The following document sets out the proposed aims for the IDGA Game Writers Special Interest Group over five years, starting in August of 2007. It defines the areas upon which the SIG wants to focus and explains its aims, objectives and ambitions.
The central aim of the Writing SIG is “to promote the importance of the art and craft of games writing to writers and to the games industry.”
An Introduction to the IGDA Game Writers SIG
Since its inception in 2002, the IGDA Game Writers SIG has grown as a community of game writers whose goal is to improve the quality of games writing by increasing overall awareness of the craft of games writing and how it fits into the game development process. While the benefits of good writing are now being recognised to a greater degree within the games industry, the importance of the craft itself is still little understood by those within the industry or by writers working outside of it.
To this end, over the next five years the Game Writers SIG shall direct its efforts in the follwing key areas:
- Promoting the importance of games writers to the games industry.
- Raising the quality bar by promoting high standards in games writing.
- Educating writers within the games industry and those wishing to join it.
- Recruiting new members for the SIG.
- Providing opportunities for writers to meet and discuss games writing.
The Importance Of Games Writers
In order to help advance the cause of professional standards of games writing, the Game Writers SIG will pursue the following:
- The creation of a Hiring Hall to help companies find writers and writers find companies.
- The SIG website will establish a page and a standardised format for members to post their websites, writing samples, and CV’s.
- Talks given to industry professionals by SIG members to promote the SIG and its work at conferences worldwide, supported by the SIG and SIG literature such as the Quarterly.
- Raising the profile of games writers within the development process by promoting the posting of games writers’ credits on games sites such as IMDB and Mobygames.
- Contact IMDB, Mobygames and other sites to arrange to make it easier to log credits.
- The SIG will work with the Credits Committee Liaison to standardise and promote games writing credits.
- We will collect academic evidence of the value of game writing.
- The SIG will survey writers and the industry to build up a picture of industry practice as it relates to games writers. Such survey data will periodically be refreshed and reviewed.
- The SIG will promote positive practices with regard to contractual terms, working conditions and hiring policies.
- The SIG will seek to communicate the benefits of working with writers to the industry.
High Standards in Games Writing
A higher standard of quality in games writing across the industry will raise awareness of the importance of writing, and the benefit to the industry of hiring good writers on every project. The following initiatives are designed to help highlight writing which is considered to be of quality.
- A Hall of Fame for writers, games, and writing of note will be put together online.
- The current collection of games reviews and games writing will be expanded to provide a resource of positive examples of games writing.
- The Game Writers SIG will look to instigate the IGDA Writing Awards to recognise and honour writers who have achieved a high standard in games writing.
- The SIG will continue to lobby other organisations to recognise games in their awards, guidelines and practices.
- The SIG will create a SIG-sponsored game writing contest.
- The SIG will work to develop and promote writing formats and software.
The SIG’s education initiative breaks into two parts — (1) the education of professional writers and games industry professionals, and (2) working with academics and students to create links to existing educational establishments. This will be achieved through:
- The writing of a series of books on the art and craft of games writing. The first of these has already been published. The SIG now proposes at least two further books: one on technique and one on genre. These will be written by SIG members who are established within the industry so that a “from the trenches” view can be provided to those wishing to learn more about how games writing works within the industry.
- The SIG will continue to promote, on the website and in talks, all other games writing publications that we hold to be of notable quality.
- SIG members will write articles on games writing for the press. Whenever possible, the SIG will act as a point of contact between the press and games writers.
- The SIG will establish an online archive database of script samples, in a variety of industry formats.
- The SIG’s white paper will be updated and maintained.
- The SIG will coordinate talks with local IGDA chapters.
- The SIG will provide help and advice to assist students wishing to break into the industry. Such help will be given through talks, the website, mailing lists, and links with educational establishments. A FAQ section of the SIG website will address concerns such as who hires writers, strategies for job interviews, what game writing portfolios should include, etc.
- The SIG will work to improve offerings for game writers at GDC and other conferences.
- The SIG will create ties with other organisations.
Additional educational resources the SIG will provide for writers
- Standard formats for scripts used in voice-over sessions.
- Book of essays on game writing.
- Group page at the primary IGDA website.
- Surveys for game writers and employers.
- List of Restricted Words for games.
The goal of the recruitment drive is to annually increase the number of members in the SIG so that we can expand our work initiatives and the numbers of people who are aware of what we do. Recruitment will be promoted through all activities that raise awareness of the SIG and the SIG’s work: via talks, articles in magazines, and visibility on the Internet. This work will be further extended via IGDA’s local chapters.
As part of this, the SIG will continue to run Write Club.
Getting Writers Together
In order to be a healthy community, its members need to talk, exchange ideas, discuss topics of mutual interest, and meet each other face-to-face whenever possible. The SIG will encourage this activity in the following ways:
- Maintaining, moderating, expanding, and improving the SIG’s website, wiki, mailing lists, and forum.
- Publishing the Quarterly newsletter, which will continue to assemble and publish articles on games writing, written by professional games writers.
- Collecting and maintaining a list of script agencies and game writers.
- Creating and maintaining a resource base of games writing articles, books, and events.
- Maintaining and promoting a list of upcoming meetings and conferences.
- Creating and maintaining a list of SIG members contact information.