A couple of weeks ago I went to the East Coast Game Conference (ECGC) for the first time. Unlike my first developer-centric conference last year, IndieCade East, I was prepared. I had brought my business cards, résumés, and even a suit just in case.
The conference was an incredibly positive experience. I found that unlike some conventions, which often feel too busy to get to know other developers, ECGC was more relaxed. Even the developers from AAA studios, such as Insomniac Games and Epic Games, were incredibly accessible.
There were networking events after each day of the conference. They were quite successful as the free drinks drew many attendees. My only major complain is that the events officially sponsored by ECGC were so loud that it often hampered conversation. The post-conference Unreal meetup provided the quiet and friendly environment that I had hoped would be present at the other two events. Even so, I managed to meet plenty of people and make friends.
The panels offered were very insightful, well organized, and ran smoothly. The speakers were clearly comfortable in their field and had a lot of useful advice to offer. All around I would say they were well worth the time. The speakers were even gracious enough to stick around after their presentation to answer additional questions and for networking.
Overall, the conference was an incredibly positive experience. I am happy that I drove the 8-9 hours to get there.