Our Great March Weekend (SXSW Gaming Expo 2015, Kate Edwards visit, ESA)

Death came to our booth! We gave him a Crowfall button.

Death came to our booth! We gave him a Crowfall button.

We had an exhausting but exhilarating weekend. This one will be a lot more personal, from my own point of view.

IGDA-Austin had table space on the floor of the SXSW Gaming Expo, continuing a presence we’ve had since it was a little bit of hopeful vibes called Screenburn. Thanks to Justin Burnham and Estevan Aviles for all the hard work in securing a space for us.

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IGDA Austin @ SXSW

IGDA Austin will have a booth at the 2015 SXSW Gaming Expo in Austin, TX.

The SXSW Gaming Expo is open to the public March 13-15 2015 from noon to 8PM at the Palmer Events Center.

During the course of the expo, you can visit our booth to see demonstrations of various aspects of game development by members of the Austin community of game developers, watch trailers of games developed in Austin, and play demos of games by small independent developers from Austin.

Game Crowdfunding: Succeed by avoiding the pitfalls!

Come and listen to several local developers share their experiences of running successful crowdfunding campaigns for their games on Kickstarter. The panelists be sharing both the things to avoid, the things to do in order to be successful in raising money for games in a crowdfunding campaign.
The panel will include Starr Long from Portalarium, John Erskine from Cloud Imperium, Alex Thomas formerly from Stoic, Blake Burns from BlankMedia Games and Paul Trowe from Replay Games. It will be moderated by Gordon Walton of ArtCraft Entertainment.

We will be open by 6:30pm if you want to come and network with other developers.
There will also be plenty of time for Q&A with the panel members.

When: Tuesday, March 10, 2015, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Tech Ranch Austin, 8920 Business Park Drive, Suite 250 (second floor)

RSVP on the Meetup Page. Space is limited!

Find us at SXSW Gaming Expo: Support the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program!

IGDA-Austin will have a booth at the SXSW Gaming Expo on March 13, 14 and 15 at the Palmer Events Center, in Stand 350. We’ll be showcasing game projects, presenting live demos by local game developers and handing out company-branded collectibles. But we also want your help with something else.

It’s not often that IGDA-Austin takes a particular political viewpoint, but as a chapter, we will always be in favor of anything that keeps video game production viable in Austin, and Texas in general. (You all did know that Texas is only behind California for the number of active game development projects, with a 16 percent growth from 2009 to 2012, right? Right.)

This is why the chapter supports the continued funding of the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (TMIIIP) as administered by the Texas Film Commission, from the Office of the Governor.

As the 2015 Legislative session starts up, many well-meaning elected officials may be looking for ways to reduce state spending. The message to be conveyed here, with respect to the sentiment and agendas at work, is simple: Hands off TMIIIP, because this is a program that secures jobs in Texas and thus far has made 95 cents for every dime spent.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s office has sent support for the program to the Senate Finance Committee as of early February 2015, but we don’t want to take that for granted. We’re asking all Texas residents to look up your local representative and let them know that this program matters and should be expanded before it’s cut.

If you need more, read on.

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Career Catalyst 2015: Post-mortem

What follows is a summary of what happened at Tech Ranch Austin on the morning and afternoon of Saturday, February 7, 2015. We called it Career Catalyst 2015, using the same name as an event IGDA-Austin had in February 2011 in association with the Mary-Margaret Network. That’s a long time.

Photo credit Randall Robbins.

Checking in, with Michelle Dickens, David Hawkes and Katelyn Parker.

The boom and bust cycle of video game projects is on roughly a 4-year cycle. Austin lost 300 jobs within the first 6 months of 2013, and 2014 was mostly a rebuilding year. Austin’s well overdue for a boom year, and 2015 had better be it.

The assumption was that local employers would benefit from a cooperatively organized and funded career fair that would be cheaper than each company running their own career fair, as is usually the case after a major layoff. But, whenever there is a prospect of “video game jobs” on the line, the majority of people who would find out would either be under-qualified or otherwise not considered viable for any of the jobs listed.

Also, because video games are software, software engineers would be the most sought-after labor division. But engineers with proven experience who don’t already have a job are strange exotic creatures who are very much in the minority of anyone interested in game development work in general, don’t socialize much and have learned (rightly) that they are well in demand and will be sought after, career fair or no career fair.

The grand vision: Anyone could walk into a room full of employers and get the very clear message: “Look at all the jobs for game devs in Austin.”

Vision realized. First, some numbers. There’s a lot to cover.

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Career Catalyst 2015

IGDA-Austin is bringing Career Catalyst 2015 to Tech Ranch, to promote job opportunities for video game development professionals and those seeking their talents in the new year. Come see what Austin-based employers are seeking, and present yourselves in person as the next candidates for hire!


When: Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. — with noon lunch break, so plan to attend half or all day!
Where: Tech Ranch Austin, 8920 Business Park Drive, Suite 250 (second floor)

Jobs to include:

  • Software engineers of all disciplines — can’t do software without them!
  • Art and design leads and seniors — make the game look and play great!
  • Operations and analytics — keep the project running to close, then bring the product to market!
  • Portfolio and resume reviews to be scheduled throughout the day, along with expert speakers and representatives from Austin-area employers!

Employers looking to hire at this event, please contact John Henderson at jtheyellow@gmail.com for placement opportunities.

Check back on the EventBrite page for more updates as they come!

Global Game Jam 2015 at UT-Austin

Sign up now!

Date: Friday, January 23 – 25, 2015

Place: UT Austin Graduate School Of Business Building (GSB) 2.124 & 2.126

What is the Global Game Jam:

The GGJ is the world’s largest game jam event taking place around the world at physical locations. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development. It is the growth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, we could come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using video games – it is very universal. The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression. It is all condensed into a 48 hour development cycle. The GGJ encourages people with all kinds of backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity.

More information at: http://globalgamejam.org and http://gamedev.utexas.edu/news/global-game-jam-2015/

Volunteer Muster

IGDA-Austin needs your help in 2015!

Mark your calendars! On Monday, January 12th at Mr. Tramps, IGDA-Austin will be presenting its plans for 2015 at the first ever “Volunteer Muster.”

What is a “Volunteer Muster?” Glad you asked!

IGDA-Austin has some GREAT events lined up for the year – including a Career Catalyst job fair (get a job or level up the one you have), SXSW Gaming Expo (see the latest and greatest from Austin-based developers), and the Summer Picnic Bash (hang out with your industry peeps). We need your help! If you want to be part of the team, then we want you on board!

Building a community takes a community, and we need passionate team members who can provide their expertise, time, and energy to make our community really thrive.

We’re looking for leaders and doers for all of the following:

• Career Catalyst 2 (Feb 7)
• SXSW Gaming Expo (March 13-15) – Showcase Austin Indies, Booth Set Up, & Swag Coordination
• Summer Picnic (Summer) – If YOU want this to happen, then show up!
• Monthly Speaker Series – Speakers, Panels, Topics & Hosts
• Showcase Austin (Quarterly) – People to coordinate a showcase of indie games/products

Aside the events, there are plenty of other ways that you can help the team, including:
• Coordinating with colleges
• Website content
• Newsletters
• Social media help
• Fundraising efforts
• And general ALL-HANDS!

Getting involved with IGDA-Austin is a great way to support the Austin gaming ecosystem while getting to know students, indie developers, and the leadership of major studios – so if you would like to be a part of the team that’s going to make it happen in 2015, then …

We’ll see YOU at the IGDA-Austin “Volunteer Muster” on Monday January 12th!