It’s well-documented that, even though many girls in the UK have all the aptitude and subject enthusiasm they need to work in technology fields, ultimately they choose not to. The reason often cited is that girls are discouraged from choosing science or other tech-related subjects while still at school because these are perceived as boys-only topics, and girls that pursue them are somehow… strange.
The upshot is that even though a vast proportion of our audience is female, when it comes to recruiting new development staff, applications from women make up less than 10% of the total. How do we make a game for a large audience when 50% of the population is barely represented on the team?
We like to do our bit to encourage the next generation of game-making talent, and with the above in mind we decided that this year we would make our annual careers open day into a female-focussed event. Out of over 100 eager applicants we selected 30 girls and young women to join us on October 29th to discover what life was like inside a development studio.
After a whistle-stop studio tour, the girls got an introduction to the disciplines of art, design and coding from Criterion’s own experts. They learned something of the part each plays in game development, what
variety of roles exist within those disciplines and what kind of studies, experience or talents they might work on to help find success.
Lunch in the Criterion kitchen gave the girls an opportunity to grab team members and ask them about how they found their way into the games industry.
In the afternoon, we split the group into six teams and challenged them to work together to develop their own game pitch. After being given a random game type, a random image to inspire them and a Criterion mentor to guide things along, the teams had less than two hours to work up a game idea they could present back to a team of judges.
In the short time they had all of the teams came up with detailed presentations for a wide variety of games. The judges were dazzled by the variety of pitches, which ranged from finding lost puppies, to escaping a witch’s cooking pot, to branching adventures in a post-apocalyptic world of light and darkness. All the teams won prizes for their ingenuity, and everyone took home a bag of Criterion swag for their trouble.
We want to thank everyone who applied for our open day, and all the girls and women who came to show us that female game developers are most definitely a growing and talented band! If you want to make games, it doesn’t matter what gender you are. Be who you are and do what you love. If you can make it happen, the world and its HR department will be waiting…
For more information on getting into game development, try these:
BAFTA YGD: http://ygd.bafta.org/competition
Game making learning resources: