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2012 Digital Art Contest Basic Information
The George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts, in partnership with the Louisiana Technology Council (LTC) and the Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative (LDGI), will provide $15,000 in college scholarships to five (5) Louisiana high school students who create the best 3D fully rendered model about our great state!


THEME: Louisiana's Bicentennial
Two hundred years after becoming a state, Louisiana remains one of the most unique in the union. The state's rich heritage is evident throughout our history in politics, the culinary and visual arts, music, many festivals, traditions and more. 

GRFA, LTC and LDGI challenge high school students to create an original 3D fully rendered model that honors Louisiana and captures those traits that set Louisiana apart from other states. Make is serious, funny, or edgy, as long as it is uniquely Louisiana!

A MESSAGE FROM GEORGE RODRIGUE 
"Today’s art students embrace technology as an artistic tool and pursue careers accordingly. Three-D models in movies such as Toy Story and within video games such as World of Warcraft reach millions of people and affect our world. I challenge educators and business leaders to join GRFA in embracing the digital arts as a viable industry for Louisiana and an important addition to our state’s educational programming."

ELIGIBILITY


All high school students attending a public or private school or home school or GED program in Louisiana are eligible to enter the GRFA Digital Art Contest.
There is no test score, grade point average or college major requirement necessary for entry.

AWARDS
The top five finalists will be notified in mid-April and invited to attend an Awards Reception in New Orleans where the final placements will be announced.
1st Place $5,000
2nd Place$4,000
3rd Place$3,000 
4th Place$2,000 
5th Place$1,000


WHAT IS A FULLY RENDERED 3D MODEL?
A fully rendered 3D model is similar to characters you have seen on digital movies like Toy Story and in video games like HALO or World of Warcraft. They are created in the computer using special programs such as Maya, Blender, 3ds Max, etc.

HOW TO ENTER
See our Registration Page for complete details on how to enter. NOTE: Students must save and submit early stages of their work in order to prove originality. 
DEADLINE
Registration Form, Teacher/Adviser Form and disc or jump drive must be RECEIVED by mail or delivery at the George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts Office in New Orleans no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 13, 2012.

JUDGING


Judging is based on a point system in the following categories:
Interpretation of Theme
Creativity
Design
Model Efficiency

The panel of judges is composed of industry professionals in Louisiana from companies like Electronic Arts, TurboSquid, and GameLoft, and educators from Louisiana State University, the University of Louisiana Lafayette and the Academy of Interactive Entertainment.

SUGGESTIONS FOR STUDENTS


Consider choosing one scene, image or person that best captures Louisiana to you as the inspiration for your 3D model. Be creative! Also, be mindful of your TRIS count in your 3D model. Judges will see how many polygons that you are using and the count could affect your "execution of technology" score.

NOTE FOR TEACHERS AND ADVISERS
All entries must be accompanied by a teacher/adviser reference form that includes their contact information. The teacher or industry adviser must be able to certify that the submission is the original work of the student when contacted during the judging process. Home schooled students may have their parent listed as their adviser.

Teachers and industry advisers, please read the contest rules and guidelines, and feel free to contact info@georgerodriguefoundation.org with technical questions or any questions concerning the contest. 

PROCEED TO THE 2012 DIGITAL ART CONTEST REGISTRATION PAGE 

 
 
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Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week, held November 11-19

Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of the vibrant entrepreneurial culture of southern Louisiana.  The week is designed to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit, create a sense of community among local entrepreneurs, highlight the assets of the region, and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs

This week-long series of events, held at venues around Baton Rouge the week of November 11-19, 2011, will inspire fresh thinking, celebrate our innovative culture, and provide cutting-edge educational experiences for entrepreneurs and innovators of all experience levels.

Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week is held during Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. 

For more information on Global Entrepreneurship Week, visit www.unleashingideas.org.

The following link will bring you to the Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week Events Schedule:http://www.brewingupideas.com/



 
 
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Gaming Development in New Orleans
by John Gaudiosi, Forbes 

NEW ORLEANS — Post-Katrina, New Orleans has turned to technology and videogame companies to help rebuild the Big Easy into a 21rst Century development center. With the best tax incentives in the U.S. for game makers, the Big Easy has attracted its first big game company withGameloft, one of the largest mobile game publishers in the world. Gameloft has approximately 20 people working out of its new studio with plans to grow into a major development house with approximately 140 employees over the next decade. David Hague, studio manager at Gameloft New Orleans, talks about the benefits of making games in the Crescent City and why other game companies will likely follow in this exclusive interview.

What are your thoughts on what’s happening in gaming in Louisiana?

There is an interesting movement going on within the gaming community of New Orleans and Louisiana.  With a few smaller gaming companies already in place, a number of yearly conventions that focus on technology occurring, a lot of support companies which sprang up when the film industry started taking off, and the support of the of state and local organizations in their commitment to fostering the industry, there is certainly a strong foundation for a successful future.  Furthermore, given that many of the area’s colleges and universities have either launched or are in the process of launching game curriculums, there will be more organic growth available in the future from the local talent pool as well.

Why did you decide to open a game studio there?

Gameloft has been searching for an opportunity to expand their presence in the US for quite some time.  The big reason behind locating in New Orleans with the expansion has been in our ability to find competitive pricing, which allows us to have a unique hook when recruiting.  And given our ability to attract top tier talent to the area we can honestly say that the decision was the right one. Overall, we feel that between having talented people work on our games and being located in such a unique and distinctive environment will allow the staff to reach their full creative potential.

Can you talk about the studio’s size today and how you plan on growing?

Currently, we have our launch team and are in the process of filling out our support staff.  Over the next six to eight months we plan on hiring aggressively and building the studio to more than 40 people.  And in the next 10 years, we would like to max out somewhere around 140 total people in the studio.  But in the end, we make sure the team sizes and compositions match what the scope and scale of the games we are working on demand, and will adjust these plans accordingly.

From a development perspective, how many titles do you plan on making there and will you focus on a particular genre or type of game?

While the New Orleans studio will certainly focus on game production, there are no limitations on the types of games that will be created.  We are not restricted to the creation of mobile games.  In fact, Gameloft provides content for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, Facebook and a variety of other downloadable mediums as well.  And while we may start with established internal IPs, the primary goal of our creative team (and Gameloft as a whole) is to always create games that are new, high in quality and will be enjoyed by as big and diverse of an audience as possible.

What are the advantages of the region?

The biggest advantage we found in New Orleans and Louisiana was the commitment of our local and state partners.  Across the board, our experience with the state and local partners in the area has been outstanding.  When we started looking for a new site location in the U.S. the Louisiana Economic Development approached us and was very informative about the tax incentives offered by Louisiana to digital media companies.  And not only were they were useful throughout the entire process, but an essential partner in making this new studio a success as well.

How active has the government been with your move?

As we started honing in on New Orleans as our final site, one of our major concerns was whether or not we would be able to attract people to the area.  At that point, the FastStart team stepped in to help us with multiple recruiting initiatives that helped us to gather over 1,500 resumes in a one month period. This not only helped us to make a case to our upper management that we could, in fact, recruit people to the area but have a successful studio as well.

How has it been finding local talent there?

Depending on the area of focus, the talent pool is quite deep here.  For example, we have had a lot of really great submissions from local candidates who are typically coming from an art and/or programming background.  On the other hand, the one area we have not seen as many applicants, has been game designers.  Thus, while we found that it isn’t the same type of talent pool that one may find in one of the game development meccas in the US, there are a lot of programs in place and coming down the line at the state’s many colleges and universities that we expect to certainly increase this talent pool in the upcoming years.

How easy is it to get people to relocate to the area?

Overall, there has been a lot of interest in New Orleans and we have actually received a lot of quality applicants, which is comparable to what we see in our other studios.  And while we have not experienced too many difficulties in relocating people to the area, the challenge we often have is in having a bad perception about the area.  If someone hasn’t seen the area themselves, it’s hard to illustrate the improvement the city has experienced in the last five years and the direction it will be going over the course of the next five as well.  But in the end, we have been able to successfully recruit everyone that had these issues once they saw the city for themselves.

What do you like about New Orleans?

What don’t I like about New Orleans!  This city has a wealth of culture and history, amazing food, and friendly and intelligent people all wrapped up in a big city feel without all the drawbacks.  The quality of life here is really top notch, and the cost of living here is not what you would find in other cities where the game industry is so big. The area itself has such a unique appeal that we are able to offer a unique atmosphere for the people we relocated.  New Orleans is a city with great history and culture.  There is really no other city in the US that is similar with the big city feel in a small package.

Can you give us a sense of the tech and gaming companies there and what the atmosphere is like? Does it compare to any other city?

While there are already a few smaller gaming companies in place and at least one other major game developer/publisher, New Orleans is just starting to touch its potential to host a successful gaming economy. The opportunity for growth within the city, and state, is boundless as they continue to build new programs within their schools and attract new talent from out of state.

What are your thoughts on how far the region has come since Katrina?

To be honest, we weren’t really sure what to expect when we first came to the New Orleans.  We had a lot of questions about how the Greater New Orleans area was being rebuilt post Katrina, what type of people the city was attracting and if there was a foundation from which we could start growing a game development community.  What we found surprised us. In addition to finding a number of talented and creative individuals who are very passionate about whatever they are working on (e.g. schools here which are developing game development curriculums and are eager to have our input so their students are well equipped to succeed when we hire them), we also found a city that is vibrant, beautiful and committed to growth and attracting the type of people and companies that will help the area continue to thrive.

What else do you feel New Orleans needs to do turn that area into a thriving development community like we see in Austin, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, Montreal and other cities?

New Orleans really just needs to continue doing what they are doing right now; recruiting companies like Gameloft and continuing their commitment to growing the local digital media industry.  With such a collective will to do that right now it is important that the foot doesn’t come off the accelerator on that point.  The big issue is the area has yet to hit the critical mass of industry veterans and professionals that some of the larger markets currently experience.  That said, all those markets were at some point in the same situation so there is a definite path laid out for those involved on how to continue the growth.  New Orleans will really take off when we do not need to look outside for new hires but can hire form the local talent pool almost exclusively.  And as more of the graduates of the digital media programs enter the work force and other companies expand to the area we can focus on organic growth rather than relocation growth.





 
 
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Louisiana Economic Development Update
Sept. 22, 2011  - From LED Newsletter

NATION’S TOP SITE-SELECTION CONSULTANTS RANK LOUISIANA ONE OF THE TOP STATES FOR BUSINESS IN THE U.S. 

BATON ROUGE – Today, Area Development magazine ranked Louisiana No. 6 in the U.S. in its 2011 ranking of Top States for Doing Business, which surveys leading site-selection consultants on which U.S. states are the most attractive locations for business investment. Louisiana ranked No. 3 among states that are leading the economic recovery, No. 4 for states with the best workforce development programs, and No. 4 for states with the best overall business environment.

Governor Bobby Jindal said, “Key business and industry decision-makers all over the nation are recognizing the impact of our work to cut taxes, reduce government spending and provide key workforce training solutions that businesses need to grow and succeed in our state. Louisiana’s high ranking by Area Development shows that site selection consultants are taking notice of our improving business climate and our workforce development programs. The payoff is that people all over Louisiana are gaining quality jobs every day. While we still have more work to do, we will not rest until our sons and daughters no longer have to go to other states for great careers. We’re providing more high-paying jobs right here in Louisiana and the nation is taking notice.” 

The results show marked improvement for Louisiana, as the state did not make the Area Development overall Top 10 in 2010. That year, the state’s best results came in the categories for the cost of doing business (tied for fifth-highest score) and workforce development (fifth-highest score).

In addition to its other top rankings for 2011, Louisiana tied Michigan for fifth-best in overall labor climate, including a No. 5 ranking for labor costs. Within the overall business environment category, Louisiana landed in a tie with Indiana at No. 3 for business friendliness and landed alone at No. 3 for the overall cost of doing business.

Since 2008, Louisiana Economic Development has secured economic development projects resulting in the creation of more than 45,000 new jobs, more than $10 billion in capital investment and hundreds of millions of dollars in new sales for small businesses across the state. 

The latest Area Development recognition reinforces a series of much-improved rankings for Louisiana from economic development publications. Louisiana has won State or Co-State of the Year designations from such publications as Southern Business & Development (the past three years in a row) and Business Facilities (2010), which also has honored Louisiana FastStart™ as the nation's No. 1 workforce training program in 2010 and 2011. Site Selection, based on 2010 economic development projects, ranked Louisiana No. 3 in the nation and No. 1 on a per capita basis, and the same magazine in May of this year named LED as the best-performing state economic development agency in the country. In August, Pollina Corporate Real Estate Inc. ranked Louisiana 18th in its 2011 report on top pro-business states, with Louisiana rising 22 spots since 2008 and having gained Pollina’s inaugural Most-Improved State designation in 2010. In 2011, Pollina ranked Louisiana No. 2 in the U.S. for incentives and economic development agency performance.

Over the last few years, Louisiana has moved up significantly in every national ranking of state business climates, including those published by Area Development magazine, Beacon Hill Institute, Business Facilities magazine, Chief Executive magazine, CNBC, Forbes, Pollina Corporate Real Estate, and Site Selection magazine. In fact, Louisiana now stands at its highest ever position on every national ranking of state business climates. Additionally, three of those national rankings (Area Development, Business Facilities and Site Selection) now rank Louisiana among the top 10 states for business in the U.S.

LED Secretary Stephen Moret said, “We are delighted with this latest recognition of our state’s economic progress, and we are going to continue to work hard to position Louisiana to ultimately rank among the top 10 states in all the national rankings of state business climates. Most importantly, we are working to position Louisiana to create jobs at a faster pace than the South and U.S. on a regular basis.” 

About Area Development
Founded in 1965, Area Development is published bimonthly and has more than 45,000 executive subscribers. For more information, visit www.areadevelopment.com

 
 
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Landing a 'big egg'
Digital media school to open in January
by Richard Burgess - Advocate Acadiana bureau


LAFAYETTE - A school for video game design, 3-D animation and visual effects is scheduled to open in January, offering training that officials say could help spur the local digital media industry.  The Academy of Interactive Entertainment, a technical college of sorts for the digital workforce, will set up shop at the LITE Center in the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Research Park, officials with ULL and AIE announced Thursday.  The school will offer "top-tier" training and represents a big win for the state's emerging digital media industry, said Jeff Pellegrin, director of the Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative.  Pellegrin said the difficulty for the growing industry is often a chicken-or-egg problem - jobs are needed to spur demand for the training, but a trained workforce is needed to attract the jobs.  "Lafayette just landed its biggest egg, and I can't wait to see the chickens come behind," he said.  AIE was founded in 1996 in Australia and has three campuses in that country and one other U.S. campus, in Seattle, Wash., said Christopher Erhardt, head of AIE's U.S. campuses.  He said Lafayette was chosen as a base for the school's Southern U.S. operations in part because of the strong local interest in digital media and in part because of the potential job opportunities for graduates.  Louisiana is attracting a growing number of film productions, he said, but much of the supporting production work has gone back out of state because of the lack of a trained workforce.  "We are here to develop the talent that can support it," Erhardt said.  Pellegrin said he expects the school to serve as an incubator for new companies when students move out into the job market, and it could help attract the attention of major digital media developers and publishers because of AIE's strong relationships in the industry.  The only admission requirement for the school is a high school diploma or a GED, but acceptance will be determined through interviews, Erhardt said.  Tuition will be $7,500 per semester, or $30,000 for a two-year program, he said.  Erhardt said the training is not limited to recent high-school graduates and that the average age of students at AIE's Seattle campus is 25.  "We can show people that there are opportunities to learn a new skill, to learn a new occupation," he said.  Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel said he hopes the new school could help capture some of the jobs that have been pulling the younger generation out of Louisiana.  "I want our kids and our young people to have the opportunity to stay home," he said.  AIE's planned move to Lafayette will bring a second digital media operation to the LITE Center, a high-tech facility that was built to nurture high-tech initiatives.  California-based digital effects company Pixel Magic opened an office at LITE in 2009 after traveling to the area for the Walt Disney Pictures production "Secretariat."

For more information on AIE program, visit http://www.theaie.us/

 
 
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Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative (LDGI) would like to welcome Moonbot Studios to the Louisiana's fast growing digital gaming industry. We are excited to see another talented group of people become successful in Louisiana and cannot wait to see what they produce. 

One animation firm from Shreveport is quickly proving that there is no requirement that a digital media firm reside in California or New York to be successful. Moonbot, led by William Joyce, world-wide recognized author, illustrator and leader in the digital animation world  is demonstrating that Shreveport possesses great talent and promise. One of Joyce’s and Moonbot’s productions, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,  is a beautifully created children’s story that has become adapted to the new world of IPad’s 

In fact, according to MediaBistro.com, “Following a glowing review in Fast Company, author and ex-Pixar character designer William Joyce has rocketed to top of Apple’s Top Grossing Book Apps list with the $4.99 interactive storybook, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.”   Bayoubuzz has recently sent questions to Joyce to discuss the Lessmore story, the app and why Shreveport and Louisiana are great venues to tell a story obout digital creativities.  Below are those questions and his responses:
  
Tell us about Mr. Morris Lessmore, what is it?

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” is an animated short film and children’s story that we’ve recently turned into an iPad application. The narrative tells the story of a man who loses everything in a terrible storm and must set out on a quest to find happiness again. The app takes the form of a children’s book, in which readers can interact with Morris Lessmore as he journeys through an enchanted library where books come to life, through touch screen technology.  Some of the features include playing songs like “Pop Goes the Weasel” on the piano, solving puzzles, drawing on the pages of a book, rearranging words and phrases in alphabet soup – the app fully relies on the participation of the reader to tell the narrative of Morris Lessmore.

Why did you do it?

We wanted to create an interactive experience for readers of all ages. When we heard that Apple was coming out with the iPad, we knew this would be the perfect platform that would allow us to share our story, and that this type of technology would enable us to really make Morris come to life.

What is Moonbot?

Moonbot is a multimedia animation and storytelling studio based in Shreveport, LA. We turn stories into experiences. Our stories are designed to be not only read, but also taken in through all the senses. We extract the sub-narrative within a story and then figure out how to develop it across multiple mediums.

Why did you choose Shreveport, Louisiana, to locate Moonbot?

I’m a Shreveport native and always dreamt of creating a footprint in my own hometown. Shreveport is a unique place for a studio—down here, we can really percolate fresh ideas and do great things and evolve our processes outside of the pressures and influences often found in industry saturated markets. In addition, the city of Shreveport and the state of Louisiana have greatly influenced the work we do. Much of Morris Lessmore was inspired by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the notion of rebuilding after everything is lost.

Where is the next technological stop for the world of digital animation?

Every medium comes with its own set of limitations, and whether the experience is interactive or film based the technology sometimes puts a ceiling on the idea.  We are working towards storytelling that is bigger than one medium and one technology.  Right now it's a conscious effort, but eventually it will become simple and automatic.

What do you think Louisiana might need to move forward and to be more competitive?

For the State of Louisiana to continue to move forward and create a robust creative industries economy, we need to capitalize on the momentum of these past few years.  It is imperative that the State maintain the stability of the tax incentive programs which began the trend of growth.  Going forward, these programs should focus specifically on Louisiana-based content providers and creators with the end goal directed toward long-term sustainability.  Training and education are key to not only the growth of these industries but to the inclusion of Louisiana’s next generations.  Louisiana has immense resources in the creative fields -- it is going to be imperative that the State creates the business foundation to exploit these resources at home rather than send them elsewhere to make their living.

 
 
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Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative (LDGI) is proud of the folks of LED, GNO Inc., and other regional partners in successful recruiting Gameloft Game Studio to Louisiana. We are happy to have another big win for digital media in Louisiana, and we also welcome the Gameloft folks to our state.

Mobile game publisher will hire nearly 150 for Louisiana digital game studio

Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal joined Gameloft S.A. executive Samir El Agili to announce the establishment of a major new game development studio in New Orleans by Gameloft, one of the world's largest publishers of digital and social games. Based in Paris, Gameloft will create 146 jobs during the next decade with jobs over time averaging more than $60,000 a year, plus benefits.

Louisiana Economic Development began active negotiations with Gameloft officials in New York in 2010; and in less than a year, the company selected Louisiana over multiple other locations. Louisiana's digital media tax credits initially interested Gameloft, and an effective talent recruitment strategy led by Louisiana FastStart™ helped finalize the deal. Gameloft operates more than two dozen studios worldwide and employs about 4,000 people in game development. The company gained recognition as the 2011 Developer of the Year for mobile games from PocketGamer, a U.K. publisher that tracks trends in the industry.

In its first year, Gameloft will hire 20 employees and has set a goal of publishing at least one shipped title created entirely by its local team in New Orleans. The company has yet to determine where its permanent studio in New Orleans will be, but it will open Oct. 1 in temporary space. By the second year, it will employ 53 skilled professionals in game development, and that number will grow to more than 100 by the fourth year.

To apply for Gameloft positions, job seekers should visit http://www.jobsinnola.com.

Read more about Gameloft's studio in Louisiana.


 
 
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8/9/2010 - LDGI welcomes Clint Mock, CPA, as a silver member, and recommends his efforts to anyone that is filing for Digital Media Interactive Tax Credits. Clint specializes in digital media and entertainment incentive's. 

Clint D. Mock ,CPA, LLC is an Entertainment CPA firm that services, exclusively, Louisiana’s entertainment industry. These facets of “entertainment” include: Film, Digital Interactive Media, Live Performance, and Sound Recording. Louisiana offers a myriad of very generous tax incentives to these industries and requires an attestation from an independent , Louisiana CPA prior to the distribution of these tax credits. Clint D. Mock, CPA, LLC is very experienced in this field and prides itself on combining efficiency with effectiveness.

We stay up-to-date with the ever changing laws surrounding Digital Media and have built strong relationships with the Directors of the incentive programs offered by Louisiana Economic Development.

“We believe that the Digital Interactive Media industry is the future of Louisiana. The DIM tax credit
program greatly increases this probability and puts Louisiana at the most competitive advantage out ofany other state in the US” – Clint D. Mock, CPA

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Louisiana Enhances Tax Credits For Game Developers 
by Kyle Orland (Gamasutra Article can be found here)

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has signed a bill enhancing the state's existing tax credit for game developers, potentially resulting in significant savings for game companies in the state.

The state's Digital Media Tax Credit will now offer benefits as a refundable credit, rather than a transferable credit, allowing eligible companies to obtain a cash rebate if the credits amount to more than their outstanding tax liability for the year. The law still offers a 25 percent tax credit on software production in the state -- including entertainment software -- and a 35 percent credit for Louisiana payroll taxes devoted to software development.

Louisiana lawmakers say the Digital Media tax credits -- first established in 2005 and expanded in 2009 -- have been instrumental in attracting companies such as EA, which recently announced it would be expanding its game testing presence facility on the LSU campus. "Louisiana's Digital Media Tax Credit is a strong asset to growing the industry and making the state a global competitor in video game development," Craig Hagen, senior director of government affairs for Electronic Arts, told Louisiana's KATC. "We look forward to working with Louisianans in this exciting endeavor."

French mobile publisher Gameloft recently began hiring for a studio in New Orleans, which will also be impacted by the tax credit.
 
 
Article found here: http://www.igda.org/newsletter/2011/07/20/louisiana-fastest-growing-game-production-hub-in-the-us/

Here in Louisiana, IGDA and our gaming developer community are constantly growing! We are proud to announce two IGDA chapters in Louisiana, one in Baton Rouge and the other in New Orleans, both of which started in the last six months. We are making great strides in our efforts to grow our industry and the wellbeing of the developer community. Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative (LDGI) is working closely with state, private and public organization to make sure IGDA communities foster and continue to grow.

Production Incentives: Our first step in building a stronger gaming hub in Louisiana was the creation of the Digital Interactive Media Tax Credit program, which has developed into the most advantageous tax credit and incentive program for developers not just in the United States but all of North America. Louisiana’s programs provide the most aggressive business incentives for the design and development of software, web platforms, mobile applications, digital interactive media applications, digital media, and web applications for digital gaming industries.

Growth: Louisiana is proud to announce several projects this year within our industry: new expansion of EA North America – to increase their labor force by 200 quality assurance testers; BitRaider – a new MMOG solution provider to get gamers in their MMO’s quicker without multiple hour downloading time; FireBrand Games, a leader in racing console game development both of which landed in the Louisiana Technology Park; the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) – a private training college for the digital arts and game design programming in Lafayette; Gameloft – a leader in mobile game development is now recruiting talent for a New Orleans operations, Scorch Digital Studios – an indie outsourcing game development studio, and Game Builder Studio – which is a new startup building 2D game engine so players and small studios can create games much faster. With IGDA, LDGI, and other Louisiana stakeholders offering assistance, we will be having many more projects to be announced throughout the year.

Education: Talent generation is one of the many industry needs that Louisiana is undertaking through different educational programs. One of these programs is LSU Avatar, which is a leading producer of qualified local talent within Baton Rouge. The Mentorship Academy, also located in Baton Rouge, is teaching high school students digital media. Other collegiate programs and universities that are now implementing game design, programming, and digital arts include University of Lafayette, University of New Orleans, Baton Rouge Community College and Delgado Community College. Finally, with the addition of AIE in Louisiana, we are sure to never short on skilled, talented game developers.

Resources: Louisiana features a variety of agencies that are supporting the growth of the digital media industry within the state. Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE) is providing visionary support for the training of serious gaming and simulation functions for the development firms that operate in Louisiana. Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA) is working with LITE to recruit digital gaming firms to use their resources, as well as the fiber optic bandwidth the city enjoys. Louisiana Technology Council (LTC), a technology trade association, is sharing its expertise and the collective knowledge of its members in order to promote digital media throughout the state. Both the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) and Greater New Orleans Inc. (GNO Inc.) have digital media economic development organizations, BRADIC (Baton Rouge Area Digital Industries Consortium) and GNO Inc.’s DMA (Digital Media Alliance), which exist to promote and encourage digital media production in their local regions. Baton Rouge hosts the annual Red Stick Festival, which includes an international competition to promote the advancement of digital media and 3D animation productions.

Facilities: Louisiana is fortunate to have technology incubator facilities, such as Louisiana Technology Park. The facility allows a small independent game studio to benefit from affordable office space, subsidized utilities, and additional amenities. Louisiana Technology Park also provides an entrepreneur center for education and counseling called Tech Park U. Other facilities include Launch Pad that offer affordable spaces for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and creative professionals in the newest concept in collaborative workspaces in downtown New Orleans. Financing options, consultancy, and investment funds are growing and making themselves more available to Louisiana’s digital gaming industry. South Coast Angel Fund, Advantage Capital, and Voodoo Ventures are a few of these firms that are working to provide funding for the digital media industry.

Benefits: The benefits directly associated to the digital media industry pale in comparison to the high quality of life and low cost of living that Louisiana affords to all industries. The state has not reached its final goal despite becoming an international focus point for digital media, software and video game manufacturing, but we are getting nearer every day. Louisiana and IGDA of Louisiana endeavors to promote the growth of developers and increase the level of awareness of the digital media industry in the state of Louisiana. IGDA and Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative, and also with the help of its members, consultants, and in concert with the variety of digital media friendly organizations, will keep the focus where it belongs: on entrepreneurial opportunities, networking events, community support, and overall industry growth and IGDA members.

Cheers and Game On,

Jeff Pellegrin
President of IGDA Baton Rouge
Executive Director and Founder of
Louisiana Digital Gaming Initiative (LDGI)