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On Gender and Game Development


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What Do We Do Now and 1GAM

What Do We Do Now? is a short puzzle game made in 48 hours for the 2015 Global Game Jam. It also happens to occupy the January slot of my new “One Game a Month” experiment (more on that below). I very much enjoyed working on WDWDN and so far I’ve been getting positive and useful feedback from a wide range of players.

 

You can play What Do We Do Now? via this link and if you’d like to leave feedback please do so in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

 

So What’s Next?
One Game a MonthWhile I intend to explore a deeper and longer version of What Do We Do Now?, my current  focus right is rapid prototyping. Making a game is a big time commitment and so choosing the right project is paramount. Producing many tiny prototypes (like this one) before you saddle yourself with an 18 month workload  is a great way to suss out the best concept to pursue.

 

To that end, I’ve decided to take part in Christer Kaitila’s website, onegameamonth.com (1GAM) , which is exactly what it sounds like… a challenge to create one game each month. But more than a challenge, it’s a framework and a community that supports your doing so.

 

1GAM helps game developers to stay on track by dangling XP and achievements in front of them. It’s a well known fact that people like to-do lists and progress bars, so in that regard the site works as a motivational tool. Though while that’s all well and good from a Pavlovian perspective, what I appreciate more about 1GAM is the group mentality the site cultivates. There’s this “we’re all in it together” feeling you get from participating in 1GAM and that, for me, is far more valuable than collecting badges or marching an XP progress bar across the screen (which I’ll admit are also both things that have a marked affect on me as well… *blush*).

 

The site encourages you to share you work with peers, to comment on and support each others’ efforts, to take risks, to embrace imperfection for the sake of discovery and to level up via XP (which is really a proxy for the inevitable personal growth that happens when you keep up with the challenge). One Game a Month is a safe place for veterans and first-timers alike to grow individually and as a community, side by side. Strength in numbers, right? (10k+ strong as of this writing) And to top off this hug-fest, the whole experience is wrapped in a wonderfully positive vibe that, frankly, this industry and the world at large needs a lot more of.

 

Whether you’re new to game development or a veteran of multiple decades, I urge you to give One Game a Month a look. It’s definitely one of my new favorite corners of the web.

 

On and if you’re still reading, please check out What Do We Do Now? as well.

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What Do We Do Now – A Global Game Jam 2015 Postmortem

I’ve resolved to create more in 2015, which is a decidedly unoriginal resolution. Irony.

Nevertheless, to kick the year off I decided to participate in the 2015 Global Gam Jam, my first jam in quite some time. What follows is some things I either learned, was reminded of or simply found myself thinking about as a result of GGJ2015.

  • I’m not well suited for game jams, I have polish demons. (that’s a lowercase “p”… the ancestry of my demons is unclear)
  • I need to work harder at rapid prototyping. Games don’t need to be polished to reveal their worth. Not everything has to be perfect.
  • I chose too many mechanics for a 48 hour timeframe. A single puzzle mechanic would have been fine. I chose a series of unrelated puzzles and that was a mistake. I ended up cutting one (see title image) and still took longer than the allotted time.
  • I love to draw.
  • I love visual design, particularly the simple and honest aesthetics.
  • I love puzzles, in all forms. It’s a genre I’ve always gravitated towards as a player and should probably focus more on this as a creator. I suspect my best work will come out of a genre I’m passionate about.
  • I enjoy constraints.
  • I have ideas for a wide variety of game jams with unusual (and hopefully interesting) constraints. More on this later.
  • 2015 is off to a great start.

You can play “What Do We Do Now? here. It’s a Flash game, sorry mobile folks.

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On Playtesting

It may not be the easiest thing to endure, but it might be the most important.


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On Prototypes vs. Shipped Games

Don’t let your proto graveyard scare you. Its value cannot be measured in the present.

Whether it’s reusable code, lessons learned or simply having stumbled upon an unexpected idea the value is there. Musicians don’t sit down and write masterpieces start to finish, all screenplays have rewrites and every book has an editor. Games are no different. A discarded prototype may not reveal its worth to you as it’s going into the garbage bin, but that doesn’t mean it was without value.


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