1 month ago

Rainbow Jam 17 – Meet Annabelle Kennedy

We are now 1 day away from the start of Rainbow Game Jam 2017! We are so excited to kick off the jam this year!

In the run up to Rainbow Game Jam 2017 we wanted to take this opportunity to share the work and voices of previous entrants of Rainbow Jam!

Today we have Annabelle Kennedy ( Twitter, itch.io), developer of Rainbow Jam 2016 game Who am I?!

Hi Annabelle, Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name’s Annabelle Kennedy (Annie) and I’m about to start my 4th year at Abertay University studying Computer Game Application Development.

Can you tell us about your Rainbow Jam 2016 Game?
I made a game called “Who Am I”. The one which is 90% Dress Up Simulator (there was two with the same name). The idea was that you could create any Identity you wanted and you would be able to follow a simple story line which would include some aspects of your character creation choices.

It turns out my time management skills are poor and I spent more time getting the character customisation screen finished than polishing and finishing the story line I had in mind. The character customisation side of the game, although simple in its 3d art-work is something I am proud of as it’s something I’ve never done before and wasn’t sure if it would even work.

Why did you take part in Rainbow Jam 2016?

As a Game Jam, It arrived at the perfect time for me to take part, for example, Ludum Dare is always at just the wrong time for me to participate.

On the inclusivity, LGBT side, I wanted to take part as there aren’t any LGBT themed game jams aside from Rainbow Jam, meaning that there aren’t as many LGBT themed games coming out of game jams.

Something which would have been very beneficial for me would have been to be able to play games, like that which have been produced by the last Rainbow Jam. There aren’t enough games which explore diversity in Gender, Sexuality and LGBT Diversity in general. At least if they exist I haven’t found them yet.

What were your highlights of Rainbow Jam 2016?
The highlights for me were seeing all of the diversity in the games created. There were so many different takes on the theme that it took me a really long time to play them all. The other highlight was creating a game which contributed to that diversity as well as creating something which personally challenged my game development skills.

Last year the theme for Rainbow Jam was “Identity”, how do you feel your game explored that theme?

The idea behind the game was to create an ‘Identity’ and to give the player the opportunity to play around with that identity by means of a simple (unfortunately) unfinished storyline.

Diversity is an important topic in games at the moment. What are your thoughts on current representation (or underrepresentation) of minorities in games? How can the games industry do better to explore the stories of marginalised groups in games?

Minorities are underrepresented in games, full stop. A lot of the major games nowadays stick to very basic, white male characters, and whilst there’s nothing wrong with having a white male character, it would be nice to be able to play games which have more variety in their character choices.

There are some games such as Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate where the player can play as Evie Fry however diversity needs to be more than just allowing a female option during character creation. there should be more representation for people of colour, latinx characters as well as games showing that a character with a mental disability isn’t just a mad character who lives alone with no friends, as well as extending all of these options to NPCs as well as letting the main character choose who they want to be.

What advice do you have for someone who hasn’t taken part in Rainbow Jam, or any other game jam before?

  • If you have an idea that you want to explore, even if it’s not entirely part of the main theme, try it.
  • Don’t try and rewrite something that already exists. Open source is your friend. Even the Asset stores in Unity and Unreal are your friend, I wouldn’t spend too much on a game jam though, look for free packages.
  • If the jam stretches more than one day (Rainbow Jam does), SLEEP. Waking up with fresh eyes will really help with ironing out bugs.

Do you have anything else you would like to share?

Our team made it to Dare academy this summer (2017). We’re making a multiplayer arcade shooter. We are still in development however you can find more on our group twitter page @hypnotic_pigeon

Keep up to date with Rainbow Game Jam on twitter, Discordfacebookrainbowjam.games, or on itch.io.

Categories RainbowJam16 RainbowJam17 RainbowJamInterviews

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