Mingling with the International Game Developers Association
In March I and six other candidates were elected to the Board of Directors of the International Game Developers’ Los Angeles Chapter, and last Wednesday we held our first event, a meet-and-greet held in conjunction with Recess LA at Rush Street in Culver City, California. Recess LA is a free-to-attend art, board game and play event that bringing creatives, gamers and spectators together for a night of mingling, chatter, music, activities and games. The event was a big success: everyone had a good time in addition to an opportunity to share ideas for additional events with the new IGDA-LA Board. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to tell those of you who are unfamiliar with the International Game Developers Association, a little bit about the organization.
The IGDA is a U.S.-based 501(c)6 non-profit professional association that exists as a global network of collaborative projects and communities comprised of over 12,000 individuals from all fields of game development – from programmers and producers to designers, writers, artists, and testers.
Our mission statement is “To advance the careers and enhance the lives of game developers by connecting members with their peers, promoting professional development, and advocating on issues that affect the developer community.”
We bring together developers at key industry conferences, in over 90 chapters around the world and in Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to improve their lives and their craft. We advocate on behalf of our membership to ensure quality of life, perpetuation of our craft and preparing the next generation of developers.
Aside from bringing game developers together, the IGDA focuses on the following issues present in the game development industry:
- Quality of life: making the process of game development easier and more pleasant for everyone.
- Diversity: ensuring that people from a wide range of backgrounds and their needs are represented in the game development industry
- Anti-Censorship: recognizing games as an art form, and as a medium of expression
- Business and Legal Issues: empowering the development community with business knowledge and advocating for developers
- Student and Academic Relations: setting curriculum guidelines, enhancing collaboration between industry and academia and providing guidance to students wanting a career in games
The IGDA was founded in 1994 by game designer Ernest W. Adams and was initially known as the Computer Game Developers Association (CGDA). Modeled after the Association for Computing Machinery, Ernest envisioned the organization to support the careers and interests of individual developers, as opposed to being a trade organization, or an advocacy group for companies.
Kate Edwards is the current Executive Director of the IGDA, and she has focused especially on diversity and inclusion issues, such as working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to deal with the on-line harassment of developers. Another of her areas of focus has been in welcoming new IGDA chapters in cities around the globe. Chapters are intended to provide an informal way to connect game developers within local communities. They provide forums, for example, for discussions on current issues in the computer gaming industry and demos of the latest games.