New Initiatives

September 10, 2009

Dear IGDA Member,

Thank you for your continued membership in the IGDA.  I am delighted to report we have a number of new initiatives that are live and more that are coming, and I wanted to take a few moments of your time to give you a heads up about what is going on in your association that you can take advantage of.

IGDA Unemployed Member Rate: These are tough economic times for everyone. If you or one of the members you know has recently decided not to renew their membership due to having lost their job, let them know that the IGDA is offering a discount upon renewal.  This special rate is available only to unemployed members, and we are using the honor system here.  If you are an independent developer, then we don’t really consider you unemployed.  However, If you tell us you are unemployed, you can access the discount upon your IGDA renewal date.

SCRUM Certification with Clinton Keith:  If you (or your team) have been looking for ways to increase efficiency and productivity levels as well as communication and teamwork, then you’ll be thrilled to learn that the IGDA has partnered with Clinton Keith to offer a special 2 day Game Developer specialized training for using SCRUM (an iterative incremental management technique)  for game studios.

This 2 day workshop is limited to 35 professionals from the game development community.  Clinton has adapted his training program to use Game Specific examples and cases as well as anecdotes and examples from his extensive experience to show you and your team how to take the core concepts of SCRUM and apply them directly to your current project.

When you leave this workshop, you’ll have a set of project management tools and reference material to bring back to your organization and apply immediately.  With the practices and techniques that Clinton goes over, you will see an increase in team communication, understanding between team members, and awareness of the project needs and status.  These lead all of your folks to begin pulling more effectively toward reaching milestones and deadlines, and be proactive about solving issues from one section of a project to another.

The workshop will be held in San Francisco, CA, at the San Francisco Airport Marriott on November 10th and 11th.  It will lead up to the IGDA Leadership Forum, and attendees who register for both will receive a great discount off both registration fees.

Seating is limited to 35 participants and beginning to fill up, so register today: https://www.igda.org/leadership/ (There are additional discounts for teams of 3 or more who wish to attend, please contact me directly about these opportunities joshua@igda.org.)

The IGDA Leadership Forum:  Our 3rd annual Leadership Forum and Professional Development Conference is coming up soon on November 12th & 13th in San Francisco, CA.   Held at the San Francisco Marriott, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and mingle with over 200 top Game Development Professionals.  Join Samantha Ryan, Senior Vice President of Development and Production for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE); Chris Satchell, Chief Technology Officer for International Gaming Technologies, as well as a host of top shelf industry professionals as we run 3 tracks of programs and networking sessions for all types of game development professionals.  Stay for our cocktail reception and introduce yourself to some of the top guns in the business, and meet other rising stars who are beginning to make names for themselves.  Whether you are an independent producer, a studio head, or simply an overachiever, this seminar offers a series of powerful sessions designer to make you a valuable asset in the game development community.

Seating is limited, so take a few minutes and register today to save your spot at the 3rd annual IGDA Leadership Forum. http://www.igda.org/leadership/

Free Member Webinar Series:  The IGDA is launching a new series of webinars titled “The IGDA Presents…”   These will begin on Sept. 29th with Clinton Keith.  More details to follow under a separate header with our initial 3 month schedule.

Well that’s a few things to chew on for the moment.  More to come.

I will be attending the GDC in Austin next week, and welcome any of you who would like to connect to reach out via email or phone and let’s schedule a time.

Sincerely,

Joshua


Special Meeting Update

August 27, 2009

Dear IGDA Members,

Previously, the Special Meetings Task Force, consisting of Tom Buscaglia, Coray Seifert, Dustin Clingman, Brian Robbins and Darius Kazemi presented their findings and recommendations to the IGDA Board of Directors.

Over the course of last week, the IGDA Board of Directors has reviewed those findings and the IGDA Bylaws, and sought the input of legal counsel on the matter of the special meeting.

An official announcement of the call for the special meeting will be coming shortly with the specific date and location of the meeting, and the purpose for which the meeting is being called included.  At that time, the outline of the process by which the Special Meeting will take place will be announced as will the means by which the voting members of the IGDA may participate.  The framework of the meeting has been agreed upon by the Board of Directors, and what remains to be finalized are the specifics and the wording of the courses of action.

I encourage all of the members in the IGDA to participate in this matter even if your decision is to abstain from a vote so as to allow us to achieve the quorum as laid out in the association’s bylaws.

I look forward to resolving this issue with the IGDA and moving us back towards focusing on building member value and programs.

Sincerely,
Joshua Caulfield
Executive Director
IGDA


Recent Forum Moderation

August 26, 2009

Dear IGDA Members,

Last week we made an unfortunate mistake in our execution of the IGDA Terms of Use policies.  While taking down a large number of reported posts for review, we did not effectively communicate that these posts had been reported (for a variety of reasons) and that the IGDA was reviewing them and determining if they needed to be edited or restored in full.

There was no intent to censor anyone’s speech, and many were restored quickly and many more were restored today.  The IGDA is about free speech, as long as they are within our terms of use. (Terms that are not particularly restrictive, have been posted for several years, and may be found here: http://www.igda.org/terms.php)

There is no reason why the IGDA leadership seeks to suppress posts that have been on-line and readily available for over a month.  Also, great care was taken to hold the positions and maintain the threads so as to make it possible to restore posts as they were reviewed.  The root of this issue was really the volume of reports and an attempt to make final decisions based on these older posts in light of the announcement of the special meeting, which will undoubtedly spark further forum discussions and reports.

In light of the concerns, Tobi Saulnier has asked Coray Seifert to put together a small group to rapidly review these posts and determine their adherence to our terms of use.  You should begin seeing some of the posts being restored as early as today, though any determined to violate the terms will remain down.

There are a lot of things going on at the IGDA right now, and a relatively new set of folks handling the majority of them.  Myself, David, Shelby and Alex have all been with the IGDA for less that 3 months.  Unfortunately, this led to a mistake that created an unfortunate level of controversy, as we were attempting to resolve a backlog of requests before new ones came in.  Rather than censorship, this was an error in communication, and a lack of ability to speedily resolve the post reports.

Sincerely,

Joshua Caulfield
Executive Director


Special Meeting Task Force Meets

August 17, 2009

Hello,

I recently had the opportunity to work with an excellent group of dedicated members on a difficult issue.  I am referring to the task force designed to see to the specifics of the upcoming special meeting.  There are a lot of issues around having a meeting like this.  As you might imagine, it’s not like you can just start an IRC session and send out an email link.  There are announcements, and communications requirements, moderators and statement/inquiry gathering and presentation, voting and reporting also.

Thus it was with some concern that I joined the email discussion between myself, Tom Buscaglia, Coray Seifert, Darius Kazemi, Dustin Clingman, and Brian Robbins.  Wow, what a capable group.  The team set aside the current issue and settled into some meaningful deliberations about the concept of a special meeting, the requirements, the impact on the IGDA, the challenges in having 12,000 members worldwide who could want to participate, etc. etc.

The recommendations to the board are a set of substantial guidelines.  Some of which need to be reviewed in their application by our legal counsel, both from a liability standpoint and the regulations of being a California state incorporated association.   The group also left some ambiguity in some areas to allow for flexibility, while clearly stating the vision and goals.

The Board now has the opportunity to review these guidelines and make directions for how they can be implemented.  I’ll be updating you on the final decisions and execution choices we’ll be using as we move forward on this difficult issue.

Joshua


IGDA Perspectives

August 11, 2009

Dear Members,

I’ve gotten a lot of additional feedback regarding the newsletter.  I am hearing you loud and clear—you want something that doesn’t take so long to download and is viewable on net-books and possibly web enabled handheld and blackberry style devices.  Many of you have recommended an HTML format.

We are going to look into this for future iterations of the newsletter.   I am going to look into that and see what options we might have for that sort of thing.  It probably won’t be in place for the Sept. issue, but we’ll see for Oct.

Some others are concerned about the advertising.  I understand that concern, and respect it.  These sponsors are supporters of our industry, and the ads they placed in the newsletter are directed at showing you they understand your needs and how you operate.

Also, the funding they provide will allow us to begin work on providing the programs you have been requesting while keeping the dues low.  Please don’t dismiss all advertising as evil; these folks could be putting their money into other magazines, TV or websites that you frequent.  Instead they are showing their support for you as an individual by supporting the professional society to which you belong.

I’ve also heard the comment, “This specific article didn’t relate to me.”  I am very open to suggestions regarding the types of articles you want to see in the newsletter.  Please note that we hope to provide articles for all the different segments that represent our diverse membership.  Please let me know what you would like to see, and I’ll work on accommodating this.

Thanks for the feedback.  We’ll continue to evolve over the next 6 months and move from alpha testing to release before you know it.

Game On!

Joshua


Communications

August 10, 2009

Well, last week was quite a busy week for communications wasn’t it?

OK, let’s start with the elephant on the table: The exploit of the IGDA member to member communications system.  There’s been a lot said about it already, but the short version is that member data was protected, which was my primary concern when the email went out.  We also see once again, that there is a real need for us to move forward on the new website.

Today we had a BIG new communications item: The NEWSLETTER re-launch.  I have had a number of communications already, both positive and negative.  Thanks to all of you who commented, I am taking all of your comments to heart, and we’ll be making adjustments moving forward.  As I mentioned in the first story, this is an evolutionary process, and it will certainly take some time.  I appreciate your willingness to share your concerns and compliments.

I think that with the newsletter, the primary thing we are going to be reviewing over the next few issues will be the formatting.  It’s going to take some experimenting to balance the visual style with the functionality of easier downloading and access on different platforms.

The thing that seemed to get the most compliments was the content.  I think that we  have some magnificent content being supplied by our partners, and I hope to keep that going.  I also want to encourage any of you out there to suggest new types of content you would like to see.

Besides the newsletter, we had a few other announcements: Tobi Saulnier coming on as Co-Chair from Treasurer,  Brenda Braithwaite stepping up to support the financial aspect of the IGDA as treasurer, Jasmin Dave joining the team as our Business Development professional, are all great assets to support an expansion of the IGDA in our efforts to serve you best.

We also called for a special meeting and set up a task force to see to the specifics of creating a process for all special meetings current and future.  This is a great team that has already moved forward dramatically in clarifying some of the by-laws and building on the specifics of the execution to ensure that there is a clear and effective means to allow all members to participate and to provide context and content before during and after the meeting itself.  Many of the processes and policies that this group is developing will be useful when we do the next round of Board elections as well.

Finally, your communications are coming in loud and clear.  The responses to the member survey have been excellent.  We’re really getting a strong sense of where the member’s interests lie, and I am looking forward to presenting these findings and implementing as many as possible.

Since I got sidelined last week and missed my Wednesday blog post, we’ll have another from me this Wednesday to catch us up.

Thanks for your continued membership, and keep the information flowing.


The Power of Team

July 30, 2009

The Power of Team, Continued… In the last few weeks I have been focusing my blog posts around the partnerships in IGDA. I began with some of the external partnerships, and then moved on to staff. In this post I want to bring a very important group of partners to the fore, and that is the Special Interest Groups (SIGs). These groups are members and some non-members led by one or more member volunteers, that are focused on a specific area, be it education, production, writing, etc. These are folks who are getting things done.

One of the most important aspects of associations is the concept that we are not involved in a “Zero Sum Game”. This means that one party does not need to take from another to increase their own satisfaction. By working as part of a collective effort associations achieve dramatically more than the sum of their individual efforts. One of my mentors, John Healy, an association veteran, used the acronym T.E.A.M (Together Everyone Achieves More). Sure I thought it was hokey, but it is also true.

Let me tell you what the SIGs have been up to lately. I should point out that recently a number of the SIGs have also been going through a bit of transition, so if they are not mentioned here, it’s mainly due to their focus on what’s coming next, not that they have been inactive.

The Quality of Life SIG, led by Judy Tyrer has loaded the “final” version of their Quality of Life Survey into the survey tool IGDA has acquired. (Blatant Plug: MEMBERS: If you haven’t filled out the member satisfaction survey, go do it. This is the report that we’ll be using to make decisions for the next 2-4 years.) When the Member Satisfaction Survey comes down, we’ll be sending out the links to the Quality of Life survey and looking forward to your comments there. The QoL group is also working on some interesting shirt/poster concepts to get the word out about their positions.

The Education SIG, led by Susan Gold has been very active. They have given a number of industry talks at various conferences aimed at bringing the education community a better understanding of their role in the IGDA and what the association can bring to them. They have also been rewriting the content for the Breaking In section of the IGDA website: http://www.igda.org/breakingin which should be released with the new website. Finally, they are putting together the education summit for GDC and getting people and studios signed up for this year’s global game jam.

Next up is the Production SIG, led by Heather Chandler. Their BIG item right now is the Leadership Forum for 2009. I have looked over the program content and I think there are some top shelf speakers lined up. As an association guy, I am pleased to see the amount of networking opportunities for leaders that have been planned into the program. In many industries, these types of event are as much known for the great ideas that come from speaking with other folks who share the same issues and challenges you do as they are for the speaker content. (Blatant Plug #2: We are offering a group registration discount this year for 5 or more people, $25 off the registration price if you register at the same time. So if your friends are going, sign up early and sign up together!) For more info and the program and schedule head on over to the Leadership Forum section of the IGDA website: http://www.igda.org/leadership/

The Localization SIG, led by Tom Edwards, is working on some great stuff with GDC. They have organized and launched the first ever Game Localization Summit at GDC 2009, which met all expectations. They are therefore following it up with a number of game localizations meetings/talks at GDC Europe. Continuing eastward into the rising sun, they are partnering with IGDA – Japan to work on some localization initiatives there, and finally returning back to the US for GDC 2010 in CA with a localization effort there as well.

The Women in Games SIG, led by Fiona Cherbak is working on quite a few things: developing a Games2Girls Program with the Game Research Lab department at Columbia, an Indie Women’s Game Design Competition in conjunction with Indiecade, a Women in Games Preservation Committee, and celebrating the launch of GameMentorOnline in cooperation with WiGI.

Then there is the Writers SIG, led by Wendy Despain, who is setting up for GDC Austin and their annual summit. I look forward to joining them and learning more about the industry and writing for game development. This group has also put the infrastructure together to launch the magazine as you may be aware. I am currently working with them to see how soon we can make this a fiscally viable option and member benefit.

I close with some folks who do a lot of heavy lifting behind the scenes. The Quality Assurance SIG, led by Sheri Rubin has put together an excellent meeting at GDC and is putting together a bit of infrastructure to launch their plans for total global domination! Oops, Sheri, did I say that out loud?

Seriously though, it is the volunteers, both the leaders and the folks getting the job done. Thank all of you for your hard work, and keep it up, you’re doing great.