23 March 2014

What a fantastic turnout we had at the Tools SIG Roundtable! I was expecting the worst with a 4pm time slot on the last day of GDC, but I was really blown away by attendance. We had no less that 20 people show up, and I think half of those folks are willing to commit a bit of time over the next year to help accomplish some projects. With each idea we gathered a show of hands to determine how much participation there would be for that project.

Here are the project ideas that were presented during the roundtable. Each project will need to find its way into the hands of a Steering Committee member. The SIG doesn’t currently have a Steering Committee, so as the SIG Chair I am going to ask for volunteers and appoint a committee from those volunteers. Each project will then be chosen by a committee member and it will be their job to push for progress on each project.

In descending order of participation:

Surveys

The biggest draw in terms of membership participation was to make a survey to gauge various tools usage across the industry (as well as other topics).

13 members expressed interest in undertaking this.

Tools Lectures at Conferences

There was a general perception that GDC 2013 had few tools related lectures, and almost everyone in the SIG wants to work toward changing this. Tools related talks were submitted for GDC 2013, but they were declined by the GDC Advisory Board. The SIG wishes to start a discussion with the GDC Advisory Board to advocate for more tools talks at GDC. The SIG will also do internal peer-review on submissions to increase quality.

9 members expressed interest in undertaking this.

Wiki

A Tools SIG wiki would be a warehouse of information that would be constantly curated by the SIG to hold reference information about best practices in tools. These topics are perennial at the Technical Issues in Tools roundtables at GDC, and by having this information available on the website we can focus more attention to trends and changes in the state of the art instead of calling out known solutions.

Also, the wiki would be an excellent resource to link to tools related lectures available on the GDC Vault (like the 2013 Crystal Dynamics Tools Postmortem), Twitch, Youtube, etc…

8 members expressed interest in undertaking this.

Software Projects

While networking with other attendees, both the IGDA Accessibility SIG as well as some game writers expressed that they suffer from a serious lack of tooling. They expressed interest in getting help from the Tools SIG to help implement some tools to help get their work done. I will be following up with some folks in the coming weeks to better define what these tools might look like.

5 members expressed interest in undertaking this.

Tools Video Tutorials/Reviews

This would take the form of Twitch or Youtube videos to review or evaluate tools.

2 members expressed interest in undertaking this.

News Coverage

The SIG should undertake journalistic reporting on tools related announcements, and analyze those announcements from a tools perspective.

Only a handful of attendees expressed interest, so any ground gained on this project will probably come via the Podcast.

Writing

As always, anyone can get access to the blog though Geoff. We can review drafts before being published to make sure quality is high.

After Hours Development

In the midst of discussing the above topics, the topic of how different companies view after hours work came up. Some companies are more lax than others, and some of the laws in California that protect workers against companies claiming ownership over their after hours work was discussed. Membership of the SIG expressed interest in advocating or working toward sharing information about where liability actually stands state-to-state. We want to get feedback from IGDA legal to explore how we might make progress on spreading information about this topic.

Thanks so much for everyone’s attendance! I will see you in the Discussion Groups 🙂