By Rachael Yeung @Rachael Yeung21
Katie Goode is the Creative Director of Cornish, award winning studio games studio, Triangular Pixels based in Cornwall UK. She is one of the key members of the UK VR community, and is at the forefront of virtual reality game design according to The Guardian.
Having worked in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for the past four years, Katie has been described as a VR ‘pioneer’ by pushing the technology forward to what it’s really capable of.
She is determined to give every player a fun and, most importantly, comfortable, VR experience – sharing what she, and Triangular Pixels, has learned among developers all around the world.
"Don’t be afraid of people's opinions of you. Shout as loud, as ‘stubborn’, strong willed as you need to be, and don’t be afraid to be competitive."
What does your role as Creative Director of Triangular Pixels?
Triangular Pixels started in 2014, but I have only gone full time during the summer of 2015. The name has been around much longer though as my husband, John, had the URL for his personal blog and projects for years. When it came to coming up with a company name, we thought it was a nice fit.
As creative director of our business, I’m having to guide our games to being a fun and awesome experience - as well as running the business. I also have to get into engine to make assets and levels, and design gameplay. There’s also looking at future opportunities for us, potential funding, and marking our work.
Has your degree in Physics and Space Research helped in any way? Do you tend to use a lot of physics/maths/coding skills?
The logic and analytical skills I picked up during my degree have really helped with my career. I also see making a game like creating an experiment, and my testing skills come in useful for debugging and play testing.
And then of course, learning the basics of programming during my degree helps me to understand our codebase and write small snippets of code myself.
Who are the members in your team?
There’s myself (Creative Director) and John (Technical Director) that are full time. We have an art contractor, Ben, and are just hiring another programmer contractor. We have just brought on Louise as our intern Producer, who is also using her skills to help us on the business side.
Why is #WomenInTech movement important to you?
It comes down to wanting younger women and girls to realise that technology careers are perfectly valid paths for them, and that they will fit right into an healthy culture. So the Women in Tech movement not only helps show them that women can be in these careers too, but also helps improve the environment that all women are working in.
I also would love a time when I can go to a games or a VR event, and not to feel like the odd one out, due to my gender.
What was the biggest obstacle in running Triangular Pixels?
We’ve yet to have any women programmers apply for a position!
As for the business side, we had to work really hard to find any funding for VR titles here in the UK. For a long time we were running off savings. This was because UK and EU publishers and investors want to see a VR market before risking any money on a VR title - which was hard when no devices were actually for sale!
But life should be getting easier now for VR developers, as there is a growing market with games generating income.
What are the challenges of being a female entrepreneur in VR?
Being part of the UKVR scene has meant that we’re all having to shout much louder than our US counterparts, as we’re having to show off our talents without marketing teams or funding.
But as for difficulties I face as a women, it entirely depends on where I’m working in the world. I do talks everywhere, but the only place I’ve been where I’ve felt judged for being female was in the USA. People were assuming I didn’t make the title I was showing, asking where the developers were, assuming I was a booth babe. Even when I was talking with some developers, they didn’t seem to take interest in what I had to say. It was a very different environment which I don’t enjoy being within.
We see that you have won many awards and honours, what are your biggest achievements so far?
So the biggest has to be the Develop award we won for best ‘New Studio’. I’ve always regarded the Develop awards very highly, and often hang out in the bar with the people that have attended the ceremony. So for once to be on the receiving end, and have a physical award with our company name on was mind blowing.
However, I think our greatest achievement is to be paying ourselves a salary out of our own business. It’s incredibly hard to get to that point, and live changing when you do. With that, we are able to stay living by our beach, in an area of the world we really love, while still being able to afford rent, food and the occasional camping holiday.
What projects are you currently working on at Triangular Pixels?
We launched our small event game, Unseen Diplomacy, on the release of the HTC Vive back in April 2016, and we’re occasionally able to pop in and make a little more content for that. However our focus is on the title we’ve been working all this time on, Smash Hit Plunder.
What do you think will be the key trends in the VR industry in the next 5 years and where do you see it heading?
Only up we hope! But we’re being multiplayer and shared VR experiences being a really interesting future area of VR. I suspect in the next 5 years we’ll be having a growing VR Arcade scene too - we’re already seeing a lot of spaces requesting licenses.
Who are your 3 inspirational women in VR?
Augusta Butlin from Valve, and Timoni West from Unity, are my inspirational women. They may not have media attention, but they have and are doing a lot of work for the VR industry
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