Friday, April 28, 2017

This week, at our penultimate meeting of the semester, Jeremy hosted a discussion about elevator pitches.  How do you talk to someone about a game you're working on without coming across as a complete madman?

Imagine it: You're in an elevator, when suddenly Hideo Kojima gets in!  What is he doing here?  It doesn't matter!  Now you only have about a minute to get him to remember your game.  Oh no, his floor is coming up, and you can't quite communicate why your game is so exciting!  If only you'd rehearsed!

Suddenly, you realize... this isn't real!  You're back in 2017, and now you have time to come up with your pitch before that once-in-a-lifetime encounter.  Whew!

We also talked briefly about affordances in game design!  Affordances are an important concept in UX, especially so in something as complex as a video game.  There's no need to teach something which your design naturally affords!

The slides for both of these topics are here!  See you next week, at our last meeting of the semester!  There will be food!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

This week, club-renowned 3D artist Joseph Scheidemandel delivered his best advice for producing fluid, consistent 2D animation!  Stop being so good at so many things, Joseph!

His slides are here!  You may recognize Joseph's animations from this Spring's game-jam-winning Wulfric and Pip, the only game I know of with a 20-frame animation for throwing a box.

Also, art professor Joseph Farbrook gave us an overview of the classes being offered for 3D art next semester!  They're open to students outside of the art department, but only if you get his permission first, so be sure to let him know if you're interested!

Weekly Announcements

  • Our final game night is this Friday!  We'll be going all-out on this one, with more snacks than we've ever offered, Smash Brothers and Hearthstone tournaments and, of course, the usual smorgasboard of board games.
  • We finally have a Discord server!  This will be the best way to stay connected with other club members.  Share things you've made, ask for advice, or just talk!  Click here to join.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

This week, we had our annual officer elections to decide who should run the club next year!  The results will SHOCK you if you've never attended a meeting before.

Here are next year's officers!

President: Chris Klimowski
Vice President: Riley Driscoll
Treasurer: Dani Jaramillo
Outreach Officer: Vincente Figueroa
Secretary: Joseph Scheidemandel
GDC Planner: Joseph Corona

Look at this team, we're gonna do great!

Weekly Announcements

  • This Saturday at 2PM we're holding our semi-annual Twine Jam!  We looked briefly at Twine again this meeting, and played an extra-spoopy skeleton-themed game I made at last semester's event.  Join us this weekend to make a bizarre text adventure of our very own, no experience required!
  • Next Friday, the 21st, is our next (and final) game night of the semester!  We may or may not have a bit of a budget surplus, so we're planning on making this one extra special.  I don't want to get your hopes up too much, though.  We still didn't have that much money to begin with.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

At this week's meeting, instead of just having one talk, we went all-out with a veritable barrage of three talks about some of our favorite game mechanics!

First, Jeremy talked about Hearthstone again.  He's talked about Hearthstone before, right?  Yeah, I think we remember that one time.  But this time, it was specifically about how, being a digital card game instead of a physical one, the game is designed with its UI in mind, and I think that you'll find that what he opined should be underlined in any aspiring digital tabletop game designer's notebook.

Next, Miranda talked about Fire Emblem... again?  Well, no, it was actually Dani who talked about it last time.  And Miranda's talk was specifically about how the games handle permadeath, the closest that video games can come to physically taking your loved ones away from you.  What does permadeath add to a strategy game?  How does it change its dynamics?  Who is that one anime sword guy from Smash?  Fire Emblem answers all of these questions, and more.

Finally, I gave a talk about Invisible, Inc, a game that I haven't been able to shut up about in any "what have you been playing recently?" discussions since last summer.  I specifically talked about how the game lets players choose their own goals for each level, balancing the risk of failure with the potential reward of precious loot, and along the way got a bit distracted by the absurd floor plans of fictional dystopian corporations.

All of the slides can be found here!  We hope these details in games were as interesting to you as they are to us!

Weekly Announcements

  • We're holding officer elections for next year in one week!  If you're at all interested in becoming an officer next year, click here!
  • Next Saturday, April 15th is our semi-annual Twine Jam!  It only lasts a few hours, and always ends in laughter.  No experience required!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Last weekend was our latest game jam, an opportunity for anyone interested in game development to get into teams, hang out, eat good food, and spend the weekend putting together a complete game in just 42 hours!

This time, we collectively made 12 games!  You can find links to the ones we have access to below.  If your game isn't on the list, send us a link to it!

(in case it isn't obvious, the theme was ALIEN.)

Congratulations to everyone who participated, you made some amazing stuff!  Here are some photos:

Weekly Announcements
  • Our next Game Night is this Friday!  Come!  Hang out!  Play games!
  • If you're interested in becoming an officer next year, the interest form is now open!  Click here!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Last week, me, Joseph, and Kyle went on the club's annual trip to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco!  And at this week's meeting, we told you guys all about it.

You can find our presentation slides right here!  Believe me when I say that the trip was a great opportunity in addition to being enormous amounts of fun.  We hope that next year more people can go!

Also, in preparation for the game jam in two weeks, Jeremy gave a quick re-introduction to Piskel, our favorite pixel-art sprite editor, and Beepbox, our favorite chiptune music creator.  Both tools are free and web-based, so there's no reason not to give them a shot!

Have a great Spring Break, everyone!

Weekly Announcements
  • Our next Game Jam is coming up!  Join us on March 24-26 for our biggest event of the semester.  More information here!
  • We'll be holding officer elections for next year on April 10th!  More information coming soon...

Friday, March 3, 2017

You can get the basic info and sign up for the Game Jam 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.

When and where does the Game Jam start?

The event kicks off at 6:00 PM, Friday, March 24, in ECE 104 (Electrical and Computer Engineering, room 104) , but we encourage participants to come to the reception starting at 5:00, where they can socialize and form teams.

When does the Game Jam end?

The closing ceremony happens at 12:00 PM, Sunday, March 26. 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!

But I don't know how to build a game!

If you can make art, write code, compose music, or write a story, that's all the knowledge you need to participate! We'll be holding some workshops at the start to teach you how to use game development tools - it's way easier than you'd think.

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 sticking to no more than two people of any skillset (art, programming, music, etc.), 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!

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!