GWSIG Monthly Meeting Minutes/Meeting18
International Game Developers Association
Chris: Hello all! Is there an agenda?
WendyDespain: i thought you were in charge of the agenda
Dansky: I've got ulterior motives, but no agenda.
Chris: Shall I presume I'm chairing again? Unless anyone else wants the dubious honour?
Chris: There is an agenda, I've just found it.
randomwalshness: applauds cris
S Chen: I will have to depart shortly, as I have 12 minutes to my laptop battery.
Dansky: Then let's get to it. Chris, I motion that you run things. Seconded? :-)
Chris: No worries, Sande. Thanks for stopping by! Do you have anything you want to bring up before you go?
S Chen: No, I'll just see what your new initiatives are when the summary gets posted....
Chris: It looks like this agenda has been rearranged with the Agenda before the Matters Arising. Which might have been my idea. Because usually we use up all the time on the MA and run out of time for the A. :)
Chris: Anyway, there's only one agenda point:
Chris: 1. Austin Follow Up (Anyone)
James Swallow: Hello all
Dansky: I'll take that one, if it's cool?
randomwalshness: wotcha James
WendyDespain: Hello James
WendyDespain: go for it Dansky
Chris: Go for it Rich!
Chris: (Hi Jim!)
Dansky: The short version - We got a very enthusiastic response at Austin. There were 75 new signups for the list, a significant number of folks who are interested in volunteering, and a couple of unexpected, positive developments. One was the number of academics who came to the table looking for help in putting together curricula on game writing. The other was the number of companies who came by the booth looking for writers.
Chris: All sounds positive.
randomwalshness: Good work!
Dansky: It all was, I think. We showed well - thanks again to everyone who helped either with the prep or the booth.
WendyDespain: i input all the names from the sign-up sheet. i'm still working on trying to decypher those that bounced
Dansky: We also got extremely positive feedback on the game writing book, with particular appreciation for the fact that it was "from the trenches" and practical.
Dansky: I suspect we could have sold about thirty copies or so if we'd had them.
randomwalshness: Damn, there goes our percentage, lol
Chris: Sounds like a complete success. I guess we'll push on, as at least one of the MA's is going to take a while - if anyone has anything else to add on Austin, feel free to do so (we can all multi-thread...)
Chris: So, Matters Arising...
Chris: A. Survey (Beth Dillon)
Chris: Did we get apologies from Beth, I think we did...?
Chris: Ah, here we go:
Chris: "Survey update: </b>It's up and running. I'll get on promoting it more thisweekend, but I've sent it out to the mailing list and it got in theIGDA Newsletter."
WendyDespain: she said she was going to do more promotion of the survey this weekend
WendyDespain: it's now on our website as well
WendyDespain: so you should all go take the survey if you haven't already
Chris: B. New Editor Volunteers (Coray Seifert/Chris Bateman)
Chris: Ben and Coray are looking to step down from the newsletter and need some new blood to take their place. It's planned as a phased departure - but we need the new volunteers.
S Chen: gonna have to leave. Bye all!
Dansky: Later, Sande
Chris: By Sande!
WendyDespain: while we're on the subject and Ben is here - are you guys planning to continue hosting the web version of the quarterly?
Chris: One of the points in the only remaining agenda point (new initiatives) is recruiting new blood in general, so I wonder if we don't need to plan for a recruitment drive in general terms, and pick some volunteers from that for the people who come forward.
randomwalshness: cya sande
WendyDespain: bye Sande
Dansky: The quarterly editorship is potentially a great networking tool. Hopefully folks will recognize that.
Chris: Do we want to put out a specific call for editors, or do we want to put out a general call for volunteers? I think that's the central question at this point.
Chris: (Incidentally, are you really there Ben? Or are you just an internet shadow...)
Dansky: I think we need to put out a general call for volunteers, listing the specific initiatives that we need people for.
BenServiss: Hey sorry, got pulled away for a minute
Chris: No worries. :)
Dansky: Express the need, offer direction, and leave the door open for general volunteering if someone comes up with something not on the laundry list.
BenServiss: Phasing in new blood (and plasma, and all that good stuff) was the plan from the start, so that'd be great for the quarterly
BenServiss: Especially now that J's handling the layout, it's definitely on its way
WendyDespain: so Ben.... hosting?
BenServiss: How did the Austin edition go over, by the way?
Dansky: Very well, Ben. At least a few of the people who came to the booth specifically mentioned the quarterly.
BenServiss: Excellent, getting it into the handout bags certainly helped then :)
Kim: I wouldn't mind helping out with the quarterly, though my time is limited. When will you be putting up the list of jobs available for the quarterly?
BenServiss: Wendy-we'll get the Austin edition up online soon as possible.
Dansky: Next year, I think having a few extras on the table as well will help, but that's minor. Getting them in the bags definitely helped.
Chris: Since we're already on the subject of volunteers, we might as well deal with this part of the new initiatives now. Does anyone have any general thoughts about how to proceed?
Chris: I'll copy in the notes from Rich and Steve...
Chris: Rich's notes from Austin: </b>Get more folks actively involved with the SIG. The core of the group is overloaded, and if we don't give new folks some interesting stuff to do, they're going to drift off.
WendyDespain: Ben - I'm missing the edition before Austin too
Chris: Steve's comments: </b>Yah. BEth, are there opportunities for birds of a feather sessins at Future Play? That might be one way to start this.
Chris: Sadly, Beth isn't here to come back on Steve's comment.
Kim: I'm also working on the Write Club at FuturePlay and could help. I had a couple of questions about this as well.
Dansky: I'd like to get at least a few of the new initiatives up and running ASAP, even if it's just to gauge interest. If I had to pick, I'd say Hiring Hall, promoting the book, and White Paper are the top 3.
Chris: Go ahead, Kim... it's all pretty freeform.
Chris: Would it be insane to consider a third email list for volunteers, so that we can put all the volunteers in "the same room" - maybe get some joint energy out of them. I'm concerned if we don't do something with new volunteers, we'll end up frittering away their fresh enthusiasm.
Kim: I know that there were writing prompts for the Write Club at GDC. Should we use the same ones or are people going to write up more? Hmmm... or is it up to us who'll be there to write up some prompts? :)
Kim: Also, I have secured free discs with 30-day trials of Inspiration software (a brainstorming and flowchart program) for everyone who participates, and also one copy to give away as a prize.
Chris: Sadly it's Ed who knows best about the Writer Club stuff. Who is hosting the new Write Club? They should write their own setup, probably, so they know what's going on, I suppose.
Chris: Kim - nice!
Kim: I spoke with Ed about a month and a half ago, and he gave me his notes and stuff, but I forgot to ask about writing prompts. :(
Kim: Thanks. :)
Chris: Rich - I think it's a good idea to focus the initiatives down to a few key points. Perhaps we should go through the list briefly and feed in Steve's comments, then we can discuss which to focus on?
Dansky: Sounds like a plan, Chris.
Chris: Kim - are you running the new Write Club?
Kim: I was the one who proposed it to the Futureplay folks. So, I guess I am.
Chris: Ah, in charge by default. :)
Kim: Yes. :)
Kim: I was going to look at the prompts from the last Write Club and come up with some new ones or put it out to those joining us to come up with some.
Dansky: Might be a good opportunity for the list, too - "Propose challenges for Write Club!"
randomwalshness: Chris is there anything writeclub wise we could do in the UK, seems like London games week would've been good, but what about next year?
Kim: Or just "borrow" some from the last Write Club!
randomwalshness: any thoughts Jim? Chris?
Kim: Yes, I like that idea. A challenge to the list!
WendyDespain: there were some good prompts from the last Write Club
Chris: Andy: </b>we've missed this year completely.
Kim: We could mix and match - a few from last year's and a few new ones
randomwalshness: I know - what about next?
WendyDespain: i'm not sure about starting another mailing list. the general one right now is getting very little traffic
Chris: Kim - that's a good compromise. Less work than starting afresh.
Dansky: *nod* Sounds good, Kim. and maybe give credit to the authors of the new ones.
randomwalshness: there will be the third WGGB event of course, but I'm thinking about a specific IGDA one
Kim: Okay. I'll work on that and e-mail if I have any questions and to get feedback on the new ones.
James Swallow: yeah, we might be able to do something at Develop 07
Chris: Andy - sorry, I was trying to respond to that but the multithreads ran me over. We should definitely pursue this for next year. Are you goign to any of the events? Could you approach the organisers to discuss next year? A face to face is usually a good start for this sort of thing.
randomwalshness: I don't know what I'm doing next week at the moment (no really, I don't!) so no idea about what events I'm going to in 07 :0)
Chris: Wendy - the main list is quiet, you say? So we might consider getting new volunteers talknig on the main list, perhaps?
randomwalshness: Jim, is that the Brighton thing? Would be good to follow up on Jason's contacts and do that?
Chris: Andy - okay, well even if you can't attend, you could write to them on behalf of the WGGB and the SIG perhaps. As a person with a finger in both pies, it will look good coming from you. Especially if you have a WGGB letterhead. :)
James Swallow: andy, yes Develop is the Brighton thing.
James Swallow: remember Jason asked us to do something higher profile for next year?
Chris: I suppose the question is: </b>do we want to target Brighton, or London, or attempt to do both?
WendyDespain: there was a rush of traffic right after austin, but the main list has been very quiet since then. they need something to talk about and urging volunteers to get involved seems like a good option to me
Chris: Wendy- *nods*
James Swallow: chris - if london and brighton in 07 are spread out enough, then why not?
Chris: Lack of manpower, mostly.
Chris: With Rhianna withdrawing from the SIG, and me leaving the country, that leaves you two to run everything...
WendyDespain: I thought Rhianna was just withdrawing from the committee, not the SIG
randomwalshness: cool, I'm up for either or both
Chris: Well I don't know. She hasn't responded to my emails in quite a while now. I'm concerned that I've done something to offend her, to be honest.
randomwalshness: we can rope Rhi in, maybe James Leach (is he IGDA? If not, let's recruit him!)
Chris: While Jim, Andy and I discuss UK related stuff, we might as well cover the remaining MA point in parallel:
randomwalshness: Rhi is around
Chris: C. New Initiatives Launch (Steve Jacobs/Rich Dansky)... notes follow:
randomwalshness: I'm msning her at the mo :)
Chris: Rich Dansky's action points from Austin: 1. Start work on educational outreach. This could include setting up a program to provide speakers, creating recommended reading lists, curriculum development, or sample docs for educators to download. 2. More resources for "how to break in" and "how to be a professional". Like it or not, the next generation is out there, and it's in our best interest if we help them become more professional. The revised White Paper seems a natural place to start, possibly with spinning off a separate doc to deal with the business side. 3. A sequel to the book â€šÃ„Ã¬ there appears to be demand for it from the community. 4. Promote the book more. We're getting great reviews and word of mouth, but people don't know where to find it. Let's get the reader reviews up there on amazon, collect the blurbs and put them someplace visible, and push the book. 5. Ramp up the hiring hall, pronto. If we don't become the place to look for writers, someplace else will, and we'll lose some releva
randomwalshness: She's busy, still pro-IGDA but not on the committee any more :0)
Chris: (Sorry, that has no formating and looks awful)
Dansky: It was awful when I wrote it, Chris. No worries :-)
Chris: Do I need to paste in Steve's comments from his email earlier?
Chris: Andy - I suggest writing to the organisers of both conferences and stating a position, which would basically be: we have resources to do game writing events, and we feel they should reflect this side of the industry in their conferences. They'll probably be happy to add something to their conferences provided they have a mechanism.
randomwalshness: Sounds cool
randomwalshness: I can't do it for a while, I'm involved with two big WGGB initiatives right now that will tie up the little free time I've got :(
randomwalshness: If it's not dealt with in say two months (not the best timetable, but an honest one) then if you prod me at that stage I'll get on to it
Chris: But we have the better part of a year, Andy, so you've got time. I'll add it to the MA for future agendas so we can chase you. :)
randomwalshness: Re: education - Edge published it's getting into games supplement with the latest issue. And after months of articles on writing and games audio....
randomwalshness: not a thing in the supplement
James Swallow: tsk
James Swallow: GamesTM *did* put a mention in about the BAFTA/WGGB event, as promised
James Swallow: i'll be prodding them to do a feature in the coming months
Chris: Sounds good, Jim.
Dansky: For the education angle, I was thinking more about supporting academic programs per se. Maybe providing a recommended reading list, promoting the book as a textbook, seeing if there's interest in producing supporting curriculum materials, but that's potentially a big task.
Chris: Steve said:
Chris: Both Beth and I are on the Ed Sig Exec. BEth's in charge of communications I believe and I'm in charge of getting something set up around internships. Beth, do you want to ping susan and see who me might interface with their efforts???As I recall, there was discussion on the writer's list about books, so there's a good start there for the reading list. Ed sig is doing a lot on curriculum and we could contact that person and offer some help after we identify a new person to liason there, they'll be doing a lot with sample docs as well.
Chris: Sounds like a good opportunity for a joint SIG action, there.
randomwalshness: nice one Jim
randomwalshness: WGGB will be looking for speakers at some educational establishments over the next couple of years, might be able to piggyback events
Dansky: *nod* Shall we ask if Stephen or Beth wants to be point, and let them put together a proposal and a call for volunteers?
Chris: That would seem to be sensible. I'm assuming Steve will check the minutes at some point... Hi Steve! :D
Chris: Rich: </b>which initiatives did you suggest prioritising for volunteers?
Dansky: Hiring Hall - it's the one with the most obvious direct benefit. White Paper - It was already on the agenda for an upgrade. Book support - we have word of mouth, and we need to capitalize on that.
Chris: Plus the educational outreach, in concert with the Ed sig?
Chris: Anyone have any thoughts on this focus?
Chris: I suggest that the common script format is an infinite time sink with little hope of success. I'm not saying we shouldn't pursue it, but I am suggesting that it shouldn't be a priority at this stage, because the hope of success is slender.
Chris: (It comes up every year, and every year the problem is the same: </b>every game has different script needs)
Chris: The white paper overhaul needs to be pushed forward, because we've been talking about it since GDC, and achieved nothing in the interim!
Dansky: *nod* I was thinking of it more as a standardized sample piece than anything else, Chris.
Chris: Yeah, I know, but I just wanted to grind my axe a bit more. :)
Chris: I actually fancy tilting at this windmill before I leave the SIG at some unspecified future point, but I don't think the time is now.
James Swallow: we can still talk about formats (not A FORMAT)
Chris: We have some script samples in the book now, so that gives us something to work with.
James Swallow: guidelines instead of rules
randomwalshness: I'm working on a game that's got 5 formats within the same game (not a game I've talked about, so no secrets given out on this one! :0) )
Chris: And on the subject of the book, I have to think that promoting the book we have has to take precedence over starting work on a new book - I appreciate the suggestion to get talking on this, but perhaps we should return to this after we have some new volunteers put to work on new initiatives.
WendyDespain: I think we need an initiative that's easy to jump in on for newbies
WendyDespain: maybe resurect the attempt at making a list of games with good writing?
Chris: *shudder* I always hated that. It seemed like an excuse for a dozen people to argue with each other and achieve nothing tangible.
Chris: But I'm extra cynical today as I had a vacination shot in both arms yesterday, and was charged $100 for the priviledge... But that's neither here not there!
WendyDespain: well, nobody even wanted to argue about it the last time it came up
James Swallow: i'm with chris re the importance of pushing the book we got versus writing a new one
randomwalshness: a timetable for the next book would be good so we know - promote this one for x months, start prep work on the next at...then people have a framework and the book doesn't slide to 2010
James Swallow: but that's not to say a sequel isn't worth thinking about too
WendyDespain: but gamers love to complain about bad writing, and one way for students to learn about how to write is to study examples of quality work
randomwalshness: What continent are you on chris? :0)
Dansky: I don't think the two have to be mutually exclusive. We can start the low-level discussion on the sequel while we promote the current one in high gear.
Chris: Andy - sometimes I wonder! :p
WendyDespain: but if they study the wrong things, all the bad bits about game writing will just get perpetuated
Dansky: And perhaps an alternate to the "examples of good writing" argument is to get people to post reviews of game writing to the wiki.
Dansky: "Play a well-written game, tell us about it!"
Chris: Ah, now reviews of writing in games is a completely different proposition, of course!
Chris: That might be an easy one to get some traction on.
James Swallow: what rich said!
Dansky: I'll contribute a piece or two to help get the ball rolling, if we want to go that direction.
WendyDespain: i have no complaints about that direction
Chris: Do we want to push forward a newbie friendly scheme like that as a "honey pot" scheme - i.e. see who contributes something, assume they have energy to contribute, then invite them to volunteer for "something useful"? :)
Chris: Or would we prefer a more direct approach - recruit for specific initiatives.
randomwalshness: a honey pot scheme? I know we want to get to know the new members, but this is all getting a bit kinky
WendyDespain: the problem with most of the rest of the initiatives is that it requires you have some experience at game writing, and a lot of our members don't have much experience
Chris: Or perhaps do both - perhaps lead off with a direct recruiting drive for the three points already discussed, then follow up with the honey pot scheme...
Chris: Wendy- I agree.
WendyDespain: i think we should group them all together so it doesn't look like anybody's getting the leftover scraps
Chris: Alright, well time is getting short and we need a plan of action. Do we want to immediately initiate a recruitment drive for the three issues already discussed namely... damn... I've forgotten what they are. Education outreach, white paper revision and something else?
Dansky: Reviews are, I think, an easy-access opportunity. So are helping to promote the book. and I think we could certainly use some new blood on the white paper, if for no other reason than to find out which questions most need answering.
Dansky: Hiring Hall, Chris.
randomwalshness: new members can help with frameworking a lot of stuff
Dansky: (And Wendy's right - everything at once so nothing is seen as privileged)
randomwalshness: student groups organising stuff for speakers and then we provide the speakers
WendyDespain: when you talk about the Hiring Hall... what exactly are you thinking and how does it relate to our list of available writers?
randomwalshness: that sort of stuff
Dansky: Wendy - I am thinking we need to expand our list of available writers to turn it into more of a viable resource, a destination for people looking to hire writers.
Chris: Alright, Rich, you and Steve are for some reason "in charge" of the new initiatives launch, are you happy to draft an email for the main list, which you can post to the committee list for revisions and feedback?
Dansky: I can do that, Chris. The draft will be sent around this week.
randomwalshness: we should ask companies what they want to see on a list, what would make it useable for them as a resource
WendyDespain: good idea :-)
WendyDespain: I guess we can discuss that initiative more via email since we're running out of time now
Chris: Before we run out of time, can I broach the question of the date of the next meeting?
Chris: How about Wednesday 25th October? (Which is my sister's birthday, not that it's relevant).
randomwalshness: can we put a link on the IGDA site to the WGGB guidelines? Free resource! :0)
James Swallow: can do
WendyDespain: 25 October sounds good
WendyDespain: walsh, send me an email with the link you want me to link to :-)
Kim: I won't be able to make it on the 25th :( I'll be on my honeymoon.
Kim: Wait, that's a good thing. :)
WendyDespain: congrats Kim :-)
Chris: Congratulations Kim!
Chris: I'm guessing the 26th isn't going to be any better for you. :D
Dansky: Congratulations, Kim!
Kim: No, probably not. I could probably convince my new husband that I have to dash off for an hour to take a meeting. ;)
WendyDespain: would anybody at Futureplay have a use for the banner we used at our booth in Austin?
Chris: No, don't sweat it. We can't get everyone into every meeting.
Chris: Rich, Kim, Andy - 25th okay with you?
Chris: Oh, and Ben - forgot the Benster. :)
randomwalshness: will do Despain :0)
Kim: Maybe. I'm not sure what type of room or set up we have at Futureplay. How big is the banner?
BenServiss: Can't forget the shadow!
randomwalshness: congrats Kim - catches up!
Kim: Thanks, Andy.
WendyDespain: 4 feet by 3 feet
Dansky: Whom do I need to mail the banner to, and when do you need it?
Kim: I'm sure we could put it up in the room where we're holding the Write Club.
BenServiss: 25th is fine
BenServiss: (and kudos Kim!)
randomwalshness: No idea Chris, sorry - living in randomness at the mo
Kim: You could mail it to me or Beth I figure.
WendyDespain: i'd like to get more use out of it than just Austin - although it looked great there and made us look cool if i do say so myself
Chris: Sure thing Andy, no worries. Since anarchy runs your life, one day is as good as the next, I suppose.
James Swallow: quick question before we all go - is anyone going to be at the GDC London / London Games Summit / Sense of Play events next week?
Chris: Jim - I will be in London, but I can't make any of the events this year.
randomwalshness: Am up for a pint at the back end of the week, can't make anything the start of the week Jim
James Swallow: I'm hoping to get to the Sense of Play event for a looksee on the friday
Chris: I am in London on Friday for my visa interview at the US Embassy, but I don't know my movements. Feel free to text me if you end up in a pub somewhere - no promises, but I'll see if I can make it!
randomwalshness: Might be able to make that, do you ahve to book and when is it? Afternoon? Evening?
Chris: Anyway, I think we're basically adjourned. I'll tidy up the agenda... this is going to be a tricky one.
Chris: Thanks for coming everyone!
James Swallow: http://www.senseofplay.com/
WendyDespain: thanks for chairing, Chris!
James Swallow: it's free
randomwalshness: happiness all round :)
James Swallow: applause for kim!
Kim: Thank you! :D
WendyDespain: Kim, I have to ask - with a name like that I never want to assume. Are you male or female?
Kim: Kimberley Ann - female!
WendyDespain: thanks :-)
Kim: No problem. :0
Kim: oops - :)
randomwalshness: It's all right Kim, she asked me that and she was asking me in person
Kim: :) oh dear
James Swallow: but andy is just so pretty
BenServiss: ah, the post-meeting gender bending. A SIG tradition!
randomwalshness: Thanks Jim, *preen*
WendyDespain: wow, it's been a long time since I've been laughing so hard I couldn't come up with a snappy comeback
WendyDespain: give me a minute, i'm sure i'll think of something
randomwalshness: Writers are supposed to take about a week to do a snappy comeback aren't they?
randomwalshness: Union rules- job preservation :0)
WendyDespain: ah hah. I got it.
WendyDespain: I was just trying to help out Dansky. He was trying to decide how much to flirt with you.
randomwalshness: anyone for a pirate joke?
WendyDespain: ahoy matey
Chris: (Wendy or anyone else: </b>can you check to see if I've missed something important off the Matters Arising for the next agenda: </b>http://www.igda.org/wiki/index.php/Game_Writers_SIG/Agenda - Thanks!)
WendyDespain: i don't see any mention of the game writing reviews in the list of volunteer initiatves
Chris: Thanks, I knew I'd forgotten something.