Some bugs just don't want to be squished, so learn to love them.

19 September 2017

Categories: PhD-Life (7) , IGGI (2) , Games (6) , Conferences (6)
Tags: event (11) , games (6) , phd (9) , york (1)

Hello and welcome.

Buzz slide: (PDF). GVGAI, RHEA & heuristics presentation: GDrive. Poster: (PDF)

Mid September is the time when IGGIs from all over the country pack up their bags, say goodbye to their cats and beloved homes and jump on long train journeys to one of 3 locations. Well, now one of 4, as Queen Mary University of London has been added to the mix. That’s actually where I’ve now ended up, but that’s a completely different story. The option used to be between Essex, York and Goldsmiths Universities. And this year it happened to be York. Possibly one of the prettiest places I’ve visited in the UK so far. Two and a half days later, everyone’s very happy to be heading back home. But let’s start at the beginning.

One thing that’s great about this conference (just now upgraded from a symposium!) is that it does bring all the people involved in this big IGGI programme together. That’s almost 50 students now in 4 cohorts, plus supervisors and staff otherwise involved. And every year we get a new bunch of awesome people joining us. Last year it was me and it was completely terrifying. This year it was still so.

I enjoyed the keynotes this year, those I could focus on anyway, be it because of nerves with my talk coming up, or because of being exhausted at the end of the last day. But they were good. Very nice energy from the speakers, highlighting enthusiasm for academia to be collaborating with the games industry. That’s one interesting topic that should be spoken more of. And it links back to my previous post about impact. There is a lot of pressure of our research work being industry relevant. Which makes sense, we do want our work to actually be used and lead somewhere interesting, right? But I don’t deal well with this kind of pressure.

I won’t go into details now, but there was a breakdown here too, cushioned by two great people. I didn’t think what I did mattered, I didn’t think anyone would care about what I do.

That was proven wrong rather quickly, though. After my buzz talk (these 1 minute talks of all the students squeezed back to back in just an hour for a concentrated doze of research), a bunch of people caught me on the way out of the room to ask more about my work. Up at my poster, more people stopped to chat and point at things, making it hard for me to not go over and see what interested them. My external supervisor grabbed me for a meeting with a company interested in my work and potentially offering me a placement (I hope I didn’t mess that one up!). More people popped by to talk after my GVGAI talk on the last day. And after the rough start, it actually ended up being one of the most productive conferences in terms of networking, I was swarmed with attention.

That’s something I still have to work on, the other extreme of getting a lot of attention. It’s quite tiring actively trying to convince people what you do is cool and they want to know more about it than just the title that caught their eye, or the car racing picture thrown on a slide in the presentation. And I always forget to ask for business cards. I need to step up my game there, I did meet some very nice people and I should’ve gotten a way to contact them. Here comes the stalking on the few details I know about them. And if you’re on of them reading this, do say hi!

I’ve left links to the buzz slide (quick snapshot of my research), poster (based on the CIG paper) and GVGAI presentation (including a brief overview and motivation of my work; unfortunately it’s a bit lacking in terms of slide content, but it was recorded, maybe that will be available at some point for a better understanding) at the top of this post.

I’ll also want to talk more about networking and the struggles that come with it for me in another post in more detail. Maybe someone will find it useful.

Until then, keep being awesome, IGGI!

And complain less, please.

Have a lovely day,

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