GDC was a blast! We got a chance to show off all of our work from the last year, and the Heatbees team made some really awesome connections. I especially got a lot out of being able to demo my work at our booth (paid for by the school).
Squids and Fetuses are Interesting
The best compliments I received from people were for Vatn Squid and Fetus, but for completely different reasons. Vatn was awfully flashy and fresh compared to some of the other games on the expo floor, and attracted bullet hell fans and other curious people from all sides of the spectrum. Fetus on the other hand kept a lot of people intrigued; at least four people who had played Fetus played it to completion, which is saying a lot when it takes 10-15 minutes for the average person to get through it.
Controllers are Nice
Out of all of the games I showed off, most people were much more receptive to the pick up and play aspects of a controller based game; they didn't have to sit down, I could toss them the controller after a quick demonstration of the controls, and it gave a certain degree of polish in presentation that I never really expected. Many of the keyboard and mouse-centric games I had weren't really played too much. Also: when I would explain the importance of the Z, X, C control scheme to players, they usually couldn't pick it up in time to become interested.
48 hour Games Shock people
One of the most common "WHAT!?" moments I got from people was explaining that Vatn Squid was made in a really short period of 2 days. It was really nice to hear too, because it's apparently something hard to do. On a side note, several people were surprised to hear that my games were done in Game Maker.
Missed out on the Fun
One of my biggest regrets coming back was the fact that I really didn't interact too much with the Indies and other people that were at GDC. I didn't hit any of the parties that went on after dark (and that's where all the real connections get made). Most of my time spent on the expo floor was at the booth, and although I had a few chances to hit the IGF pavilion, I only played a couple of them and quickly returned.
"That's Cave Story/Spelunky"
A lot of visitors to the booth thought my games were pretty indie. So much so that a guy said Descent was a Spelunky mod. That's really cool and all, but it was a bit of a reality check for me. Several of my games have a nice indie kind of flair, but I really haven't found my own voice and color as far as the way my work looks and operates.
Macs = iPhone
One of my biggest gripes about presenting at the booth was the fact that my games were operating on a Mac computer that was Boot Camped to run Windows. A majority of our visitors to the booth thought my games were iPhone Games or that we were a group of Mac developers. It always seemed a bit awkward to tell people about our misrepresentation. Also, a lot of people assumed that my games were available on the Xbox Live Indie Games service because of the 360 controller I was using.
Overall, and even with the few things that I felt I did wrong, GDC was a great experience for me — I'm definitely going back next year!