Dames Who Make Games: Angela M.

Welcome to Dames Who Make Games, Gamerwife’s interview series with the lovely ladies who make our video games. Whether you’re a QA tester or a company VP, we want to hear what you have to say.

Dames Who Make Games Angela M This month’s Dames Who Make Games interviewee Angela is the business and marketing director for Clever Plays, an indie studio here in Montreal that she founded with her husband. Their first game, Leap of Fate is a hardcore action game with permadeath, randomly-generated levels, and magic, all in a modern dystopian setting.

Gamerwife: Let’s start at the beginning, what was the first game you ever played?
Angela: Pacman.

GW: What made you decide on a career in games?
Angela: Mostly my desire to fund a company with my husband. Clever-Plays is the combination of my husband’s development skills and my business development experience.

GW: Where did you go to school and what did you study?
Angela: I have a BA in International studies which is a mix between economics, political science and business and I also have a Master’s degree in international business.

GW: What are the best/worst things about working in video games?
Angela: The best thing is getting to work with passionate people. The worst thing is that game development environments tends to be unhealthy (long hours in front of computers).

GW: Are there unique challenges you’ve faced as an independent developer? What were they and how did you overcome them?
Our two biggest challenges were financing and creating a team with the right experience. We’ve worked veryhard to obtain funding. We have been successful in getting an investor and CMF (Canadian Media Fund) funding. It took four months full-time to write our business plan and to prepare the CMF applications. The business plan was useful to prepare the CMF application and obtain private investment. We applied two times to CMF programs. The first time, we did not get it. The second time, we were successful.

With regards to building our team, senior professionals tend to prefer the stability of large companies. Or they prefer to build their own company. It tooks us between 4 to 6 months to build the right team.

GW: Have you ever had issues with harassment or discrimination as a women in video games?
Angela: Not really. The problem for me is more related with creating credibility. I am casual gamer involved in the development of hard core games.

GW: What games are you playing right now?
Angela: Candy Crush Saga and (obviously) Leap of Fate.

Friday I’m In Love

Do The Mario by Cynic With a Pencil

Do The Mario by Cynic With a Pencil available at Etsy

Hope y’all are having an excellent weekend! I’m in Seattle right now, getting my PAX on. Very excited to be a part of my first ever panel and looking forward to officially unveiling my first ever cosplay.

Your Kickstarter Pick:

Tickle – A crazy simple and great looking app for creating your very own iPad and iPhone games. Users simply drag and drop bits of code to create animations and game rules and then share the results with their friends.

Link Time!

Fascinating! Scientists have narrowed down the traits that make pets look like their owners.

Preserving a wonderful little bit of both Canadian and comic book history.

I’m so proud of my very good friend Susan, a writer on the newly announced Assassin’s Creed Rogue. See what she has to say about this new take on the series in this interview.

Hard to believe, but the inclusion of ads in the Xbox interface was initially a hard sell.

Totally inspiring dev diary of someone brand new to game design and Unity.

Have you ever experienced Game Transfer Phenomena?

A charming animation about the problem with automation.

I am old.

Loving these thoughts of balance, relationships & gaming from Mama Needs Mana.

And finally, the insane economy of Neopets.

August Favourites 2014

Can you believe summer is almost over? It seems like it only just started a few weeks ago. But, since August is slowly sleeping away from us I figured it was time to put together another list of my favourites for the month. My August favourites includes a fashion fav, Netflix favs & a little life hack.

This video is a bit longer than my previous videos, I guess I got pretty chatty this month. I generally try to keep my videos to 10 mins or less, but I decided not to edit this one too much and just see what you thought. What do you think is the perfect length for a YouTube vid?

About the items listed in this video:

Light Asian Pear Lip Balm – LipGlosserie
The Mindy Project & Ripper Street
Disco ZooiTunes or Google Play (p.s. It’s free!)

Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds: Review & Signing

Seconds by Byan Lee O'Malley
Like pretty much everyone else on the internet, I was super excited to learn that Canadian cartoonist Bryan Lee O’Malley would finally be releasing a new comic. I love all things Scott Pilgrim (books, game, movie…) and Rick and I actually read the book as part of our courtship. We were really able to see ourselves in the characters of Scott and Ramona and I even convinced Rick to dress as Scott to my Ramona that year for Halloween.

His new book, Seconds, is a self-contained story about restaurateur Katie and her quest for perfection on the verge of turning 30. As someone now well into her thirties, I found that I could still relate to Katie’s feeling of “how did I get here,” but I was still jealous of how actually successful she was at such a young age (lol). As with Scott Pilgrim, Seconds also has a metaphysical component, this time in the form of a house spirit who provides Katie with a magical mushroom that will allow her to rewrite a mistake. However, the results of her first attempt are so good things move into abuse and Katie is left reeling from all the various paths she could have or should have taken.

Drawn and Quarterly Seconds Display Seconds is probably O’Malley most mature work to date and the colours and images are both whimsical and gorgeous. I also really liked the hand lettering by Dustin Harbin because I’m the kind of weirdo who notices those kinds of things. My favourite character would have to be Hazel, the socially awkward server who teaches Katie about house spirits. And like others have noted, her wardrobe is to die for.

However, as if an awesome new comic book wasn’t enough, it turns out that my favourite book store was hosting a book launch for Seconds! And Bryan Lee O’Malley would be there in person for a Q&A and book signing!

Bryan Lee O'Malley I managed to drag Rick with me to the signing (which was no small feat considering what a curmudgeon he can be), but the appearance of free wine for attendees did much to calm his nerves. The event was held in the store itself, which made for rather cramped quarters and we were forced to exit the venue after the discussion and then re-enter in groups for the signing.

Seconds Dedication Bryan was wonderfully humble and gracious as he answered questions and signed personalized dedications. We brought both our new copy of Seconds and Volume 1 of Scott Pilgrim for him to sign. We also made a point of telling him how the book played into our courtship, even if the couple ahead of us had us topped by telling of their Scott Pilgrim themed wedding!

Kid Koala As an added bonus, Kid Koala showed up as part of Bryan’s entourage and I got to introduce myself and thank him for putting on an excellent show as part of the Montreal Jazz Fest. I also mentioned that he’d met my sister and my newborn nephew at a show in Vancouver, which he actually remembered!

All in all it was a wonderful evening, getting to meet two of my hapa idols who were just as gracious and approachable as anything.

Have you read Seconds? What did you think?