Sunday, 19 July 2009

Douchbaggery in the IGDA

Since I basically have 3 readers who come here direct, and the rest of you probably come via The Chaos Engine, the following blog will not be news to anyone. But on the off chance you have decided to come here from another game developer site....hi... and are a member of the IGDA....very unlikely...I urge you to sign the online petition to call for a special meeting of the IGDA to vote on the removal of Tim Langdell from the board.

Now...most game developers will know what this is about...for the others..mum, Bina, and Wallace Adbrook, 29 Acacia Ave, Southport...I will explain.

The IGDA stands for the International Games Developers Association. It is as you might expect an association for international games developers :)...only it isn't really, its a farce, a total waste of time and money which does very little and is not taken very seriously by many actual international games developers.

Students love it, and a few large companies have affiliate memberships (which means their staff are members) because when all said and done the games industry actually does need such an org...Only this one is broken...and its getting more broken and it needs fixing.

It's been broken for a while, really. It has high ideals and lofty aspirations but as a volunteer based operation its pretty inept at actually taking a stand on anything that actually matters to game developers..

Its Quality of Life agenda has been in limbo for some time, and recent controversies over a now departed board member who didn't actually believe in the QoL program badly hurt its credibility. They did do something once...about...something, but I've forgotten.....oh yes...credits..something about credits in games...woooo

That credibility has been further undermined by a certain Mr..sorry Dr Tim Langdell.
Who if we are to believe his own press and claims of direct contact with multiple projects, invented the games industry single handedly all by himself..or something, well thats what his wife said on his wikipedia page, before someone noticed it was his wife (who claimed not to actually know him) who wrote it and it all got deleted.

Tim swept to power as a member of the board of IGDA on a by now expected, wave of apathy and low turnout which didn't even reach a required quorum. But never the less he did indeed secure a position on the board...good for him and all that.

But...only a few weeks into the job, certain details and facts started to emerge about this business activities and claims of inventing the internet and pretty much writing every game made in the 80's all by himself...or something, and his now deleted press which made it clear he had seriously misrepresented himself and his achievements.

Worse than that though, is that he "claims"...actually he probably does but thats not the point, to own the Trademark on the word "Edge"...(do I have to pay for using it?)

Indeed in the 80's and 90's Tim did indeed own a company which he renamed Edge and did indeed apply for trademark status on this work.

Whats up with that?

Well nothing...unless you happen to be a small French Iphone game developer called MobiGames. who spent around 2 years perfecting a really cool little isometric puzzle game called...Edge.

oh...thats the trademark word.

Yes it is, now here's where Tims shenanigans start to get interesting. Edge (the game) has been around for some time, it won prizes at exhibitions and was quite well publicized...Tim, said nothing.

Encouraged by their positive feedback, Mobigames, went ahead and put Edge (the game) on to the Iphone app store and proudly waited for their sales..

What they got though...was a phone call from Timmy this crucial point in the games life, he wanted them to pay him for using the word Edge, or he would sue them silly.

Mobigames, attempted to negotiate with Timmyboy but to no avail, so they decided to spend a few days reworking the title and rename it Edgy...that would avoid all problems. They told Timbo this and hoped that would be the end of the matter.

Except Timbo, the very next day...took out a trademark on the word Edgy

You see where this is going

Now...there's nothing illegal about this, but clearly it's snide and underhand, and the timing of the cease and desist order was intended to cause maximum harm to MobiGames in order to force them to make an "arrangement".

MobiGames are not the only ones to have this unwelcome attention from DrT. On his website Tim proudly explains his other ill gotten gains as spawned by him......exactly what he had to do with Antony Hopkins and Alec Baldwins film The Edge, is anyones guess but look...on his site..he's taking some credit for it.
Film studios are well aware of the relationship between cost of delay and giving a trademark troll what he I think we can guess what happened there.

Indeed research has shown this is Timmy's standard MO, wait for someone to use the word Edge in some context, pick a good time to attack and bang...file some cheap papers in the court to tie the poor EDGE offender in red tape...which Tim will extricate them from for a small fee/credit/chance to promote himself.
Then, using standard legal delaying tactics like saying...I have no access to the internet to file...yes ..he really does use that one.. To allow extensions after extension.

Its possible to tie this up in red tape for several months at very little cost to Timster, and as such a lot of companies, pay up or reach some settlement that allows Timmy to allocate a credit to himself for the product.

In the rare occasions when its actually gone to court, Tim usually doesn't even bother to turn up and the cases are dismissed..oh well, can't win em all.

But the time that takes can be crucial to a sales period of the Edge related item and paying up can be easier than 5 or 6 months of no sales..

its quite a sweet scam really isn't it? I'm going to trademark the words "Tim Langdell is a total cunt" and wait for the money to roll in from all the blogs and forums out there who are using it! I'm going to be I tells ye!

Legal...yes, blackmail..possibly, moral?

Now remember the IGDA...the body which is there to represent Game Developers...This man, now sits on the board of the IGDA and is screwing any and all developers he can ensnare with this legal blackmail. The very people he is supposed to represent as a board member of the IGDA.

Its wrong...pure and simple, that and his pretty astonishing misrepresentation of his achievements just make the whole idea of him being a person of good standing sat on a board to represent the game developers he clearly views as prey, null and void.

I could list details of more incredible acts of douchbaggery and shenanigans but its easier if you do a bit of research yourself..heres a good starting point

Now...many of us in the development community at large and the IGDA feel this is not in the spirit of the IGDA, and it goes against what the IGDA stands for, even if the IGDA is a bit of a chocolate fireguard, it has the potential to be something good and noble....well it used to have.
A massive debate (byt IGDA forum standards) has been raging about it for weeks...yet the board of the IGDA, does nothing, despite many direct requests for action from more members in a week than usually bother posting in a year.

Initial open talks with the new Executive Director of the IGDA to arrange for access to the members to call for a vote to remove Timster, were promising, he said he would facilitate a membership wide communication and a statement would be wasn't.
When pressed where the statement was, I was informed due to "Legal advice" they won't comment further..... since then the communication lines have closed.
In other words, fingers in ears and shout lalalala

So the board don't listen, won't discuss and refuse to comment further, and the members now need raise a petition, to force a special meeting to discuss and call a a vote on the issue.

The petition can be found here it is open only to registered IGDA members...please vote.
If you have IGDA status and are a game developer, this is genuinely important.This mans actions bring not only IGDA into disrepute but the entire game development community

I also ask that after you read the links, you email bob at igda dot org and tell him what you think.

Bob has refused to call a special meeting, something which as chair he has the authority to do, that may be something he'll realize is very wrong. Member opinion against Tim and the board, due to their handling is now very negative, and forcing them into the difficult process (due to simple practicalities of scale and inactive membership) is seriously misjudging the mood of the members.

Thats it...go read, make up your own minds and head over to the IGDA forums and have your say.

(does this count as my longest ever post while being unable to sleep?)



Paul said...

Just a quick correction Brian, IGDA stands for International Game Developers Association.

Boring old Fart said...

oops sorry, you're quite right, where was my head..I'll change it

Colin McNulty said...

Nothing like shop politics to get the fires burning. I'll get me pitch fork and we can have ourselves an old fashioned hangin' :-)