Notes from Sept 2018 First Tuesday

Lots of lovely feedback on Pride Jam from Eriol – sounds like it went really well and introduced a lot of new people to the joys of gamesjams.

Viki showed us some AR she is working on that runs on her mobile , created using Apple ARKit (similar to but better than google ARcore)- it recognises the Unity logo and pops up a picture frame on screen with a video running behind it, hanging in the space. Fab stuff. Vanessa has been playing around with Facebook AR Studioand found it really simple to get started, so recommends having a go and watching the online tutorials.

The XR Alliance has a call out for scripts and ideas for storytelling competition for XR content. The site has lots of guidance on how to format a vr script and what to upload if you want to apply. Deadline is Sept 30th. http://www.thexralliance.com/

DATES FOR YOUR DIARIES:

Sept 11/12th Women in Games conference in London, big focus on esports. Sign up to support WIGJ on Patreon and get a free conference ticket https://www.patreon.com/wigj

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Sept 14th We’ve been invited to Made In Dagenham Screening – Feminist arts and activism fair! in Gloucester Guildhall, Vanessa going to take up some of the Suffragette game ideas and show them what we get up to in Bristol.  https://www.facebook.com/events/427426954445071/

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Brilliant videogames exhibtion has opened at the V&A if you want a trip to London. Check out the talks and events that are on, and the exhibition guide which is rather lush. https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/videogames#objects

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Simpleweb Challenge Hacknight: Appetite for Distraction

Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018, 6:00 PM

Simpleweb HQ
Ferodo House Bristol , GB

60 hackers Attending

Let’s face it, we all have an Appetite for Distraction (that’s a bad Guns ‘n’ Roses pun there btw). Productivity ebbs and flows but, both in and out of work, we’re regularly blinded by the world around us. Be that technology, social media, noise pollution or our own whirring minds. Of course, this is sometimes a wonderful thing. But, increasingly, …

Check out this Meetup →

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25th-30th Sept Viki has some vr showing  at Encounters: https://encounters-festival.org.uk/programme/

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Sept 27th FuseJam is back! Come and make all sorts of games from board to digital. Fuse Jam is organised by @Claire Morley, @Alex Birke, and @Eriol Fox It runs from 6pm on Friday to 6pm on Sunday on the last weekend in September, with some optional thursday mini talks on the 27th to help get everyone jam ready.  There’s also a Chiptune Gig when the jam is over on Sunday  evening. Sign up here : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fuse-jam-2-sounds-of-the-emocean-tickets-49592266805

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Oct 6th Bristol Comic Zine Fest at The Station, Silver St. 12-5.30pm

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Nov 7th Marking the Space: Immersion and Audiences symposium at Bath Spa University https://www.bathspa.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/marking-the-space-symposium/

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Bitsy time

Tonight at First Tuesday Claire Morley gave a great introduction to the joys of Bitsy Game Maker software and how to get started making games with it. We followed along on our laptops as she patiently answered all our questions. I can see why Claire likes Bitsy – it’s a lovely way to play with making games and the simplicity of the software means it gets you thinking really creatively about how to build the game you want.

Bitsy is free to play with – go to the Bitsy site and have a go at building something, then go on itch.io and search for Bitsy games – there’s some stunning ones out there. Claire showed us Mark Wonnacott’s The Last Days of Our Castle which is really impressive. It is a brilliant example of how you can make something rather beautiful even within the limitations of 8×8 & 16×16 grids that Bitsy offers to build avatars and “rooms” (playing canvas).

Claire’s Bitsy tutorial HERE is a great starting point if you want to have a go. She suggested following @AdamLeDoux’s twitter feed to find inspiring games and get involved in his monthly Bitsy jams. Claire also talked us through variables and found this really useful TUTORIAL on how to use them to make more complex games.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s Bitsy ideas at the next Grrrlgames First Tuesday on 7th August. Get making, get playing!

nb Thanks again to Bristol Games Hub for the meeting space – check out the opportunities and meetups there by signing up to their newsletter.

Summer News & Suffragette Landmarks

Hi

Just a little reminder that we have our long-awaited Bitsy session with the very talented Claire Morley tomorrow so sign up! HERE

Other news, the Suffragette Landmarks project funded by Bristol Women’s Voice is finally going ahead in a couple of weeks time, kicking off with a session at The Station on Tuesday 10th July, 10am-2pm. This is to introduce the stories about Bristol Suffragettes with historian Madge Dresser, map out where they happened and begin to think about how we can use those to inspire some games. If you want to come then email constance@grrrlgames.org

The making workshops with young women and girls aged 13-18 will start on 16th July and will be Mondays in Knowle West Media Centre, Tuesdays at Docklands Youth Centre in St Pauls and Wednesdays at The Vench in Lockleaze. All the sessions will be 10am-3pm and have space for a dozen young participants. Get in touch if you know any 13-18 year old grrrls – they don’t need any experience or computer skills at all, just an interest in making stuff up. There’s a flyer/poster you can share HERE

Come & Talk about your work!

And also let me know if you are up for coming to talk to any/all of the groups about your work in the games industry. The four weeks of workshops end on the 8th August so tell me sooner rather than later – it doesn’t matter how established you are, just come and show them what you do and have made. I am drawing up a timetable of who can come in when, and can offer travel expenses/tiny stipend if you can talk to the groups and inspire them with ideas of future careers.

There will be more Suffragette Landmarks activities in September/October, with a website launch and exhibition of the games and ideas at The Station and a couple of public talks in Bristol. It would also be great to find a way of keeping the work going after the funding has ended, maybe a monthly meetup for all the groups together, somewhere central? I’m working on it, ideas & offers welcome.

GrrrlGames is still on for August too – we aren’t taking a break this year so the 7th is the date for your diaries. We don’t have a named speaker yet – so this is a chance for you to talk about and test out your personal games projects and get supportive feedback. Let me know if you want to book a slot ~ constance@grrrlgames.org

Suffragette Landmarks

Hello all, with my Grrrl Games hat on I am running the Suffragette Landmark Games project for Bristol Women’s Voice this summer. It’s a series of jam-style workshops bringing young women aged 13-18 together to have a go at making games inspired by suffragette stories in Bristol (UK)

I am looking for women in games who are up for coming to Bristol to talk games/careers with participants.

First workshop is 10th July, others will run Mon/Tues/Weds from 16th July til 8th August.

Let me know if you would like to support the project in any way – you can always email me on info@prettydigital.co.uk

cheers!

Constance

nb There will be some public talks and exhibitions in October/November that will be open to all to come along and marvel at the games. Am also on the look out for freebies and stuff, from stickers to tshirts to offers of feeback and mentoring from games developers when the games are nearer to being finished. All offers and suggestions welcome.

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We Sing In Fire and Blood

Our First Tuesday in June was a vr-focused session for Grrrl Games, so we invited artist and writer Hazel Grian to come and talk to us about We Sing In Fire and Blood, her VR choral piece. It’s a moving piece of work about how we come together as communities after traumatic events, and is inspired by Hazel’s story of surviving a life-changing event. It was interesting to hear her process of developing the project, building on past experience of creating work and realising that past projects had been too ephemeral – she wanted to create something that would last longer, after all the creative effort that goes into experiments using new technology.

Hazel went through a long process of writing and rewriting funding applications, sticking to her sense of purpose about wanting to tell her story in her own way. After several months We Sing In Fire and Blood was funded by Arts Council England and Watershed, and she was able to assemble a team of talented composers/musicians (Duncan Speakman & Sarah Anderson) and VR people (All Seeing Eye) to bring her ideas to life. She showed photos of the design process – using TIlt Brush to sketch out the piece in vr, and the filming of actors in green screen, and her design for how the audience views the piece, as if they are sat around a communal fire.

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The current version of We Sing In Fire and Blood is a 12 minute VR experience. It is moving and inspiring, and definitely worth the experience if you come across it at a film/vr festival – hopefully it will be heading out into the wider world this year. Hazel is currently seeking more funding to develop the work into a longer operatic piece – she played a snippet of one of the bits of music and that on its own was pretty stunning.  Bristol based people may be able to try We Sing In Fire and Blood if they get in touch with the PMStudio. She is heading to Sheffield Doc Fest next week and we wish her well.

Hazel is a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio – read more here – and we want to say thanks to them for hosting our meetup this month!

April Foolishness

We held First Tuesday on the Second Tuesday this month; not to confuse everyone but because Easter meant there was a bank holiday at the beginning of the month and we try and avoid bank holidays.

So there were a couple of new faces, which is always nice, and we went round for a catch up to see who is up to what then came up with a list of possible workshops we’d like this year ~ I am on the case…

Our skillsets covered photography, filmaking, manga, games writing, software development, 3D & 2D art, so between us we could create a game or two! One thing that came out of the conversation was that a lot of us are trying to teach ourselves Unity and it would be good to have a focused working group to suport each other. It is always a bit of a problem finding a time to suit everyone, but Saturday daytimes seemed like a popular idea for occasional workshops. Watch this space for a Unity workshop on 2D games for beginners, which will include a troubleshooting session for those of us who are a bit stuck on our projects. It’d be great to see all our Fuse Jam & Spring Jam games polished and published.

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Background artwork by AJ Murdoch for Kissy Kissy Game at FuseJam

Plans

Our next First Tuesday is May 1st and we have Ben Pitt from Unity coming to talk through using GitHub & Unity Collaborate. Sign up on our meetup here

June 5th ~ we’ll be back at the VR lab. Hazel Grian is presenting her VR Opera project, and we will also get a chance to test out some more VR games.

July 3rd ~ Claire Morley introduces us to making games with Bitsy. She’s written a tutorial HERE if you want to swot up first. Bring a laptop if you can!

Workshop ideas

So from everyone’s interests came up with list of workshops for an evening (E) or weekend daytime (W)

nb If anyone wants to get together on Tuesday mornings to work alongside me on their games in a cosy cafe somewhere then get in touch.

MeVRopposable
Jess’s photo of Constance looking really intelligent

News

We also talked about what other game-related events are on locally and further afield, and I am making a note of them here to try and remember to follow up with reports back from people who go to them, myself included, and also to keep an eye on deadlines to sign up as volunteers for events, or submit games to showcases eg Big Indie Pitch at Develop

  • The Bristol VR lab has regular lunchtime talks – this week it was on AR and had a line-up of three talks
  • EGX Rezzed London 13-15th April
  • UKIE event at Games Hub 19th April
  • Unity Developers Meetup 25th April
  • gameshub antisocial 26th April
  • Gameshub pitching event 23rd May
  • Feral Vector, Hebden Bridge May 41st – June 2nd
  • Develop/Big Indie Pitch Brighton 10-13th July
  • EGX Birmingham 20-23rd Sept – need to keep an eye out for when they are taking leftfield submissions

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Grrrl Games Spring Jam

Spring time; bouncing lambs, daffodils, sunshine and the perfect time to smash the patriarchy. Whilst our Spring Jam lacked lambs, we did have a room full of women (trans-inclusive) making games in less than 24 hours.

Supported by UWE Bristol’s Computer Science Creative Technologies department and held at the new steampunk-esque Foundry space – we welcomed absolute beginners and games-curious to come along and have a go at designing and making a game in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

Tend + Befriend

Our theme was inspired by Brie Code’s keynote at last years European Women in Games conference. She spoke about our responses to stress, referencing research that says rather than ‘fight or flight’, most women (and many men) instead respond with ‘tend and befriend’: “Like much other research, most stress research had been done with men and male animals. Prior to 1995, only 17% of stress research had been done with women.” – you can read more about this from Brie here.

 

Food!

We were also lucky enough to get sponsored by BJSS Bristol – we struck a good balance between healthy snacks and yummy yummy pizza.

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A crèche!

When we said we wanted a creche, Jane Berry (acting head of UWE’s Computer Science Creative Technologies department) made it happen! Ideally we’d like to run every jam we ever do with a creche, to widen participation as much as possible. If you are reading this and it’s something your company would like to fund, get in touch.

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And of course… Games!

Grrrl Games Jam: What happened

Back at the start of July we held a 1-day Grrrl Games mini jam at the Bristol Games Hub. Focusing on the theme ‘What game would you like to have played when you were 9?’, three teams of women* who had never worked together before, made three games.

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We used a great resource list that’s been put together by Ciro Continisio (GGJ Rome), which includes a ton of generally free tools for games jammers.

So, the games… Considering our teams had just ONE DAY, they created some amazing things – some of which they’re hoping to continue developing!

Clare, Nat & Lauren decided to focus their game on environmental change, using the domes at the Eden Project as inspiration. Wanting lots of exploration and interaction, the player would walk around inside a big sphere with mini-puzzles contained inside. 

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Nat learnt how to use Audacity during the jam and created some awesome music to be used in the game by mashing together fine different tracks. Lauren took charge of the 3D models and Clare built the scenes in Unity.

Anne and Claire got impressively far with their game Tebahpla! – a platformer word maker crossover. Anne coded it using a phaser.js framework, which she’d just started to learn earlier in the week and Claire made some nice pixel art in Piskel.

You can even try out their playable demo on Anne’s website.

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Last, but by no means least, AJ and Gicela made Teeth Rex, which definitely won the award for most impressive title screen.

Centered around a dinosaur who can’t brush his teeth (cause t rex’s arms are too short – GENIUS), Gicela used Game Salad for the first time to start making the game and AJ took charge of 2D pixel art (see more examples of her work here).

 


It was a great day, with some really good outcomes. We hope to run another one in the autumn and are always looking for people or orgs to help support these kind of activities!

At the moment Bristol Games Hub generously let us use their space, but we’d love more options for bigger jams. Other things we need are people and money… Anyone who is able to be on hand to provide to tech support or if you know of any funds to make our events better, please get in touch!

 

*When organising and running Grrrl Games activities, we define ‘women’ as female, transgender and non-binary people who identify as female.

Workshop with Ben Pitt on TextMesh, Ink & Unity – Sign up now!

This Saturday we’re running a free workshop at the Games Hub in Stokes Croft. From 1-4pm, Ben Pitt has kindly offered to take us through some fun things you can do in Unity with text.

You can sign up for free on our Meetup page, but space is limited so please make sure you turn up!

1-2pm TextMesh in Unity
Come with a laptop that has Unity installed. We’ll be looking at how to make text look nice in Unity.

2-4pm Incorporating Ink into Unity. 

For the second part of the session  we will be having a go at taking narrative text adventures built with Ink/Inky (nb that’s your prep pre-workshop) and integrating into Unity.

Inky is the editing tool to write Ink with: http://www.inklestudios.com/ink/

Download Inky first so you can have a play with it before Saturday and prepare something to work with – there are probably samples online but get that sorted before saturday so we don’t all try and download things on the day.

nb I can make myself available on Friday afternoon if anyone wants to have a pre-workshop meetup to do the Ink side of things – I am not at all expert but will be stumbling through it too!

Head over to our Grrrl Games meetup page to sign up for free – space is limited!

Any questions, email Constance via constance@grrrlgames.org

Come to our 1 day Grrrl Games Jam!

What game would you like to have played when you were 9?

Come and make it in ONE DAY at our Grrrl Games Jam in Bristol! We are inviting women, transgender and non-binary people who identify as female to come and make a game for your 9-year-old self.

No background in tech or previous programming experience is needed – we need artists, sound designers, organisers, writers – and of course enthusiasm!  People will be on hand to help out where you need it.

We advise you to bring a brownbag lunch to the jam on Saturday. A small suggested donation of £3 will cover snacks and refreshments, with any money leftover going towards future events!

The event will kick off on Saturday at 10am, although we encourage people to arrive from 9.30am to get settled in the space and meet your fellow jammers. It will finish at 6pm.

Find out more and sign up >>