After getting their Indie GoGo campaign successfully funded last year to help a women see her gaming idea come to life The Fine Young Capitalists have not stopped working to help women in gaming. I reached out to talk to them about their latest projects and what we can do to help women in our industry.
A belated congratulations on getting your Indie GoGo campaign funded. How’s work going on AfterLife Empire and when will we get to see it?
Afterlife Empire is going well, the programming is a little behind but the graphic is a little ahead, we are starting the process of getting on Greenlight soon. The main issues is that we are focusing on video game and less the boring stuff that is important for it getting on greenlight, I.E. writting up a full description of the game, breaking down all the features so normal people can read them, and getting the logo, promotional art ready (We need this to get on greenlight.) we are still aiming to get the game working 6.5 months from when the contest ended. We’ve included screenshots. One of the issue I always have in game design is as a producer we only see problems. For the players we only really want to show them the perfect working version, and since something is never perfect until it’s done you always feel like your hiding stuff from the audience. We aren’t and if people have specific questions they should ask us on Twitter.
The #NotYourShield is an art project to really show diversity of gamers. Our biggest issues with how the media is presenting #GamerGate is how it’s being represented as a movement against minorities and that all the members are white basement dwelling males. None of this makes any sense because there are so many different people and parts to it. This is what NotYourShield was about and it’s been totally lost to the mainstream media. So what we are doing is basically taking some of the members of #NotYourShield and illustrating them as character in a video game setting. We’ll then sell this art as a Poster and we’ll put all the profits into an award that will be given to students that are graduating from school to make their own game. The award will be based on how diverse the person’s thesis/game was and not how diverse the person making it was. In all of this #GamerGate drama everyone is too focused on only helping minorities when they get harassed and not when their actually trying to make their projects. We really wanted to change that and we understand that this will be a very small award, but we really want the gaming community to start supporting the members that are just getting started instead of the people who already have media presence.
I have also been talking with Mercedes Carrera about the charity stream she did for you guys. What inspired the partnership? And will we see you two working together in the future?
Okay it’s important to understand that in the Porn Charity relationship, it’s Mercedes Carrera that wears the pants, which is ironic because she wasn’t wearing any during the stream. The Porn Charity is a group that raise money for Charity through Porn. It’s an interesting idea, and as feminists we believe a woman has the right to do whatever she chooses with her body. Mercedes Carrera’s group came to use because she wanted to do something good for the world and people weren’t accepting her money. All we did was do the paper work to setup a foundation to give money out for scholarships to STEM. It was a lot of paper work and we are just finishing it, and will be taking application in early Feburary for her scholarship. I think it’s really important because Mercedes has both an education in the field, and is a highly motivated individual so she’s actually a perfect person to be representing this idea. I also think running a scholarship that is willing to give out money entirely on merit is something the world needs right now. For example right now the largest group that gives out scholarship for women is the Miss America Pageant and you need to be unmarried and never to have been pregnant for some reason. Mercedes wants it to entirely be based on merit and doesn’t care about the PR fall out and that means we can help people based on needs.
As a feminist gaming charity, what do you believe is the biggest challenge facing women in the industry at this moment, and how can we help improve this?
The biggest issue is actually getting women into the industry. We always refer to Unlocking the Clubhouse which is a book on getting woman involved in computer science, and the important thing to take from the book is in hundreds of tiny ways we make it more difficult to get involved in game design. This is everything from saying computer are for boys, her parent not letting her take apart the family computer because their worried she’d break it, to her feeling uncomfortable taking a high school computer class because she’s to worried about her GPA.
All of these things make it more difficult for a woman when they actually choose to engage in the industry. While she might have the math knowledge she might not have developed basic skills that a boy would learn because his parents let him take apart his computer. The technology sector is a growing profession that has some of the most progressive policies in all the industrial sectors. Women should flock to it, not only for their own benefit, but for the industries benefit. We really need to remove the stigma that woman feel when trying to enter the industry and the easiest way to start this is to show that men welcome woman in the industry. At the middle school/high school level we have to show women that their welcome, that computer science is fun, and that they can make a real difference. And the easiest way we can do that is give woman access to the resources so they can show us the amazing things they can do.
I feel harassment is a major issue in the industry, but I feel the best way to make it disappear is not to educate all the men on how horrible they are, but to give woman access to the resources so they become invaluable to the team. That way when a woman is harassed her male workers will speak out for her. I feel if we put men on guard, if we focus on educating them on all their microagressions, we teach them that women are fragile and that they have to treat them differently. The compiler doesn’t care about gender, and woman have an extremely diverse opinion of what a woman should be. Why should we assume every woman would find something offensive, or be emotionally damaged by criticism.
Do TFYC plan to grow? What more can we expect from you guys in 2015?
The members of TFYC do different things under different names, one of our member is working on his own game outside of TFYC, and one member is working to get a television show made on Indie development. In the end what we are doing is providing logistical support for member of the gaming community. We’d really love to partner up with some of the members of gaming community and amplify their existing work.
Our biggest worry is that we don’t live up to the community expectation. They gave us money and we have to make sure it’s spent well. In the end what we care about is results, and while we’d love to do this Video Game competition every year. The most important thing is that our current game gets shipped and everyone is happy with it.
What are the ways in which people can get involved with TFYC, support you, or get involved in other feminist events in tech?
Right now the best thing to do is submit your idea for TheNotYourShield project, which you can do on our website at http://www.thefineyoungcapitalists.com/ Or purchase a poster at http://the-fine-young-capitalists.myshopify.com/
If you are thinking of doing your own project than email it to [email protected] and we might be able to help. We are always looking for good ideas on how to make the industry more diverse.
For people who want to get involved in feminst events in tech, use Meetup.com and search for them. There is not a single woman in tech event that doesn’t need volunteers and it’s an excellent way to meet new people and discuss the issue. Whatever you don’t don’t only work online. Meeting people in the flesh who are working in the industry give you a much better perspective of the issues that are going on in the industry.
TechRaptor would like to thank The Fine Young Capitalists for talking to us. You can find them on Twitter.
What do you think the best way to help women in the industry is? Leave your comments below.