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.

Ahoy there!

The last few weeks seemed to be a string of mechanical failures: from the car to multiple doctor visits by two members of the family, one also kind of caused by the car. (Annual reminder: the one time you don’t tell your kid to watch their fingers when shutting the car door will be the one time you need to rush them to the ER for X-rays. Nothing was broken, but it was still a very traumatic, expensive lesson.)

Thanks to my co-parent’s brother, the car/ a.k.a. “finger smasher” is working again. In an attempt to take a break from the chaos while also doing research for a few projects, I signed us up for a family trek on the Lady Washington.

Lady Washington docked in Tacoma. 6/25/2021. Photo by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved.

This was the second time I have ever been on this ship. The first was during a Nisqually Middle School oceanography field trip to look for whales. I didn’t see any. As I recall, the trio of nerds of which I was a part spent much of the day struggling with sunburns and motion sickness. It was still such a cool experience, so when I found out the ship was docked in Tacoma, I wanted to share it with my daughter.

My child threatening a random insect by the waterfront: 6/25/2021. Posted here with her permission. Photo by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved.

We didn’t tell her where we were going, but when she figured it out, she was excited, too. I came prepared with an OTC children’s motion sickness med, which she and her dad decided to take just in case. I also loaded my camera bag with snacks and cans of 7-Up. Although the ship didn’t leave Commencement Bay, the little one had a rough time up until right before came back to the dock. So in essence, I did share my experience with her, but not in the way I had hoped.

My child on the Lady Washington, June 2021: posted here with her permission. Photo by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved.

I need to accept that our Scandinavian ancestors were most likely landlocked farmers and not fearsome, seafaring Vikings.

Concept illustration of what the artist’s great-grandparents’ journey from Norway could have looked like, originally included in April 2019 Tripod Series slideshow presentation by Suzanne Skaar, 2019. All rights reserved.

The crew did their best to help make kiddo feel better and recommended hanging out in the back close to where the Captain was stationed in order to not minimize her seasickness.

Lady Washington Crew: 6/25/2021. Photo by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved.
The Captain of Lady Washington. 6/25/2021. Photo by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved.

In between juggling parenting duties and documenting the experience, the outing was a great chance to learn about history,

History Talk on the Lady Washington: 6/25/2021. Photo by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved.

enjoy the sea and the sun before the Pacific Northwest heatwave hit,

Bell on Lady Washington. 6/25/2021. Photo by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved.

and look at our city from a different perspective.

Tacoma Marina. 6/25/2021. Photo by Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved.

Kiddo said she enjoyed our day despite not feeling well, but our next adventure will be on a much smaller vessel: like a pedal boat.

Big news!

And now it’s official! I just signed my Tacoma Artist Initiative Program contract. I am grateful to the Tacoma Arts Commission for sponsoring me as I research and develop assets for my video game. I’ll be giving an artist talk later in the year on the technical aspects of this project and what accessibility means in art, community, and our daily lives. I will also be sharing details on how the local community can become part of the game.

Acceptance into this program was the catalyst for another major leap. No Mine Studios LLC (named after a once constant refrain from my daughter when she was younger) is an official business within the State of Washington.

Thank you everyone who has supported me in this endeavor over the years. More updates to come!

Good News

Animated gif of a dinosaur happily bouncing up and down side to side.

I am pleased to announce that I have received a Tacoma Artist Initiative Program Award for the 2021-2022 cycle! I’m honored to be included as there are many great artists on the list. Thank you everyone for your support through this process. More details to come, including how to watch my artist talk later in the year.

Voiceover Challenge

I have been seeing the TikTok Commercial Voiceover Challenge everywhere lately, so I decided to give it a try. You can watch it on YouTube by clicking here, or on TikTok by clicking here.

If you like what you see, please follow No Mine! Studios on the following platforms:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nominestudios​

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nominestudios

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nominestudios

TikTok (nominestudios): https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMeFQQTMx

Thank you for your support!

Suzanne

Fun with Audio

While working on a new game animation sequence yesterday, I decided to take a go at some audio. Watch through the end for my voice acting debut. I may have made a few slight — major — adjustments to my voice using Audacity.

I don’t mean to brag, but usually I’m an alto.

I’m not even sure what range this would be.

I originally created individual sprites/ environmental elements in Photoshop and composited the scene/ set up the mechanics in Unity. Other sounds were made using BeepBox. Audio was added in Adobe Premiere Pro. This is still very much a work in progress.

I hope you’re having a wonderful day. Let me know what you think in the comments. If you’d like to show your support, please follow No Mine! Studios on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok!

Cheers,

Suzanne

Dino Game Update

Hi.

I started working on my first video game in June 2020. Progress is coming along nicely. I’m striving a balance between pushing forward and fleshing out the first game level’s overall layout while going back and refining existing work. The following trailer contains some new in-game scenes. Tacoma people might recognize a couple of shout outs.

Thank you for following along as I tackle my largest project to date!

If you haven’t yet done so, connect with No Mine! Studios on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and now even TikTok. I would love your support!

Suzanne