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!

Answer the Phone

When your long-time friend/ collaborator texts you to call then doesn’t answer their phone, sometimes you just need to take a moment and animate your response…

Answer the Phone!
“Answer the Phone!” Animated gif. Suzanne Skaar. All rights reserved 2020.

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

Tacoma on a Gray Day

I took advantage of yesterday’s moody weather to shoot photos in downtown Tacoma.

Here’s a selection.

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East 21st Street Bridge, Tacoma. Photograph. Suzanne Skaar. 2019. All rights reserved.

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Tacoma rail yard. Photograph. Suzanne Skaar. 2019. All rights reserved.

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Last of the leaves on a tree. Photograph. Suzanne Skaar. 2019. All rights reserved.

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Tacoma Glass Museum and Downtown Marina. Photograph. Suzanne Skaar. 2019. All rights reserved.

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View from under the Glass Bridge, downtown Tacoma. Photograph. Suzanne Skaar. 2019. All rights reserved.

I’ll post more later. Stay warm.

Suzanne

Jet City Comic Show

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

It’s official: I’ll be moderating a panel for Tacoma’s Jet City Comic Show!

Panelists Alease Frieson, Anna Nepomuceno, Naarah McDonald, and Stephanie Anne Johnson are on board to discuss the topic “Making Space: Accessibility and Diversity in Geek Culture.” We’ll talk about the importance of making space for diverse content creators, new narratives, and a wider range of characters, as well as how to create accessible and welcoming environments.

Mark your calendars:

11 a.m., Saturday, October 26, 2019

Greater Tacoma Convention Center, Room 405

 

Tickets are available at http://www.jetcitycomicshow.com/ and at the door.

 

See you there!

 

Suzanne

Drunken Discourse Recap

This weekend I traveled to Portland to participate in a monthly panel discussion, Drunken Discourse. I was invited by the host, Kyle Curtis, who read some of my work and gave me the opportunity to present my newest research project entitled: “Controlling the Narrative: Gatekeepers, Secret Societies, and Good Ol’ Boys Networks.” My best friend since high school accompanied me on the train ride down, and one of my first and favorite friends, my cousin, met us at the venue just as the event was starting.

I was able to take a brief break and join them at their table in between participating in the on-stage “get to know your panelists” conversation and actually giving my presentation. This is how the off-stage conversation started:

 

Cousin: Is she drunk yet?

Me: No.

Friend: No.

Cousin: Should we fix this?

Me: No.

Friend: Yes.

 

As I stated in my presentation, I have done editing and design work for a Tacoma based Drunk History presentation in the past (uncredited) – obviously this is the type of work I didn’t do while inebriated or in public.

Leading up to the event, I announced on several occasions that I was bringing my friend as my designated drinker.

I was honestly not going to have even one drink.

I failed in this endeavor.

I reportedly still rocked my presentation — even with not getting the clicker thingy, aka “slide navigator,” to work initially, and then later accidentally killing the entire slide show. Thank goodness for producers like Megan Taylor of Manic Esoteric Productions for straightening that out without me having to interrupt my presentation to ask. Those present had the great fortune to listen to Juan Coronell’s, Narendran Muralidharan’s, and Bill Hernandez’s talks ranging from sweet (“Embrace Change”) to hysterical. Narendran’s “Conservative Immigrant” had us dying; his timing was dead on.

Saturday night (and Sunday morning) did reconfirm the following for me: there are consequences to giving into peer pressure. Something about trying to be a responsible adult, the chronic sleep deprivation that accompanies parenthood (I had two hours of sleep Friday night), and missing a gallbladder has weakened my tolerance for vodka. But this weekend also reminded me of the power of hanging out with strong, intelligent, positive, and supportive women. I am extremely lucky in this regard.

I am looking to publish the longer written version as soon as possible, and I can also be available to repeat this presentation sober (the audience doesn’t have to be). Feel free to contact me at nominestudios@gmail.com.

Cheers!

 

Suzanne

Edited February 2020: The producers regretfully informed me that a lot of footage from the Fall was damaged and unrecoverable. Unfortunately, this did not just impact footage of my presentation. My liver declined the invitation to do this particular Portland event again, but I am still more than happy to present this topic at other forums.