The 2nd annual Vancouver International Game Summit, organized by Reboot Communications Ltd. proved to be a solid 2-day experience (leading into Vidfest) featuring a mix of eclectic speakers, that not only inspired conference goers but educated them as well. Whether a professional or student, animator or game designer, the VIGS agenda offered sessions that kept attendees genuinely engaged.
It's getting there, it definitely getting there. As someone who has in the past attended such high-profile events like the Game Developers Conference, and the Electronic Entertainment Expo, I can say with certainty that VIGS, is well on it's way to establishing itself as a major industry conference. The smaller atmosphere may lack the lights, bells, and whistles, of those larger shows, but I think we can all benefit from it's much less chaotic feel. I personally wouldn't want this local event ballooning into a GDC-esque mega-conference, but with the much respected SIGGRAPH coming to town in 2011, and with the new Convention center getting closer to completion, the summit, might need to step it up with a larger presence and more sponsors in the future.
Even though the Vancouver International Game Summit, (which is often times referred to as the Vancouver Game Summit), claims to be an 'international' forum, the speakers weren't so much as international as one would expect. I have yet to see game developers from Asia or Europe speaking at the show. Jason Rubin, and Shane Kim, are not good examples of internationalism. Opening up to a more international community would definitely draw more interest, which I think the summit needs more of.
Reboot Communications should definitely take cues from CMP Group, and the success of GDC to help with the planning and organizing of future VIGS. One aspect of GDC that I think everyone can recognize as being integral to a conference, is the availability of lectures, via an audio recording for purchase, or complimentary for attendees. These are most important for journalists writing articles, as well as educators, to gain access to information they can utilize in their curriculum. I found myself recording these sessions for work, and being able to refer back to them was a great asset.
Jason Rubin gave a fantastic but some what disorganized keynote, recounting his long career as former president of Naughty Dog, and now as a game industry outsider/ consultant in a very talky informal lecture. He offered inspiration for those thinking of becoming entrepreneurs, and discussed the industries diversity. Propaganda Games, also discussed a 5-day mini-game competition they had at their studio, which brought out some very creative projects within a very short amount of time. They found that this was a great team-building experience, that required quick prototyping. The technology panel, New Frontiers in Animation, featured art directors and technical leads from local game studios, who talked about animation getting overshadowed by next-gen graphics, middleware, and the uses of mocap vs. keyframe animation. "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - The Business and Game Design behind the 2007 Game of the Year", and Fostering the Leaders of Tomorrow were also great panels.
Though the Press facilities were next to nonexistent -- no private press room, where we could charge laptops, and type up papers, and the lack of internet access, with locked wi-fi that the Hotel Hyatt was offering for a fee, which I had to go out of my way to request the code for -- despite those inconveniences, I hope to see the summit continue to grow as a must attend industry event, in the epicenter of Canada's game industry that is Vancouver.