These are, by and large, events that happen at an actual place, with feet on the ground and real people and stuff. Most of them aren’t free, even after travel and board, but many of the larger conferences have scholarship programs available (listed beneath their dates), and many can be incredibly useful networking opportunities.
- February/March/April: Game Developers Conference (Main/SF)
- ~April: PAX East
- ~June: E3
- ~March: IGDA Scholars scholarship applications open
- July/August: SIGGRAPH
- ~August: GDC Europe
- ~May: IGDA Scholars scholarship applications open
- August -September: PAX Prime
- ~October: GDC China
- ~November: GDC Next
- GDC Next has a volunteer program as well, but they don’t have dates posted right now
- November/December: SIGGRAPH Asia
- GameDevDrinkUp – A directory of local industry mixers, generally held monthly
- GameDev.MeetUp.com – A directory of non-DrinkUp industry meetups in 240 different cities around the world
- IGDA Event Calendar – A (probably) non-exhaustive list of upcoming IGDA events. Many local chapters host monthly or weekly events.