Recording by AlterConf and Post Production by Confreaks
We spend the majority of our week, our year, and our life at our jobs, yet many people become comfortable settling into jobs which they don't like. Jobs which don't excite them, seeking the majority of their happiness and enjoyment from the few hours outside of their working life. During my talk, I'll discuss reasons I see this happen so often, particularly for junior engineers and minorities, and how that can pull people away from their passions or away from tech. By using my own personal experiences, experiences of friends, and some fun facts, I'll help tackle why having a job that you love actually matters and how you can go about finding such a job.
This talk will highlight the ability of games to become cultural tools. Using personal lived experience to preserve oral traditions is an example of such an action. The talk will take example from current events and games in the market.
Everything we say to computers can be expressed in ones and zeros. On or off. Open or closed. Yes or no. Humans have many more options with which to communicate, but the concepts of “Yes” and “No” are still two of the simplest, most important units in our languages… and yet – sometimes – two of the most difficult to use confidently. This talk is a meditation on communicating commitment and consent; on the impact these two small words can have in our relationships with our work, our time, our colleagues and clients, our loved ones, and ourselves.
The talk will focus on the barriers erected by parents from diverse communities, especially immigrants, which limit their children’s access to gaming and online communities. Parents/guardians are usually the primary gatekeepers to new media technologies for children in their formative years. By restricting access, these parents/guardians limit exposure to the technology and gaming industries, thus putting their children at a technological disadvantage, as they are often not as familiar with the industry or comfortable using the tools as their peers. This limitation often stems from fear and unfamiliarity with technology and gaming, and can lead to the fears can be inherited, creating obstacles to participation and eventually employment in the industries.
When tech companies encourage employees to be role models of diversity, they may unwittingly be undermining their self-care and desire for inclusion, by focusing only on what makes them different. Even though diversity initiatives may be well-intentioned, highlighting only differences can impact self-care in a profound way, if people don’t first see their differences as positives. In this talk, I'll explain why companies should focus on achieving inclusion first, attending to employees’ specific self-care needs in order to create a platform for diversity to flourish.
From problematic and hurtful depictions of mental health in popular videogames to extremely personal alt games, feelings have been a huge factor in evocative works, yet the conversation rarely moves from the actual content of the game to how feelings are communicated and produced through the interactivity of the medium. This talk will delve into ways in which gameplay mechanics regulate somatic and emotional responses. Videogame content often try really hard to make us scared, but when we show that fear in ways like twitchy fingers or freezing, we are punished. This talk is to inspire thinking about game content as well as gameplay mechanics as a mode of expression rather than repression. We will explore ways in which to approach game design as an emotional flow from the body rather than a fixed movement, devoid of embodiment.
Acquiring an awareness of physical surroundings and speech patterns is no joke - in fact, it is one of the most important skills discounted by engineers in today’s world. What other skills allow you to encourage a welcoming environment, increasing your team’s productivity as well as creativity? The exercises we’ll do have their roots in improvisation, but they’ve been tailored for every engineer to take their first steps as a spatially and communicatively aware person.
Will provide resources for imparting your enlightenment to your team, eventually allowing all technology teams to profit from an “aware” environment. After all, the first step to inclusion is an awareness of exclusion.
It's an incredible time for queerness and games -- conferences, documentaries, and high-level conversations about queer issues are springing up all over the place. While we celebrate these successes, it's worth remembering that shorthand umbrella terms like 'queer' and 'LGBT' can also obscure a huge range of diverse experiences. I want to go beyond the broad categories of 'women in games' and 'queerness in games' to think through what it means to be a lesbian in a field that is still profoundly sexist and homophobic. While the issue of direct harassment has received a fair amount of attention, lesbians working in and around games also face rarely-discussed structural barriers like lack of mentorship and economic insecurity driven by heteropatriarchy that are specific to our position as queer women. Let's consider these issues together and think through how we can work in solidarity to create more space for queer women in videogames.
Growing up in a caucasian family, being adopted from the Philippines, made for some very interesting internal artistic conflicts.
No one was very aware, but mentally I did not view myself as a person of colour and my character designs reflected that. They would either be a weird mishmash of every ethnicity I could think of (and still look white), or very prominently white.
What didn't help - and eventually became very cool for me - was Final Fantasy games where the characters were clearly supposed to be caucasian but looked like people of colour with lighter skin. Characters who reflected the same physical aspirations I put on myself and my designs.
It took over twenty years for me to come to terms with the fact that I'm not like my parents and that's totally fine and my designs reflect a greater diversity, and I still love Final Fantasy.
Diversity has become a hot topic. Companies are making promises to do better, think pieces are being written and diversity talks are being included amongst the technical talks at conferences.
But sometimes, it's hard to see if much has actually changed. Many still view diversity initiatives as lowering the bar and unnecessary. And often, "diversity" defaults to championing women in tech, so other underrepresented groups are overshadowed.
This talk will explore how can we ensure that doing diversity work also means inclusion of all types of people, not getting derailed by the naysayers and band-wagon supporters, examining our own biases and staying true to ourselves in the process so we can talk less and do more.
On International Workers' Day I asked the world to #talkpay and many people did. Pay transparency is critical in order to address pay inequity in our field, as well as others, but there's more to it than that. I'd like to talk about why this taboo surrounding pay got started, illustrate just how concerted of an effort there is to prevent workers (including tech workers) from pushing for higher pay, and why, exactly, we NEED to talk about pay.