Players' Guide

What's what in Austin gaming

Players' Guide

Did I forget to mention that the Game Developers Conference is in town? As far as industry expos go, it's sort of a big deal. The festival runs Sept. 15-18, and you likely missed the bulk of it, but unless you're interested in panels like No SQL – How MMO Game Developers Benefit From the Versant Persistence Engine, then you didn't miss much. But just because the GDC can be technical doesn't mean there isn't next-level, supercool game chatter going on.

One of this year's new minisummits within the conference is the Independent Games Summit. This is where the cool kids of gaming, like Brandon Boyer of hip gaming blog Offworld and Adam Saltsman of Canabalt and Gravity Hook fame, will be loitering. And by loitering I mean high-fiving one another and discussing indie games like And Yet It Moves (pictured left), Bit.Trip, World of Goo, and Splosion Man, which can be downloaded to select platforms. Other GDC-related games are free online and just waiting to be played, such as Canabalt, Fantastic Contraption, Paper Moon, and Bunni. Check out the Chronicle's Screens blog, Picture in Picture, at for links to all of these games. Log on and feel like you're at the convention without all the mind-numbing schmoozing.

The other new arm of the GDC is the iPhone Games Summit, which is arguably just in time, as the little gadget that could is finally being recognized as a serious contender in the handheld gaming market. Only Luddites use their iPhones to actually call people. While not as sexy as the indie kids', the workshops and presentations at this summit will likely be just as full.

The other summits covering game audio and game writing have all the usual unknown names behind very recognizable games like Left 4 Dead and Fallout 3.

Game on Austin

Since I've got you here, might as well pimp Game on Austin, a tag-team event from Screenburn at South by Southwest and your favorite indie weekly, The Austin Chronicle. Mark your calendars for Oct. 15, because local game developers will descend on the Mohawk to show off their new and future releases. Expect big-screen Rock Band, old-school gaming stations, art and music from the Austin Museum of Digital Art, and a who's who of local video gaming, all for free. Just don't come expecting booth babes.

Want to talk about Kurt Cobain singing Vampire Weekend on Guitar Hero 5? E-mail with tips, codes, and general vitriol.

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Players' Guide, Game on Austin, Austin Game Developers Conference, Independent Games Summit, Brandon Boyer, Adam Saltsman, iPhone Games Summit, Austin Museum of Digital Art

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