GWSIG Monthly Meeting Minutes/Meeting31
International Game Developers Association
wendy despain: well, Jason tells me he likes the party game we came up with
Steve Jacobs: cool
Ron Toland: which version?
wendy despain: but like all good organizations, in IGDA when someone has a good idea they usually get the job of implementing it
wendy despain: so, we had the idea. are we willing to make it happen?
Englishmanathome: Hiya all
Englishmanathome: Happy New Year!
wendy despain: hey Andy
Steve Jacobs: Howdy Andy
Kim Sparks: Hi.
Steve Jacobs: What resources do we need?
wendy despain: we'll need to write content for all the cards, design the cards, and man the hand-out station at the party
Steve Jacobs: # of cards????
wendy despain: i'll put a call for volunteers out to the main mailing list if we decide we can do this
Kim Sparks: I'm not able to attend GDC this year (too close to my due date), but I can help with the cards. Will they just have the Write Club "assignments" on them?
Chris Keeling: I can't guarantee I will make it to GDC (still working on the wife to authorize the funds), but I would be happy to help write and/or design
Steve Jacobs: May be able to enlist students to help on site
wendy despain: we'll have to decide how many cards
Ron Toland: I'm planning on being at GDC, I can help write, design, and/or hand out the cards
Steve Jacobs: # of cards, who's paying for printing, etc??
wendy despain: Jason probably has an estimated number of attendees
Kim Sparks: Sorry, what's on the cards?
wendy despain: IGDA is ultimately paying for printing
wendy despain: sorry Kim, you must have missed the conversation on the mailing list
Kim Sparks: I read about a pub game for Write Club, but must've missed the part about the cards.
Ron Toland: will IGDA reimburse? or do we just design the cards and send them an
electronic file that they get printed?
wendy despain: each card has a setting, a character, a gameplay element or an event on it
Steve Jacobs: Likey the first ron
wendy despain: and the directions on how to play the game
Kim Sparks: Ah, okay. Thanks. :)
Ron Toland: should they be two sided? put the element on one side and the instructions on the other?
wendy despain: which involves finding other people to construct a complete story, which you turn in for drink tickets
Kim Sparks: Woohoo! Drink tickets!
wendy despain: the currency of the IGDA party :-)
wendy despain: i can project-manage the printing if necessary
Steve Jacobs: As I remember we're talking around 1000 folks or so, how big a set of cards do we envision? 250 unique ones of each?
wendy despain: it sounds like we have some interest in helping to create the cards
Steve Jacobs: 5 sets of 50 each?
wendy despain: do you want to spearhead this Steve? or shall we give someone new a chance? :-)
Chris Keeling: So it looks like we have several chores - design the specific rules,
specify card size and layout, and develop content for the cards, then (somehow) test it out, right?
Steve Jacobs: Happy to give someone new a shot :-) Mostly looking right now for parameters so we know what we're getting ourselves into
Steve Jacobs: Do have 30 some odd game students in my classes. Could have them generate a bunch of card content :-)
wendy despain: i think you've got it, Chris
Steve Jacobs: Or at least have them test it
wendy despain: well, i think we should look to SIG members first, before going to students :-)
wendy despain: testing it sounds great
Chris Keeling: Yes, definitely let them test it - I can't think of a better way :-)
Steve Jacobs: Ok we're good for testers
wendy despain: Chris, do you want to be in charge of this effort?
Steve Jacobs: Double sided sounds rightr
wendy despain: it will have to be done in the next few weeks so the cards can be printed in time
Chris Keeling: Sure, if nobody with more experience doesn't want it (I am pretty low on the food chain here, LOL!)
Chris Keeling: Well, I just got laid off, so time is something I have at the moment
Amman: Hello...Happy New Year! Apologies for being sooo late!
Steve Jacobs: I'll be happy to work with Chris as sage old advisor :-)
wendy despain: hiya Amman
Chris Keeling: Thanks Steve! =D
wendy despain: I don't care so much about prior experience as results :-)
Steve Jacobs: Ok Chris leads and I'm backup
wendy despain: from the printing perspective, picking a standard size will make it cheaper and easier to get printed. For instance, standard business card size, or postcard size.
Steve Jacobs: Chris and I can have a powow online or by phone soon
Chris Keeling: How much content do you want on each card?
wendy despain: reach out to the list, Chris. Asking everyone to send in 5 quirky settings might get you a good start
Chris Keeling: A business card seems kind of small (and since it's GDC, people might just stuff them in their pockets without reading them, especially after a few drinks!)
wendy despain: i tend to agree, Chris :-)
Ron Toland: would index card size be too big?
Chris Keeling: I like the postcard size - so rules on one side (KISS) and the content on the other.
Steve Jacobs: are they just doing this to get drinks or are we doing so kind of "% best stories" at the end of the night or post show???
Steve Jacobs: thatshould be a 5 :-)
wendy despain: if possible, it would be nice if they could be kind of pretty, too, but i realize we're writers here and not artists :-)
Chris Keeling: What about making it like Mad Libs? Read the top 10 storylines aloud at the end of the party?
wendy despain: well, the main point for Jason is to get people talking to each other
Ron Toland: who'd be the designated (non-drunk) story-tracker?
Steve Jacobs: that's the issue
Steve Jacobs: It's also a bunch of stuff to parse
wendy despain: the main point for us is to point out that games and stories go together and it's worth hiring a pro for :-)
Chris Keeling: ROFL! As I said, I may not be there, but I don't drink, so I could be an alternate for that if I make it
Ron Toland: you could give more drink tickets for more innovative stories
Steve Jacobs: Might be fun to have Jason mail out to the list as a post GDC thing a week after
Ron Toland: that'd be an immediate reward
wendy despain: I don't drink either, and I'd be happy to help out
Steve Jacobs: and Pors and Booze go together???
Steve Jacobs: :-)
wendy despain: heh, yes
Steve Jacobs: pros
wendy despain: the booze just comes in because it's the currency of the party
Chris Keeling: So for each storyline, could they string together more than, say, five items? For example, a protagonist, an antagonist, a plot, an obstacle, and a setting?
wendy despain: including some of the stories in the IGDA email newsletter is a great idea. reading them at the end of the night at the party won't really work because it's too loud and crazy
Chris Keeling: How many story objects would we like to have, and how many could they include (i.e., could they have 2 protagonists? What's the limit?)
Steve Jacobs: KISS :-)
wendy despain: I'd really like to see a gameplay element in there too, to emphasize the game aspect of it
Steve Jacobs: yah
wendy despain: platform jumping, or color matching, or whatnot
Ron Toland: but then are they creating a story or a game?
Chris Keeling: Right, but if we keep it too simple, they'll think anyone can make up a story, drunk, in one night... ;-)
wendy despain: they're creating a story for a game
Ron Toland: and isn't making the story the gameplay already?
Corvus: gameplay elements are story elements
Corvus: so including gameplay elements as the verbs of the story
Corvus: only makes sense
Chris Keeling: OK
wendy despain: if we just give them narrative elements they'll think they're making plots for novels
wendy despain: or tv shows or movies
wendy despain: and game writing is inherently different (part of the point of the exersize)
Chris Keeling: How about color-coding to indicate genre? Maybe reds are RPG, blues are FPS, greens are MMO Quest, etc.?
wendy despain: and yes, I think there should be ways to get extra drink tickets - bonus points for more protagonists or whatnot
Chris Keeling: So you'd have to match colors and include all of the story/game elements
Steve Jacobs: I'm gonna suggest we move forward and let Chris and I take a whack at a couple of scenarios to send out to those involved today for feedback
Chris Keeling: I can see people now waving cards "Red shooter looking for a red alien!"
Chris Keeling: Good idea Steve
Steve Jacobs: As we have more to do
Ron Toland: that'd reduce the "gameplay" card to basically color matching, right? that'd reduce the number of cards and make it simpler
Steve Jacobs: there's a lot of good stuff here to get him and I started
Steve Jacobs: Beth's not here
wendy despain: I've been talking with beth about the GDC issue of the Quarterly and it sounds like it's on track
Steve Jacobs: Book promotion?? Wendy I'll be doing a bunch of stuff with the ed sig during their seminars
Steve Jacobs: a flyer or something from our publisher announcing the books would be great to have in hand
wendy despain: we still don't know if we'll have the actual books to sell or not at GDC
wendy despain: but yes, we'll at least have postcards to hand out about it
wendy despain: and maybe even galleys available for people to look at, stationed at the IGDA booth
wendy despain: i was hoping everyone who's giving a talk at GDC could also mention it :-)
Steve Jacobs: If we can make sure I get a couple hundred waiting for me at my hotel on Sunday, that'd facilitate the academic outreach efforts
Steve Jacobs: Will be giving Ed sig talks and will promote
Evan Skolnick: is there any way the postcards could also feature a 5% off coupon or something? to get people more likely to pick one up, either at GDC or later?
Steve Jacobs: Should be able to hand out at igda party or get put in bags as quid pro quo for helping with the game
wendy despain: I'll tlak to the publishers about that. it's a great idea.
Evan Skolnick: :-)
Ron Toland: any chance of getting a gamasutra review of the book?
wendy despain: and maybe we can send out the postcards in chunks to speakers ahead of time. we'll see.
Chris Keeling: Mention it on the game cards as well?
wendy despain: yeah, I think we can get gamasutra to review it, definitely
Ron Toland: ...and will there be an ebook for those of us who don't like carrying dead trees? :)
wendy despain: woot, cross promotion. excellent!
Chris Keeling: :-)
wendy despain: I don't know Ron, I'll ask that too. :-)
Ron Toland: thanks
Ron Toland: thanks
Ron Toland: i like the cross-promotion: </b>"This drunken revelry brought to you by the Writer's SIG. Btw, have you read our new book?"
wendy despain: excellent wording, too
Chris Keeling: LOL - copying, pasting...
Steve Jacobs: Don't forget the url :-)
Steve Jacobs: to the publisher
Steve Jacobs: and the book
Chris Keeling: Anyone have that handy?
wendy despain: so, shall I move on to the SIG banner?
Steve Jacobs: yah'
wendy despain: I have it
Chris Keeling: Excellent, ty
wendy despain: it says, Game Writing Special Interest Group
wendy despain: do we need it at GDC?
Steve Jacobs: I think it'd be nice to hang at the party by the handout table
Steve Jacobs: Otherwise not
Chris Keeling: It's a physical banner? I thought you were looking for a web banner ad, lol - I have no idea if it would be desirable to have it at GDC
Kim Sparks: You could also hang it at the SIG meeting.
wendy despain: oh right
wendy despain: ok, it'll go in my suitcase
Steve Jacobs: If it's easier, you can always have jason pay for mailing it to and from the igda booth so you don't have to schlep it with you
Steve Jacobs: HE'll have shipping info to get stuff to his booth
wendy despain: yeah, it's a physical banner, and it cost real dollars, so I like to use it if at all possible
Steve Jacobs: ditto the quarterlies
Steve Jacobs: No one should have to drag them around
wendy despain: yeah, i've already got a question in to him about that
wendy despain: ok, shall we move on to status reports?
Steve Jacobs: yah
wendy despain: well, the first book is in the publisher's hands
wendy despain: they're doing the copy edit
Steve Jacobs: Awesome !!!
wendy despain: the final copy edit
Ron Toland: hooray!
wendy despain: so far, I adore the publishers and am very happy we went with them. they've been great and are doing their best to get the book printed by GDC, which is lightening speed by book publishing terms
Rhianna Pratchett: Hi guys
Steve Jacobs: publisher is peters???
Steve Jacobs: Hi Rhi???
Chris Keeling: That's excellent! I can't wait to read it. :-)
Steve Jacobs: I mean Hi Rhi!!!!
wendy despain: we'll get one chance to review the proofs, and they'll need a response to those ASAP to keep it moving
Rhianna Pratchett: lol Hi Steve
Sande: Must leave, will keep window open
wendy despain: hi Rhi :-) and yes, the publisher is AK Peters
Englishmanathome: THe editors are friendly too!
Englishmanathome: Hi Rhi!
Rhianna Pratchett: yes i need to email my contract back and wendy do you still need to know where would be good for the Overlord pics to go?
wendy despain: I love them so much I sent them christmas cookies
wendy despain: hmm, ask Kevin Rhianna. He's the one who asked me.
wendy despain: I'm sending in the last of the script samples to include in the book today
wendy despain: so i think we're almost done with it
wendy despain: then I get a minute break, and then I'll dig in to the Genre book
wendy despain: i had to put it on the back burner
Steve Jacobs: Excellent
wendy despain: but we're still looking for the perfect title for that book, so if you have any suggestions let me know :-)
Englishmanathome: Good stuff
wendy despain: any questions about the books? or should we move on?
Rhianna Pratchett: Should we be getting the chapter proofs soon?
wendy despain: next week, i think, but I'm remembering an email sent prior to the holiday madness, so don't hold me to it
wendy despain: they'll definitely be coming soon
Rhianna Pratchett: Sorry still trying to get up to speed
wendy despain: ok, moving on then...
Steve Jacobs: No stephen or Dean
Steve Jacobs: Sande?
wendy despain: is the hiring hall still on hold while you're crunching?
wendy despain: she may have had to step away
Kim Sparks: I'm still working on the list of the companies. The biggest issue is finding the right contact person there.
Kim Sparks: Fingers crossed - I'll have the list of companies done by next meeting.
wendy despain: cool
wendy despain: any progress is great
Ron Toland: sorry, but what's the hiring hall?
wendy despain: kind of like a Writers Market for game writing, I think
Ron Toland: wow...that'd be great
wendy despain: a list of companies who hire game writers, their contact info, what they publish etc.
wendy despain: it's a huge project, and I'm sure Sande and Kim would appreciate any help they could get if you want to pitch in :-)
Kim Sparks: It's to help companies find professional writers and for writers to find companies who hire writers.
Kim Sparks: Essentially.
Ron Toland: sure, if there's something I can do...I was just looking for information like that this morning
wendy despain: quick, rope him in Kim. :-)
wendy despain: give him an assignment before he realizes what he just said ;-)
Kim Sparks: I guess once the list is done, it's just a matter of getting the right person in the company to talk to.
Kim Sparks: Some are easier than others, but I think there might be a lot of calling/e-mailing going on to get the right person.
Chris Keeling: I am compiling a similar list (part of job hunting) so I might be able to contribute. Is the list going to be updated reguarly or will it just be a list of companies and contacts with no specific positions or job listings?
Ron Toland: the right person = the one hiring writers? wouldn't that change from project to project (if it's freelance work)?
Kim Sparks: I guess to be effective, the list should be updated whenever possible.
wendy despain: there are only seven minutes left to the official meeting, so let me multitask the conversation a little bit by saying i talked to Jason about the url for the script/doc library and he says we can do http://www.igda.org/doclibrary (or whatever we want)
Steve Jacobs: Ideally it would bedesigned so that each company gets an account where they can update their own info
Kim Sparks: Yes, the person hiring the writers. I'm looking for Director of Content or Director of Game Design (if there's no content department).
Chris Keeling: I actually took the MobyGames company list (several thousand companies) and put it into a spreadsheet, then gave it to a couple of family members to weed out companies that no longer exists and find the company webistes and job pages - it's quite a long list ATM
Kim Sparks: That's great, Chris! I was using MobyGames as well, though haven't put it in a spreadsheet.
Rhianna Pratchett: Kim, in my experience I've usually been hired by creative directors or producers
Ron Toland: wow...having something like that online would be awesome
Kim Sparks: Yes, and producers too.
Kim Sparks: Thanks, Rhianna.
Englishmanathome: Sound Designers also regularly get a say
Chris Keeling: If we call the company and ask for the contact info and position of the person who does the hiring for writers for the company, they should be able to provide it, whether it's an exec. producer or director, right?
Kim Sparks: That's the plan.
Englishmanathome: Varies per project
Rhianna Pratchett: I'd say go for Creative Directors over Directors of Content... since I know of many CDs but no DofCs
wendy despain: the benefit to doing this as part of a SIG project instead of just a personal job hunt is that you can sound all official and stuff
Kim Sparks: Would it be better just to have the game company information and people can call on their own?
Chris Keeling: So if we include the title, then that info should remain the same even if the person filling the spot changes, so the information should be able to be more current that way I think
Rhianna Pratchett: I've never found any one person that does that in a company
Ron Toland: yeah: </b>"I'm calling on behalf of IGDA" sounds a lot better than "Who has the authority to hire me?"
Rhianna Pratchett: If a company has several temas then it may be down to one or two people on that team
Rhianna Pratchett: Finding and hiring writers is still very, very random
Chris Keeling: Ah, true - only the larger companies have dedicated HR, and the decisionmaker for each position often varies
wendy despain: i think one of the things this hiring hall can do is explain how it works at each individual company, since there's no standard across the industry
Chris Keeling: That would be a great thing to have!
Ron Toland: sounds like a wiki
Englishmanathome: Dedicated HR rarely hire writers
Englishmanathome: they pick up after the wrter's been hired
Steve Jacobs: DB backed would enable the accounts per company
wendy despain: i think the goal would be to give writers and companies the information they need to find each other
Chris Keeling: I think Ron has the "write" idea
Rhianna Pratchett: I think the esiest to do would to get the name of the person who would definitely have a say in the hiring of a writer, so CDs... senior producers etc
Englishmanathome: I'd avoid names
Englishmanathome: they're out of date really quickly
Ron Toland: we might even be able to let the company write the description, so they can outline what they want themselves
Chris Keeling: Right, usually the email is "jobs@..." or something like that - names change too fast
wendy despain: some companies (like Bioware) want writers to send in resumes all the time. others want to go hunting for just the right person.
Chris Keeling: Bioware also wants a NWN level with your resume
wendy despain: so that's the kind of information i think would be valuable
wendy despain: right
Rhianna Pratchett: Bioware also like writers to have some familiarity with their editors too and after ask to see mods
Chris Keeling: All good info to include
wendy despain: see, we really do have plans to take over the world, we just need worker bees to implement it ;-)
Ron Toland: I'm willing to do my part :)
Ron Toland: I can certainly help call/email companies to get the right contact info
wendy despain: if you'd like to help, send Kim a private email
Ron Toland: ok
wendy despain: Kim, what's your address? firstname.lastname@example.org?
Kim Sparks: email@example.com is better.
Steve Jacobs: Scripts: Now we have a link to promote I will coordinate with Wendy to get the book samples and homeworld up there. Then we can put out a call to the list for other samples
Steve Jacobs: I'd like to see something live there by GDC as well
Kim Sparks: I'll try Silicon Knights again, but no promises.
Steve Jacobs: More to promote to educators and igda as well
Kim Sparks: They were a little reluctant last time I spoke to them about it.
Steve Jacobs: If we just use the book samples and homeworld, its a start
wendy despain: tell them it doesn't have to be complete docs. it can just be segments, if that helps.
Steve Jacobs: once people's concerns and IP age a little we'll likely see more
Steve Jacobs: yah
Kim Sparks: Okay, I'll try that.
Steve Jacobs: Will construct e-mail accordingly as well
Steve Jacobs: Wendy, for the book what do we have???
wendy despain: and it'll make them look progressive and friendly :-)
wendy despain: not as many as I wanted
Steve Jacobs: Natch :-)
wendy despain: honestly i'll have to look. I think we have maybe 3 scripts and 2 portions of scripts? and one or two design docs.
Steve Jacobs: Good enough estimate
Steve Jacobs: Anything helps to start and that's not a bad start
Kim Sparks: I think Write Club is left over from last meeting, yes?
Kim Sparks: On the agenda.
wendy despain: well, it's kind of a standard thing
wendy despain: so far we're only doing it at Future Play, but ideally we'd do it at every game-related conference
Kim Sparks: I was going to submit it to the Toronto Independent Games Conference, but the conference has been postponed. I'll submit it when the new date comes out.
wendy despain: if the evil machinations to take over the world were going smoothly
wendy despain: cool
wendy despain: i don't know all of the academic-related game conferences out there
Steve Jacobs: Sandbox Symposium at SIGGRAPH
Steve Jacobs: I'm involved in organizing that
wendy despain: we're a conference-going industry in general. seems like you could go to at least one conference every month if you had the time and money :-)
Steve Jacobs: Will put it in the hopper
wendy despain: yay
wendy despain: ok, so now we need to set the date for the next meeting
Evan Skolnick: yeah, i got invited to Saskatoon for a conference recently! had never heard of it before ;-)
Steve Jacobs: Last week of Jan to finish GDC stuff only???
Kim Sparks: There's a conference in Saskatoon?!
Kim Sparks: Cool!
Evan Skolnick: LOL yeah
Evan Skolnick: it's not games-specific, but they have a video games track
Steve Jacobs: ast week of Jan to finish GDC stuff only???
Steve Jacobs: :-)
wendy despain: do we need another GDC related meeting? or can we finish that up on the committee list?
wendy despain: i guess it wouldn't hurt to schedule a meeting, and if nobody shows up it's no big deal
Steve Jacobs: Either's ok by me
Steve Jacobs: You call it
wendy despain: January 31?
wendy despain: it's the last thursday in January
Chris Keeling: Sounds good
Steve Jacobs: Ok, I'll plug it in and send you the url
wendy despain: and four weeks away
wendy despain: thanks Steve
wendy despain: any other business?
wendy despain: oh, i have one
wendy despain: i think we should compile a list of SIG members who are speaking at GDC
wendy despain: so we can support each other etc.
Steve Jacobs: yah
Ron Toland: support? you mean, heckle?
Ron Toland: :)
Steve Jacobs: There's also the where to meet up issue
Evan Skolnick: LOL
Steve Jacobs: and the general contact list
Steve Jacobs: All worthy of the meeting on the 31st
wendy despain: also, we're going to have stickers for your badges like we did at Austin
Steve Jacobs: nice
Steve Jacobs: Say and look like what???
wendy despain: i think i'll try to convince jason to hand those out at the IGDA booth
wendy despain: Member IGDA Game Writing SIG
Ron Toland: "All your words are belong to us"?
wendy despain: and they're obnoxious neon
wendy despain: that's the subtext, yes Ron
wendy despain: ok, meeting over?
Steve Jacobs: yah
wendy despain: thanks for coming everyone! sorry about the short notice!