Austin, TX Parents Guide 2019



I’m thrilled to welcome you to the 6th summer of Girls Make Games!

Can you believe it’s been 5 years? When we launched that first camp in 2014, all I really wanted to do was meet a handful girls who could help me understand how girls play and make games, so I could make better educational games for them.

Well, 5 years later I still haven’t made a game myself, but I’m proud to have helped nearly 6,000 girls worldwide make theirs. You wouldn’t think much of a summer camp, and I didn’t either. But 3 weeks being surrounded by love, encouragement, inspiration and validation can be incredibly powerful. This transformative experience goes so much farther than simply learning technical skills - when you’re confident in who you are and what you believe in, you’re unstoppable.

I hope your daughter/camper has the most amazing summer, and I can’t wait to meet her and play her game.

Thank you all for being with us as we continue along on this journey. For so many of you joining us for the first time this year, I invite you to view a short documentary outlining GMG’s mission and founding story.

Here’s to another #GirlPower summer of game making!

Laila Shabir
Founder and CEO, Girls Make Games

code i got this.jpg

P.S. I wanted to share a camp video Ubisoft created at the 2017 GMG San Francisco camp because it’s a great behind-the-scenes. See if you can count the number of times you hear the word “fun”, because, seriously, game making is so much fun! :)



//Venue & Dates


Headwaters School
809 Rio Grande, Austin, TX 78701


July 8-26, 2019 (Mon-Fri only)

Camp Hours:

10am - 4pm (early drop off 8:30a/late pick up 5:30p, sign up in Section 11 below)


Street parking available

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//Three Week Overview


//Week 1

Introduces participants to fundamentals of game development using a game engine (Stencyl or Unity). Each camper creates an individual game project. Campers break into teams of their choosing (3-4 campers per team), create a thorough game design document, and begin developing their game.

//Week 2

Teams function as indie game studios and work alongside their mentor (Camp Counselor). The goal of the second week is to have a fully playable demo demonstrating core game mechanics and game world.

//Week 3

Participants spend 2-3 days polishing their games which will be complete, playable, and presentation ready. Teams learn to ‘pitch’ their games on camera. Teams selected to present at Demo Day are notified at the end of camp!

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//Curriculum Topics

GMG classroom.JPG

In a span of 3 weeks, participants cover topics from:

1. Game Design

2. Game Programming

(Stencyl ‘block-code’ for Beginners, Unity3D (C# for Intermediate and Advanced)

3. Game Art –

—Creating, animating and importing art assets

4. Music and Audio Engineering –

—Creating, editing, and importing audio

5. Teamwork;

Collaborating with peers and professionals

Final Presentations Day! The last day of camp, families welcome to attend :)

Final Presentations Day! The last day of camp, families welcome to attend :)

6. Pitching and Presentation Skills

7. Other Highlights:

  • Field Trip, Industry Speakers

  • Special Presentations/Workshops offered by hosting Venue

  • Intro to VR, Game Engine Development

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//Daily Schedule

8:30 - 9:30am

//Early Drop off

9:30 - 10am

//Regular Drop off

10 - 10:30am

//Research – Play some new games!

10:30am - 12pm Lab/Instruction Time

//Learn new concepts, Work on team game

12 - 1pm

//Lunch and Activities (e.g. Industry Speaker, Play Outdoors)

Soaking in the summer sun after a lunch in the park!

Soaking in the summer sun after a lunch in the park!


1 - 2pm

//Lab/Instruction Time – Learn new concepts, Work on your game

2:30 - 3pm

//Physical Activity Break (grab some snacks and get some sun!)

3 - 3:45pm

//Lab/Instruction Time – Learn new concepts, Work on team game

3:45 - 4p

//Playtesting – Test, QA, Play each other’s games + give feedback

4 - 4:30p

//Regular Pick up

4:30 - 5:30p

//Late Pickup

*The schedule does not apply to: Field Trip Day, Final Presentations Day.
Information on Field Trips will be sent out a week in advance.

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//Demo Day & National Competition
(Saturday Aug 10th, 2019)

Our very most favorite day of the year!

The Top 5 teams from camps around the country fly out to the Bay Area and compete for the Grand Prize: getting their game Kickstarted and published by LearnDistrict (GMG’s parent company).

GMG covers travel and housing expenses for all finalists. Learn more about Demo Day here.

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Meet the 2018 Finalists here, and check out the winners from 2014-2017 below!

//Who’s Teaching?


Our staff comprises of independent game developers as well as students from some of the top Computer Science and Game Dev programs in the country like USC, MIT, DigiPen, and UT Austin.

Industry Guest Speakers share their expertise and journey to inspire young game devs. Past speakers include industry veterans such as Tim Schafer (creator of Psychonauts), Kellee Santiago (Journey, Flow), Pavni Diwanji (VP Engineering, Google)

Each camp is headed by a Camp Coordinator – your main point of contact for the duration of the summer camp, and 3-4 Camp Counselors. Camp Coordinators communicate with GMG HQ and handle day-to-day logistics, while Counselors lead instruction and mentorship at camp.

>> You will hear directly from your Camp Coordinator the week before camp starts.

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//Camp Lunch

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Daily Menu *

Sammich Monday: Variety of Deli Sandwiches, Subs

Taco Tuesday: Tacos, Burritos, Quesadillas, Fajitas

Pasta Wednesday: Lasagna, Meatball, Alfredo

Chow-Mein Thursday: Variety of Asian dishes

Pizza Friday: Variety of Pizza

Campers have the choice of bringing their own lunch everyday, or purchasing through GMG for $10/day ($5 if you’re on need-based financial aid).

Healthy snacks like fruit, veggie chips, and granola bars provided throughout the day at no cost.

To sign up, please complete the Release/Consent form.

*Menu may vary based on location, all families will be notified in advance. We’ll provide a full refund if you choose to opt due to changes.

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//Field Trips!

We have an amazing field trip scheduled for the Austin cohort to: EA BioWare, developers of best selling titles like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect!

Field trips are a great way for camp participants to see game development in action and meet with inspiring role models working in the industry.

Dates and details TBA – your Camp Coordinator will provide final details a week prior to the trip.

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//Laptops & Specifications

GMG does not provide computers to participants, and students are required to bring in their own laptops. The upside is that the girls are then able to take their projects home and continue working on them without interruptions.

For participants without a computer, we’re happy to provide a loaner laptop at $5/day.

>>To request a loaner laptop, please fill out the Release/Consent form.

Recommended System Specs:

• Stencyl (beginners) :

• Unity3D (intermediate + advanced coders):

Please be sure to provide administrator access or we may have to call you during camp for login information!

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We offer both early drop off and late pick up for just $5/day per service ($10/day total* for both). *$5/day total if you’re on need based financial aid

• Early Drop Off hours:

8:30am – 9:30am

• Late Pick Up hours:

4:30pm – 5:30pm

To sign up for these services, please complete the Consent/Release form linked here and in the next section.
*If you need earlier / later hours, please let us know and we’ll try our best to make accommodations.

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//Release/Consent Form

The form below cover all sorts of important information that will help us run a smooth camp.

Please be sure to be as thorough as you need. Include dietary restrictions, medical and emergency information, laptop loaner* request, photography release, t-shirt size* and so forth.


Deadline: Thursday, June 20

*Please note we are unable to fulfill laptop loaner and t-shirt size requests made after June 20.

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//Prep for Camp


Can’t wait for camp? We totally get it! :D

Here are a few things you can get started on before joining us:

• Brainstorm ideas and game genres:

One of the best parts about making games is researching and brainstorming what your game is going to be about. Make sure to take notes and bring them in at camp!

• Review Game Engines

Take a look at the game engines to see which one you’d like to use: Stencyl, Unity3D. Both have extensive tutorials and guides to walk you through, but we recommend our beginner tutorials if you’re a first dev. This is not a requirement and we’ll cover pretty much everything from scratch, so no worries if you don’t get to it!

• Play BlubBlub: Quest of the Blob!

Full Game (free):

Demo made @ camp (download)

The demo, built fully in Stencyl by the girls, gives you an idea of what you can do in just 3 weeks! :)

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//Summer Camp FAQs

What’s the best way to reach GMG?

Email, tweet us @GirlsMakeGames, or call our HQ (833) 464-7877 or (833) GMG-SUPP :)
Please note this number is only active for the duration of the camp, 8am-6pm EST, July 8-26 .
We’ll share your local camp staff information closer to date.

Can my daughter be on the same team as her friend?

Yes, of course! Camp staff conduct a survey before sorting teams so the girls have a chance to share who they’d like to be with.

Where can we see more pictures of what camp looks like?

Our Facebook page is a treasure trove :)

Can we miss a day(s)?

Generally that’s OK. Since the girls are working on a team project, it would come down to how they want to share the workload. Team Counselors may assign homework to make up for the lost time.

How do we keep the spirit of GMG going after camp?

We’ll be sending out activity lists and ideas to keep them going after summer ends :)

What is your refund policy?

We offer 100% refund through June 1st, 50% through June 15th, and none thereafter.

For more FAQs, please take a look at the Summer Camps section:

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//Contact GMG

Email: or fill out the contact form on the website.

Tel: (833) GMG-SUPP [(833) 464-7877]
Please note this number is only active for the duration of the camp, 8am-6pm EST, July 8-26


#girlsmakegames #gmg2019


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