Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2013 - 2014 Outreach Officer!

After barely falling short in the race for president Cindy's name once again appeared on the ballot. This time for outreach officer. Her competition was a self-taught and talented designer, William, who also wished to bring more variety to our club as well as more people. Both candidates have contributed much to the club already. Cindy has started crafting the club logo and William is working to spruce up our website. Thanks to both of them!

In the end Cindy received the majority and became the new Outreach Officer, but both were/are highly qualified.

Now that elections are over we can focus on getting some talks and projects going.

Virtual 1920s Harlem

After the elections, our special guest, Dr. Bryan Carter, from the Africana Studies Department pitched an idea to the club. His goal was to enlist some interested members in working on improving a 1920s virtual rendition of Harlem, New York.

The project has been in motion for years, but after expensive "cave" units his focus is on bringing Harlem to the desktop. The first manifestation of the game was built on second life and then on the open-source version, open sim. Now, developers at Unity are porting over the game into their engine which will may allow for an increase in the graphical capability if there are no other bottlenecks. 

He pictures a collaboration of the humanities and the sciences to create a historical world full of games to drive the interest of students. Hopefully incorporating a "game" atmosphere with a  foundation of history will lead students to roam the virtual world and discover things about the time period, however big or small.

After Dr. Carter departed some ideas were tossed around on how the virtual world should be molded. Not making it like Assassin's Creed was an easy consensus for the group to come to, but we did decide that would needed to be more immersive and come alive for the players. 

If you are interested in improving 1920s virtual harlem while getting some academic credit (summer availability also) and perhaps something to add to your portfolio then contact Dr. Bryan Carter. In addition, next semester he will be teaching a colloquium on education and mobile Apps, so look for that.


For information and a tour of the project visit his blog and twitter.
 - Visit his Twitter for a link to 13 minute video showcasing the environment.
 - Visit his blog to read about the development, create an avatar, download the client, and explore.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today we held officer elections! The debates took longer than expected, but they were also much more fun than expected. Dylan even skipped the class that he usually has in order to defend his vice-president position.

The first round of elections was Zuoming Shi (current Treasurer) vs. Cindy Trieu (non-officer), and they were fighting for the presidency. They were both very popular candidates with some great skills to offer. It was a very close race, but Zuoming won by only two votes!

The second battle was for the vice presidency: Dylan Clavell (current vice president) vs. Tyler Wallace (current outreach officer). This was a hard decision for most voters, because as with the race for the presidency, both candidates were very qualified and well-liked. However, Dylan ended up winning with a strong majority, perhaps because when people are undecided, they tend to vote for the incumbent.

There were a few automatic victories for those who ran for positions without facing any competition. Jonathan Wright (also known as Save Point, our current secretary), became the new club treasurer for next year, while Livio De La Cruz (our current president) became the new secretary. Patrick Wilkening remained the club's cinematographer, and Harvey Sam's position as game server admin got reduced to a pseudo-officer position since we don't have a game server anymore.

We were left with one vacancy, however: no one ran for the position of outreach officer. We decided to hold an election for this position during next week's meeting, and the current candidates are William Wilson (non-officer) and Cindy Trieu (non-officer). After she lost the race for presidency by such a small margin, so many people wanted Cindy to be an officer that we went out of our way to convince her to run for this position, which she would actually be a very good fit for, considering her art and graphic design experience. William, on the other hand, also has art experience, and he hopes to use his officer position as an opportunity to really help the club grow and to more effectively use all of its media outlets.

So to recap, here are all of the results:

President - Zuoming Shi
Vice President - Dylan Clavell
Treasurer - Jonathan Wright
Secretary - Livio De La Cruz
Cinematographer - Patrick Wilkening
Outreach Officer - Up for grabs

The officer positions that we voted on are for the next academic year, so the new terms won't start until the Fall semester. Until then, we'll be in a sort of transition period where the new officers can learn from the incumbents about how to perform their job.

Because we were expecting the elections to take much less time, Dylan hastily prepared a pretty interesting talk/discussion on silly games such as QWOP, Enviro-Bear, and Katamari Damacy. It started five minutes before the meeting ended, but it lasted for about 20 minutes. It was actually a really entertaining talk, and the fact that so many people stayed long after the meeting had ended was a sign of how good it was.

During next week's meeting, we'll finish our elections by voting on Outreach Officer, and for the remainder of the meeting, we're going to try out that "book club"-style game discussion idea that was brought up before Spring Break. The topic of the discussion will likely be Team Fortress 2, so if you haven't played the game yet, download it now (it's free!), play it over the weekend, and share your thoughts about it during the meeting. Meanwhile, we'll be doing our research on the game so that we can guide the discussion around interesting topics and hopefully make it more of an educational experience rather than an aimless discussion.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Elections are tomorrow and after hopefully a relaxing/exciting/adventurous Spring Break I thought it might be a good idea to refresh everyone's memory.

1. Club Elections!

For the elections tomorrow the voting procedure is quite simple; Anyone running for an office can only run for one office. This rule applies to current officers as well. The Game-server officer position is being turned into a pseudo-officer position and isn't part of these elections.

Also, remember to vote for me (Jonathan, A.K.A. "Save Point") for treasurer!

2. Future Meetings!

We had some discussions on what to do for future meetings since the last few have been mainly logistical because of the game jam and officer elections. There is a long list of talks that people want to do, and so hopefully we can get a schedule crafted as soon as people prepare their presentations. The talks range from 3D graphics and programming to "What is being Indie" and modding. The veteran members plan on sharing with us the legend of Project Sponge too.

3. Another Family Club

Our club is very programming based it seems, and so the idea has been tossed around to add a Digital Art extension to our club. Depending on the amount of interest it may break off and become it's own club, but regardless look towards more news on this during future meetings. In the meanwhile we are hoping to have more diverse talks about graphics, animation, sound, etc.

- Save Point

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The game jam was amazing! This post contains all/most of the pictures and videos that we took during the game jam. You can find a playlist of all the videos on the club's YouTube channel.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

This game was created during our recent game jam by the team called The Combines. Our team was composed of four people: Cindy Trieu, Lauren Anglin, Shien Hong, and Livio De La Cruz.

Since the theme of the game jam was "evolution", our game is about a little robot called Robot 3000X which evolves from a simple box of switches to a self-aware life form. Because everyone knows that self-aware computers are highly dangerous, this triggers the lab's automatic defense systems, so it's up to the player to help Robot 3000X make his great escape out of the lab. It's almost like an infinite-running game where you're constantly gaining new powers as you keep going.

This game was made using Stencyl, and while the levels were not procedurally generated, there are a lot of glitches in there that might make you think otherwise. I think the glitches made the game more fun, since it was almost as if the game itself had evolved to become self-aware.

Click here to download the game.

The download link includes both the original files that we had at the end of the game jam, and a fixed version of the game which was created a few days after the game jam had ended. The .swf files are the executables that you would run to play the game, while the .stencyl files can be imported into Stencyl if you want to see how exactly our game was made.

Overall, I loved working on this team. While we may have been too big for our own good, we also seemed to be having more fun than everyone else. We weren't afraid to goof off even as the clock kept ticking, and we left the game jam feeling like we had all become really good friends.

Monday, March 11, 2013

This was the winning game during the Spring 2013 Game Jam. I was made by Team Ctrl+F+U, which included Patrick Wilkening and William Wilson.

This game took the theme of "evolution" and twisted it into the idea of mutation. The premise of the game is that you are fighting viruses that are trying to mutate your DNA, and you defend yourself by shooting particles at the incoming viruses. It's part rhythm game in that shooting a particle also places a note, and the control scheme is reminiscent to a musical keyboard.

The game was programmed using XNA, and even though Will had to leave after the first night, they were still able to finish the game several hours early before the game jam ended.

Click here to download the game (Windows only).

The file includes an executable as well as a folder that contains some assets that the game needs to run properly.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Many of our members volunteered at this year's Festival of Books. The University of Arizona put together a large collection of tents called Science City on the east side of the festival, and both CS and SISTA had set up demonstrations and activities to help kids get more interested in studying computing.

This card-game videogame was made for the Spring 2013 Game Jam by the Spinning Ducks Team, which included Tyler Wallace, Youhao Wei, and Dilan Jenkins.

In this game you make monsters of various levels fight each other in an attempt to bring your opponent's health points down. The game was made using GameMaker.

Click here to download the game (Windows only).

The above link includes a file that will install the game to your computer.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

1. Club Elections!

Elections are just around the corner during the meeting after Spring Break. If you would like to run for one of the offices then email Livio. The officers are still working out the logistics of the event, but be prepared to vote!

2. Game Jam Winner!

The Game Jam has come and gone. For it being the first one hosted by the club it was quite successful! At the meeting we decided on the winner of the jam. Congratulations to "Cntrl + F + U" and their DNA defense themed space invader [ish] game. Unfortunately they didn't receive a prize, but hopefully next time that will be possible.

3. Game Server

As some people might know, the game server has been "dead" for quite a while now. We've gotten some requests to put up a server with half-life source/Gary's Mod, so that is now on the way!

4. "Juciness" in Games

We were shown a video showing the wide array of positive effects that "juciness" can bring to a video game. It really does up even the simplest of games to the next level.