Hello everyone! It’s past time for another update on CGDC 2021, but unfortunately the update is that we’ve had to postpone a summer CGDC gathering until next year. For transparency we want to let you know what went into that decision and pray for your grace and understanding, but also want to share the roadmap for CGDC in the next summer-to-summer year to look forward to.
Thankfully vaccines have been rolling out to help us take those first steps towards our new normal, but COVID’s impact on the world is still hindering us from fully getting to that new normal. The vaccine distribution is what gave us hope for an in-person conference this year; by July anyone who wanted to get a vaccine should have been able to. After having to cancel CGDC 2020 during the heart of the pandemic, we had transferred our deposit for the venue we had planned to use to this year in preparation of CGDC 2021 being in-person, so all that was needed was to apply last year’s plan to this year.
However, this spring as we assembled our conference planning committee again and began working towards CGDC 2021, we received a message that our venue had decided to cancel all conferences and events this summer at their location. This required us to switch from planning mode back to researching venues once more. What we found, though, was most of the venues we reached out to were doing the same, shutting down events this summer due to COVID. The other venues were either already booked or were giving us pricing that would be prohibitively expensive for our community.
With the summer fast approaching, we looked into alternatives to a traditional in-person conference, one of which was a retreat focused primarily on creating space for gathering together. This would have allowed us to meet again in-person and share meals together, but unfortunately the venues we investigated were also letting us know they were closed for the summer, already fully booked, or their pricing was well above what we would want to require for registration.
You may be asking, “well, what about a CGDC: Virtual conference?” We had discussed CGDC: Virtual as another alternative since it was our answer to not being able to meet during the pandemic last year. In 2020, we started CGDC: Virtual planning in April alongside the in-person planning on the off chance that we couldn’t meet in person by that summer. When we finally decided last year to wait until 2021 for an in-person gathering, we had a great CGDC: Virtual but were just able to pull it off even with four months of planning and execution. This year, though, other than us losing our particular venue there was little indication at first that we wouldn’t be able to find another appropriate venue in time for summer. Rather than split our committee members across both in-person and virtual conference planning we decided to double down on finding a place for us to gather face-to-face. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful and by then it was too late to start on planning for a summer virtual conference.
Of course, there are probably ways we could have pushed to make it work; there are venues somewhere that are available that we hadn’t reached out to yet, or light-weight versions of the conference that could have been put on with minimal planning, but in the end we realized that whatever the outcome we wouldn’t be able to provide a conference with quality that served our community well within a summer timeline. Once fall hits that also becomes more problematic for those with families to attend as kids return to school, so postponing the conference until then did not seem like a solution. Another factor was that several people on the CGDC board and conference planning committee are involved with some of the non-conference CGDC activities such as SAGE groups and the community game, and directing their time entirely to planning and executing a rushed conference would take away from planning those other activities with quality that bring value to the community throughout the year.
All in all, we on the CGDC board are as disappointed as you that we will not be meeting in person this summer for a conference once again. In lieu of a formal gathering, we encourage you to reach out to other Christian game developers, whether through Local Groups of game developers who live near each other or simply those you’ve met in the CGDC community, and find opportunities to get together between now and next summer. Also, we encourage you to stay plugged into your local church – or find one if you don’t have one – so you can stay connected with God’s people and His kingdom work. Even if we can’t provide the place this time this time, we pray that God would open doors for Christian game developers to meet in smaller gatherings until we can return to what the new normal looks like for CGDC.
All that said, we have some exciting things coming up between now and the next CGDC which you can read about here!
Thank you again for your grace and understanding with this past year, and we pray that the CGDC community will be blessed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!