Writing Inclusive Games: Creating RPGs Sans Fail

Writing Inclusive Games - Creating RPGs Sans Fail

When: Saturdays, 2 – 4PM Eastern, April 1 – 22, 2017 NOTE: THE DATE HAS CHANGED
Where: ONLINE via Zoom Video Conference
Price: $360
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The goal of many game designers is to attract and retain players who want to see themselves as the hero in their own story. To do that, game writers lend their talents to portray characters whose gender, sexual orientation, religion, racial heritage, or other aspect of identity might differ from their own. Many game writers work within a team-based environment or with a developer, and are optimistic but fearful of what good representation means. Worried they’ll present a character wrong, offend players for their effort, get harassed or be fired for speaking up, some game writers opt to take the safe route instead.

It is possible to design characters and game material from a position of mutual respect in a sensitive and convincing way. This workshop can start you on the path to doing just that.

Following years of experience in the gaming industry, Monica Valentinelli (Firefly, Vampire: The Masquerade, Unknown Armies 3rd Edition) has partnered with Writing the Other instructor K. Tempest Bradford to teach game writers crucial skills and industry knowledge to facilitate better representation. They’ll use lectures, discussions, and character design exercises in a safe, supportive atmosphere.

The class will cover Stereotypes and Tropes related to Race and Ethnicity, Disability, Gender and Sexuality, Religion, Class, and more, plus strategies for building characters and worlds while avoiding engaging in stereotypes or cultural appropriation. We’ll also discuss tips and tricks to addressing problems on your team, how to better facilitate conversation with your game developer, and sample art notes that are occasionally asked of writers.

The class is appropriate for all game writers from all backgrounds and any skill level.

Syllabus and Schedule

All classes take place on Saturdays from 2 – 4:30PM Eastern | Click here to find out when this starts in your time zone

Week 1 – April 1 | Gaming Industry Overview
Where are decisions made for diversity and representation? How do writers fit into that?

Week 2 – April 8 | Writing the Other Basics
Representation, Stereotypes and Tropes, Cultural Appropriation, & Bias Language

Week 3 – April 15 | Examining Problematic Content
In class critique of existing characters or games recognized as problematic, discussion of how to address issues going forward (without burning down the house).

Week 4 – April 22 | Critiquing Original Content
Students get a chance and a safe space to share their original characters for their game or a different game line.

Price and Payment Plans

The class costs $360.

We can make arrangements for students who need to pay over time. As long as you can pay the full amount by April 15th, we can enroll you now and secure a spot in class. To get on a payment plan, please email writingtheother+rpg@gmail.com with your name and the amount you can pay to register. We’ll work out a schedule of payments and amounts from there.

Available Spots and Scholarship Opportunities

This class is capped at 10 students.

8 spots are available for open enrollment. Want a reminder when the registration deadline is coming up? Join our announcement list. If the class sells out there will be a waiting list. Add yourself to it as there are often students who have to drop.

There are 2 spots available for Sentient Squid Scholarship recipients. Applications are open now.

If you do not have the financial means to take this class and feel that you will benefit from it, we encourage you to apply. We have a broad definition of financial need that ranges from writers who do not have the money at all to writers who have the funds but can’t afford to use them for a writing class. Please don’t hesitate to apply wherever you exist on that spectrum. (Still not sure whether you should apply? Read this post.) We’ve set aside one scholarship spot specifically for students who identify as POC or Native, though we do not limit the number of scholarships we’ll give to POC or Native applicants.

To apply, send an email to writingtheother+squid@gmail.com with the subject WtO RPG Scholarship Applicant, and include in the body:

  • A brief (300 or fewer words) statement of financial need
  • A brief (500 or fewer words) description of the game or games you hope this class will help you develop.
  • If you identify as a Person of Color, Native American, or First Nations, you may indicate that if you wish (it’s not a requirement).

Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific March 19. We will notify all applicants of their standing at the latest a week before class begins. If you have any questions, please use our contact form to ask!

Class Texts

Before class, please purchase and read the following book:

Class Requirements

You must have a Google account to participate in this class. Though video sessions are held in Zoom video conferencing rooms, all classwork is submitted via a private Google Drive folder. The class mailing list runs on Google groups. We will send you links to access the Drive folder a week before class starts.

Before enrolling in class, make sure your system is compatible with Zoom. If you want to test your computer to be sure, join this test meeting.

A webcam/video camera is not necessary for class, but we do need to hear you. Please make sure you have a microphone that works, either internally in your computer or via a headset, headphones, or earbuds.

All students must be active participants in class. There will be lectures as well as in-class exercises and Q&A. Throughout class we will use your fiction for exercises and homework.

Refund Policy

If you find that you need to drop the class, you may do so by contacting our GMail or emailing via the website.

If you drop by March 1st, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.

If you drop by March 7th, you will receive an 80% refund minus a service fee plus a chance to enroll in future Writing the Other classes at a discount before general tickets go on sale.

If you drop by March 19th, you will receive an 40% refund minus a service fee plus a chance to enroll in future Writing the Other classes at a discount before general tickets go on sale.

If you drop on March 20th or after you will not have your registration fee refunded as it will be extremely hard for a student to fill your space. However, you will be able to enroll in a future class for a 90-95% discount.

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