Woot! @GXAustralia videos are up!

This year all the panels at GX Australia were recorded! Now they’re all up on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.  Footage is uploaded into six playlists; one for each panel room on each day. The schedule from the weekend is here in case you’re trying to look up a specific panel.

Day 1 (Auditorium)

Day 1 (Big Ant Panel Room)

Day 1 (Developer Panel Room)

Day 2 (Auditorium)

Day 2 (Big Ant Panel Room)

Day 2 (Developer Panel Room)

Here’s the panels I was on and my Boss of Honor Talk (video is linked on the title)

HARDER. BETTER. FASTER. STRONGER. — SELF-CARE TIPS FOR DIVERSE PEEPS
Emilie Poissenot Wren Brier Snow McNally Tanya DePass Dameyon Bonson

As part of an underrepresented group in the games industry, our careers are harder than the norm. Our actions and words may be used as a blanket representation of our whole group. The knowledge of biases against us can lead to increased self-doubt and distrust of our coworkers. All these experiences take their toll on our well-being. How can we get better at recognizing these side-effects and alleviating them faster? The panelists discuss experiences and tips that have helped them get stronger to broaden your own set of tools for similar situations.

BUILDING BETTER GAMERS
Ashton McAllan, Tanya DePass, Dr. Jennifer Hazel, Alayna Cole, Adam Koebel & Mavis Chan

Can games be used to build better gamers? Can game design improve the outlooks and behaviours of the people that play them? Can we utilise this power to make our gaming spaces and communities safer and more inclusive? Come along and see our panelists discuss who is already doing this in their games, what they are actually doing, and how we can work this kind of magic in our own games.

DIVERSITY 404: WHAT NEXT? (PRESENTED BY THE IGDA FOUNDATION)  

Tanya DePass,Felix Kramer, Katherine Cross & Rami Ismail

Diversity and inclusion is at a crossroads, with lots of performative diversity and well-intentioned-yet-ineffective strategies being touted as the Big Thing. But where are we, really? And what’s next?

My Boss of Honor talk! ❤  WHY A CUSTOMISABLE CHARACTER ISN’T DIVERSITY (PRESENTED BY THE IGDA FOUNDATION)
Tanya DePass


One of the responses that calls for better representation is often, you can customize your character in GAME! Well that’s not actually diversity, nor inclusion or an acceptable response to not thinking about inclusion in the first place. Through examples, and discussion let’s dispel this notion that customization characters = diversity.

DESTROYING TROPES AND STEREOTYPES IN GAMES
Tanya DePass, Lee Flores, Adam Koebel & Ken Wong

A look at the harm that using stereotypes and tropes does to games narratives, and why they need to be stopped.

WRITING THE “OTHER”
Anna Irwin-Schutze, Jody Toomey, Katherine Cross, Tanya DePass

At first glance, it seems obvious; Writers need to write about people and places they haven’t experienced directly for themselves. Most crime writers have not personally killed their victims. This panel is all about discovering how can write diverse and interesting characters while at the same time respecting where they come from. How do we be inclusive without having to save the whole world with every game narrative we design? What can we do to write the other to actually make a positive impact on the world and keep our stories awesome and engaging and inclusive at the same time?

HOW TO BROADCAST SAFELY AS A POC/LGBT/FEMALE ID’D STREAMER
Tanya DePass, Lee Flores, Adam Koebel

Streaming on Twitch can be fun, but it can also be perilous for some of us. This panel will bring you some tips and tricks such as using bots, human mods and other methods to make your experience as stress free as possible.

Next weekend kicks off a super busy month for me!

I’m doing sooo much stuff in April, but it’s cool and I’m excited even if I’m a little tired just thinking about it. That means streams will be sporadic and not on the usual Tues/Thurs/Saturday schedule.

Here’s what I’m up to starting next Friday:

April 1 & 2: Queerness and Games Conference  Los Angeles, CA

I’m doing three things!

1) Gaming as POC: Where the Industry Has Failed Us, Where It Hasn’t and What to Hope For 

2) Microtalks: Out of Sheer Spite

3) Facilitating a round-table on POC in the industry

April 8: GenVidCon, Gender and Videogames  Keynote speaker, San Jose, CA

April 12: Let’s Talk Gaming!  Montreal, CAN

April 17: Guest Lecturer at NCSU

April 18-20: East Coast Games Conference, Speaker in Career track. Raleigh, NC

April 21-23: C2E2, Panelist  Chicago, IL 

My panel schedule for C2E2

29 & 30 April: GX Australia, Boss of Honor , Sydney, Australia

On the expectation of free labor to diversify your spaces

[Copy/Pasted from an early AM twitter vent this morning 12/21/16]

I’m in a mood, and I’m irritated. I want to talk about value of work, specifically diversity work & people’s expectation of free labor. So I’m lucky, and in a good position where sometimes people come out the gate with what are your rates & fees? This does not always happen though, don’t get excited. Like I said I’m in a good position.

However…there’s the pervasive idea that we should provide our expertise, our skills and knowledge for little or no pay. How about no? A lot of places want to be seen as progressive, diverse and doing the right thing but they don’t want to invest time & resources. Or they think it’s as simple as invite a few brown folks and a queer person, give them top billing one year & we’ve done it! Uh no.

web-analytics-my-1-if-you-built-it-they-will-come

See, we can see right through that bullshit. Especially when your convention committee doesn’t change, your policies don’t change. You can’t put the current hyper visible POC in your field up as your diversity! And expect us to flock to your event. Again, we see you.

Here’s my main gripe though. Reaching out to people to get help but not offering compensation at the same time.

It’s always “Let’s have a coffee, let me buy you lunch and pick your brain…”

This isn’t about greed either. This is about valuing someone enough to “pick their brain” but not enough to pay them.This is doubly true when you expect someone to help with event they may attend but won’t offer some kind of comps or payment.  Helping the community is great, but it doesn’t negate the value of that persons time.

Even asking someone to take the time to chat with you, have an email exchange or Skype call should be considered work.I think it comes down to people not seeing it as “real” work. Also, acting as if someone asking for compensation is wrong? Or insinuating they don’t actually care because they wanna eat?

Nah, we all got bills and if you want my time & expertise? FU Pay Me. Nobody expects teachers to work for free, or other laborers so why us? Because a lot of the work is emotional labor. To unfuck the ways that events and orgs have failed on representation is a lot hard work y’all. So stop asking for free labor under the guise of doing better. Improvement takes effort, time and money. Investment not hollow promises.

When you ask someone on how to do better, ask what their preferred compensation method is. Fucking pay people for their time.

fuckyoupaymeartprintfromgeekcalligraphycom

 Fuck You Pay Me available from Geek Calligraphy, purchase one for your workspace!

Last thing, think real hard on how you react to black Womens, lgbtqia & other folks asking to be paid vs whites.Look at all the extra shit people want from us to prove we’re worth the time, effort & money to support. Look at how angry people get when we dare to say our time & knowledge is valuable. Y’all have seen it, people bring accused of running scams, that we should help for $0.

However, white folks come up with the weirdest shit for a kickstarter or crowd funding that overfunds but we can’t make the minimum.So if I’m bitter? It’s with damn good reason. Tired of being told the work is valuable, needed but when we ask for help? Support is nil. TL;DR, stop asking people for free work. Value our skills enough to offer payment when asking for said work. Exposure kills, it’s not money, not valid currency anywhere.

It’s not the first time I’ve talked about this. It probably won’t be the last either. As long as people continue to undervalue, or assume no value for the hard work that is required to achieve better representation, more diversity and make it stick; we’ll keep having this damn go round and around until people get it.

Other writings I’ve done on this topic & related issues: 

You Wanna Diversify huh? That’s Nice, Pay Us

On paying black women for the work we do and the ways people accuse us of cashing in

Thoughts on diversity, conventions & cost

Emotional Labor, OT edition for POC, LGBTIQIA & others — Fandom edition

Marking a year of…changes.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of getting canned from my day job. At 1 pm this day last year, I was in tears, unsure about everything. I’d not been back one day from GX3, before I got that call to come into a conference room. Where I was given a bullshit reason & let go.  When I say BS, I mean ex-boss tried to reach back 3 years to justify her actions. If I’d been that bad an employee for that long…wouldn’t I have been gone long before that? Even if she thought she had given me so many chances, or whatever lie she told herself to justify what she did.

No one would let someone in my position screw up that long term & still have a job. Also who cans someone 10 days before xmas? But yeah, I was in tears in a cab that I shouldn’t have gotten but I wasn’t thinking clearly. Was too angry & frankly? Hurt.  It also didn’t help that I’d just got back from a trip, didn’t have a lot of extra money & due to timing? My last check was for 6 days. I had to go through a bunch of hoops with unemployment too. It took a month but finally got that going.

No lie, though I was gonna be homeless once unemployment ran out or before. Those two weeks right after we’re pretty bad.Worse than I let on in public that’s for sure. But y’all came through. People who believed in my work helped me out. Always grateful. I looked for work for a while before I realized I could try to do full time. It had become a second job anyway.

So I did the thing, and it’s worked. Somehow, it’s worked. Patreon is covering rent & a couple bills. Been very lucky to have travel paid.It’s been hard and I’ve wanted to quit so many times over the past year. So many. But I’m still here. I’ll stay here too cause I’m ornery and it’s been too much work put in to give up. Long as I can I’ll fight.

Thank you, every single one of you who’ve held me up when I’ve fallen or stumbled. Who’ve been a voice of reason when I was lost. Thanks to those who pushed against me. Can’t grow without a bit of pain or misstepping. Not perfect & I’m doing the best I can. Thanks to anyone who’s invited me to panel with them or accepted an invite from me to join a panel with me. To anyone who’s taken a pitch and published me.

Thanks to all my Patrons, those who’ve sent some much needed funds my way in the clutch. Or bought me a ko-fi. Thanks for a year of support that I would haven’t thought possible before. For tears, laughter & friendships made & lost.

Thank you. Here’s to another year. Thanks y’all, I mean it from my heart 💜💜

Hey y’all @GXAustralia 2017 KS needs a bit of love, just 3 days left!

Hey, hey you awesome person reading this post! Psst, come here. Did you know about GX Australia? That it’s returning in 2017 to Sydney? Well it is and the KS could use some love. They’re over the 50% point, but need to reach $60K AUD to roll over!

Full details in this very long post, but the long and short is:

Please donate even if you can’t attend, even a few dollars will help them reach the goal. If you have the means, you can also help someone else attend with the pay it forward option!

GX Australia 2017!

There’s just 3 Days left for the GX Australia Kickstarter to reach it’s goal of $60,000 to make the convention happen in 2017!!

BACK THIS PROJECT!

About this project

Want to spend an incredible weekend hanging out with the friendliest bunch of geeks you’ll ever meet? Are you passionate about video games, or dreamed of making one yourself? Do you like to cosplay? Or are you an avid fan of card or board games?

Well listen up, because we’ve got some great news for you!

GX AUSTRALIA IS RETURNING IN 2017!

After our first hugely successful event in February, 2016, we’re super excited to be able to bring the convention to Sydney again for a second year. At the debut convention, nearly eight hundred attendees trekked out to the Australian Technology Park for two days of geekery and fun. For our second year, we’re making awesome changes and taking on board requests, considerations, and feedback from the first event.

So here it is, GX Australia 2017! Lock in the 29th and 30th of April, 2017, because we’re going on an adventure!

If you didn’t make it out to GX Australia 2016, you missed a fabulous weekend full of tournaments, tabletop gaming, awesome and insightful panels and talks, and even an escape room! But that’s okay, because you’re getting a second chance in April 2017.

Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

Wait, what's a GX thingy?
Wait, what’s a GX thingy?

GX Australia is the country’s most inclusive convention for video gamers, board gamers, tabletop and card gamers, cosplayers, comic book nerds, sci-fi film buffs — everything geeky and nerdy! It’s a weekend long celebration of what brings us all together in the first place. It’s a weekend where Star Trek and Star Wars fans can set aside their differences and make friends, where you’re appreciated and loved no matter what mana colour your Magic: The Gathering deck is, and where you’re accepted for who you are even if you prefer the PS4 to the Xbox One. It’s an event for you — yes you! — if you share in our vision that geekery and video games are for everyone.

Our first event was such a blast, and we’re dedicated to making sure Year Two is even better.

Didn’t come last year? Here’s some highlights of what you missed out on:

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/goodgame/stories/s4425185.htm

https://digitalwindow.co/2016/03/03/gx/

http://playwrite.com.au/gx-australia-and-safe-places-in-gaming/

http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/sexuality/article/2016/03/01/inside-australias-first-queer-gaming-convention

http://www.nerdvana.tv/nerd-gamer/gx-australia/

Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.
Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.

 

New venue!
New venue!

GX Australia 2017 will be taking place at the Sydney Showground! This venue is hugely experienced when it comes to video game events, hosting everything from Supanova to the EB Games Expo. We’re thrilled to be adding our name to their impressive roster, and the new venue comes with a tons of improvements over our old location:

  • Accessibility! While the ATP itself was fully accessible, unfortunately Redfern Station was not and this presented a challenge for our attendees with mobility considerations. Fortunately, there are lifts at the Olympic Park station and we’re only a short distance from the train. Further, this time around all of our event spaces are on the ground floor so there’s no fiddling about with lifts once you’re at the venue itself.
  • Bigger, but a better use of space! The ATP was an awesome venue, but given how large the complex was unfortunately we got spread out quite a lot — this gave the convention a very chill and relaxed feel, but you probably are surprised to know how many attendees we had! At the Sydney Showground, our convention space is fully enclosed and self-contained, meaning that it won’t be confusing or difficult to move between panels, or around the expo hall! All facilities and meeting areas  are within a short distance of each other, logically laid out and easy to find.
  • Air conditioning! Need we say more?
  • Lower costs! Because we aren’t holding the event around Mardi Gras this time, and because we’ve been able to secure more competitive pricing for hiring the venue, we’re able to pass savings on to attendees and bring the overall cost of tickets down as a result. While we gave away many tickets last time and remain committed to making GX Australia as accessible as possible, ultimately every ticket purchased ensures that we can run the event at its best and we’re happy that we’re able to bring costs down to make that easier for guests.
  • Streaming AND Recording! This was something we wanted to do last time around and while we were able to stream the Main Panel Room, panels didn’t get recorded. Thanks to Twitch, This time around we’re going to make sure that you can participate by watching panels online as they happen, or later on when convenient to your schedule.
  • Even MOAR diversity! Our biggest objective for Year Two was to make GX more diverse and representative. This is reflected across not only our amazing lineup of kickass Bosses of Honours, but the speakers we’re working with to develop incredible panels. Plus, due to our lower costs, we are able to splurge a bit more on helping people of colour and indigenous speakers to make it out to Sydney for the event.
  • 15+, or all ages with a parent or guardian! Another big commitment towards accessibility and access was to ensure the event could be open to people as young as possible. Like last year, you’re welcome to attend the event if you’re fifteen or older and have proof of age available. If you’re younger, just come with a parent or friend over 18 who will watch out for you!
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

What will be at GX Australia 2017?
What will be at GX Australia 2017?
  • Incredible guests! You can see our initial guests below, but trust, we have some even more amazing guests yet to announce! One of our favourite things about GX Australia was how accessible guests were, and our feedback from guests was how wonderful you all were. More of that!
  • Amazing panels! Last year we were lucky enough to host some absolutely incredible panels, and we intend to do the same again this year. Check out our schedule from last year to see what kind of awesome content you can expect in 2017! http://www.gxaustralia.com/panel-schedule/
  • Bigger tabletop space! This was hugely requested, and we’ve already started thinking about how we can make our tabletop section bigger, better and more exciting! With scheduled games, a library of games to choose from and brilliant hangout times, we can’t wait!
  • More games and experiences! We’ll have a play section this year with wonderful Australian, queer and diverse games, and plan on having some awesome physical group games to participate in!
  • An awesome show floor! We’re taking all of the incredible feedback from 2016 into account and making the show floor for 2017 more intimate, varied and fun!
  • Exciting VIP events! Based on this year, our VIP events next year will be TOTALLY MATHEMATICAL. We can’t wait to see you there!
What's at the Sydney Showground?
What’s at the Sydney Showground?

This historic venue hosts everything from the Easter Show to big events like Supanova. We’re super excited to be using them for GX, and think you’ll agree that our new location is a huge step up from our first year. We’re booking out space for panels, a return of our “GX Campfire” chillout space, plus rooms for meet & greets, media, and more!

Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

Bosses of Honour!

We’re super excited to make the initial announcements of our incredible Bosses of Honour. These are some of the amazing people we’ll be featuring at GX Australia, and stay tuned since we’ll have more names to announce as our Kickstarter campaign progresses.

Added in Update #8 (Oct 21 2016):

Casey Conway
Casey Conway

 

Adam Koebel
Adam Koebel

Added in Update #5 (Oct 17 2016):

Tanya DePass

 

Felix Kramer

 

Brett Leavy

 

 Kickstarter launch Bosses:

Katherine Cross
Katherine Cross

 

Stephanie "Hex" Bendixsen
Stephanie “Hex” Bendixsen

 

Kim Allom
Kim Allom

 

Jordan Raskopoulos
Jordan Raskopoulos

 

Eve Beauregard
Eve Beauregard

 

Tim Cain
Tim Cain

 

Lucy O'Brien
Lucy O’Brien

 

Rae Johnston
Rae Johnston

 

Ken Wong
Ken Wong

 

Backer rewards!
Backer rewards!

Depending on your pledge, your support for GX Australia 2017 also includes a choice of the awesome games below! We massively appreciate the developers who have donated keys for us to give to our backers, and we hope you enjoy the games as well!

ALL THESE GAMES CAN BE YOURS!
ALL THESE GAMES CAN BE YOURS!
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.
Photo courtesy of Jack Huddo.

 

Stretch goals!
Stretch goals!

$60k will allow us to handle the costs involved in hosting the event, hiring furniture, and some other minor costs. If we surpass that, we’ll be able to extend the convention even further. Here’s how!

$65k – HOLY FOOD TRUCKS, BATMAN!

$70k – EXTRA BOSS OF HONOUR!

$75k – GX AUSTRALIA PARTY, with SWEET LIVE MUSIC!

??? – ??? We’ll get here when we do!

Why Sydney again?
Why Sydney again?

We’re eager to make GX Australia as accessible as possible. We’ve run extensive public polls both before the 2016 event even happened as well as after to see what factors encouraged or discouraged attendance, and it became resoundingly clear that most of our audience wants the event to remain in Sydney. We’re hoping that by holding it a little later in the year when the calendar is less full, we’ll be able to ensure people can afford to travel if they aren’t already nearby.

Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.
Image courtesy of Joshua Meadows.

 

Let's do it!
Let’s do it!

In February 2016, we managed to bring GX to life with a small handful of volunteers, tons of support from the Australian indie scene, and awesome people like you. We want this convention to leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, energised and inspired, but most importantly loved and welcomed.

We can’t do the convention without you, so please spread this campaign far and wide; if you came to the first one, we hope to see you next year. If you didn’t make it before, we hope to meet you as a brand new friend!

Special Shoutouts

We’d like to make a special shoutout to Marcomatic, the creator of our fantastic logo and animated spiel, to Jack Huddo Photography for the brilliant photography from last year, and to Steph Westwood, who donated her time to create our amazing Kickstarter video!

Additionally, we’d like to thank ALL OF YOU for helping us make GX Australia 2016 happen last year. We literally couldn’t have done it without you, and we’re so excited to be able to do it all again for 2017!

Risks and challenges

While GX Australia 2016 took place to great success, we certainly did have some challenges! Our biggest was unexpected expenses and bills with regards to hiring the ATP that hadn’t been communicated to us early on.

To avoid that stress this time around, we’ve clearly and specifically sat down with the Sydney Showground to be as detailed as possible for our expenses and any additional costs. We’re confident that we won’t have unexpected bills sending us scrambling for cash, and our costs for running the convention have come down a lot from the final amount we had to spend just to book the ATP.

Contracts have been signed and the date is locked down. We’ve ensured that our space will feel comfortable if we have the same number of attendees as last time, but of course we’re eagerly hoping to smash that record!

As before, all of our rewards are digital and what physical items we do have are very limited so we aren’t spending funds on shipping or production.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

A reminder of why I’m on @Patreon

Hi y’all, just a quick post on why I’m on Patreon, and why support to do the work of I Need Diverse Games non-profit without a day job is important. I was working a full time, very demanding job for the first year and some months of #INeedDiverseGames going from a viral hashtag, to a community that grew quickly thanks to many of you.

However, I was burning out fast; and while it was a huge blow to lose my main source of income when I lost my day job in December 2015, that allowed me the freedom to pursue this work full time, and with a lot of support of people who didn’t give up on me I’m able to do this but it’s still a struggle. As of this post I’m at about 1200 a month which covers rent and a couple bills.

As I explain below, ideally a monthly patronage of about $2-$3K a month would help me do all this work, not have to fret about literally keeping the lights on, or the internet paid which I need in order to do this work.

If I could hit my next goal of $1,750 a month, which isn’t that far from my current level of patronage, I could breathe easier next month.

Some perks you get include early access to episodes of Fresh Out of Tokens podcast before the general public, updates on what I’m doing regarding I Need Diverse Games, blog posts (which will resume more regularly after fall conventions are done) and now a Patreon only Discord channel on my server.

So please consider supporting my work so I can continue to run the I Need Diverse Games non-profit, have the flexibility to attend conventions and write for places such as Vice and Polygon when they take pitches. Unvarnished truth is that if I have to go back to a regular 9-5 job? INDG will die because it’s not in a place to be handed off, and with almost two years of work under the bridge, it’s got a lot of potential to grow. Being here instead of in cubicle hell means I have the time, I just need the support.

Thank you for reading, sharing and supporting ❤

I Need Diverse Games is my full time job thanks to being abruptly let go from my previous employer in December 2015, but also because I Need Diverse Games has become a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization as of August 13th, 2016. Because of this change, I’m dedicating all my time and resources available, but doing this doesn’t generate a lot of money to keep the lights on, pay for miscellaneous things that you need daily. In fact, keeping I Need Diverse Games afloat would cost me what little I had to spare when I was employed.

To survive, pay my rent and keep fed, along with the cat, etc I need to ideally pull in $2000 a month, but to truly have all bills paid, be able to attend conventions, etc I need to hit a goal of about $3K a month. I outlined this in a recent post on my blog, and I’ve copied some of that below.
Ideally I would need at least $2000 – $3000 a month coming in to cover the following:
Rent $950 a month
Bills, including internet, electricity, cooking gas, etc. ($650)
Pet costs ($125)
Groceries ($300)
Transit costs ($100 a month, unlimited rides on CTA)
INDG related Travel & Doing cost of business expenses (which could also be pulled from INDG for specific reasons/conventions)

If you can help me support myself while I do this work it would be great. Thank you in advance for any help you can give so I can continue to do this full time. Please note, that there is a separate Patreon for I Need Diverse Games, found at patreon.com/INeedDivGms

Survived my first(?) PAX West (cross post from Patreon)

PAXWest

(originally posted on 6 September on my Patreon)

So I did the thing, all the things at PAX West this year. Apparently it’s the first year it’s being called West instead of Prime in an official capacity. So I was on six panels! Four of them in one day and survived. if I ever, ever say that kind of thing again, check me and remind me how it’s a bad idea. Remind me of how damned exhausted I was on that first night of PAX and could barely put one foot in front of another by the end of the ay.

Overall panels I was on went well, we had surprisingly great numbers for all of them, even our panel on making the case for diversity with data. I assumed that at a gamer/nerd convention anything with data in it wouldn’t draw a crowd but happily, I was wrong! We got great questions too!

There’s only audio for one panel I was on, Git Gud Ally, thanks to Bryce Johnson, who co-moderated with me. The lovelyStormka uploaded our deck so you can get our tips and such. That was the last panel for me on Sunday, and we had a great time.

I know folks live tweeted some panels I was on, if they could get a signal. A lot of those rooms had no reception or really spotty if you moved a hair to the left or right you lost 4G or WiFi.

Our table at the Diversity Lounge went well, we made some loot thanks to having the game dev Barbie to raffle off and some people just being generous. That was a good thing that came from me being on so many panels I think. A lot of people seeing the work, hearing about I Need Diverse Games so much over the weekend. Also realizing we’re a non-profit seemed to get a lot of connections made too.

On a personal note it was nice to see some of the Bioware folks again, I got to panel with Patrick Weekes, and see Eplerj, Mel Fleming, met Cam Harris (former Bioware) and a lot of community of folks I knew only via twitter. Got to see Sa Roux in her fabulous Tal-Vashoth Inquisitor cosplay and tweeted it out! 

I was able to periscope one panel I attended, Playing with Pride by Matt Baume and James Morris,  Great to see their work progress, loving the documentary. I also tried to meld into the floor during sections where I was shown.

Still working on that being known thing. One last, sweet thing before I tie up this post. Three young folks came up to me after the last panel I was on Friday night and said they were glad to see me on it. That they were worried about it being kind of bro’ish because of the title. But they told me that because they saw my name, it would be ok. That the panel would be good. That’s so humbling, and heartwarming.

It also reminded me that you never know what impact you, your work and your words have on people. I have never been to PAX West in my life, yet these three folks who came to PAX, and saw my name felt good about coming to panels I was on! So yeah, that made me very happy and humbled all at the same time.

Now to relax today before a full day of meetings and then I go home for three weeks then GaymerX 4 in Santa Clara!

Semi-infrequent reminders of how to support my work

Hey y’all! Here is a handy post on how you can support my work. A lot of people say they love what I do, and want me to keep doing it, but hey bills don’t pay themselves, Comcast won’t wait for their money and the cat needs kibble, I need food, y’all know how it goes.

The straight up, no bullshit thing is; if I have to go back to a regular 9-5 gig then I Need Diverse Games will die off. I cannot maintain that work, do conventions and other things with a regular gig AND do the level of work for INDG that I am now and have it still be a thing I am proud of, that I got to where it is now along with friends and supporters. There’s a separate patreon for I Need Diverse Games, but this post is about ways to keep a roof over my head so I can continue to do this full time.

Luckily, there’s a few ways to help keep me afloat.

               patreon_logo_black Patreon – patreon.com/cypheroftyr

Why I’m on Patreon:

#INeedDiverseGames is my full time job thanks to being abruptly let go from my previous employer in December 2015. I’m dedicating all my time and resources available, but doing this doesn’t generate a lot of money, it usually costs me what little I had to spare when I was employed. To survive, pay my rent and keep fed, along with the cat, etc I need to ideally pull in at least $2000 a month, but to truly have all bills paid, be able to attend conventions, etc I need to hit a goal of about $3K a month. I outlined this in a recent post on my blog, and I’ve copied some of that below.

Ideally I would need at least $2000 – $3000 a month coming in to cover the following:
Rent $925 a month [Goes up to $950 on October 1st]
Bills, including internet, electricity, cooking gas, etc. ($650)
Pet costs ($125)
Groceries ($300)
Transit costs ($100 a month, unlimited rides on CTA)
INDG related Travel & Doing cost of business expenses (which could also be pulled from INDG for specific reasons/conventions)

If you can help me support myself while I do this work it would be great. Thank you in advance for any help you can give so I can continue to do this full time.

I’ve got a decent social media presence, almost 5900 followers on twitter, over 1500 on tumblr, the I Need Diverse Games tumblr has over 7K followers. If even half my twitter followers pledged $1 a month, I could do this without worrying too much about money and keeping a roof over my head.
Maybe you’re thinking a monthly commitment to $X in support isn’t your thing, you can’t but you still want to help? I’ve got a paypal.me button (and no shame) if you’ve got some loot in your pocket that would help out I can give it a good home.
paypal me logo
paypal.me/cypheroftyr

 

Lastly, I like to write! I’ve written quite a bit and if you’re in a position to pay for articles, opinion pieces or maybe need some diversity consulting done, that’s another way to help support & keep me working! I also go to conventions, and if you have a local con and/or a way to get me to a not-so local event, you can send that info to me via this page on my site.

 

ICYMI – I got to interview @tanyaxshort for @ViceGaming about Moon Hunters

moon-hunters-is-brown-and-beautiful-body-image-1471446995-size_1000

When I first played Kitfox Games’s Moon Hunters, it reminded me of the 16-bit games I’d grown up with, RPGs where you had to run for your life from wildlife, or duck into caves to find treasure, or save up to buy the best weapon in the game.

But while I loved RPGs from a young age, characters who looked like me didn’t exist. If I was lucky, I might get a NPC that was a sort of ambiguous, video-game brown—not explicitly black but (probably) not white. Unlike those games of my youth, though, Moon Hunters has both playable characters and NPC’s that are unmistakably people of color. Best of all, there’s no exoticization or fetishization of these characters, and no unnecessary explanation for why they’re there. They just are.

That prompted me to ask developer Tanya X. Short a few questions about the game’s diversity, guiding mythology and the reaction it received from the gaming community.

VICE: So you can choose from four different character classes at the start of Moon Hunters. My first time playing through the game, I chose the Witch, and was happy to find that she was a woman of color. I did have a moment when I thought, Why is the witch a WOC, why are we always the exotic or the mystic? But her character is well done, clothed pragmatically, has an interesting backstory that fits with the mythology you build up as you play. Did you have any concerns with how her character could be received since she’s a witch and uses blood magic?

Tanya X. Short: We were briefly concerned about fundamentalists being upset about a few things [like blood magic] in the game, but we figured we could probably handle a little criticism on that front. After all, we at least tried to be inspired by aspects of of ancient Assyrian and Sumerian traditions—we weren’t literally glorifying demon-worship and necromancy, unlike, say, Diablo. There are a few themes you could say were not just pre-Biblical but maybe even anti-biblical, but they’re fairly subtle and (I like to think) reasoned.

I did worry about the Witch (since she’s a woman of color) being perceived as some kind of throwback stereotype of a vodun priestess or something, but we didn’t really have to change much about her, honestly—she was always a spear-wielding, defined character in her own right, not a reference or callback. It probably helps that she’s not the only person of color around.

Read the rest over at Vice.com 

Well, shit

So I guess I’m at the end of my unemployment benefits as of this week. I certified, did my due diligence and today only got paid out one week of unemployment instead of two as expected. I got no warning letter that hey, your benefits are ending soon, I wasn’t warned that I was at the end when I logged in to certify on Monday. The payment history even says I was paid for two weeks, but I wasn’t.

This is spectacularly bad timing as I leave for a convention tomorrow and I have to pay for a hotel room and the usual con expenses. I’ve got a bit in savings but it’s not going to carry me for long. I can’t even call IDES until 8:30am CDT to find out what’s up or if I can get an extension on benefits.

So I’m going to be in a bit of a money panic until I find out if I can extend my unemployment benefits at all. Considering my state hasn’t had a budget in almost a year, I am not hopeful of that happening. Worst case scenario, I cash out my 403B, but that means a trip back to effin past work place to get the paperwork.

For now, I’m putting my Patreon back out there, especially since a new month is right around the corner. If I can’t get an extension on unemployment benefits, or find something even part time, I’m up the creek without a paddle. So if you can signal boost, or spare even $1 a month, I’d greatly appreciate it.

patreon.com/cypheroftyr

Why Tanya DePass is on Patreon

#INeedDiverseGames is my full time job thanks to being abruptly let go from my previous employer in December 2015. I’m dedicating all my time and resources available, but doing this doesn’t generate a lot of money, it usually costs me what little I had to spare when I was employed. To survive, pay my rent and keep fed, along with the cat, etc I need to ideally pull in at least $2000 a month, but to truly have all bills paid, be able to attend conventions, etc I need to hit a goal of about $3K a month.I outlined this in a recent post on my blog, and I’ve copied some of that below.

Ideally I would need at least $2000 – $3000 a month coming in to cover the following:

Rent $925 a month [Goes up October 1st]

Bills, including internet, electricity, cooking gas, etc. ($650)

Pet costs ($125)

Groceries ($300)

Transit costs ($100 a month, unlimited rides on CTA)

INDG related Travel & Doing cost of business expenses (which could also be pulled from INDG for specific reasons/conventions)

If you can help me support myself while I do this work it would be great. Thank you in advance for any help you can give so I can continue to do this full time.


June Update – xposted from Patreon

INDG Twitch Banner

Hey y’all,  hope everyone is well out there. First off thanks for the support especially those who stayed around through the ups and downs of end of May/beginning of June. Support was close to $1200 a month, then dipped dramatically after signal boosting some other folks, which I can’t control but it’s really saddening to have support yanked from me for merely linking to others work.

So what have I been up to? Too much actually 😦

March, April and May were pretty non-stop including PAX East, Penguicon, Wiscon, a local Star Trek pop culture conference, speaking at a class at my alma mater along with Jenn C, paneling at the Science Fiction Writers Association  (SFWA) conference in Chicago and the Chicago Video Game Law Summit; also in Chicago.

Thankfully June is much quieter, with just CONVergence at the end of the month, and Podcast Movement at the first weekend of July and I’m pretty much done with conventions until PAX Prime in September, Praise Andraste.

There’s been other stuff going on, least of which is some severe burnout, thus the slowing to a crawl progress on a lot of things I’m doing. I put out a call for help on the #INeedDiverseGames side and have gotten some offers which I need to reply to this week.

ICYMI, one article I did put up here and eventually out in the gen population of my social media is So You Want to Describe a POC Character?

So what’s coming in June on here in terms of writing and such? Not sure actually, I’ve been really struggling with that lately even when given a topic. I’m working on a paid piece so that’s taking my focus a bit.  I’m trying to do more original video content, but that’s a steeper learning curve than I expected 😦

So if you’re supporting at the $10 level and above, drop requests below and now that I am not so omgwtf I just need  ten naps busy I should be able to write something if not by the end of June, then definitely in July.

So that’s what’s up with me and life right now. To be frank, I’m burned out at both ends but I’m muddling through and without everyone’s support I couldn’t keep a roof over my head for the last six months. So thank you, thank you for your continued support.

It means the world to me and is literally keeping me safe, dry and housed.

*Header image by Alamarri on tumblr. Please give her a shout and if you need artwork done, she’s lovely.

ICYMI – I’ll be on the Geek Show – Videogames edition

A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES!

…and it is VStheUNIVERSE with their hit variety show “The Geek Show!”

GeekShow VG Ed

Next month the VtU crew are celebrating everyone’s favorite pastime: Video Games!

Join VStheUNIVERSE as they welcome guests Tanya DePass from#INeedDiverseGames and local Robomodo studio developer Josh Tsui as they talk about the current gaming scene! VStheUNIVERSE will also be premiering a brand new video sketch, welcoming a vocal performance by Matt Payne, and giving away some great games from local developers!

As always, tickets are FREE! Show starts at 8PM but get there early to grab a seat and a drink from the bar!

Let’s see how many Bioware Hoodie changes I can pull off in one appearance!

—- VStheUNIVERSE includes:

Aaron J. Amendola
Chris Chapin
Sam Begich

—- and are joined by:

John Craig, Rachel Goffinet, Jessica Kent, & Jamie McCabe

 

Forced change is happening…

I got back to work from GX3 today to unpack my office, get everything settled and then was let go. I had no sense this was coming. After all who would be that low-down and dirty right? Well apparently my now former supervisor would be that’s who.

indg3

So I come to y’all humbly asking for help and support to do this work full time while I try to figure things out. I have a Patreon, well two really. One is to support my work as #INeedDiverseGames and the other is to support me, keep a roof over my head etc.

Right now I need far more support on my personal Patreon as I have no idea if I will get unemployment or have to fight for it. If I have to fight the state and former employer that could drag out for a while, or worst case scenario I’ll have to cash out my retirement well before I am ready to do so.

#INeedDiverseGames has become my full time job thanks to being abruptly let go from my previous employer after returning from GX3. Now I will be able to dedicate the time and resources it deserves from me. To survive, pay my rent and keep fed, along with the cat;etc I need to ideally pull in at least $1750 a month, but to truly have all bills paid, etc I need to hit a goal of about $3K a month. I outlined this in a recent post on my blog, and I’ve copied some of that below.

Ideally I would need at least $2200 – $3000 a month coming in to cover the following:
Rent $925 a month
Bills, including internet, electricity, cooking gas, etc. ($650)
Pet costs ($125)
Groceries ($350)
Transit costs ($100 a month, unlimited rides on CTA)
INDG related Travel & Doing cost of business expenses (which could also be pulled from INDG for specific reasons/conventions)

So if you can help me support myself while I do this work it would be great. Thank you in advance for any help you can give.

Tech Upgrades for #INeedDiverseGames ~ GoFundMe update, signal boost request

So, under the #INeedDiverseGames  hashtag we’ve been doing some great things! However, keeping on with those great things requires some tech upgrades that don’t come cheap.

In order to do things like stream games, write reviews and get some future initiatives going, upgraded and new tech is needed.

As the creator of the hashtag, as someone who wants to keep the conversation & work about diversity in gaming going, I ask that you help out with some of these upgrades/new tech so that the work can continue and improve.

So far, we’ve received$650 of the $1100 goal.  I’d love to reach it soon so a laptop can be purchased that will meet our needs, and a good mic for podcasting.

If you can signal boost this, or if possible drop a few bucks, we’d really appreciate it.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us, signal boosted, donated. We couldn’t do a lot of this work without your support.

Continue reading “Tech Upgrades for #INeedDiverseGames ~ GoFundMe update, signal boost request”