Lately I was thinking of visiting a Game Developer Conference and so I search the Internet, but I didn't find a thorough list of available Conferences. Now I know some of them, like the GDC in San Francisco but I was wondering, what other Game Developer Conferences are out there.

So my question is: What Game Dev Conferences do you know, that are valuable for Game Developers and Game Designers? Have you visited one of these Conferences yourself? Is there a skill level needed to appreciate such a Conference?

I am aware, that there is no "true" answer to this question, but I think, that an overview over existing Conferences could be usefull for all levels of game developers.

closed as primarily opinion-based by MichaelHouse Jan 13 '14 at 22:48

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

In addition to GDC, which you already noted, there are the spin-off conventions (GDC Europe, GDC China, and GDC Online in Austin, plus the Serious Games Summit).

There's also the LOGIN conference, which caters specifically to online games (casual Facebook games and MMOs, et cetera). You've also got Microsoft's Gamefest and the recently-launched PAX spinoff, PAX Dev.

Then there are the more localized conferences, such as the Christian Game Developers Conference or the Russian Game Developers Conference or something like IndieCade.

Finally, many game developers would also be interested in more generalized programming/software/technology conferences such as Build or GoingNative.

Most conferences offer a variety of different sessions or talks that will cater to a range of skill levels, so you can usually get something out of them if that's your thing. If you are unsure, try browsing the session material from previous years to get a feel for what the conference might involve -- many of them are expensive so it's good to have an idea of what you're going to get out of them beforehand.

I personally feel like the best benefit from most of the conferences I ever attended was networking, and not so much the sessions themselves -- unfortunately, very often lectures and presentations will be necessarily high-level. But the people you meet can be valuable contacts elsewhere in your career.

If you go to a conference like GDC and are worried about it being too high a level technically, there are very often tutorial days or "bootcamps" either directly associated with the conference or run nearby.
There are also specialized conferences, focusing on art or music for example:

For game art, there's CODE and SCAD's GDX to name a couple.

For Game Audio, there is also the AES conference on Game Audio, GameSoundCon and several sessions on game audio at the yearly Audio Engineering Society Conference.

Prior to attending, do some research on what's current in the game industry. Probably more important than the sessions is the networking opportunities. If you find yourself in a conversation with a potential employer and not know some of the current games, you'll be easily forgotten. Likewise, if you can talk about the good/bad things about several of the current games, you'll just as likely be well remembered.

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