Lift Off 2019: Closing Ceremony Forum

The final day of Lift Off, opened with a forum between panelists Muse en Lystrala, Becky Arcovitch, and Jarell Pryor (with Frederika Edgington-Giordano as moderator) answering questions about how to get into the video game industry. The panelists focused on various perspectives of game making, from getting into professional studios, to starting independent studios. Topics covered includes where to learn more about game making, how to put together a creative portfolio, transitioning from one profession to another, and balancing one’s schedule while making games.

After the panel, everyone presented their final project. The six projects were (note: all titles are tentative):

  • Bip
    An artistic, 2D exploration game about slowly uncovering what the world looks like. Created in Construct 3.
  • Youth Gaming League
    A gamified task list teaching children and young teens how to improve the conditions of their local community, and hopefully themselves.
  • Go Robo Now
    A tabletop role-playing game set in the Go Robo Now universe. Explore the alternate universe of modern-day New York City, fighting monsters à la Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Plunge
    A metaphorical text-based adventure using a sci-fi universe to depict problems about poverty and systematic oppression. Created in Twine.
  • The Earth Present
    An environmentalist 2D platformer about restoring nature. Created in Unity.
  • Odyssey RPG
    An open-world RPG, similar to Skyrim. Created in Unity.

The event concluded with a celebration where each mentor congratulated their mentee with a certificate. Well done, everyone!

Lift Off 2019: Stress Management & Impostor Syndrome

3D Game Artist Kolel Pryor provides tips and tricks on how to manage stress while working in the game industry, and in the creative industry as a whole. In particular, he brings up the impostor syndrome, or the feeling that one’s accomplishments as just lucky flukes. He covers how to avoid overworking, finding motivation to work, and retaining your confidence in a field full of talented people.

After the presentation, the mentors covered what is expected for the Closing Ceremony, and what to prepare.

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Lift Off 2019: Quality Assurance

Quality Engineer Frederika Edgington-Giordano gives a rundown of what the job of a Quality Assurance (QA) in the games and software industry is like. A somewhat lesser-known field, QAs tests and confirms whether the game/software in development is up to the quality standard customers expect from said product. Frederika described what sort of people are desired in said profession, and provides some advice on being hired as one.

After the presentation, each participant reviewed with their mentor any feedback they’ve received from playtesting, and what changes they can make to tackle any problems brought up.

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Lift Off 2019: Diversity and Representation

Freelance e-sports journalist and diversity advocate, Amanda Stevens, provides an in-depth workshop on why diversity and representation is important in the media that we create. In addition, they provided some strategies on adding more representation in media, including uses of writing, music, characters, etc.

After the presentation, each participant reviewed with their mentor how their first playable went, and discussed what improvements can be made to it.

Resources:

  • None!

Lift Off 2019: You Belong in Tech

STEAM advocate, Milena Gonzalez provides a thorough presentation on why participants at the TVGS’ Lift Off Diversity Incubator belongs in tech. She lists the benefits of working in the tech industry and the positions available, but also indicated the negatives that the industry suffers from. Diversity can solve these problems, she argues, making a better world for everyone.

After the presentation, everyone split up to review their game design document and project schedule. They were tasked to make their first playable for next week.

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Lift Off 2019: Project Management

TVGS’ Lift Off Diversity Incubator continues with a presentation on Project Management for Game Development by college professor and former Studio Manager of Cinematic at Telltale, Becky Arcovitch. She provides a primer on what project management is, why it’s important, what the common practices are for game development, and provided an example of a schedule for Lift Off attendees to track their progress. Lastly, she provided resources on splitting and managing tasks, as well as encourage those interested in the practice to look for the Associate Producer role.

After the presentation, everyone split up to discuss how to write their first game design document and plan out their project over the course of the program using task management software like Trello.

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Lift Off 2019: Opening Ceremony

The second TVGS Lift Off: Diversity Incubator began with a keynote by indie game developer and TVGS Executive Director, Taro Omiya, who provided a large list of resources and common game-dev-related terms to look out for. The presentation came with a handout summarizing the presentation.

New to this year, attendees were also encouraged to share their game ideas to help the team building process. After ice breakers and a review of the program, everyone split with their own designated mentor. Each discussed what the attendee’s game ideas were, and what tools to look into to make it happen. With the handout and resources sheet in-hand, everyone will be spending the week studying what tools best fits their game.

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Application for Lift Off 2019 Now Open!

Application for Lift Off: Diversity Incubator for 2019 is now open! The incubator is a free, inclusive, six-week program for people of color to make their first game; no coding or other game development experience needed! This diversity-focused workshop series invites selected applicants of varied backgrounds and interests to create their own game. Participants will learn and practice the skill sets involved in making a game, from design, art, coding, audio composition and more.

The program will be held in Tech Valley Game Space from July 27th to September 7th, 2019. The deadline for applying to Lift Off is July 5th, 2019, 11:59 PM EST.

Continue reading “Application for Lift Off 2019 Now Open!”

Lift Off 2018: Closing Ceremony

Reference materials:

This is it! On the final day of Lift Off, the group started with a Q & A on what comes next after the program. The panelists focused on various perspectives of game making, from Rebekah Arcovitch and Quinn Miller tackling the topic of professional studios, Dane Jennings and Taro Omiya on independent studios, and Frederika Edgington-Giordano on hobbyist angle. Topics covered includes where to learn more about game making, how to put together a creative portfolio, transitioning from one profession to another, and balancing one’s schedule while making games.

After a brief intermission filled with cake (see above), everyone presented their final project. The six projects were (note: all titles are tentative):

  • Arcana Unbounded
    A 2D platformer game that puts emphasis on challenging platforming and environmentally based storytelling.
  • Extreme Gardening
    An idle game where one buys a mysterious plant that attracts the local faeries. The game involves with building houses for the faeries and communicating with them.
  • The Masters: A Critical Role Fan Game
    A Critical Role game where you get to be the game master! An old-school JRPG about exploring an unfinished (in-universe, that is) fantasy world that is in need of your help to fill the details in.
  • Aururian Elegy
    A visual novel about discovering who is the culprit in a murder scene, then…killing them through a turn-based battle system.
  • Barrel
    An experimental 3D soundscape environment where interacting with various different elements in a rusting factory each plays an unusual audio.
  • Laundry Fiasco
    A game exploring the anxiety of waking up and dressing. One balances between collecting clean and dirty clothes while being chased by their monstrous bed.

The event concluded with a celebration where each mentor congratulated their mentee with a certificate. Well done, everyone!

Lift Off 2018: Diversity and Representation

Reference materials:

This week, E-sports journalist Amanda Stevens conducted a workshop on how to better improve diversity and representation in your own game. Using two examples, she ran through an exercise with the attendees to come up with characters whose backgrounds and characteristics defies pre-existing tropes. Finally, she described the importance of representation, and why it serves to flesh out and attract more audiences to one’s game, while subverting expectations and keeping it fresh to current ones. The day concluded with the usual informal presentations on everyone’s progress, and a handout describing what the final presentation from each attendee should look like.