Friday, July 30, 2021

Designing Non-Toxic Game Communities

In this video from 2021 CIMFest, game designers and community managers discuss how to remove toxicity from game communities.

Originally scheduled for 2020 GDC, this roundtable on Designing Non-Toxic Game Communities was canceled due to the pandemic. We are so grateful to the Georgia Game Developers Association for allowing this roundtable to occur during Columbus Interactive Media Festival (CIMFest).



Participants:

  • Sande Chen (moderator)
  • Brad Merritt, director of game design for Cartoon Network
  • Kat De Shields-Moon, PR manager for Schell Games
  • Joshua Quinnett, senior community manager at Gallium Studios
  • Judy Tyrer, founder of 3 Turn Productions 
  • Jared Creasy, community manager at Tripwire Interactive
  • Isiah Turner, lead community specialist at Hi-Rez Studios
  • Kimberly Unger, Content Lead at Oculus

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

New and Improved Game Writing Portfolio Webinar!

Last year, I was planning to have another run of Game Writing Primer but the pandemic and subsequent lockdown made that impossible. I checked in with my former students and was delighted to hear of their successes, games, awards, job offers, start-ups, and even a pending wedding between two of them!

PlayCrafting asked me to do a Webinar, which I knew could not be the same as the popular workshop series, Game Writing Portfolio Workout.  This remote learning Webinar was informational and not that interactive. Still, from the feedback I've gathered, my students found it very useful.

There's just not many places to learn the do's and don't's of game writing portfolios.  


Since last year's Webinar, I've been asked to repeat the Webinar and to accommodate any non-East Coast people who want to attend.  I've also conducted interviews with jobseekers and hirers in order to improve the Webinar.   

If you are interested in learning the best way to prepare and present your game writing portfolio, please go here to help me with the scheduling.  I'll notify you when it's time for class.

Sande Chen is a writer and game designer with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Her writing credits include Independent Games Festival winner Terminus and the PC RPG of the Year, The Witcher, for which she was nominated for a Writers Guild Award in Videogame Writing. She is the co-author of Serious Games: Games That Educate, Train, and Inform, a founding member of the IGDA Game Design SIG, and an expert in the field of educational game design.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

A Day in the Life of a Game Writer

This year, when I interviewed numerous aspiring game writers and narrative designers, I discovered that many were a bit fuzzy on the actual day-to-day tasks of the job.  It was much like when people ask about game design and then find out with surprise that the actual job entails spreadsheets.  Game writers and narrative designers often look at spreadsheets too!  

There were so many questions about working within a team, interfacing with other departments, and what a person actually does on the job. 

Therefore, it's my pleasure to be interviewed by career site OwlGuru.com and shed some light on the life of a writer and game designer.



And if that interests you, here's an older interview I did, with SciFiPulse: "Sande Chen discusses her career, teaching, and video game design."

Sande Chen is a writer and game designer with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Her writing credits include Independent Games Festival winner Terminus and the PC RPG of the Year, The Witcher, for which she was nominated for a Writers Guild Award in Videogame Writing. She is the co-author of Serious Games: Games That Educate, Train, and Inform, a founding member of the IGDA Game Design SIG, and an expert in the field of educational game design.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Upcoming: Women in Games Meet the Winners Series

Happy to be interviewed in the Women in Games Global Games Awards Meet the Winners Series, coming up tomorrow! July 1st at 1 PM EST. Find out when the stream is starting on the Women in Games Twitch channel at www.twitch.tv/wigj


Last week, I spoke at the Serious Play Conference on Design Principles for Early Education Apps.  In addition to new recommendations, I echoed what I've been saying in "What's Wrong with Pre-K Game Apps."


When asked for apps that I've been excited about, I praised Dragonbox Big Numbers and Bedtime Math.  


Instead of a bedtime story, why not a bedtime math problem? What do you think?



Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Upcoming CIMFest Keynote: Flavored by Authenticity

Hi!  If you missed our SXSW panel, you can catch it here on the SXSW 2021 YouTube channel.  It's completely different from the LudoNarraCon one even though the topic is the same.  There was just so much more to talk about emotional touchstones in emergent narrative!


If you want to know more about touchstones (Touchstones! Touchstones! Touchstones!), this Saturday June 12, 2021, we are headlining the Georgia Game Developers Association CIMFest and I also will be moderating IGDA GDSIG's skipped (due to the cancellation of GDC last year) roundtable, Creating Non-Toxic Gamer Communities.


Here's the deets!

Roundtable: Creating Non-Toxic Gamer Communities (1 PM Eastern)

What game design principles can be used to promote friendlier and harassment-free communities? Join us for a discussion on what strategies game designers can use to create safe virtual spaces that are enjoyable for all players. In particular, we focus on game mechanics that encourage community-oriented behaviors, the pros and cons of automated reporting, and how to minimize griefing.

 

Keynote Panel: Flavored by Authenticity: How Personal Experiences Amplify Narrative (3 PM Eastern)

Digital storytelling is a currently evolving medium and the push-and-pull nature of player interaction in video games provides an opportunity for the inclusion of personal touchstones in order to more deeply connect with and engage a broad audience. Over the past decade, there has been an increase in the examination of personal narrative elements as methods of engagement in teaching and community building, most notably by contributing a level of accessible authenticity. 

This keynote examines how personal narratives inform narrative and character design as a whole in a game or virtual setting, Join us for a look at moments in popular games informed by personal narrative, from the indie to the AAA level, and reflect on steps that might be taken in order to retain authenticity while avoiding the pitfalls that naturally come with the wholesale creation of fantastic and fictional spaces. 
Sande Chen

Profiled as one of the Game Industry's Top 100 Most Influential Women and a 2020 Women in Games Global Hall of Fame winner, Sande Chen is a writer and game designer with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Her writing credits include 1999 Independent Games Festival winner Terminus and the PC RPG of the Year, The Witcher, for which she was nominated for a 2007 Writers Guild Award in Videogame Writing. She is the co-author of Serious Games: Games That Educate, Train, and Inform and was a contributor to Secrets of the Game Business, Writing For Video Game Genres, and Professional Techniques for Videogame Writing. She has been a speaker at numerous game-related conferences, including the Game Developers Conference, NY Comic Con, PAX East, and SXSW. She has been invited to the White House and represented the USA at the World Conference on Science Literacy. She also has a Grammy nomination.

Matthew Farber

Matthew Farber, Ed.D. is an assistant professor at the University of Northern Colorado, where he founded the Gaming SEL Lab. He has been invited to the White House, authored several books and papers, and is a frequent collaborator with UNESCO and Games for Change. His latest book is Gaming SEL: Games as Transformational to Social and Emotional Learning (bit.ly/GamingSEL). For more, please visit MatthewFarber.com.

Juliana Loh

Juliana Loh is an independent Producer/Artist whose background includes branded entertainment, UX and art direction. In addition to developing educational/gaming experiences, she has honed her artistic skills as a concept and gallery-showing artist while pioneering, empowering and supporting grassroots tech meetups and communities. Currently working as an instructor and immersive artist, she is keenly aware of how emerging technology is changing the way we relate to each other. She is currently designing story-based Pro-Kindness Workshops using VR360 based on user-centered design thinking.

Kimberly Unger 

Kimberly made her first videogame back when the 80-column card was the new hot thing and after 20+ years as a pro in that industry, the magic still hasn’t faded. Now she sources leading-edge content for Oculus, lectures on the intersection of art and code for UCSC in Games and Playable Media, wrangles a monthly column on science-fiction in videogames over at Amazing Stories and writes science fiction about how all these app-driven superpowers are going to change the human race. Her debut sci-fi novel, NUCLEATION is available now on Amazon and her next novel The Extractionist will be available in November of 2021. You can find her on Twitter at @Ing3nu or on her blog at www.ungerink.com.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Upcoming: Together apART: Creating During COVID

Hello! I will be one of the artists participating in ArtsWestchester's Together apART: Creating During COVID exhibition, opening May 7. There will be a parallel digital exhibition at http://artsw.org/togetherapart

One year after the start of the pandemic, ArtsWestchester plans on reopening its gallery doors to the public for the Together apART exhibition. It features more than 250 works of artwork by Hudson Valley artists in the form of sculpture, painting, photography, sewing, pottery, handicrafts, and writing. All were created in response to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown. 

Entry is free, with a suggested donation of $5. Social distancing and face masks will be required. Visitors will be coming at staggered entry times, so RSVP'ing through EventBrite is necessary.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/together-apart-creating-during-covid-tickets-150269583369

I am absolutely thrilled to be part of this vibrant and active arts community.

Sande Chen is a writer and game designer with over 15 years of experience in the game industry. Her writing credits include 1999 Independent Games Festival winner Terminus, MMO Hall of Fame inductee Wizard101, and the 2007 PC RPG of the Year, The Witcher, for which she was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award in Videogame Writing. She is the co-author of the book, Serious Games: Games That Educate, Train, and Inform, and was a contributor to Secrets of the Game Business, Writing For Video Game Genres, and Professional Techniques for Videogame Writing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Upcoming Panel at SCAD Gaming Fest

Hi!  If you missed it, the SXSW Online 2021 panel, Creating Touchstones in Emergent Narrative, is still up on-demand for pass holders. 

I'll be speaking on a panel, Screenwriting for Games: The Challenge of Choice-Based Narratives, next week at SCAD Gaming Fest along with Patric Verrone and Marianne Krawczyk. This high-powered event was organized in collaboration with the Writers Guild Foundation. SCAD stands for Savannah College of Art and Design.

Here's the panel description:

Title: Screenwriting for Games: The Challenge of Choice-Based Narratives
When: Friday, April 9, 2021
Time: 2 PM Eastern Time
From huge triple-A games to interactive online novels, engaging storytelling requires the right mix of imaginative prose and strategic writing. Join successful game writers as they talk about pitching and writing choice-based narratives, how the writers' room in a game company differs from television series or films, and the various ways writers are utilized in the game development process.

SCAD Gaming Fest will feature Q&A's, presentations, and panels, featuring industry professionals from Blizzard, EA, Google, Magic Leap, Microsoft, Ubisoft, 42 Entertainment, Skillshot, and more. This year, it's virtual and open to all, not just SCAD students and SCAD card holders.


Join me and other industry leaders this April 9–10, and get exclusive content on game design and development, animation, visual effects, and more. See you there!