Work in Progress and Weekend Recap

Picture of child in hoodie hiding behind table. On the front of the table is a large banner which reads "No, Mine! Studios; Suzanne Skaar; nominestudios.com; @nominestudios". A row of pixel art dinosaurs runs along bottom of banner.

Happy Wednesday!

I am still moving slowly after a great weekend at Tacoma’s Arts at the Armory. Junior Play Tester Izzy and her dad Tim put in a lot of work to help me set up the table and encourage others to check out my early stages game demo. I am grateful for the enthusiasm shown my project by gamers and designers of all ages. I hope I was able to point individuals interested in developing their own games in the right direction. I would love to see what you create! For those who need the links, check out the following free resources:

Audacity (audio editing software)

BeepBox (online tool for making and sharing melodies)

Unity (game engine software)

I even had the honor of a little dinosaur testing the dinosaur game. Thank you!

On Saturday evening, I also was given a quick tour of the Armory by the House Manager so I could take reference photos. This building is a great mix of modern and old school spooky, and I’ll probably share some behind-the-scenes pictures through Instagram later.

While the overall atmosphere of the event was kind and welcoming, there is one issue I would like to address. Tim and I have always been supportive of each other’s creative work. When he was invited to art shows in Tacoma and Seattle, I would help carry work into the venues and chat up his paintings to attendees. When I first started working on the game in June 2020, he offered to help although he had never used the game engine I was teaching myself to use. I turned down his offer as this was my project, and if I received help from him, others would assume that he did the lion share of the work. Several articles have been written on this subject matter, from how academic authors are credited through an insightful interview with one of my favorite musicians of all time. No matter how Tim may try to point out to others that he was just helping, that is not what would come across. I initially hesitated to accept staffing help during the event because of these concerns, and he was very conscientious about the situation.

Any time someone would mistakenly refer to Tim as the game developer on Saturday, he would gently correct them. It was easy to do as my name was prominently displayed in large letters on the table banner and on the business cards our daughter was shoving into the hands of passersby. [She took this duty very seriously.] Then on Sunday morning, that approach didn’t work, and Tim actually found himself arguing on my behalf with a few folks that he didn’t work on the game, that it was my art, and, with the exception of physically lugging the equipment to the show, I was doing it all on my own. This is an issue he had never had when I showed up to support his art shows, but it is an issue I have had to contend with multiple times over the years. To avoid further discussions along these lines, I ended up managing the booth for the rest of the weekend on my own. It was a little disheartening but a good reminder of what motivated me to work on this project in the first place. Dismissing women’s capabilities — especially without prior knowledge of the individual’s experience, education, skills, etc. — needs to stop; as such, the impact of societal gender constructs on credibility is a theme of the game.

With that out of the way, notes that were given on the project are being taken seriously. For example, those who expressed disappointment that I had not yet added a volcano will be happy to know they can jump in one.*

They can also jump out, too, because I don’t like violent games.

It was a little surprising how many adults want to throw a cute little dinosaur, one of my favorite creations, into a pit of molten lava. (Poor dino.) But there you go.

TLDR:
Thank you for your support as I continue working on this endeavor. It means a lot to me.

–Suzanne

*Please don’t jump into a volcano. I haven’t attempted it myself, but I’m fairly certain it would hurt. A lot.

Like, a lot a lot.