Local Spotlight: Madison FemDev

Katherine Stull
04 / 11 / 18
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Contributing to the local Madison game community is important to us, both as a professional studio and as fellow game developers. One of our developers, Community Manager Katherine Stull, is taking these efforts after-hours with the creation of Madison FemDev.

Madison FemDev is a new group for female-identifying and non-binary game developers. Katherine was inspired to create the group after learning about Montreal’s Pixelles and Chicago’s Voxelles, which both focus on creating gender diversity in the games industry through mentorship programs, socials, and workshops. The Madison games community is growing quickly, and there are plenty of female game developers in the area. She thought that it seemed like a great opportunity to create a local group!

Human Head Studios Marketing Director Kat Shanahan and Community Manager Katherine Stull face off in a high-stakes game of Mario Kart.

While the gender balance in the games industry is improving, there are still fewer female developers – according to Girls Make Games, 47% of gamers are women but women make up less than 12% of the games industry. Madison FemDev hopes to provide local women with the resources and support they need to start making games. The group consists of monthly networking meetups where women can talk about games and share resources that can support their professional endeavors. Madison FemDev will host their first game jam this summer, where the developers will gather and create a short, playable game within 48 hours. As the group continues to grow, there will also be mentorship opportunities that pair game development students with female industry professionals.

While the Madison community remains at the forefront of the group’s mission, it’s important to them that they are also making efforts to support the international gaming community. This is accomplished in part through their monthly “Game Club” game. Much like a traditional book club, a female-developed game is selected by the group to be played on their own time and discussed at the following meeting. Previous selections include “Lost Wage Rampage,” a riot grrl game developed by Jane Friedhoff, and “Butterfly Soup,” a visual novel developed by Brianna Lei.


Madison FemDev’s Retro Arcade outing.

The group is credited in Tone Madison’s article as “building up” Madison’s game culture with its contributions towards diversity. FemDev member Syrenne McNulty agrees that there is a lot of value in female development communities. “On top of being able to be in a group full of awesome people who can relate based on age and gender, it’s just awesome to have a local community to belong to.”

Are you a woman living in the Madison area with an interest in making video games? You can follow Madison FemDev on Facebook or request to join their Slack channel (madisonfemdev.slack.com). No programming or game development experience is necessary.