Gaming

8 Notable women in game development

Doing what you love isn’t gender-bound

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The gaming industry is perceptibly becoming more progressive, or at least, I’d like to think so. With people developing new games, playing them, and voicing out their insights, much of the industry is under more scrutiny than the community is used to. The gender split amongst gaming professionals, however, has long been an interesting talking point over the years.

In 2014, the International Game Developer’s Association released a report detailing the prevalence of women in the gaming industry. The presence of female developers has doubled since 2009 despite the persistence of male dominance in the industry.

The industry hit a striking spike in female audiences and consumers over time. With more female developers creating games and women themselves playing professionally, things had to change. Here are eight women who broke the mold:

Carol Shaw

Carol Shaw was a former video game designer and was one of the first in the industry. She was known for having designed Happy Trails for the Intellivision and River Raid for the Atari 800 and Atari 5200. She worked for Atari and wrote Video Checkers (1978), 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe (1978), and Super Breakout (1978, alongside Nick Turner).

Jane Ng

Jane Ng is a 3D environment artist who worked on well-received games like Firewatch, The Cave, Brütal Legend, Stacking, Spore, Costume Quest, and The Godfather. She started as an intern in Ronin Studios, but later moved on to Electronic Arts, then Double Fine Productions, and now Campo Santo.

Robin Hunicke

Robin Hunicke is a game designer and producer, as well as a professor of game design at UC Santa Cruz. She is also the co-founder of Funomena.

She began her career in Electronic Arts and worked on MySims and Boom Blox. Her advocacies include her support of independent game development and championing of women within the games industry.

Amy Hennig

Amy Hennig is a game director and scriptwriter who believes that the creative direction of a script holds more importance than the graphics of the game. She worked on the Legacy of Kain series, the Jak and Daxter series, and the Uncharted series. She has been called one of the most influential women in the video game industry by Edge magazine.

Corrinne Yu

Corinne Yu started her career with the King’s Quest series for the Apple II. She wrote the original engine for the Spec Ops series and was a founding member of Microsoft’s Direct 3D Advisory Board. She programmed lighting, facial animation, and developed new technology for the 2012 video game Halo 4.

Kim Swift

Kim Swift is a video game designer known for her work at Valve on games such as Portal (2007) and Left 4 Dead (2008). Much later, She led the team that developed Quantum Conundrum (2012). Kim Swift was featured by Fortune as one of “30 Under 30” influential figures in the video game industry.

Kellee Santiago

Kellee is a video game designer and producer. While studying at the USC Interactive Media Division of the University of Southern California, Santiago with her friend, Jenova Chen, and a team of students, they produced the game Cloud. After graduating, Santiago and Chen founded Thatgamecompany — the developers of FlowFlower, and Journey.

Yoko Kanno

Yoko Kanno is a Japanese composer, arranger, and musician known for her work on the soundtracks on anime films, television series, live-action films, video games, and advertisements. She has written scores for Cowboy Bebop, Nobunaga’s Ambition, Uncharted Waters, and Ragnarok Online 2.

It’s inspiring to find more women working towards what they enjoy and love doing — especially in an industry that is undeniably dominated by men.

Although a certain collective of men in the industry sustain the misogynistic view that women aren’t fit for jobs like those mentioned above, it’s nice to see women gather around to support each other towards their dreams in life. Even if the game development industry doesn’t necessarily enable misogyny, the environment is still persistently male-dominated, making the push for gender equality a constant struggle.

Despite that, the community has grown and has shown support towards a more gender-diverse environment. After all, doing what you love and creating what you find fulfilling is not gender-bound.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Video Games of 2017

Features

What does the GPU Turbo do to your phone?

Is it more than just a marketing gimmick?

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It’s been two months since Huawei rolled out the GPU Turbo update to its smartphones. Promised with a 60 percent increase in performance and reducing 30 percent on power consumption, a lot of fans and users were excited after the announcement.

Back then, everyone (including me) was hyped about lag-free games and longer battery life while playing. However, upon receiving the update, I began to wonder: Has GPU Turbo delivered what it promised?

What’s inside the update?

GPU Turbo was originally marketed as an improved gameplay experience, available only to PUBG and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.

The Game Suite app, which comes with the update, offers an uninterrupted gaming feature, hiding all notifications when enabled (except for calls, alarms, and low-battery alerts).

Mistouch prevention is another feature to avert users from clicking the back and home button while playing — perfect for when you want to focus on your game.

Screenshots by Miguel Pineda, Huawei Mate 10 user

To some older smartphones like the Huawei Mate 10, the Game Suite App offers three performance modes: Gaming mode, which improves game performance but increases power consumption; Smart mode, which balances performance and power consumption; and Power saving mode, which saves power but reduces game performance.

For the newer Huawei P20 Pro (which I’ve been using) and Honor Play, it only has a gaming acceleration mode to toggle on or off.

Thoughts on the reduced power consumption

Because I used the Mate 10 before and recently transitioned to the P20 Pro, I’ve experienced the GPU Turbo update in both phones and I can guarantee that they’ve delivered on lowered power consumption.

With Game Suite, I can put my phone on power saving mode to further save battery. For instance, I was only able to drain the Mate 10 down to 15 percent during a 12-hour road trip despite switching between the games I play and other apps, such as Messenger, Netflix, Spotify, and taking photos and videos every once in a while. The same goes for the P20 Pro.

As a power user, I already get a lot of things done with these highly efficient smartphones and GPU Turbo; these allowed me to do more on a single charge. However, it’s a different case for gaming.

Improved gaming experience, but there’s a catch…

When I started playing games on gaming mode (or game acceleration mode on the P20 Pro), I could run Mobile Legends: Bang Bang on a high frame rate with the highest graphics setting available. Compared to how the game stuttered and lagged during 5v5 clashes, with GPU Turbo, it now runs smoothly, as if I have a smartphone made for gaming.

System notice when enabling the high frame rate on Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and the effects it may have on your gameplay

As shown above, most mobile games will notify their users about the possible repercussions of higher frame rates and using the best settings available. To prove that a smartphone with GPU Turbo can handle this, I sought out to confirm my suspicions.

After asking fellow Huawei users, I found out that after installing GPU Turbo, energy consumption is a lot faster than before. Their smartphones also heat up more easily, especially when playing games with the game acceleration mode on. This isn’t part of what was promised, and it’s pretty disappointing.

It’s not yet perfect

In my experience, GPU Turbo tries to boost performance above a smartphone’s limit hoping that users can experience better gameplay.

GPU Turbo can’t choose when to perform its best. It’s an update that is constantly running in our smartphones without any way to switch it off. We can only hope that Huawei will address these issues for the next batch of updates.

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ASUS ROG Phone receives US pricing

Last piece of the puzzle

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ASUS is certainly taking its time with the release of its one and only gaming phone. First announced at Computex 2018, the ROG Phone finally has an official price to go with its US release.

For the model with 128GB of storage, you’d have to shell out US$ 899. For the larger 512GB storage variant, the cost goes up to US$ 1,099. Both come with a high-end Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of memory.

Of course, there are accessories to go with it. First is the ROG Mobile Desktop Dock, which costs US$ 229; the ROG Phone Case retails for US$ 59; the ROG Professional Dock is valued at US$ 119; you can buy the ROG TwinView Dock for US$ 399; the ROG Gamevice Controller is at US$ 89; and lastly, the ROG WiGig Dock goes for US$ 329.

Those are a lot of accessories for one phone, but that’s what makes the ROG Phone a truly gamer-centric device.

As stated last week, the ROG Phone will hit US shores starting October 18, with other regions to follow soon after.

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Gaming

PlayStation’s PSN Online ID change coming soon

Full rollout coming early 2019!

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You’ll soon be able to retire your DarkWarrior1214 PlayStation ID. In a blog post, Sony PlayStation said they will soon begin testing the PSN Online ID change feature as part of their preview program.

Beta testers part of the preview program will be able to change their PSN ID as much as they want. However, once the feature rolls out to everyone, only the first name change will be free. Succeeding name changes will cost US$ 9.99 for regular users.

PS Plus users will be charged a smaller fee of US$ 4.99. The online ID can be changed through the profile page on your PS4 or at the Settings menu. There’s also an option to display your old PSN ID alongside your new one so your friends can recognize you right away.

Not for all games

The feature isn’t available for all games, though. Only PS4 games published after April 1, 2018 along with other most-played titles that were published before that date will have the feature. PlayStation also warns that changing the ID might cause some issues with some games that can be fixed by reverting to the old ID. Here’s to hoping PlayStation finds a way to address those issues some time down the line.

The planned full rollout of the feature is in early 2019. What will be your new PSN Online ID?

SEE ALSO: Sony unveils PlayStation Classic, comes pre-loaded with 20 games

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