Blanket Fort Chats: Game Making With Hyacinth Nil

Hyacinth Nil
Image courtesy of Hyacinth Nil

Blanket Fort Chats” is a semi-regular column featuring women and nonbinary game makers talking about the craft of making games. In this week’s post, we feature Hyacinth Nil, a game designer, sound engineer, storyteller, and educator. They like using play as a way of exploring odd or unnerving bits of human experience, illustrating absurdity, and creating weird and multifaceted narratives. Hyacinth is genderqueer and neurodivergent and is most recently known for a narrative game called _transfer as well as a podcast about gender variance called Not Safe For Work.

Miss N: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into making games?

Hyacinth: I’ve been interested in a huge array of different things for as long as I can remember—games chief among them. However, I had a lot of folks tell me that games weren’t really something to pursue as a career while I was growing up.

I ended up getting a degree in applied psychology with a sort of split focus in human computer interaction-type study and gender therapy-related study, two things that would really inform my work later on. It turns out, though, that getting a job as a therapist is also particularly difficult and I wasn’t having a great deal of luck with it. I then went through a pretty bad breakup and thought, “Hey, you know what? I’m going to become a game developer.”

I have always made games, starting with terrible tabletop role-playing games, then moving to bad tiny digital artifacts and whatnot. But in those few weeks, I decided to knuckle down and try to learn the craft for real. I eventually got a master’s degree in educational game design from NYU because I also had been teaching for a while and wanted a way to integrate education and game design in a way that creates powerful contexts for learning. Additionally, though, I like to make odd little games about queerness and identity and possible futures in my spare time.

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Blanket Fort Chats: Game Making With Paige Ashlynn

Image courtesy of Paige Ashlynn
Image courtesy of Paige Ashlynn & MidBoss

Blanket Fort Chats” is a weekly column featuring women and nonbinary game makers talking about the craft of making games. In this week’s post, we feature Paige Ashlynn, a trans femme nonbinary game developer and former indie studio owner now working a​t MidBoss on Read Only Memories.

Miss N: Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got into making games?

PaigeSure thing! I’ve been programming since I was a tween, but I never expected—or really even wanted—to do games for a living. During college, I worked a series of internships trying out every type of professional programming that interested me and being disappointed with each in turn. Friends had been telling me to give games a shot for years, so I grudgingly took some classes. To my surprise, I found I loved the process. In particular, the collaborative, multidisciplinary nature of game development is super energizing.

In 2012, I co-founded a game development studio with a team of fellow students. I attended my first GDC shortly thereafter, played dys4ia in the IGF pavilion, met amazing trans developers, and decided that this was the career for me! My team ran a successful Kickstarter and spent the next two years creating Magnetic By Nature, a puzzle platformer with cool graphics and a fun mechanic.

Since then, I’ve done a lot of traveling to game events, some volunteering, made some small games, and met a lot of wonderful people. I’ve completely fallen in love with the indie gamedev community!

Continue reading “Blanket Fort Chats: Game Making With Paige Ashlynn”

Blanket Fort Chats: Game Making With Diane Mueller

Image courtesy of Diane Mueller
Image courtesy of Diane Mueller

Blanket Fort Chats” is a weekly column featuring women and nonbinary game makers talking about the craft of making games. In this week’s post, we feature Diane “MadameBerry” Mueller, an independent game developer creating weird tiny games.

Miss N: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into making games?

Diane: While taking part in a beta test for a small MMO in high school, I discovered I loved seeing the game evolve. After that, I pursued a degree in game development from Savannah College of Art and Design. I originally went for 3D modeling, but found I had a much better appreciation for design. While the degree had a great focus on preparing students for AAA development, I was able to develop my own design style and teach myself pixel art.

Anyway, I create small games with narrow focuses, as well as Patreon-funded experiments and prototypes.

Miss N: What’s your earliest memory of playing games?

Diane: My dad had an old NES he’d let my brother and I use occasionally. He didn’t like us playing games much, and eventually sold the NES (which he regrets doing) under the rule that if we got a new console, we would have to sell the old one first. I remember playing Duck Hunt, Top Gun, Super Mario Bros, and Legend of Zelda, though we never got very far in any of them.

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Sunday Loot: New #GameJobs Waiting for You to Apply!

LongStory

Happy Sunday, friends! It’s time for another round of sharing the love that we find all across the gaming industry. Every week, we bring you the people and projects that consistently work toward a brighter future for games culture, whether that be through creating a community, developing a game, or otherwise. That’s why this post is so important.

With several positions available to work with incredible teams, it’s never been a better time to break into the gaming industry. Not all of these job openings are time sensitive, however, we strongly recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. It’s always best to be early rather than late! We sincerely wish everyone luck in all their endeavors. You’re completely awesome, and we’re excited to see you succeed!

As always, if you know of an inclusive gaming space or games project you’d love to see promoted on our Sunday Loot series, drop us a comment below or check out our contact list! We’d love to hear from you, especially about new and exciting spaces where all gamers can hang out. ✌

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Blanket Fort Chats: Game Making With Vaida Plankyte

Image courtesy of Vaida Plankyte
Image courtesy of Vaida Plankyte

Blanket Fort Chats” is a weekly column featuring women and nonbinary game makers talking about the craft of making games. In this week’s post, we feature Vaida Plankyte, a Scotland-based game designer who enjoys making small personal games, experimenting with narration, and live-tweeting movies, apparently.

Miss N: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into making games?

Vaida: I am currently studying Computer Science with Management in Edinburgh. I had tried making games on several occasions growing up, but coding seemed like such a difficult hurdle to overcome. I would abandon projects as soon as I hit a roadblock.

In 2014, I decided to use Twitter more so I could follow game developers, and around that time, the FlappyJam was announced. Its host encouraged me to make a small something, reminding me that Construct 2 was very easy to use and didn’t require any programming. I enjoyed the experience so much that the month after, I started One Game A Month.

Miss N: What’s your earliest memory of playing games?

Vaida: The very first game I played was a Lithuanian educational game with my mom on our home computer. I didn’t own a console then, so I would play anything I could find online. I recall playing a lot of Cartoon Network games when I was little — it’s partly how I learned English, trying to figure out what a quest meant by trial and error. When I moved to France, I remember spending a lot of time on Newgrounds; I found their Art Games collection particularly interesting.

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