This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Wed, May 15 2019 12:47 PM UTC +00:00.
"This is a card game I'm designing to help primarily LGBTQ teens and young adults develop coping skills to stand up to bully culture and be comfortable in their own skin. If you are part of the LGBTQ community or an ally, please consider donating to this funding campaign." - Josh
I just had a great conversation with my mom about why I'm developing a game for the LGBTQ community. She and probably most of you might wonder why I would take on this project if I'm not gay, and what qualifications I have to speak on behalf of a community I'm not a part of (aside from being an ally).
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS I HAVE IN THE SUBJECT MATTER: None. The entire meat and potatoes of the project is going to be outsourced to the LGBTQ community. This game is being designed as a transformative game, which includes subcategories such as "empathic games" and "games for change." Transformative games affect people after the conclusion of gameplay, by changing either the way they feel, think, or act towards a certain subject matter. An important part of their design is the inclusion of the narrative and perspective of the community which they represent. If you were creating a game about Native American culture to help people empathize with their struggles of assimilation, you would hire a team of Native American designers. They have lived the stories the game would tell. This is the same idea here.
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS I HAVE TO TAKE ON THIS PROJECT:
- BA in Media and Information, Focus in Film and Audio
- Graduate Certificate in Serious Game Design
- Graduate Research Credits in User Research and Ethnography
- MA in Transmedia Design (in progress)
While I am not part of the LGBTQ community, I have long been an ally with various members of my family and friends being gay, and being exposed to a very open minded environment as a child.
I am also a game designer, so in the literal sense of creating this game, it doesn't matter if I'm gay or not, it matters if I make games.
One of my favorite responses from early user research I conducted for this project is written below. I had tossed out the same basic questions as above - Was I qualified to take on this project? Would I be profiting from someone else's experiences? etc. etc. etc.
Here it is:
"Great ides are just that, great ideas. They are free from any gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or anything else. What you (Josh) are doing is a beautiful thing, and shows you are coming from a place of love and sincere desire to understand people who are different from you. If more people thought about ways of helping those who are different from them, the world would be a better place."
It was actually that response that pushed me over the edge, and made up my mind to follow through with this idea.
So I hope this gives somewhat of a deeper look into the reason I'm doing this and what I hope it will accomplish. There will be a Kickstarter campaign launched soon, and I'll be sure to post on here when it's available. But in the meantime, if you support this project idea please head on over to the FB page and give it a Like. It would mean a lot. Thanks!))))
The idea for GAYM was originally conceived to satisfy Joshua Stilman’s requirements for graduate school. However, it has since turned into a major passion project. It is designed to be a transformative game. That is, a game that causes a shift in players’ emotions, attitudes, actions, or spirits beyond the conclusion of gameplay. It is aimed at helping the LGBTQ community discuss topics that are important to them that have normally been relegated to the sidelines of mainstream conversation. It is about opening pathways for discussion with non-queer folk. It is about celebrating uniqueness, but realizing we are all more alike than we are different. It is about enlightening “bully culture” and making people feel comfortable in their own skin.
The actual manner of gameplay has yet to be designed. A loose blueprint would define it as a card game with a dedicated deck made up of discussion topics and jumping-off points. Unlike games with points and winners, the governing mission in this game is to achieve open and honest communication and to establish deeper connections between people who may be a little different from one another. In designing transformative games, the effectiveness of a game’s outcome is always linked to the connection that the game designers have to the subject matter at hand. The entire process of GAYM’s design will employ the help of members of the LGBTQ community. From the early research and prototyping phases (where contributions will be less time consuming and awarded with thank you credits in game print) to the later design and manufacturing phases (where an actual design team of artists and other participants will be put together and paid for their work).
There have been several steps already taken as part of preliminary design and research. These include creating a basic deck and logo design, conducting “pre-search” with LGBTQ friends and family, and formulating a fundraising/marketing timeline and budget.
The early design-look resembles card games such as Uno or Cards Against Humanity: a black background, rounded corners, and sans-serif font appearing in white and various other colors. This alpha prototype was designed by Josh using Adobe Photoshop.
A general email was drafted and sent out to the creator’s friends and family, and other known members of the LGBTQ community, to collect initial reactions and suggestions for design and gameplay. There was an attempt to gather numerous perspectives from within the community. These early research participants ranged by career, income, age, location, and other characteristics.
The tentative fundraising approach utilizes a number of different techniques to source capital, including crowdfunding and applying for grants. More specifically: Kickstarter, Horizons Foundation Community Issues Grant, and MSU’s Empathic Games Initiative. It also includes various ad spots along the way to showcase marketing media. This media will include alpha and beta deck prototypes, an interactive Prezi demonstration, and two short promotional videos (01:30 min / 03:00 min).
The current budget is expected to cover all three major design phases. Any leftover funds will be dedicated to end phases, such as manufacturing and website maintenance, although there may also be fundraising campaigns dedicated to these stages later on.
- Seeking Funds $30,000 to cover all design phases
- Project Period 10 months (January to October 2019)
- Game Release October 11, 2019 National Coming Out Day
- Creator’s pay $30/hour
- Design team pay $20/hour
- Total Capital $35,770
- Kickstarter $10,000
- Empathic Games Initiative $10,000
- Horizons Foundation $10,000
- Adobe Creative Suite FREE - Creator’s prior monthly subscription - Value of $320 ($32/month for 10 months)
- Design Space Rental FREE - Creator’s basement editing studio - Value of $5,000 ($500/month for 10 months)
- Early Deck/Logo Design FREE - Estimated 10 hours sweat equity - Value of $300 ($30/hour creator’s pay)
- Early User Research FREE - Estimated 5 hours sweat equity - Value of $150 ($30/hour creator’s pay)
Total Spending $27,600
- Creator salary $18,000 (60 hours/month for 10 months)
- Design team total $9,600 (16 hours/month for 2 months and 32 hours/month for 2 months, 5 designers)
**Has changed slightly from projected timeline in video**
December: Develop early marketing material, Tune up logo and design, Conduct various forms of user research
January: Launch Kickstarter campaign (WE ARE RUNNING BEHIND!)
- Materials needed: (1) Alpha deck prototype, (2) Interactive Prezi demonstration
February: Hire design team (5 people)
March/April: Formulate gameplay, Develop beta deck and box design, Produce first promo video, Find manufacturer
May: Deadline for Empathic Games Initiative application
- Materials needed: (1) Beta deck with box prototype, (2) 90 second promotional video
June/July: Develop miscellaneous game art (instructions, credits, etc.), Print copy of beta game, UX research with game, Make changes or re-print if necessary after UX research, Produce second promo video, Begin website design
August: Deadline for Horizons Foundation Community Issues Grant application
- Materials needed: (1) Full print out ready for soft release, (2) Three minute promotional video
September: Soft release in nine California Bay Areas (as per agreement with Horizons Foundation)
- Materials needed: (1) Finished website, (2) Contract with manufacturer
October: Hard nationwide release Oct. 11
ABOUT THE CREATOR
- Bachelor’s in Media & Information (@ Michigan State University)
- Graduate Certificate in Serious Game Design (@MSU)
- Finishing Master’s in Media & Information (@MSU)
- Son, Brother, Husband and Father
- UX Designer, Digital Media Creator, Musician
- Business Owner
- LGBTQ Ally
Josh admits there was an element of not wanting to seem like he was profiting of of someone experiences that weren't his own. (By being a straight man designing a game for the gay community). He brought up the issue with someone close to him from the LGBTQ community, whose response was the following:
"Great ideas are just that, great ideas. They are free from any gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or anything else. What you (Josh) are doing is a beautiful thing, and shows you are coming from a place of love and sincere desire to understand people who are different from you. If more people thought about ways of helping those who are different from them instead of only identifying with people who are exactly like them, the world would be a better place."
After receiving this response, Josh decided he would move forward with the project.
Please check out Josh's portfolio showcasing his other work in UX design and digital media creation: www.joshuastilman.com
BACKGROUND SONG IS AN ORIGINAL COVER OF KONSTANTINE BY SOMETHING CORPORATE
Risks and challenges
Potential challenge of staying on track with proposed timeline for October 2019 release, and raising the $10K in all of the three production phases.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter