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.

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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

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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First Tuesday

Kicking off on Tuesday April 7th and kindly hosted by Bristol Games Hub, First Tuesday is Grrrl Games regular meet-up evening in Bristol, an informal get-together for women interested in games to talk about what we are making, what we want to make and maybe even make something. We’ll meet at 6 for 6.30 ’til 8pm and then quite probably move along elsewhere for food/drinks.

We don’t have sponsorship for drinks/snacks so feel free to bring something along if you want more than instant coffee.

Sign up through our Meetup page!