Remember that time I was interviewed on ABC’s Good Game : Spawn Point?

Almost a year ago to this day,  I was interviewed by Good Game : Spawn Point.  I felt honoured that they were interested in featuring some of my story.

A wee snippet from the life of an orphan child who was adopted by Australians and given a chance at a better life.  It sounds like a storybook but like any, it has been filled with hardship, turmoil, struggle, hope, success, failure, and love.  My life has never been a fairytale but I am still thankful for the chance I was given.

I’m really camera shy. I’ve always preferred being behind the camera instead of in front of it. Yet when this opportunity arose, I chose to do it, despite my fears.

Why you ask?
Simple. I wanted to help inspire young kids, especially young girls to create games. I wanted them to know it was a viable career choice.

The interview turned out okay. My mind went blank, my tongue got tied, but the crew behind the show managed to make the feature work despite that.

 

 

 

 


You can watch the interview on YouTube by following the link below.

Good Game Spawn Point Interview with Pranee McKinlay.

Pants First Then Shoes

 
  
I couldn’t take time off work to jam properly for the entire 48 hours at this year’s Global Game Jam 2016 so I decided to do a solo project. After all, if 48 hours is a tight deadline to make a game in a team, then what’s about 6 hours alone? Craziness I say but when did that ever stop me?

The theme this year was “RITUAL” so I decided to make a Twine game (or interactive story) about the rituals that a person can practice in their everyday actions to help them cope, or not cope, with depression in their daily life.  It’s meant to keep looping for various segments.  This is to imitate the feelings experienced from performing ritualistic acts, repetition, and spiralling frustration felt from sinking further into depression. 

People suffering from depression have their own stories, experiences, and ways of dealing with it. This is only one take on the matter.  I ran out of time to complete implementing other morning rituals, like personal grooming, exercising, playing with pets, etc… Such is life!

The story is pretty small and doesn’t take long to play. I didn’t get very far but if you’re interested, here’s the prototype and project file on the GGJ2015 site, as well as a link to an updated web browser version. I wouldn’t mind spending more time finishing and improving it sometime.

Considering my limited time frame, I think it ended up ok! 

Good Game : Women in Games Feature Story

Earlier this year I participated in a discussion around the topic of women in the games industry. It was a featured special on Good Game, an Australian TV show “for gamers, by gamers”.

I was honoured to be one of the speakers on it, alongside many wonderful, hard working and talented games industry folk.  My appearance is brief but I am glad that I was able to contribute some of my thoughts to such an important issue.

The topic is quite a controversial one.  Many people still believe that women aren’t interested in playing or making games.  They also believe that if they do play games, they are only the casual, point and click type.  These beliefs constantly make me want to bang my head on my desk.  Yes, it’s true, some women aren’t interested in games but, surprise, surprise, dare I say it?  Some men are also not interested but that is rarely pointed out or discussed.

Having grown up playing games since the early 80’s, I’ve been playing them all my life.   Believe me, I am not a Unicorn!  There are many women out there just like me.

I studied Game Development at RMIT University in Melbourne, graduating in 2011 with a distinction.  Almost half the students in my year were women so please, don’t tell me they just aren’t interested in making games.

There are many wonderful and talented female game developers and aspiring developers out there.  I am lucky to know many of them personally.  Often, women are discouraged for various reasons and those reasons are not because they aren’t interested.   They are more to do with environment and deeply ingrained societal factors.

I personally believe that it’s important to have more women in the games industry because they bring diverse voices from their experiences into the medium.  I think that with an increase in diversity and personal stories, we can nurture a greater understanding and empathy for others. We need this more than anything in today’s world.

Watch the Women in Games feature here.

Global Game Jam 2015 : No longer a Jamming Nooob!

Once again I participated in The Global Game Jam.  It’s my 3rd one and once again, it was lots of fun.

This year I made a game with Paul Baker and Murray Lorden for the Global Game Jam.  The topic was “What do we do now?”  and we made  a 2-3 player co-operative game.  Players control a single ship in a retro-inspired world.  Your space team needs to co-operate to avoid asteroids and save the Space Chickens from a fiery death.  You can play it online here.

My main role was Art Director and Artist.  I used Hexels for the first time ever and loved the aesthetic result.

This year I was also in the local Melbourne Organising Committee where I worked with volunteers and committee members and organised the Volunteer Schedule for the Melbourne event.  I helped set up the event before the Jam started and not only did I get to make a game, I also had a great feeling of satisfaction from helping to make such a great event run smoothly.

Global Game Jam 2013 : My first ever global game jam

Back in January 2013, I participated in my first ever Global Game Jam Event.

It’s a world wide event.  Game Developers from around the world get together to make a game in less than 48 hours.

Venues are pre-arranged by Regional Organisers and people either work independently or form teams.  Every year, participants are given an inspirational sound, word, phrase or image, that they must build their game around.  There is also a list of voluntary diversifiers to give more of a design challenge to participants.

The team I was in were all first time jammers.  The goal we gave ourselves was to create a small, slick, bug-free and complete game.  We all feel like we achieved this goal.

The topic we were given was the sound of a heartbeat.  After brainstorming for a few hours, we decided to make a small arcade game called Sonar Pulse.  You can play it online here or watch our gameplay preview here or on youtube.


Sonar Pulse is a casual arcade shooter which merges strategy with timing to create a new level of finger-biting action.  In it, you protect your territory by using your sonar pulse to intercept and destroy all submarines.

 
My main role on this project was the game’s Art Director and Artist.  A mixture of 2D and 3D art assets were created to achieve the look we were going for.  Studio Bento, the guys behind the amazing documentary, GameLoading : Rise of the Indies even made a video about the Jam and our team was lucky enough to be featured on it.

 
Team members included:
Tom Harris
Nick London
Murray Lorden
Pranee McKinlay
 

I helped out as a volunteer, doing a bit of layout & formatting work, offering support, and also putting together name tags.  It was a fun experience which I would gladly do again!

 

“Spaced Invaders :Von Thundersvolt” Game Development WIP Demo

Von Thundersvolt Vehicle
© 2012 Joanne Pranee McKinlay
© 2012 Pranee McKinlay
© 2012 Creatorbot
All rights Reserved

Playing Character Vehicle inspired by Mad Max’s Road Warrior but unintentionally also looks a bit Moon Patrol influenced (as a friend recently pointed out).

Sorry I’ve been a bit slack with my updates but I’ve been working on other stuff so only just recently picked up this project again.

Have a look at the Development Progress of the Game I’m currently building for Von Thundersvolt. It’s a long way from finished (always takes longer than you think!).

So far, here’s how it looks…

It’s another Development Demo to keep you all posted on the “Spaced Invaders :Von Thundersvolt” Game being produced for New Zealand Band, Von Thundersvolt. A Space Invaders / Moon Patrol inspired game which uses the Unity 3D Engine. There’s still a long way to go and I’m still gradually adding various elements, troubleshooting bugs. (Yes, I know there are problems!)

You know, all that jazz!

http://youtu.be/30OfdexEJNo

Creative Commons License
This work by Pranee McKinlay is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Something to think about…

I feel that this link states a lot of important things related to how we should respond to the bullying that occurs with online gaming. I’ll just put this here & hope that you all read it & reflect upon the words.

http://www.designersnotebook.com/Columns/115_A_Call_to_Arms/115_a_call_to_arms.htm

Prototyping Demo: Progress Report – 21st June 2012

If you’ve read any of my earlier posts, you know that I’m trying to make a game in 2 weeks. It’s part of the Nagademo online event. Actually, it was supposed to be a month but I started with a more complex concept, had no spare time and had to scale down and change my plans.

I’ve been a bit unwell for the past couple of weeks. Good old winter! I just wasn’t made for the cold. In saying that, what warmer place could I live, if not New Zealand? Known for it’s stunning landscapes and skiing destinations.

I thought I’d post a small work in progress update which shows the initial prototype development of the “Space Invaders” inspired game. Last night was a friend’s birthday so my glorious hangover is making me feel a wee bit sorry for myself. It’s also not helping my already somewhat limited programming abilities.

As mentioned in my earlier posts, the game aims to be a simple, 8 BIT (ish), retro inspired game to promote New Zealand Band, Von Thundersvolt. It’s a bit of fun creative release for me.

I’ve added a small demo of the prototype I’ve developed using the Unity Engine. It’s a rough demo, so if you are expecting any hollywood style wizardry, you’re probably looking in the wrong place. The background music playing is actually Cut Chemist (my stereo was on), not Von Thundersvolt.

The assets are prototype only and will be replaced and developed. This video is displaying some of the basic functionality that I have already put in place using JavaScript. I can do some basic programming but it’s never been a strong skill of mine. Creating this game alone is an interesting challenge that I have given myself. It’s quite exciting when your code actually works (instead of exploding like a cream pie in your face). I’ve been thinking of trying a Visual Scripting Editor plugin but am unsure whether I’d just end up spending too much time learning it.

Prototype: Development Progress 21st July 2012

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the core game elements. Chatting to the band last night, there was a request for a Mad Max inspired vehicle… so that’s my design aim for the player… but with a more futuristic twist. Originally I was thinking of having the band members on top of a floating vehicle. However, I think that cutting down the number of animated assets needed is a good thing considering the tight deadline.

It’s an organic process. An exercise in Agile Game Design where my main aim is to keep it simple, keep it fun!

Creative Commons License
This work by Pranee McKinlay is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Von Thundersvolt: gigs & radio shows

More about the musicians that I am making a game for…

If you’ve had a listen to some of Von Thundersvolt’s awesome tunes that I linked on my earlier post and liked what you heard, then listen to them on  Introducing Radio NZ National on Saturday 16 June 2012

With the song TF Bundy from the album Demo. http://vonthundersvoltzzz.bandcamp.com/ 16 June 2012

http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/remote-player?id=2522122

They are also doing a gig at Mighty Mighty in Wellington tomorrow night so come along if you’re free & in town:

https://www.facebook.com/events/434262426598579/

Nagademo – Halfway Point: A change of Plans…

So I now find myself at the half way point …

of the Nagademo 2012 event.  Due to lack of time (work) and me being unwell, I haven’t done anywhere as much work as I would have liked on my Whirly Whirly Game Concept.  I have decided to re-assess my situation and am now changing the nature of my project.

I really like my concept for Whirly Whirly and feel that I can not give it the time or justice that it deserves so am shelving it for a later date.

The new project is a collaboration with local New Zealand Musicians, Von Thundersvolt.  We spoke a few months ago, while sloshed at a party, about creating a retro inspired game to promote their band.  They wanted a tribute to Space Invaders, but with lightning bolts!

Official Cover Art from the recently released Von Thundersvolt Demo, available for free on the link below.

Official Cover Art from the recently released Von Thundersvolt Demo, available for free on the link below.

Details are still being worked out but in summary:

  • A free to play casual game available on a web based browser and also as a stand alone download for Pc & Mac.
  • 2D Space Shooter inspired by classic 80’s games such as Space Invaders and Galaga.
  • Built with the Unity 3D Engine.
  • Playing Character is a simplified representation of the band, Von Thundersvolt, aboard a floating vehicle.
  • Enemies are Corporate Tycoons who are trying to suck away the band’s creativity & convert it into cold hard cash.
  • Possible “Bosses” for end levels include:
    •  Event Managers who throw sexy  women, booze & drugs at them to distract & destroy them.
    • Reporters hitting them with reports of public scandals
    • Crappy Boy bands, etc…

 

  • The band defend themselves by destroying the enemy with lightning bolts.
  • Game incorporates the band’s music & hopefully, a lot of cheesy humour for the player’s enjoyment.
  • more details to come…
I’ve started working on a basic prototype today so will keep you posted on the game’s progress so stay tuned.  My apologies for not posting an update sooner.

For more information about the musicians I am collaborating with to create this game…

https://www.facebook.com/VonThundersvolt

for a free download of some of their awesome songs:

http://vonthundersvoltzzz.bandcamp.com/track/beyond-space

http://vonthundersvoltzzz.bandcamp.com/album/demo

© 2012 Joanne Pranee McKinlay

© 2012 Von Thundersvolt

Creative Commons License
This work by Pranee McKinlay is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.