I attended the first annual Ottawa Game Conference today, and had a blast. The Ottawa game development community is way bigger than anyone expected – the speakers and attendees kept expressing how shocked they were about the attendance and the diversity of the local gaming industry.
The speakers were great. I particularly liked Jason Della Rocca‘s talk about Darwinian ecosystems and Gabe Zichermann’s talk about gamification felt very polished. (I have to admit that I still hate typing that word.) There were two tracks with 13 hours of lectures, so I ended up having to pick and choose now and then to attend them all.
Probably the most impressive part of the whole event was the student App Jam, where local high school students were showing off their games built in class. Amazing. A bunch of them were building android apps and publishing their work to Playbooks – I was blown away by how much they already knew (we learned QBasic on 8086 machines in high school). One of the prizes was that they get to come work for us for a summer term, so I’m looking forward to mentoring a young genius!