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About Drew Sikora – Computer Game Development: Industry Roots

While Drew was involved with Napali, he became frustrated with code from team members that had left the project because it had no comments and was completely undocumented. This prompted him to write and publish his first ever game development article on called The Art of Code Documentation towards the end of 2000 (while it was a good gesture, he realized years later that the article is flawed in many ways). This was followed in 2001 by another article on programming with Winsock, based on his experience working at Napali, that has remained popular even to this day. Drew continued writing articles and conducting interviews for, along with becoming heavily involved with the community. So much, in fact, that in June 2001 he was invited to become a staff member.

His writing in 2001 wasn’t limited to either. He was also invited to write a monthly design column for the webzine “Pixelate“, which he did for 5 months (issues 5-10) to positive feedback before the online magazine fell silent. At the start of the year he was invited by well-known freelancer Francois Dominic-Laramee to contribute articles to the book “Game Design Perspectives“, which was published in 2002 by Charles River Media and contained three articles written by Drew.

One of the interviews he ran mid-way through 2001 was on a start-up online learning school for game development called Game Institute. After the interview was published, he was contacted by the company and asked if he did PR work professionally and would like a job. By now Drew had learned never to turn down an offer, even one he couldn’t accept, so he truthfully responded no, but would they like some extra help anyways? Thus began his long-lasting relationship with Game Institute, where he began by handling support emails and managing the small community of students.

By the end of 2001 Drew was virtually involved in the game industry, but he was still missing that crucial element of face-to-face interaction with other game developers. There were still no major studios in the tri-state area of NY, NJ and PA and no major game development clubs or organizations either. His searching led him to the International Game Developer’s Association (IGDA), which had formed only two years ago and listed a chapter in New Jersey as of 2001. After months of attempting to contact the coordinator listed for the dormant chapter, Drew was finally able to help organize the first ever official IGDA meeting of game developers in the New Jersey area which was held up in NYC in December of 2001.

Drew’s involvement with the IGDA grew beyond just chapter management as well. Through the building of the NJ chapter Drew and IGDA Executive Producer Jason Della Rocca worked often together, and Jason offered Drew the chance to conduct a series of spotlight interviews with various IGDA members, including George “The Fat Man” Sanger, Louis Castle, and Hal Barwood to name a few. Drew continued this interviews through mid-2002 and in turn was brought into contact with a lot of well-known industry figures. Drew also volunteered to moderate the Production and NJ chapter forums. In 2008 he also participated for the first time in the student scholarship program as a judge and mentor.

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