Kudos go to Aaron Thibault for such an awesome job on putting on the games development conference this weekend.
I had a blast and the high schoolers had a blast, as well.
I’m a bit worn out and brainfried from all the activity, so I don’t think I’m ready to decompress / report just yet.
I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the speakers, Carly Staehlin, that resonated with me. She was the producer of Ultima Online during the height of its commercial success. That’s not all, though. She was also the voice of the female player character in Quake II!
The fact that Carly is a female was not lost on the audience. One of her slides talked about the composition of the workers in the game industry. Needless to say, unfortunately, games development is a chicken & egg scenario: the men that design games are people that enjoy games. Their games are built for men. Boys play the games, as well, and grow up to build the games that they enjoy. Girls involved with games have to make games that appeal to boys because that’s what the market demands.
She stood out being the only female speaker, but also was very stunning in appearance and personality. She had the demeanor and look that had her owning the room when she walked in. She looked very hip-geek-grrrl (which is a very good thing, trust me) rather than nerdy and plain.
During Q&A, I asked Carly what advice she would have for a teenage girl who would be interested in a career in games development but might be discouraged by the male-dominated industry. She didn’t say much except that she wouldn’t change her basic advice for anyone looking to get into games development, but that girls should not be afraid to give it a try. Also, girls might have an easier time getting interviews (which she earlier told us was the single most difficult part of the interviewing process).
I’m glad that Linda, the girl from one of the high schools, approached Carly afterwards, asked questions, and swapped contact info.
Carly said something very cool, “If you aren’t learning something new every day you are a slacker.”
I’d take it a step further and ammend that if you also aren’t innovating something new every day, you are also a slacker.