Steven Taarland

Co-Founder of the Rainbow Jam, Steven helps to celebrate and promote LGBT+ themes in games.

BSc (Hons) Computer Game Applications Development, 2014

What does your current job involve?

I'm currently a Producer at Abstraction Games in the Netherlands.

The day-to-day of my role involves ensuring my team have everything they need to work to their greatest potential, along with planning for work in the future and making sure the team knows what's going on.

The other side of my role is working with clients. It's busy, but I enjoy it!

What is the Rainbow Jam?

Rainbow Game Jam is a 2-week game jam to celebrate and promote diverse creators and projects, and explore LGBT+ themes.

I think it's critically important for video games and developers to explore various themes, in the same way that TV, Music, and movies have been doing for years. Rainbow Jam gives an opportunity for people to explore their ideas and make something they want to put out in the world, whether that be a visual novel on discovering their sexuality or gender identity, or a Mario style platformer in which a male protagonist must find his prince in another castle. 

Don't be afraid of taking opportunities you may not feel qualified for, you never know what might come of it.
Steven Taarland | Abstraction Games | Producer

How do you think the game industry is doing right now when it comes to diversity?

I find the industry is becoming more aware of its diversity issues, but it's being slow to address this.

Developers are generally inclusive people. We're seeing more public figures in the industry who are LGBT+, women, people of colour and other minorities, which is incredibly exciting!  

Seeing trailers, such as The Last of Us 2 that featured a romantic moment between young lesbian protagonists is hugely inspiring and hopefully reflects a positive shift in the industry’s attitude. 

How important was your Abertay degree in helping get you to where you are now?

Studying at Abertay kick-started my career. I found a passion for making games and game jams. I met an incredible network of people who’ve helped me throughout my career. I gained skills that allowed me to get my foot in the door, and I've continued to grow since then.

What advice do you have for our current students?

Have fun - you’re going to work in video games, it should be enjoyable. Take care of yourself, burning yourself out isn't worth it. Connect with your lecturers and fellow students. You never know when in the future they could be useful - especially lecturers as chances are they know someone working at most games studios.

Don't be afraid of taking opportunities you may not feel qualified for, you never know what might come of it. 

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