squiggly river

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our manifesto

Squiggly River is a hyper-inclusive collective of game makers and those curious about game creation. It is a group for everyone else. It is a place for those interested in games from perspectives that might not be commercial or professional: amateurs, hobbyists, students, artists from other media, indies, professional developers with side projects. Squiggly River does not pre-determine what a game should be or what a game creator should do. Squiggly River is whoever contributes to Squiggly River. Squiggly River strives to be accessible to folk from any gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or ability. Squiggly River selects accessible and safe venues in terms of physical and transport access, actively practices self-maintenance as a safe space, and considers approachability for those outside traditional game development and/or consumption communities.

Squiggly River fosters community. The primary goal of Squiggly River is to create a space in Brisbane where those involved in (or curious about) the making of games from a range of perspectives can come together to share ideas, work, resources, and find other people that share their values. This is not an ‘industry meetup’ but a ‘practice meetup’. It is for people who make games in any context to come together and to learn from and inspire each other.

Squiggly River raises awareness of the possibility of making games for yourself. People aren’t necessarily aware that you can make and distribute games without being employed or starting a company to do so. Squiggly River educates people on how to make games as a hobby or a creative process and what this means for the games that are produced by such an approach.

Squiggly River cares about process, not product. Squiggly River wants to see your greybox level running in the editor with a capsule for a player. Squiggly River wants to see your concept art for that game you want to make one day. Squiggly River wants to see the cool tool you made for someone else’s game. Squiggly River wants to hear that song you made for your friend’s game. Squiggly River does not care if you don’t have a finished product. Squiggly River cares about the creative process of game creation and is interested in your ongoing process as a game creator.

Squiggly River is grassroots and depends on its participants pooling their resources, skills, time, knowledge, tools, experience, access. Meetups depend on the laptops, multiboards, controllers, projects brought by its members. The operation of its Discord channel depends on its own participants. Squiggly River lives so long as Squiggly River shares the resources and shares the responsibility. As such, the administrative load of organising Squiggly River operations should always be shared by at least two people. Every member is welcome to step up and help run Squiggly River. Likewise, members are welcome to remain more casually associated with Squiggly River as their personal commitments allow.

Squiggly River is independent. While Squiggly River will actively seek out, welcome, and appreciate the support of public and private institutions, Squiggly River’s goals and ambitions will always be driven by its goals of hyper-inclusivity and supporting the margins as defined in this manifesto.

Squiggly River embraces the use of trash. All tools and materials are equally valid. A game made in Unity or Unreal is as welcomed as a game made in Twine or Bitsy, is as welcomed as a game made in MS Paint or Powerpoint, is as welcome as a game scribbled on paper, or played with dice, or cobbled together from found objects, or repurposing off-the-shelf components. Squiggly River encourages the use of whatever is available.

Squiggly River welcomes spectators, encourages participation. Squiggly River is always welcoming to those who want to observe without participating in the process of making, but also always works to make participation accessible and approachable to anyone who is curious.

Squiggly River is sustainable. Squiggly River will operate in a way that can be sustained for as long as there are game makers interested in participating in a community in Brisbane focused on game creation processes from the full range of commercial and marginal perspectives. This means conserving resources where necessary, maintaining relationships with those who support us, and ensuring a continuity of organisation. Squiggly River should never depend on a single person. Squiggly River depends on a multitude of active members to persist. Squiggly River is its members.