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We Can Do Better
by David Gallant on 05/26/13 01:38:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Someone told me the other day that I’m “one of the most connected people” he knows. He couldn’t understand why I’ve been feeling left out lately, like I don’t belong among the “indie” community or among the local scene here in Toronto.

I am well-connected (freakishly so, in my mind). Since I started becoming a game developer back in 2011, I’ve really spread myself around. I am constantly amazed by the people I have access to, especially when it comes to the makers of games I’ve played and admired. The more time I’ve spent in some of these circles, however, the more ostracized I begin to feel. Strangely, these feelings generally do not come from conscious attempts at exclusion. In most cases, they stem from a dissonance between the way I perceived these groups when I entered and the way I perceive them after observing them for a period of time. To put it plainly, some of these groups are not wholly the inclusive, respectful communities I first believed them to be.

I became a game developer because of how I saw the Toronto game development scene from the outside. There was one key moment - where Craig Adams responded to a passive request with a very active engagement - that cemented my desire to join the community. At that point, I didn’t want to make games because I liked to make games. I certainly enjoyed playing games, but I had no idea what making games would be like. Rather, I started making games so I could be one of them. I had found a group of people who I considered inspiring, and I wanted to be included with them. They responded with a large amount of acceptance: invitations to join game jams, suggestions on where to start, an unorthodox internship that springboarded my growth. The community immediately lived up to my idealistic expectations.

I recently read an essay about the Difference Engine Initiative, an incubation program that ran in 2011 that was meant to take six women with zero game-making experience and turn them into developers. The essay details an anecdote where the participants related how they had attended community events but felt like intruders; how they felt it necessary to be accompanied by a man, and even then were only ever viewed as “girlfriends” rather than potential participants. I shared those feelings of being an intruder until I had my first moment of inclusion. Part of me wonders why these women were never given a similar moment, but another part of me already knows the answer: I am a white male who was given many opportunities by other white males. That may be a generalization, but it is close enough to the truth.

I want to be apologetic and say “I don’t think most people were being consciously sexist by treating these women as less than equals” but really, I’m growing tired of “I’m sure they didn’t mean to” as an excuse. Many of us have an internalized sexism. We mentally fit men and women into different roles, which guides how we interact with them in many situations. Assuming a woman at a game development event is ”just someone’s girlfriend” rather than a developer (or someone just interested in getting involved) may be an unconscious act of sexism, but it is still sexism.

Strides have been made in Toronto. The first Difference Engine Initiative had a core disconnect between its intent and its organization, but in its place arose Dames Making Games (DMG), the model for an inclusive program to incubate and promote diverse new developers. To me, DMG is the exemplar of community outreach and support. I recently had a member of the Toronto community confide to me that they saw DMG as a divisive element working to break the community apart; that its members were the source of too much “drama.” One cited incident of said “drama” was a recent panel discussion on game development education where the Q&A period was dominated by a person described as an “agenda-driven feminist.” I might agree that using a Question & Answer period to deliver a wordy statement may be in poor taste, but I have spoken to many people who immediately dismiss this person with rolled eyes, groans, chuckles, and sighs. Whatever point she was trying to make about gender representation has been rendered meaningless simply because she chose the wrong time and place to express it. Folks who have related this story to me tell me she was associated with DMG, even though they can’t actually identify who she was or how she is associated with the group, and one even used it as an example of how DMG is “full of wackos.” My experience with members of DMG has shown many of them to be intelligent, creative, and generally positive people. These perspectives from members of the Toronto community outside of DMG clash with my experiences, and give me heavy doubts about the inclusiveness of that community.

As a white cis male, I’ve been pretty lucky to avoid a lot of discrimination within Toronto. As a beginner to programming and game development, the local community has been incredibly helpful. However, as a beginner among the wider “indie” scene around the world and connected through the internet, I have not found things to be so inviting.

I don’t have a background in computer science, programming, or even math. I went to University for English with the intention of becoming a high school teacher. I made my first game when I was 28 years old using a program (Stencyl) that simplified programming into little puzzle-like blocks. I’ve learned to make games through a combination of direct mentorship (when I was an intern at Untold Entertainment) and by teaching myself. It’s rarely easy, and recent attempts to expand into more advanced programming languages have been maddeningly difficult. Part of my problem has been what I call “exponential catchup”. I’ll attempt to do something basic, so I’ll look up the documentation. Within the documentation will be several programming terms I do not understand; often times they will be regular-sounding words used as key programming terms that I’ve never heard in this context. So I begin looking up these terms, which exposes more concepts and words I don’t know. Without this context, I cannot grasp the original concept I was trying to learn; but at each step, I have to dig deeper and deeper to pick up the knowledge I am assumed to know if I am a developer working with these tools. Programming has no “system requirements” like PC games: you cannot look at Unity, Java, Actionscript, Python, C#, or any other language and read off the prerequisites. That doesn’t stop most documentation from having them, however. Most are written from a perspective of extreme familiarity with core programming concepts and terminology. On top of that, I think I’m just straight up having a problem with learning right now. It doesn’t help that trying to absorb all this separate knowledge at once kills any chance of me retaining it, or that I learn best by example but can’t easily put abstract programming concepts into a workable example.

I got into an argument recently with a prominent “indie” developer over my ability to learn. I was told my struggles should be “easy” and that there really were no valid reasons I should have difficulty. I argued that dismissing my struggles as trivial was offensive. As I started to enter the core “indie” circle, populated by the developers of the independent games most people have heard about and played, this sense that “I should know what I am doing” grew worse. It didn’t help that the majority of conversations I witnessed between the most vocal of this group were deeply technical discussions beyond my comprehension - I can’t begrudge them for doing so, but at the same time, my own attempts to engage at my own level were usually ignored.

Then I witnessed something unexpected. See, Toronto is my model for how community and culture should be. In my naivety, I assumed it was a model shared by the wider “indie” community. One day I was privy to a conversation about Leigh Alexander among some male game devs. One admitted not being able to stand her, having unfollowed her on Twitter after “a string of incomprehensible nonsense.” It then devolved into demeaning her for riding “the hot-button issue of women” to gain attention. In the course of the conversation it became clear few participants were aware Leigh is a respected games journalist; to them, she was just “some woman in games” who made a lot of noise to get attention. What struck me as even more odd were the number of people clearly in on the conversation who simply said nothing, who tolerated the sexist attitudes of a few. I later witnessed much more apathy and tolerance of sexist attitudes. A few times I was privately told not to bother confronting these people. It struck me as something of a boy’s club, and while I was assured by some friends that I did indeed belong among their ranks, I consistently felt like an outsider.

We can be better than this. Right now I am still reeling; my idealistic views of my community and peers has been largely shattered, and the circle of those I trust and respect has shrunk. Some have reminded me that it has always been this way. They may be right, but that shouldn’t be the final sentence; it shouldn’t be the shrug of the shoulders, the sentence muttered to convince a person this isn’t a battle worth fighting. It should be the sentence that makes us take it seriously and press on even harder.

We still have problems. Don’t tell me things are better than they’ve always been; they are, but that doesn’t forgive the injustices that remain. We still forgive sexists because we respect their games. We still say nothing to exclusionist behaviour because we don’t want to stir up trouble. We still smile at the respected community member who spread lies about your friend because you don’t want to appear uncivil at such a large game jam.

I’d like to think of myself as a person with zero tolerance for bigotry, but the sad fact is that I am scared. Shaking up the status quo invites anger as you threaten the privilege you share with your privileged peers. But in our fear, we are politely allowing our communities to be less. We are letting them exclude the differences that should be there. Encouraging diversity is step one. Discouraging exclusion is step two, and it is a step that many of us are afraid to take. I’m not afraid anymore; I’ve reached the point where my anger is stronger than my fear. I no longer care who I piss off. If they don’t like such a “disruptive” element, then it’s quite likely they are part of the problem.

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Josh Larson
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I'm really sorry you experienced this and feel this way. For what it's worth, I'd be happy to extend an invitation to you or anyone who's feeling left out. Reply me on twitter at @godatplay to connect. People can join us to cowork/chat on Google Hangout from time to time, maybe every Friday?

The invitation is open. :)

Alex Leitch
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The agenda-driven comments in question boil out to, and should have been better prepared as:
- People suggesting that everyone can do it alone and learn in a non-structured environment or land the plush/crazy-rocky internship may be starting on third and suggesting a triple is easy.
- Educators need to take some responsibility for skills development and standards, too.

Although I remarked on women as an example, I was thinking more of the hoardes of kids signing up for game dev programs and being told on _both_ sides, professional and educational, that school isn't the place to learn hard skills. Where on earth are you supposed to go if you learn via a confirmed structure?

Also frustrating: The insistance that private internships can replace school, when there are so few of them relative to the populace. They're also generally unpaid, and only legally so if it is a student taking them on.

So, although I admit my comments at the IGDA panel were overlong and not, perhaps, as clear as they might be: this is what I'm curious about. Access for even the _mildly_ different, or, more accurately, the incredibly normal people who might just want a job in games.

The disconnect is what got me going, and I am mildly embarrassed... but goodness me. I'm whack only in that I'm not quite scared enough to not speak up in public.

Andrew Carvalho
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I'm so glad that you posted as a follow up to this article. I didn't get any "feminist agenda" from the comments you were trying to make though I think that, due to the unfocused nature of your statements (which I completely understand; putting thoughts into coherent phrasing on the fly with a room full of people listening to you is beyond difficult and I applaud anyone who attempts it) I think there was a mixing of your comments on DMG/feminism and an anger/passion (choose the word you prefer) towards the industry and institutionalized education and the lack of help for those trying to make it over the barriers of entry (which, though their heights may very, are generally high for all sexes).

Not related to the article, I think the biggest problem with the people who go into a game development program isn't any different from people who register at an institutional education program (universities, colleges, apprenticeships) seeing it solely as a means to an end, with the end being a job. Ryan's comment about the teacher who he once spoke to that stated it wasn't their job to get students work made me want to stand up and shout at any students who feel entitled to a job simply because they want one and went to school.

Education is meant to pass knowledge on to others, in the most basic of definitions. That has the implication that a student is there to learn, not simply 'attend'. It was not just your comments (in actuality, reading the above clarification on what you're trying to say has me mostly agreeing with you, to a certain extent) but the comments of most people I know trying to get into the industry that make me believe that education is lost on many.

I'm not a naturally intelligent person and my skills were non-existent before starting my program (I attended University of Toronto for computer science; panel member Steve Engels was my professor and research guide on several occasions). It wasn't until I started seeing my grades slip (and failing classes) that I decided I would throw away my preconceived notions that school was about grades and doing well meant finding a job and instead simply focus on taking interesting classes and learning as much as I could.

A good educational institution should be teaching transferable skills to their students. As Michael Todd said, the industry moves way too fast for large schools to keep up with. I feel as if game development programs are a cash grab from colleges who know he program will attract students (probably not completely true but it's hard to shake that feeling when speaking to faculty about the business side of education).

I for one am happy I went to a University and took a program that has been around for a long enough amount of time to understand what the important transferable skills to learn are. In many of my courses, we wouldn't be sitting at a computer or coding for the first half of the class. Learning SQL is useless if you don't know the higher level concepts behind databases, for example, so our class focused on relational algebra and database design before actually learning a specific tool. Comparing this to some game design programs that simply show their students 3DS Max/Unity/Flash/UDK and then kick them out the door, I feel like they are being set up to fail because they aren't properly trained to be flexible. The students are willing and able, but they don't have the foundation is confidently say to an employer: "Hey, I have worked with X, Y and Z before and am familiar with the concepts of A, B and C, so you should hire me, regardless that I may not have the experience in the specific tool you are looking to use."

I don't agree that private internships or simply jamming on your own is as effective as a well designed curriculum of applicable, transferable skills to help you easily move from position to position. That being said, I do believe simply going out and doing something is more effective than the current state of game development programs at colleges (as far as I know, no university bothers to design a whole program on Game Development because it's a bit silly to have such a focused program, which I agree with). Jams are only as useful as the people you jam with who you can learn from; it's still education, just outside of the institution. It's sink or swim though and it's hard to take lessons away from your successes or failures without somebody helping you make sense of them.

As for unpaid internships, I'll simply say I do not agree with them but wouldn't want to see them disappear either. They are helpful to some, though personally I would never undervalue my work to the point where I would go unpaid to work on a project that isn't my own.

Anyway, this comment has now gone somewhat off topic. The above were all things I probably wanted to say the day of the talk but couldn't find a way to say it, nor had the courage to stand up and try and frame my thoughts into a coherent question. That being said, I do believe the separation between education/those new to the field and the industry itself (including the indie scene) is part of the problem David describes above, and it's not completely gender specific one, at least not in Toronto that I have seen (though being a healthy white male I know for a fact there is not a lot I see/experience when it comes to gender/race/accessibility issues). Educational institutions are actually very aware of the gender divide and bringing women into programming was always an ongoing conversation as well as keeping people in the computer science program as the number of students in the first year level, including non program students, would border on 150, while the final graduating number of students in the program wold be in the single digits. In my opinion, it's the same barrier that bars entry into the game community.

I apologize for the rant! Again, thanks for clarifying the point you were trying to make that day. Part of me really wanted to ask you that evening to clarify what you said but I will be honest that the way you confronted Ryan put me off a bit. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read that.

Colette Bennett
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Thank you.

mr ghosty
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This post hits on a couple of very key points about this community. Toronto has seen the growth of a large number of communities surrounding game culture + production, but they're not monolithic by any means. There are however some key problems with people who have taken advantage of these communities they purport to support and who behave as gate keepers.

And not to diminish this David, because I do agree with you, but this happens in large creative communities, small creative communities and even tiny collectives.

Also, I think that while there are those of us who flit about the edges not quite knowing where to situate ourselves, we can support these groups and they will support us. I understand you're frustration, but frankly you're also an individual that this community really rallied behind at a time when you needed their support. And in spite of current frustrations, (and yes the fact we can all do a little better), I think you need to remember that.

Lena LeRay
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Not related to the main point, but as someone who is also trying to teach myself programming at the age of 28, what works for me when I hit an unknown word or concept in documentation is to go to StackOverflow and see what I can find about the topic. It's usually easy to find something that explains the subject well there. Since SO is built around answering specific problems, the answers tend to be well-pinpointed.

[User Banned]
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Tom Evans
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While I can't really speak on gender discrimination in the industry, there are much , much better ways of learning to program than reading the documentation. Learning to code by readings the docs is like learning to drive by reading the manual in the glovebox.

There are reams and reams of sites dedicated to helping you learn the concepts (and the maths, because it is important) that you need to program; some are here:

Coding is one of those things that a lot of developers have taught themselves, to some extent, so I think there's maybe an expectation that other people do it for themselves too. Some people can be more helpful than others, obviously, but why not try going to events that are created for people who are learning, rather than events created for people who want to talk at a very deep technical level?

Sorry if that sounds patronising; I'm sure there's a lot going on that I'm not aware of, but learning to code just is difficult and frustrating (but also brilliant and totally worth it) and I wouldn't want anyone to give up because they can't find the right learning approach/material some indie devs got a bit snooty.

Richard Flanagan
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Well said and rock on Josh - 'tis devs like yourself that are helping address stuff like this.

I've found that the indie community in general is full of awesome, inclusive and downright great people to be around. But, I've also encountered the most heinous-ultra-Douche B. self-appointed-overlords-of-indie-exclusivity as well; People who have spouted some of the most insensitive and downright hurtful things imaginative to myself and others.

I've also found that these people are (over time) their own worst enemies, and that there just isn't room for heinous-ultra-Douche B. self-appointed-overlords-of-indie-exclusivity in this community. What goes around, comes around!

Murder them with kindness!

Christian Nutt
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I think that you're looking too closely at problems that are large. In other words, I think you're looking at societal problems through the lens of the Toronto game dev scene and saying "why is it like that in Toronto's game dev scene?" Not to say they're not worthy problems to expose, of course. But I think understanding that some problems are more pervasive than just Toronto or Game Dev means that you can cast further afield for solutions, for one.

Michael Joseph
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Indeed. "Indie community" as a phrase I suppose denotes some homogeneity of beliefs and and attitudes but in reality it's just as diverse in this respect as any other community. And why shouldn't it be?

One might as well be talking about the "high school community." It would be unfortunate to judge everyone in it based on the behavior of a few cliques you happen to witness.

Even in your local community, your neighborhood, there are undoubtedly some very horrible people living nearby. The cops aren't going to (hopefully) judge you just because they arrested a meth cook a few houses down the street from you.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Andrew Carvalho
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Reading this makes me feel sad as this isn't how I view the indie community, and more specifically the Toronto community at all, albeit I have had a very different experience than you, David.

I was at the IGDA event and I've already commented on my thoughts about that as a reply to Alex, so I won't state them again here (and, knowing each other and our associates, I think it's safe to say I do not agree with the DMG 'wacko' accusations), but I was also 'present' (as present as one can be on the internet) for your conversation with the indie developer who may have made assumptions about your skill level with certain aspects of game programming.

There is definitely a disconnect between the different stages of becoming a game maker, from enthusiast to community member, to amateur developer to... whatever steps are after that. It's a constant evolution that you go through but there are a lack of resources to help people (and this is at any stage) make the bigger steps along the path. You've mention (outside this article) your comfort with specific concepts but get lost when trying to find explanations of how those tie in and are used in game development. You're not alone. There are gaps everywhere of missing information and finding those resources (whether it be written tutorials, videos or a person willing to give you a hand) is difficult. It's not that they don't exist, but I find that, as you look for more and more specific help, those with the knowledge are less available to give it up. They may want to, but they precious little time to devote to specific problems.

As for gender issues, I will count myself as one of the lucky ones who has not experienced (second hand, anyway, as I am also a white male) sexist attitudes. I know very few female developers and am upset that it's the norm because I know lots of women who have the right mindset to be successful. Note that I said developers and not game developers, though. Even while at school there were very few women in my program. It's an issue and, while I can only speak on behalf of U of T's Mississauga campus, where I attended school and taught, it's an issue that is constantly being evaluated by the faculty.

As for game development and the "girlfriend" phenomena, I have to state then when you say '...woman at a game development event is ”just someone’s girlfriend” rather than a developer (or someone just interested in getting involved)' does it have to be somebody wanting to be part of that community? I had a wonderful time recently at BitBazaar and brought along three women with no intention of ever becoming game developers themselves. They were there simply to enjoy games, learn about what is happening in the city and have a good time. The biggest problem with the "somebody's girlfriend" label isn't that it's being assumed that they aren't developers themselves but that they aren't there out of genuine curiosity or enjoyment. There's a stigma that they are only there because they were brought by somebody else and have no interest in games. Yes, I did ask them to come, but they weren't dragged there by a pestering boyfriend, they came out of actual excitement after hearing about what would be on display. We should, as a community, be encouraging that excitement for everyone, developers and enthusiasts alike.

For the record, I think Gamercamp is wonderful example of the marriage of both of those communities and am glad that the attendance of the festival is distributed across the genders .

While I agree there are barriers to entering game development, they're there for everyone. They're definitely different heights and I know there are additional obstacles for women/homosexual/transgendered/disabled people but the barrier is definitely ever present for everyone and it's always high. The reason why more men seem to be successful may just be a numbers game: more men are trying to get into development (remembering that I can only speak from the programming aspect of things as that's what I'm experienced with).

This isn't an excuse but it definitely is my belief that, whatever it is that deters women from getting involved with games, happens to most well before they reach that barrier. There's some unknown (to myself, anyway) second barrier that is earlier on and, to those to get over it, to reach a second barrier when you finally make it to the industry is a disappointing realization, regardless of if that barrier (though, again, of varying height) is shared by all genders.

I will also state that any feminist/LBGT activist/racial activist that believes being angry is a solution to any problems, I have little time for. There aren't many of them but they are often the most outspoken and I find that while their intentions are good, the way they go about making change often brings about little. While speaking out is important to shed light on the issue, it the people who strike out and make a difference that should be getting attention. And, for the most part, the people actively doing something are usually happy, approachable people. DMG is incredible; they are welcoming and are bringing about honest change and I'm glad. Space recently shot a short segment on DMG and highlighted some of the women who have found success and I'm glad they got their much deserved attention. I would rather focus on the solutions than continuously restate the problem.

As you know (and thank you for being one of those pointing me in the right direction) I've been trying to get involved with teaching and sharing what little knowledge I have with others. This is an open call to anyone who wants help, regardless of who you are, to talk to me. I want to be part of the solution. And, specifically, if given the opportunity to lead a talk or workshop, I would like to talk to you, David, about what you would like to see being discussed to taught. There are plenty of resources for the beginner but few for the amateur trying to transition to professional. If I can help fill that void somehow, I'd appreciate a hand in tailoring that to those who are in a position of need. Short of that, if you even have a question you think I could answer, send me a message and we'll set a time to talk about it.

As much as I am like you in the sense that I avoid confrontation, I definitely am willing to foster a feeling of inclusion. I wasn't aware of your feelings, so thank you for writing them down and sharing. If I can be of help to anyone working on overcoming these barriers, especially in Toronto (a city that I love and a city that loves games), I am more than willing to be there for them.

Thanks, David.

Jori Baldwin
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Thanks Andrew, some of the keenest volunteers I've worked with in the Toronto scene started off as merely curious girlfriends.

Steven Stadnicki
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I think you miss the key point - it's not that people there _can't_ be 'someone's curious girlfriend' (or boyfriend!) but that the assumption is different based on gender. If the default presumption is that a random male one bumps into at any indie gathering is there as a developer and that a random female bumped into at the same gathering is a tagalong (whether legitimately interested or not!) then that's still a bias, conscious or otherwise.

Ramin Shokrizade
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The wall between industry insiders and outsiders is likely even higher than you perceive it, given that you were given a rare opportunity to pass through it. This is for practical reasons. Both Hollywood and the Games Industry are so flooded with people that want to work there that it often seems more effort is spent trying to discourage people than to hire people. I imagine insider HR people get so tired of playing "whack-a-mole" with applicants that they just impose barriers that block almost everyone. This is just an adaptation to circumstances.

Once you are in, you may notice that the perceptions of those "inside" are very different than those "outside". Inside is not always as idyllic as you might imagine with the long hours, low pay, and rather extreme gender and race skewing. Obviously this is not because young white men are genetically or even environmentally better than others at making games. This is because people tend to hire people that look like themselves.

On the subject of speaking out, I have an interesting angle on this, given that I am a white cis male feminist that is virtually trans gendered. I've asked esteemed IGDA panels why there are not more gender neutral games being made. While this typically generates a standing ovation from the crowd, the dev panel usually has a hard time with this question. Of course I already know the answer. As opposed to programmers or artist that typically benefit from some formal academic training, designers primarily learn by playing lots of games and then borrowing the mechanics from those games to make new games.

This is not a scientific process, and it leads to emulation not innovation. If you manage to combine the pieces others have made in a new way, you are considered "innovative". If all you have to study is male-centric games, you tend to make more male-centric games. Guess who is good at making male-centric games?

That's right, men.

We have to actually invest in our women if we want them to be productive members of our "club". In the world of bottom lines, there is little incentive to do this, especially as labor rates drop for out of work male designers. If there are initiatives in Canada to promote women in game development, then they are already a step ahead. Hopefully they will be allowed into design, where they can make a big difference, as opposed to programming and artistry.

Jed Hubic
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The beauty of life is that people many people have different views and opinions on people and scenes.

If a certain group of people isn't to your liking (I'm talking community, not official organizations), rather than stress out about being the culture police and losing sleep over opinions that differ from yours, just form your own group. It's surprising how that works out I find. There's no need for one singular all inclusive scene.

I'm not condoning any actions or ways of thought, but in my experiences lately, being disruptive just off puts people you already don't agree with. You could busy yourself not caring about what other people do with their lives and spend the time actively seeking out like minded people and lifting the spirits of those people that feel left out and that are on the outside. You build a group of those people, then you're onto something, otherwise you might as well be yelling at cars on the street.

Chris Foster
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Most people don't realize or maybe it just hasn't hit them are the company you keep.

Like @Josh Larson i'm always up for game discussion and general nerdery. Twitter @Fosterocalypse

I may get martyred for this but I feel that a few bad apples cause the other women in gaming/IT in general to get a bad rap. The people with agendas and the Adria Richards out there.

David Gallant
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If Adria Richards is a person who you think gives women a bad name, then I'm afraid I really don't want to be associating with you. Sorry.

Jori Baldwin
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It would be pretty silly to form an opinion about an entire gender based a tweet you didn't like. No one decided to write off all men after the (comparatively worse) Ocean Marketing incident (or any other twitter controversy involving a man).

Chris Foster
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@ David Gallant & Jori Baldwin ...I'm not forming an opinion about an entire gender over a tweet I didn't agree with it was how she handled it (The entire situation from tweet to people losing their careers and it getting publicised) that I don't agree with. I said people with agendas not "women with agendas" I did use a woman as an example, because I feel her actions did a disservice for women in the IT industry. If those involved were discussing a topic that was not appropriate for the equivalent of a work environment she had every right to say something and even report it to the event staff etc, but she chose the tabloid/TMZ approach. There are more then ample amounts of men out their giving men a bad rap just look at almost every politician.

Matthew Buxton
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Please get it together, there are countless people who are part of the middle ground too young to have been the fabled bedroom coders turned multimedia ego dinosaurs and too committed to keeping our families secure to risk it all on joining the scene for the alleged freedom it offers. We work in companies you may have heard of, we do the games you sneer at, we try damn hard every day to make it better and to make players happy.

We have dreams too, all of us. So indies please take your responsibility for all of us suspended in the system and get it together!

In my brief time lecturing last summer I saw the future of gaming and it is bright and diverse, it will happen if you let it.

So from all of us still in the trenches, stop eating each other alive.


Russell Watson
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Nice article and an interesting read, I don't think it is something that is unique to Toronto though. I could relate to the points about self-taught programming specifically. It was very poor form of the indie coder/group who were dismissive of your struggles, they should have been supportive. No one should be discouraged from learning.

Rick Gush
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Hey David, This feeling of being on the outside persists in all walks of life, regardless of achievements or experience. Within that reality there are also often a bunch of potential friends. Want another developer pal? Let's chat. I'd enjoy hearing about what development stuff you do. I'm rickgush at gmail