August News: Events of The Long Quiet

Yes, it’s been two months. I mustache you to forgive me for the delay. Was it necessary? Was there really no time to blog? Not even a little bit? Pretty much.

During the last seven weeks, I worked as the videogame design instructor for Six Points Sci-Tech West. Rarely have I worked so hard or had so much fun in such a short time.

When I accepted the job, I expected that I would have time to work on my own projects in the evenings. On occasion, I did indeed have time to do that, but for the most part I did not. What with creating and reworking lesson plans, hanging out with kids, supporting various events, and being backup for counselors, it was intense. Rewarding, but intense.

During these seven weeks, I was a design and programming coach. I offered kids three development tools – Twine, Scratch, and GameMaker – then helped guide them through the process of game development. We did some pie-in-the-sky brainstorming, built several paper prototypes, jumped into digital development, did a little semi-formal playtesting, and then we showcased their projects at the end-of-camp Sci Fest.

For their games, the two core requirements were: fun AND good. That is, the games should be fun and AND somehow help to make the world a better place. For sure, fun is a worthwhile goal and a real goodness on its own, but why stop there when there is so much more that you could do?

Whew.

All that said, I did have time for little bits of Mindful Mammothy stuff. I continued my volunteer work as an IndieCade judge, reviewing several more games. In slightly bigger news, IndieCade invited me to be the (volunteer) field trip coordinator for the upcoming 2018 games festival.

What does that mean? Well, for the past two years, IndieCade has invited kids from local schools (particularly those with game design programs) to attend. This year, they want to be a little more formal and organized, and it’ll be my job to help make that happen.

In totally different news, I bought a new laptop. One of these. I’d call it an upper-middle-class working laptop. Which is kind of a big deal. I try hard to use things for as long as they’re usable. This saves money and helps me to be the humble citizen of the Earth that I want to be. Thing is, my current/former laptop was getting a little funky – the headphone jack was fiddly, the web camera was broken, and about once a week it would either power down for no reason or fail to boot. So I figured it was time to get a new one.

This brings me to the most important issue: thanks. Being an idealistic indie remains a tough job – volunteering for IndieCade (and others), releasing free games (Sprout), and making sure kids have the kind of high-quality hands-on experiences that teacher salaries don’t really cover. Yet, with your help, I can juuuust squeak by and keep making good things happen. Thank you.

As a special thanks for those of you who supported us at the $10 / month level and above, I’ll be sending you a mustache. Why? Well, my current/former laptop has a mustache. For the sake of continuity, I feel that it’s important for my new laptop to have a mustache as well. And because we’re all in this together, I’d like to give you that option as well. Maybe we can make the mustache a symbol of the games for good movement. Or not. But it’s a worthy goal and worth the effort.

Tim