Thursday, February 16, 2017

This week, after briefly showing off some of the games from the weekend's Valentine's Game event, we were joined by Enrique Ponce!  As a professional soundtrack composer, he talked about his experience creating music for video games: the tools, the process, and the business.

His presentation slides are here!  He also shared one of his scores here, an example work-for-hire agreement here, and an example composer agreement here.  Thanks, Enrique!

Weekly Announcements
  • We're hosting another Game Night, this Friday at 6pm!  There will be fun games, fun people, and maybe even fun snacks.
  • Saturday, February 25th at 1:30pm, we're doing a Mario Maker Jam A tiny competition where you'll have a few hours to make the best Mario level you can!
  • March 3rd will be our first fundraiser of the year!  In partnership with the Union's Game Room, it will be a game night with a $5 entry fee.  In addition to the usual board games, we'll have access to pool, ping pong, and maybe even a Nintendo Switch!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

This week, I talked a bit about how games work by walking through a simple project in my favorite beginner's game engine, Love2D!  This is something that I've given talks about before, but we think it's worth revisiting every once in a while.  Hopefully it was as helpful to you as it would have been to me a couple years ago!

Now, for those of you who weren't able to make it, there are unfortunately no slides I can give you this time, as it was all done in the form of a live demonstration.  But luckily, we have something even better than slides... friendship! I mean, links!

The engine I used, Love2D, can be downloaded here for free!

If you want to start learning it for yourself, try this tutorial, or jump into the Love2D wiki!

If you want to revisit what we made in the meeting, you can download that here!

Finally, the "finished" version of my Asteroids clone (including actual asteroids!  And multiple bullets!) can be downloaded right here!

Weekly Announcements

  • This Saturday at 1:30pm we're hosting a Valentine's Game Mini-Jam!  Come, hang out, and make the dating simulator of your (or someone else's) dreams.
  • Mark your calendars, because next Friday is the next Game Night!  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Like last semester, our second meeting of the year was a game design workshop!  Also like last semester, it was a ton of fun.  We split into teams and, with nothing but paper, dice, pennies, and meeples, had 30 minutes to create a game!

Due to time constraints, Jeremy wasn't able to talk as long as he would have liked about the game design process, but you can catch the slides yourself right here.

Weekly Announcements

  • This Saturday, February 4th, we're hosting a Unity Workshop from 2:00-4:00!  Meet in ECE 104 if you're interested.
  • The following Saturday, February 11th will be a special Valentine's Game Mini-Jam!  Have you ever wanted to make a dating sim?  There's literally no better time!  It'll last from 1:30-5:30.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Hi everyone!  

If you're new to the club, welcome!  If you're a returning member, welcome back!  Either way, we've got a semester chock full of talks, workshops, game jams, and game nights ready to unleash upon you like a pack of rabid dogs.  I mean, rabid puppies.  I mean, regular puppies.

The first puppy of the semester was our usual icebreaker meeting!  We talked about the games we've been playing, the projects we worked on over break, and our personal goals for the semester.  We saw a lot of new faces this meeting, and can't wait to see them (and the bodies attached to them) again soon!

Weekly Announcements

  • This upcoming Friday is our first game night of the semester!  Come play games with us in the usual room starting at 6pm on Friday.
  • The Saturday after that, on February 4th, we're hosting a Unity workshop!  Come learn the world's most popular game engine, no previous game dev experience necessary!

Monday, December 5, 2016

This week, we talked about bad games.  And when I say bad games, I mean good games, that are also bad.  They're good not in spite of being bad, but because they're bad.  They're so bad, they're good, but they're still bad, but that's what makes them good.  Got it?

Here, I'll just link you to the slides from Miranda and Vincente's enlightening talk on the psychology of bad games, and you can see for yourself.

But that's not all!  This week, we also had a talk from our officer intern Dani Jaramillo!  She talked about Fire Emblem: Awakening, and how it became the most popular Fire Emblem game of all time, saving the series from cancellation.  The slides are here!

Finally, a few important announcements:
  • It's not too late to sign up to go to GDC with us!  Just talk with our GDC trip planner, Joseph Corona.
  • We're having one last game night this semester on Friday, December 2nd!
  • In two weeks, on our last meeting of the semester, we'll be having a gift exchange!  Just bring a wrapped gift (under $15 please!) to participate.
See you next week!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hi everyone!  Thanks for coming to this week's meeting to listen to my snobbish opinions about controls in mobile games.

In all seriousness, the meeting really was a lot of fun, with plenty of back-and-forth discussion and scribbling on the whiteboard as we tried to reach a consensus on an extremely challenging aspect of design: controls.  Specifically, designing a touch-screen control scheme for genres that were clearly not created with those devices in mind.  It's a difficult problem, and one without a "right" solution most of the time, but we were able to put together some fairly robust interfaces and learn what not to do in the process.

If you missed it, the slides are here!  Sadly, you'll just have the imagine the 10-minute segments of brainstorming we did for each genre.

This week's important announcements:
  • If you're interested in going on our GDC trip and you haven't spoken with Joseph Corona yet, that is a thing that you should do!  Do that thing!
  • We're hosting a game night this Friday, November 18th!  Come to the usual room starting at 6pm for board games, video games, and an exclusive look at the pinnacle of human achievement now celebrating its 10th anniversary, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
See you next week!

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Fall 2016 Game Jam was our biggest yet, with over 50 participants creating 15 games in 42 hours!  Needless to say, it was an overwhelming success.

The theme this year was...  CLONE

Firstly, here are links to every game!  (If we missed one, please let us know!)
The winning game this year was Duplicate:Complicate.  Congratulations to the winners, and to everyone else!  Remember, you are all game developers now.  Pat yourselves on the back, you deserve it.

Secondly, due to an unprecedented number of musicians attending the Game Jam, we were able to put together... *drum roll* ...

Thanks to all of the artists who contributed their music!

Finally, here are some photos from the weekend:

Opening ceremonies!

(Yes, that's a rowing machine.)

That about wraps it up!  Thanks to everyone who attended this year, it was absolutely wild.  See you in the Spring!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

This week, Freddy Pang gave a talk about Live-Action Games: Playing them, designing them, and running them!

First, a quick primer: A Live-Action Game is a game played not with code on computers or cards on a table, but with people in real locations!  The most popular LAG (an ironic acronym since, contrary to popular belief, real life does not have any network latency) is Humans vs Zombies, a game which pits a team of well-equipped, intelligent humans against a larger team of more primitive, but no less intelligent zombies.

Freddy's talk was framed around the design process of a HvZ-style LAG.  Thanks, Freddy!  If you want to know more, the slides are here!

This week's important announcements:

  • If you're planning on going to GDC this year, we need your travel deposits!  Deliver $100 to Joseph Corona to make sure you can come.
  • We're now accepting applications for an officer intern!  Want to get more involved with the club, learn how it's run, and possibly move into an officer position next year?  Apply now!
  • Our next game night is next Friday, November 18th!  Come to the usual room starting at 6pm for board games, video games, or whatever other games you can think of!
See you next week!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Happy Halloween!  In this week's exceptionally well-timed meeting, we talked about horror games, and what design considerations go into building them.  We definitely didn't do anything else.  Nope, just had a normal talk, and...

...oh, right.  That.

So Jeremy may or may not have played a game called Sonic Dreams Collection, possibly the most disturbing of all Sonic fan-games (yes, it does have competition).  If you're feeling exceptionally brave, the collection is free to download here.  Just... don't tell anyone we sent you there.

Back to sanity.  In our main talk this week, Jeremy and I talked about the design of horror games, and what makes them different from normal games.  Near the end, I did a case study of sorts on Five Nights at Freddy's, one of the most beloved and be-hated horror games of all time.  Does it do horror well, despite relying mostly on jump scares?  Yes, actually!  Is it a good game overall?  Um... kind of?  I'll let you figure that one out.  Here are the slides!

Finally, here are this week's important announcements:

  • Deposits for GDC are due this week!  If you're planning on coming on our annual trip, email Joseph Corona at jdcorona96 (at) to arrange a $100 initial deposit.
  • Galatea Studios, a game development studio right here in Tucson, is looking for a graphic designer!  If that sounds like something you'd be interested in, be sure to apply!
See you next week!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Buckle up, because this week's meeting was jam-packed with not one, not two, not four, but three talks about GDC, Blender, and this weekend's Game Jam!  That's a veritable gauntlet of talks.  In fact, it might just be enough to justify a adding series of headers to break up this blog post.

Talk #1: GDC Trip Information

Thinking about going on the club's annual GDC trip?  Talk to Joseph Corona!  He's responsible for planning the trip this year, and this week he gave a talk about all about the conference, the trip, and the secret machinations he's been working on all semester.

For the full information, the slides are here.  For now, there are two important thing you need to know: 
  1. An initial $100 payment for all attendees will be required next month.  No pressure, but you should really be sure if you want to go by then.
  2. Applications for GDC Conference Associates are open!  This is the most affordable way to attend, so be sure to apply if you can!

Talk #2: Blender for Beginners

Another Joseph, Joseph Scheidemandel, gave a talk/demo for Blender, the world's most popular and most intimidating open-source 3D modeling program!  He demonstrated how to create a simple 3D model and import it into your Unity project in what felt like seconds, to the slack-jawed awe of his fellow members.  Seriously, watching him work was a sight to behold.  Thanks, Joseph!

He also recommended these Blender learning resources:

Talk #3: Surviving Your First Game Jam

Finally, Cynthia and I shared some tips for the upcoming Game Jam, our semi-annual event where you can purchase our world-famous video-game-inspired jams and jellies  make a game in a single weekend!  Oh, that's this weekend, by the way.  If you didn't know that, then either I haven't been doing my job, or you really haven't been paying attention.  Hope to see you all there!  You can find our slides here.

A few more important announcements:
  • Next Friday, October 21st will be a game night!  Bring games!  And friends!  Bring game friends!
  • The following Saturday, October 22nd will be a Sandbox!  Bring sand!  And boxes!  Actually, no, don't do that.
See you next week!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

You can get the basic info and sign up for the event right here!

What's a Game Jam?

You have one weekend to form a team and build a game! Game Jams are exciting and fun opportunities for students of all experience levels to engage in game development.

Do I need to come with lots of experience or a set team?

No to both! Even if you don't have any real game development experience, the Game Jam is the perfect place to get started and make your first game! As for teams, most participants show up without a team, meet people at the reception, and form a team right before the Game Jam starts.

When and where does the Game Jam start?

The event kicks off at 6:00 PM, Friday, October 14, in ECE 105 (Electrical and Computer Engineering, room 105) , but we encourage participants to come to the reception starting at 5:30, where they can socialize and form teams.

When does the Game Jam end?

The closing ceremony happens at 12:00 PM, Sunday, October 16. There, teams present their games to the judges and contestants, and we announce a winner!

Do I have to stay at the event for its duration?

Nope! Most teams do choose to stay at the event, but the only parts of the Game Jam that participants absolutely have to attend are the kickoff and the closing ceremony. On the other hand, the event runs continuously for its duration, so some teams choose to stay overnight!

What restrictions are placed on teams and their games?

We only ask that teams make new games, instead of working on existing projects. Reusing individual assets, such as existing art, code, or music, is fine. There is no restriction on team size, but we recommend having a team of 3 or 4 people, since larger teams can get unwieldy.

Wow, this is all really awesome! Where can I sign up?

We're glad you asked! You don't need to sign up in order to participate, but it helps us get a handle on attendance. The link for signups can be found right here!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Well that was fun.

Hi everyone! This week's meeting was a little experimental, a little weird, a little... dangerous. Okay, honestly the biggest danger was giving Jeremy finger cramps from typing so fast, but still, finger cramps are no joke, and can be a symptom of a variety of health issues stemming from a sedentary lifestyle. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, this:

Here's how it worked: We started with a basic Unity game, the very same one we created in the Unity workshop two Saturdays ago. Then we played out a mock design meeting, taking suggestions from members about features we want the game to have, and implementing them as rapid prototypes. While Jeremy furiously Unity'd changes into the game, I continued to take suggestions, all the while haphazardly assembling them into the bizarre hierarchical spaghetti graph you see on the whiteboard. Here's a closer look:

And so, what started as an abstract game about rolling a ball around to collect cubes became the heartwarming story of a mother duck trying to save her ducklings from falling off a cliff into a forest fire, while also being on fire herself. 10/10.

Just a couple important announcements this week:
  • This Saturday, October 8th from 1-5 PM is our first Sandbox! Come and do... whatever you want, pretty much. This is your time to work on any projects, games or otherwise, that you just can't find the time to get done.
  • The Game Jam is next Friday, October 14th! That's very soon, so clear your schedules and get hyped! A larger informational post about the event is forthcoming.
See you next week!