samples.
We don’t actually have a separate designer role. Everyone has a hand in the design of the games.
The solution is clear. I will do all these things, and more.