Even more learning about Psychology and Mental Health

Classes

I can’t recommend “The Science of Well-being” course enough. You should all definitely check it out.

Link: https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being/home/info

I just finished the course, and I’m challenging myself to a 4 week rewirement challenge. Knowing all the information and putting it into practice is another. So the 4 week rewirement challenge will help me put theory into practice and see if it will help me become happier.

So far, I challenged myself to meditate, exercise, make social connections, sleep at least 8 hours, appreciate beauty and savoring at least once a week. Okay, the exercise and social connections part comes with my current job, so that part is easy ish. I never had problem sleeping, so that’s also in the bag.  But meditation is something that I just started doing and it’s quite relaxing.

I downloaded Insight Timer, which is full of guided meditations.

Link: https://insighttimer.com/

 

Aside from the Well-being class, I’m also trying out Moodgym.

Moodgym is like an interactive self-help curriculum based on concepts of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and you can learn skills to help prevent and manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Link: https://moodgym.com.au/

 

Udemy had a sale last Mother’s day and I bought 2 CBT courses by Libby Seery. I find the pacing a bit slow, but the information was very useful.

Links:

 

I also signed up to a few more free courses on Coursera on positive psychiatry.

Link: https://www.coursera.org/learn/positive-psychiatry/home/welcome

If you are based in Australia (which I am now, as of the moment), you can also some free courses on This Way Up. As opposed to talking head videos, the lessons are presented in a series of slides with characters and talk bubbles like a comic book.

Link: https://thiswayupclinic.org

I really want to do a Graduate Certificate in Psychology or Mental Health, but unfortunately I don’t have the finances for it.

 

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Code like a Girl Rebel Presentation

Dev, Games

A few weeks ago, I gave a talk about my journey, growing up in the Philippines and then finding my place as a women in tech working in the games industry.

And here is the presentation I gave, which was in a Pecha Kucha style and much harder than I thought.

And here are some photos from the event, it was hosted at PWC in Adelaide, which has a lovely view of the city.

 

Thank you Code like a Girl for organizing the event and the opportunity for me to share my story.

Learning about Psychology, Depression from a Compassionate View, and The Science of Well-being

Classes

Recently, I started learning about Psychology through some wonderful (and free) online courses. As someone who don’t have a background in Psychology, I think they were very useful and they helped me gain a deeper understanding of myself and my own struggles.

Links to the courses:

 

One of the most interesting things I learned from the Foundations of Psychology is how depressed people tend to credit positive things to others and negative things to themselves.

When I was studying and struggling in Computer Science, I honestly believed that the only reason I passed the course was because of God’s miracle. It never occurred to me how it could actually be the result of my studying or working hard, because those were some dark times. I enjoy programming now, but I used to hate it. I used to feel like such a failure and moron. Whenever things go wrong, it’s because I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough.

I was stuck in that type of thinking for a long while. I guess, I still think that way now. But I’m trying to change that.

I am named one of GameIndustry.biz 100 Future Talent. This isn’t a humble brag, I’m just stating a fact. After I found out I actually broke down and cried, because I didn’t think I deserved it. I went to the beach and I watched the sunset, and it was beautiful, but it didn’t stop the thoughts in my head telling me that “I’m not good enough”.

I have impostor syndrome and I think that’s because I doubt myself a lot. Also, as a female in the tech and game industry, sadly, people doubt you all the time. I find myself questioning a lot of times if I was just a diversity hire, and some of the other guys I work with also vocally wondered about the same thing about me. Did that sentence make sense?

The Psychology class helped me identify the stressors in my life, and it also introduced ways to cope with stress, and that’s what I’m trying to do now.

Depression: A Compassionate View taught me something very important and that is to be kind to yourself. I need to be kind and be forgiving to myself. Think of myself like I’m talking to a friend who needs help. It also introduced some ways to identify negative thoughts and a plan on how to reflect, rationalize and challenge them.

One of the challenges is to write a compassionate letter to yourself, first start by writing down something that you feel inadequate about, and then you write a letter from the compassionate “other” person, imagine you are writing this letter to your friend, and finally read the letter and feel the compassion and let it sooth and comfort you.

This reminds me of a scene from “The Help”, where the maid is telling the little girl that she is kind, she is smart and she is beautiful. I think we need to spend more time telling ourselves these things and let it sink in.

Finally, I just started the Science of Well-Being class, and for the self-assessment, we are instructed to take some quizzes to measure our happiness, as well as our character strengths. It was also recommended that we try to use our strengths through a series of activities.

I took the quiz and my top 5 character strengths are:

  1. Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence
  2. Gratitude
  3. Creativity
  4. Love of Learning
  5. Kindness

I’m actually quite surprised with the results. Creativity and Love of Learning is something I am aware of and sometimes take pride in. While I think my Christian upbringing really influenced my other strengths.

I recently gave a talk about my journey in the tech and games industry, and I realized later on, is that on the slides where I talk about my achievements, I always preface it with, “I’m lucky” or “I’m fortunate”. I think this goes back to what I mentioned before, I credit every good thing that happens to me to God and to the wonderful people around me, and I have immense gratitude for it, which is good. But it also takes away my efforts from the achievement, if that makes sense. I suppose I need to have a balance.

While Kindness really surprised me. I never really thought of myself as kind, I thought for the longest time that I’m actually quite selfish. I think I’ll try to practice more Kindness and see what happens. But also as I’ve mentioned before, I think I also need to be more kind to myself.

Links:

I still have a few weeks more for The Science of Well-Being, we’ll see how it goes. I’ll keep you guys updated.

Harnessing the Power of Empathy Games for Mental Health Awareness

Dev, Games

Finding and creating a supportive mental health community while developing games

I have been a game developer for the past 8 years. But I worked in game studios and I programmed whatever my company told me to.

But I never made my own game on my own.

As part of my Masters by Practice for a degree in Video Game Enterprise and Production, I had the option to make my own game.

I can work with a team, but I chose not to, even though I never made a game all on my own. By my own, I mean, I do code, art, design and production. Why did I chose to do that? It’s not because I think I can do everything on my own. It’s because I don’t want to let anyone down.

You see, I have depression. I struggle to wake up every morning, my mind won’t rest at night. So my classmates think that I’m lazy, but it’s more complicated than that.

I met so many amazing game developers at conferences and they talk about how they just took the leap, quit their job and made their own game. I never took a leap before, because I was too afraid.

But now, the confines of school gave me the safety net to finally take a leap. Also a strict deadline and a Masters degree on the line gives me a very good reason to just do it.

One advice people give writers is to write about what they know. And I wondered if the same can be applied to making video games. Boen Wang says “What can you learn about a person through a screen? What can you learn about a creator through their work?”

So I decided to make a game about depression, even though it’s something that I don’t normally talk about. I normally don’t talk about it because it’s hard for me to tell people that I’m not okay. I wear a smile every single day, because I thought that is what is expected of me.

But it’s okay, not to be okay all the time.

I didn’t want to make a game that only features my own voice. So I made a project on HitRecord and asked for other people for their stories. And reading other people’s stories made me realize that I’m not alone. Also knowing that other people have gone through the same thing and have beaten it, gave me hope that I can too.

Working on the game and writing development blog posts, allowed me to be honest and be vulnerable, to show a side of me that I’ve never been able to before. It gave me the medium to finally open up the conversation about mental health with my friends and the people around me.

It took me more or less 4 months and I made a game, which I called “Depression Simulator”. It is a point-and-click game that simulates the everyday life of someone living with depression, where even the most mundane and menial tasks become a challenge.

And then I graduated with Distinction from my Masters degree.

But I didn’t want to stop there.

I realized that there are more stories to tell and more conversations about Mental Health that needs to take place.

That is why I approached my friends and together we are making a web platform called “MuniReality”, where people living with mental illness can share their stories and have them transformed into interactive games. The games will be be built around comments and contributions from the community.

But we can’t do it alone, we also need your help.

 

Watch my Developer Diary:

 

 

 

We just launched an Indiegogo Campaign!

Dev, Games

Please fund our campaign! https://igg.me/at/munireality/x/17690597

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What is MuniReality?

MuniReality will be a space where people living with mental illness can freely share their stories without fear of judgement. In turn, these stories (which can be shared in the form of writings, drawings, videos, songs, or poetry…) will be transformed into games.

Disclaimer: Mockup of MuniReality Website
The games will be built around and modified based on comments and contributions from the community. People can contribute characters, suitable music, background noise, items, pictures, voices, and other parts to complete a game.

Why Mental Health Awareness?

According to the World Health Organization, around 450 million people currently suffer from mental illness, making it the leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide. But even so, more than half remain untreated. Stigma and discrimination are still the main reasons why people choose to keep it to themselves, as well as people around them not believing it is a “real” illness.

But mental illness is real. Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Eating Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, PTSD, OCD, Schizophrenia…. These are all serious and painful conditions, and it is important to make more people aware of this.

By making games from personal stories, we hope to generate interest about mental health that would not otherwise be achieved by simply telling people to care about it. We believe that the games will be able to better communicate the issue to more people because it is visual, interactive, and the games will be shared by the people whose stories they contain.

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Please fund our campaign! https://igg.me/at/munireality/x/17690597

BIG List of Incubators, Accelerators and Funding Opportunities

Dev, Games

After talking to people from the industry and attending conferences and listening to inspiring talks, I sort of want to continue pursuing my pet projects but I also need to feed myself.

Anyway long story short, I want to give myself a few months to try to see if I can either secure funding or find some creative ways of feeding myself, hence, I have started this list.

This is a work-in-progress list, so if you have any to add or remove, corrections, questions or suggestions, please contact me here or via social media (@purplelilgirl).

 

For each of the programs, I will try to answer the following questions:

  • How much investment is provided (if applicable)?
  • What else do they provide (if applicable)?
  • How much equity is taken (if applicable)?
  • How long is the program (if applicable)?
  • Where is it based (if applicable)?
  • How much does it cost (if applicable)?

 

So without further ado…

BIG List of Incubators, Accelerators and Funding Opportunities

 

1. Game Founders

  • How much investment is provided? $25k per founding team (minimum of 3 people)
  • What else do they provide? Mentoring for your team to improve their business and game quality skills by over 60 top industry mentors, weekly pitch practice, playtesting, field trips to successful game studios and at the end of the program, demo days where you will get the chance to pitch to our global network of investors and publishers.
  • How much equity is taken? 9% stake of your company
  • How long is the program? 3 months
  • Where is it based? Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

2. Carbon Incubator

  • How much investment is provided? They provide 3 tiers: Tier 1- Incubation, Tier 2- Publishing and Tier 3- Funding, which may be eligible for up to $50k.
  • What else do they provide?The package can include: mentorship from industry veterans, development services, legal & accounting services, PR & marketing, sponsorships, publishing.
  • How much equity is taken? They do not ask for equity in your company. In exchange they’ll ask for 10-30% of the game’s net revenue, depending on the selected service tier, with funding/marketing investments being recouped first.
  • How long is the program? Throughout the entire project up to the game’s launch.
  • Where is it based? Bucharest

 

3. Core Labs Game Accelerator

  • What else do they provide? Weekly workshops, deliverables,  mentorship, valuable publisher/partner connections,  demo opportunities and more to prepare you for the challenging world of game development startups.
  • How much equity is taken? 5% revenue share of your game and optional 2% equity in company.
  • How long is the program? 6 months
  • Where is it based? online

 

4. Indie Fund

  • How much investment is provided? Flexible budget
  • How much equity is taken? Repayment – Once the game is released, you first pay back the investment and then share 25% of the revenue, until we double the initial investment, or until 2 years after the initial launch date, whichever comes first.

 

5. Pixelles Game Incubator

  • What else do they provide? Workshop series designed to help ten women (cis/trans) make their first game.
  • How long is the program? 6 weeks
  • Where is it based? Ubisoft Montreal’s Fun House, Canada

 

6. Dutch Game Garden

  • What else do they provide? A series of trainings that focus on business aspects of game development.
  • Where is it based? Utrecht, Breda and Twente in The Netherlands.

 

7. The Family

  • How much investment is provided? Over €500K in exclusive deals. This includes the largest deal with Amazon Web Services in Europe (€100K) as well as deals with IBM, Facebook, Paypal and Github.
  • What else do they provide? Educate entrepreneurs, build an infrastructure to empower them and build a privileged access to smart investors.
  • Where is it based? Paris, London and Berlin.

 

8. Disney Accelerator

  • What else do they provide? Investment capital, access to co-working space at Disney’s creative campus and mentor support and guidance from top Disney executives, entrepreneurs, investors and other notable business leaders from the entertainment and technology communities.
  • How long is the program? 3 months
  • Where is it based? LA, US

 

9. Startup Sauna

  • How much investment is provided?  Teams can select from a grant of 1000€ or free accommodation during the program.
  • What else do they provide? Accelerator program with themes including finding focus, understanding your customers, finding the right product-market fit and go-to-market strategy, HR/team, legal and fundraising, to name a few.
  • How long is the program? 7 weeks
  • Where is it based? Helsinki, Finland

 

10. Eurostars

  • How much investment is provided? Eurostars adopts a decentralised funding procedure. (for more details, please check their website)
  • How long is the program? 36 months or less

 

11. Transfuzer

  • How much investment is provided? £5k
  • How long is the program? Summer
  • Where is it based? UK

 

12. UK Games Fund

  • How much investment is provided? £25k
  • Where is it based? UK

 

13. Creative England – Greenshoots

  • How much investment is provided? Investments of between £50,000 and £200,000. £1 for £1 of private match funding to any investment received.
  • What else do they provide? Enrolment to the ID@Xbox Programme for Xbox One Development Kits. Access to Windows 10 devices for testing purposes (Subject to availability and at the sole discretion of Microsoft). Bespoke technical guidance and support directly from Microsoft. Though the Bizspark Microsoft programme all companies selected for the Greenshoots programme will receive select Microsoft tools and services for free. Dedicated marketing support from the team at Xbox. 
  • How long is the program? 18 months
  • Where is it based? UK

 

14. Creative England – Gameslab Leeds

  • How much investment is provided? £1000-£5000
  • What else do they provide? A series of group masterclasses.
  • Where is it based? Leeds, UK

 

15. Designer Fund

  • How much investment is provided? $100k-$1mm
  • What else do they provide? Build and educate design teams through Bridge. Bridge is a professional development program that connects experienced designers with top startups and their community in SF.
  • Where is it based? San Francisco, US

 

16. Avanto Accelerator

  • What else do they provide? Workshops, mentoring and work space.
  • How long is the program? 8 weeks
  • Where is it based? Oulu, Finland

 

17. Yangler

  • How much investment is provided? $50k–$200k
  • What else do they provide? This interactive and hands-on program for ambitious entrepreneurs is designed to help you discover $1B insights and build businesses around them.
  • How much equity is taken? 7–10%
  • How long is the program? 16 weeks
  • Where is it based? online
  • How much does it cost? $99/month

 

18. London Venture Partners

  • How much investment is provided? Initial investments in pre-seed and seed rounds only.

 

19. TechStars

  • How much investment is provided? $100,000 convertible note
  • What else do they provide? Techstars resources for life, mentorship, connections to the Techstars Network of over 5,000 founders, alumni and mentors globally, 400 perks worth over $1M, office space for 3 months, etc.
  • How much equity is taken? $20,000 in exchange for 6% common stock.
  • How long is the program? 90 days
  • Where is it based? Multiple locations all over the world (for more details, please check their website)

 

20. Y Combinator

  • How much investment is provided? $120k
  • What else do they provide? Work intensively to get the company into the best shape possible.
  • How much equity is taken? 7%
  • How long is the program? 3 months
  • Where is it based? Bay Area, US

 

21. 2Tons

  • What else do they provide? Full access to the gram team’s expertise, knowledge, and resources – from solving technical problems, to the incorporation process, to game marketing, to promotion and advertisement support.

 

22. NYU Game Center Incubator

  • How much investment is provided? Each core team member will be provided a living wage over the course of the program, subject to their full-time work at the Incubator and continued satisfaction of Incubator milestones.
  • What else do they provide? Developers are provided a structure to address the marketing, legal, financial, and other business challenges of launching a successful commercial game.
  • How long is the program? 3 months
  • Where is it based? New York, US

 

23. Minc Game

  • What else do they provide? Mentoring from world experts in game development and other relevant fields, office space, access to our global network of mentors and investors, and matchmaking when necessary, etc.
  • How long is the program? 12 months
  • Where is it based? Malmo, Sweden

 

24. Incuvation Games

  • How much investment is provided? Investment of up to $5,000 cash, although not always and could be higher.
  • What else do they provide? Access to experienced management from AAA game producers, a custom website, forums, and social media presence, Free pre-release, and launch marketing services, plus press releases, etc.
  • How much equity is taken? A negotiated revenue share and profit split if game generates positive revenue commercially. (for more details, please check their website)
  • Where is it based? LA, US

 

25. Roblox

  • What else do they provide? Helpful advice and mentorship as they embark on their professional video game development careers.
  • How long is the program? 5 months for the Incubator and 3 months for the Accelerator
  • Where is it based? San Mateo, California, US

 

26. Creative Europe Game Development Fund

  • How much investment is provided? The total grant awarded to each project can range from €10,000 to €150,000 and must be 50% match funded for the
    concept and project development narrative-led video games. (for more details, please check their website)
  • How long is the program? The production phase of the submitted project must not be scheduled to occur within 8 months from the date of application.
  • Where is it based? Europe

 

27. Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Fund

  • How much investment is provided (if applicable)? £5,000 up to £3 million
  • How long is the program? Up to 5 years
  • Where is it based? UK, Republic of Ireland, some low- and middle-income countries

 

28. Global Top Round

  • How much investment is provided? Up to $100k
  • What else do they provide? Development, Publishing and Launch Support
  • How much equity is taken? 5-10% Equity and 10% Net Revenue Share
  • How long is the program (if applicable)? 9 Months Game Development and Launch Support

 

29. Mass Challenge

  • How much investment is provided? Startups do not receive any upfront funding. 10-20 startups at the end of the program share $1 million in cash awards at the MassChallenge Awards Ceremony.
  • What else do they provide? World-class mentorship and training, free office space, access to funding, media and more.
  • How long is the program (if applicable)? 4 Months
  • Where is it based? The Boston, Lausanne, and Jerusalem Accelerator programs run from June to October, while the London and Mexico City programs will run from August to December.

 

30. UNICEF Innovation Fund

  • How much investment is provided?  $50-90,000
  • What else do they provide? Access to the UNICEF Innovation Ventures team, which provides technical assistance in emerging technology areas. The UNICEF Venture Fund taps into a network of mentors and advisers who can help you develop your business model and strategy. 
  • Where is it based? UNICEF’s programme countries

 

31. Sirius Programme

  • How much investment is provided? A total package of approximately £55,000 of investment and support. Approximately £35,000 in seed funding to develop your business, from business angels and professional investors. 
  • What else do they provide? Support in obtaining a UK visa for members of the founding team that require one. Services with a market value of approximately £20,0000 including incubation in one of 12 regional centres relevant to your business provided by E-Spark, Europe’s largest incubation provider.
  • How much equity is taken? 10% equity
  • How long is the program? 1 year with approximately 30 days of dedicated training for each Sirius cohort delivered in London by the Accelerator Network, the leading private sector supplier of accelerator training in the UK.
  • Where is it based (if applicable)? 12 regional centers

 

32. Ignite Accelerator

  • How much investment is provided (if applicable)?  £25,000
  • What else do they provide? Mentorship, accountability, peer-to-peer learning, investment and preparedness for follow-on investment.
  • How much equity is taken (if applicable)? 5% of ordinary share equity in your company and a further 1% ordinary share equity to a shared pool, The Founders Cooperative.
  • How long is the program? Minimum of 6 months.
  • Where is it based? UK

 

33. Digital Business Academy

  • What else do they provide? Rewards for completing courses with Digital Business Academy.
  • Where is it based? Online

 

34. Infinite Deviation

  • What else do they provide? Funding to support your game, project management guidance and regular check-ins from a dedicated Game Producer, and promotional support from Google Play.
  • How long is the program?  October 2017-May 2018
  • Where is it based? US

 

Also check out F6S for more Accelerators, Funds and Investors.
Soomla also wrote a post about Accelerators for Indie Game Developers back in 2015. Some mentioned may not be active anymore, but do check that out too.
Gov.uk also has a List of Approved Seed Competitions which supports applications for a Tier 1 visa for entry to the UK (which is more applicable to me than the rest of you).

 

Bonus: Co-working Spaces

 

1. Playhubs

  • What else do they provide? Mentorship, masterclasses, introductions to investors and by building a community of forward-thinking industry professionals.
  • Where is it based? Somerset House in London, UK
  • How much does it cost? £400 / month (for more details, please check their website)

 

2. Arch Creatives

  • Where is it based? Leamington Spa, UK
  • How much does it cost? £200 / month but also has flexible pricing (for more details, please check their website)

 

3. Indies Workshop Seattle

  • Where is it based? Seattle, US
  • How much does it cost? $350 / month (for more details, please check their website)

 

4. Stugan

  • Where is it based? Stockholm, Sweden
  • How long is the program? 2 months

 

 

To be continued…

 

Making a Game: Video Update 4

Classes, Dev, Games

In other news, I just handed in everything for my Masters degree and I turned 30.

I’m going to keep working on this game and I have this idea of developing a platform for people to share their stories and talk about their experiences with depression and then I’m going to spend some time making those stories into little puzzle vignettes.

One of the things that I struggle with is having to explain to people what it feels like and hoping that they’d gain a little understanding, but it’s difficult to describe, really. I hope with that added visual and audio element, as well as interaction, they can step into my shoes for a little while.

That’s it for now. I’m still editing the game to make it run on web, as well as start QA and major major bug fixing to have it available for people to actually play.

Making a Game: Making breakfast is harder than it looks

Classes, Dev, Games

Okay, personal issues aside, I have been making very slow progress with the Kitchen Level. Turns out (yah, like the title of this post suggests) it’s not as easy as I thought it would be (and I haven’t even gotten to coding the actual cooking bits yet!!).

I think because there are actually quite a few elements involved and puzzles inserted here and there to make your lives harder (as if life isn’t difficult enough).