#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · Computer Science · inspiration · K-12 Influencers · STEM · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Jenny Xu

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m a varsity athlete, artist, programmer, gamer and farmer and I also have my own game company, JCSoft Inc. A current junior at MIT, I’m exploring game design, programming, animation, and sound design while trying to figure out what exactly I want to do with my life. I thrill in injecting horror and laughter into the 2D immersive experiences I create, and as a result of too many late nights up and my never-ending curiosity, I’ve created 50+ games for web and mobile with 10 shipped titles on the mobile app stores. I’ve also completed internships at Electronic Arts, Sony PlayStation, and N3TWORK. In my free time you’ll find me thinking of new ways to scare players and trick them into playing what I make.

What # would define your life journey?

Favorite website / app:
Shift, Gmail, Deviantart, Slack, Evernote, Flash Animate, Photoshop

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Kate Edwards really inspires me because she was the head of the International Game Developers Association and was one of the first people in the industry that I ever talked to. She inspired me to continue to be a game developer and be confident in my abilities because I was never really sure that I could call myself a game designer when I had never received any formal game design education. She’s also a great person in general and came from a very unconventional path to the gaming industry (including studying cultural appropriation of games at Microsoft). 

Song that makes you want to dance:
BTS – Run

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
One time I almost haunted thousands of players. I had created a mobile game for iOS and Android, called Jumpscare Factory, and it was my highest downloaded game by far. I didn’t expect too much from the game, but I was surprised when over 10,000 players picked up the game in the first week. But what confused me more were the reviews complaining about a ‘purple man’ glitch. Though there were no real hauntings or ghosts, I felt a chill run down my back when I realized that I had a massive bug in a game already released to tens of thousands of users.

When I frantically opened up my project files, pouring my eyes over the code, I realized that the glitch was forcing players to manually uninstall and reinstall the game whenever they matched all the purple parts in the game. I was initially very scared, since it was my first time messing up in a game. But when I rolled out the new update, I was surprised to see that users weren’t mad about the loss of their old data, and were actually thanking me for fixing the glitch in the reviews. Although I wasn’t able to haunt my players from that day on, I was able to learn about how to implement safe coding habits to make sure that none of my data would get corrupted due to a single invalid value in the future.

Ideal Job:
Solo Game Developer!

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