It’s been a little too chaotic to post lately, but I hope 2023 is treating everyone well so far!
Quick note: I missed the camaraderie of pre-Musk Twitter, so I joined the Mastodon Games server. Here’s the invitation link if you also need another way to goof off connect with others on social media!
Spring 2023 promises to be a great time of personal and professional growth!
Background on why the following news is so important to me:
Like many other artists, I started drawing, painting, and writing as a kid.
I was also diagnosed with migraines as a kid. More recently, in 2018, I was also diagnosed with both bilateral hand arthritis and early-stage glaucoma.
Ironically, working long hours as a VRC without adequate accommodations became unsustainable, and I left the field in December 2018. For a while, I stopped creating art at all, due to both pain and fear of making the latter two conditions worse.
In June 2020, I started designing my first video game with accessibility in mind. I personally can’t enjoy media with flashing lights (a known migraine trigger), and time-sensitive games can be impossible with hand arthritis, so these were the starting points for determining my design process. Thanks to in person game demos, I have been able to incorporate feedback into making gameplay more intuitive. I have received a lot of support in this project, and I still have a long way to go before I’m ready to release the game.
Yesterday I found out I was selected to attend an upcoming AbleGamers’ Accessible Player Experiences (APX) Certified Practitioner Training session for free through the Developers Promoting Accessibility & Diversity (DPAD) Initiative. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to learning how to better apply knowledge and skills from my previous experience as a VRC/CDMS within the gaming industry.
I am excited to share my latest collaboration with Tacoma Artist Mauricio Robalino. Mauricio was awarded a grant as part of the Tacoma Artist Initiative Program to document his work and processes through a series of short videos. Due to the pandemic, we were only able to meet in person a couple of months ago, but since then, I have helped him with recording audio, editing, and shooting additional footage for his project. This series has been a lot of fun to work on!
Here is the link to his video entitled “Artist Philosophy.” Please subscribe to his YouTube channel to check out other videos in the series and share with friends.
I just received word that the City of Tacoma has approved funding for No, Mine! Studios to start the South Side Animation Club!
This all ages/ all-levels gathering will be once a month, free to the public, and is meant to bring more opportunities in the arts to residents in the South End, East Side, and South Tacoma. (It’s not a requirement to live in these neighborhoods: others are welcome to participate, too.)
A large portion of the funding received will be used to compile starter kits with drawing paper, pens, pencils, etc. and more for participants who need supplies. There will also be a projector and screen on hand so that participants can share works in progress.
There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work to take care of before the first meeting in the Spring: securing a venue in the South End Tacoma, getting the word out to interested artists, securing supplies/ equipment, and more. If you want to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am grateful to the City of Tacoma for this opportunity. I’ll share more news as it becomes available.
Recently, I began pitching my exciting new business venture, Yeetcosystem (TM). The first promotional video is up now. Please check it out, unless you’re not allowed to watch videos with a swear word in them. [I forgot to bleep something. I blame sleep deprivation/ laziness/ being a grown up who occasionally uses mild curse words in public.]
In other news, I am happy to announce that No, Mine! Studios will be back at Tacoma’s Arts at the Armory event on December 10 and 11, 2022! I’ll be listed in the materials under my name (Suzanne Skaar) in case you have troubles finding me at the Armory. The dino game will available for playtesting for those interested in seeing the latest progress. I’ll also have buttons and stickers for sale for those looking for last minute holiday gifts.
A huge thank you to everyone who came by to show their support at Grit City Comic Show! And thank you for your patience regarding our technical difficulties. Who knew affordable access to electricity for vendors would be so vital to a game demo at a convention?
This is a few days later than I had hoped, but I wanted to say thank you to everyone who attended the Tacoma Arts Month Kaleidoscope Kickoff Party at the STAR Center. Thank you to the City of Tacoma and Metro Parks staff and the Tacoma Arts Commission for this great opportunity! And a special thanks to the Arts Commission for accepting my game into the 2021-2022 Tacoma Artist Initiative Program. The game demo went well, and I can’t express how much I appreciate the support!
It was great to see 2021-2022 Tacoma Artist Initiative Program recipients Curtis Ashby and Tamiko Nimura! [Tamiko is a 2022 AMOCAT Award Winner! ] Thank you to the Tacoma Arts Commissioners, artists, and staff who popped in to say hi and check out the game in between taking care of other duties for the party. And I loved seeing how far indie game devs will go to support each other, like Natasha who came all the way from Seattle! (Check out her work!) It was absolutely a packed house at times, so I didn’t get a chance to thank everyone personally.
I am especially grateful for my co-parent Tim Kapler and Izzy’s hard work. In addition to helping with the setup and tear down processes, I was informed by several attendees that Izzy did a great job directing people to the game demo, as well as pitching the game itself. Despite being encouraged by both parents to focus on enjoying the party, multiple trips to the pancake station and the Grand Cinema’s table for popcorn only strengthened the Junior Tester’s resolve to make sure everybody in the building had a studio business card and tried the game for themselves.
I ran out of stickers and buttons at the event, but more will be available for sale at the Grit City Comic Show on October 22 at the Tacoma Convention Center. Please let me know via email (email@example.com) if there is a specific item you are looking for, and I’ll do my best to have it on hand (within reason). I also have a smaller set up for those who haven’t gotten a chance to check out the game progress yet.
Because a few individuals asked, I am available to speak to local classes and am open to teaching beginning animation and digital art classes. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those who asked about the tools I am using to make my game, I’ll share a more in-depth blog post later this link, along with links to tutorials that I have found helpful.
A common theme of the night was talking to people who had either made an indie game and not released it, or wanted to make an indie game but didn’t know where to start. If you are interested in seeing more indie games flourish in Tacoma, let’s connect! There are so many talented creators here in the 253! I want to see the local dev’s game about revolution in my Steam account!!! (I didn’t grab your contact info, so please contact me if you see this!)
There are many ways to help support No, Mine! Studios. If you haven’t yet done so, you can like and follow No, Mine! Studios for more frequent updates on the following social media platforms:
Financial contributions are appreciated. I am considering options such as crowdfunding to hire a local programmer to help get the game ready for publication. Until that campaign kicks off, you can buy a dino a coffee here. And you can buy some of my art onlinehere.
Thank you again for your support, Tacoma and beyond!
In this picture: Text: “As Yet Untitled Dino Game; 2021-2022 TAIP Funded Project; Suzanne Skaar.” Background art: screen capture of black and white pixel art dinosaur peering over green brick wall in underground environment. Different colored pipes form networks throughout the foreground and background of the picture. Pink No, Mine! Studios logo is in the bottom right corner.
I’ll be presenting at the next Tacoma Arts Commission meeting!
Join us online on Monday, September 12, 2022 at 5 p.m. I’ll be talking about my experience as part of the 2021-2022 Tacoma Arts Initiative Program Funded Cohort and progress on my first game. Information is available on the City of Tacoma’s website.
Stop by and test the latest progress on the as-yet-untitled dino game.The last public demo was at the October 2021 Arts at the Armory event. There’s still so much to do, but I am excited to share the progress made since then!
For those interested in being included in the game as an NPC, I’ll have audio recording equipment and permission forms on hand as well. 🙂
I received support for the research and development of game background art from the Tacoma Arts Commission through the 2021-2022 Tacoma Artist Initiative Program. (While the Kickoff Party will mark the completion of my participation in the program, I’ll definitely be working on the game for the foreseeable future.) For those who would like to learn more about this program, I’ll be talking about my TAIP experience at the September 12 Commission meeting.
You can help support this small, Tacoma-based business by liking, following, and sharing @nominestudios on the following platforms: