Blanket Fort Chats: Game Making With Tanya Kan, Part II

Image courtesy of Tanya Kan
Image courtesy of Tanya Kan

Blanket Fort Chats” is a weekly column featuring women and nonbinary game makers talking about the craft of making games. We continue our chat with Tanya Kan, a Toronto-based game designer. Last time, she talked about her creative process and upcoming game, Solace State. (Check out the mood trailer and visual novel preview.) Today, we talk about her attraction to narrative-driven games as well as games and game makers that have inspired her. 

Solace State (Unity build from Nov 2015) by Tanya Kan
Solace State (Unity build from Nov 2015) by Tanya Kan

Miss N: A lot of your work revolves around narrative-driven games. What drew you to making those kinds of games?

Tanya: I’ve always just made sense of the world through stories for as long as I can remember, as soon as I had the language to form sentences. Undergrad especially sharpened my desire to shape narratives through the study of media forms and power in governance. I’ve always wanted interactive ways to talk about society—even if they happen to be imaginary ones. And governance itself can be seen as having a structure that has constant rules and standards of play.

I constantly ask myself about tone and pacing, and what kind of audience I want to reach. Should it be one who is more interested in being introduced or referenced with in-depth philosophies, or one that is more mainstream? I think about that a lot, mostly because I really want to make the joys of philosophy, humanities, and the social sciences more approachable to a young audience, but without erasing some of its most interesting complexities.

I think that there are a lot of great visual novels out there that take a more fantasy or escapism approach—most obviously that of dating sims—but that just doesn’t come as naturally to me. So I try not to fall into that convention too much despite myself. I try to develop my own voice.

Continue reading “Blanket Fort Chats: Game Making With Tanya Kan, Part II”

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Blanket Fort Chats: Game Making With Tanya Kan, Part I

Image courtesy of Tanya Kan
Image courtesy of Tanya Kan

Blanket Fort Chats” is a weekly column featuring women and nonbinary game makers talking about the craft of making games. In this week’s post, we feature Tanya Kan, a Toronto-based game designer most recently known for the upcoming game, Solace State.

Miss N: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Tanya: I have been very passionate about multidisciplinary perspectives on understanding how power and textual images shape perceptions of the world. In undergrad, I studied Political Science and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. After feeling a bit dispossessed with what I know of the political life and wanting to communicate in more mass media forms, I turned to games and interactive media. I’ve always loved the idea of 3D, so I embraced my time at Seneca in a postgrad program for 3D Game Arts and Animation.

Miss N: How did you get into making games?

Tanya: Through a very unusual route! I wrote a fourth-year thesis on EVE Online for Cinema Studies, which tied post-structural theory to the idea that EVE Online was all about networking and negotiation outside of one’s avatarial body. It caught the eye of the Editor-in-Chief of Indie Game Reviewer, who kindly let me review the most experimental narrative games/interactive experiences that they receive.

A year after that, I wanted to be on the production side, and so I learned 3D arts at Seneca. Following graduation, I worked at a VFX studio in Hong Kong that was very interested in including game engines as one of their pipelines for product and entertainment experiences. When I returned to Toronto, I found my home at Bento Miso, Dames Making Games, and the vibrant indie and small studio community here. This truly phenomenal community gave me the support network I needed to build up my freelance and independent design chops.

Continue reading “Blanket Fort Chats: Game Making With Tanya Kan, Part I”

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