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!


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.

8th Eric Dybsand Memorial Scholarship Awarded to Matt Cabanag

The IGDA Foundation announced the recipient of the Eight Annual Eric Dybsand Memorial Scholarship for AI Development, Matt Cabanag. Matt is an academic and research student at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. In between work and study, Matt is trying to create a financially sustainable indie game studio: Quantum Shade Interactive. Their flagship project, Protocol E, is heavily based on his published research on autonomous agents (AI). He was a top 10 finalist at the 2013 Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards (Interactive Gaming Category). His team was also given “Best Game” at Global Game Jam 2013 – Sydney. When not ‘working’, Matt is a typical nerd that loves Star Trek, Bravest Warriors, and playing with or building 3D printers.”

The Eric Dybsand Memorial Scholarship is awarded in memory of Eric Dybsand, the noted AI developer, author and lecturer who passed away in 2004. It is awarded annually to a promising student selected by the IGDA Artificial Intelligence SIG.

Matt will receive an All Access Pass to the Game Developers Conference, a $1,000.00 expense assistance stipend, and be an honored guest at the Annual AI Dinner.

Congratulations Matt!

Tom Buscaglia, Chair – IGDA Foundation

James Burns to receive the IGDA Foundation / Full Sail University Scholarship

The International Game Developers Association Foundation is proud to announce that James Burns has been selected as the recipient of the first International Game Developers Association Foundation / Full Sail University Game Development Scholarship. Burns will be awarded the scholarship during a presentation scheduled to take place at GDC Online in Austin, Texas on Tuesday, October 9.

Through this scholarship program, Burns will be awarded a full tuition scholarship toward Full Sail University’s campus-based Game Development Bachelor of Science Degree program, which he is scheduled to begin this November. In addition to the scholarship, he will also receive a 17” HP Mobile Workstation computer courtesy of CDW and HP.

“We at the IGDA Foundation are pleased and proud to award our first full degree scholarship in collaboration with Full Sail University to James Burns of Miami, Florida,” said Tom Buscaglia, IGDA Foundation Chair. “We look forward to great things from James and know that the education he will receive at Full Sail University as a result of this scholarship will serve him well in his chosen career in the game industry.”

The IGDA Foundation and Full Sail University announced the scholarship’s nationwide application process last year, which sought out to identify an exceptional student who was passionate about and exhibited talent for software development in the gaming industry.

“Congratulations to James on being selected as the recipient of the International Game Developers Association Foundation / Full Sail University Game Development Scholarship,” said Rob Catto, Director of Game Studies for Full Sail University. “We were delighted to work alongside the IGDA Foundation to bring this scholarship to life and we look forward to welcoming James to campus to begin his educational journey in our Game Development degree program.”

The official presentation will be at the IGDA Booth on the floor of the GDC Online Expo at 5:30 PM, Tuesday, October 9, 2012.


IGDA Foundation/Full Sail Scholar’s grades are in!

James Burns’ initial grades are in and very impressive indeed! Congratulations James!

Full Sail Grades
James Burns

Game Design Fundamentals…………………………………………………95.95%
Calculus …………………………………………………………………………93.40%
Programming 1…………………………………………………………………97.46%
Linear Algebra…………………………………………………………………..97.40%
Programming 2…………………………………………………………………93.95%
Programming 3…………………………………………………………………98.50%

Way to go, James! Keep em coming and make us proud!

Seventh Annual Eric Dybsand Memorial Scholarship for AI Development

The IGDA Foundation announced the recipient of the Seventh Annual Eric Dybsand Memorial Scholarship for AI Development, Owen Macindoe. Owen is an independent game developer and doctoral student with MIT Game Lab and the Learning and Intelligent Systems group. His research focuses on making AI sidekicks that infer and support human intentions using tractable belief space planning techniques. He is also an organizer for the MIT Global Game Jam site, MolyJam Boston, and a curator for Boston Festival of Independent Games.

The scholarship, in memory of Eric Dybsand, the noted AI developer, author and lecturer who passed away in 2004, is awarded annually by the Foundation to a candidate selected by a panel of IA experts from the IGDA Artificial Intelligence SIG.

Owen will receive an All Access Pass to the Game Developers Conference, a $1,000.00 expense assistance stipend and be an honored guest at the Annual AI Dinner.

Congratulations Owen!

Tom Buscaglia, Chair – IGDA Foundation