Skin 6.0 - Wao Kanaka

Finished Game from the Skins 6.0 Workshop on Aboriginal Storytelling and Video Game Design, held at Hālau ‘Īnana in Honolulu, 2018.

Skins 6.0 – He Au Hou 2 was a three-week intensive workshop teaching young adults how to make video games from within a Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) cultural context. The workshop took place from 9 – 29 July 2018, at Hālau ‘Īnana in Honolulu, and is a collaboration between the Montreal-based Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF) and the Hawaii-based Kanaeokana.

“He Au Hou” means “a new world” in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language), and the workshop provided haumāna (student) support to envision sustainable new worlds for Hawaiian moʻolelo (stories) and values to populate and then gave them the skills necessary to bring them into being. In the final five days of the workshop, the participants created Wao Kanaka (“the realm of humans”), a Hawaiian-language game based on an original story and set in a universe filled with Hawaiian stories and traditions. Participants shared stories from their culture and learned everything from coding to graphics to voice acting.

Wao Kanaka is a first-person, exploration and puzzle game. The gameplay is based on Kānaka Maoli stories and knowledge, and focuses in particular on the central concept of aloha ‘aina (“love of the land”) as a guide for shaping both narrative and gameplay. The game is set in contemporary Hawai‘i, yet is directly linked to past and future Kānaka Maoli relationalities to Hawaiian lands and waters.

I took the role of lead programmer during this workshop, which involved teaching programming lessons, helping students with their code, making sure the game runs and engaging in post-production after the workshop in order to complete the game.

More information can be found on the workshop webpage:

Presented at
imagineNATIVE 2019, Toronto, ON, CAN ︎ Best Digital or Interactive Work

IndieCade, Santa Monica, CA, USA