This is a series of posts about one of the big problems facing the games industry: honesty, exploitation, standing up for better quality of life, and actually “doing, not talking”.
IMHO it has added poignancy given the vast layoffs that have taken place across the board in the past 12 months. I’m splitting it into sub-posts so that the people who already know e.g. all the background to where we are now don’t need to trawl through it to get to the commentary.
I bear no personal ill-will to any of the people involved, and I don’t hold their opinions against them; in some cases I strongly object to the things they’ve said as spokepeople of their organizations, and I disagree strenuously with some of the opinions, but none of that makes them bad people. Although it might well make the organizations they represent into “bad organizations”…
IGDA: International Game Developers Association
Formed some 8 (?) years ago, but in reality only really an independent organization for the past 4 (?) years, the IGDA’s vaguely-worded mission is to represent “game developers” in all forms, and make things better for them. It is non-specific whether it stands for “developers” as in “individuals who develop” or “developers” as in “development companies”, although there tends to be an implicit slant towards the former.
Alternate Reality Games (ARG) SIG: A “Special Interest Group” of the IGDA
Formed in 2005 by myself and 10 other people, our mission is even more vaguely worded :). But something along the lines: provide fora and support for ARG developers to meet each other, learn from each other, share ideas and advice, discuss developments in the industry, and generally just meet and talk to like-minded people.
IGDA Board Elections: 2nd Feb 2009 to 24th Feb 2009
The Board consists of 12 elected volunteers, who each serve 3 years, with 4 of them re-elected each year (so there are always 3 tranches of directors at any one time).
This year, I put myself up for election. I felt that despite all the good things IGDA was doing, it was failing in a couple of key areas to do with its role in the wider world of game development. It needed to get a lot more pro-active. It needed to stop just talking about what people should do, and do more to make them, and help them, to get there. Too many people have no idea what the IGDA is, even in a vague sense, and I wanted to fix that too.
TCE: The Chaos Engine
An internet forum that – unusually – is private, and enforces reasonably strict membership criteria. You must be:
- A professional employed in the games industry
- Not a manager
- Work in the “making games / shipping games” part (i.e.: not PR, not HR, not Finance, etc)
- Not a journalist
In essence: it’s a place for people who actually make games, with all the attendant joy and suffering, to talk freely with other knowledgeable people, without the presence of rabid fanbois who know nothing about what they’re talking about, and without the constant fear that an unscrupulous manager or HR drone is reading your every word and looking for excuses to fire you.
The stage has been set … read on to What Happened?