IGDA Scholars Report Back From GDC

This year’s IGDA Scholars have reported back from a great GDC! We were excited to send 18 talented students to the annual Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco where they met eminent developers for private Q & A sessions, worked one-on-one with industry mentors, and toured Bay Area games studios. This year, we we also delighted to offer travel stipends courtesy of our recent partnership with Intel. Stacey Mason, a PhD student at UC Santa Cruz and one of this year’s GDC Scholars, writes of her experience:

I can say with total sincerity that being an IGDA Scholar has changed my life. From meeting some of the incredible people behind my favorite games to invaluable advice from my mentor, the scholars program has provided me with so many opportunities that I will never forget.

Congratulations again to this year’s GDC scholars!

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Molly Proffitt and Cat Wendt Recognized by the IGDA

mollycatluke-1The IGDA Foundation is proud to showcase two of our program leaders, Molly Proffitt and Cat Wendt, who were recently recognized by the IGDA for their philanthropic contributions to the organization and video game industry at large. Both received MVP Awards from the IGDA for their efforts.

Molly Proffitt is the Program Lead for the IGDA Scholars program and the Chair of the Atlanta chapter of the IGDA. Molly oversees operations in making sure scholars all over the world are able to attend GDC, E3, GDCE and Gamescom. She works tirelessly to pair scholars with industry mentors, organize Q&A panels, schedule booth tours, and create other opportunities for them.

Cat Wendt is co-chair of the IGDA Women in Games SIG, and she headed the inaugural IGDAF Intel Scholars Program this year. Under her lead, the IGDA Foundation was able to send 29 talented women scholars to GDC (thanks to Intel’s generous support). Cat has also been a long time contributor to the IGDA more generally, helping out across the board, especially with graphic design. In fact, the Foundation’s logo is one of her designs!

The IGDA Foundation is incredibly proud to work with such talented people, and we thank Molly and Cat for all of their exceptional work.

Humble Bundle Helps Support the IGDA Foundation

Co-Op-2-Weekly-Logo-1We are thrilled to announce that the IGDA Foundation is being featured as a recipient of proceeds from this week’s “Co-Op 2 Humble Weekly Bundle”. We are honored to be included and our gratitude goes out to the folks at Humble Bundle for making us a part of their program! We’re also very thankful for Monochrome Inc, developer of Contagion, who specifically requested our participation as their charity of choice.

If you are a fan of the work we do here at the IGDA Foundation, or are just a big fan of Contagion – or any of the other great games in this bundle, please check out this week’s Humble Bundle.

We’d also love it if you could help us to spread the word about this. Please tweet, post on Facebook and however else to spread the word and help us raise awareness – and raise some money! Every ounce of support helps us in our mission to enrich the careers of emerging and established game developers through our programs, student event scholarships, mentoring, and community grants.

The 2015 Eric Dybsand Memorial AI Scholarship

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the 2015 Eric Dybsand Memorial AI Scholarship is John Edward Armstrong from the University of Bergen in Norway. Our panel of judges felt that John’s enthusiasm and interest for AI, combined with his service to his local community made him an exceptional candidate for this award. Read more about John below!

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John Armstrong is a masters student at the University in Bergen, Norway. He is a programmer, currently working for the games startup BitSquad, on it’s Bismuth project. Though the past years, he has been an active member of the Norwegian Gamemakers Guild, through which he has helped lead and organize events such as Konsoll (an annual game developer conference) and the Bergen Game Jam. In addition to games he is also a board member of the programmers group Kompiler, which seeks to help connect and educate programmers within diverse fields of software development.

In addition to an All Access pass to the conference, John will receive a welcome fitting to the memory of Eric thanks to the AI Game Programmers Guild. Mentoring, introductions to the AI community, invitations to events and even being pointed out as part of the AI Summit – John is in for a once in a lifetime experience!

Congratulations John, we’ll see you at GDC!

Intel and the IGDA Foundation

10923512_10101126002544281_6217694044707256925_nThe IGDA Foundation is proud to be a part of the Intel diversity initiative recently unveiled by CEO Brian Krzanich. Intel’s strong commitment to this cause will undoubtedly help enact positive change in the industry, and the IGDA Foundation is committed to supporting this aim.

As a result of a generous grant from Intel, we’re excited to share with you information about new initiatives we will be able to support as well as new programs that we are launching in the coming year.

The first of these is the “Intel Scholars” program. For fourteen years, the IGDA has operated the IGDA Scholars program, supporting some of the best and brightest students in our industry. It has been instrumental in launching the careers of a number of prominent individuals who have positively impacted game development. With the help of Intel, we now are proud to launch another initiative called “Intel Scholars,” which will operate in addition to the IGDA Scholars program. In its inaugural year, this program will enable thirty talented women to attend the 2015 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and have a once in a lifetime experience. We’re thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to these extraordinarily talented and deserving women, who are all students pursuing degrees related to game development.

We’ll have more announcements in the coming weeks and months about the exciting new things we are working on. Thanks so much to Intel for their commitment to diversity! Our gratitude also goes to GDC – their support over the years has made the success of these programs possible!

From the Chair – The First Six Months

FoundationHeadshot-150x150It’s been around six months since I took over the mantle of Foundation Chair from Tom Buscaglia and what a ride its been! I’ve been honoured, intimidated and overwhelmed in equal parts, and a significant portion of the time has been spent familiarising myself with our history and what it really means to be a charity -and how that differs from the experience I’ve got with non-profits in general. There is a very steep learning curve here but a very enjoyable one!

One of the most significant challenges we face is one of PR. Recently the Ice Bucket challenge united people around the world and from all walks of life to raise awareness and funds for ALS, and whilst the IGDA Foundation may have more niche appeal, this has certainly provided an amount of food for thought as to how we might try to emulate that success. In recent months we’ve made great steps forward in terms of our messaging – most notably by revamping this website but also developing other streams like a Donor Newsletter, a Twitter account and our brand new Facebook page, but we are still a long way from our “viral moment”.

But regardless, it remains an exciting time for the IGDA Foundation! We’re emerging from this changeover period stronger than ever and with an incredible Board of Trustees to lead us forwards. Our current projects go from strength to strength, and we’ve got so many great ideas for excellent projects that we can’t wait to raise support for.

But we can’t do it alone, we need each and every one of you to join us in working together to provide support for game developers around the world. If you could make a donation, that would be so greatly appreciate but regardless, please keep in touch through social media and let us know what you think we should be doing.

Yours in service

Luke Dicken
Chair, IGDA Foundation

James Burns, IGDA Foundation Scholarship Recipient at Full Sail University, Graduates

We’re delighted to inform you that after years of effort, the recipient of the IGDA Foundation Full Sail Scholarship graduated from his program earlier this month.

James Burns was awarded this scholarship in 2012, and has since been hard at work with his studies, getting exceptional grades as we have previously posted. On September 5th, his efforts were rewarded when he not only graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Game Development, but was also named as class Salutatorian!

James had this to say about his experience: “Thanks to Full Sail and the IGDA Foundation giving me a chance at my dream, I have all the knowledge to pursue the career I want in game development!

We’re very proud of James and all he has accomplished to date, and we can’t wait to see where he goes and what he does next!

Please join us in congratulating him, either in the comments here or directly on Twitter where he is @TheRandomosity

IGDA Scholars Head to Germany

One of our best known programs is the IGDA Scholarships – an opportunity for exceptional students around the world to participate in games industry events and receive a once in a lifetime VIP experience with industry mentorship, studio tours, meetings with senior industry figures and more.

10505179_10152683652672958_1349961347746761413_oThe IGDA Foundation is delighted to have supported this unique program in Cologne, Germany at the collocated Game Developers Conference Europe and Gamescom events. Eight Scholars were chosen to attend and received a full VIP experience all week, from meetings with veterans such as Don Daglow and Brenda Romero to getting to enjoy the Sony Press Briefing in person and more, we’re delighted to have had the opportunity to give these exceptional students a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The Scholarships team is already starting to work on making 2015 one of the greatest yet for the program, and we’d love to talk to you about how you can be a part of it! From the mentors to the meetings to the exclusive opportunities they receive, every part of the experience we deliver to these aspiring game developers is driven by the generosity of our industry.

Lights, Camera, Action for IGDA Vietnam

One of the key ways that the IGDA Foundation is able to support game developers around the world is through the international community of the core IGDA. We provide grant assistance to existing IGDA Chapters and Special Interest Groups to support specific projects and initiatives that they otherwise would not be able to achieve. When IGDA Vietnam presented us with a request to fund a camcorder, it was easy to see the benefit. Not only would this enable the chapter to record their meetings for posterity, but it would enable their more remote members to benefit from the wisdom shared at talks and events that they couldn’t attend in person. Of course it would also enable IGDA Vietnam to share their experience and wisdom with the global game developer community.

You can see the first ever video from IGDA Vietnam below, which shows a short summary of a recent developer conference held in Ho Chi Minh City.

We’re really looking forward to seeing what else IGDA Vietnam will share with the world!

As always, you can get in touch with us directly to learn more about how you can get involved in supporting initiatives like this across the globe!

IGDA Board appoints new Foundation Trustees and Chair

At their April Board Meeting, the Board of the International Game Developers Association was tasked with appointing two new Trustees to replace Jamil Moledina and Brian Robbins whose terms had expired. At the same time, due to his election to Chair of the IGDA, Tom Buscaglia requested that the Board also appoint a new Chair to the Foundation.

We are delighted to announce that Ed Fries has joined the Board of Trustees of the IGDA Foundation for a two year term. Luke Dicken has been has been appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees, as well as joining the Trustees for three years. Despite stepping down as Chair, Tom Buscaglia remains a Trustee, and as one of the founders of the Foundation, leaves some very big shoes to fill.