Engineering Queerness in the Game Development Pipeline

  • 2019-01-10
  • Game Studies

This essay provides an overview of the relevant discursive tensions that emerge as game developers negotiate the demands of game engine technologies, and encourages broader critical and creative consideration of the role of game engines in an industry otherwise understood mainly in terms of its published games.

This essay examines how the space for possibility, for radical queer sensibility, shrinks through the process of development, and considers the subtle compromises that are made in the selection and use of a game engine. Many indie developers, in the pursuit of efficiency, have no choice but to accept this limit, to tie their intellectual properties to the systematized writing associated with engines, and to see their works operate less queerly, less out of bounds. This analysis considers a range of different engines--more dominant, costly, high-powered tools and proprietary engines built by AAA studios, and alternative, entry level tools such as Twine and GameMaker.