First Tuesday ~ Princess to the Rescue

This evening at our Grrrl Games First Tuesday meetup we were treated to a preview of Princess to the Rescue – a puzzle platformer from A Little Red Panda game studio. It’s absolutely charming (great colours and cute butterflies!!) and has evolved way beyond its origins as Viki Johnson’s student project. Viki talked us through the process of making Princess to the Rescue, which she built in Construct2 pretty much single handed. It’s a great showcase of her artwork and game design skills, and is currently in tester mode – if you want to have a go yourself sign up here. The current version plays on pc/mac/linux and we had quite a discussion on game platforms, publishing and what steps to take next to get a game out there for people to buy their kids. A Little Red Panda is definitely one to watch.

Princess to the Rescue

After Viki’s presentation we had time for a troubleshooting session with Ben Pitt (aka @robotduck) which tonight mostly focused on discussion around using Twine with Unity and Wwise audio. There are a few of us developing projects that include text on screen so we will organise a more in-depth session focusing on using Twine & Unity together. This will either be at a First Tuesday or on a Saturday afternoon, soon.

Talking twine & unity

Ben also quickly shared a few more introductory game editors for people new to making games ~ Flickgame ~ Scratch ~ Bitsy ~ PuzzleScript ~ which all definitely seem worth exploring as a quick way to get started with no coding experience.

And finally – we talked a little about going to games events and conferences to get networking and get your game noticed. So if you have a game that just needs a final polish, why not submit it to the Develop 2017 Indie Showcase?

“On top of the opportunity to show off their game to around 2,000 developers and publishers in Brighton, all 10 finalists will receive one two-day pass to Develop:Brighton (Wednesday & Thursday), up to five Expo passes, pre-event publicity and a profile on the event website.”

It’s worth a crack ~ you have until the 19th May to submit so get going! HERE’S THE LINK

 

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First Tuesday ~ Audio & Games with Alison Bown

March 2017 First Tuesday meetup at bristolgameshub was on all things Audio, with a really useful presentation from Alison Bown about how to get started creating and editing sounds for your game. Alison has years of experience working in film and games; she was recruited straight from film school by Electronic Arts to work on games and is currently in the throes of an Interactive Narrative and Spatial Audio PhD.

We had a wide-ranging introduction to useful software and hardware, from free stuff to top of the range. I learnt that protools can be evil but necessary if you want to work in film sound, and that an iphone is a more than adequate recording tool if you don’t want to shell out for an ambisonic Zoom H2N with four microphones on top. We even covered how to make an ad-hoc sound recording booth – basically walling yourself into a cupboard with blankets or sticking a mattress behind your head.

Alison played us some of the sounds she has created over the years and showed us how she layers up from component parts; pretty much the same techniques are used in film and games but with game you need to know more about compression and chopping up files into re-usable bits. (That’s my non-tech explanation of what she actually said). She recommended we read “From The Shadows of Film Sound” by Rob Bridgett to get a good overview of sound techniques and how to use audio to good effect in games.

We covered sound fx, copyright, atmospheric sound ( randomised sounds on top of a base sound), memory, routing (a fundamental in film & games so I’ll be reading up on that), setting reverb in Unity, making MIDI sounds, file formats (mp3 vs wav vs .ogg), pitch/shifting, sound seeds (! another one to investigate further), and so on. It seems to be a lot about layering. I also learnt that stems are how you organise sound for a mix – I will be downloading myself a list of terms to bandy about when talking audio!

It was a mind-reeling comprehensive intro to lots of things, with time for answers to people’s more specific questions about their projects. Lots to think about and follow up, and quite reassuring to those of us who are muddling through and now find out we were doing things right. (I mean me, using my phone and audacity to record and edit).

Alison recommended we think about using Wwise middleware (similar to fmod) that works with Unity and Unreal games engines, and sent us a link to a “Great Blog with loads of tips including why to use Wwise” from annesoaudio:

Here are a few more links from Alison ~

Reaper demos, Reaper Controls,

Unity & audio

Wwise Demo in action: Twenty mins in, show and tell of intricate Wwise project in game.

Thanks Alison – slightly fried my brain but a really useful evening.

nb we are open to suggestions for topics for First Tuesdays, just join our meetup group for women working in games and post an idea.

XX+ games jam games

  1. Nommityville ~ Chloe, Eriol, Helen, Isobel, Vivienne  14884461_1693808884269096_6124785785213460440_o
  2. Before I Forget ~ Chella, Claire, Sharon
    photo A woman wanders through an empty house piecing together memories from her life. She doesn’t remember who she is or why she’s in this strange house. Investigate objects to unlock fragments of the woman’s story. Before I Forget is a narrative exploration game, which looks at the transience of memory.thoughts
  3. Comfort Zone ~ Eloise, Fiona, Jade, Katherine, Mariya
  4. Colour Over Life ~ Ellie, Emma, Laura
  5. Escape To Mexico ~ Chew-Yean, Clare, Klaudia, Sue

This is happening ~ Weds12thOct2016!

Copied and pasted, I know it’s lazy but…

Level unlocked: facilitating women’s access to careers in the games industry
Wednesday 12th October, 2pm-5pm
River Room King’s Building Strand Campus
Register here: https://levelunlocked.eventbrite.co.uk

The video game industry is notoriously perceived as exclusionary and intolerant, particularly of women and others. ‘Re-Figuring Innovation in Games’ (ReFig) is a collaborative research project that addresses the urgent need for equity and diversity in order to stimulate innovation and greater inclusion in this significant domain of the creative industries.
This workshop will feature case study materials from initiatives aimed at supporting women’s access to the games industry in Canada, Ireland and the UK. It will feature presentations by key ReFig games industry and games education researchers and will be supported by young women currently working in games design. We welcome those interested in accessing the games industry at all levels as well as those wishing to support this access, for example educators at secondary, tertiary and beyond; advocacy groups; employers seeking guidance on inclusive recruitment strategies and structures; and academics.

Shift happens: a panel debate about exclusion & inclusivity in the games industry
Wednesday 12th October, 7pm-8:30pm
Anatomy Lecture Theatre (K.6.29) Strand Campus
Register here: https://shifthappensplay.eventbrite.co.uk

The games industry has the capacity to deliver rich, meaningful, creative and stimulating cultural experiences that can also contribute new tools for education and new avenues for economic prosperity. A diverse, inclusive and representative workforce will ensure that it achieves this with opportunities for all. However, the current landscape is very far from this ideal. To give this ambition any chance of success we will need the industry, academics, advocacy groups and educators to work together on a diverse range of tactics and strategies and to collaborate on initiatives that contribute to this transformation. Although the focus here is on the games industry these are challenges faced by many other science and technology based domains and successful approaches developed here would and should be applicable elsewhere. This panel will provide the platform for a meaningful debate between representatives from the games industry seeking to employ and address a more diverse community and representatives of advocacy groups or initiatives which seek to support the access of girls and young women.

Panel members include:
Holly Gramazio (Matheson Marcault), Marie-Claire Isaaman (CEO of Women in Games (WIGJ), Gina Jackson (Managing Director at the NextGen Skills Academy) and Dr. Chris Lowthorpe (co-author of ‘Punk Playthings: A Disruptive Approach to Making Games in the 21st Century’. Chair – Helen W. Kennedy.

refig-static-all

These events are inspired by the issues and aims that fuel ReFig. For more information about this five year international research collaboration, and its approaches to diversity and equity in the global games industry and games culture, please visit the website at http://www.refig.ca. There events are part of this year’s Arts & Humanities Research Festival at King’s College London – please see here for details: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/ahfest/2016/2016-Festival-Theme.aspx

Announcing the XX+ Games Jam

UPDATE: Thanks for all the interest and applications – we will be curating our list of participants for each venue and get back to you asap.

**************

Calling all women who like games – have you ever wanted to make one?  ReFIGuk are delighted to announce the xx+ games jam, 24 hours of fun and games design for women, transgender and non-binary people funded by ReFIG.  UK sites will be running in Brighton, Bristol, Leamington Spa & London.

XX+ Games Jam is an international jam, happening over 24 hours at 5 sites in the UK and 2 sites in Canada.  The Jams will be a relaxed affair, and people of all talents, professions and skill levels are welcome.  Any kind of game can be created, including digital, physical and paper – and teams will be formed to work around a theme – announced at the start of the jam on  Friday (but shh – keep it a secret until Canada starts too!)

No background in tech or previous programming experience is needed – we need artists, sound designers, organisers, writers – and enthusiasm to come up with cool game ideas!  People will be on hand to help out where you need.

Drinks, snacks and tech support will all be available – the venues will be open from 6-10pm on Friday and then til 6pm on Saturday. Some venues will allow for optional late night jamming.

~ there are 24 spaces in each location so apply now!

~ xx+ runs from 6pm Friday 14th October to 6pm Saturday 15th October 2016

~ application deadline is 4th October 2016 – we will let you know by asap after that date if you have been successful

nb this event is for over 18s only

There will be concurrent xx+ jams in Montreal & Toronto so you’ll be working alongside women in UK and Canada, expanding your networks and meeting other women who are changing the games industry one step at a time.

If you would be interested in supporting the xx+ jam in other ways – by being a volunteer mentor or tech support on the day then please get in touch: xxplusgamesjam2016@gmail.com

 

Locations: Bristol ~ pmstudio/watershed
Leamington Spa ~ Arch Creatives
London ~ Kings College
Brighton ~ The Skiff
Norwich – cancelled, sorry!

REFIG is full of women who believe that the games industry has the capacity to deliver rich, meaningful, creative and stimulating cultural experiences that can also contribute new tools for education and new avenues for economic prosperity.  A diverse, inclusive and representative workforce will ensure that it achieves this with opportunities for all.

 

Feet under the table

Us Grrrl Games have been supported by the loverly peeps at Bristol Games Hub, with space for meeting up and unfettered use of the kettle since we were a twinkle in our own eyes. GG now has a proper desk space on the top floor of the hub and I’m hoping to be there most days for at least a few hours so that I can focus on developing some of our GG ideas into actions  eg workshops, talks, events.

Grrrl Games is already in cahoots with various Women In Games talking about what we can do together, notably a Women Only Games Jam planned for Ada Lovelace week this autumn; check out XX Games Jam 2012  (btw the clockwork crocodile was my team) So hold the date: 13/14th October 2016. We are hoping for simultaneous jams in Bristol, Brighton, London, Ireland (not sure where), Montreal & Toronto. We are Everywhere!

There will also be a women’s meet up at Develop in Brighton so keep an ear out for that in July.

I’ve also been talking to women in VR, if anyone is interested in meeting up at all in Bristol.

I’ll stop now and tidy the desk a bit.

 

 

 

May 2016 meetup

Still not too late to sign up now for our May meetup for women wanting to make games, hosted at Bristol Games Hub – Ben Pitt aka @robotduck is teaching us how to set up Player or NPC animated characters in Unity. Here’s a sneak preview of the sort of thing we’ll be up to.

NPC AI

Don’t worry if you’ve never used Unity before – load the free version of the software on to your laptop from the Unity website – and bring yourself along to our meetup. It’s very laid back and great fun as we stumble along together learning how to make things work with Ben.

Tonight! First Tuesday April 2016

There’s never enough time to do AND document. Still need to write up last #FirstTuesday & it’s time for another one!

We have another practical session planned – suitable for beginners too – with the very patient and clever Ben Pitt from Unity. We are going to look at AI/navmesh and don’t worry if that sounds like gobbledigook, Ben is very good at explaining things. Last month we played around with particles and if I was on the pc laptop I would share a screenshot of my teddy bear that puffs out little rainbow cloudlets when you click on it. My excuse is I thought the grandchildren would find it highly amusing, I know I did.

So, head over to the Grrrl Games meetup and join us this evening. All you need to bring is a laptop with Unity installed. Crisps welcome too.

Blast from the past – XX Game Jam 2012

For some reasoning I’ve been thinking about what triggered our grrrl game activities and one of the definite sparks was a women-only XX Games Jam that ran in Autumn 2012 up at Mind Candy HQ in London (a very colourful space full of Moshi monsters). All those who went had a great 24 hours or so developing games with a bunch of women who mostly didn’t know each other beforehand. Jess & I went along wondering if we had any relevant skills to contribute and came home wanting to make games more than once in a blue moon (still working on that one!) and to encourage other women to have a go too. It kickstarted our cunning plan to develop software training, discussion sessions and taster workshops to build useful skills in preparation for another Grrrl Games Jam.

XX Games Jam was also where I created my Ada Lovelace icon that just reminds me of what a blast I had working with Terri & Kimmi, who I had never met before.

TickTockTerrorGameSmall

There’s this featurette on BBC Click online about the XX Game Jam. It was a big confidence booster for a lot of women in games, including yours truly. These reporters get the point and are generally positive about the idea of women making games, and how women-only jams are a good way to encourage us to take our first steps. Just one women-only games jam was enough to give me confidence to attend mixed jams too. There’s a nice video here about XX Game Jam that includes interviews with organisers and attendees, and it just reminds me why we want to organise another XX Games Jam!

 

Tonight – Bristol Girl Geek Dinner

This evening (Thursday 21st January 2016) Claire and Constance are off to talk all things Grrrl Games at the local chapter of Girl Geek Dinners. You can find out more about Bristol GGD here

https://i0.wp.com/photos2.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/b/4/6/4/highres_434026180.jpeg

The Bristol Girl Geeks meet monthly and describe themselves as “a social and networking group for women who are interested in science, technology, engineering and other geeky things. We held our first event in 2010 and meet up about once a month for a talk with an inspiring female speaker and some good food and drink, usually provided by a sponsor.”

Looking forward to making more connections and seeing who might be up for some Grrrl Games activities.