GGDA: 2015 in Review
We have never started one of these end-of-year reports on a sad note before, but Tony Tseng’s death at the start of last year’s game jam was a reminder both of what really matters and also how amazing GGDA members can be. Not only did you pull together to turn the jam into an incredible tribute to his memory, but you also raised more than $10,000 for his family. Even though the jam had to scatter across the metro area, you still managed to make almost 50 games, many including memorials to Tony. It is an amazing reminder of what the community is capable of when it comes together. You can see some of the tributes to his memory here.
The 2015 Global Game Jam in Atlanta was a great reminder that the GGDA is no greater than its individual members. Some of you had incredible years last year. Hi-Rez Studios started the year with one of the most successful eSports events ever, and only built on that success with launches of Paladins and Jetpack Fighter. Tripwire Interactive released one of the most-anticipated games of 2015 with Killing Floor 2, which quickly become one of the top-selling games on Steam. Blue Mammoth Games saw a great response to Brawlhala (which now has one million players!), and is now prepping for its own eSports event. GamesthatWork garnered not only a number of awards for its work, but also an invitation to the White House to demo Brush Up! Puzzles by Joe continued to see great success with its Clutter series, and made of point of incorporating art from a number of GGDA members.
It is also thanks to our members that the Georgia legislature extended the tax credit for video game development, which otherwise would have ended. Your outreach on behalf of the industry was heard, and the credit extension passed overwhelmingly, with great bipartisan support. The GGDA also continued to work with legislators and the executive branch to expand computer programming classes in Georgia’s public schools, following up on our success in 2014.
Spring College Fair
As part of its commitment to education, the GGDA put on a college fair at the Atlanta Media Campus in coordination with the Media Education Foundation of Georgia. It was a great success, with hundreds of high school students getting to see both what the colleges have to offer and special seminars on game and film production. The sessions were especially interesting, and you can see the presentations on the use of drones and other topics on the GGDA YouTube channel.
The GGDA has also been putting up more of its monthly meetings on YouTube, and we have had great educational and networking opportunities all year long. We have already streamed a GGDA meeting and hope to livestream more of them this year. Both the Athens and Atlanta chapters had a number of great meetings, and we have high hopes for chapters elsewhere in the state (Augusta, Columbus, Savannah) for 2016. If you know developers, or people who would like to become developers, in those areas, please put them in touch with us at [email protected].
The next Atlanta chapter meeting is Feb. 9 at the Microsoft Store at Perimeter Mall, and is only open to GGDA members.
Of course, SIEGE was our premier event yet again, adding great presentations by Oculus, Warren Spector and Erin Hoffman to our regular array of sessions. We got great feedback on the sessions this time around, and that is doing a great deal to inform our preparation for SIEGE2016 - the 10th(!) SIEGE. If you have ideas of what we should do, improve or change, please let us know at [email protected].
-Andrew Greenberg, Executive Director
P.S. You can follow us all year via www.ggda.org, @GGDA_ORG on Twitter and in the Georgia Game Developers Association group on Facebook.