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Brenda Romero

I am the Program Director for the UC Santa Cruz Master's in Games + Playable Media and the CEO and Co-Founder of Loot Drop, game studio focused on fun. I have been fortunate to make games my whole life.

Ravenwood Fair Named a Top Social Game of 2010 (Again)

January 13, 2011

A belated thanks to Inside Social Games for their nod to Ravenwood Fair. The new site’s top 10 listing includes us. Much appreciated!

Though many of the basics have been seen before, Ravenwood Fair feels original, and brings an interesting role-playing element to Facebook.

Ravenwood Fair Named a Top Social Game of 2010

December 28, 2010

Gamasutra has named Ravenwood Fair one of the top 5 social games of 2010. Thank you!

Built under the creative direction of industry notables Brenda Brathwaite (Wizardry) and John Romero (Doom, Quake), Ravenwood Fair has a completely different atmosphere from the sims you typically find on Facebook…

NES Belt Buckles

December 15, 2010

Yay! Just got pinged about these NES belt buckles and thought they would make a good addition to my previous posts on game belt buckles.


The Incredible Generosity of Programmers

December 14, 2010

I’m learning how to code in C, because as a designer of video games, my inability to code is something I constantly feel – as an artist of sorts, I spend my life asking people who can paint to put to canvas what I see in my head. It feels all very “once removed”. I love the pure creative act of coding, of seeing what I’ve hammered into a text window turn into something else, and I can’t wait to understand code like many of my friends do. It will take discipline and years, and that’s awesome and okay.

It’s during this process that I’ve become aware of the incredible generosity of programmers. I post my code to my Facebook wall, and within minutes, I have “likes” and comments from numerous coders, many of whom are badass and legendary in their own right. In this, there is no exaggeration. Some go back to the early 80’s, others are assembly language PS3 engine coders, and still others are currently coding something on games we all want to play. I get private messages from many asking if I need help. Others skype me to review my code live when a particularly tricky problem presents itself. Even the person teaching me coding is patient with what I am sure are Baby Coder 101 questions, and as he spends time explaining new functions to me, I think of what that mind could be coding instead. On Twitter, the feedback is 10x that of Facebook. Industry coders are so phenomenally supportive, egging me on (even if they are excited for the potential trainwreck that may occur when I hit pointers).

This whole exercise has given me a wonderful window into the coder community. I am humbled, humored and grateful that these coders spend even a minute looking at my rudimentary code, and their generosity makes me question my own as a game designer. Am I as willing to help the fledgling game designer as they are me?


For those interested, I am using this book – Learn C on the Mac (Learn Series). It has been phenomenally helpful, but doesn’t get you coding and practicing nearly as much as I wish it did. So, I am presently finished Ch 6 and working on exercise after exercise before moving on to Ch 7 (Pointers). My mentor gives me problems to see if I can solve them in code. My solutions are not optimal, of course, and I can only program with functions I know, so actual programmers will see better ways to do things, improve my syntax and formatting, etc. That will come with time for me. Right now, the focus is on solving problems with code.

Game Design is a Game

December 13, 2010

Now up on Inside Social Games, my new article Game Design Has Become a Game shares some reflections on what it’s like to be a game designer in this phenomenally competitive space where numbers are constantly and publicly updated. Have a look, and let me know what you think.

Great Books for Coders

December 8, 2010

If you’re not a coder, but love someone who is, these are books he or she will enjoy. I’ve recently picked all of these books up. Most can be purchased used for significant savings. The “Masterminds…” book is particularly good.

Ravenwood Fair’s Success Numbers

December 1, 2010

Lolapps CEO Arjun Sethi gave a talk today about the numbers for Ravenwood Fair.  Those of you interested or active in social game design may be interested in these slides.