Join The TVGS Crew!

With the Fourth of July coming up this weekend, we figured now would be the perfect time to celebrate our Dependence Day by sharing a lovingly curated assortment of open calls for enthusiastic community members to join our fabulous TVGS crew.

Sam Sez: Happy Dependence Day!

As a small and scrappy nonprofit, we depend on our active crew of volunteers to help us keep our grassroots charitable efforts humming. Since the inception of TVGS in late 2014, we have achieved amazing things by working together!

If you’re curious to learn about just a few of the many benefits we have provided to the local game development ecosystem here in the Capital Region over the past six years, check out this TVGS overview flyer we recently created. There was far too much good stuff to fit onto a single page, so we ended up needing to make the flyer double-sided to fit more of the TVGS crew’s collective highlights.

If you share our belief that games and game development are for everyone, then please take a look at the opportunities outlined below to learn more about how you can make a difference by becoming an active member of the TVGS crew.

Volunteer Coordinator Nominations Now Open

Are you passionate about supporting a more diverse range of creative voices in game development? Do you want to collaborate with an enthusiastic team of local creators to help foster a more inclusive, approachable, and thriving community for game makers in the Capital Region? If so, now is your chance to get involved by signing up as a TVGS Volunteer Coordinator!

Tech Valley Game Space is currently seeking volunteers for our next six-month Coordinator term, which will begin in mid-July. The deadline to submit your nomination for the upcoming term is July 6th. Visit the sign up form to learn more: https://bit.ly/3msezuk

Since the early days of TVGS, our dedicated team of Coordinators have played a pivotal role in helping to grow and strengthen the community. We have accomplished incredible things as a group, and there are even more exciting opportunities coming up in the latter half of 2021. Sign up today to get involved and become a part of Team TVGS!

Calling All Game Developers and Educators!

Improving access to game development education is a major component of our efforts at TVGS. We believe that enabling indie game makers to provide diversity-focused skill training for aspiring creators is the key to a “virtuous cycle” that will serve as a vital foundation for strengthening our regional ecosystem.

Our educational programs help provide much-needed financial stability for local indies, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, enabling them to freely allocate their time between paid teaching opportunities and their own creative endeavors based on their current goals and economic needs. At the same time, these mentorship programs also help open up the pipeline to a wider array of aspiring creators, providing essential support and nurturing the next generation of talent who will continue to push our region forward in the future.

With that in mind, we are always looking to connect with local game developers and educators who are interested in adding themselves to our pool of potential candidates for future teaching, mentoring, and guest speaking opportunities. Visit the candidate sign up form to learn more: bit.ly/3625KBL

Signing up as a candidate does not commit you to participating in any specific TVGS classes or programs. It simply means you will be notified when we send out info about available openings for instructors, guest speakers, curriculum developers, mentors, and more!

Come teach with us this summer! TVGS is actively seeking paid instructors for upcoming classes in July and August. We are also looking for volunteer lab assistants and guest speakers with industry/academic experience. Learn more and sign up here: bit.ly/35GcsgD

HELP US COUNT OUR COINS

Are you a stat master with an abiding interest in treasure? If so, now is the perfect time to join Team TVGS and put those accounting talents into play as our new Treasurer! We are currently seeking an organized and reliable collaborator who is ready, willing, and able to help us keep track of our coins (or pocket moths, as the case may be).

If you fit the bill, please email TVGS Board Chair Taro Omiya at board-chair@techvalleygamespace.com.

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.

Resources:

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.

Resources:

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.

Resources:

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.

Resources:

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.

Resources:

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.