It's hard to believe this studio initiative only began late last year, in 2021. Originally the founder, Justin Kim, just wanted to make games with like-minded people. Today the Game Studio is devoted towards its more refined mission of "game making for all".
The original studio proposal specifies:
This studio initiative aims to get participants designing and developing games ASAP.
What we didn't realize at the time was how we wanted game making (to borrow a term from Macklin and Sharp) to be more inclusive of beginners. And naturally, accessibility follows. As game makers, are we designing our games to meet accessibility standards so that those with disabilities can comfortably enjoy our work? How can we help our apprentices practice creating experiences with accessibility needs in mind, especially if they're still inexperienced in design?
Our very own head of the Empathy Lab, Jessi Shakarian, reached out to discuss how the studio is addressing accessibility in its games. Thanks to her and Alex Forseth, we're proud to announce our latest project aims to improve studio operations by creating an accessibility toolkit and onboarding process for use in the game making process.
But that's not all that we're doing. Check out the projects we've been and are working on so far!
P05: Accessibility Toolkit + Onboarding process
- P05 GitHub Directory
- Team: Alex Forseth, Jessi Shakarian, Justin Kim
- Dates: Feb. 17th, 2022 – Present
Project05 is a two-fold effort to help game making be a little less daunting. Originally focused only on making an accessibility toolkit, it now also aims to onboard new apprentices into making games.
The accessibility toolkit is meant to be used in tandem with individual game making processes.
The onboarding process's goal is to help apprentices become comfortable with game making and create with accessibility as a focus. At the moment apprentices can choose from using Bitsy, Twine, or GB Studio to bring their stories to life.
- P04 GitHub Directory
- Team: Amber Du
- Dates: Feb. 3rd, 2022 – Present
Project04 is a web-based application for calculating how many points a winning hand in Taiwanese-style Mahjong is worth.
P03: Godot Self-learning Jam: RPG
- P03 GitHub Directory
- Team: Justin Kim
- Dates: Feb. 16th, 2022 – Feb. 21st, 2022
Project03 is a game jam where 1 person practiced using the Godot game engine by creating a MVP game with basic RPG mechanics.
P02: Kishotenketsu Tarot + Writing Game
- P02 GitHub Directory
- Team: Justin Kim
- Dates: Dec. 10th, 2021 – Feb. 13th, 2022
Project02 is a writing game using Tarot card meanings where the player creates an East Asian style narrative under a time limit.
Projects 00 and 01 are two iterations of Countdown, a prototype 2D side-scrolling shooter game.
These two projects were some of the studio's first steps into exploring game making and all its possibilities through fantasy console development. While rough, we hope it serves as a reference point for apprentices to understand what an initial attempt at making a game might look like.
- P01 GitHub Directory
- Team: Justin Kim, Amber Du
- Dates: Nov. 8th, 2021 – Jan. 14th, 2022
A continuation of P00, Project01 saw a developer, Amber Du, joining the project to help implement fancier features than Justin could have done alone.
The best part of this project was seeing the power and fun in brainstorming exercises to help motivate the team and elicit creative features and mechanics.
- P00 GitHub Directory
- Team: Justin Kim
- Dates: Oct. 20th, 2021 – Nov. 21st, 2021
Project00 was initially a solo project by Justin, who wanted to see if making games with the PICO-8 fantasy console was a sustainable approach for beginners to start with.
The future of the studio...
Once we have the accessibility toolkit and onboarding process implemented, we hope to involve more apprentices and see how well they can start making games. And beyond that, maybe we can start trying out more complex projects for those who have that game making itch...