NorWesCon 2014 Panel Schedule!

March 23, 2014 Comments off

I can’t believe it’s already NorWesCon time again. I did not get to participate last year, so it will be good to see some of the changes which have occurred since my last visit. I’m very excited about the new anti-harassment policy and I hope to see less creepy behavior this year. I can’t say I have a love/hate relationship with NorWesCon any longer, as many folks involved are doing their best to keep their policy updated, and accepted feedback on it with grace.  There have always been heaps of things I’ve loved at NorWesCon, but some some things I’ve been pretty uncomfortable with. I’ve always enjoyed being invited as a pro-panelist, and they’ve always been super attentive and supportive.

I’m VERY pleased at a lot more focus on a more inclusive and & welcoming convention. I’ve always felt like such an outsider, as I’m not that much of a fandom gal, nor am I attending for the literary side of things. I’m kinda stuck in the middle sometimes, and every year, I debate throwing myself into the fray to try to create the change I want to see.

I love talking about games. I love talking to others about games. I love talking about working in the games industry, both from a video game and analog game point of view. I enjoy deep discussions about Star Wars, craft beer, social justice, and perfect nachos. I love getting a chance to see my peers in the industry, along with talking with excited fans. I love sitting down with beers & board games, or getting a game demo. I love the passion that a lot of people put into their hobbies.

This year, I’ve got 7 panels. Around those times, I plan on teaching lots of demo games of Green Ronin Publishing’s Love2Hate as possible. If you’re up for a game, you’ll most likely find me in the bar, enjoying NachosBeerCon. I’m happy to throw down a game at any time! I will also bring my Dragon Age RPG demo kit, if you are up for a 2-hour game over beers.

L2H

Gaming Cons: An Adventurer’s Guide
Thu 4:00pm-5:00pm Cascade 5
There are a lot of gaming conventions out there and they all have their own cultures and mores. Come find out what conventions there are and what they have to offer the adventurous gamer in you.
Ogre Whiteside (M), Julie Haehn, Jeremy Holcomb, Adam Koebel, Donna Prior

Nerding Out in the Pacific Northwest
Thur 6:00pm-7:00pm Cascade 6
Spending your Latinum: Who, what, when, how, and why?
Morgue Anne (M), Matt Hammond, MC-3PO of DeathStar, C0splay of DeathStar, Donna Prior

The “Panel” Panel
Thur 8:00pm-9:00pm Cascade 3&4 
Tips and tricks on being a good moderator, pro, or panelist at a convention. What’s your job, really, when your name appears after a panel description in a program book? How do you keep it on-topic and interesting for the audience? And what do you do when some blowhard in the back row thinks they know more than you?
Janna Silverstein (M), Janet Borkowski, Charles “Zan” Christensen, Nicole Dieker (Hello, The Future!), Donna Prior

Out of Game: Gaming Like Adults
Fri 9:00pm-10:00pm Cascade 10
Personal conflicts? Scheduling hassles? Trying to sort out what snacks to bring and who helps clean up afterwards? In game conflicts that brew into out of game unpleasantness? We should talk about this, and our panelists will.
Sar Surmick (M), Eric Cagle, Donna Prior, Bryan Syme, Ogre Whiteside

How Are Games and Gamers Changing the World?
Fri 10:00pm-11:00pm Cascade 10
A discussion about the rising sun of the gamer, and all the different ways that this generation who grew up on video games has changed with how the world works. This will cover both the good and the bad.
Hunter Mayer (M), Angel Leigh McCoy, Donna Prior, Gregory A. Wilson, Gwen Yeh

Twitter and Tumblr and Facebook, OH MY!
Sun 11:00am-Noon Cascade 3&4
Where do you get your fandom fixes? Every social media has it’s own culture. What’s different about the various social medias, and how do they interact within themselves and with each other in spreading fandom.
Jen K (M), Donna Prior, Jonny Nero Action Hero, Lola Watson

Creating & Building Inclusive Gaming Groups
Sun 1:00pm-2:00pm Cascade 5
Enjoy board games? Love the idea of painting miniatures? Want to know how to find inclusive groups for gaming? How do you create your own gaming meet-ups? Our panelists will give you tips on creating game groups, finding public game meet-ups, and enjoying gaming conventions as a newbie. Want to be a better organizer? We’ll work with you to build positivity in your current groups, how to find new players, and how to encourage their participation.
Donna Prior (M), Berry Sizemore, Ogre Whiteside

Steamcon Code of Conduct

December 13, 2013 1 comment

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Code of Conduct

This Code of Conduct is to provide guidance to all Steamcon V convention members. It is to help ensure that the behavior of one individual does not adversely disturb the rest of the members. It applies to all pre-con, at con, and post-con activities that are related to Steamcon V. All members are encouraged to read this Code and ask questions of anything that they do not understand.

Steamcon V is prepared to deal with any violations of the code as legally, rapidly, and efficiently as possible. We hope that all members will help to make Steamcon V an enjoyable experience for all, by respecting the rights of all attendees while in attendance.

Steamcon V reserves the right to revoke membership and eject any individual at any time from Steamcon V. No refunds will be provided.

Failure to adhere to the code of conduct may result in:

  • Mediation by the Con Chair and Convention Operations talking to all parties involved in an incident
  • Verbal warnings
  • Turning the individual in to hotel/convention center staff/security
  • Revocation of membership and ejection from Steamcon V
  • Contacting local law enforcement

BADGES: Steamcon V is a membership event and membership badges must be worn at all time by all members and staff. A badge is only valid for the individual to whom it was issued. Badges may not be shared. Steamcon V requires that all individuals age 3 and over have membership badges for the convention, and that they be clearly visible when at Steamcon V.

PERSONAL INTERACTION: We ask that you respect others so that everyone is comfortable and feels safe while attending Steamcon V.

  • Harassment of others will not be tolerated and is a violation of the code of conduct.
  • If someone asks you to leave them alone or tells you no, you walk away, and you do not approach them again. There is no reason for you to have any further interaction with them.
  • Discrimination of any sort is not tolerated and is a violation of the code of conduct.
  • Discrimination is not limited to gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or physical/mental disability.
    • If you feel that you have been harassed or discriminated against:
    • Tell the individual that their behavior is inappropriate. Sometimes this is sufficient.
    • If you do not feel comfortable talking with the individuals involved, or if talking to them once does not work, please immediately report the situation to any Steamcon V committee or staff member. If possible provide a badge name or name and a physical description of the person or persons involved. The committee or staff member will notify Convention Operations and/or the Con Chair.
  • PLEASE: Keep in mind that unless an incident is reported, nothing can be done.

PUBLIC PARTIES: Specific party rules will be published separately and provided to all party hosts.

Only certain convention hotel rooms are available for parties and all parties must be coordinated with Steamcon V.

No one under 21 will be served alcohol. Hosts are required to card anyone who wishes to drink at their event. Attempting to drink while under 21 or knowingly serving alcohol to someone under 21 is a violation of the code of conduct, and could subject you to removal from Steamcon V.

HOTEL INTERACTIONS: We ask that you follow any and all rules set by the convention hotels.

The person whose name the room is rented is solely responsible for the conduct of all individuals in the room and the condition of the room. Excessive trash, any act of vandalism, deliberate or excessive damage to hotel room and its contents, or any negative interference with hotel staff that may present a hazard to said hotel staff will result in the hotel taking control of the situation.

Individuals, regardless of whose name the room is rented in, will be billed for said damages by the hotel. In addition, individuals may be evicted from the hotel and/or the convention and may also face criminal charges.

SMOKING: The City of Bellevue does not allow smoking in any public buildings, including hotels, restaurants, or the convention center.

PETS: Only service animals are allowed in hotel and convention function spaces.

WEAPONS:

  • Steamcon V recognizes that weapons and weapon replicas are an integral part of the Steampunk look and aesthetic, and as such will be present at the convention. However, any weapon that is sufficiently realistic may cause issue with local law enforcement and Steamcon V reserves the right to request that you leave such a weapon in your room or off premises regardless of any permit for such weapon.
  • All laws of the City of Bellevue, King County, and the state of Washington regarding weapons are in force while on convention property, and any violation of such is also a violation of the code of conduct resulting in immediate expulsion from the convention.
  • Any weapon (actual, realistic or toy) that is brandished about or utilized in a threating or harmful manner is a violation of the code of conduct.
  • The discharge of any projectile weapon outside of an approved demonstration or convention event is a violation of the code of conduct.

PRIVACY, PHOTOGRAPHY, AND ELECTRONIC RECORDING:

Steamcon V members should be aware that photographs, video and audio recordings occur during the convention, and that their likenesses may appear in these recordings. Attendees and members agree to assign without compensation the use of their likenesses for the use of promotion material.

Steamcon V welcomes members of the press to all events. All journalists, media photographers and any other members of the press are required to display an official Steamcon V Press Badge or be accompanied by a Steamcon V staff member at all times.

Members should be polite and ask before taking photographs or recordings of members and attendees whenever possible. Photography and audio/video recordings for personal archival use is generally acceptable, unless an individual makes it clear that they do not wish to be photographed or recorded, in which case it becomes expressly forbidden.

The usage of photographic or recording devices is prohibited in certain area of the convention including the Film Room, Art Show, and Art Auction. Where allowed, please take photographs before or after a program event to avoid distracting panelists and audience members to the maximum extent possible.

The offering for sale of any merchandise may only occur in designated areas with the permission of Steamcon V.

Steamcon V reserves the right to amend the code of conduct at any time without prior or posted notice and reserves the sole right of interpretation. The rules stated above are not all inclusive and involve worst-case scenarios.

Any action or behavior that is illegal, unsafe, or causes significant interference with convention operations, excessive discomfort to members, or adversely affects Steamcon V’s relationship with its guests, the venue, or the public is strictly forbidden.

My PAX 2013 Schedule

August 28, 2013 Comments off

Another PAX is upon us, and as usual, there is SO MUCH going on and I’ll never get to do and see it all. That being said, I have a pretty light schedule this year. PAX actually kicks off for me on Thursday, as I’m leading up a Community Panel at PAXDev! Thursday night is the private Community Managers Group event, which is the best gathering of all the video game Community Managers together in one spot.

For PAX Prime, here’s how to find me:

Friday: I’ll most likely be at the Green Ronin booth, Room 208. I’ll probably be randomly tweeting about Dragon Age RPG demos. I’ve got dice, pre-generated characters, and pencils! You just need to give me 2 hours of your time.

paxgw2

Saturday: I have a panel to start the day! Join us at the Raven Theatre for Building & Creating Inclusive Communities in Tabletop/Board Gaming. After that, I’ll rush off to the Renaissance Hotel for the Guild Wars 2 Anniversary Bash! It will be a long day, but a FUN day. I’m looking forward to the panel, the PvP tourney, and the party. Mostly, I’m excited to meet a bunch of our players and fans!

Sunday: My second PAX Prime panel is on Sunday! I’ll be heading up the Women & Tabletop Gaming panel. After that, I imagine I’ll mosey around and go hit up the Green Ronin booth. Maybe a demo? I have lots of demo stuff with me.

Monday: Same as Friday. Green Ronin and maybe some demos. Might be wandering around quite a bit

I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new people!

Friday Five – July 5th

July 5, 2013 1 comment

Hah! I remembered to post my Friday Five “Ask Me Anything”! The questions are coming in, so I’ll just get this started.

What do you think is the most misunderstood notion about Community work in the games industry?

That all we do is moderate forums & social media. While Community does these things, there is also so much more to the gig. There’s writing articles & content for the website, collecting community sentiments and reporting to Dev. You also work with fan sites, press, in-game and in-person events. You work closely with Brand, Legal, PR, Production, and a lot of time working with CS. And you definitely spend a lot of time in meetings. There are many layers of Community, with moderators, coordinators, assistant CM, and all, who corral different aspects of all the above. Your job in Community is to support both the player-base and the company’s best interests. You are a very public face, and while you get some amazing interactions, you are also on the receiving end of a lot of complaints, no matter who’s “fault” something might be.

Princess-Trollestia-princess-trollestia-28518921-500-500

One of my pet peeves is that people think Community is easy. And that people don’t take it seriously as a career path. Oh, and that many companies themselves don’t understand the value of community building. The worst? People who want to be Community Managers because they think they can be a rock star. Your job is to help your TEAM and your players be rock stars.

What is with this Hobbit thing?

As I said in my previous blog post, I knew I’d be addressing this. It goes back to when I was working on Pirates of the Burning Sea. I was dating a lovely gent who lives in Australia. I flew over to visit him, and for my birthday, he booked us a trip to New Zealand. One of the stops on our drive around the north island was at Matamata so we could go on the Hobbiton movie set tour.

So beautiful, green, and rainy like Seattle!

So beautiful, green, and rainy like Seattle!

I posted pictures from the tour, including the one in my last blog, with me standing in a Hobbit hole doorway. The player remarked about my height, and that clearly, I was a Hobbit. That was in 2006 and I’ve been stuck with people making Hobbit comments about me all these years. I mean, I love good food, good beer, and I’m short. It kinda goes with the territory when yer a nerd.  So carry on, you dirty trolls. I don’t mind. BUT, I MUST CONTINUE TO INFORM YOU THAT I AM NOT A HOBBIT.

Do you prefer making up a new character using real paper rulebooks or electronic copies? The followup is: Real dice or electronic rollers/apps?\

I’m old school. I love hardcover rule books and I make characters with real dice.  When I was trying to understand D&D 4E, I used the D&D Insider char developer for my Swordmage. Mostly because I could have my spells in a easy to manage form. This was before the Power cards came out. But yeah, I never use .pdfs or other electronic versions. I never use dice rollers. I like pen, paper, pencils, & dice.

Which of your characters has been the most fun to role-play?

That’s a tough one, as I’ve had some great characters in Star Wars Galaxies and in my various tabletop RPG games. I think I’ll go with my main SWG character, Sti-fi Osp-ro. I created her on launch day, June 26, 2003. I spent the next many years creating the character behind the avatar. Like many of us playing, we were happy to be building our own stories in the SW world. Sti-fi changed professions as the battles with the Empire required a variety of skill sets. I started first as a Doctor, who enjoyed dancing in various Cantinas, helping those fighting the good fight feel relaxed so they could start healing properly. Later, “Stiffy” as her city-mates started calling her, became proficient with combat. She excelled in both wielding flamethrowers, and the Gaderiffi Baton. She enjoyed being outside so much, that she decided to take up hunting, as a way to support herself. She picked up some excellent rifle skills, and gained some tracking abilities. She’d spend weeks away from cities and towns, tracking creatures. Sometimes, she helped to camouflage merchants who needed to get to their harvesting machines in dangerous territory.

stiffy1

Sti-fi dancing with The Kreetles. Note the spiffy band outfits made by yours truly.

After being caught up in the war for a very long time, a huge change exploded throughout the Galaxy. It was so horrifying that she gave up any sort of combat at all. She decided to be a merchant & trader instead. She spent a lot of time with fabrics and notions, becoming a known Tailor. Her specialty was creating fashionable uniforms for pilots, musical groups, and dance troupes. When SWG shut down, she was in a great place. She was always considered a great friend, a leader of people, and loyal to the Rebellion. She was happily married to the scoundrel, Agis, and had forged many spiritual bonds with her compatriots from Ryloth.

Would you say that the culture of blogging as a whole has changed since the decline of Livejournal?

I’m not sure, really. I’ve never been hip to a culture of blogging. I’ve always felt that LJ = private (or public) journal and blog = specific topics, whether hobbies or theme. At least, that’s pretty much how I’ve used them. I’ve had an LJ since 2002, I think. I’ve had various blogs through the years; my original one was really just updates to my website. I didn’t think much about writing, other than having a place to document my renfaire travels.  I rarely post in my LJ any longer, as I’ve gone back to living in my head all the time. I really should post there more to get my more personal thoughts down. My blog is to mostly talk about what is important to me, gaming and community building. It’s mostly my experiences and thoughts, but it has more of a focus.

I don’t know if other people see it this way. I don’t actually read many blogs or journals.

Friday Five – Questions from Social Media

June 28, 2013 5 comments

You know, we all do our best thinking in the shower. Okay, maybe that’s just me. Seriously, I suppose because I’m not distracted by the internets, the cats, or anything else. Just shampoo & soap, under a glorious shower of hot water. Damn. Now I want one right now. Anyway, I was trying to think of ways to kickstart my brain and make a new habit of blogging. I used to be quite prolific on LiveJournal, back in the days before Social Media. I really enjoyed writing and being part of a journaling community. While I still keep that old journal around, I never actually write in it. The only writing I do is for work, which doesn’t keep your personal writing on task. How could I start a new habit? Of course, it’s making lists. Lists and outlines about all the things I want to say.

Of course, my brain then hit an ADHD bump (as it is wont to do) and I started thinking about gaming. Making and playing games is fun! So how can I tie this together? Well, I can set personal achievements for myself and have rewards for hitting them. And how do I start? Because I love myself and I love to interact with people who love me AND who don’t, I just put it out there on Twitter & Facebook.

‘I am going to write a blog post tomorrow based on 5 questions I receive today. So, ask me anything!”

There. No way to talk myself out of it. On Twitter, I had a couple questions, but Facebook I had a lot. And a good amount of friendly trolling. Just to clear things up ahead of time, I AM NOT A HOBBIT. And that being said, it’s a good idea for a future blog. Why I am teased near and far about being a Hobbit.

It might have something to do with this picture.

It might have something to do with this picture.

At any rate, I picked out five questions between Twitter & Facebook. I’ll do a shout out for more questions again next week!

What advice would you give to someone who is hoping to move to the Seattle area to work in game development?

This is a tough one really, because “game development” is such a broad term. Since I know the person who asked it, I know it’s about video game development. I actually wouldn’t recommend people move to Seattle to work in game development. I recommend moving to Seattle because you want to live in Seattle. It’s expensive to live here, and there’s not as much opportunity as you might think. The locals pretty much LOVE LOVE LOVE their jobs here, so it takes a major layoff to have any openings at all. The few you do see around a lot are for contract work. While this may not seem bad to younger, single folk, being a contractor pretty much comes with zero benefits. This isn’t something specific to the games industry; it’s been that way in tech fields for the longest time. That being said, I love Seattle and I’m happy to be back. It wouldn’t have been as easy to move back here without the support network my husband and I have.

My advise? Make games. Make video games with your friends. Make them on your own. Attend game jams. Make board games. Make card games. JUST MAKE GAMES. It’s much easier to find other people to develop with in cities with a higher level of tech companies, sure. Seattle, Austin, Boston, and the like. But I’d never recommend moving to a city to /find/ work. If you’re good, and you get yourself out there, a company will MOVE YOU if they want you. However, not if you’re junior. Not if you’re QA or other entry level gigs. There are hundreds and hundreds of local people competing with you for those gigs. If you’re making and *launching*  your own games, no matter what kind, you’re gaining experience. And that’s what you need to do before you think about moving to a city for a job. If you’ve made the connections, if you turn your love of making games into an indie career, you’ll be able to transition. But don’t count on it. It might be more viable for you to just stay where you are and go indie.

This helps, too.

This helps, too.

Best and worst about the many places you have lived?

This one is difficult and I’m sure I’ll get many “But Donna, so-and-so is awesome! You just didn’t get to experience the awesome part!”. Really, best and worst is subjective and yes, I like & dislike places based on whatever I was doing in my life at the time. Maybe not fair to those cities, but hey. It’s all about me, right?

Favorite places:

  • Seattle – I love the gloomy weather. Seriously. When the sun is out, I would much rather stay indoors. Overcast? LET’S GO CAMPING OR SIT OUTSIDE AND DRINK BEER. Might be that it’s just a part of me, since I was born on the Oregon coast. I spent the first 9 years of my life living in Oregon & Washington. I moved back here, finally, in 2006. Went to Austin again for a year, and San Diego for a year and a half. I’m so very happy to be back here. As someone who has lived all over the place, I’ve always been of the mindset that “home is where the heart is” kinda crap. Well, until I moved here and felt perfectly welcome and at ease. I love being taken seriously as a gamer, as a beer geek, and have experienced less misogyny here than other places. Seattle still has a long way to go regarding race; I can only hope it’s getting better for everyone.
  • St. Croix – I lived briefly on the island of St. Croix in the mid-80s. I was a club DJ at the time, and I was sent down there to work a dance club called Hondo’s. I was there 4 months the first time and 2 months the second time. I really wish I had stayed; I kinda liked being away from the hustle & bustle of mainland life. It was easy to get away from the tourists, as the island isn’t the cruise ship stop like St. Thomas is. Sure there was a little, and the Navy dropped by every so often. Still, I could walk a couple of blocks away and have amazing food cooked by the Crucians. I could actually go for a genip and some roti right about now. 
  • Austin – Oh you quirky little town. I moved to Austin after spending a brief 8 months living in Alaska. I arrived and started working as a bartender/waiter (which is what I had been doing for years), and ended up getting work at Dell. That pretty much changed my life, as I hadn’t known a thing about technology. I discovered I was an excellent diagnostic tech, and LOVED working on hardware. I transitioned to Escalations, Facilities, internal web design, and worked on numerous projects (lol y2k). It kicked off my 14 years working in IT. But that’s not what I love about Austin. I loved that music, good music, was everywhere (mind you, there was a lot of shitty music, too). The food is amazing, the culture is sublime. The town is full of geeks, and is a liberal haven in a sea of conservative leanings. When Heatwave Interactive offered me a job, I was happy to go back to Austin. I was happy to see that a really large sustainable foodie culture had crown since I had last lived in Texas, along with a craft beer culture.

Least favorite places:

  • NoVA/MD/DC Metro – I have a lot of people I absolutely ADORE living out in that area. And the Maryland Renaissance Festival is the best fest, hands down. There are lots of place to game, to eat GREAT food. But I swear, there’s something about living that close to the nation’s Capital that makes for an interesting breed of people. Interesting in the not-so-exciting kind of way. I never seemed to really fit in, and I had some really hard times there. Some of it was my fault because I was a horrible person back then. Well, half horrible and half awesome. Moving away, however, helped me regain my awesomeness fully. I made a lot of bad decisions when I lived out there, and it seemed so stifling. It doesn’t take much to get out of the cities, however, to see some gorgeous land. I wish I had seen more of it.
  • Alaska – First, I’ll tell you the best. The Aurora Borealis in winter. After getting off work, joining coworkers outdoors, beers shoved into the snowbanks. We’d start a fire and huddle around, just looking up into the sky. It was magical. The downside? There’s not much else to do in winter but drink. Or do drugs. At least, if you’re poor like me, and all the other people who worked around me. I didn’t fit in very well, because well, I looked weird. And I had all these ideas about equality and not hating on the local Native population. The sheer amount of racism, sexism, and well, just…*hate* for everyone not like them? It was difficult. I realized I was drinking to deal with my pain (and sexual assaults). I scrapped up enough money for a bus ticket to Texas, and mom bought me an airline ticket to Seattle. I traveled to Austin on Greyhound from Seattle, stopping along the way to visit family. It was great to sober up.
  • I can’t think of a third. I’ve had ups and downs wherever I lived, but those two places were full of tragedy and terribleness.

What was the game that made you the tabletop dice roller you are today? I recently got into them so I’m curious to know.

Yay! This one came from my nephew, so I’m quite happy to go on an on about it. Btw, what are you playing? Want me to send you some stuff? I know, first one is free. Then you are HOOKED.

My story starts all the way back in high school (Grand Prairie, Texas), about 1981. I hung around with the other misfits, nerds, and drama people for the most part. And I never felt left out of anything until some of them picked up Dungeons & Dragons. I wanted to play, but was told “girls don’t play D&D”. Well, I knew nothing of game stores, or even how to find anything like this. I just stewed on it for a few years. Fast forward to 1989. I was living in San Antonio, bartending at Tony Roma’s. I was hanging out with my friend Ted, at a place called Ernie’s. It was the place where all the “river rats” (people who worked in the bars/restaurants who worked the river) hung out after work. ‘Hey, I’ve got some openings in my D&D group. Wanna play?”. I said, “Girls don’t play D&D”. He laughed and told me he had two other women in the group! He handed me The Crystal Shard, and said, “If you like this story, this is the world we’re playing in”. Of course, it was wonderful and I was hooked on the Forgotten Realms.

My first gaming book.

My first gaming book.

I came over to meet folks, make a character, and started to learn how to play. It was AMAZEBALLS. I created Aubrey Bloodmane, Ranger & follower of Sune. And we had a major campaign. I was in LOOOOOOVE. We later transitioned to 2nd Ed AD&D, but we ended up using a mishmash of the rules, because the STORY was the most important part. And, there was a lot of great lore coming out for the Forgotten Realms. I tried to get the gang to play Spelljammer, Dark Sun, and Maztica, but we always stayed in Faerun, playing in the various cities and settings. My favorite source book was Forgotten Realms Adventures, and not because there was a WOMAN IN FULL PLATE ON A WARHORSE on front.

Since then, I’ve played all sorts of games, from Shadowrun to Deadlands (OMG I LOVE DEADLANDS SO MUCH BLING BLING). I’ve played homespun adventures & worlds, but I’ve not ever had the same experience as I did on my very first campaign. Ted was a most excellent DM and I loved our games. We even had other “River rats” who would come by his house after work and *watch* us play, because we all got into character and built an amazing story.

This is why I love tabletop.

My 9 year old son wants to be a professional gamer. Advice?

First, we need to narrow down the question. Does this mean, someone that plays games competitively like in tournaments? Magic: The Gathering, Pokemon, or video games like Call of Duty and Starcraft? Or, do you mean /work/ in the games industry. These are two very very different things, making games and playing games. If it’s the former, I’d say, just don’t. It’s hard. It’s a very very hard life at times. Thousands of people try to be professional competitors. It’s no different from being a pro musician, pro chef, a pro golfer, or chess master. Very few people actually have the skill or mindset to do it. It takes a LOT of time. Here’s a quick look at some steps to think about for pro gaming.  The 10 Steps to Becoming a Professional Gamer.

If you’re talking about someone who makes games, all you need to do to become a professional game maker is…make games and then sell them. But really, you need to back up. Do you want to be an artist? Designer? Programmer? Engineer? Animator? Producer? There are so many jobs that fall under “game developer”. My advice? Be the best whatever it is you want to be. Because if you decide to be a game designer and hate writing and spreadsheets? You’ll *hate* it. Want to be a games programmer? Love programming. These skills will take you to all kinds of industries more stable, and that pay better. Sure, you get to make games, but you also have the same issues that anyone with a job will have. Working in games is no different, really, when working at a major publisher. You still have rules and corporate policies. And you are there for a job, not to play games all day. I think that’s one of the biggest takeaways for people who say they want to make games. You have to remember that this is a business.

All that being said, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. There are some amazing creative people I get to interact with every day, and as a Community Manager, I get to meet lots of people with a passion for the games we make.

What made you a beer connoisseur?

Good beer! Okay, I’ll take a step back. Just like I keep doing with everything else. When I was in high school, the drinking age was 18. And for the record, I’m not advocating underage drinking. It’s one of the stupidest thing I ever did when I was young. That said, I started drinking beer but I really hated it. I more enjoyed wine and hard liquor. I drank plenty of the top “American” beers* for years, but because it was all ‘WHOOOO DRINKING”. I figured that I’d never enjoy beer, but it was a cheap way to get a buzz back in the day. And then…I had my very first Anchor Steam. I realized beer didn’t have to taste like the stuff I had been drinking. I started drinking a lot of imports such as St. Pauli Girl Dark, Fuller’s London Pride, and Watney’s Red Barrel.

I later started working in the bar business when I was a DJ. I started learning more about imports and drank them when I could afford them. It wasn’t until I moved to Alaska and discovered Alaskan Brewing, that I realized that Americans were making great beer. That was 1991 and I was pretty much an Amber drinker. When I moved to Austin in 1992, I started hanging out with my now ex-husband at a place called JW Rovers in Round Rock. We decided to join the Beers Around the World club, which meant you had to drink 99 different beers on their extensive beer list. With over 200 different beers available and all the seasonal rotations, it was quite easy to do.

And I haven’t bought a regular “American” beer from the “Top 3″ brands since then. My favourite styles are Imperial Stouts, Chocolate Porters, English Bitters, Belgian Quads, and I like to be smacked in the face with a SUPER SUPER HOPPY IPA. I don’t like sweet beers, and I’m fond of German Rauchbiers.

Hands down, my favorite beer, Ten Fidy

Hands down, my favorite beer, Ten Fidy.

So there you go. My first Friday Five. I’ll be asking for another round of questions next week.

*I use air quotes around “American” beers a lot, because the top three so-called “American Beers” are no longer American owned. Coors is Molson Coors, so it’s really half-American and half-Canadian. And that varies based on who you talk to. Miller is owned by British-owned SABMiller. “Bud and other AB beers are now owned by InBev in Belgium.

Dani’s Gen Con 2013 Schedule!

May 20, 2013 1 comment

With Gen Con Event Registration going live, I figured it was a good time to get my schedule online. I’m very excited to be a 1st time Gen Con GM and a 2nd year Seminar speaker. While at Gen Con, I’ll be spending time promoting two things, Green Ronin Publishing and Hostile Work Environment. Outside of my RPG sessions and my Seminar, you can find me at the Hostile Work Environment booth #460. We’ll be promoting the various film projects, highlighting the Kickstarter project, “The Devil Walks in Salem”. Psst. You should back this project. RIGHT NOW.

How to find me? LOOK AT THIS HAIR. 

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RPG1345630 – “An Arl’s Ransom″ – Sold out
Thursday, Aug. 15th 2:00pm Marriott : Santa Fe 2
The Arl of Stenhold is hiring adventurers to escort his children home from an extended family visit in Denerim. The money’s good; what could go wrong? Based on the hugely popular video games, the Dragon Age RPG brings the excitement of BioWare’s rich fantasy world to the tabletop. This game is an introduction to Green Ronin’s Dragon Age RPG.

RPG1345631 – “An Arl’s Ransom″ – Sold out
Friday, Aug. 16th 1:00pm Marriott : Santa Fe 1
The Arl of Stenhold is hiring adventurers to escort his children home from an extended family visit in Denerim. The money’s good; what could go wrong? Based on the hugely popular video games, the Dragon Age RPG brings the excitement of BioWare’s rich fantasy world to the tabletop. This game is an introduction to Green Ronin’s Dragon Age RPG.

RPG1345632 – “An Arl’s Ransom″ – Sold out
Friday, Aug. 16th 4:00pm Marriott : Santa Fe 7
The Arl of Stenhold is hiring adventurers to escort his children home from an extended family visit in Denerim. The money’s good; what could go wrong? Based on the hugely popular video games, the Dragon Age RPG brings the excitement of BioWare’s rich fantasy world to the tabletop. This game is an introduction to Green Ronin’s Dragon Age RPG.

SEM1345635 – “Building Community from the Ground Up: Tips for Small Game Studios″ – 87 tickets left
Saturday, Aug. 17th 11:00am Crowne Plaza : Victoria Stn A/B
Building a community can be a big challenge for the small game studio. Join our panelists for a lively conversation focusing on the positive & negative aspects of managing a small studio’s community.

RPG1345633 – “An Arl’s Ransom″ – Sold out
Saturday, Aug. 17th 4:00pm Marriott : Santa Fe 8
The Arl of Stenhold is hiring adventurers to escort his children home from an extended family visit in Denerim. The money’s good; what could go wrong? Based on the hugely popular video games, the Dragon Age RPG brings the excitement of BioWare’s rich fantasy world to the tabletop. This game is an introduction to Green Ronin’s Dragon Age RPG.

RPG1345634 – “An Arl’s Ransom″ – Sold out
Sunday, Aug. 18th 11:00am Marriott : Santa Fe 6
The Arl of Stenhold is hiring adventurers to escort his children home from an extended family visit in Denerim. The money’s good; what could go wrong? Based on the hugely popular video games, the Dragon Age RPG brings the excitement of BioWare’s rich fantasy world to the tabletop. This game is an introduction to Green Ronin’s Dragon Age RPG.

G is for Geeky Attire – #AtoZChallenge

April 11, 2013 12 comments

I’ve always dressed a little different from other folks. Half is that I have no sense of fashion and the other is that I really like to wear things which make me happy. I’ve only been half aware that I might be dressing oddly, and have continued to simply ZOMG SHINY through my wardrobe through the years. My family has always kinda followed their own weird piper, so to speak.

Ahoy, matey!

I’ve had freaky hair, freaky clothes and have never been embarrassed or felt odd about it.


Oh yes, the 80s


I word the oddest things and was happy with it. Very happy. Most of the time, I had my picture taken in my oddest clothes. And I have the happiest smile.


Working on the San Antonio Riverwalk


I never quite wore appropriate clothing for my activities. Seriously. Just doing my own thing.

Yeeehaww!

I had been attending renfaires since 1982, but didn’t dress up until the late 90s. My attire was pretty crappy at first, but after hanging out on Usenet (Yah, I’m old), I kinda hit my niche with hot pink attire. And eventually added neon green, as more people started getting wacky in their renfaire get ups. I’m the furthest you can be from being girly; the hot pink thing was a huge inside joke. My mom thought it was humorous; I think she was happy just to see color in my wardrobe after the YEARS of nothing but black clothing.

Who needs coffee when you can look at THIS?

I had a bit of a change happen to my wardrobe, once online shopping hit. I was happily buying from ThinkGeek shortly after I moved out to Virginia in 1999. Since they were local to VA, I was familiar with them as I worked with Fraize at Dell and had met Regan through renfaire. My shopping really kicked in somewhere in 2003. Tshirts & toys for myself. Tshirts for friends & boyfriends. I still do so. Hah! I have a couple of photos up there on the ThinkGeek site, but I always forget to send them in. I still owe them the lightsaber chopsticks picture, where I use them for hairsticks.

I was tweeting this while wearing "i'm tweeting this" tshirt.

Fast Forward. So, I had joined a social network site which has some blogging in it. I found that when I used the blog, I met more people. I met a TON of great people in Seattle from the site; some who are close friends today and even attended my wedding! I’m used to people slagging on me for being weird, fat, having a big bumpy Italian nose and whatnot. But a gal named “Computer Barbie” posted the following:

I know a group of women who commiserate for hours that men will not commit, but they will not spend 13 minutes putting on make up. They wear nerd clothes too. One of them wears a boys student coat, androgenous moccasins, androgenous pants. She looks like she has long grey side burns. She pushes her hair behind her ears. 1 lock falls in front of each ear. That is the only part that is grey. Another wears Circus Socks [multicolored socks]. These women are Fashion Casualties. These women are middle aged but successful. These women claim to have boyfriends. JMO

As someone who LOVES awesome socks, I was kinda butthurt in a humorous way. So I blogged about it. Turns out a bunch of other women, from their 20s – 50s (and younger/older) also love their nerd clothes, their stripey socks. So a silly sock club was born. Many of us started buying MORE socks, because we wanted to day, You know, we dress for OURSELVES, not for you. Just because you think we’re too old to dress for happiness, doesn’t mean it is wrong.”. We all started posting pictures of our socks as we bought them, and the term “Sock Prawn” was born. You know. Wait. This is the internet. I don’t have to tell you.

I discovered Sock Dreams and Sock It To Me Socks, both in Portland, Oregon. I started shopping from SITMS because Holly, proprietor of Monster Art & Clothing sold her socks.

Sock wall at Monster Art & Clothing

We started having Stripey Sock Meetups. We bought each other socks. Friends & family started buying us socks; it became the thing to do.

Mine are the pink & turquoise

Not all socks we love are stripey. They can have all kinds of textures and patterns.

We love our socks. We love our geekiness of all kinds. Not everyone who’s a sock person is a gamer. Not every sock person is into fandom. However, we are all pretty geeky about a good many things. We’re made up of food geeks, history geeks, tech geeks, gamer geeks, glitter geeks, renfaire geeks, music geeks. No matter what your geeky stripes (hah!), when you run into a sock geek, you have an instant bond; something to talk about and share.

SPARKLY

I LOVE MY SOCKS! GO OUT AND LOVE YOUR SOCKS, TOO!

Gen Con Socks!

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