Game Devs & Others: Tales from the Margins* – Call for Submissions is Open!

In case you missed the announcement, I am editing an anthology for CRC Press, due out in 2018. Submissions open on June 12, 2017 and end on August 15, 2017. Contributors whose work is selected for publication will be paid.

I am writing/editing a book for Focal Press about marginalized folks in games. It will be a series of essays by game developers whose identities intersect and for lack of a better phrase, fall outside the margins of those who usually get to talk about their experiences.I am also seeking people who are adjacent to gaming who could contribute personal essays about their experiences as marginalized gamers.

This book would be a follow up to Jennifer Brandes Hepler’s Women in Game Development: Breaking the Glass Level Cap, released last year.

For details on the submission process, and more about the book, bop on over to this page and if you’re interested, please send in an essay!

 

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.

My Updated @GXAustralia schedule!

me-gxaus-boh

In a couple days I head over to Sydney Australia for the second, and sadly last GX Australia. 😦

We’re gonna make it a great time despite that y’all. I also promise not to fall for the whole Drop Bears thing 😉

Anyway, here’s my schedule for GX Australia, panels and talks in the auditorium will be streamed to Twitch (twitch.tv/gxaustralia) All times are AEST [Australian Eastern Time Zone] Convert to your local time via this handy time zone converter

The full GX Australia schedule: http://www.gxaustralia.com/schedule/ 

FRIDAY 7pm – ?? VIP Event Buckley’s

SATURDAY, 12pm, BIG ANT PANEL ROOM

“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.

SATURDAY, 2pm, AUDITORIUM*

“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

SATURDAY, 3pm, AUDITORIUM*

“Diversity 404: What Next?”

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?

SUNDAY, 11am, AUDITORIUM*

“Why A Customisable Character Isn’t Diversity”

Tanya DePass – Boss of Honor talk

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.

SUNDAY, 12pm, DEVELOPER PANEL ROOM

“Destroying Tropes and Stereotypes In Games”

Tanya DePass, Rae Johnston, 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.

SUNDAY, 3pm, DEVELOPER PANEL ROOM

“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?

SUNDAY, 4pm, BIG ANT PANEL ROOM

“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

 

Pics and such as I can because I’m going to try and get a SIM card once I’m there cause int’l data on my carrier is highway robbery y’all.

Asking for a little help to extend my trip after @GXAustralia next year

I’m a Boss of Honor at the second GX Australia taking place in Sydney, 29 & 30 April, 2017! It’s my second time begin a guest of honor at a convention and will be my first time in Australia!

me-gxaus-boh

Donate help me spend some extra time in Sydney

GX Australia is covering my flight and hotel. So I’ve reduced my goal by half.

I’m my own boss, but being in charge of a non-profit means little money to spare aside from operating expenses and my Patreon doesn’t have enough wiggle room to save any extra money for a holiday.

Ideally, I’d love to be able to spend a little extra time there, since who knows when or if I’ll ever be able to get back to Australia!

So I’m just looking to raise $1500 USD which will be for additional nights in the hotel, so I can get a mini-holiday in before returning state-side.

When do I need the funds? Not for a couple of months now.

Thank you for helping out with this once in a lifetime chance.

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

ICYMI, I’m a Boss of Honor at @GXAustralia!

me-gxaus-boh

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 2017!
GX Australia 2017!

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.

GX Australia only has 8 days left on their Kickstarter and a little ways to go to be fully funded!

Please boost, and if you can donate. Even if you can’t go to Australia, you can help this great convention return to Sydney!

BACK THIS PROJECT