The IGDA Tools SIG has a new discussion group! We’re moving from using the IGDA hosted Mailman group (called Tools-Discuss) to a Google Group called The Toolsmiths.
The purpose of the group is to provide a discussion forum for all types of game tools development, from command line tools, to UI-focused tools, and middleware applications. This can include things like best practices in version control, building and build servers, exporters, level editors, deployment scripts, and game to tools integration. Basically, if you do it as a tools developer, we want to hear about it, and discuss it with you.
The Toolsmiths was created, and is an integral part of, the IGDA Tools SIG. Right now, the IGDA is holding elections for its new board. There are 23 candidates for 5 positions on the board, and you can read all of their statements at the IGDA’s website. In addition, Boston Chapter member and indie developer Scott McMillan has subjected each of the candidate statements to some scrutiny, and asks them some important questions about where they feel the IGDA is going over the next few years.
The elections are very important, especially this year. In the past, the IGDA has had image problems, in no small part because of the actions of certain board members. It is important that we get board members that are actually extensions of our own voices, so that the IGDA can actually represent us as developers. If you are a member of the IGDA (which I really hope you are) please go vote.
GDC gets closer every day. This year, instead of doing an official IGDA roundtable to talk SIG business, we’ve decided to just get together for beers at a local bar. The location and time is yet to be determined, but I would like to find out what night the membership / readers would prefer.
So please take a moment to visit the site and respond to the poll in this post to let us know when you’d most like to gather, and we’ll see you at GDC!
The IGDA has opened nominations for the Board. From the newsletter that went out to IGDA members:
As we approach the start of 2010, it is time for us to begin the process of electing new representatives to our IGDA Board of Directors. These are the people who will be adding their voices to the decision making aspects of your association and choosing the direction for the organization to follow for years to come. Each of these individuals gives of their time and energy to move the association forward in the direction they feel most represents the will of the membership and the good of the association.
The link to nominate Board members is here: http://www.igda.org/elections/nomination-packet Note that you have to be an IGDA member to nominate a Board member, and you must be nominating another IGDA member. (We recommend you be one anyway, and please note in your membership profile that you are a member of the Tools SIG)
It’s important to remember that the Board affects how the IGDA is run, and in many ways, it is the public face of the IGDA. In some people’s eyes, the IGDA had a huge problem with public relations last year, partially because of the positions and actions of some of its board members. This is your opportunity to make sure that developers that you respect get on the board and represent your interests, so please do not skip out.
At GDC, we got a lot of good ideas on what people expect from the Tools SIG in the comming year(s), but I want to ask the blog readership what they think, to make sure we’re focusing our efforts on the projects that will not only give the most back to the community, but expand our reach to new members. To that end, I’ve included in this post two polls figure out where to focus our efforts. If you are in an RSS reader and can’t see the polls, please take a moment to visit our site and respond. Your responces will help shape the SIGs efforts in the comming year.
In addition, if you have ideas for other efforts, or would like to volunteer to help in any efforts, please do not hesitate to email us at toolsmiths -at- igda.org.
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.
We’re just one week away from GDC and the times for most of the talks have been solidified. The links in my previous post will be able to tell you where and when to catch some tools related talks. This includes our official Tools SIG Round Table, which I will be moderating. Note that, while the time on the site is correct, the round table was originally scheduled at a different time, so the time in the program may be wrong.
REPEAT! THE TIME IN THE GDC PROGRAM FOR THE TOOLS SIG ROUND TABLE MAY BE WRONG!!! And will be corrected in the addendum. THE TIME ON THE WEB SITE IS CORRECT!!!
I encourage all of our readers that will be attending GDC to attend this round table. The discussions we have there will (hopefully) set the tone for SIG business for the coming year and get us all on the “same page” in terms of where we want the SIG to go, what projects we want to do, and how we plan to move those projects forward. This includes new blog authors and features. If you are unable to make the roundtable, but would like to suggest a topic of discussion or volunteer to be part of a project, please feel free to comment.
As a note, I will be sure to post notes of the round table (and other tools related talks) on our wiki page after GDC.
The votes have been counted and the results are in for the new IGDA Tools SIG chair, which is me! Late last week, Raquel let everyone know the results of the election on the mailing list and asked if I had a few words to share with the membership. Below are my comments sent to the list which hopefully explains my positions on where I see the SIG going over the next year. I mention it in the post, but I want to reiterate that I cannot do this alone. If the Tools SIG is going to succeed, we need to foster the collaboration of all of its members. I think this blog is a good start for that, but we have a long way to go.
I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me, and I’m looking forward to talking on the responsibilities as SIG Chair. I am positive that this year will be full of new advancements and initiatives for the SIG. Over the next few years, I’m hoping that we’ll be able to leverage the experience of our members into many tangible benefits for the community. Whether this takes the form of books, white papers, surveys, open source tools and frameworks, or even just increased awareness of the benefits of a good tools team, I want the SIG to be on the forefront of driving the state of tools and tools development forward in the industry.
But this is obviously not something I can tackle alone. One of the first things I’d like to do is create a SIG leadership: a set of individuals who are interested in taking on leadership roles, heading up small project teams and initiatives, and being evangelists for the SIG itself. In my mind, my position as SIG chair will only be to help these people really get organized and working, and keep the daily politics and maintenance of the SIG out of their way. If this sounds like a good position to you, please let me know, and what projects you might want to see take off.
All of this, however, is open for discussion. If you have any ideas on how the SIG can improve, please don’t keep silent. If you can, please try to make it out to the GDC Round Table so we can start some face to face discussion about the direction of the SIG over the coming year, and find some volunteers who will be interested in tackling the hard projects.
Besides our discussion list, the Tools SIG has many other ways for you to stay connected with other tools devotees, including a Facebook group, a Facebook blog network group and now the new LinkedIn group. If you are a member of any of these sites, please feel free to join and connect with everyone else!
If you would like the SIG to have a presence on any other sites, please let us know, and we’ll look into it.
The IGDA Tools SIG has opened voting for the new SIG chair! The new chair will replace the wonderful and talented Raquel Bujans, who’s been heading up the SIG for the past 2 years and has recently elected to step down.
We have three “sets” of candidates looking at taking the roll of chair:
Jeff Ward (me)
Kevin Rabun & Alan Kimball (as co-chairs)
Please head over to vote here. The password for voting can be obtained from the email sent to the discussion list (see here for instructions on how to join) or you can email Raquel directly (instructions on the survey page).