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.

Advertisements

“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.

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.

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.

Movie Review: Indie Game The Movie

Here’s a review for “Indie Game The Movie”. A Canadian Documentary which I look forward to seeing myself. Keep an eye out for it if you are interested in stories about people and their struggles and success in making artistic & creative projects.

http://blogs.crikey.com.au/game-on/2012/06/08/movie-review-indie-game-the-movie/

Sneak Preview : Unreal 4 – Epic’s new Realtime Engine

Get your first look at a real time in-engine tech demo of Unreal 4 in this GT.TV walkthrough with Epic’s Sr. Technical Artist Alan Willard!

Day 2 – 5 : – Nagademo Project

So, it looks like my prediction about having no time to really make a game with my current work commitments was spot on! Getting up way to early to go to work and coming home way too late… Hopefully I’ll be able to do a bit more on this on the upcoming weekend.

Due to time restraints, I’ve decided to skip a few design processes and just go a bit “Guerilla Style” in my Game Development. Heavily leaning towards an Agile Design Process so instead of lots of Design Docs & Concept Art, my next step will be Rapid Prototyping in Unity to try to get my core game mechanics to work.

Next update, Day 7 so stay tuned!

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

Day 1 – Nagademo Project

Well hello there!

Today is my day one on the nagademo 2012 international online game jam.

My first step was to create a developer blog to record my progress and voila! Looks like you found it!

Next up is me fleshing out my initial game design for my registered entry. This is a solo project, unless I drag a few other people in later to help. Looks like I have a lot of work ahead of me and considering I have to go into work this weekend to finish a deadline, hopefully I can find the time needed to create, develop and polish my game. To summarize my game design treatment:

Project: Whirly Whirly

You know those little wind gusts, mini tornados, like the one in the movie, American Beauty where the plastic bag performs a beautiful dance? Think about that as you read on…

1.) Game Brief: Ideally I am attempting to make a casual 2.5D side-scrolling platformer. I say 2.5D because even though my camera will be locked into a 2D view, there will be 3D elements (models) in it to give it depth. Whirly Whirly is inspired by games like Flowers, Katamari and Canabalt. Backgrounds (hopefully) will be procedurally generated & game objects randomly spawned to add replay value for the player. Music is important for the feeling that I want to convey but not being a musician myself, I am open to offers from others to create this.

2.) World: I hope to create a few different levels for the player. This may include an Urban Street Scene, Open Field Level, Deserted Country Town and Beach Scene. Aesthetically, the world is simple yet stunning with a graphic design style.

3.) Playing Character (PC) : A gust of wind or as a friend calls it, a “Whirly Whirly”.

4.) Gameplay & Mechanics: The PC is continually in motion, moving from left to right on the screen. They can freely move up or down on the screen to avoid obstacles which slow them down or make them lose special bonuses that they may have collected. Items can be picked up and incorporated into the PC and these affect them in various ways. There is no win or lose situation as it is more about feeling and movement.

5.) Game Items: To be confirmed but include things like plastic or paper bags, empty wrappers, leaves, flowers, tumbleweeds, sand, dust, etc… you get the idea!

6.) Game Engine: Unity 3D Engine

I’d like to say a special thank-you to the folk at Unity for giving entrants access to a Unity Pro License until July 15th 2012 so that we can create our games. You guys rock!

7.) Release Platform: Free to Play on a Web Browser and also available as a stand alone download for PC and Mac users.

© 2011 Joanne Pranee McKinlay

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

Nagademo Game Jam (June 2012)

Ok, I am not really a Blogger, I kind of hate it and it’s not really my thing.

In saying that however, I’m participating in the June is make a game in a month Game Jam at:

http://www.nagademo.com/

and I need a developer’s blog to show my progress so here goes nothing! My first Blog!

Due to current work commitments, I don’t really have any spare time to make a game but am using this as an excuse to at least start one of the ideas that’s been kicking around in my head for a while now. I am also more of an Designer and Artist and will be doing the programming (not a strength of mine) for my game entry myself so forgive me if I don’t end up with much at the end of the month!

This is all in the interest of fun for me so, as Jeanette Winterson wrote, “you play you win, you play you lose, it’s the playing that counts”.

 

 

 

© 2011 Joanne Pranee McKinlay

Hello world!

The aim of this blog is to keep all you interested cats informed about the development of any game projects that I am working on.

It is a developer blog so will show a lot of work in progress. It is also my first foray into the world of blogging, something I usually steer clear from.

This is all in the interest of fun for me so, as Jeanette Winterson wrote, “you play you win, you play you lose, it’s the playing that counts”.