Call for volunteers - women programmers and artists

Shameless plug…

I’m involved in an instructional project for the Women in Gaming branch of the IGDA. The goal is to get more women involved in game development, but we’re a bit shorthanded on programming and art staff at the moment. If you or someone you know might be interested, you can check out the project page here: http://wigdvdt.glcollective.net/cgi-bin/twiki/view/VDT/WebHome

The goal is to provide development experience for women seeking to enter the field, since companies typically require such experience as a prerequisite for employment. As such, the project is intended for newcomers.

  • Alan

If I wear a wig, can I sign up? ;)

I can think of 4 women game programmers who were born men. Go for it MachFive.

I’m interested in getting into design primarily, but I think learning how to program would be extremely useful.

My question is… and it’s going to come out wrong I’m sure… what’s the point of getting “women” into game development? I mean other than having a few nice smells around the office, and even then there are some guys who would easily fill all those traditional female roles better than I would.

As a woman with what are typically considered “more male interests” such as video games and sports, I don’t buy that introducing my perspective would bring something so novel and different that people should be catering to me to get me involved. I’m hoping that what will do it is the stuff in my head, which I don’t see as gender specific at all. So I am just curious why there seems to be a lot of focus now on trying to get women involved in game development, since that concerns me I feel like I should be let in on the secret.

I think it has something to do with the fact that Nosferatu looks better after the guys have had a couple of beers, whereas for women it looks worse…

ian

Well, it’s just that… well, darn it, we miss them. It’s as simple as that.

You might as well get to the root and figure out why there aren’t more female programmers. That field tends to be male-dominated too.

I’d also like to know what kinds of games appeal to women? That’s the big mystery. People like to accuse the game industry of ignoring the female market, but no one seems to know what the female market wants. My wife likes to play the puzzle games like Bejewled, but there’s no way she’d ever pay for any games like that, much less pay $40.

About design, we actually haven’t had trouble getting participants for that part. :)

As for the whole question of “why bother”, I’m not sure I’m the qualified person to answer that. I can take a stab at it though. If nothing else, it seems like there’s an artificially high imbalance of males in the game development field when compared to the percentage of the population that plays games. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some bias against hiring women into an industry traditionally dominated by males, e.g. when given a choice between two equally (un-)qualified applicants.

Will a better gender balance result in better games or broader appeal? That part isn’t so clear. Personally I think the whole “games for girls” thing is bunk, but I imagine that having women on the development staff might at least reduce the incidence of overtly male-centric gameplay.

  • Alan

There is definitely a benefit to having that sort of diversity in game design (just ask Maxis) and art too I suppose. But programming? What’s the point? I guess eliminating any sort of bias (if there is) is about it as far as programming goes…

You might as well get to the root and figure out why there aren’t more female programmers. That field tends to be male-dominated too.

I would guess the root of the problem is simply that women aren’t into that sort of thing. I think we can blame evolution for that. And the few that are, are probably intimidated.

I’d also like to know what kinds of games appeal to women? That’s the big mystery. People like to accuse the game industry of ignoring the female market, but no one seems to know what the female market wants. My wife likes to play the puzzle games like Bejewled, but there’s no way she’d ever pay for any games like that, much less pay $40.

What appeals to them? The Sims, puzzle and adventure games, that’s about it for most it seems. But for my girlfriend at least, many cute and colorful games catch her attention pretty well almost no matter what the genre. Animal Crossing, Pikmin, the Night Elf race in Warcraft III…

But she did get into Diablo II with me even though that’s definitely not cute. Why? Fast paced, easy to get into, you collect stuff (how many shoes does your wife/girlfriend have?), and most importantly co-op multiplayer. She’d never play something like that herself, but she had a lot of fun playing it with me.

Many of the female gamers I have met (and I know quite a number from hanging out on so many adventure game forums over the years) are devoted point-and-click adventure gamers. Single player RPGs seem to be the most common “next step” after that. I know of a few single-player FPS gals, but no strategy, sports or online players (I’m sure they’re out there in some sort of percentage, though, I just haven’t met them because I don’t play strategy, sports or online games myself). Adventure gaming forums seem about 50/50 male to female active posters, but I’ve never counted. The women might actually outnumber the men there.

The most fun I ever had playing a game was actually playing System Shock 2, though, along with three other predominantly-adventure-gaming women. 8) The conversations were priceless. It was funny as hell. We had to take breaks every half hour to breathe into paper bags. :lol: I miss that.

Maxis needs to hit on a few other games that have broad appeal to women before I’m convinced that The Sims isn’t just a fluke they stumbled onto. If having women on the design team made that game appeal to women, I’d expect to see more Maxis games made that appeal to women.

Maxis needs to hit on a few other games that have broad appeal to women before I’m convinced that The Sims isn’t just a fluke they stumbled onto. If having women on the design team made that game appeal to women, I’d expect to see more Maxis games made that appeal to women.[/quote]
I guess I was thinking about Sim City too, but then that had broad appeal already way back when Wil basically developed the whole game himself.

[quote=“Denice_Cook”]

Many of the female gamers I have met (and I know quite a number from hanging out on so many adventure game forums over the years) are devoted point-and-click adventure gamers. Single player RPGs seem to be the most common “next step” after that. I know of a few single-player FPS gals, but no strategy, sports or online players (I’m sure they’re out there in some sort of percentage, though, I just haven’t met them because I don’t play strategy, sports or online games myself). Adventure gaming forums seem about 50/50 male to female active posters, but I’ve never counted. The women might actually outnumber the men there.

The most fun I ever had playing a game was actually playing System Shock 2, though, along with three other predominantly-adventure-gaming women. 8) The conversations were priceless. It was funny as hell. We had to take breaks every half hour to breathe into paper bags. :lol: I miss that.[/quote]

Hmmm…adventure games would have been my first choice as games that appeal to women, with RPGs second, just like you list them. I don’t know what that means as far as gender differences go, although the RPG appeal might be helped by the availability to play female characters.

I’m surprised we haven’t seen a bunch of Sims clones. Usually the game industry jumps on that stuff.

There were a few. Partners comes to mind, but I’ve forgotten the others. Many of the Tycoon clone games were very Sim-ish. But there were a lot more third party addon products than outright clones, in much the same way that DOOM spawned so many “addon” products (e.g. level compilations and editors). That’s Life, utilities for making your own Sims, making new objects and professions etc.