Lift Off 2018: Closing Ceremony

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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

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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.

Lift Off 2018: Software Quality Assurance

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This week, education coordinator Frederika Edgington-Giordano provided a broad overview of what a quality assurance does, and why they are important for the development process. Using her own experience, she provides how professionals approach the software, and what she hopes developers do with the feedback her team gives. As usual, each attendee gave updates on how they’ve progressed with their project after the talk. As the closing of the event is approaching, the focus will shift to polish and presentation.

Lift Off 2018: Workplace Discrimination and Abuse: Ways to Cope and Prevent

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This week, multi-talented Muse en Lystrala gave a very frank and honest talk for Lift Off Diversity Incubator attendees on workplace discrimination and abuse. Using examples she herself faced, she informed the audience when to recognize abuse, both online and offline, and what to do when you see one. As we split into our one-to-ones, each participant provided updates on how they’ve progressed with their initial prototype. The mentors, of course, helped solve the mentee’s specific problems, to better prepare for the play-testing events such as the Interactive Showcase. At the end, each participant gave a brief demonstration of what they had.

Lift Off 2018: How to Start a Business

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This week, TVGS’ own treasurer, Sarah Lauser provided a talk for the Lift Off Diversity Incubator attendees on how to start a business. She provided the advantages and disadvantages of having one, and how relatively simple it is to start one should one choose to develop their project to a larger endeavor. Midway through the program, everyone split up to discuss how they have been progressing, and whether they’ve managed to make their first playable prototype. At the end, each participant gave a brief demonstration of what they had. Fortunately, it’s been a relief for most people the progress even the most ambitious attendee made was to make their artworks move!

Lift Off 2018: Project Management

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TVGS’ Lift Off Diversity Incubator continues with a presentation on project management, or the process of splitting up a large project into distinct and measurable tasks. Suzanne Dondero, professional project manager and the presenter for this week’s progress report, described the Agile Development process that encourages game makers to regularly re-evaluate their task list and adjust their goals to meet the deadline. After the presentation, everyone split up to discuss how to take their game design document and dividing it into simpler chunks on their favorite task management software like Trello.

Lift Off 2018: Opening Ceremony

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The opening ceremony of TVGS’ inaugural Lift Off Diversity Incubator was a huge success! The
The keynote was given by game developer and International Game Developer Association’s Albany chapter head director, Amanda Kirk, who gave a keynote about combating impostor syndrome. Each participant was given a handout, listing resources to get started on making games.

After a brief review, everyone split with their own designated mentor, and discussed what their game ideas were, and what tools to look into to make it happen. Due next week, all participants are tasked to get their first documentation on their game — yes, that fabled game design document — started!