GDC 2012 & San Francisco, New York, a set on Flickr.In March 2012 we attended GDC in San Francisco. It was a five day event, we spent 3 days exhibiting Miner Wars at our kiosk. The other 2 days just walking around and meeting people.
Did GDC help us? Yes and no. Yes in a long term - it brought us some interesting contacts to publishers, investors, distributors, journalists or other developers. In a short term = no. We haven't got more registrations or orders. Considering the costs (which are in thousands of dollars) it's better to take GDC as a vacation. Don't expect a life changing experience :-)
Other positive experience was finding out that 99% of people who visited our place never heard of Miner Wars! At the beginning it felt super weird, since I was assuming that after 2-3 years in public and 15,000 sold copies we must be pretty much known - at least in game dev community. But NO.
This is indeed a good observation - market for space games is not saturated. Our 15,000 copies don't represent all possible fans. Just a few people who were "lucky" to notice us.
San Francisco is very new and modern city, everything seems to be like it was built just yesterday. Even ghetto streets seem fine and clean - the only way how to see it's a ghetto is to visit it at night and meet homeless guys trying to sell us some crack or heroin :-) Which we did! :-)
And yeah, there's so many homeless people - I would say 10x more than in Prague. I guess they move to the west cost for good weather.
On the last day we made a visit to SF bay/harbor - good place to see a submarine and large navy ship.
I also made a quick trip to Santa Monica, just to experience US train and bus system. Felt normal to me :-) Although, good thing is that Americans tend to optimize, simplify and organize everything. It's so easy to get what you want there. Nation of manuals = I like it!
On my way back to Prague I had to switch planes in New York, and I was lucky to make a 12 hours break there. I slept in the plane, so I had almost whole day for walking in NY. I made a visit to Manhattan, Times Square, Central Park and American Museum of Natural History.