What REALLY goes on at GDC?

You’ll hear a lot of noise about developer talks and IGF awards, but there’s another side to GDC, a gritty and sometimes shocking underbelly. Beneath the cheery surface we find a steamy, horrifying environment where developers battle daily simply to keep their milk from becoming warm, and potentially undrinkable!

That may not seem too bad on the surface, but when you take into account the box of Special K involved and just how arid that gets when you try to ingest a few handfuls dry, you might just get a glimpse of the terror we’ve been up against.


Let me set the scene: you arrive in San Francisco on a dark and stormy night- meaning pretty moderate and about 3 PM- you get off the plane after twenty hours or so in transit, and before checking in to your hotel you do what any traveller in their right mind would do: you stock the hell up on milk and Special K and make a whole shitload of noise about how awesome it’s gonna be eating this stuff in the morning!

And that’s when GDC kicks in! Not this storytime picturebook GDC where you’re zipping about in the Oculus, high-fiving Gabe Newell- this is the other GDC- the REAL GDC!

These events happen in rapid succession: Go to pour yourself some Special K and BOOM NO BOWLS! Fall back on plan B and go to spoon it from a mug, BOOM NO SPOONS! Think “no problem we’ll buy some cheap plastic bowls and spoons to eat it later, let’s put this milk in the fridge an-” BOOM NO FREAKEN FRIDGE!


At this point we’re just reeling about the hotel room in a daze, sweating profusely and eyeballing the K. In the back of my mind I’m thinking I could just crush Dave’s skull in, mix up a little cereal in the remains of his head and spoon it out with a comb, but when I can’t even find a comb or an appropriate face-crushing hammer, the harsh realities start to kick in.

We burst back into the foyer, yelping and disgorging all over, milk held shakily in hand but already warming dangerously. We’re all juiced up and ready to storm back to reception and just start headbutting people into sorting the craziness out, when we see right there in the hall, basically directly opposite the door to our room, is a great big old ice machine!


The second we splash up against it we know it’s not right. Hammering the button doesn’t work, yelling down the nozzle doesn’t work, and yanking off the grill with big “out of order” sign reveals only an incomprehensible inner-structure of wires and pipes, none of which put out even mildly serviceable ice cubes no matter how loud we bite and weep.

So here we are, a bunch of well-to-do men about town, trying to cope as best we can with a fairly unprecedented milk-based disaster. We’ve studied the machine and have failed to unlock its secrets, and now all that’s left is getting ice from the machine near the reception desk across the road, a full TWENTY SECONDS WALK FROM OUR HOTEL ROOM!


From there on it’s all a blur. I remember getting ice, of that much I’m sure… but how much ice and what we did with it I shudder to imagine! I know the milk went bad and got tipped down the sink, and I watched Ben eat a lot of dry Special K from a cup. My doctor tells me I may have been suffering from what is commonly known as “Ice Rage”. I cannot confirm or deny this; all I can do is present you with these mysterious Ice Vines which were discovered on my phone when I regained cociousness.

Our sincerest apologies to the powerfully jacketed guys from Strafe, a fellow pixel enthusiast Ellian, and all the Gang Beasts guys for enduring our ice mania.

PS. We have immortalized our GDC experience with this fairly realistic Ice Vine simulator, designed to accurately emulate the thrill of attempting to vine a fellow ice enthusiast collecting ice. We offer the full experience, right down to the nervous wait to see what people are saying about your Vine on Twitter. Shop Powerhoof for all your Ice Vine simulator needs.

Play the game! Tap and hold to vine! ICE!!!!

If you have an android phone you can get the authentic experience by downloading and installing this APK – http://www.powerhoof.com/public/prototypes/icevine/IceVine.apk


  1. Hope you guys had a great time at GDC! Also shoutout to Gang Beasts! that game is rad!!

  2. Ben Weatherall

    Where’s the VR vine!


    ~ Ben Weatherall ice vine inventor/crossy road art director

  3. Hahaha, very nice gents. I was watching these vines as you made them at GDC, had me laffin’.

  4. MIke S.

    This was an-ice post! I hope that next time you remember to pack your bowls, spoons, and your fridge.

  5. we thought we were so smart and prepared bringing the milk and special k… last year we had a fridge but no food… one day we’ll get it right!

  6. George McKibbin

    I love that I don’t have to say “You need to make a game about this” It was already done. It was like I was playing the “secret ice level” of Crawl. I’m thinking this needs to be an easter egg 😛

    • Instead of a staircase you walk into a freezer.
      On a similar note, I don’t think all levels need a portal. It would be nice to have shorter “minilevels” or “theme floors”.

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