• Women 2.0 HowTo Conference San Francisco, September 30 - October 1, 2014

Through The Looking Glass – Alice The Perfect Game Developer

8127719839_14463121fa_z

“Why, I sometimes believe six impossible things before breakfast.” — Alice

By Jennifer McFadden (Co-Founder, Skillcrush)

If Lewis Carroll had been in tech, he would have undoubtedly been a game designer, building highly complex and whimsical quests. His ability to imagine and re-imagine the world and bend it into nonsensical narratives would have made him a natural.

Designers craft the stories behind the games; develop the characters and the plot; decide which obstacles the characters have to overcome; and, imagine all of the features that make a game challenging, fun and visually exciting.

Carroll creates a sea out of Alice’s tears; turns rocks into cakes that can be eaten to shrink her to the right size; and combines logic with imagination to craft an amazingly intricate and compelling narrative.

Alice, on the other hand, would have been a game developer. Game developers are the problem solvers. They are given a set of constraints and are forced to craft the code that makes the game work using languages like C++ or Java. The code has to be “efficient, fast and reusable” which can be incredibly challenging and incredibly fun. Game developers need to be able to understand bleeding edge technologies, including 3D game programming and computer graphics. So, a desire to continuously learn new skills is critical.

One of Alice’s defining character traits was comfort with the unknown. She grew. She shrank. She met a talking cat and a trippy caterpillar. She was adventurous and open to new experiences. Constantly faced with big unknowns, Alice simply dealt by asking questions…lots of questions. She stumbled around in Wonderland solving riddles and making sense of the obstacles in her path. Her passion for problem-solving and play, along with her tenacity, would have made her a natural programmer.

So what would YOU be? An Alice or a Lewis?

It’s time to believe the impossible…There is a potion that can make you shrink. There is a cake that can make you grow. Animals talk. Cats can disappear. There is a place called Wonderland. Alice can defeat the Jabberwocky. And, you can learn how to code. You just need to take the first step through the looking glass.

N.B. We’ve included a video of one of our tech heros, Jane McGonical, below. She’s a Lewis who looks like an Alice and she rocks!

This post was originally at Photo credit: Jose de Creeft’s Alice in Central Park, 1959; Courtesy of Flavorwire.

About the guest blogger: Jennifer McFadden is co-founder of Skillcrush. Jennifer has 3 years working as a Researcher for the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY, where she is also an Adjunct Professor and mentor to the Program’s students. She is interested in the intersection of media and technology and has focused on finding new business models for news. Previously, Jennifer was a Digital Product Marketing Manager at The New York Times. Follow her on Twitter at @jen_mcfadden.