International Game Developers Association
April 28, 2005
Ed Kuehnel: Hey all, am I late? I saw 11 a.m. Eastern.
Steve Jacobs: been some confusion there
Steve Jacobs: I'm just hanging out working on a grant and waiting for the room to fill up :-)
Ed Kuehnel: Ah, cool. Throw in some money for me. I've got a lot of research I want to do.
WendyDespain: the original email said 10am eastern
Steve Jacobs: Ford Foundation Grant on Diversity and Freedom of Speech on campus
WendyDespain: but most people seem to have ignored that :-)
Steve Jacobs: I was here :-)
WendyDespain: yeah, you're just cooler than the rest of us, Steve.
WendyDespain: You and Jen are the coolest
Steve Jacobs: Or the stupidest :-)
WendyDespain: the most rebellious? refusing to take part in the groupthink.
WendyDespain: 10am eastern is a little early for me
WendyDespain: I'm cranky that early in the morning
WendyDespain: it's 8am here
Steve Jacobs: Gotta get the kids on the bus for elementary school by 8:00 am anyway
Steve Jacobs: after that its all over anyway
WendyDespain: in so many ways
Steve Jacobs: ayuh :-0
Ed Kuehnel: I'm looking at the original email Chris sent out, he's got 11 a.m. EST on there, so I bet we'll see everyone in 15 minutes.
Ed Kuehnel: We'll put the times on the Wiki next time. :)
Steve Jacobs: After we actually come to an agreement of what it is :-)\
Jennifer Hepler: Hey, I'm back. This at least gave me a chance to eat breakfast.
Ed Kuehnel: What did you have for breakfast?
Jennifer Hepler: Bagel. Nothing exciting, but better than staring at the screen groggily at 7 am with no food :)
Jennifer Hepler: Occasionally, being on the west coast sucks.
Ed Kuehnel: I had ego waffles and turkey bacon.
Jennifer Hepler: I think we should make everyone announce their breakfast to take part in the meeting. Rate them on creativity and healthiness.
Ed Kuehnel: The syrup was lite syrup.
Jennifer Hepler: Then you get extra points :)
CoraySeifert: Hello all!
Jennifer Hepler: Hey!
CoraySeifert: Going to have to apologize, for I will be popping in and out of the meeting as work stuff calls
WendyDespain: this may be a sort of disorganized meeting, if the beginning is any indication :-)
Chris Bateman: Okay, before we start the meeting proper, is there anyone we should be waiting for?
Chris Bateman: Richard already sent apologies in effect. I haven't heard anything from Rhianna - but she may have forgotten.
Chris Bateman: OK. Let's get going. :)
Chris Bateman: Firstly, thanks for coming. We'll kick off with the Matters Arising.
Chris Bateman: Current Initiatives / Monthly Report (Wendy Despain)
Chris Bateman: Wendy, anything to say on this?#
Steve Jacobs: can speak to the book as I just hung up on the Wiley editor :-)
Chris Bateman: Hmm... I guess we might as well cover all the Matters Arising in parallel.
Chris Bateman: Quarterly SIG Report (Rich Dansky(?) Coray?)
Chris Bateman: IGDA hosted mailing list (Chris Bateman)
Chris Bateman: In the case of the IGDA hosted mailing list, the question is - are we happy with the Fat Pigeons mailing list. Because the IGDA now has a listserver, and so we could get a firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list instead - if we don't mind the hassle of switching over.
Chris Bateman: (Coray do you have anything to say on the subject of the Quarterly SIG report idea?)
CoraySeifert: I spoke with the art director here, and we wouldn't mind if we used the online games SIG quarterly as a jumping off point, if that helps.
WendyDespain: sorry - phone call I had to answer. back now.
Chris Bateman: np Wendy.
WendyDespain: I haven't seen it Coray - do you have a URL for an example? or is it an email? or what?
CoraySeifert: Also, I've been in pretty regular contact with Ben Serviss, who is deifnitely interested and able to help out.
CoraySeifert: *scrounges for link*
Chris Bateman: I think the big question with the quarterly report idea is if you're willing to handle editing it. It strikes me as a bigger job than it might seem.
CoraySeifert: I think with the help of Ben I could definitely handle that.
Chris Bateman: How would it be distributed?
CoraySeifert: Plus, if you guys were willing to list my credit as "Coray Seifert, Associate Producer, Large Animal Games" i could sneak in some time at work on it.
CoraySeifert: Well, the online games SIG was distributed online and in print at GDC
Chris Bateman: Well online is obviously cheaper.
CoraySeifert: I believe Jason helped with the GDC print too. Not sure if that was financially or just in terms of organization.
Chris Bateman: I think the bottom line is, if you and Ben are happy to go ahead with this, there's no reason to hold off on it.
WendyDespain: how is it different from the monthly reports I was trying to do on the mailing list?
Chris Bateman: Wendy - did you have anything to comment on the Current Initiatives / Monthly Report ?
CoraySeifert: From our end, we're good to go. We'll just need your help with interviews and making contacts with people we want to interview.
Chris Bateman: In terms of distinction, the quarterly report is more of an informal magazine, not a summary of what's going on.
Chris Bateman: So there's a clear distinction with the monthly report.
CoraySeifert: a ha!
CoraySeifert: Two issues so far
WendyDespain: ah, now I get it. Thank you.
Chris Bateman: So, can I have people's opinions for or against going ahead with the quarterly report? And, while we're at it, for or against switching to an IGDA-hosted mailing list?
Ed Kuehnel: Question: Is it kosher to do much networking on the mailing list or quarterly? I heard via the grapevine that you're not supposed to throw out freelance gigs to people on the mailing list.
Chris Bateman: I am for the quarterly report, and abstaining on the mailing list.
WendyDespain: I say yay to both - I think both make us look more official and professional.
Ed Kuehnel: Yeah, fatpigeons is fine, but the IGDA domain name seems more official.
Chris Bateman: Ed: the IGDA isn't supposed to be about finding work for people, but any "accidental" work that gets thrown up is a different matter.
CoraySeifert: While Fat Pigeons is fine...the igda one might be a little more officialish
CoraySeifert: sorry to echo you there Ed
Jennifer Hepler: Both ideas sound okay to me for what it's worth, but I've only been around for a month or so, so that's not a very informed opinion.
Chris Bateman: OK, so we appear to be agreed - we'll effect a change over to the IGDA list in the next month. I'll take care of that.
WendyDespain: rumor had it, once upon a time there was a problem with employers discouraging (or blocking) people from joining IGDA mailing lists because they were seen as jobhunting
WendyDespain: so now the IGDA is more clear what it is _not_
WendyDespain: but it's not like you'll get thrown off the list for talking about opportunities
Chris Bateman: Wendy: we shouldn't be actively involved in finding jobs for people, but networking is always allowable. Any job discussions should mostly be taken 'off list' is all.
Chris Bateman: Continuing through the matters arrising...
Chris Bateman: Censored Words List from Censorship Committee (Chris Bateman)
WendyDespain: I do want to talk about the monthly reports, but I'll take my turn.
Chris Bateman: I still have nothing on this - the guy who promised it to me has not emailed me at all. I'll chase him again.
Chris Bateman: Go ahead Wendy - wade in!
Chris Bateman: It'll take forever if we're afraid to have multiple discussions in parallel. :)
WendyDespain: I'm sure people have noticed I haven't been great at being punctual or frequent about the monthly reports.
WendyDespain: I wanted to see if someone else who would do better wanted the job
WendyDespain: or if we wanted to change the format
Chris Bateman: Speaking for myself, I'm fine with the format, and I don't think it matters whether or not it happens every month, as long as it happens every now and then. If someone else actively wants the job, that's fine, but otherwise you should continue as you are, I reckon.
WendyDespain: for instance, the conversation about the conferences was very productive, I think. So one possibility is that I just pay attention and when the mailing list traffic sags, I throw in a question or two about a particular ongoing inniative.
Chris Bateman: Now we have a regular committee meeting, we have some regular momentum coming here - the monthly report is just gravy.
Steve Jacobs: makes sense chris
Ed Kuehnel: Hate to volunteer other people for things. But if Cory is developing a format for quarterlies, maybe he could use the same template for monthlies. Have them build up into quarterlies?
Ed Kuehnel: Coray. Sorry.
Jennifer Hepler: Having a designated "coversation sparker" on the list would probably be a great thing. People are more likely to pay attention to a discussion than a synopsis anyway. Chris Bateman: I think the monthly report and the quarterly publication are two very different things - one is what's going on, the other is more about utilising the community.
WendyDespain: the monthlies were really just a reminder/kick in the pants to get us working on the iniatives
WendyDespain: I could do both - iniatiate conversation about iniatives as well as a monthly report when I have time
WendyDespain: if no one has a better idea :-)
WendyDespain: I just wanted to check with the group
Chris Bateman: I think we can continue as we are with the monthly reports - just remind everyone every now and then that there are things going on. :) Hopefully, the people involved in individual initiatives can also generate some momentum for the initiatives- - it shouldn't just come down to Wendy. :)
CoraySeifert: Maybe the solutions would be to just keep the monthlies short and sweet, so that they're quicker for you to produce?
Chris Bateman: OK, while we wait for any final comments on this, there's another Wendy point in matters arising:
Chris Bateman: Call for Volunteers (Wendy Despain)
Chris Bateman: Is this related to the monthlys?
WendyDespain: this was done a few weeks ago and didn't get a really enthusiastic response
WendyDespain: it wasn't ignored... just not quite as many interested parties (except about the conference) as last time
Chris Bateman: I'm not wholly suprised. I think one of the problems we have is that the initiatives don't do anything if there isn't someone to push them forward.
Chris Bateman: As a volunteer organisation, I suspect we just have to let the momentum work where it works, and not worry about the initiatives that fall by the wayside. As long as things are still progressing, that's the important thing.
WendyDespain: so maybe we need an iniative "owner"?
Steve Jacobs: generally the way it seems to be working
Ed Kuehnel: I volunteered to work on establishing better credits for writers. To that end, I'd like to start by formally tackling the Internet Movie Database, if that's okay with everyone.
Jennifer Hepler: Sounds like a very good place to start.
WendyDespain: yay Ed!
Chris Bateman: Ed - we'll get to the IMDB in the agenda. About 10 minutes time. :)
Ed Kuehnel: Sorry. :)
Jennifer Hepler: Damn you for being too enthusiastic :)
Chris Bateman: I think those of us on the committee should feel free to make sure we have an initiative that we're attached to. The non-committee people probably lack the motivation to take charge of an initiative anyway. And if someone does, we can co-opt them onto the committee.
CoraySeifert: I call firsties on the Qarterly!
WendyDespain: i won't worry about it
Chris Bateman: Perhaps what we can do with the monthly report is issue a report after each committee meeting, that just summarises teh state of play. That might remove the need to "research" the monthly reports.
Chris Bateman: Wendy - would you be okay to write a brief summary after each meeting? Or even after just some. :)
WendyDespain: I'll do it after the ones I have time for. I can't do it today.
Chris Bateman: (Incidentally, the last point on Matters Arising is one of Rich's - we'll have to bump it to when he's here).
WendyDespain: too much on my plate
Chris Bateman: That's fine - we don't need it every month.
Chris Bateman: As far as I'm concerned, 'when you have time' is absolutely fine. :)
Steve Jacobs: yah
Chris Bateman: Okay, onto the agenda. Since Ed is keen about the IMDB point, I'll hand over to him. :D
Chris Bateman: What do you have planned? And do you need anything from the rest of the committee at this time?
Ed Kuehnel: I thought I'd start by pinging the list and see if anyone has an uncle who has a cousin who has an ex-lover who works there...
Chris Bateman (privately): Wendy: in terms of maintaining the agenda, I could use your advice on this. Should we stick to the one page, and just edit it after each meeting? Or do you want to archive the agendas?
Ed Kuehnel: ...as well contact other Hollywood types I've met. Other than that, I'm going to start emailing and making cold calls...
Jennifer Hepler: You don't really need access to anyone who works there, you just need to join the site, which is free.
Jennifer Hepler: Then, you can submit changes to any listings that are inaccurate and they'll doublecheck them against listed credits in the games and if the changes are correct, they'll be posted.
Chris Bateman: Is it just a case of getting people to carry out the data entry on the IMDB, or do we need to make some changes to the way the IMDB is organised?
WendyDespain (private to Chris Bateman): I think we should either archive the agendas or the minutes but not both - waste of space imho. And the minutes are more useful. What do you think?
Ed Kuehnel: I expect to hit walls and obstacles but anything short of a restraining order and I won't be giving up. I have a membership now, so I'll upgrade it.
Jennifer Hepler: The most time-consuming part is just finding out all the correct credits to change them to.
Chris Bateman (privately): Sure, archive the minutes. In which case, I'll edit the agenda into the agenda for the next meeting during the meeting, if that's okay.
Ed Kuehnel: ...I think it's both. Right now games list the VO talent first, and then developers get lumped into "misc. crew".
WendyDespain (private to Chris Bateman): I think that's a good plan
Ed Kuehnel: But there's got to be a way for them to automate the process, because I know that's what Moby Games does (at least I think they do)
CoraySeifert: I have an old professor who might know some people there. I'll put a few feelers out.
Chris Bateman: Ah, so we want to define a new category that can include the game writer? Is that the (or an) issue?
Jennifer Hepler: Maybe getting everyone on the mailing list to give their list of correct credits, and/or checking against the WGA new-media directory will give the beginning of a list, then you just submit all those "misc crew" credits as corrections to Writer or designer credits.
Ed Kuehnel: I think IMDB should just take the official credits from game manuals or in-game credits. It will be more consistent. Therefore, if you were "Writer" or "Designer/Writer" on a game that's how IMDB would list you.
Jennifer Hepler: Most of the entries are put in by fans and/or people who participated in projects, so once there's a template to use that includes a writer credit, there should start to be a movement toward that.
WendyDespain: Ed, I think if you're willing to make the calls and go on the warpath you should. I don't think the way credits are listed on games (where IMDB checks their info) is very good, and talking to IMDB would be a good place to start
WendyDespain: Also, the WGA has fought battles over credits before
Jennifer Hepler: Constantly.
Chris Bateman: It wouldn't hurt to open a dialogue with the IMDB on this anyway, as they are probably open to co-operation when it means more data going into the database.
WendyDespain: possibly some assistance would come from that quarter
Ed Kuehnel: Jennifer, if that's the case I'll start by entering credits for our projects, then go on the warpath to see if they'll automate this process like I think they do with movies.
Jennifer Hepler: That sounds good. I don't know much about the overall process, but I have corrected my own credits there and on TV Tome and it's not too big a headache on a small scale.
Ed Kuehnel: I'll keep you guys up to date. If I get to a point where I'm entering credits in manually, I'll call for a list of projects you've all worked on (or want to admit working on)
Jennifer Hepler: Grin.
Chris Bateman: OK, that sounds good to me. This agenda point will go onto the next Matters Arising, so you can let us know how it's going next month.
Chris Bateman: OK, the Wiki has crashed so I cannot get to the next Agenda point, but I believe there are two points about a game writer convention event. There are three basic options - a thread in AGC, a co-located event at GDC, or an independent Game Writers event.
Chris Bateman: Speaking for myself, I don't think we're sufficiently organised yet that we could run an independent Game Writer's event.
Chris Bateman: (By the way, even if the meeting has moved on, feel free to raise points on earlier topics - hazard of the text-driven meeting :) )
Jennifer Hepler: If we're thinking of a smaller event, maybe a one-day thing, not a whole conference, the WGA would probably be thrilled to co-sponsor an event and provide space and some funding.
Chris Bateman: Now that really would be a good way to build ties with the WGA, but I don't know how comfortable the SIG members as a whole would be about it.
WendyDespain: Has the WGA done one-day events for game writers before?
Jennifer Hepler: We've been wanting to have some educational panels for writers anyway, and mostly lack people with real industry experience. If we work together the WGA will be able to help on a lot of logistical issues (including providing attendees), with the SIG providing the real industry muscle nad experience.
Jennifer Hepler: We've had a few evening events, but the new media caucus is only about 5 months old, so we're just starting to plan bigger events.
Chris Bateman: Is there anyone present who would have explicit reservations about a co-branded event with the WGA? Can I ask everyone to comment - even if that comment is a vague abstention. :)
WendyDespain: logistics is definitely where we need assistance
Jennifer Hepler: I can't speak definitively for the guild, but I think they would be comfortable co-sponsoring it with the IGDA/SIG -- it could be made very clear that the SIG is not being subsumed into the WGA, but is working with them, the same way it works with the DGA, SAG, and whatever other groups have common interests.
Ed Kuehnel: Here's a mercenary thought: There's a lot of Hollywood writers who have never done games before, but want to. A lot of times us Game Writers get rankled by that, but maybe we should just go with it. Set up a one day conference in L.A. during or outside of GDC where we, the "Game Writers" give T.V. and movie writers a primer on what it takes to write for games. The advantage to them: they can better sell themselves to publishers if they can prove they know how games are different from passive entertainment. For us, it's a way to maybe make a little money for the SIG, and network. (admit it, we've all thought of writing for T.V. and movies at one time or another.)
Chris Bateman: Speaking for myself, we've had some co-branded events in the local area (Manchester, UK) between the IGDA and regional development groups such as the M62 Network and Media Training North West. The co-branding has always been kept clear, and it has worked relatively well for us in thiis arena.
Jennifer Hepler: That's pretty much the kind of thing I was thinking. I keep pushing for seminars on how to write for games for WGA writers, but frankly, we don't have enough people to staff such events who really know the answer.
Chris Bateman: Ed, we ran just such an event here in Manchester with Media Training North West and the BBC.
WendyDespain: I think one concern is that WGAw will eventually turn out to be not-helpful to us Ed Kuehnel: Then we'll destroy them.
WendyDespain: but right now, it doesn't strike me as evil.... just expensive to be listed in a directory. So if I felt like the fee could be lumped in with a conference registration... it would seem more worth it
Steve Jacobs: I think its essential to at least begin piggybacking somewhere
Chris Bateman: I think there is a range of attitudes towards the WGA. The pro-WGA people in the SIG are members... the anti-WGA people fear that the WGA is after our membership money and nothing else. Then there's a healthy middle ground of agnostics, like myself, who is willing to see what happens now - and if it turns to civil war later, so be it. :)
Steve Jacobs: Speaking from my past life as a large scale conference organizer I don't know that we have the horses to pull it off on our own initially
Chris Bateman: I agree, Steve. As Wendy says, what we lack is logistics.
Steve Jacobs: Another point of information is that there is likely another emerging conference on the academic side
Steve Jacobs: You may or may not have seen something about a group called Iager
WendyDespain: what kind of conference?
Steve Jacobs: Academic and educational
Chris Bateman: Jenifer - would you be willing to take this idea away to the WGA and come back to talk about it at hte next committee meeting in a month? We don't need to agree to anything at this stage - we can just test the water and see if its a possibilty worth pursuing.
WendyDespain: about writing specifically?
Steve Jacobs: their advisory board and steering committee will also be meeting at e3 on the 17th
Steve Jacobs: Not specifically, but certainly well disposed to a riting track by their very nature Jennifer Hepler: Just to speak to the money point -- the regular WGA fee is $2500, game writers are getting in for $75. It's really not about the money. The only reason there's a caucus at all is that there were a very few of us who genuinely believe game writing is valuable and should be protected and we pushed it through. The caucus came from us, it wasn't handed down from above in the Guild. Chris Bateman: (If we did a co-branded event, it should probably be open to everyone, with WGA and IGDA members getting a discount.)
Jennifer Hepler: I'm definitely willing to take the idea to the Guild. I know that if we meet at E3, John Koch, our main staff member, would really like the chance to meet anyone who's there and answer questions. Would people be open to that?
Chris Bateman: I won't be at E3 this year - it's too far to travel for too little business. We prefer GDC. But there will be other people on the committee and in the SIG present.
Jennifer Hepler: It gives us a jump on starting to plan if we have a bunch of people in the same room.
CoraySeifert: I'll be out at E3, just bummin around, so I'd be happy to do anything I can there. Steve Jacobs: I'm trying to con theuniversity to cover the expenses now so that I can meet up with y'all and the IAGER crowd for their meeting
Steve Jacobs: will know in a day or two
Ed Kuehnel: In regards to earlier topics: once in a while I get an offer for a freelance gig. Since I'm full time and have a non-compete and all that I turn them down. Should I/can I throw out the contact info on our mailing list? Or is that verbotten?
WendyDespain: as a more general comment, I don't think having our own conference should mean we don't get writers tracks or sessions at other conferences
Chris Bateman: OK. It sounds as if we can explore both these options at E3 easily enough.
Jennifer Hepler: You're welcome to throw any freelance opportunities this way. :)
WendyDespain: you can send them all to me :-)
Chris Bateman: Ed - I think you should feel free to put freelance options out to the list. I think that's acceptible.
Ed Kuehnel: Won't be at E3 this year, wife is giving birth soon. Good look and have fun.
Chris Bateman: Wendy, I agree that this doesn't preclude pursuing tracks at other conferences. Does anyone have anything they want to raise on this point?
Jennifer Hepler: Congratulations, Ed!
Jennifer Hepler: When is the Austin conference?
WendyDespain: october, i think?
WendyDespain: also from matters earlier... I didn't mean to sound negative about the WGA
Jennifer Hepler: NP. I fully understand the concerns -- I just think, especially if you're freelancing, the benefits of the Guild can really be lifesaving.
Ed Kuehnel: My company threw a conference here in Chicago last year, it went pretty well, but I'm not sure if it'll be done again this year. As soon as I find out I'll let everyone know and will spearhead something.
WendyDespain: one negative about having our own track is that we may not reach as many "outsiders" as we want. It may turn into preaching to the choir. So there are positives and negatives about every arangement
Chris Bateman: Is someone in charge of talking to the Austin conference? Is there anything specific to discuss on this point.
Jennifer Hepler: I started in tabletop gaming, with no protections, and I'm pro-Guild out of personal experience, not 'cuz I'm shilling for them.
WendyDespain: I plan on joining the caucus as soon as my last client pays up :-)
Jennifer Hepler: Know the feeling :)
WendyDespain: the WGA and IGDA will be getting dues the same day
WendyDespain: but we digress
Chris Bateman: We've got 10 minutes left. I'm going to move us forward into Any Other Business. The first point is the next date... is Thursday May 26th acceptible with everyone? (Please voice a reply, everyone!)
WendyDespain: I think Susan O'Conner has taken the lead on talking to the Austin conference
Jennifer Hepler: The 26th sounds good.
Ed Kuehnel: Okay with me.
WendyDespain: I will likely be out of town on the 26th, and I don't know my connection will be like
Steve Jacobs: Maybe, I'll be stuck in the 2nd of a three day, all day end of the year faculty retreat. (shoot me now)
Steve Jacobs: If I have connectivity can probably pay more attention to this than the discussions of the retreat
Chris Bateman: Would Thursday June 2nd be better for everyone? (It would actually be better for me - I have a local development council meeting on the 26th)
Steve Jacobs: but won't know until I'm "in the moment"
WendyDespain: 2nd would be better for me
Steve Jacobs: not clear what I'll be doing that week
Jennifer Hepler: That's fine too. Given how early this is on the west coast, pretty much any day is before I'm scheduled for anything else :)
WendyDespain: the 26th is right before a long weekend here in the US. that would be a good excuse Ed Kuehnel: Works for me. We should put the times in Wiki this time though, so people don't get confused. :)
WendyDespain: 11am Eastern time - please!
Chris Bateman: I didn't put times in because the damnable daylight savings is confusing - we go to British Summer Time weeks before you guys change your clocks. :)
Steve Jacobs: I live to serve, tell me when you want it and I'll set it up :-)
Ed Kuehnel: Britain has Summer?
Chris Bateman: Technically. :)
Chris Bateman: So it's 4 pm BST, 11 am EST and 8 am PST? Is that right?
WendyDespain: they have to save it up extra long
Steve Jacobs: About as much as we do in ROchester, NY :-)
Ed Kuehnel: Those times work for me.
Jennifer Hepler: All good.
WendyDespain: yay Jennifer - getting up that early
WendyDespain: people who haven't worked in LA don't know what it really means
Jennifer Hepler: Hey, it's a meeting I can attend in my jammies. Yay!
Chris Bateman: Okay, I've edited the agenda for the next meeting to reflect the new matters arising, and the time and date.
Chris Bateman: If there's no more AOB, we can call this meeting closed.
Ed Kuehnel: I am at work but I am also in my pajamas. They have booties.
Jennifer Hepler: I'll talk to John Koch, and post to the list.
Jennifer Hepler: And that I want a picture of.
WendyDespain: okay, Ed - you are the coolest of us all
Ed Kuehnel: Thanks all! Have a good one!
WendyDespain: thanks for chairing, Chris
Jennifer Hepler: Thanks, guys!
Chris Bateman: Eh, I always get saddled with chairing meetings. It's one of my curses. :)