IGDA Summer Picnic – Austin, TX

July 15, 2008

Following a night of music performed by the Austin Symphony Orchestra at Video Games Live, I spent Saturday at Richard Garriott’s lakeside retreat for Austin’s IGDA Summer Picnic. This was an excellent opportunity to meet some new faces in the local games industry while reacquainting myself with some familiar folks. I volunteered to help with the setup or the day’s activities and saw most of the attendants while directing them to their parking spot.

Mike McShaffry was at the helm of the picnic and could be seen throughout the day scurrying along in a John Deere cart. I met Mike back in February at a pre-SXSW mixer hosted by ScreenBurn and Austin Community College. At the same time, I met Kain Shin who also assisted with the volunteer work during the picnic. I knew from reading about Red Fly Studios on Kotaku that Kain was close to finishing the Mushroom Men project, but I was excited to hear that he was now soley in charge of the combat system for the game. Congrats Kain! Looking forward to this one.

Mr. Mike kicking up dust

Mr. Mike kicking up dust

The picnic was sponsered by several companies including KillerNICs and AutoDesk, with KillerNICs winning my personal award for Sweetest Marketing Ploy to Date. It was a chain with their NIC’s heatsink hanging from it. The catch is the heatsink is a “K” that smacks of Killer Instinct or the Blade movies – if, you know, Blade had a “K” in it.

Me in Killer Bling

Me in Killer Bling

When the sun started cooking us all, the Games2U truck provided a dark and airconditioned place for all of us gamers to do what we do best: kill each other in 8v8 Halo 3 battles. They also had outside screens for Guitar Hero and Laser Tag!

The Games2U Guys

The Games2U Guys

Of course, the most tiring part of the day came from Yoga Soccer and the mutations thereof. By the end, it was more of a basketball-soccer-rugby mashup that resulted in a few minor injuries and a lot of sweaty and panting volunteers.

Me trying to defend a girl in Yoga Soccer

Me defending a girl in Yoga Soccer

My personal thanks to Salt Lick Barbecue for catering the event, Amy’s Ice Cream for a little dessert and Opal Divine’s for the refreshing brew. Look for this event to happen again next summer and register early as some of my friends were unable to get in last minute.

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