02 April 2009

The Toolsmiths are now all back fro m GDC (I’ve been on site with clients the past week) so we should probably recap some of what happened.  Geoff, thankfully, has already posted the notes / slides from his talk, and I’ve now filled in the Tools SIG wiki with some of the notes I was able to take from John’s Technical Issues in Tools Development round tables and I’ve posted notes from the IGDA Tools SIG round table as well.

So now I’d like to take some time to talk about official SIG business, specifically what came up at the round table.  The thing I heard more than anything else (other than the fact that the title of the talk should have had “Administrative” in the title to make it obvious the talk was administrative in nature), was that in order for us to keep the Tools SIG relevant growing, we need to provide tangible benifits to the Tools community.  I think we’ve started down that path already with the Toolsmiths and the mailing list, but we need a lot more.

At the round table, we started talking about things we can offer in the new year, not only to increase usefullness to our members, but to serve as outreach to bring in more members to the SIG and the IGDA.  These include

  • A survey on the current state of tools in the industry (similar to Dan’s survery and Mark’s survery)
  • A listing of tools resources (which we have, but will be extended and brought up to date this year),
  • Educational outreach, both in terms of getting more schools involved in teaching tools programming, and getting more schools involved in tools research and open source contribution.

Over the next few years, we’d also like to look into providing other benefits, including:

  • Best practices papers on tools development and tools usage
  • Build best practices
  • A summit at GDC dedicated entirely to tools issues

What we need from all of you, in the mean time, is input into what projects you would be most interested in seeing started, and which ones you would help volunteer to complete.  So, probably over the next week, I will be running some surverys / polls through the blog to try to find out what is most important to our readership, and from there, hopefully we can provide the community with exactly what they need.  If you have any projects that you would like to see the Tools SIG accomplish this year or over the next few years, please do not hesitate to add them to the list, and I will add them to the poll.