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A 12-week evening course for women and non-binary people interested in Game Development.

Games By Her

Run by game developers working at Paradox Interactive, our 1-night a week evening course will take place over 12 weeks and give beginner and junior software developers an introduction to game programming. You will learn to make a complete 2D game from scratch using C++. Whether you leave with a desire to move to the games industry or not, you will learn something, have fun, and leave with something new for your portfolio!

This course takes place in Stockholm, Sweden and is aimed at people identifying as women or non-binary who are interested in learning more about game programming. The course material is geared towards junior software developers / engineers who have some development experience (at least 6 months of experience with any language). If you have more experience than that, you are obviously welcome to apply too. If you have less, we will ask to see some personal projects that you have done in your spare time as C++ is typically not a great language to start with if you have no experience at all.

Image from the Magicka video game depecting a clumsy wizard holding a sword

Course Schedule

This course is scheduled to run from Saturday, 7th November 2020 until Saturday, 23rd January 2021, with breaks in-line with school term times to make it easier for parents to attend the course.

Key Dates

Tues 27th Oct 2020
18:00 - 20:00
Introductory Social (Optional) Before we start, there will be social event where you can meet others doing the course. Due to COVID-19, we will consider whether we run this in person or virtual!
Sat 7th Nov 2020
10:00 - 17:00
Opening Day We start the course with a full 7-hour day so that you can meet your colleagues, get your laptop setup & ready for the course and start learning some of the fundamentals together. Due to COVID-19, we might break this day into two groups for 3.5 hours each.
Every Tuesday
10th Nov - 15th Dec
18:00 - 20:00
Weekly Meetup Every week (except for school holidays) during the course, we will hold a 30-60 minute talk followed by time workshopping the new techniques on your own game project. These sessions will be supported by game developers from Paradox who will help you along the way.

Unless the situation dramatically changes with COVID-19, we anticipate running most of these sessions at the Paradox Interactive offices, but also streaming them online for those who don't feel comfortable attending in person.
Project Work
(Personal Time)
Weekly Meetup You will be expected to spend a couple of hours every week outside of the meetups to work on your personal project and solidify the skills you have learned during the sessions. It's entirely up to you how much time you spend every week, but this time will help you develop your projects to later share on GitHub.
Christmas Break We take a break over the school break for the Christmas period. You are free to work on your personal project during this time but there is no obligation to do so.
Every Tuesday
12th Jan - 16th Feb
18:00 - 20:00
Weekly Meetup We return to the weekly meetups after Christmas.
Fri 5th February 2021
16:00 - 19:00
Join the Paradox Social Hour Join the developers at Paradox Interactive for social hour and ask questions to developers about what it's like to work in the gaming industry.
Sat 20th Feb 2021
12:00 - 18:00
Final Day We will finish up the course with another full day session where you can share your personal project(s) with your course mates and get any final support you need to finish up your projects and get them online for the world to download!

Note. The weekly meetups will run every Tuesday between the times shown above. While you do not need to be at every single session, the course aims to deliver new and useful content every week, so you will likely fall behind if you miss more than one or two sessions during the course. Also please note that it is possible the schedule will change slightly as the course progresses - but we will continue to respect school term breaks for any parents who wish to join.

What You Will Learn

Build a Game in C++
C++ is the most used language for developing desktop and console games in the industry. During this course you will build an entire 2D game in C++ which you can add to your portfolio and share with friends.

C++ Language Features
We will be using C++ during the course, so we will learn all of the usual coding structures but with the quirks of C++, such as functions, data structures, memory management and object-oriented programming.

Memory Management
One of the biggest curve-balls when switching to C++ from another language is learning about handling memory management yourself. We will be using modern techniques such as smart pointers to handle memory management in our game and mini-projects.

Mini Projects
During the course we will also build a number of mini-projects in C++ as learning tools. These will give you the scope to add extra features to learn more in your spare time.

Game Development Fundamentals
While building our 2D game you will learn about the Game Loop, handling user input from a Game Controller and the Keyboard and using common game development libraries such as SDL2 to bring our game to life.

Debugging C++
We all make some mistakes along the way and during this course we will also focus some time on debugging our code using Visual Studio or XCode so that we can squish those bugs and get back to feature development.

Admissions

This course is aimed, and reserved, for women, female identifying, and non-binary people with developement experience who are interested in learning about game development, and are potentially looking for opportunities in the game industry.

This course is aimed at developers with a graduate / junior level of experience, using any language. Applicants should already have a couple of months of professional experience under their belt, or a healthy set of hobby projects visible on GitHub. You certainly don't need to be a development wizard of any sort, but you should understand the fundamental concepts of variables, functions, loops and arrays in any programming or scripting language.

If you think you have equivalent experience from your personal or hobby projects, you're also welcome to apply. But please highlight any project you have done that can help us evaluate your level of experience.

We only have 20 spaces on the course, so please tell us a bit about why you are interested in programming and game development. You don't have to be an avid gamer to take part, but you should play some games (mobile, console or PC) or have a particular interest in game and media technology in a related discipline.

Step 1. Apply Online

We have an online application form which will take about 10 minutes to complete. This is your chance to tell us about yourself and your coding experience.

Step 2. Phone Chat

After the admissions deadline has passed, we will hold a short call with the best applications we receive to find out a bit more about you and share what's involved in the course.

Step 3. Commit && Push!

The successful applicants will be asked to pay a deposit of 500 SEK which is returned to you at the midpoint of the course. We will invite you to our Slack channel and point you to some (optional) preparation material if you'd like to get started early!

Image from the Magicka video game depecting a stone troll and a wizard being friends

Key Information

If you are interested in taking part in this Game Development course, please consider the following information before applying.

Application Form: Apply online using our Online Application Form.

Location: Some of the course sessions will take place in the Paradox Interactive offices on Södermalm, Stockholm. The office is easily accessible using the Pendeltåg (stop at Stockholms Södra) and is within walking distance of the T-Bana stops Mariatorget and Medborgarplatsen.

Important Dates

Applications Open: Monday 17th August 2020

Application Deadline: 5pm Monday 21st September 2020

Student List Finalised: Friday 9th October 2020

Course Starts: Saturday 7th November 2020

Course Ends: Saturday 20th February 2021

A Note about COVID-19

This course was originally designed to be run in-person, with face-to-face support. As long as the rules in Sweden allow for groups of up to 20 people, we intend to run some of the sessions in person. If you register for this course, we aim to run most of the sessions online but you should expect to attend at least 3-4 of the sessions in person.

We are currently considering a few different options of how we adapt the course given the current situation, but it is likely we will ask you to attend the opening/closing sessions and one or two of the evening sessions. We will likely then run several of the evening sessions with "optional attendance" but streamed online so you can adapt your attendance to what you are most comfortable with.

However, if the situation evolves and we deem that it is no longer possible (or a good idea) to run parts of the course in person, we are prepared to switch to a fully online model for the course.

About the Tutors

This course has been written and designed by John Wordsworth and Sofie Angere. Most of our lectures will be run by John and/or Sofie, but we will also have some developers from Paradox acting as guest lecturers for some topics.

John Wordsworth has been developing games and mobile applications for over 15 years and has previous experience of teaching short-courses in programming and game development. John ran a week-long game development course for Tjejer Kodar in 2018, which was the inspiration for building this course and has a history of running workshops and learning sessions around Game Development.

Sofie Angere started writing games in her childhood, largely being self taught. She has a background as a teacher and researcher in logic and philosophy, and joined Paradox Interactive as a senior engine programmer in 2020. She currently works on extending and improving the fundamental systems shared by many of our games.

Every week we will start our meet up with a lecture and we will follow that with a workshop session where you will also be able to meet different developers from Paradox Interactive. These developers will help you build your projects as you learn more about Game Development and will also share what it's like to work within the industry.

A photograph of John Wordsworth, Tutor and Technical Director at Paradox Development Studio A photograph of Sofie Angere, Tutor and Senior Engine Programmer at Paradox Development Studio

Pricing

Our goal is to improve diversity in the programmer space in game development. As such, we are delighted to offer this course for free. However, as this course requires a lot of people's time and effort to run, we want to ensure that everyone who signs up at least gives the course a fair try.

For this reason, we are asking that everyone who attends pays a 500 SEK deposit up front. You will receive the full deposit back at the mid-way point during the course, or if you need to drop out due to extenuating circumstances (such as illness).

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes This Course Different?

While there are dozens of online courses and video series you can buy to learn C++, we believe that the social contract you enter when learning with a group helps build motivation and confidence throughout the course. When learning with others, you can bounce ideas between each other and dedicating time to a weekly lesson helps everyone to keep on track as a group.

Another great benefit of learning with Games By Her is that you will get to meet (and be taught by) several people who are already working in the games industry. They will all be happy to chat about what it's like working in the industry and share some war stories of code they have written. Everyone has their own path into the gaming industry, and we hope that by engaging with several people already in the industry, you will be inspired to consider it for your future career! (But there is no pressure of course - we understand it's not for everyone).

Why C++?

C++ is the most popular programming language used in game development for desktop and console games. We use C++ almost exclusively in several of our internal game studios to develop games such as Stellaris and Crusader Kings and we would love to inspire and help more people to get involved in making games!

How Many People Are On the Course?

We are aiming to have 15-20 people join us for this course. We feel that is the optimal number so that we can ensure our teachers can spend time helping everyone on the course and that you get a chance to talk with our programmers during on-site sessions.

Who is Running the Course?

Paradox Interactive is a leading global publisher of strategy games for PC. The publisher’s steadily-growing portfolio includes firmly established PC franchises such as the critically acclaimed Europa Universalis, Cities: Skylines, Crusader Kings, Magicka and the Hearts of Iron series created by Paradox Development Studio and a network of partner studios.

This course is being organised and run by Paradox Interactive. Our goal with this course is to do our part in trying to improve diversity within the gaming industry, especially within the programming discipline which has traditionally had very low numbers of non-white, non-cis-male developers.

You can read more about Paradox Interactive on the Paradox Interactive Corporate Site.

Paradox Logo
A large version of the Games By Her logo slowly pulsating larger and smaller.