Developer Diary: 4 Months

4 months ago I started developing a 2D pixel art game by myself: the artwork, the writing, the music, and building the project in Unity. I’m still in the early phases of my project timeline, but I wanted to share progress so far.

Thank you to everyone who has given advice and support. If you like what you see, please drop a line in the comments and/or share this with friends.

Onward!

Dinosaurs and other Updates

Summer has been fairly busy. On top of entertaining a kid during a pandemic and planning for homeschool, I’ve had other projects in the works. I was asked to submit work to a by invitation-only call for cyberpunk stories to a journal overseas. Regardless of whether my story gets picked up for publication, it was an honor to be asked, especially as I haven’t written in this genre before. I’ve been volunteering locally as I’ve been able. Remote meetings are a lifesaver for individuals with chronic illnesses/ conditions like migraines, arthritis, and motherhood (ahem), so I hope this trend continues after the pandemic. The ability to turn off the video and audio functions is especially appreciated. A laughing, streaking kid in the house did elicit momentary panic at one point.

In the relatively quiet moments and through the chaos, I have begun to make significant progress on my biggest project to date [Master’s thesis be damned]: an indie narrative game combining many of my favorite subjects.

Here is a peek at the main character:

Mini Dino Pixel Art.
Mini Dino Pixel Art (side view). Suzanne Skaar. 2020. All rights reserved.

Dino Front view Idle 8 19 2020
Front view Dino character, idle. Suzanne Skaar, 2020. Animation/ pixel art. Work in progress. All rights reserved.

My last programming class was in high school, more than 20 years ago, so I have been teaching myself Unity, a development platform which is free to users up to a certain revenue bracket. Brackeys tutorials on YouTube have been on repeat for months in the house. They are awesome: go check them out! Thanks to the site Beepbox, I have also been working on digital music composition for the first time. I first started using Audacity for podcasts a few years back, and it continues to be a great tool for artists. [While I’m not ready to share some of my serious attempts yet, my co-conspirator did willingly lend her vocals to this “parenting dance anthem.” It was created using Beepbox and Audacity.] 

Other snippets of the game art are up on the No Mine! Studios Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. I’ve set myself a soft deadline of December (6 months from when I started) to get basic art in place so I can focus on research, writing, and mechanics. This game is a one mother show. If you are on the above platforms, please follow for updates, like, and share. Your support means a lot!

Dinosaur animation

Spoiler alert: Swearing ahead.

I haven’t posted much at all since schools closed and I took over homeschooling/ enteraining my mini-me during my normal working hours. The work I have done has been in short bursts, then set aside to focus on the crisis of the day.

And then came last week. Protesters rightfully gathering to speak out against police brutality inspired our country’s “president” to declare war on the nation. I’m honestly surprised he made it to his last year before unleashing the military on citizens. He wasted no time detaining babies and children and tearing apart immigrant families.

I guess all those weekends playing golf saved the rest of the country this long.

But here we are. Tear gas and pepper spray and rubber bullets are being used on peaceful protesters in a country whose constitution states right to assemble as fucking rule number one. Journalists are being targeted and arrested on camera, just like in other authoritarian regimes. In Seattle, attendees at the peaceful gatherings were detained from Sunday evening through Tuesday afternoon because the courts closed on Monday and police officers are choosing to violate their duties to protect and serve the people.

My city, Tacoma, imposed a curfew yesterday. Tonight there’s a vigil in honor of Manuel Ellis, who died at the hands of Tacoma police. [Click the link to help his family with legal fees.]

This happened despite our community and state voting for deescalation legislation. Manuel’s death was EXACTLY what this legislation was designed to prevent. And yet…

I digress. I promised a new dinosaur animation. I made this last night while trying to take a break from thinking about what’s going on right now.

 

If you liked this video, please donate to a local protesters’ bail fund or your local ACLU. [If you hated it, donate double.]

 

Keep fighting however you can. You don’t have to be on the frontlines to make a difference.

Suzanne

 

Controlling the Narrative

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Photo by Tacoma Knights of Pythias/KKK member Marvin Boland of Pythians in “redface,” available through the Tacoma Public Library Digital Archives online: “‘Tahmamaiwis,’ a Native American drama, was presented under the auspices of Tacoma Temple No. 58, PythianSisters, at Castle Hall on September 25, 1924. Castle Hall was located in the Knights of Pythias Commencement Lodge #7, 924-26 Broadway. The play was written by Mrs. Laura B. Downey Bartlett of Tacoma in what the Daily Ledger called the ‘inter-tribal’ language. Examples of tribal baskets are also on display. G23.1-069 (Tacoma Sunday Ledger, 9-28-24, 6B)”

In honor of Women’s Day, check out my latest essay on Medium, “Controlling the Narrative: Gatekeeping, Secret Societies, and the Good Ol’ Boys Network.” This work, adapted from my 2019 presentation for Portland’s Drunken Discourse, explores the inherent sexism and racism of the fraternal order Knights of Pythias. This organization’s history, current structure, and practices are too often glossed over, despite receiving taxpayer funds from the City of Tacoma to make archival materials available to the public. I share some of my own personal experiences with the Tacoma chapter which led me to research this topic, as well as a bibliography for further reading.

If, like me, you think this kind of work is important, then please follow me on Medium (@suzanneskaar) and share this article with friends. I am also available to give the full presentation. Please contact me at suzanneskaar@gmail.com for more information.

I appreciate your support.

 

New Work

I am honored to have a poem included in The London Reader’s Winter 2019 issue: “Motherhood: Stories of Love, Loss, & Life.”

Per the publication, “10 percent of revenue from this issue is donated to Women’s Aid, a grassroots federation in the UK working to provide life-saving services and to build a future where domestic violence is not tolerated. Find out more about the charity at womensaid.org.uk.”

To purchase this publication or learn more about The London Reader, check out

www.LondonReader.uk

Thank you for your support.

Suzanne

Because sometimes…

you make the mistake of sharing something that bothers you (international media announcements of the Nobel Peace Prize for Economics Winner Esther Duflo and her husband — there, fixed it), but your Facebook friend decides that you haven’t shared your concerns in the right format, so you give up on justifying your right to an opinion and whip up a snarky retort in Photoshop instead.

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Fake news article. Design/ photo: Suzanne Skaar, 2019. Full text below. All rights reserved.

It’s only Wednesday.

 

*********

Descriptive Text for my friends who may be relying on screen readers:

 

EXTRA! EXTRA!

Local Stay-at-home Mom Shares Link on Facebook Without Verifying 30 Additional Sources First

Earth blows up next day.

[Photo of Suzanne being tackled by her daughter. Caption:] Pictured above: Panic on the streets.

Local mother Suzanne Skaar (who claims she has an identity outside being a parent but has not provided any evidence of this) took a break from entertaining her seven-year-old on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 to share a post that “irked [her] based on [her] own experiences working with men on collaborative projects.” After she shared the post, she included links to other articles on this same topic.

This afterthought was not enough to prevent panic on the streets.

Experts agree that, before sharing an opinion, regardless of confirmation that she was not paid for this opinion, she should have at least prepared a bibliography in advance of hitting the share button. As of press time, however, she had still failed to convene a committee to perform a proper peer review.

“It’s my fault,” Skaar admitted. “I should have known to stay away from social media until I had a thesis ready to attach to the post.”

Authorities have not taken any actions as of yet. When asked for comment, an unnamed (Continued on A4)