Workshop follow up and Women in Game Dev Industry

I am a huge supporter of Women in Game Dev Industry. I believe we need more women in Games, more games made by women and do more work towards gender diversity in Game Dev. A month ago I officially became part of the industry and found a job in a game development company. I am the only woman there.

But sometimes I loose heart. A couple of days ago I spoke to our developers and asked them to remember one of two girls working in game dev as developers. There was a long pause. Then each one of them named 1 or 2 women, and out of those total 5 women — only 1 or 2 are still in Australia. That’s depressing, and I think it needs to change.

Me at Canva doing #makeagame workshop with#WWCSyd

Last month I ran a workshop on game development with WomenWhoCode Sydney. We had 40+ participants, and most of them (as far as I know — all of them) managed to make a simple dancing game in Corona SDK. And they liked it. So the reason for women not going to Game Dev is not a lack of interest.

I have my own theory in that regard. I think we don’t have enough women in the industry because… we don’t have enough women in the industry. No, I am not crazy.

Being a female developer is a constant struggle for me. And it’s not like I struggle with the industry or male domination in the industry. Not at all — all people of all genders that I met on my way to GameDev were incredibly supportive.
For me it is a constant struggle with myself. Every time I hear developers talking about a problem I don’t understand, about the concept I haven’t heard of before or using a term I don’t know — my imposter syndrome starts dancing. As 
Reshma Saujani said in her TED talk “When the guys are struggling with an assignment, they’ll come in and they’ll say, “Professor, there’s something wrong with my code.” The girls will come in and say, “Professor, there’s something wrong with me.”

What is the most effective weapon to fight it? Other women in the industry. When I see that it is DOABLE, that there are others who struggled and won — I feel more powerful, I feel like I can do it.

#WWCode #WWC at Canve

That’s why I created Women-in-Game-Development-Sydney group. I hoped that if I’m able to find women working in the industry, to show that yes, you can — the situation might change. That’s what Women Who Code community did for me. And I wanted to spread the word. But… I’m still looking for female developers in the industry that are ready to talk about their experience. Share their opinions. Give advices.

And I understand it now. It’s difficult. Standing on the stage in Canva, talking about rules of Game Dev process, joking and trying to involve girls into the conversation, I was struggling with imposter syndrome, and it was the battle for Sydney in Pacific Rim, no less. “Who are you to talk about game dev? You are not a real developer! No one wants to hire you as a developer! No one wants to work with you! You are not enough. You don’t know enough. You’ll never be enough!”.

I didn’t win. Or did I? I finished workshop and got very inspiring feedback. I saw women that never worked on games before being happy and more confident. And I hope that at least for one of them that won’t fade, and we’ll hear more female names, see more female made projects.

But getting back to lost heart — it’s incredibly difficult and painful. Going through this battle right on stage, I can’t blame other women in industry for not being ready to be more visible. To stand on stage and tell the world “Here I am. I am a female game developer. And I struggled, and I fought and I released games and I’ll continue to do that” — is scary as hell. But someone has to do it.

No. We have to do it. With all due respect, 100 guys on the stage telling me “you can do it” are less effective than 1 girl saying “I did that. It’s doable”.

So please, if you are developing games and right this moment you think “No one is interested in what I have to say. My project is not good enough. Look at amazing things other people do. I should just continue to hide from the world and work in my project” — STOP. Game Dev needs you right now. I need you right now. Because it’s easier when you are not along on the stage.

If you know a women that is interested in GameDev, works in GameDev, knows about GameDev or is excited about GameDev — show her this post. And the group. I believe there’s a lot we can give this world. And we don’t need to do it alone.