IGDA Chicago Launches New Website, Chapter Updates

Hello world!

If you’re reading this then you already know…


It’s taken the collective efforts of the entire board and many months of hard work, but today we’re thrilled to share our new website with you. You’ll notice updates in style and accessibility for all of the great content we’ve been working so hard to produce at IGDA Chicago.

Videos from prior events are now directly accessible from our media page, our jobs page has received a facelift, and we’ve include a Chicago Community section to highlight everything that makes Chicago and the Midwest a hub of video game development. Additionally, we’ve included easy to find links to our Discord, Twitch, and all our other social media channels on our contact page and on every page footer.

Of course, this is by no means the end! We intend to update the site regularly with updated content and features to always increase value to our members and the local community.

We value your feedback and we want our site to be as accurate and comprehensive as possible. Please use the website contact page to let us know how we can make the site even better.

Since it’s been so long since we’ve written, we have lots of other updates to share too.

Here are some quick wrap ups of the events we’ve hosted so far this year:

  • Global Game Jam

  • Pre-GDC Workshop

    • Our Pre-GDC Workshop made a comeback this year at Columbia College. Ross A. Hersemann, Ryan Sizemore, and Sam Bond gave a talk on the do’s and don’ts of GDC. Industry veteran Josh Tsui also gave a presentation on his GDC experiences and offered some helpful advice to Columbia College students. After the panels, the Board provided resume and pitch feedback for attendees.

  • GDC Midwest Mingle

    • Our Midwest Mingle also made a comeback this year. During GDC we had an open meetup with other Midwestern IGDA Chapters and developers to touch base and reconnect.

  • Post GDC Roundtable

    • Following GDC and after some well-deserved rest, the IGDA Board led a round table discussion at DePaul University to go over everyone’s GDC experiences. There were success stories and many lessons learned.

  • An Evening with Jeff Spoonhower

    • Industry veteran Jeff Spoonhower joined IGDA Chicago to give a talk on his upcoming work and his experiences in the industry. Attendees at Columbia College were treated to some inside knowledge about what it’s really like working in AAA studio environments and the realities of transitioning to indie game development.

  • Midwest Gaming Classic

    • IGDA board members Ross A. Hersemann, Tom Caprel, and Sam Bond took a trip up to Milwaukee to staff an IGDA booth at this year’s Midwest Gaming Classic. They discussed community and IGDA initiatives with attendees and showcases some game jam games from previous IGDA events. Lots of great connections were made and old friendships renewed.

  • Principles in Game Coding in Unity with IGDA Chicago

    • This Summer IGDA board member Sam Bond led a coding workshop in Unity at the Microsoft Store in Schaumburg. She instructed a group of enthusiastic young people through making their first platformer and the basics of coding.

  • Retro Game Jam

    • In collaboration with DePaul University’s student group JDE and Columbia College’s AlphaLab, IGDA Chicago hosted a Retro Game Jam at DePaul two weeks ago. Students were challenged to make games inspired by the Atari-era of gaming, using only period accurate color palettes, resolutions, and controller configurations. They delivered in style!

That about brings us up to date!

We hope to see all of you at BIT BASH this weekend. The IGDA Board will be there in style to discuss IGDA’s role in the community and showcase the amazing games from our recent Retro Game Jam. Drop by our table and say hi!

It’s been a very busy Summer, but the year’s not over yet, so stay tuned for news of our upcoming events so that you can mark your calendars!

Game on!

Ross A. Hersemann 
Chair, IGDA Chicago

Happy New Year!

Hello world!

2019 has begun! For many of us, this time of year is one for resolutions and fresh starts, and IGDA Chicago is no exception. We have many new initiatives and updates to share with you that we are very excited about.

First and foremost, we have a new board! Ross A. Hersemann will be taking the helm as Chair, supported by returning board members Tom Caprel and Chris Weiss. Joining the board this year for the first time will be familiar faces Ryan Sizemore, Josh Delson, and Sam Bond. It’s a privilege to serve the Chicago game community. Wish us luck!

The new board met this month and began making its plans for the year. We’ve reviewed membership feedback, our chapter mission, and outlined many goals for things we’d like to accomplish. We look forward to a continuation of the great programming our chapter is known for as well as spearheading new initiatives to better serve our local game community.

Our chapter legacy events like the Global Game Jam, End of Summer Picnic, Spooky Game Jam, Extra Life, and the Holiday Mixer will be back in full force. Educational panel presentations and professional networking events will also be part of our scheduled programming. Additionally, we remain committed to partnering with the city’s colleges, studios, and industry organizations to provide the highest quality content and support possible, while strengthening the collaborative bonds of our local community.

As for what’s new, here’s a teaser of a couple things we have in the pipeline:

  • A major website update for added functionality and aesthetics

  • Mentorship and student ambassador programs with city colleges

  • Even more professional and social support for students and industry veterans alike.

That’s all for now, but stay tuned! We’ll be announcing our latest updates via this blog and social media. This is sure to be a banner year for IGDA Chicago, and we’re excited to have you on board.

Game on!

Ross A. Hersemann 
Chair, IGDA Chicago

7/15/18 Meeting Minutes

Board of Directors Meeting and Volunteer Meeting

15th July, 2018

Meeting called to order at 12:33pm CDT and adjourned at 3:55pm CDT.

Board Members in Attendance

Attended by: Heather Decker, Ross Hersemann, Tom Caprel, Chris Weiss and Ali Cedroni. Joined by Ryan Sizemore during volunteer segment.

Absent board members: None



– Educational Games Panel – August

– End of Summer Picnic at Montrose Beach – September 2

– Spooky Game Jam at 2112 – October 12-13

– Extra Life – November 4

– Game Dev Holiday Mixer – December 11

– Know Your Rights Talk w/ EEOC Advocate – January

– eSports Panel with ESL and MLG – February


Meeting Notes

-Events postmortem: Galloping ghost, overall good event but the conversation got a bit rambly. Will focus more on pre-planning with the speakers to make sure they feel prepared and have a moderator to keep topics focused. The event was easily scaled down or up so cost was not an issue. We have room to improve our event marketing, considering focusing on having a more detailed schedule as soon as the event is published, and pulling in more people from outside of the typical game developer circles since most of our marketing is only through our facebook page.

-Budget: Want to focus on asking for sponsorship money all at once instead of before every large event. General reworking of our sponsorship emails and contact points.

-Upcoming events: Summer picnic needs a date, food, and a better way to communicate our location in the park. Teaming up with Voxelles and Sugar gamers again for Spooky game jam. Looking at providing snacks instead of meals to cut ticket prices. Also aiming to start on a friday rather than saturday to give people a rest day after the jam before returning to work. Also considering reaching out to sponsors for faster internet solutions.

-Website: Relocated to HQ account. Theme is outdated and will be updated by Tom and Chris asap.

-Social Media Guidelines: Drafting up a more specific guideline sheet covering things like consistency of event documentation and how to deal with unproductive commentary. Also might look into a specific volunteer to handle social media.

-Volunteer segment: Educational games panel is the next event. Considering filming promo videos for future events. Could begin filming B-roll at events. Summer picnic needs tables again, not sure if we want to buy or rent since renting is expensive and buying requires storage space. Spooky game jam needs volunteer shifts for event coordination and door shifts. May remove competitive aspect of the jam to foster a more learning friendly environment. Event banners are being created by Ryan. Extra life with IGDA Chicago may become the main Chicago event for Extra Life. Would like more student participation (reach out to high school/middle school programs). Can also reach out to IPG for running competitions or galloping ghost for arcade cabs. Need to focus on prizes and food sponsorships. Venue is already secured for Holiday mixer, just need to find food and prizes again. Could reach out to VGA.


Motion Summary

– Motion to approve ordering new business cards – Unanimously Approved

1/14/18 Meeting Minutes

Board of Directors Meeting and Volunteer Meeting
14th January, 2018
Meeting called to order at 12:55pm CDT and adjourned at 4:19pm CDT.
Board Members in Attendance
Attended by: Heather Decker, Ross Hersemann, Tom Caprel, and Ali Cedroni. Joined by David Olorundare, Rebecca Rothschild, and Amanda Hamrick during volunteer segment.
Absent board members: None

– Slam Dunk GGJ with Sarah Sexton – January 19th
– Career Workshop and Microtalks – February
– GDC Midwest Mingle – at GDC
– Post-GDC Meetup – March
– Spring Jam – April
– Galloping Ghost Field Trip – May
– Educational Games Panel – June
– eSports Panel – July
– Know Your Rights Talk – August
– End of Summer Picnic – September 2nd
– Spooky Game Jam – October 12-13
– Extra Life – November 4th
– Game Dev Holiday Mixer – December 11th

Meeting Notes
-Year in review: Broke even on most events with a small profit on the summer picnic. Considering raising ticket prices slightly to compensate for inflation and growing the size of our events without making it difficult for people to attend (would like to be able to bring in non-local speakers). Overall events went well, but we want to focus on building up some cash to run larger events.
-Retrospect events: Food is the main area for improvement, would like to be able to scale food in case attendance numbers fluctuate more than expected. Since both Extra Life and Holiday Mixer donate towards Children’s hospitals and are around the same time of year so we received less donations at the Holiday Mixer. Summer picnic location can be better communicated, would like to use the same spot.
-Budget: Paying for video editing. Waiting on buying a card reader. Looking into buying our own tables.
-Event pitches: Galloping Ghost Field Trip, rent a bus from the city to galloping ghost and host talks by old school game devs. Spring Jam, Game jam to bring together devs, marketers, lawyers and other specializations. Slam Dunk GGJ, Still finalizing venue but all else is organized. Career Workshop, pre-GDC prep to feature microtalks about networking etiquette, what to expect from large conferences, and rejection. Will also host stations for resume feedback, practice pitching, and mock interviews. Educational Games Panel, looking to host at Harold Washington in June. eSports Panel, July looking to have reps from ESL and MLG. Know Your Rights, August how to recognize a toxic work environment and what rights full-time and contract workers have. Looking into having tables at both Manifest and DePaul capstone event. Lastly we want to start using Twitch to steam talks and panels, this should also cut down our need for video editing. Will have moderators on the chat.
-Volunteer feedback: Finding events is difficult for people who don’t use facebook. Need to make sure all events are up on Chicago Makes Games faster. Would like more inter-chapter communication. Can better utilize hashtags.
-Final notes. Designed IGDA Chicago GDC ribbons. Talking of adding a fifth board member. Would like to assemble a meeting for all Chicago game groups to help each other with this next year of events.

Motion Summary
– Motion to approve funds for video editing – Unanimously Approved
– Motion to approve major pillars 2018 Forecast Budget (Tom to follow up with final version including new events for vote within the next two weeks) – Unanimously Approved

9/24/17 Meeting Minutes

Board of Directors Meeting and Volunteer Meeting
24th September, 2017
Meeting called to order at 12:30pm CDT and adjourned at 3:19pm CDT.
Board Members in Attendance
Attended by: Heather Decker, Ross Hersemann, Tom Caprel, and Ali Cedroni in person at Zynga Chicago; Alex Damarjian via phone.
Absent board members: Brian Eddy

– Spooky Game Jam on October 20-21st
– M+DEV on October 27
– Extra Life on November 4th
– Game Dev Holiday Mixer on December 12th
– Global Game Jam on January 26-28
– Global Game Jam Showcase in February
– GDC in March
Meeting Notes
– Looking for sponsorship and prizes for Spooky Game Jam. Location and event organization details have been solidified.
– Heather, Ross, and Tom will be heading to Milwaukee for M+Dev. Reminder to spread the word on social media.
– Ross is reaching out to various local studios for Extra Life hosting. Will continue speaking with more studios to expand to multiple locations.
– Holiday mixer will follow the same formula is past years. Still looking for sponsorship for raffle prizes and food. A new rule will be implemented to have board members abstain from entering grand prize raffle.
– Involvement will be minimal for GGJ, the last few years had low participation. We will most likely just be sending a few members to act as mentors for students at DePaul. Showcase may be skipped if participation is low again.
– We will be adding new volunteer jobs, specifically looking for “student ambassadors” for each of the local colleges and perhaps high schools to increase student participation. We will also be looking for social media organizer(s) and video editors. Job descriptions will be posted soon.
Motion Summary
– Appoint Ali Cedroni as Secretary – Unanimously approved