Exciting News from our Managing Director, Jen MacLean

FEN-102615-Edit (1)Today, the IGDA announced my appointment as interim Executive Director. As I think about the opportunities to make an impact on game developers and our industry, I couldn’t be more excited by my dual roles with the IGDA and IGDA Foundation.

The IGDA and IGDA Foundation have profound, complimentary missions. While the IGDA focuses on improving the lives of game developers around the world through community, advocacy, and compelling member benefits, the IGDA Foundation supports the creation of a more diverse, inclusive industry. Both groups believe strongly in the power of games as a medium, and in the need to provide an amazing environment for game developers around the world to practice their craft.

In many ways, this opportunity to dual-wield leadership roles at two of the largest, and most impactful, organizations in our industry provides an unprecedented mechanism for supporting games and their creators. As the IGDA is the largest member organization in game development, a closer partnership with the organization provides a boost in reach for the IGDA Foundation and its work. And the Foundation’s efforts to introduce a broader pipeline of talent to game development as a career, support diverse creators in remaining part of the industry, and driving awareness of the importance, and benefits, of an inclusive industry offer benefits for every developer, and studio, around the world.

I look forward to leading the Foundation in its expansion, both into new programs and a wider reach, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting the Foundation and its work to make the game developer community, and the games we create, amazing experiences for everyone.

Jen MacLean

2018 Scholars Alumni Announcement

We are pleased to announce our alumni reviewers for the 17th annual IGDA Scholars program for 2018. This past weekend, they volunteered their time to look over applications from students all over the world. We want to thank our alumni for their dedication and continued support of the program.

This year’s alumni reviewers included:

Dylan Gedig, Founder at Red Nexus Games, Inc.

JenJen Francis, Gaming Social Entrepreneur at Tiered World Studio

Joe Marchuk, Freelance Technical Sound Designer and Composer

John Edward Armstrong, AI Programmer at Ubisoft

Lanie Dixon, User Research Analyst at Ubisoft Montréal

Luis Brito, Associate Game Designer at LEVEL-5 International America Inc.

Matthew Lee, Co-Founder and Creative Director of AFK Studios

Michelle Hill, Motion Capture Specialist at 2K

Rukia Brooks, Founder and Developer of Cupcake Games


Please help up celebrate our growth in the new year by supporting the IGDA Foundation. You can donate and help fund our initiatives and programs, or you can get involved and help spread the word of what we do. One of the cornerstones of the Foundation is supporting the IGDA including their Chapters and Special Interest Groups which you can participate in as well.

Also, be sure to check back with us in January for our IGDA Scholars, WIG Ambassadors, and Next Gen Leaders recipients announcement!

2018 IGDA Scholars Judges Announcement

We are pleased to announce or judges for the 17th annual IGDA Scholars program for 2018. Our judges will be reading applications from students all over the globe who applied to this year’s IDGA Scholars GDC program. This year’s judging panel includes:

Jennifer Ash, UI/UX Design at Bungie
Gordon Bellamy, Visiting Scholar at USC
Kristen Bornemann, Development Director at ArenaNet
Tim Borrelli, Animation Director at First Strike Games
Kate Edwards, CEO & Principal Consultant at Geogrify
Christine Farmer, Marketing Manager at CD PROJEKT RED
Andrew Fray, Programmer Fox at Spry Fox
Ed Fries, Board Member at IGDA
Keith Fuller, Leadership Consultant at Fuller Game Production
Gaurave Mathur, Art Director at Penumbra, Inc.
Llaura McGee, Founder at DREAMFEEL
Brian McDonald, Independent, Design/Production Consulting
Kevin O’Gorman, Instructor at Art Institute of Dallas & IGDA Analog SIG Leader
Kevin Powell, Game Designer at Gearbox Software
Andy Schmoll, Systems Designer at Ubisoft Toronto
Ian Schreiber, Assistant Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology
Monty Sharma, Managing Director at Mass DiGI
Joelle Silverio, CEO & Co-founder of Impulse Studios
Timea Tabori, Engine Programmer at Rockstar North
Becky Taylor, Influencer Relations Manager at Riot Games
Steven Tovey, Senior Member of Technical Staff at AMD
Chris Tihor, Writer / Game Designer at Ironic Iconic Studios
Dave Weinstein, Android SDL Engineering Manager at Google
Cat Wendt, Founder at Wendt Creative
Vanessa Wood, Head of Localization and Narrative Design at Bigpoint GmbH

Please help us celebrate our growth in the new year by sharing our other IGDA Foundation scholarship opportunities to this year’s Game Developers Conference. In addition to the IGDA Scholars program, the IGDA Foundation’s deadline for the WIG Ambassador’s program, an esteemed scholarship for student women in games, is closing on 8th December and its Next Gen Leaders program (for industry professionals) and Eric Dybsand Memorial AI Scholarship (for students in AI) also on the 8th of December 2017. Don’t wait to encourage someone to submit an application today!

GDC 2018 Applications OPEN


IGDA Foundation GDC 2017 Scholarship Recipients and Volunteers

The IGDA Foundation is excited to announce that applications for its IGDA Scholars, Women in Games Ambassadors, and Next Gen Leaders programs at GDC 2018 are OPEN!

Each program includes an All-Access GDC pass, thanks to the generosity of UBM Tech Media, a travel stipend, and a mentor selected especially for the participant.  The programs also offer specific experiences for their participants.

The IGDA Scholars program, in its 17th year, is open to promising students, pursuing a degree in a field related to game development, from around the world.  In addition to the pass, travel stipend, and mentor, participants enjoy exclusive developer Q&A sessions, studio tours, and an introduction to game development as a career.

The Women in Games Ambassadors program supports students from around the world who identify as women (cis/trans) or are non-binary or genderqueer, and who have graduated in the past six months or will be graduating in the next six months, in finding their first professional employment as a game developer.  Designed to support all career goals, from employment at a AAA studio to working as an indie developer to starting a studio, Women in Games Ambassadors provides resume and portfolio reviews, exclusive receptions with leading companies, developer Q&A sessions, coaching on how to be an effective advocate for inclusivity in the industry, and ongoing support.

Next Gen Leaders helps to retain under-represented minority game developers.  In addition to the travel stipend, GDC pass, and mentor, participants receive two days of personal and professional development workshops, ongoing support, and are invited to participate in the program at GDC 2019 as well.

Learn more about these outstanding programs and apply today!  Applications for all programs close on December 8, 2017, and scholarship recipients will be announced in late January.

Announcing our 2017 MIGW Scholar Recipients

migw@2xAfter a thorough judging process we’re pleased to announce our 8 IGDA Scholars for the 2017 Melbourne International Games Week!

Thanks to the generosity of GDAA, Unity, PAX AUS, and Creative Victoria as well as the efforts of the IGDA Foundation and the IGDA Scholarship committee, these selected students will receive scholarships including a travel stipend as well as passes to attend Game Connect Asia Pacific, Unite Melbourne, and PAX AUS. The scholars will also get access to one-on-one mentorship from industry veterans, special Q&A sessions with some of the game industry’s most influential developers, and more!


Here are this year’s MIGW Scholars:

Christopher Wratt (Victoria University of Wellington)

Chima Ngerem (Nigerian Law School)

Aidan Wall (Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam)

Emily Mulgrue (Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Melbourne)

Andrea Hayes (The University of the Witwatersrand)

Mahli-Ann Butt (The University of Sydney)

Noni Och (Academy of Interactive Entertainment

Rohan Malone (SAE Institute Melbourne)


Visit our scholars page here to read more about each recipient.

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Our scholarships organizing team and volunteers will be retweeting and sharing our IGDA Scholar’s MIGW experience live on Twitter! Follow our Twitter account, @IGDA_Scholars, or the hashtag #IGDAScholars to keep up with all the action!

Welcome New Volunteer Leaders

Volunteers make the IGDA Foundation’s work possible, and nowhere is this more true than in our IGDA Scholars, Women in Games Ambassadors, and Next Gen Leaders programs.  So while I’m thrilled to announce new volunteers joining the IGDA Foundation team today, it’s also a bittersweet occasion, as we recognize the outstanding contributions of our retiring volunteers.

Molly Proffitt has led the IGDA Scholars volunteer team of Justin Lara and Erich Schuler for three years, delivering a consistently outstanding IGDA Scholars experience for conferences around the world, introducing literally hundred of aspiring game developers to mentors, supporters, and career possibilities.  It’s impossible to overstate the impact of Molly and her team to the IGDA Scholars program, the IGDA Foundation, and our game development community.  We are very fortunate to have received so much of their time, effort, and passion over the past three years, and we give Molly, Erich, and Justin our heartfelt thanks and very best wishes.


1VXuJ1F1_400x400SarahSpiersWhile replacing Molly and team is an almost-impossible task, we think we’ve made a great start.  Oleg Brodskiy, our new Program Director for the IGDA Scholars, is an IGDA Scholar alumnus, COO & Festival Chair of the Boston Festival of Indie Games, and combines both his experiences supporting the game developer community with extensive experience in managing projects and programs.  Joining Oleg as one of our IGDA Scholars Program Coordinators is Sarah Spiers, also an IGDA Scholars alumna and experienced game developer and community volunteer.  Welcome, Oleg and Sarah-we know the IGDA Scholars program is in great hands!

PBWI’m also thrilled to announce a new Program Director for our Next Gen Leaders program, Patricia Beckmann Wells.  In addition to her work as a tenured professor at Irvine Valley College, and her creative endeavors as a game developer and film director and producer, Patricia has also led training and development programs at Walt Disney Animation and Dreamworks.

aaeaaqaaaaaaaag1aaaajgu1ztu1mzdilwm0otytndk1ny05ywm2lwfjyjzhodflzwizmaI would be remiss if I failed to recognize the contributions of our returning Program Director for the Women in Games Ambassadors program, Cat Wendt.  Cat built the WiGAm program from scratch, supporting a more diverse and inclusive game development community and introducing women from around the world to careers in game development.  We’re absolutely delighted that Cat is returning to lead the WiGAm program again this year.

FB_IMG_1507130781599And, last but certainly not least, please join me in welcoming the IGDA Foundation’s new Operations Manager, Brie Wendt, who will be helping us provide better programs, support our volunteers to make a bigger impact on their communities, and grow our funding.  Brie is a long-time IGDA and IGDA Foundation volunteer with extensive experience in operations management, and she’s already made a huge impact on the function of the IGDA Foundation.  

We’ve already started our planning for GDC 2018, and we’re getting ready for a great show!  You’ll be hearing from Oleg, Cat, Patricia, Brie, and me over the upcoming months with exciting news and announcements.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or feedback you may have.

-Jen MacLean, Managing Director, IGDA Foundation

Announcing the first MIGW Scholars Program

Melbourne International Games Week

The IGDA Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of its first ever MIGW IGDA Scholars program to take place 22-29 October 2017. Melbourne International Games Week warmly embraces the IGDA Scholars program and is excited to welcome the IGDA scholars to Melbourne, Australia. In 2016, over 60,000 people attended this critical event in the Australia games community. The IGDA Foundation is grateful for the generosity of the GDAA, Unity, PAX AUS, and Creative Victoria so that 8 scholarship recipients will receive scholarships to attend Game Connect Asia Pacific, Unite Melbourne, and PAX AUS as part of the MIGW Scholars program. Recipients will also receive a travel stipend valued between $500 and $2000 USD depending on distance traveled from the IGDA Foundation.

To apply visit scholars.igdafoundation.org and submit your application by 1 Aug 2017.

Eligible recipients, must be over the age of 18 at the date of application and a university student, including undergraduate, postgraduate, and advanced degrees, or have graduated from a university within 6 months before 22 Oct, 2017. The MIGW Scholars program is intended for students studying to receive a bachelors degree, masters degree, or PhD in games or games-related fields who intend to pursue a career in games. It is an incredible opportunity for those who are interested in entrepreneurship, game design, and games business and ideal for those interested in independent development studios and the mobile games industry. Students, do not miss this once in a lifetime chance to travel to Australia and explore Melbourne International Games Week!

We would also like to thank the following members of the Australia games community who were critical in making this event happen: Giselle Rosman, Liam Esler, and Amelia King as well as the organizations, volunteers, and doners who have worked with us to provide this opportunity to our scholars.

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For news about IGDA Scholars follow us on Twitter @IGDA_Scholars and @IGDAFoundation.

IGDAF @ GDC 2017: Making the Industry Stronger and More Diverse

It’s been a bit more than a month since the conclusion of another amazing GDC, and now that we’ve all had time to reflect, recover, and marvel at the amazing experiences we shared, the IGDA Foundation wanted to share the impact of our efforts at GDC.5D4_7621

Our GDC programs included the IGDA Scholars (for the 16th year!), Women in Games Ambassadors, and our newest program, Next Gen Leaders.  Each of these programs helps us create a better industry for game developers by supporting the best and brightest students seeking to join the industry and actively encouraging the inclusion and retention of under-represented minority game devs.

Our programs touch a broad range of participants and volunteers: 135 students, developers, mentors, speakers, and supporters directly engaged in our efforts at GDC 2017.  We accept less than 10% of the talented students and game developers who apply to our programs, and we strive to give every participant a unique, life-changing experience that supports their personal and professional growth.

5D4_7607We made a difference in the lives of those participants: according to our post-GDC survey, 100% of IGDA Foundation participants would recommend their program to a friend our colleague, 83% believe their program made it more likely they’ll find or continue a career in game development, and 90% feel more positively about game development thanks to their experience with the IGDA Foundation.

We can also see the impact of our programs through the success of our alumni:  IGDA Foundation program alumni and current year participants delivered 28 sessions at GDC 2017, arguably the most prestigious and in-demand professional speaking opportunity in our industry!  

We’re also making progress on our goal of supporting an industry that reflects the diversity of the people who love and play games.  Across all of our programs, 77% of our participants identify as female, 40% are people of color, and 40% identify as LGBTQIA.  

Copy of 5D4_7616These programs wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our sponsors and supporters.  We offer a heartfelt thank you to Intel, Xbox, the Bigglesworth Family Foundation, Double Fine Productions, and Zynga for their financial, experiential, and logistical support of the IGDA Foundation.  And we couldn’t provide our programs without Meggan Scavio and the GDC team, who not only create the pre-eminent conference for game developers each year but who generously donate GDC passes for our participants.

We’re looking forward to GDC 2018 and the chance to impact even more students and developers!  And in the meantime, we’re actively planning to expand the efforts of the IGDA Foundation to make an even bigger improvement to the lives of game developers.  If you’d like to get involved, we’d love your help!  You can reach me at jen@igda.org.

Animation Exchange – Livestream Supports IGDA Foundation

Not everybody gets to go to GDC, and that’s a shame. We try to help with our various scholarship programs, but we know that this week can still be a bittersweet one for many people trapped at home. But fear not, for our good friends at the Animation Exchange have you covered, with a full 8 hours of talks about animation on Tuesday February 28th, from 2pm to 10pm PST.
For that whole time Animation Exchange will be taking over Twitch, streaming sessions live. With content from Blizzard, Epic, Ubisoft, Riot, Naughty Dog and many many more, we’re sure that for people passionate about the art and tech of animation, you will find something of great interest.
And what’s more, the fine folks behind this awesome event have offered to raise awareness and fund for the IGDA Foundation. We’re very grateful for this support, and we hope you’ll check out their full schedule and tune in!

Introducing The 11th Eric Dybsand Memorial AI Scholar

The Eric Dybsand Memorial AI Scholarship is an important piece of the IGDA Foundation’s history, given that it was the award that drove the creation of our organisation. Eric’s impact as a welcoming figure within the Game AI community set the blueprint for what would become the award established in his honor, which we have given out annually since our beginnings. Today we are delighted to introduce you to the 2017 Eric Dybsand Memorial AI Scholar, the 11th student to benefit from that legacy!

EricVignolaEric Vignola is a game developer, thinker, and obsessive. He uses artificial intelligence and interactive experiences to help players explore some of life’s toughest questions. In the past, Eric has helped create tools that allow video game authors to create more expressive worlds that allow for deeper player interaction through artificial intelligence. Presently, he is creating a game about the experience of being biracial in the United States and feelings of social isolation. Eric is planning to create an online media company that uses micro games and blog posts to help people develop greater levels of emotional intelligence through play.

Eric will receive not only all of the benefits of being an IGDA Scholar, such as a complimentary pass courtesy of GDC, but will also be welcomed with open arms by the Game AI community, participating in the AI Summit and being an honored guest at the annual AI Programmers Dinner.

Please join us in congratulating Eric on this great achievement, and if you see him at GDC make sure that you say hello!


The IGDA Foundation is indebted to GDC, the AI Game Programmers Guild and the various members of the community who make this award possible