Latest Event Updates

October Party – Kindness Coins Postmortem: The Wonderful World of Dating Sims

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This month (our last meeting of 2013) will feature Arden Kehoe presenting, “Kindness Coins Postmortem: The Wonderful World of Dating Sims”!

Kindness Coins is a (very) short visual novel about “nice guys”, romance in games, and cute monster girls that was created for the Pulse Pounding Heart Stopping Jam. This talk will be about how Kindness Coins came to exist, as well as dating sims in general! Since nothing is scarier than dating, it’s a perfect talk for Halloween!

Arden Kehoe makes visual novels and dating sims, and also plays far too many of them. She writes and watches a lot of anime and gets very excited about all of it, in addition to being a passionate social justice advocate. Her current projects include creating her first large-scale game and writing excessive amounts of fanfiction while crying.

September Party – SpecOps: The Line and the mainstream’s disappearing middle

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This month’s party features Lulu LaMer presenting, “SpecOps: The Line and the mainstream’s disappearing middle.”

This post-mortem of SpecOps The Line will focus on what was successful and not successful during the game’s development, and will also try to address the disappearance of interesting middle-tier titles from game publishers’ lineups.
Lulu LaMer is a freelance game producer and project management consultant. Past titles include SpecOps: The Line, Borderlands, Tomb Raider: Legend, System Shock 2, and the Thief series. She believes in the dream of innovation on time and on budget.

August Party – iamagamer Post-Mortems

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This month’s party will feature post-mortems from some the games made during July’s “iamagamer” game jam! Jammers were tasked with creating games that had a female protagonist, and the results are all fascinating interpretations of the theme.

Space Leap by Z Goddard

Space Leap is an exploration survival game. You play Theresa an explorer stuck in a pocket dimension searching for supplies to survive until you can find a way back to normal space. I would like to build it into a rogue-like-like.

Z Goddard is a small fish in the sea of game dev. He likes making physics-based virtual sensation games, biking, writing bad poetry, dancing, and curry. His favorite games are PixelJunk Shooter, Uniracers, FTL, and Left 4 Dead 2.

Escape from Texas! by Dan Crocker and Miles Flanagan

“Escape from Texas!” is a surrealist vision of Texas’ future, extrapolated from its current attacks on privacy rights to suggest that being a woman in Texas who speaks her mind will one day be illegal. One woman, Jane Bowie, protests at the passage of the law and has no choice but to put Texas in her rearview. But, they won’t let her go without a fight (or, at least, a chase).

The game was created by a team of five at iamagamer, including tonight’s presenters, Dan Crocker and Miles Flanagan. Dan has been a lawyer for seven years and is now in management and technology consulting, but this was his first game jam. Miles is a musician focused on writing game music, a Berklee College of Music student and tutor, and an all around talented audio guy.

Trapper’s Trials by Ethan Heilman, Colin Sandel, and Carolyn VanEseltine

Trapper’s Trials is a top-down action-adventure game about a woman convicted to death in the arena.  To avoid her fate, she sneaks out of her cell into the dangerous catacombs below, armed only with her wits and the dubious materials around her.

Ethan Heilman is a Cryptography/Security Graduate Student at BU. In his past life he was a software engineer working in start-ups and research labs. He writes strategic games in his free time and neglects his blog. Colin Sandel is a QA Tester at Harmonix Music Systems and a self-published SFF novelist outside of the office. He has collaborated with Carolyn on Interactive Fiction projects and hopes to do more game design in the future. Carolyn VanEseltine is an independent game developer and interactive fiction author with several award-winning games to her name.  Among other projects, she’s currently working on a procedurally generated IF/roguelike cross written from scratch in C.

FWD: Totally BS!!: Convention Disruption by Chester Kwan

FWD: Totally BS!!: Convention Disruption is an interactive fiction, inspired by games such as Tex Murphy. The game’s story is inspired by a blog post about “Fake Geek Girl” stickers showing up at a convention, and it served as a basis for a “whodunit?” storyline.

Chester Kwan makes animated comics and small games as a hobby, but hopes to make them into something bigger.

Joan’s Adventure of Magic by Ryan Casey, Rachel Dziezynski, Ryan Kahn, Nina Klymenko, and Alex TC

Joan of Arc was believed to have visions from God during her lifetime. You will seek God’s guidance as you make choices in preparation for the Battle of Orléans. However, God’s signs may not always be direct and clear (divine knowledge being the way it is) as to what choice may be most beneficial to you and your troops. Think creatively and sort out exactly what God may be pointing you towards.

Ryan Casey is a game designer, writer, and producer who has just graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He works as the President & Public Face of High Class Kitsch, an indie studio based in Worcester, MA. Ryan Kahn is a programmer working at Kinvey where he builds awesome user experience on node.js. In his spare time he dabbles in making games using the latest and greatest web technologies. Being from Wisconsin, most of his games are cheesy. Nina Klymenko is a freelancing 2D artist-Illustrator focused on game development. She works with a variety of graphical styles and employs many different techniques to accomplish the task at hand. Her technical background enables effective development for games which not only look great but also work well and lead to increased revenue. A recent graduate from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Alex TC likes to make things. Apparently this includes video games. Alex works as a programmer for High Class Kitsch, an indie studio based in Worcester, MA. He may occasionally refer to himself as an “experience engineer”, scare quotes included.

July Party — “With Courtesy and Respect: A Primer on Being Basically Decent Towards Trans People”

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In recent years, the transgender community has become increasingly visible, with singers, soldiers, journalists, game designers and more coming out as trans, and trans activists of all ages crusading for equal rights around the world. With numerous trans people involved in the geek and gaming communities, you may easily find yourself interacting with members of this diverse community as co-workers, employees and fans.
This month’s talk will offer a basic overview of transgender identity and a primer on preferred terminology (as well as a few words you should avoid like the plague) before explaining how you can help support your trans co-workers, how you can be the world’s best boss to trans employees, and how you can build trans-friendly and trans-inclusive games. We’ll also touch on games and blogs that can give you some insight into trans identity and the struggle trans people face every day before moving on to an extra-long Q&A to address any lingering questions.
Cassandra Lease has been a QA tester for five years, an active participant in the QUILTBAG and feminist communities for over a decade, a gamer for over twenty years and an unabashed geek since birth. Though she began her career as a freelance writer on tabletop games such as Kenzer & Company’s HackMaster, she’s spent the last few years in the video game industry, testing such titles as Dungeons & Dragons Online for Turbine/WB Games and Bioshock Infinite for Irrational Games. She’s organized the annual QUILTBAG Gamer Meetup during PAX East for three years running, and pulled together the Girls’ Meetup/Ladies’ Brunch during PAX East 2013. Her current projects include a queer supernatural romance novel entitled Fall and early conceptual work on a semi-autobiographical game tentatively called Have You Tried Not Being A Monster? Her thoughts on fandom, equal rights, gaming and more can be found on Twitter and on her blog, Diary of a Random Fangirl.

June Party – “Empowering The Game Designer In Everyone”

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This month’s party will feature “Empowering The Game Designer In Everyone”:

In recent years the barrier to entry for making games has been drastically lowered, thanks to various game making tools that mitigate much of the technical (code) challenge and let someone get right into making their game.

Caleb Garner has tried nearly every easy to use engine out there, and will be sharing detailed information about three game engines he’s had positive experiences with:

  • GameSalad
  • Construct 2
  • Unity3d /w Playmaker

Caleb will be giving examples of how each works, and will touch on other engines beyond this list.

 

Caleb Garner is an indie developer at www.part12studios.com developing games for mobile, web and desktop.  His latest project “Finger King” is being developed with GameSalad.  He is also working on a web based “condensed MMO experience.”  Caleb also is currently doing contract work as a project manager and game designer for several student apps.  One encourages kids to get more physically fit through interactive group games and the other revolves around problem solving skills in math leveraging game mechanics to increase student engagement.

May Party – #1ReasonWhy I Should Sue You for Sexual Harassment

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This month’s party will feature Nina Huntemann presenting, “#1ReasonWhy I Should Sue You for Sexual Harassment”:

My current research project is a policy analysis of the #1reasonwhy twitter conversation that erupted in November 2012. I examine thousands of comments made by women working in game development, documenting various forms of gender and sexual harassment and discriminatory behavior they have faced while working in the games industry. Specifically, this paper identifies how sexual harassment and workplace discrimination policies enacting in the United States would respond to these self-reported accounts. Using case law precedent and best practices from non-gaming business sectors, this paper demonstrates how existing policy can be applied to the illegal behaviors of co-workers and supervisors that women working in games often face. It is the author’s intention to provide advocacy research that can be used by women and their allies to organize for inclusive and supportive workplace policies, and to encourage industry leaders to proactively address a culture of misogyny in the games industry.
Nina B. Huntemann is an associate professor of media studies at Suffolk University in the Department of Communication and Journalism. Her research focuses on the intersections of gender, culture and technology, applying feminist theory and cultural production perspectives to the industrial and social practices of digital gaming. She is co-editor two books: Gaming Globally: Production, Play and Place (Palgrave, 2013) and Joystick Soldiers: The Politics of Play in Military Video Games (Routledge, 2010).

April Party — Deadly Premonition!

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This month’s party will feature Matthew Weise discussing, “Deadly Premonition, the Greatest Game Ever Made.”

Camp masterpiece? Secret art game? Or just a bad game? 2011’s Deadly Premonition, a bonkers Twin Peaks-knock-off by Japanese developer SWERY, continues to confound and delight. The release of this month’s “Director’s Cut” for PS3 promises to ignite the weirdness all over again, so what better time for a close look at the game, its influences, and why it’s still worth taking seriously? Right, Zach?

Matthew Weise is a game designer and writer with deep roots in the Boston area game community. He was Game Design Director of the GAMBIT Game Lab at MIT for several years, and for the past year worked as a Narrative Designer at Harmonix Music Systems in Cambridge. Matt has given talks at various games conferences all over the world, including industry conferences like GDC and academic conferences like DiGRA. His writing has appeared in various publications and books, and his personal game writings can be found on his blog at http://outsideyourheaven.blogspot.com/.