When you first start learning to code, you’ll very quickly run up against this particular experience: you think you’ve set up everything the way you’re supposed to, you’ve checked and re-checked it, and it still. doesn’t. work. You don’t have a clue where to begin trying to fix it, and the error message (if you’re lucky enough to have one at all) might as well say “fuck you.” You might be tempted to give up that this point, thinking that you’ll never figure it out, that you’re not cut out for this. I had that feeling the first time I tried to write a program in C++, tried to run it, and got only the words “segmentation fault” for my trouble.
Last week I wrote up some thoughts about coding culture, how it feels to learn code as a newcomer or outsider, and what kind of mindset is needed to get through the inevitable difficulties. It was informed by my own experience, but also by teaching new coders through Dames Making Games and observing where they tend to slip up and what kinds of beliefs are holding them back.
The response has been well beyond what I expected, and I’m so glad it’s resonating with people at all stages of the process, from very experienced programmers to people just starting out. If you haven’t yet, have a read!
I got a notification from tumblr the other day that this blog is now two years old. I remember the initial flurry of setting it up amid the excitement of the Difference Engine Initiative, wanting someplace to house Adeline’s Elopement, my first game, and talk about how and why I made it.
I had a feeling back then that my life was about to change, but I didn’t know quite how much. In the last two years…
Dames Making Games Toronto was founded roughly two years ago and has run three multi-week game-making programs, a workshop series, 19 speaker socials, three popular game jams, and a two-weekend “short program,” with some amazing results.
I’ve made six small video games on my own and collaborated on several more. I’ve learned how to use a host of game-making tools and hope to be able to teach them to others.
I’ve given talks and spoken on panels at GameON, Feminists in Games, GRAND, FanExpo, DigiFest, and the Global Game Jam Arcade in Toronto. I’m about to add IndieCade to the list. DMG itself has been covered in the Globe and Mail, NOW Magazine, Comics and Gaming Monthly, InnerSPACE, and the Canadian Press.
The most incredible thing of all has been seeing how many women around me have started making their own games and finding their voices after participating in a DMG program. I really believe that Jennie and I have built something special in Toronto.
In May of 2013 I was both an organizer and a participant of Dames Making Games’ game jam, "Mother, May I?"
One of my favourite games is Ancient Domains of Mystery (or ADOM), a sprawling roguelike. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a “traditional” roguelike, so during the jam I followed along with this tutorial to make “The Playground.”
A bit belated, but I put The Playground, made during a DMG jam in May, online. It has toddler-biting!
mrcolin asked: I absolutely love "Feed the Ducks". Excellent work! Who made the music?
Thanks for the kind words! I made the music using an iOS app called SoundPrism.
I’m in some very distinguished company on this panel at the IndieCade Festival of Independent Games:
//Game Design’s Dark Matter
We know it’s out there, but we haven’t found it yet. This group of researchers, academics and seekers are looking for the dark matter of games – trying to find answers to the hard problems in game design. Hear them describe what they’ve discovered over years of research and design in their laboratories of play on the margins of the game scene.
Over the past month I’ve been working on this bit of interactivity for the always-innovative SummerWorks Theatre Festival, which showcases new theatrical works every summer in Toronto. The game will suggest things for you to see, let you think about how to respond to various festival-related quandaries, and introduce the fest’s many venues via art by the talented Gillian Blekkenhorst. Much thanks to Jennie Faber (who made the whole thing look clean and pretty) and Maggie McLean (who made it sound pretty).
If there is one person who we can blame the most for the fact that I started this blog back in 2010 (David Miller was the Mayor… YNS was just taking over the Philly… screamers were screaming ov…
I answer the brilliant Lydia Perovic’s opera questionnaire. That I wrote at such length, and with such pleasure, makes me think I should revive All Time Coloratura.
Play my latest, “Feeding the Ducks.”