IGDA Tools SIG Roundtable

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 :)

GDC 2014 Roundtables

There are four tools-centric roundtables at GDC this year. As always, there is a Technical Issues in Tools roundtable each day of the main conference, but this year there is dedicated roundtable to discuss Tools SIG issues! Plan on making it to at least one of the Technical Issues in Tools roundtables, and make sure to come and check out the SIG Roundtable on Friday! New projects are afoot in the Tools SIG, and we need your help to push for more sharing in the tools community!

Here are the session times:

Wednesday 3/19:
Technical Issues in Tools at 11am

Thursday 3/20:
Technical Issues in Tools at 5:30pm

Friday 3/21:
Technical Issues in Tools at 10am
Tools SIG Roundtable at 4pm

The Toolsmiths Google Group

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.

See you on the list!

IGDA Board Elections

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 Approaches

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!

Which days would be the best for a Tools Developers get together at GDC?

View Results

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IGDA Board Nominations Open

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.

Tools SIG, how can we help you?

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.