This talk was considered a Diversity 201, a more advanced discussion about diversity beyond how to be inclusive. The panelists talked about how to create a diverse environment by tackling a toxic company culture and putting the onus on those in positions of power. Yes you’ll make mistakes, yes it’ll be embarrassing and you’ll get yelled at over it, but you need to be able to take it, learn from it, and move on.
There’s a “Leaky Pipeline” problem in the game industry. Diverse people are interviewed and hired well enough, but they leave shortly after and there’s no documentation about this problem. The problem is likely the company’s culture, and to change that culture the entire staff has to be on-board.
Concerning game-design… What doesn’t constitutes actual diversity? Skin color options, colored people for the sake of having colored people, tiny “crumbs” of diversity.
How do you create diverse characters? There’s no easy single solution, because you need to accurately represent people of backgrounds you are not. And just one token developer of that background is not sufficient to have them represent everyone with backgrounds like them (it’ll also annoy that developer to hell). The best solution is a diversity consultant or to not include these diverse people if you can’t afford it.
Tips for trying to add diverse characters.
Consider why they’re in the game. Are they there just for diversity’s sake (a bad indication) or to add depth and a new perspective?
Are you the template? If not, you may be falling into a stereotype trap.
Do you have the resources to do it well? Avoid stereotypes, consult experts, avoid the “Five F’s” – Flags, Fashion, Food, Faces, and Festivals.
Be aware you may not be able to even understand when something is offensive. Just listen to people when they say it’s offensive and make changes.
Tips to improve yourself as a game developer.
Decide on success criteria before starting a project. It will help you decide when to stop working and move on. Games are never done, we just stop working on them.
Understand why you’re making games. Focus your games on that. It’s your strength.
Games are uniquely equipped to allow players to make their own story. Try to encourage that and discourage a movie-like experience.
Create a personal mission statement(s). What are your personal goals? Make it long at first, but then narrow it down to a few sentences.
Put a monetary value on what people are already invested in. “I really like Warwick! I’d love for him to look cool, how I want him to look.”
Consider the context people are buying in. Is it for social status (i.e. to look cool)? Is it to play with friends (social)? Powerups to gameplay? Additional gameplay? Self-expression?
Do some self-examination. Where have you spent money before? Why’d you do that? What got you into spending the money?
Making Games for Streams
The top two kinds of streams on twitch are entertainment and to learn new strategies.
Test the game on multiple machines and settings. Can the game run well? Able to tune down for performance to handle playing and streaming?
Add in downtime so the streamer can interact with chat and respond/react to the game.
Modable/alternative UI is very helpful. Also try to follow conventions set by similar games.
Tips for getting streamers to play your game
Reward the streamer. They’re taking a risk in playing an unknown game.
Make sure the streamer’s community works well with your game.
Look into Twitch Developer’s Success Team
Use Iterative Design
Ask a question.
Quickly try an answer to it.
Is the question answered? If not, was the question correct? Was the answer wrong?
Or try Emergent Design – throw stuff into the game and see what sticks and what sucks. Cull the bad and repeat the process focusing on the good.
During this process, don’t worry about good code or good assets. You need to test and throw stuff out quickly.