Author Archives: Luke Dicken

Musical Chairs

Luke Dicken
Dear all,

As some of you may have noticed, my participation in the organisation of IGDA Scotland has diminished greatly over the past few months. Partly this is because I have an increasing number of duties elsewhere with the organisation, such as with the IGDA Foundation, our charitable sister organisation working to enhance the lives of game developers all around the world. Partly its because after a long time of being relatively ignored in favour of projects within the game development community, the time has come for me to complete my PhD, so a lot of my day-to-day attention has been on that. And partly, its because since around May I have been in talks to join Zynga in San Francisco as a Senior Data Scientist, and I’m moving over there at the end of October. Life has been quite a whirlwind as I’ve tried to juggle these three things with my other responsibilities, and as a result something unfortunately had to fall by the wayside.

The time has come to formalise that and for the torch to be passed.

Going forwards, I will be taking a back seat advising the remainder of the Board of IGDA Scotland, and I will remain on that Board until I actually leave the country. However, we felt as a group that is made sense to begin the leadership change now.

So without further ado, I would love to introduce you to my successor, and the person who has been my right hand for the past year, Andrew Macdonald.

Andrew should be familiar to many of you as our “man in Dundee”, he’s also taken point on a number of our recent events and was responsible for almost all the behind-the-scenes preparation for the recent visit by Ed Fries. Andrew is completing his degree at Abertay and was awarded an IGDA Scholarship to attend GDC – like both myself and our chapter’s founder Hazel McKendrick.

A significant amount of the past year of the chapter is due to Andrew. We’re better organised, and in a better position because of his actions and I have complete faith in his ability to lead the chapter into its next iteration. You can always reach him using and I would encourage you to please say hi over the coming weeks.

Of course, supporting Andrew we have our current board members Brian McDonald and Alex Wozniak, and I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that we will shortly be holding elections to build our board team out and add a range of voices who can work to guide the chapter to continue to ensure that it is both relevant and engaging for the developers across our region.

It’s been a privilege to be involved in IGDA Scotland over the past three years. It’s been a lot of work too, but I have enjoyed interacting with so many of our different companies and organisations, developing friendships that I know are going to be life-long and trying my best to use my spare time to benefit the whole community. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and as I begin to step back from the chapter I’m starting to see things we could have done differently, or things we might have tried to address. As an organisation we continue to try our best, but unfortunately there’s only so much we can do given we are all volunteers, and we don’t always get things perfect or even necessarily right. When I look back though, on our involvement with GamesWest, the BBC Academy Games Expo, the Ed Fries event – and those just from the past year! – I’m filled with pride and hope. We have an excellent team very capable at putting together events, but I know that there’s more needed and more good to be done!

IGDA Scotland is in great hands, but it can only ever be as good as the community that supports it. Please get involved, even just to tell us what we should be doing. IGDA chapters around the world are communities of developers, put together by developers, and we want this to be as relevant, important and fun as we can make it!

Luke Dicken's Signature
Luke Dicken
Former Chair, IGDA Scotland

IGDA Scotland Mini Game Jam

Mini Game Jam

Amanda Wilson talks about IGDA Scotland’s Mini Game Jam:

June 18th 2014 saw the first IGDA Scotland Mini Game Jam, which was held at Smithycroft Secondary School in Glasgow. Over 90 children from four schools came together to work in teams for the event. The children were from Primary 6 through to 2nd years, and came from Royston Primary School, Carntyne Primary School, Cranhill Primary School, and Smithycroft Secondary School.

The aim of the day was to let the children see that they are easily able to be creators of their own games rather than just being able to play them, and to have some fun while doing so. Given that the Commonwealth Games are happening soon, it seemed only appropriate that that should be the theme for the day. Each team consisted of 3 or 4 children, and to make it more interesting the teams consisted of children from different schools. The challenge was to then come up with a game based on the Commonwealth Games within a few hours using the programming language Scratch (whilst also getting to know your teammates too!).

The children quickly got into their stride, and before long the ideas were emerging and heading to the screen. Just watching them working together, and at some points coming up with compromises over colours in the game or who did what, was fantastic. By lunchtime a few teams were even starting to put final touches to their games.

After lunch it was all about tidying up what they had, and making sure things were working properly. To round off the day, the guys from Outplay Entertainment gave a demonstration of some of the games their company makes to the children while the games were being judged, which the children thoroughly enjoyed.


While there were a lot of wonderful games in the end a hard decision had to be made, and the overall winner was Clydes Adventure, which was a game about getting the Commonwealth mascot Clyde through three different levels. It was chosen as the winner because it was very well designed, and also incorporated the theme of the Commonwealth Games. You can play Clydes Adventure online at


The runners up were Sports Day Scavenger Hunt, which showed some amazing teamwork as every member of the team was from a different school, so as well as getting to know each other in a short amount of time they also managed to come up with a great idea. Sports Day Scavenger Hunt can also be played online at

I was also lucky enough to have a few volunteers who came along to help out: Mike Gormley and Luke Brown from Outplay Entertainment, Alice Rendall from Kobojo, and David Farrell from Glasgow Caledonian University, alongside five senior pupils from Smithycroft Seconday School, all of whom were invaluable throughout the day. I’d also like to thank Outplay Entertainment for their sponsorship of the Mini Game Jam, Smithycroft Secondary School for hosting, and of course all the children for coming along and making such brilliant games!

October 2013 Meeting: Oculus Rift with Brian McDonald in Edinburgh

We’re delighted to be able to bring you a recording of our October meeting, which was held in the Techcube in Edinburgh and was packed to capacity with people wanting to experience the Oculus Rift.

The night was organised by our very own Brian McDonald, and it gave people the opportunity to get hands-on with some of the fantastic games and tech demos that have been created for the Oculus Rift. The night also provided some excellent advice on some of the key aspects that should be kept in mind when developing a project for the Rift.

We had a fantastic turnout for the event, and it was great to see so many people experiencing what the Oculus Rift has to offer.

A huge thank you to Brian for organising the event, and you can check out a video of the event below.

Don’t forget, you can catch up on all our videos by visiting our YouTube channel.

UKIE Sponsors Our AGM and Social in November!

We’re very pleased to announce that our friends at the UK Intereactive Entertainment Association have kindly offered to buy everyone at our November meeting a drink.


UKIE is the trade body for the UK’s wider interactive entertainment industry and exists to champion the interests, needs and positive image of the companies that make up their membership. UKIE have been instrumental in securing the tax incentives program for UK developers and work closely with policymakers to ensure that industry needs are met through appropriate Government support.

IGDA Scotland are absolutely thrilled and very grateful to have UKIE on board for this event and look forward to sharing with you some of the excellent schemes UKIE provides the community such as the Video Game Ambassador scheme and their upcoming events program.

Please join us in the Admiral Bar, Glasgow on Wednesday 13th November from 19:30. Tickets are available for free, and please make sure you register as that’s what we’ll be using to get you the drink UKIE is providing!

Introducing Your New Board of Directors

The 2013 Board Elections have now closed, and with only four people running for the four seats available, there are no real surprises as to the outcome. With that said, we felt it was important to go through the process of the election, and we’d like to thank all those members of the IGDA who voted. So without further ado, please meet your incoming Board of Directors, who now begin a two year term at the helm of the chapter.

  • Luke Dicken
  • Lindsay Kirk
  • Andrew Macdonald
  • Brian McDonald

Election of officers will take place at the first BoD meeting of the new term, scheduled for Monday 11th November.

Don’t forget that you have an opportunity to discuss the future of the chapter with the new directors, hear their plans as well as get a summary of the previous year at the AGM and Social event being held November 13th in Glasgow’s Admiral Bar. Register to attend now!

The Launch Conference, streamed live at Abertay

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We’re delighted to announce that in partnership with the University of Abertay, Dundee we will be offering a satellite site for the Launch Conference to be held in Birmingham on 21st and 22nd of November. Instead of traveling to Birmingham however, you’ll only need to go as far as the Hannah Maclure Centre in Dundee, where we’ll be showing the stream in the cinema live and for free on both days of the conference.

Launch is one of the premier conferences in the UK focusing on the business of making games. The agenda for the two day event is shaping up to be very impressive with a great lineup of well known speakers including UKIE’s Jo Twist, FourDoorLemon’s Simon Barratt, Remode’s Ella Romanos, Jagex’s Richard Murray and many more from around the UK.

Thursday 21st the overriding theme will be “Launch a Business, Launch a Product”, whilst on Friday 22nd the theme will be “Launch a career”. The Launch conference is also home of the Launch Awards, a prestigious chance to present your work, and we’ll be able to watch live as Best Portfolio, Best Startup and Best Product are selected.

We really hope that you’ll join us for this excellent opportunity to experience the Launch Conference without the travel expense. We’re grateful to Abertay for hosting and to Launch for the opportunity to provide this event. Make sure to register early as space in the HMC will be limited.

Abertay students will be receiving a different registration link, so watch your inboxes for this.

IGDA Scotland Launches a Job Board

Today we’re delighted to unveil another addition to the services that we offer to the Scottish game development community – the Job Board.

Simply put, the Job Board is an online, free resource where people can advertise positions they have available. In contrast to a lot of similar offerings, we also have taken great care to not only include provision for paid positions but also to allow hobbyist and student teams to advertise positions on their projects.

We will be moderating the board to ensure that the content remains of relevance to the IGDA Scotland community. We won’t be requiring that the position be in Scotland, because ultimately our community bleeds slightly south of the border in some places anyhow, but we will be ensuring that the content is policed.

We’re just starting out with this, and our policies are liable to change over time, but we hope that you will all find this new addition to the IGDA Scotland services useful! Bookmark and keep an eye on, let us know in the comments what you’d like to see from this resource in the future and please please spread the word!