Resources

Happy Friday!

As promised earlier this week and to those I spoke with at the City of Tacoma Kaleidoscope Kickoff Party, here are some resources that I have found useful while working on my as yet untitled dino game.

Screencapture of how a scene is assembled in Unity. Artwork by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

GAME ENGINE

I am building my game in Unity, which is free for individuals who make under a certain amount of income from games per year. I am brand new, and I have definitely not come close to that threshhold yet. Another engine that other artists like using is Unreal. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m thinking about testing it when I start on my next project. A great benefit of Unreal is that they do offer funds for some projects. Here’s the link for more info.

2022 8 1 Progress. In game capture. As yet untitled dino game by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

GRAPHICS

(NOTE: This is not a paid promotion by Adobe. If they would like to change that, my bank account is all ears.)

I create the initial designs of characters, objects, and background art in Adobe Photoshop. I held on for as long as I could to my 2009 MacBook and hard copy of Photoshop CS 6, but at this point, I am now locked into the full Creative Cloud. It’s expensive, so if others would like to suggest free/ cheap alternatives that work well with Unity, please comment below. The import process between Photoshop and Unity is fairly simple. I can share a sample video of the process if others are interested, but there are also many tutorials on YouTube.

AUDIO

When getting the sound ready for the game, I have used a combination of Audacity (audio editing software), BeepBox (online tool for making and sharing melodies), and more recently, Adobe Audition. The first two are free whereas Audition comes with Creative Cloud subscriptions. I have used Audition more for marketing than content creation so far.

Video capture of in game play. Graphics and sound by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

VIDEO

For video, I have been relying on Open Broadcast Studio (OBS) for screencaptures and Adobe Premiere Pro for compiling videos. OBS is free, and I am still figuring it out. For Creative Cloud subscribers, Audition is linked to Premiere, so changing audio levels or doing simple effects like fade in/ fade out is relatively fast.

TUTORIALS

I started researching how to turn my concept into a game using Unity in March 2020. Since then, I have watched a lot of videos which break down the process of animating sprites, importing audio, and more. Due to updates from game engine platforms, some of these tutorials may become outdated fairly quickly, but I really like the teaching styles of Brackeys and BurgZerg Arcade. While Brackeys is no longer posting new videos, they have a plethora of great ones still up on YouTube. GDC posts a lot of great talks about game design from all angles. From the business side, I recently discovered the Future of Play channel on YouTube. The Publish Me Punish Me series is entertaining and informative.

If you think this kind of post is helpful, please like and share with friends. You can also support No, Mine! Studios on the following social media platforms:

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If you’re local to Tacoma, I would love to see you at Grit City Comic Show on October 22, 2022! In addition to having the game progress available for playing, I’ll have a limited supply of merchandise for sale.

If you’re not able to attend but want to help support No, Mine! Studios financially, you can buy a dino a coffee here and buy art online here.

For media, retail, and event inquiries, please email me at nominestudios@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support!

Suzanne

Stop Normalizing Charging Artists Submission Fees

“If all the other galleries charged submission fees to jump off a bridge, would you?”

“How much is the normal submission fee to jump off the bridge? Will artists have to pay for the bungee cords and protective gear on top of the application fee? Would it be during Art Walk? Will there be a no-host bar?”

An online discussion over the weekend about the ethics of charging artists submission fees led to some misogynist and ableist attacks on my intelligence, mental health, and character, as well as what would seem to be a not-so-veiled threat. So of course, I decided to talk about the practice here.

Artists shouldn’t pay submission fees to have work considered.

Not if the work will be seen by “so many people,” not if “other galleries are charging fees,” and not if accepted artists will receive some kind of perk that can be purchased from that business any other time of the year for the same amount of money as the submission fee.

Other authors have already done excellent jobs on explaining how submission fees frontload the risk of shows onto artists. Martha Knox gives a detailed breakdown on the subject, particularly how the charging of fees maintains the status quo of who is represented in the art world. Please read her article, aptly named “Stop Charging and Paying Artist Submission Fees.”  The site Art Business Info. for Artists covers the phenomenon of “vanity galleries” — galleries which make their money off of artists and not actually selling artists’ work. If you’re just starting out as an artist, or if you know someone who is struggling in this field, please, please read their page for a great list of red flags.

Instead of repeating the information found on these sites, here are resources for finding arts organizations that don’t charge submission fees.

Seattle-based Artist Trust recently revised their opportunities website to list whether an organization charges submission fees up front. They also have a number of grants available for Washington-based artists, as well as assistance for those interested in learning how to apply for said grants.  

Submittable’s advanced search option allows creators to exclude results with fees. If you haven’t used it before, click the “Sign In” button to create a free account.

An international site that I have had luck with in the past for writing opportunities is the UK-based Writers HQ. Not only do they list the compensation writers can expect to receive, “Writers’ HQ will now only be accepting listings from organisations offering accessible submission opportunities for low-income writers.” Many of the opportunities listed are free.

Submission fees are exploitative. Stop normalizing them, and start creating spaces for more artists to thrive.

Suzanne

I try to share resources as I find them. If this kind of advice is helpful, please let me know either in the comments or by email (nominestudios@gmail.com), and I’ll make it a more regular feature on the blog.

Throwback to 2006 Equilibrium Artist Collective first show “Eye Full.” Guest artists were invited to join us at each collective pop-up event, over 100 attendees each event, and not a single submission fee was charged to artists. First “Moped Guy” painting (Suzanne Skaar, 2006) on display in top right corner of background.

Grit City Comic Show 2022

Good morning!

I have been accepted for Tacoma’s 2022 Grit City Comic Show Artist Alley. The last time I participated in this convention I moderated the panel “Making Space: Accessibility and Diversity in Geek Culture“, the show was still going by the name Jet City, and this was the only kind of mask my kid had to worry about.

Photograph: (Child dressed as) Batwoman on swing. Suzanne Skaar. 2019. All rights reserved. (Photo shared with Batwoman’s permission.)

This time, I’ll be demonstrating the latest progress on my game and getting to chat with people at a much more leisurely pace. It promises to be a good time! Save the date for October 22, 2022.

In the meantime, if you have other in person opportunities that you would like me to present at in the coming year, please feel free to reach out to nominestudios [at] gmail [dot] com.

Cheers!

Suzanne