Archive for the ‘School/Work’ Category

I’m running for the board of Directors of the Dallas IGDA chapter, below is my candidate’s statement. If you are voting please feel free to ask me any questions you may have!

Dallas is set to be one of the power houses of the US game industry, the area is brimming with local talent and more is arriving every day. Because of this, the Dallas IGDA has the opportunity, the need even, to become one of the largest, most active and exciting chapters in the world. Local chapters are the heart of the IGDA and, if elected to the board of directors, I will help take it to the next level. My number one priority is to strengthen and grow the community. This will be accomplished in number of different ways, including:

  • Develop and implement regular monthly meetings with high-quality speakers, panels, and round tables. These presentations will focus on building games, growing individuals, and strengthening studios all at the professional level.
  • Formally implement social and networking events (in addition to the regular monthly meeting), to unify the community, and create professional connections and friendships.
  • Help local students learn about and break into the industry, by holding at least two special student focused meetings a year.
  • Working closely with the national IGDA board of directors to give back to the community and strengthen our local chapter
  • Record the monthly meetings and make them available online for those who can’t attend

Now about me, I have loved games my entire life and first started making them when I was 12 years old. I attended Full Sail University and got my BS in Game Design and Development. After college I moved to the Philadelphia area to work at a local casual game studio, Megatouch Games. I worked there for 3 years  first as a programmer, then as a designer and later, lead designer. While at Megatouch, I shipped over 25 casual titles . Along with local members of the IGDA I helped founded the VGI Philly in May of 2009 to help foster industry growth. I have spoken at several conferences including: Wizard World, GDC, GameX, PAX East, Gameloop Philly and GCECS. I have also worked on giving back to the student community by speaking at local schools and writing for GameCareerGuide.com. In 2010, I was elected as Chair of the Philly IGDA chapter and helped make it one of the premier chapters in the USA. As chair, I helped charter the chapter, implement regular monthly meetings, hosted several game jams, and local studio showcases (averaging around 200 attendees), and grew the chapter from around 10 average participants to 70. In May of 2011, I accepted a job at id Software as a Technical Producer on Rage and Doom 4, which brought me to the beautiful city of Dallas. If elected to the board, I will use all of this experience to help make the Dallas IGDA a great chapter.

Moving On

Posted: May 6, 2011 in Life, School/Work
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It is with excitement that I’m announcing that I have accepted a Technical Producer position at id Software in Dallas, Texas!! This is a huge move for me and my career and I’m extremely excited. But this means I will be leaving Philly and the all the awesomeness that is here. I have included my letter to the Philly IGDA Chapter.

Hello Chapter, 

It is with mixed emotions that I write this letter to inform you that I will be stepping down as the Chair of IGDA Philly later this month. The reasons for my departure though are not sad but are in fact super exciting for me personally, I have accepted a Technical Producer position with id Software in Dallas, TX. This is a huge opportunity for me and my career and I could not pass it up. But it is with sadness that I leave Philly and the Philly IGDA. I would like to thank all of you for be so excellent over the last year that I have been the chair of this chapter.  Together, you the members and our awesome leadership team have made the Philly IGDA one of the premier chapters in the USA, one that is looked at as “doing it right”. So from the bottom of my heart I thank you.
Now on to what is happening next. Matt Brenner, the current Vice-Chair, will be stepping into the interim-Chair position when I depart. Matt has been crucial to the success of the chapter and I couldn’t have done it without him. Matt will be an excellent leader of the chapter and I pray that you all treat him with as much excitement, kindness and enthusiasm as you have treated me. The IGDA Philly is bigger than any one person, the Chair is a figure head position who serves YOU, the members of the chapter, so lets not let this slow down the growth and awesomeness of this chapter. We have a ton of great events planned for the next few months and it is going to be a great year in Philly!! (May and June alone will see 8 games released locally). There is also a LOT of work to be done still, so if you can please step up and volunteer with the chapter, we can always use the help. The goals that we on the leadership team set for the chapter this year have only partly been reached, but there are still 7 months left! 
I want to also thank Tristin Hightower and Allison Berman for there work for the organization. Tristin has been part of the leadership longer than anyone and does more than you guys will ever no behind the scenes, I would have been a crappy Chair without her always pushing me to get things done and keeping me organized. Alli stepped up in a big way when we needed a new secretary and has always been a great help even when she didn’t have internet. Treat them well, the chapter needs awesome people like them. 
The May 14th meeting (A marketing meeting!) will be my last meeting, followed by (as usual) drinks and food at Mikey’s. I would love to see all of you one last time at this meeting, so please come out in force.
It is hard for me to leave Philly during such an awesome time, and again I thank you from the very bottom of my heart for an amazing last year here. I couldn’t ask for a better chapter to help runs, you guys are great friends.
See you soon,
Grant Shonkwiler
Chair IGDA Philly (for one last time)

IGDA Board Of Directors

Posted: February 4, 2011 in Life, School/Work
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I have officially announced that I’m running for the Board of Directors of the IGDA this February. I have created a facebook page and a blog to keep people informed of what I’m working on and my campaign. I’ll also keep this blog updated. www.facebook.com/GrantForIGDA http://grantforigda.wordpress.com/

Note: Elections are open from February 21st through March 18th. You must be a paid member to vote.

An assortment of stuff and things

Posted: January 27, 2011 in Life, School/Work
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So I have a bunch of things to update, first off I got one of those twitter thingys, pretty fun. You can see the new link to the left there. Also for you longtime readers you see I have a new layout! It was about time for an update. Next we have a foot of snow so we are off work today, so I’m getting ready for the Global Game Jam here in Philly tomorrow. I did an interview with the Philadelphia Business Journal about the event http://bit.ly/g4OSUf, thanks to Tristin for setting that one up. 🙂 Also there are a bunch of updates going on over at http://igda.org/philly so check those out. We are working on a lot of fun things this year for the chapter so get ready!

Now I must get back to writing my talk for a conference that will be taking place in Mid-March (announcement to come soon).

IGDA Philly

Posted: December 12, 2010 in Life, School/Work
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So I would like to announce that I have the honor of coming back to be chair for two more years of the IGDA Philly chapter. After the announcement yesterday we had a town hall meeting that got a lot of awesome ideas floating around on things the IGDA chapter can do to be amazing in Philly. It was really exciting and humbling to see how excited people are about both the community and the organization here in Philly. Great things are happening in the organization, stay tuned for exciting updates 🙂

Philly IGDA Elections Take 2

Posted: December 5, 2010 in Life, School/Work
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So a brief history. The Philly chapter of the IGDA was officially chartered this year, part of chartering was writing our bylaws. Within the bylaws are the rules on elections. When writing this section we decided that there should be elections every year in December, the positions would be held for two years,  and two positions would be up for reelection each year. So to get things started rolling correctly the position I currently hold, Chair, and Secretary are up for reelection. I have decided to run again because my work here is not finished yet! So here is my candidate statement. This was actually a really good idea because it allowed me to think about what we have done in the last few months, and what we are going  to do in the months to come.

 

It has been an exciting and crazy year here in Philadelphia, both for sports and for the game industry. Let me start by recapping some of the amazing accomplishments we have made within the IGDA Philadelphia Chapter this year. Before I do that, let me say “Thank You” to our awesome chapter members; without you guys this chapter would be nothing. Your support and enthusiasm has made our chapter become one of the premier chapters in the organization. I also want to thank our awesome leadership team who did a great job this year.

Now to recap what has happened: First off, the chapter is chartered! This is great news because it allows us to get insurance, get a bank account, and start raising support and get grants from IGDA National to buy cool stuff. Secondly, we locked down a time and location for monthly meetings. After doing this, we saw attendance and participation rise, thanks to UPenn and Drexel being our gracious hosts this past year. We held our first student focused meeting, which was an amazing event and we can’t wait to do it again. In addition, we had an awesome local showcase, which is going to become an annual event and just last month we got a new, awesome logo! We also had a ton of amazing speakers and some great after parties. Those are just some of the highlights of this year.

I’m sure you are wondering, “Okay that is cool, but where do we go from here?” Well let me answer that for you. If I’m re-elected to chair, I will continue all of the awesome initiatives and events that we started this year, including the student meetings and the showcase. The industry is growing extremely fast here in Philly and it is time to use the IGDA to take this growth to the next level.  As Chair, my number one priority will be to strengthen and grow the community. This will be accomplished in a number of different ways:

  1. Further develop and enhance regular monthly meetings with high-quality speakers, panels, and round tables. These presentations will focus on topics that you, the local developer, find interesting and tangible.
  2. Formally implement social and networking events, which unify the community, and create professional connections and friendships.
  3. Work on developing and relaunching the Philly Game Jam
  4. Work with studios, the government, and investors to foster the growth of the industry in the Greater Philadelphia area
  5. Help sponsor local events, including a potential local game conference
  6. Work closely with the national IGDA board of directors to give back to the community and strengthen local chapters
  7. Record our meetings and make them available online for those who can’t attend the meetings
  8. Host a Global Game Jam site in January

Now about me: I have loved games my entire life and first started making them when I was 12 years old. I attended Full Sail University and acquired my BS in Game Design and Development. After college, I moved to the Philly area to work at a local casual game studio, Megatouch Games. I started with the studio as a programmer, and I am currently a designer. Along with local members of the IGDA, I helped found the VGI Philly in May of 2009 to help foster growth of the industry. In 2009, I was a speaker at several conferences, including: Wizard World, GDC, GameX and GCECS. I am focused on giving back to the student community by speaking at local schools and writing for GameCareerGuide.com. In 2010, I was elected as Chair of the Philly IGDA chapter and have helped make this chapter awesome with the rest of the chapter leadership. If re-elected chair, I will use all of this experience to help make the Philly IGDA a great chapter.

So once again a lot of awesome things happening here in Philly. I just wanted to share some quick updates. First off last Saturday was our first ever, hopefully annual, IGDA Philly showcase! The showcase brought together a bunch of local developers and allowed them to play each others games, as well as anyone else who wanted to, and get feedback on games currently in production. And it was a rousing success. We had ten different studios/developers showing off a wide range of games. We had an awesome turnout and can’t wait to do it again soon. We will have an official recap on the IGDA site soon but here are two recaps from teams that showed off games. Naveen NattamSpace Whale Studios

My next bit of news is work related. We have finally released a video of our newest release. I got to work on every one of the games in this release as a designer and even did some coding on the Poker and Trix game. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Wow, it has been a while.

Posted: August 22, 2010 in Life, School/Work
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Well my bad, I have kind of dropped the ball on blogging once again. But that just means that life has taken up all of my time. And let me tell you this last few months have been crazy and awesome. So I’ll break this down into a few quick updates, IGDA, Work, Life, VGI Philly, Other.

First off The IGDA, the Philly chapter has been going awesome, we recently became Chartered which was part of our big push when the new leadership was brought in. This was several months of work sifting through legal documents reading and re-writing them to be just perfect for our chapter. Now that it is done we are a legal entity, we have a bank account and are starting on sponsorship packages. We have also seen some pretty great growth in the chapter as well as some real buy in to the community. I couldn’t ask for a more passionate and open community and a rocking Leadership team. They seriously make this position a joy.

Work. Well first off it is crazy busy, ever since I switched to full-time designer I have been constantly busy, this is a good thing, and learning like crazy. I love it!! We are about to release our Fall software and there are some super awesome games on there. This year we did a lot more internal testing before we did our external Betas and that really has helped us polish up our games. I also started doing gameplay focus tests, where I would work with a programmer on a few different things and then grab some people who hadn’t seen the game and have them sit down and play the game several different ways. This has been extremely helpful and I feel like the newer games are the best games to ever be on a Megatouch Machine!! I have also been helping out with a DS port of some of our games that is being developed by Double Tap and will be published by WB. Double tap has done an amazing job with the games and I’m super happy with them. It has also been fun to work on a DS game even with my small involvement. Sadly I can’t talk about what we are currently working on, but I will say this. It will blow the socks off of the coin-op industry and will take our machines and games to the next level. I’m learning so much right now with the million different things I get to do at work.

More on work. Last month I got to go to Seattle for work, they sent me to Casual Connect. This was an extremely informative conference that really has its pulse on the casual games industry. I learned a ton from the talks and constantly had my mind blown by companies like PopCap and their process. I met a bunch of awesome new friends as well, Seattle is a pretty rocking place.

Now life. It is awesome!! A few months ago I was interviewed for a podcast where I talked a lot about how I got into the industry and why  (34:45-51:56). It was a blast and really cool to sit back and look at why exactly I do this awesome job. Some other amazing things have been happening in my life but if you are a normal reader you know I try to keep this blog mostly about game industry stuff, (Other than my top lists) so I won’t bore you with my life.

The VGI, well there is a ton going on with this but I’m not sure how much I can talk about right now. We are working with the government, we are working on attraction packages. We recently had a group of international journalist come and do some articles on both the VGI and the local game scene (Pretty sweet to see myself in a German Magazine).  Another fun note, when the VGI started last year we knew of 4 local game studios, now there are 19!!! I think that is pretty good growth in a year! Hopefully more will come on the VGI in the next few months.

Other stuff, um….I think that is most of it. Rugby has started back up and our team looks pretty awesome so we will see how that goes. Here is hoping I don’t take forever to blog again!!

Philly IGDA Updates

Posted: April 9, 2010 in Life, School/Work
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First off sorry for no recap of GDC, things have been crazy busy this last two months and I just haven’t had the time for it. But for those of you interested it was a great week full of a lot of parties and some great IGDA specific content.

So now on to the IGDA Updates! This month was our first meeting with the new leadership and we had a few hiccups (sorry for scheduling it the weekend of ester DOH) but a good turnout and a great talk. Here are the links to both the meeting recap and our April Leadership meeting notes.

Saturday’s recap: http://bit.ly/bGOs3r
Yesterday’s leadership meeting: http://bit.ly/cx8mH3

Philly IGDA Leadership Meeting

Posted: March 5, 2010 in Life, School/Work
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As promised here is a link to the meeting notes. Note that the next chapter meeting will be Saturday April 3rd. Due to March having both GDC and PAX East we decided that we would take the rest of this month to plan an awesome April meeting!