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Is the IGDA Relevant?


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#1 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 14 June 2011 - 04:15 PM

I noticed it's pretty sad at the IGDA forums. There's not much communication going on. Most of the chapters don't seem to have had any activity in months or years.

Is the IGDA relevant to our industry anymore? Were they ever? How so?

When I was a kid in school, I was an IGDA member so that I could get a free subscription to Game Developer magazine. They no longer offer that perk. Is there more to the IGDA that I'm not seeing?

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#2 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 29552

Posted 14 June 2011 - 06:22 PM

Here in Melbourne they have regular meetings -- the people in a room kind, not the internet forum kind -- which are supported by local development studios. That might be one reason why their forums seem dead.

#3 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 14 June 2011 - 07:09 PM

Here in Melbourne they have regular meetings -- the people in a room kind, not the internet forum kind -- which are supported by local development studios. That might be one reason why their forums seem dead.


I feel like these forums kind of deprecate the online forums of the IGDA. There's so much more activity here, they cover the same topics, and they contain a lot of the same people.

Speaking of which i should probably renew my membership <_<

#4 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 20349

Posted 14 June 2011 - 10:42 PM

We also have semi-regular IGDA meetings in Salt Lake City. There are 9 local studios and most have participants in IGDA; a few of the studios host from time to time. It's been at EA Salt Lake, Wahoo/NinjaBee, and a few others, plus occasional meetings at a the various universities (U of U, Broadview, etc.) and others at local eateries.

Although the major studios (Disney and EA) have policies that prevent employees from releasing work, we are generally encouraged to help in the community more as a mentoring role at IGDA meetings and other events.

Also, don't forget their student organization. Several Universities have Student IGDA chapters or have individuals that participate in their student SIG.
Check out my personal indie blog at bryanwagstaff.com.

#5 Gaiiden   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 5025

Posted 15 June 2011 - 09:13 AM

It's sad what happened to the IGDA forums, actually. Back at the turn of the century (feels so weird to say that in regards to recent history) the IGDA boards were as excellent a resource as these ones. There were a lot of great discussions and people hanging around. That all ended when they tried to redo the site (around 2006 it was I think? 08? Can't remember exactly) and the forums became a slow, unusable mess. I used to visit regularly though - I would open the page, then go browse some other forums while I waited for it to load. Seriously. Eventually though it just starved itself to death.

As an organization though the IGDA is still very relevant. They still need to fix their online presence up a bit in some ways (they've actually come a good ways since the site revamp), but as you've seen already in replies the local chapters are still going strong. If you have any problems getting in touch with your local chapter or starting your own, contact Ryan Arndt, the IGDA community manager and he will help you out post haste!

I'm hugely indebted to the IGDA. When I was starting in the industry I rebooted my local IGDA chapter back in 2001 and have met so many people in a state of the US that at the time I was sure had absolutely no game developers in it at all. So many of my good industry friends have come through contacts and work I've done with the IGDA. The key thing many people don't realize is that you get out of the IGDA what you put into it. It's not so much an organization to simply serve game developers as an org for game developers to serve themselves and each other. Everyone in it from members to Board of Directors is a game dev who just wants to look out for other game devs and the industry as a whole. If you join up and sit back and expect wonders to happen for you most people end up a bit disappointed. Involvement is key.

@way2lazy2care - def get that membership renewed! :)

Drew Sikora
Executive Producer
GameDev.net


#6 markadrake   Members   -  Reputation: 104

Posted 15 June 2011 - 09:25 AM

I'm the same way as another poster -> I had a student membership in the IGDA and benefited greatly thanks to the discount on books from certain publishers and a free copy of GameDev magazine. I'd probably join again if I felt that the IGDA was an active participant in, well, anything.

I look forward to reading more responses and see what others think.

The game development community around 'ol Winchester VA isn't big enough to start a chapter, but that's one thing I plan on looking into today.

#7 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 15 June 2011 - 09:35 AM

It's sad what happened to the IGDA forums, actually. Back at the turn of the century (feels so weird to say that in regards to recent history) the IGDA boards were as excellent a resource as these ones. There were a lot of great discussions and people hanging around. That all ended when they tried to redo the site (around 2006 it was I think? 08? Can't remember exactly) and the forums became a slow, unusable mess. I used to visit regularly though - I would open the page, then go browse some other forums while I waited for it to load. Seriously. Eventually though it just starved itself to death.

As an organization though the IGDA is still very relevant.
...
The key thing many people don't realize is that you get out of the IGDA what you put into it.
...
If you join up and sit back and expect wonders to happen for you most people end up a bit disappointed. Involvement is key.
@way2lazy2care - def get that membership renewed! :)

I understand that I might get a lot out of it if I were to start a local chapter (or actually work to revive my local chapter). I could just as easily start a non-IGDA-related organization, however, such as a Meetup.

So my question is, what does the IGDA do for me? You tell way2lazy2care to renew his membership. What you're really telling him is to pay his dues. If I'm paying for something shouldn't I get something out of it, regardless of whether I choose to become an active member? And if the way to get something out of it is to start a local organization, why do it through the IGDA instead of doing it for free?

I'm not saying the IGDA is worthless, my ears are open. I've already paid my dues so I'm actually hoping someone will tell me that it wasn't a waste of money.

#8 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 15 June 2011 - 09:40 AM

The game development community around 'ol Winchester VA isn't big enough to start a chapter, but that's one thing I plan on looking into today.

Well, I'm in Chicago, and the local chapter here seems to have been struggling for years. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the demise of Midway and general lack of game development in Chicago. There are some companies, but not enough to support a community I guess.

#9 ryanigda   Members   -  Reputation: 104

Posted 15 June 2011 - 10:26 AM

heyo, the site is not ideal nor in great shape, besides many chapters are posting and organizing on meetup.com and facebook. I am working to improve the bridge between social media and the site with what is available atm.

For you specifically, the Chicago chapter is doing pretty well, but its posting it on facebook. I can intro you if you like. Even have one of the IGDA Scholars (http://igda.org/scholarships) from E3, who is involved with chapter organization there. please feel free to add me on facebook too http://facebook.com/ryan80e or tweet at me @igda and I can help you out. I also keep things updated at least twice a day on the IGDA Facebook page at http://facebook.com/igda.org

As for why not just a local event, I believe the connection beyond a city is very powerful, and as the Global Community Manager, I get to see the great things going on, right on the forefront. There are now over 100 Chapters from Malaysia to Nigeria, to Columbia, to China to Mexico to South Africa. A local meetup will not connect you to what is going on around the world in the same way, if you choose to jump in to that. Ping me on twiitter or facebook, and I will intro you to your local chapter folks :) The IGDA has lots going on including the above, as well as Special Interest Groups (http://igda.org/sigs - many on facebook too), the IGDA Perspectives Newsletter (http://igda.org/newsletter), events (http://igda.org/summit , http://igda.org/leadership ), education programs (http://igda.org/education) and then some.

Looking forward to talking to you soon :)

Ryan
ryan at igda dot org
@igda on twitter
http://facebook.com/igda.org
Add me on facebook: http://facebook.com/ryan80e


The game development community around 'ol Winchester VA isn't big enough to start a chapter, but that's one thing I plan on looking into today.

Well, I'm in Chicago, and the local chapter here seems to have been struggling for years. I'm sure it has a lot to do with the demise of Midway and general lack of game development in Chicago. There are some companies, but not enough to support a community I guess.



#10 coldacid   Members   -  Reputation: 739

Posted 15 June 2011 - 10:45 AM

On the matter of chapters, I've been attending events of the Toronto chapter soon after it started up, and we've got quite the active community coming out to meet and talk shop every month. To me, it seems like the chapters are more relevant than the parent organization. As for SIGs, I wouldn't know what to say. Some may be pretty active, but I've not heard much from the ones I follow, besides the constantly-troubled Indies SIG (disclosure: I used to be one of the Indie SIG admins).

I have to say though, that the value of membership in the IGDA isn't what it used to be, at least for individuals. I was a member back when we'd get GDMag as a soupcon, and for some time afterwards. But when the IGDA and CMP ended their relationship (which also included CMP's assistance in managing the organization, not just the magazine subscription), a lot seemed to change with the IGDA, as they stopped focusing so much on supporting developers and put more effort into just managing the association themselves. I think things like the current, broken-down website are a symptom of that. Another thing I've noticed is despite "International" in the name, some of the offers available to full members are only really relevant to Americans (for example, the health care program).

In short, the IGDA can be very relevant at the chapter level, but as you get higher, it seems less and less so, unfortunately. If I had ideas on how to change that and make things better, I'd probably rejoin and put my name in various hats, but as I don't, I can't see a reason to rejoin when I can already participate in my local chapter anyway.

Chris 'coldacid' Charabaruk – Programmer, game designer, writer | twitter


#11 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 15 June 2011 - 11:50 AM

I have to say though, that the value of membership in the IGDA isn't what it used to be, at least for individuals. I was a member back when we'd get GDMag as a soupcon, and for some time afterwards. But when the IGDA and CMP ended their relationship (which also included CMP's assistance in managing the organization, not just the magazine subscription), a lot seemed to change with the IGDA, as they stopped focusing so much on supporting developers and put more effort into just managing the association themselves. I think things like the current, broken-down website are a symptom of that. Another thing I've noticed is despite "International" in the name, some of the offers available to full members are only really relevant to Americans (for example, the health care program).

In short, the IGDA can be very relevant at the chapter level, but as you get higher, it seems less and less so, unfortunately. If I had ideas on how to change that and make things better, I'd probably rejoin and put my name in various hats, but as I don't, I can't see a reason to rejoin when I can already participate in my local chapter anyway.


I think last years elections had all of these as very very relevant issues (specifically the, "What are you doing for me?" question that is on everyone's mind). I'm not sure what they've been up to lately, but I know it was a very large concern to a lot of the people that were voted onto the board. This was back when I was on the board of my universities IGDA chapter, which forced me to be a little more in the know. Since then I kind of stopped paying attention.

And QFT to their horrible forum switch. If people are upset with this site's forum revamp you should have seen the igda one. You had to wait 30 minutes just to complain about how crappy the forums were. It did kind of force you to write well thought out long posts rather than short one liners though...

#12 Heather M Decker   Members   -  Reputation: 102

Posted 16 June 2011 - 12:11 AM

I know I'm a bit late to the party on this topic, but I just wanted to add that from my standpoint, I feel IGDA is quite relevant. The forums might not have much going on, but I don't feel that forums alone really showcase all of what IGDA can do for developers. What's more useful is getting developers together in the same physical space so they can network and make lasting friendships in their field. Beyond this, setting up situations where developers can learn, or show off their latest work, or otherwise grow together.

It's true that IGDA Chicago didn't have a lot going on for a bit there and the forums were certainly gathering cobwebs. Regardless, over sixty people showed up for the reboot event, and we've continually had great numbers at subsequent events. There's clearly an interest in getting together, even if it isn't being articulated on the forums. In other areas around the globe, there are probably similar situations with chapters that just need a bit of life breathed back into them. It can be done! Unite and start planning fun things for your chapter!

Above and beyond individual chapters, IGDA is also amazing as a voice for developers. Look at recent things like the Amazon developer terms, which IGDA was able to raise a great deal of public awareness about. It's fantastic that we have a strong, unified force behind us, closely examining the treatment of developers by large corporations and publishers. Additionally, we have the continuing push for quality of life in the industry and health insurance plans, both of which IGDA has been championing for us all. There are quite a few ways IGDA is helpful, above and beyond bringing us all together.

As a student, I'm not incredibly bummed out that I don't get Game Developer magazine for free. IGDA has been amazing for me in so many more critical ways! The most recent example I have is of course the E3 scholarship, which I'm proud to say I was a recipient of. Above and beyond the amazing insider experience IGDA gave to the scholars (I could ramble on forever about how awesome it was,) the fourteen of us formed an amazing fellowship over our time together at E3. I'm beyond excited to have friends spanning the globe now, friends I intend to stay connected to and reunite with at future conferences and events. I have IGDA to thank for the colleagues and opportunities I gained from my E3 scholar experience!

#13 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 16 June 2011 - 07:00 AM

The most recent example I have is of course the E3 scholarship, which I'm proud to say I was a recipient of. Above and beyond the amazing insider experience IGDA gave to the scholars (I could ramble on forever about how awesome it was,) the fourteen of us formed an amazing fellowship over our time together at E3. I'm beyond excited to have friends spanning the globe now, friends I intend to stay connected to and reunite with at future conferences and events. I have IGDA to thank for the colleagues and opportunities I gained from my E3 scholar experience!


They do an E3 scholarship now too? They should just double the amount of GDC scholarships they do or add GDC austin/euro scholarships. I think those would be a much better learning experience for students.

Congratulations though. If you enjoyed E3 I'd recommend GDC if you can save up the scratch. Amazing learning experience.

#14 Gaiiden   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 5025

Posted 16 June 2011 - 11:23 AM

They do an E3 scholarship now too? They should just double the amount of GDC scholarships they do or add GDC austin/euro scholarships. I think those would be a much better learning experience for students.

I'll admit I was surprised as well to hear of an E3 scholarship but I can't deny that E3 is just as good a place to network as GDC and anyone interested in the business/marketing side of the industry would be better served here than at a GDC as well. GDC scholars don't just learn, I make sure all my scholars meet the people they need to know in the industry as well.

Drew Sikora
Executive Producer
GameDev.net


#15 Heather M Decker   Members   -  Reputation: 102

Posted 16 June 2011 - 04:36 PM


The most recent example I have is of course the E3 scholarship, which I'm proud to say I was a recipient of. Above and beyond the amazing insider experience IGDA gave to the scholars (I could ramble on forever about how awesome it was,) the fourteen of us formed an amazing fellowship over our time together at E3. I'm beyond excited to have friends spanning the globe now, friends I intend to stay connected to and reunite with at future conferences and events. I have IGDA to thank for the colleagues and opportunities I gained from my E3 scholar experience!


They do an E3 scholarship now too? They should just double the amount of GDC scholarships they do or add GDC austin/euro scholarships. I think those would be a much better learning experience for students.

Congratulations though. If you enjoyed E3 I'd recommend GDC if you can save up the scratch. Amazing learning experience.


Thank you! I've been to GDC two years in a row now and I absolutely loved it! I've promised myself I need to make sure I can go back each year.. however I can make it happen. For instance, last year I had access to more sessions thanks to volunteering. Perhaps this next year I can get into the CA program! GDC has been super helpful to my growth as a developer and, of course, my networking efforts!

As far as E3 goes, the experience we had as IGDA scholars was invaluable! However, if I had just purchased a regular floor pass and wandered around the show floors on my own, I would not have had even remotely the same benefits and takeaway from this. We we truly given a special experience, in addition to the general overview of E3.




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