Godot at GDC 2016, aftermath
By: Juan Linietsky 19 March 2016
What is that?
GDC (or Game Developer's Conference) is an event hosted every year in San Francisco at some point in March. The point of GDC is to reunite as much as possible of the video game develoment industry in a single week. The event is used for conferences (educational mostly), business, mixers, award ceremonies (IGF), technology showcases and partying hard with fellow developers.
It is without a doubt a fantastic time of the year if you are a video game developer and you can attend to it.
Godot at GDC
We took Godot to GDC with a number of goals, mainly to see the industry feedback to it (see how we can improve) and to find sponsoring for its development by the big companies.
We spent most of the week meeting with programmers, artists, designers, company representatives, etc. Went to parties, talks and more.
On the sponsoring side, we have many promising leads but it's probably too early to write about it.
On the feedback side, what we found, however, was not what we were expecting. The sad truth is that, even after two years of being open source...
No one knows about Godot
It's as simple as that. Developers and companies are enthusiastic and amazed when we show them Godot, the games that the community is making, the maturity of the engine, etc. Yet, they simply had no idea it existed and never heard about it.
This GDC, organizers estimated that the number of attendees was over 70.000. One could argue that most of the developers attending GDC are not video game technology enthusiasts so they don't bother looking beyond what the companies ask them to learn (Unity likely). Our problem is not that users dislike Godot, but that developers do not bother to find out if there are alternatives to what they use.
Amazon, on the other hand, set up an enormous booth for Lumberyard (very fitting to its 40 GB install size :P) and you could see developers surprised there was a new engine around.
We need visibility
At this point, I think it's becoming quite clear that Godot needs better visibility industry wide, so we should start thinking about ways to achieve that. Some things that come to mind are:
- We should start contacting company CTOs or technical directors and offer them to do a private showcase of Godot.
- We could actually try to crowdfund a booth at GDC, which would definitely give us visibility in the chunk of the industry that attends the event. A decent booth is quite expensive though (15-25k USD), but we might actually share it with other popular open source software that is used for games such as Blender or Krita.
- It could be interesting to create sets of training materials, so other Godot users could use them to set up jams, workshops, etc. in their local regions too.
Any ideas are welcome, and this is an issue we'll most definitely be going to be working on during the year.