What is VGAD?
VGAD stands for Video Game Art & Design. VGAD is a University of Alberta student group that works toward building a community for students who have a passion for games. Learn more on our About page.
Does that mean you only care about digital games?
No. In the past we made video games our main focus, but as the club has grown, it has become more all-encompassing. Many VGAD members play and create more “traditional” game types such as pen-and-paper roleplaying games, card games, or board games.
Does VGAD just get together to play games?
No. The vast majority of club time is spent either working on games, discussing issues affecting the game industry, or just hanging out. However we do not discourage members from playing games during the weekly meetings, as playing games is an essential part of developing games.
What is the time commitment for VGAD?
If you only participate in our weekly meetings, then your time commitment will be probably be between two and three hours per week, which is how long our meetings generally go on for.
If you get involved in a game project, your time commitment is completely up to you.
I don’t really do any programming. Can I still join?
Of course! Because video games require a broad variety of disciplines, we encourage students from All Faculties to attend, regardless of what program they’re in.
I don’t have any experience making video games. Can I join?
Yes. We assume nothing about you except that you’re interested in video games and are willing to learn about the developing process.
Is this club mandatory for students taking CMPUT 250 or any of the other games courses?
No. Attending VGAD is strictly voluntary for all students. VGAD is not officially affiliated with the Game Development Certificate, though we do provide information about it to our members, and many of our members are currently going through the classes required for the certificate.
Is there a membership fee?
No. VGAD is strictly a social group. Club membership is contingent on either A) Showing up to the meetings, or B) Participating in online discussion via the club’s Facebook Group or Bear’s Den.
Does VGAD make games?
That’s tricky. Our members make games, but VGAD as a Student Organization does not take any ownership of those games.
If club members make a game, who does it belong to?
Any intellectual property generated by the club’s members belongs to that club member. That means that if you create the next Minecraft or Angry Birds, VGAD claims no ownership of that property. That also means VGAD claims none of the potential legal issues that arise from your product.
Does membership in VGAD guarantee a credit in an actual, finished video game?
In a perfect world, maybe, but the responsibility for completing a game falls entirely on the club members involved in the game. So the short answer is no.
Even small games take a tremendous amount of time and effort just to get to a proof of concept, let alone tuning and testing. And since most of our club members are also taking full course loads, we make sure that their schoolwork comes first, then they can think of spending their time on video games.
So if VGAD doesn’t have any part in making games, what is the purpose of VGAD?
The point of VGAD is to bring together students who want to be more involved in video game design to facilitate networking and group creation. We created the club because most game ideas require more than one discipline to complete (Programming, Art, Sound Design, Project Management, etc.). So we created a space where students from all over the University of Alberta could meet up to share game ideas, and connect with people who could help them make those ideas happen.
To put it more succinctly, the primary function of VGAD is to create connections between people who are enthusiastic about game design and culture.
Do I have to be involved in a game project to be a part of VGAD?
No. The only expectation we have of our members is that they participate in the group’s meetings, or in online discussion.
Can my group membership be revoked?
Yes. If you miss three meetings without informing us of your absence, you’ll be removed from the Bear’s Den.
That said, we are super lenient when it comes to extended absences. As long as you say something about not being able to make it to the meetings, you’ll be fine. You could even say “I want to be in the club, but I’m going to be gone for the rest of the semester.” That’s totally acceptable. As long as you let us know that you can’t make it and why, we won’t kick you off the roster.
What are the weekly meetings for?
Generally they are for information, discussing important game news, and working on game projects. We sometimes just show up to work on our ongoing projects, or to just hang out and talk about games with other people who like games as much as we do.
What is VGAD involved in other than making games?
We host periodic Game Nights in our office, CSC 3-23. Generally we hook up a projector and play controller-based games, while people who prefer to play mouse-and-keyboard games can set up their laptops and network together using UWS.
We run Game Jams once or twice a semester, as well as talks and workshops intended to help people get into game development. VGAD also founded the Game Discovery Exhibition – an annual event where indie developers can showcase their games to a public audience.
Are the meetings always on the same day?
We change the meeting day every four months. Those four month periods are:
- September to December, aka Fall Semester
- January to April, aka Winter Semester
- May to August, aka Spring Semester and Summer Semester
The meeting day for the next four-month period is usually decided close to the end of the preceding period. We try to decide on a day and time that works for everyone, or at least as many people as possible.
What are the executive responsibilities?
The President is responsible for the vision and direction of the club. It is their responsibility to set short and long term goals for the club and to revise these goals as needed. Responsibilities of the president include but may not be limited to:
- Calling weekly club meetings
- Calling executive meetings
- Developing meeting agendas
- Representing the club in external settings
- Developing schedules/plans for the long- and short-term goals of the club
- Delegating tasks as necessary
The Vice President is responsible for assisting the President and ensuring the smooth functioning of the club on a day-to-day basis. Responsibilities of the Vice President include but may not be limited to:
- Assisting the President with their tasks
- Acting in the President’s stead if they are unable to complete their tasks
- Ensuring other executive members are able to complete their assigned tasks, and helping or delegating tasks when necessary
- Taking meeting minutes
- Helping new members integrate into the club by answering questions or directing them appropriately
The Treasurer is responsible for handling money matters of the club. Responsibilities of the treasurer include but may not be limited to:
- Keeping track of receipts produced by club purchases
- Updating financial records and budgets in a timely fashion
- Writing grant applications
- Corresponding with financial institutions
The Internal Communications Director is responsible for the maintenance of the club’s internal infrastructure and communications. Responsibilities of the Internal Communications Director include but may not be limited to:
- Maintaining the club’s social media outlets
- Maintaining the club’s website
- Facilitating communication between club members and executive members
- Organizing internal club events (LAN parties etc.)
The External Communications Director is responsible for maintaining communication between the club and external parties and representing the club in external environments. Responsibilities of the External Communications Director include but may not be limited to:
- Outgoing communications to parties such as: the U of A, the Computing Science department, the Students’ Union, other clubs, and entities outside of the university
- Attend external meetings
- Organize recruitment and club promotion, which includes clubs fairs, postering etc.