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Toronto Incubator To Support Female Devs, Diversity In Game Making

The Difference Engine Initiative, a new Toronto-based program designed to encourage the work of game makers from under-represented groups, will be holding two free incubators fo
The Difference Engine Initiative, a new Toronto-based program designed to encourage the work of game makers from under-represented groups, will be holding two free incubators for female developers in coming months. Participants in the six-person incubators will develop a game over the course of six weekly, three-hour sessions that have "more in common with crafting circles or writers’ groups than a traditional classroom setting," learning about game-making tools and techniques along the way. The new effort is being speared by Metanet co-founder and N creator Mare Sheppard (pictured), who told local arts blog The Torontoist she's combating the notion that game development takes a certain type of knowledge or narrow skillset. "There’s this idea that just a small subset of people can make games—you have to be a programmer, you have to know lots of math, you have to be all these things that most people aren't," she said. "So part of the idea for the Difference Engine Initiative was deconstructing that and showing that you don't have to be all those things to make games." In the future, the initiative will explore issues such as age and race among the development, Sheppard said, pushing for more variety among the community of game makers. "More diversity means better games, a better environment for game developers and game designers, and ultimately leads to the viewpoints of more people being represented in games and more games being made for different kinds of people," she said. "I think it'll make our industry a lot cooler." Applications for the two incubators -- one running August to September and one running October to November -- are being taken through July 31.

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