2016 GDC Europe & Gamescom Scholars Announced!

Congratulations to our newest cohort of IGDA Scholars for GDC Europe and  Gamescom! These talented students will receive an extraordinary trip to Europe’s premier game development events in Cologne, Germany! Each student will receive an All-Access Pass, mentorship from an industry professional, and an unforgettable IGDA-organized itinerary.


ProfileImage_NidaAhmadNida Ahmad is a final year Psychology student at the University of Warwick in the UK. Currently working in a part time role at Exient’s Leamington studio, she is focused on creatively applying player and game psychology, UX and research to games design. She’s play tested for FreeStyle Games and is now in charge of publicity, events and careers for the games design society on campus, alongside developing an initiative to get students of minority groups involved too. She has interests in Human Computer Interaction and emerging technologies as well as mentoring young people, climbing and producing large events.


ProfileImage_SanteriArpoSanteri Arpo is starting his third year as a producer student at the Kajaani University of Applied Sciences located in northern Finland. He founded his first company at the age of 17 and during that time he became interested in the games industry. At the university, he is the CEO of a co-op run by students that develops and publishes games for various platforms such as mobile, PC and PlayStation 4. He is also leading a 10-member team that is developing a game for the PlayStation 4 which is targeted to be released on January 5th 2017.


ProfileImage_AthanasiaBiriAthanasia (Cissy) Biri is a master’s student at Birmingham City University’s MSc Video Game Enterprise and Production programme. Her previous background is in computer science with some training in animation and 3D art. She also worked in the QA side of the industry on titles such as Kinect Sports Rivals and Quantum Break. As part of her final assessment, she is a part-time intern at Exient’s Leamington Spa studio where she works closely with the studio director to align the company’s production philosophy and put in place some best practices for producers across projects to follow as required.


ProfileImage_ToveBrantbergTove Brantberg has a B.Sc in Game Design and is currently a MA student in Game Design and Production at Aalto University, Finland. She is well versed in all sides of game production and enjoys everything from coding to creating art, and has a fondness for teaching as well. She has worked on educational games and won an award for one, has taught kids how to make games themselves, and recently found herself working as a VR programmer. She loves games that bring people together and is always advocating for more co-op and more board games.


ProfileImage_KyrieCaldwellKyrie E. H. Caldwell earned her B.A. in Art History and Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and will soon graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a master’s in Comparative Media Studies. Her master’s thesis analyzes how video game mechanics help construct game worlds, particularly through reinforcing problematic cultural assumptions and structures, such as gender roles. Kyrie has also published research on the parallels between religious practices and gameplay, gender and reflexivity in enjoying and studying games, and using video games in educational contexts. She currently works in the MIT Game Lab and The Education Arcade.


ProfileImage_WilliamGoddardWilliam Goddard is a game designer and researcher based in Melbourne, Australia, with a focus on co­located, mobile, and party games. He is interested in how these topics intersect, facilitating social play that extends beyond the game. He is currently a PhD student at RMIT University, where he is investigating this intersection through game design. As a distraction from day to day work, you will still find him collaborating on new ideas at game jams or fitting in far too many side projects.


ProfileImage_KristyKeatchKirsty Keatch is a Scottish game developer, creative programmer and sound designer based in Edinburgh. She’s interested in the role of mobile dynamic audio and the design of new mechanics for touch screen devices. She graduated with a First Class Honours in Music Technology BMus at Edinburgh University and is currently in her final semester of a Masters by research in Sound Design, developing a portfolio of games, that raided the toy box for inspiration, to present Katakata – a kinetic sound sculpture, Freq and Hedra – one touch games with a twist!


ProfileImage_FarahKhalafFarah Khalaf is a game developer from Auckland, New Zealand. Currently finishing off her Digital Design degree at Auckland University of Technology, Farah is strongly passionate about game art, community building, and event management. As part of the NZGDA board, Farah has been involved with various projects including organising indie game booths at cons, game developer meetups, and currently co-organising NZGDC16. She is also passionate about teaching, and has taught game design at an all-girls school, as well as multiple workshops at Auckland Libraries. In April 2016, Farah was listed as one of MCV’s 100 Most Influential Women in Games in the Pacific.

IGDA Foundation Recognizes Double Fine

IMG_9242One of the best parts of winning an IGDA Scholarship is the chance to tour some of the hottest studios in the industry. We’ve formed lots of strong partnerships with those studios—but for years now, Double Fine has stood out as a favorite for our GDC Scholars.

This year we were proud to present DoubleFine with a token of our gratitude for their years of partnership and hospitality. Double Fine Founder Tim Schafer was on hand to accept the award from Foundation Chair Luke Dicken, as well as to offer an unforgettable experience for our GDC Scholars.

We’re extremely grateful for Double Fine’s years of dedication to our scholars program, and we know dozens of scholars and alumni are too!

Thank you, Double Fine!

2016 IGDA Foundation Women in Games Ambassadors Announced

2016WIGThe 2016 IGDA Foundation Women in Games Ambassadors have been selected! Congratulations to our winners!

The competition was fierce, and we’re proud to showcase an exceptional group of women, who represent a diverse range of professional backgrounds and some of the most promising rising talent within games.

As part of our Women in Games Ambassadors program, these women will receive a once-in-a-lifetime GDC experience with All-Access passes, travel stipends, and a week full of exclusive insider events and opportunities.

Read more about these incredible women here.

2016 Eric Dybsand Memorial AI Scholarship Awarded to Juliette Lemaitre

juliette_lemaitreEric Dybsand was a pillar of the development community, whose dedication to AI was as remarkable as his warm and giving personality. Each year, the Eric Dybsand Memorial AI Scholarship is awarded in his honor to an exceptional student with an interest in AI.

This year we’re excited to announce that the winner of the 2016 Eric Dybsand Memorial AI Scholarship is Juliette Lemaitre from Université de Technologie de Compiègne in France. Read more about Juliette below:

Juliette Lemaitre has obtained an MSc in computer science and she is now a PhD student at Université de Technologie de Compiègne and at MASA Group, in France. Her work consists in trying to make artificial intelligence design easier and to allow game designers to work on high-level behaviors by giving them intelligible and appropriate controls. As she likes good challenges, she has specialized in strategy games, like Civilization, that provide complex decision-making with multiple interdependent fields, making the design of the opponent behavior quite difficult to balance.

In addition to an All-Access Pass to GDC, Juliette will receive mentoring from a range of AI professionals, VIP status at exclusive AI events, recognition at the annual AI Summit at GDC, and an invitation to join the AI Programmers Guild—an incredible welcome to the AI community befitting Eric’s memory.

Congratulations, Juliette!

2015 in Review

WAOXf3RzHappy New Year from the IGDA Foundation!

2015 was a fantastic year for the Foundation. Our reach as an organization grew immensely over the year due to the incredible support we received from Intel, contributions from developers through inclusion in Humble Bundles, and an increase in the already generous in-kind contributions we receive from GDC, without which we would not be able to run most of our event scholarship programs. We’re incredibly proud of everything we’ve accomplished in the past year, and we would love to take a moment to recognize some of this year’s highlights.

2015 saw our 14th year of the IGDA Scholars. In addition to an already-robust scholarship program providing the best and brightest young talent with passes to events such as GDC, GDC Europe and Gamescom, 1-on-1 industry mentorship, studio tours, and Q & A sessions with industry greats, this year our partnership with Intel allowed us to extend the program to include travel bursaries, opening the program for the first time to a wider range of students. For many of us who volunteer for the Foundation, this is the highlight of our work, and this program continues to go from strength to strength under the leadership of Molly Proffitt and her dedicated team, which is actually comprised entirely of alumni of the program!

This year also saw the creation of what we now refer to as the Women in Games Ambassadors Program (formerly known as Intel Scholars), which allowed 29 additional students to attend GDC with All-Access Passes, and offered admission to exclusive networking events and private Q & A sessions with industry members. Although taking a different focus from the IGDA Scholars, Cat Wendt and her team of volunteers, with support from Intel’s Kip Silverman, were able to capture a lot of the magic to create a remarkable experience for these women that surpassed our expectations.

IGDA_GDC_SCHOLARS_2015_STILLS-3-of-73In addition to our student scholarships, this year we were able to expand several IGDA Foundation and IGDA initiatives, and promote several events and organizations aimed at fostering diversity within the industry.

The IGDA’s Developer Satisfaction Survey is an annual assessment designed to take stock of who we are as an industry and the issues that face us. In recent years, the survey has also incorporated demographic information that helps illuminate areas that need additional outreach and attention. This year, the Foundation helped support that initiative in an effort to spotlight the diversity issues facing developers and the perception of these issues within the industry.

We provided crucial support to the IGDA Leadership Summit, a new event aimed at cultivating the next generation of leaders within the games industry. The event was a great success, with excellent sessions from a number of established industry leaders, an exceptionally diverse set of speakers, and session recordings for dissemination to the general development community.

In 2014, we supported the first “Localization Jam” or LocJam, an event aimed at providing a game jam style environment for game localization specialists. After the resounding success of the first LocJam with participation from around the globe, we were delighted to support LocJam in its second year, as the event specifically promotes inclusivity through broader reach of games across cultures and languages.

LXkk5jN_HD6dCAXiPSP9u67Fu2QZ0Zvragx_jQQI1B0In May, we provided funding to the UC Santa Cruz Native Game Development Workshop, an exceptionally high quality one-day event that featured some of the top Native American talent from across the US. Racial diversity in the games industry is a critical component of the broader diversity conversation, and we’re excited to see this first step toward celebration and awareness of games in Native American culture.

We were also proud to support the Pixelles group, a Montreal-based grassroots organization supporting its local community with an emphasis on women in games. We were able to help Pixelles expand their online presence and provide a “Community Tool Chest” of computers, software, and equipment to broaden access to their workshops and game jams. Pixelles is doing fantastic work, and we hope to continue our relationship with them in the New Year.

Finally, this year we offered community grants to several of the IGDA sub-groups. We were able to help IGDA Chicago reach a broader audience by funding a grant for recording equipment, help IGDA Scotland cover venue costs for meetings in one of Scotland’s major game development hubs, and help IGDA New Hampshire publicly showcase their games by funding the construction of an arcade cabinet that will be displayed at various events. We’re committed to serving the IGDA’s mission to support the professional development of game developers, and hope to offer even more community grants in 2016!

Screenshot-1202016-1024-AMAmidst all this good work we were also delighted to welcome three new members to the IGDA Foundation Board of Trustees: Kathy Astromoff (VP of Developer Success at Twitch), Jen Maclean (President, Kids & Games at Family Education Network) and Sheri Graner Ray (Founder at Zombie Cat Studios). We also bid farewell to one of the original founders of the Foundation, as Tom Buscaglia stood down after 8 years of service, 7 of those as Chair. We’ve welcomed numerous new volunteers into the organization, filling key gaps and helping us with this year of phenomenal growth.

With a resoundingly successful year behind us, the IGDA Foundation is excited to announce the renewal of our relationship with Intel for 2016. Much of our work this year would not have been possible without their support, and we are immensely grateful to them for their strong commitment to gender parity in tech and game development. Intel’s funding has already helped countless talented developers jump-start their careers in 2015 and we cannot wait to have an even greater impact together in 2016. We are also immeasurably grateful to GDC for their support throughout the years, and for growing that support as our capacity to do good work for the community has grown.

Foundation volunteers are already hard at work preparing for all of the exciting initiatives we have planned in 2016. Watch this space for more information on these programs, or follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter) to make sure you never miss an announcement. We’re actively looking for great initiatives to support. If you have a project that you think aligns with our mission learn more about our grant funding process.

Thank you for your continued support; we can’t wait for 2016!

The IGDAF Women in Games Ambassadors Program

(Photo by Dave Churchill)

The IGDA Foundation is proud to announce year two of the IGDAF Women in Games Ambassadors program (formerly known as Intel Scholars). This program will enable twenty talented women students to attend the 2016 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The Women in Games Ambassadors program is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that provides all access event passes, travel stipends, and a week of special insider events.

The IGDAF Women in Games Ambassadors program team is already hard at work on making 2016 a banner year.

Our deepest gratitude goes out to our volunteers, generous donors, and the amazing team at GDC for making this program possible.

Click here for more information on the IGDA Women in Games Ambassadors program.

IGDA Foundation Currently Featured on Humble Bundle

HumbleBundle5The IGDA Foundation is delighted to reprise our role with Humble Bundle as a recipient charity for their Humble Jumbo Bundle 5! Our previous promotion through Humble Bundle was a resounding success, and we’re grateful to be included again alongside such fantastic charities as The Red Cross and Direct Relief.

This Bundle features a whopping 11 games and 7 soundtracks, for which players are invited to pay what they want. Proceeds directly help us enrich the careers of emerging and established game developers through our student scholarships, mentoring programs, and community grants.

This is a fantastic way to support the Foundation, and we would appreciate your help spreading the word!

Scholarship Deadline Extension: Executive MBA at The Berlin School of Creative Leadership

The Berlin School of Creative Leadership has extended the application deadline for the IGDA Foundation Diversity Scholarship to November 16th. The scholarship winner will receive tuition support for the incredible Berlin School Executive MBA in Creative Leadership program starting March 2016 in Berlin.

We are thrilled to be partnering with The Berlin School of Creative Leadership in preparing the next generation of game industry leaders for success.

“The Executive MBA in Creative Leadership is a master’s degree for professionals in areas of business and industry where creativity sets the standards. The program is designed for those with significant professional experience looking to develop further as leaders and carry through purposeful and imaginative change in their fields. Throughout the intensive module residencies and thesis preparation, degree candidates work together with veteran international faculty members as well as industry thought leaders committed to fostering creativity in business.”

Please help spread the word about this wonderful scholarship opportunity by tweeting, posting on Facebook, and otherwise sharing the news!

For more information on applying, visit The Berlin School of Creative Leadership’s informational page here: http://www.berlin-school.com/emba/scholarships/igda-foundation-diversity-scholarship


Trustee Steps Down

Tom_Buscaglia-IGDA_Board_HeaLast month the IGDA Foundation Board of Trustees got its annual new appointments. Before we introduce our new Trustees, it felt appropriate to take a moment to recognise Tom Buscaglia, who has stepped down from his role with the organization.

Tom is one of the founders of the IGDA Foundation, and has served as a Trustee for the past 9 years, 8 of them as Chair. Tom’s unwavering belief in the mission of the IGDA and the IGDA Foundation has been a shining example through the years. His guidance saw the growth of the Foundation from initial idea to an actual charity, and he has been instrumental in ensuring our long term stability as Treasurer during this past year, our most active and successful to date. Tom continues to hold a seat on the IGDA Board of Directors as Chair Emeritus.

On behalf of all of us: Tom, thank you for your service to the game development community!

Intel Scholars in Action

This has been an especially exciting year for the IGDA Foundation! In addition to our talented group of IGDA Scholars, we also launched our IGDAF Intel Scholars Program to send an additional 29 women to GDC. These impressive young women met with industry leaders and attended talks and networking events. Intel Scholar and recent Cogswell College graduate Cara Ricci writes:

I will never have enough good things to say about my fellow scholars; they were supremely intelligent, funny, driven, accomplished, talented, and so, so caring.

Zoë Sams, an MSc student at Bournemouth University, adds:

My week in San Francisco was one of the most empowering, important, and fun experiences I’ve ever had. I realised that the industry I love is welcoming and that people are so willing to help you learn.

You can read more about the IGDAF Intel Scholars’ experiences here. The IGDA Foundation is incredibly grateful to Intel for their support, and we’re proud to be sending more and more students to major industry events around the world—scholarships to GDC Europe and Gamescom were recently announced. These talented and innovative young scholars are the future leaders of our industry. We are excited to see where they go from here!