This is a series of posts from my road trip in 2011 where I traveled around the US and Canada giving talks, attending conferences, visiting IGDA chapters, networking, hanging out with friends, and dog sitting an adorable pug named Thomas!
I’ve now been on this road trip for 30 days – a whole month has gone by since I left Chicago and headed west. I’ve had another busy week of meetings and work but I’m excited to be here in Seattle.
On October 4th I met up with Jon Kimmich1 who was up here in Seattle. Formerly of Microsoft (which a lot of people up here are) he was also at one point at Day 1 Studios2. I keep trying to tell people how small this industry is and here’s more proof. We both know a lot of people in the Chicago area who work in game development. That being said, the Chicago area is a very small family in many ways and being the home of a lot of arcade/coin-op/pinball makers in history it’s also one of the main birthplaces of video game development. I had a great time talking with Jon about his going solo and choosing Seattle as his base of operations and the latest trends in game development and play mechanics.
On October 5th my day was to have started out going to a breakfast hosted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America3 for the Northwest chapter, unfortunately I woke up unable to breathe and not feeling well. I did later reach out to the main contact at the chapter and arranged to make a donation anyway, but I was sad to have missed what I’m sure was a great and informative talk from Matthew Johnston of PopCap Games. I hope that the breakfast was able to fulfill all 35 wishes they were hoping to raise money for!
But unfortunately the day was just beginning. I headed out to get some food and some air conditioning (why does barely anyone on the West Coast believe in AC?!?) and find a way to make myself feel better. I stopped midday and jumped on to the IGDA Chicago4 organizers weekly Skype call. We’ve started preparing for our local Chicago Game Jam and I’m working on trying to get support from local studios [this is the first time I’ve reached out to local studios in years so I’m a bit rusty!] and to get Eugene Jarvis5 to keynote – fingers crossed.
I did manage to get myself in good enough shape to pick up an old friend and colleague (and groomsmen at my wedding!) of mine: Ben Scott. We both worked together years ago and he’s now currently programming for Undead Labs in Seattle which is where I picked him up. We then headed over to his house where I got to visit with him, Staci (his wife), and their giggly son Jackson. We played with his toys, read him stories, and we all had dinner. It was great to see Ben and Staci and meet Jackson for the very first time! What a great way to end the night.
I took Thursday off to try and rest up and feel better from the day before, but Friday I was back in full swing. Although originally I had made plans to meet the wonderful Ellen Beeman6 (currently at The Amazing Society7) and the always kind Carolyn Koh (one of my few Facebook friends to be regularly playing Fairyland8 with me!) at Zeek’s9 to try out Seattle pizza, the not feeling so well bug had hit Ellen and she was having to bow out. That was sad for me as I hadn’t seen my fellow IGDA WIG SIGger and WIGI10 colleague in a long time. Fortunately, that meant going solo to Carolyn’s house where she got the pizza and I got dessert and we got to play with her beyond adorable foster kitties. We talked about game development, IGDA WIG SIG, Fairyland, kitties (we each own cats), and a whole slew of other things. I had a great time and it was nice to have kittens all over the place!
Saturday was another try and catch up day and that brings me to today, Sunday. One month out. Today I tried to relax a little, attend the weekly GTD Chat, and pack up as tomorrow I had plans to head up to Birch Bay to be near the border. I was to visit Vancouver soon and I didn’t want to have to drive too far in case the lines at the border would be long. I still have almost another month to go so you’ll hear more from me later, until then…