My name is Renee Gittins and I lead the Seattle based game studio, Stumbling Cat. VentureBeat called me a "unicorn". I am currently heading the development of a game called Potions: A Curious Tale.

My formal business bio sounds very fancy:

Renee is a multi-disciplinary leader with expertise in software engineering and creative direction. She is the CEO of Stumbling Cat, creator of Potions: A Curious Tale. She led engineering and server development at Fixer Studios, and designed and developed cognitive evaluation mini-games and health management systems for X2 Biosystems.

Renee is a passionate advocate and connector for developers and diversity in the game industry. Renee organizes game-jams, panels, job fairs and other developer events as a board member of IGDA Seattle, contributes to Broken Joysticks, and actively mentors game development students at Foundry10.

However, when it comes down to it, I'm just a huge geek/nerd that one day realized instead of just playing video games, I could be making video games!

So, let me tell you a bit more about who I am:

  • A ilvl 725 feral druid
  • A huge cosplayer
  • 5'11" (seriously, I'm tall!)
  • Goju Ryu Karate black belt (studying for over 20 years now)

Alright, alright, being more serious, let me tell you how I got where I am:

The first game I ever played was Wolfenstein 3D on DOS. I eagerly watched my father play first person shooters on the PC until I took over the controls myself. First person shooters were really my introduction to video games. I played both Doom and Duke Nukem 3D on PC long before touching a console or other genre of game.

I grew up as an only child, so books and video games (and MtG) kept me entertained when my parents were busy. In all of that spare time, I also got a little obsessive with my studies. I eventually graduated from high school as a valedictorian and went to Harvey Mudd College to study engineering... because I had seriously no clue what I wanted to do. My cousin and uncle were engineers and it seemed interesting enough.

My freshman year of college I was introduced to programming and absolutely loved it, but I felt like I had missed the train, as every other CS major had been programming long before college, so I stuck with my engineering degree.

I cosplayed, wrote tutorials, kept blogs, and was activity in many game communities (most notably the League of Legends community and Team Liquid) all as ways to express my massive fondness and passion for video games.

My senior year of college, these passions ended up connecting me with game developers and I suddenly realized: holy crap, people make video games AND I COULD BE ONE OF THEM!

My life changed from that moment.

Unfortunately, I was already deep into engineering and I didn't have a good skill set (aside from leadership/management, which I studied and practiced in college) for game development.

Thus, I went into biotech as a System & Design Engineer and started studying programming on the side. Eventually, I switched to the software team at the biotech company I was at, and started moonlighting at indie game studios on the side.

Finally, a year and a half ago, I left biotech to throw my life and savings into my own game and my own game studio.

And... here I am! I have built up a wonderful team around me and pursued my passions. I am so excited to be where I am now.

Of course, like many AMAs, I am currently trying to increase awareness towards my project. I just launched the Kickstarter for my game:

Don't let the graphics and cute main character drop your guard, Potions: A Curious Tale is an intense game, with resource limited combat, tricky boss fights and requires constant dodging and creative counters.

Oh, and I've VERY obsessed with and have lots of experience with virtual reality, so feel free to ask me about that, too!!

Anyway, let me throw some articles/videos at you for additional question fodder:

I have a couple hours to answer questions, then I have to run off to the amazing Emerald City Comic Con to run a panel on WomenInTech. Please swing by and meet me if you're attending!

My Proof:


Thank you all so much for your questions! I had a great time!

Catch you next time!

Comments: 388 • Responses: 86  • Date: 

Nazeem_Official172 karma

Do you get to the cloud district very often?

superhotbunnysex83 karma

My daughter is 11 and she would like to be a video game developer. She has taken coding and computer animation camps the last 3 years. This summer she is taking an RPG design & development camp at a university. How else can I support her interests and ambitions? Also, what age-appropriate games should she be playing now?

RikuKat111 karma

If you haven't already, I would get her RPG Maker, it's a wonderful program that will allow her to build out her own RPGs. It's a little light on the programming side, but it will give her the ability to quickly build out her own worlds, which will likely feed her passion.

In general, though, just keep doing what you seem to be; show interest in what she is doing and provide support for her efforts.

There are countless games out there that are appropriate for her age! While I'm going to recommend my own (it's about a strong girl her age, afterall), I would really need to know more about her interests to give good recommendations. Oh, though I will recommend Recettear, that's one of my favorites!

Hypoxicrain58 karma

What's the most difficult part of your job?

RikuKat130 karma

Overcoming the lows and self-doubt. I left a stable job in a well paying industry to try to make a product in a highly unstable, deeply criticized industry!

Some days it's just hard to ignore the feeling that maybe I should have kept a "normal" job.

AdrianoTrindade3 karma

The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. In 20 years of programming I've never did something so amazing as you're doing now. You're young enough to pursue your dreams, after certain age it becomes more difficult. Now can be your time, don't let this train pass, work hard and good luck!

RikuKat3 karma

Thank you!!

GrammerSnob44 karma

Does being a female game developer open doors? Close them? Or make no difference at all?

RikuKat128 karma

Whew... yeah, that's a tough one. In fact, this article I wrote covers a lot about that:

I like to think of it as a DnD race. -2 to being taken seriously, +2 to opening doors.

At game industry events, if I am next to a male friend, I will be assumed to be working with/for them. While I am a programmer, I will be assumed to be an artist. Not really any awful assumptions or behavior (only had a few "incidents"), but it gets annoying to realize how much people make assumptions about what I do because I have two X chromosomes.

athenian2002 karma

Do you think that being young or attractive would affect this much?

Because I kind of have to admit (to my shame) that women who are more plain-looking or older are much easier to take seriously. Like, if I see an introverted/unexpressive girl with braces and bad ache, I'll tend to treat her more the way I'd treat another guy, and be more likely to put her to work on something difficult or assume she knows her stuff.

Whereas if I see a more attractive girl, I'll tend to wonder if the boss just hired her because of her looks, and also wonder if she's going to be a distraction to all the other guys and force the few of us that can focus on work with a cute girl around to do all the work by ourselves until the needier guys get "used" to her.

I try to catch myself... but that's kind of how being around a female co-worker can feel. At least, for me... I don't know if most guys struggle with the same biases I do or not.

RikuKat2 karma

I think it hurts when people evaluate my technical abilities and helps when people evaluate my leadership abilities.

ReverseSolipsist-56 karma

Yeah. As a male uncle of young children I know what it's like when people make assumptions about you because of your gender. I find myself in places with only mothers and young children quite often, and people assume I'm a pedophile, especially if I have a camera with me.

It must be horrible that people assume you're an artist. Must be nice to have an entire political movement behind you with the goal of removing that horrible stigma, though.

Is it comforting that the assumptions people make about you are actually based in reality (that is, that most women in gaming are not actually programmers / studio heads), as opposed to the stigma I face which is purely based in an inaccurate negative stereotype? Or does that not help?

RikuKat19 karma

Well, I haven't experienced a scenario quite like yours, so it's hard to say, but I'm guessing it does make it a little easier.

Foxler34 karma


RikuKat29 karma


icanfly25 karma

Game dev vet here(10yrs 20+AAAtitles): First congrats on your success so far!

The question I have, which you touched on a little in a previous answer, is this: how do you see user experience and interface design impacting your project?

With a game format like your current project, how do you leverage UX/UI to craft your emotional moments and do you have good partners with that experience on your project?

RikuKat25 karma

UX and UI are so important. I learned how important having a good first user experience is to a game and its reception the first time I exhibited Potions. I have worked on improving both greatly, but I believe that there will continue to be many iterations and I do more user testing and think of new solutions.

My team and I talk a lot about the experiences within the game and UX/UI is a big focus of our discussions right now as we bring the graphics and experience of the UI interactions in the game up to par with the regular gameplay. I think that sounds are also an extremely important part of making great experiences, especially within UI interactions.

Many of our emotional moments happen outside of UI as well. My favorite example is our Mushdoom. We introduce you to mushrooms as a resource to harvest and get the player used to them. Then, a little later, we throw in Mushdooms, which look exactly like the mushrooms you harvest, but pop out of the ground and start chasing and attacking you when you get close to them. Seeing people react to them is wonderful! Surprise, fear, etc. They are actually fairly cute, too, so it's great comparing the reaction they create when surprising a player versus what the player would have if they saw them from afar before engaging with them.

icanfly14 karma

The best possible response, thank you!

If you ever need an external local with oodles of experience to provide a 'fresh eyes review' feel free to reach out, I'd be happy to!

I wish you and your team all the success in your project and your future! Can't wait to see how it all works out!

RikuKat9 karma

Thank you!

PermTrouble17 karma

What was your favorite game of 2015?

RikuKat36 karma

I can only pick one??? That's really, really hard, especially because I have put aside playing Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 until later this summer (too much work to do to justify the time!).

I really enjoyed the Overwatch beta and am very excited for it coming out. However, as a big VR fan, I'd say my favorite game experience in 2015 was I Expect You to Die. Reminded me of my some of my favorite puzzle games, but with a whole new sense of urgency and immersion and feeling like an utter badass. It's basically being 007.

sparknozzle16 karma

What race is your Druid, and why isn't it Troll?

RikuKat43 karma

Nightelf, and because I made my character 9 years ago and it was either a lovely nightelf lady or a cow.

I picked the lady.

AerialDarkguy15 karma

I'm a rising junior studying computer science rn and have been torn between going into software development or game developer. In your experience, do you feel there is enough flexibility these two fields to alternate between or are they two different ballparks? Also how would you compare the software development process at a game studio vs at a software dev studio?

RikuKat15 karma

There's a huge amount of flexibility between the two, though it depends on exactly what you want to do. Especially in AAA, there's a lot of specialization on the programming side. Do you want to do network programming? Graphics? Tools? These are all potential paths.

If you are more interested in making your own games or working as a designer (designers generally need to know a good amount of scripting, at least), the best approach would be to get a job in "normal" software development while making your own games on the side and building up your portfolio.

Game development is amazing and the industry is amazing, but game developers generally are paid less and work more intensive hours than their peers in software development.

As I haven't worked at AAA studio, I can't really compare the process between the two very much, but I would believe the process are pretty much the same if you're working on a product for a consumer. Lots of iteration and adjustments!

daftmccall12 karma

Yo Unicorn, your game looks pretty good!

My question is, is it ever too late to start learning how to make video games? And are there skills more nessacery than others in order to make a good game game? (Programming skill vs Imagination)


RikuKat14 karma

Never, ever, ever too late to start! There are so many tools and resources out there that it's easier than ever to learn!

I would say that programming or, at least, understanding of computer logic is definitely one of the top skills, especially for making your own game.

jumpup12 karma

What part of the job is most frustrating/who?

RikuKat44 karma

Ahaha, bugs in the code is by far the most frustrating thing. I think this sums it up pretty well:

Xelnath11 karma

What do you believe is the difference between a successful game experience and a poor one?

RikuKat42 karma


Drawing out a emotional response from a player makes a game successful in my opinion, much like other entertainment mediums. That emotion can be joy, pride, fear, sadness, but feeling an emotion based of your experiences within the game is key for a successful game.

Fungo9 karma

Two questions for you.

1) Potions seems like a really interestingly unique game idea. What was your inspiration for the gameplay style?

2) Horse-sized duck or duck-sized horses? You know the routine.

RikuKat24 karma

1) Zelda and Recettar were big inspirations, but the idea came from a rogue-like dungeon crawler that was frustrating me, because you literally had to run around on the levels trying to get more monsters to spawn to get enough exp to go beat the boss monsters. I just wanted to crawl down the dungeon instead of messing around! Thus, I decided to make a game where combat wasn't always the answer. My god, can you imagine? A game where killing every fluffy bunny you run buy isn't advantageous? Ahaha, seriously, it just all kind of fell in place after that. It just made so much sense to me.

2) Duck-sized horses. Freaking geese are scary at a slightly larger than duck size, I don't want to be decapitated by a huge duck.

DonutEnigma8 karma

Hi Renee. My question is business related. Why do kickstarter projects ask for far too little funds? April 2017 is a year away. You have 7 people. I'm assuming you're all being paid some amount of money, we'll just say minimum wage which comes out to bare minimum $185k not including any potential benefits. That's assuming the project doesn't slip and it's solely just salaries.

So how can I in good conscience back the game? It looks good, but my concern is about it ever delivering.

RikuKat16 karma

The only person working full time on this project is myself. Everyone else is being paid as a contractor. Thus, I am able to keep costs very low by busting my butt. We can complete the game with the funds we are requesting and my team is being compensated at much higher than minimum wage.

drbendable8 karma

In your opinion is there push in the industry for every studio to push out VR games or at least games that have VR elements?

RikuKat28 karma


There simply aren't enough VR headsets in the hands of consumers right now to make VR super lucrative. It's a risk to be developing VR experiences at the moment, but has the chance to pay off greatly if VR does take off.

No one really knows what the future of VR is currently, though, and there's a lot of different opinions on it.

No-Time-For-Caution8 karma

Best life advice?

RikuKat18 karma

Make yourself happy.

Sagemoon7 karma

As someone who just left their engineering job and poured their life savings to start development on their own game, I am abour a year and a half behind you. What advice do you have for me in terms of lessons learned? Mistakes that could have been prevented with better preperation, scope control, or general marketing strategies. When is a good time to start thinking about all of these areas in the games development lifecycle?

I also want to take an aside and say congrats on your launch. It's very admirable to put your foot down and pursue your ambitions. A lot of people talk about it, but few actually take the leap of faith.

RikuKat8 karma

Have a plan, make deadlines and workday hours for yourself. Avoid scope creep, keep your project focused. Be cautious with your spending, from hiring people to buying a latte.

Sagemoon4 karma

Follow up question. Assuming everyone is working for free, how much are costs for a game studio. So far, tools are free, Meetups range from $10-20. Classes/education is also cheap. Im working in Unity, so free as well. I read up about the costs of studios and it is a lot more than what seems reasonable. What has been your experience with costs?

RikuKat11 karma

The rule of thumb is each full time employee costs the company $10k/mo for salary, taxes, insurance, office space and general overhead. Making games, like all software, is time consuming and expensive.

Why should people work for free? It's work, is it not?

Other costs can be office space, hardware, exhibiting costs, etc.

francoisvn7 karma

How have you found your experience as an engineer (and karate-ka) have helped in game dev? Have you found any ways in which it has hindered you?

RikuKat9 karma

Both have certainly helped my ability to approach problems logically and calmly. When I'm stressed, just some controlled breathing and mediation can really help me regain my calm and better approach frustrating programming, business and other problems.

While I used to wish that I had majored in CS instead of Engineering, I find that the skills I gained in my engineering studies (especially in regards to design and technical writing) have been of great benefit to me.

InvisibleBlueUnicorn6 karma

Can we be friends, my fellow unicorn?

RikuKat7 karma

Of course! Unicorn buddies for life!

Lukias6 karma

Thanks for doing this ama! Had a question, currently studying computer science and want to go into game design, specifically level design and world building. Do you have any advice on what to specify my studies to do that?

RikuKat12 karma

Most level design isn't done with code, unless you're doing procedural generation, so I'm not sure what to recommend study-wise.

My biggest advice for you right now is to start building your own small games in your spare time. Since you're most interested in level and world design, make sure the games you create focus on those aspects.

Eli-Cat5 karma

Hi Renee! I'm a female media student who wants to work in the game industry in any capacity (from marketing to design, I'll take whatever). What's your best advice for surviving in the industry, specific to our gender and the drawbacks that come with it in the world of games?

RikuKat6 karma

Surround yourself with kind and supportive people, there are a ton of them in the game industry and they have helped me a ton

MAFIAxMaverick5 karma

What are your favorite things to do outside of gaming/gaming industry - hobbies, sports, etc?

RikuKat9 karma

Eating good food and hiking in the mountains/woods.

I could talk your ear off about cured meats and cheeses or sous vide cooked meats, not to mention beers and the like!

MAFIAxMaverick3 karma

Well then, clearly I now have to ask you about your favorite meats, beers, and types of beers! What are they? What do you consider "good food"? I'm Italian and Mexican so homemade cookin is the only way to go. Any favorite mountains/trails to hike?

RikuKat4 karma

Speck, Stone Levitation (which was discontinued!!!), and I really like things that are either hoppy or floral, I love complex notes.

Good food is anything tasty, whether it's a fancy meal from a top tier restaurant or straight out of a sketchy food truck. I appreciate all foods with good flavor and balance!

MAFIAxMaverick2 karma

I just looked up that Stone Levitation on BeerAdvocate and am now sad I never tried it. Sounds wonderful. If you like hoppy stuff (I'm assuming IPAs are included in that) you should definitely give Raging Bitch from Flying Dog a try. It's based out of Maryland so I don't know if it would be out your way? Any great Seattle beer's you would recommend?

And, actually, I accidentally lied. Totally agree on the food trucks. Actually some of my favorite food ever are from some hole in the wall restaurants in New Orleans!

RikuKat2 karma

I haven't seen it, but I'll grab a bottle if I do!

I really like Manny's Pale Ale from Seattle. It's just hoppy enough, very drinkable and every bar in the area has it on top.

MAFIAxMaverick1 karma

Is that a local brew? If so, will definitely try it if I ever make it out to Seattle!

RikuKat2 karma

It is!

NoVaMiner2 karma

What's your current sous vide setup? I'm loving my Anova wifi. I did a 5# boneless rib roast (choice grade) at Christmas for 12 hours at 135. It came out so tender the family swore it was prime grade.

On the beer side you would probably enjoy Dogfish Head. They should be in the Seattle area, when I talked with the owner a couple of months ago he was excited about how well they are selling in Portland.

RikuKat3 karma

I have an ANOVA, but haven't played with wifi on it.

And I was just drinking a 90 minute on Friday!

Woodsalt_5 karma

Hello from a fellow indie studio

What has you experience been with fundraising? One of the most refreshing things I found was how excited my investors were in the project itself.

Also, one thing I found is that every woman on my team I went out and found, music, art and writing. The 3D modelling and programming team I did open advertising and I didn't receive a single female applicant. Why do you think this is?

Anyway, best of luck. I'll be in Seattle with my co Producer in June before we head to E3 so if you're about maybe we can share experiences so far.

RikuKat5 karma

I haven't done a full funding round search, I am preferential towards crowd funding and this is all the funding we will need if it is successful.

There are likely less female candidates looking for 3D modeling and programming work. At least for programming, there are much fewer females than males and I would assume, like most competent programmers, are gainfully employed.

Drop me a line when you swing by! I can recommend a number of local industry events that you might find interesting!

shane7275 karma

If I want to do programming or coding for games but already finished college and am completely new what languages should I learn first, what resources should I study, and what books are there to read?

RikuKat8 karma

I'd pick up Unity with c# first, it'll be challenging, but there are a ton of resources out there

pixelperfectpolygons5 karma

  1. What is the most difficult part of putting together a team to build your game?

  2. I read through your article about imposter syndrome and the challenges you've faced through the assumptions about your gender. Have such assumptions veered their head during the hiring process for your game?

  3. What engine is the game made in? Any challenges using that engine?

RikuKat12 karma

1) Finding people who have the same passion, dedication and willingness to learn that's needed for game development.

2) Veered their head during the hiring process? I fear I don't know what you're talking about exactly.

3) Unity. There have been some challenges, I love the new UI system, but it can be hard to work with, especially when scaling for different screen resolutions.

Vilgan5 karma

How has living in Seattle impacted your ability to get into gaming, start a gaming studio, and publish a game?

RikuKat6 karma

It has been extremely beneficial. The game industry is very strong in this area and I have made a ton of friends who are helpful in both establishing more industry connections and for providing feedback and advice.

Xeno874 karma

Ryu or Ken? Link or Zelda? Mario or Luigi? WASD or Arrow keys? PC or Console?

Edit: Bulbasaur, Bulbasaur or Bulbasaur?

RikuKat9 karma

Ryu, Link, Mario, WASD, PC.

And, of course, Bulbasaur!

Scoo_3 karma

  1. What are your favorite games / applications of VR?

  2. What is the current VR landscape lacking the most?

RikuKat11 karma

  1. I Expect You To Die, Job Simulator, AirMech: Command, Tilt Brush, AudioShield, Dead & Buried, Sightline: The Chair (but there are so many I still want to try, like Budget Cuts!)

  2. Innovation. Not being critical at all of the current VR games, but VR experiences are so different from normal games on a flat screen. I think there's a lot of room for completely new experiences. They will probably take time and very creative people to come to light!

Truthfully, I just want to plug into an MMO all SAO style.

Fatix2 karma

IIRC people are working on SAO RPG on VR.

Fatix2 karma

Yep. That's the one I guess.

Also I'm sorry but I have to ask, what do you think about the #Gamergate - modern feminists? Do you agree with them? Do you think that gaming community is male centric and females are overly sexualized?

RikuKat5 karma

There is a whole slew of people who could be considered modern feminists, all with varying opinions. I just want women to have the same treatment and opportunities as men. I think that scholarships and the like to combat past failures can help raise women up, but I also think it causes problems especially because of how such programs are viewed by some.

I think that gaming has been male centric in the past, but it starting to shift tides to be more equal.

mediumhydroncollider3 karma

Hi Renee, glad you're doing an AMA!

Roughly what's the ratio of men to women in your industry?

Also does being female make anything easier/harder in your field compared to being a female in other industries?


RikuKat8 karma

Last report I saw, the game industry is 22% female.

I've always been a women in tech and feel like some of the same issues of being taken seriously are a problem in both tech and games (which I'd consider a subset of tech). I certainly think that how you present yourself publicly is definitely more serious as a woman in games than other fields.

mediumhydroncollider3 karma

That's a great shame but interesting. What would you say is the ideal way for a woman to present herself publicly in the gaming industry?

RikuKat9 karma

I seriously have no clue. I'm sure there's an ideal middle path, but I haven't found it... and should I? I mean, I really just want to be myself.

ClockwerkGame3 karma

If you could say anything to newcomers, such as myself, about programming, game design, video game business, etc, what would you say and why?

RikuKat6 karma

Do it! The best way to learn is to try.

The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried.

goodnewsjimdotcom3 karma

If you're hiring and can pay at least a little more than minimum wage for a telecommuter, I've been doing game dev my entire life and I'm middle aged now. In addition to programming and design, I also progame. I have a yellow belt in Shotokan too.

Are you hiring?

RikuKat4 karma

Ahhh, I studied shotokan for a year!

We're not currently hiring, but I'll keep you in mind

Jaxper3 karma

I'm late to the party but hopefully you see this and can answer...

I went to school for comp sci but due to changing positions at work, I'm no longer in the programming space. I miss it and want to get back into it, with my ultimate goal being Android app development (utilities at first and then a game), but I feel like I never have time.

My questions are:

  • How did you balance your full time job and hobbies while moonlighting in game dev? Did anything suffer? Did you have to stop any hobbies altogether?

  • What is the best time management advice you can give to help that?

Thanks! And best of luck with your game!

RikuKat3 karma

I cut back a ton on playing games and studying and making games became my hobby.

Set aside some time each day and make sure to use it

Jaxper2 karma

What was the eye-opening experience, if any, that made that transition of how you spent your time easier?

RikuKat3 karma

When I went full time, I would over work, burn out, feel depressed, sulk, then overwork again.

I then realized people have work hours for a reason and setting a work schedule made my life so much nicer

SaintAdhoc3 karma

How do you like your eggs?

RikuKat10 karma

Fried, not fertilized.

IFapICumIFapAgain3 karma

Two questions

Who is the video game character you want to cosplay YOU?

What is one skill someone NEEDS to have before even considering going into the gaming industry?

RikuKat8 karma

Who is the video game character you want to cosplay YOU?

Oh, gosh, there are so many that I love! Faris from FFV? Rose or Meru from Legend of Dragoon? Chell from Portal? Probably Faris, we do look similar! And she's a badass.

What is one skill someone NEEDS to have before even considering going into the gaming industry?

The ability to take criticism and understand what to apply and what to not. Feedback can be rough to hear when you've poured yourself so heavily into something, but it's very important to listen to. It's also important to take with a gain of salt. A lot of feedback you will get about symptoms of a problem instead of the problem itself. It's up to you to hunt out that issue and fix it.

IFapICumIFapAgain2 karma

Thanks for answering!

Following up to the second question; with the negative point of view that most male gamers have on females in the gaming industry (e.g. Anita Sarkeesian), do you think that viewpoint could ever change? Are you worried of attacks wherein the sole basis of the attacks is your sex?

RikuKat9 karma

I wouldn't say that most male gamers have a negative point of view, though there are some very vocal ones that do. I think that the environment for women in games (both playing and making) is slowly improving, but that there have been some serious and very concerning events the past few years. Luckily, this is a topic that's being talked about and brought to light instead of being swept under the rug like it had been for so many years.

I have received harassment in games based solely on my gender and I am concerned that I may become a target of more serious harassment, but not simply because I'm a woman. I've been very outspoken about my feeling about being a female in games and the game industry and I have directly criticized games for not having equal representation.

I just want to smash rebels as female shadowtrooper, okay???

IFapICumIFapAgain2 karma

Thank you for your answer! Your last sentence applies to all female gamers, what's wrong with that right?

Good luck with the game!

RikuKat8 karma

I wrote an article on the topic (a very, very mild, reasonable article) and it's reception was less than pleasant. Here are some responses:

Star Wars Battlefront: The Femnazi's Strikes Back

Go away puny SJW fly.

What the actual fuck is this....

lol another gaming website being run out of a garage trying to be relevant by channeling Polygon...

watermelon_bubblegum2 karma

Hi, I know I'm very late to the party but I am a 22 year old female wannabe game composer in the Seattle area! I've been involved with a few indie game projects that fell through, really started losing steam, mostly because I am extremely limited with my equipment due to my financial situation. Currently working with a pirated copy of fl studio and dozens of pirated vst's on a 6 year old toshiba laptop that can't be used unless its plugged in and a pair of skullcandy hesh headphones.

I guess my question is, in my current situation is it appropriate for me to even be trying to sell myself when the quality of my mixes don't even live up to my own standards, let alone industry standards? And what would you say companies care about the most when looking for music for their games, the quality of the melodies themselves? The experience level of the composer? Whether or not I have a degree?

This is my greatest dream. Ever since spyro the dragon, I fell in love with video game music and I've always known that's what I want to do with my life, I have overflowing passion for it and to satisfy what feels like an instinctual hunger now I'll write a little fan pokemon music, or mute a game I've never played before and try my hand at writing something for it. I've been looking into this for years and still have found no real advice so the best I've been doing for myself is to just keep writing and trying to get better.

Thank you very much for doing this AMA, it's informative and you seem really nice and happy with where you are in life! I feel like at this point I could only DREAM of being in a position like yours by the time I'm 25!

RikuKat2 karma

Come to the Seattle game industry events, like the Seattle Indies meetups and IGDA Seattle events and network.

There are a lot of people who are interested in creating music and sounds for video games. I'm not sure about AAA studios, but the way to catch the eyes of smaller studios is to pick up the skills to implement the sounds and music in the game yourself: some middleware knowledge, a bit of programming, etc..

Good luck!

agnarpokoddham2 karma

Are you hiring?

RikuKat4 karma

Not currently!

FallenHighSchoolJock2 karma

What skills does a Level Designer need to have and what's the best way to go about becoming one?

RikuKat3 karma

Good logic skills, creativity and a dash of programming.

Here's a roundtable I've been on about level design:

Everything_Is_Racism2 karma

Why are you a racist?

jabberwockxeno2 karma

What makes you say she is?

RikuKat4 karma

His username

Wolfen12402 karma

Are unicorn horns sensitive like narwhal's because their filled with blood vessels or do they feel nothing like other horned animals?

RikuKat6 karma

We don't have blood vessels within our horns, but they do have a flow of energy that helps us sense disturbances in the force.

odinwp2 karma

How long did it take you to do that Viking hairstyle in one of your photos?

RikuKat5 karma

45min? That was the first or second time I did it. I'm just awful with French braids.

I actually just did it again for ECCC, actually!

rolley1232 karma

Can you give me a job?

RikuKat6 karma

You're welcome to send in a resume and portfolio.

Akiluckyy2 karma

Do you think flirty and sexualized female characters like Bayonetta and Miss Fortune are demeaning?

RikuKat37 karma

No, I think that women can be flirty and sexy, but I think they also can be reserved or serious and tough. The issue is when every single damn woman in a game is sexy or the only woman you ever see is like that (without good reason for it).

Overwatch is a great example of a diverse cast of women, of all sorts of body types and personalities.

ZookCloak2 karma

Would you ever consider going Balance Druid? I could teach you, but I'd have to charge.

RikuKat5 karma

No, I like being a kitty and a bear.

malosa2 karma

Have you tried other melee dps roles?

I had an enhancement shaman, and went cat. I dunno why, but I struggled with the hitbox due to the length of the cat.

It's probably because I'm bad at video games.

RikuKat3 karma

I have a max level priest, DK and monk as well. Since I learned on kitty, I don't have hitbox troubles!

DragonGuardian2 karma

Which skills do you have to search for the hardest? (ie programmers, animators, level/game designers)

Which skills do you see way too much of?

RikuKat6 karma

Good animators are hard to find, but I get tons of messages from people who want to make music!

quote_boat2 karma

What was your biggest barrier in becoming a game dev?

RikuKat7 karma

Knowing about it.

I seriously just didn't know about programming or game development until college.

pr1sm8282 karma

Ms. Gittins,

I know this is late. Pardon me.

I was looking at your kickstarter page and I have three questions. I apologize in advance for the heavy-handedness of these questions, but I feel they are necessary.

  1. There have been many ambitious creators that haven't received enough funding to develop their projects through KickStarter (and a lucky few that have). But many of them have failed to deliver on the promises they made. If you do meet your goal, how will you ensure that your contributors will receive what you've promised?

  2. Will Potions be an errand running game? If I'm given an objective that requires making a potion, will I be running around to different areas finding components to make that potion? And if that's the case, will the process at least be fun?

  3. Will the outcome of the game differ depending on the choices I make throughout the game?

Thank you for your time.

RikuKat5 karma

1) My experience in project management and cost estimation and modeling is extensive. I've lead many projects and managed their funding myself. This project will be successful with Kickstarter funding.

2) Not really, the game interactions are more scripted and nuanced than that. No collecting pelts, but certainly returning to and reexploring places.

3) Nope!

Extramrdo2 karma

If you cosplayed as one of your characters, could you write off that con as a business expense?

RikuKat3 karma

Probably? But I can't imagine that would be fun to explain to the IRS.

l0vewaffle2 karma

Does the gaming industry need graphic designers like myself? I was torn between studying graphic design or game art and I went for graphic design... I would love to be able to work in game development at some point in my career. My style is very illustrative and character design is a big hobby/strength of mine if it helps.

RikuKat3 karma

I think so! I have a graphic designer on my team!

Zerd852 karma

Thank you for answering peoples questions and for all the time you've put into your project.

I too recently decided to leave my previous job, and venture into game development. The difference is I have 0 background in programming. I'm working on this though, having enrolled in my local community college for classes on C##, etc. and studying on the side more in-depth.

I'm not sure how I got there from this post anymore, I spent some time watching your blog videos and I'll leave with just a few tidbits:

1) Minecraft clone? Did that person play Minecraft? Because I've played it, watched my kids play (its their favorite right now) and I can honestly say Potions does not even resemble Minecraft to me.

2) I love the new focus on your blog. I've spent a lot of time recently working on my business plan (I have 7 years experience in business), so this is kind of my forte, and your vlog on Funding & Kickstarter, I think was great.

3) Just kidding. I don't have a third thing.

Wait... I do have a third thing. Awesome cosplay!

RikuKat5 karma

Right? Not like Minecraft at all!!

Thanks for your kind words and support!

J0nNy5NiPeR2 karma

Don't know if your still answering but; what would you suggest to someone who has a relatively detailed plan for a game but doesn't have any contact to get to the next step?

RikuKat5 karma

Start making it yourself.

Lots of people have ideas for games, some that are really great, but ideas don't pay the bills, you need to at least prototype the game out before you can expect support and/or funding.

J0nNy5NiPeR1 karma

I have literally no idea where to start though, unlike other commenters I'm not studying game design or anything close to it :(

Felas1 karma

Why do you play Druid when rogue is clearly superior?

RikuKat7 karma

Shadowmeld+flightfrom is OP on PvP realms

papatapapata1 karma

Are you looking for any 3d artists? I've got five years experience in the industry, cute is my thing and your game looks super interesting!

RikuKat2 karma

Not for this game, all of the assets aside from particle effects are strictly 2D. Definitely keep in touch, though! I'm thinking of exploring VR next if it makes sense to market-wise.

Vighy1 karma

How does it feel to be a mythical creature sought out by everyone?

RikuKat7 karma

A little overwhelming at times.

I mean, being so rare and all, people seem to think that just one of us can speak for all of us! That's a lot of pressure.

Not to mention, you can be having a wonderful normal conversation and then someone realizes what you are and suddenly gets all self-conscious and can't talk anymore.

FromSuckToBlow1 karma

Do you see mobile gaming growing in the next few years? with having kids and life keeping me busy I have found mobile gaming is something I can keep up my passion for gaming and the time some games require. However the selection of games out there is rather sad, especially in the mmo category.

RikuKat2 karma

Yes, I think especially with the increased power of mobile devices, mobile gaming will continue to grow.

patb20151 karma

if you are an indie developer, what's the business model?

Develope a game and try and get a distribution deal?

Work on a game concept and get investment?

RikuKat7 karma

Potions is a "normal" game that you can buy and play as many times as you'd like. It will be launched on steam and as a drm-free downloadable game and, hopefully, on consoles as well. I have self-funded the studio thus far and a successful Kickstarter will get us to completion.

While I am in talks with some publishers, I am not counting on that path.

Potions, for the most part, is a complete game that only requires additional assets for more monsters and levels and some additional scripting for events. I created the game in a modular manner, so adding new creatures, ingredients, potions and the like is extremely quick and simple.

LannyTarg1 karma

Hi, I was scrolling through your game kickstarter. I noticed one of the characters has a high resemblance to another video game character I'm sure you're familiar with called Wukong in League of Legends. Do you have any worries about possible lawsuits when it comes to Tencent and Riot Games seeing the character and possibly fussing over it because the two characters are so similar in name and appearance?

RikuKat1 karma

I don't think having purple hair and a witch hat is enough for Riot to come after me.

LannyTarg1 karma

I'm more referring to the character Sun Wukong you have in your game rather than the main character, Luna.

RikuKat2 karma

He is literally from the story Journey to the West, which is ancient and Riot has no ownership of him.

Sagehen471 karma

Why does mudd pump out so many sweet video game folks?

and which is better, foam party or slippery when wet?

RikuKat1 karma

Foam party. Gotta love the original.

Vitztlampaehecatl1 karma

Why couldn't you make a costume of this Alexstrasza? (I'm assuming that since you play WoW, you at least know about Hearthstone)

RikuKat3 karma

Seriously, I'd love to, but think of the material costs!

whothehellisevan1 karma

As a linux engineer, I sometime envy you game developers. If I wanted to start game developing, where would you recommend I start focusing my learning (languages, game theory, etc) ?

RikuKat3 karma

I'd seriously just start making games and learn about everything else while doing that

garsy991 karma

who wins in a fight between Catwoman and the Joker and how? no weapons allowed

RikuKat1 karma

No weapons or outside resources? Cat woman for sure.

randomtexanyall1 karma

A Few random questions,

  1. It's not easy (from the untrained perspective like mine) to write a story, how did you come up with the plot to your game, what difficulties were there?

  2. At 5'11 do you find people are intimidated by your height, as a 6'2 male, I always do a double check when I see a person, that's almost as tall as me/taller.

  3. You're into beer(according to twitter lol), what's your favorite style of beer and your favorite brewery

RikuKat4 karma

1) Story writing is hard, I work with two writers and we go through many, many iterations.

2) I know my height has been seen as intimidating by others in the past. I don't think that happens a ton, though

3) IPA and Stone Brewery

partyinmyshoes-4 karma

Why wear heels when you're already tall?

RikuKat9 karma

Why wear flats when you're already that short?

I like how they look.

Though, like most game devs, my default shoes are converse. Lots and lots of converse.

-Runki--6 karma

Do you find it necessary to include your gender in your post?

RikuKat9 karma

Because it's more interesting and rare than just a studio head.

Quelandoris-6 karma

Game design student here! Just wanted to say a few things before I ask my question.

First, I hope you're enjoying Reddit. I'm sure TumblrinAction is being shitty to you - dont take it personally. Most people on here are nice, and I for one appreciate the work you do.

Second, I've seen your Haruko cosplay before, I've always thought it was great. Did you build the costume yourself or get help from someone?

Now here's one specific to game development: I have an idea for a mobile game kinda of like Brave Frontier or Pokemon Go, but would need to host a server for that. Do you advise building my own server, or renting a server from a company. If the latter, do you know of any good companies to use/trust?

RikuKat2 karma

Networking is hard. Really hard. Luckily, there are some services that will take care of a lot of the backend for you, but they are expensive.

If you want to run your own server, I'd recommend Linode.