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Monday, October 28, 2013


This week was pretty weird. We started off with a bunch of announcements about the upcoming game jam and a potential workshop that we're thinking of holding. We then spent a good amount of time talking about the talks that we're thinking of giving during the upcoming weeks. We listed all of our potential talk ideas on the board, and then we voted to see which talks had more interest around them.


Then starting at around 13:40, Josh started his talk about conveyance in game design. Conveyance usually refers to how well you can explain something to the player, and the term is usually used when talking about subtle, nonverbal ways to inform players. Josh actually decided to play an outdoor game for his talk, which involved us going outside for most of the meeting. This is why we only recorded the first 20 minutes of the meeting.

Friday, October 25, 2013

photo credit: gamedevhouse.com
The GameDev Club is holding its second game jam during the Veterans' Day weekend! We're hoping that having that Monday off will allow participants to still get homework done after the game jam is finished.
  • Starts: Friday, November 8th at 5:00pm
  • Ends: Sunday, November 10th at around 7:00pm
  • Location: Electrical and Computer Engineering building, room 105 (the IEEE room)
Please RSVP if you think you might come. This is a free event, and there will be free food all weekend!

What is a Game Jam?


A game jam is a super-fun, multi-disciplinary event where teams try to make a video game in only 48 hours. The main purpose of the event is to challenge yourself and gain new skills, so the event is open to everyone, regardless of skill level or experience. The game jam is also a great opportunity for artists and musicians to work on a game project and to see what it can be like to be part of a game development team.

In order to prevent people from starting their games early, every game has to be made around a theme, which is revealed at the start of the game jam. These themes are usually vague and open ended, so you'll have plenty of room to come up with something creative. For instance, the theme for our previous game jam was "evolution."

If you want to get a much better idea of what the game jam is like, click here to read about how our previous game jam went.

Schedule


On Friday, from 4:00pm to 5:00pm, many people will be transporting their computers, monitors, musical instruments, tablets, etc., into the room. If you want to bring anything earlier, please contact Livio at ldelac01@email.arizona.edu.

Then, from 5:00pm to 6:00pm, we're going to have a "social hour." During this time, participants will get a chance to eat some free dinner, talk to other participants, and most importantly, form teams. People also use this time to prepare their workspace so that they can work more closely with their team.

At 6:00pm, the theme is announced and everyone gets to work. This is when the 48-hour countdown begins, so everyone's games will be due on Sunday at 6:00pm.

Most people will go home during the first night so that they can get some sleep, and this is especially convenient for those who live on campus. Others, however, like to bring in sleeping bags and toothbrushes so that they can sleep in the room. We will have multiple officers on duty throughout the entire event so that we can keep an eye on everything and to make sure that nothing gets stolen or damaged.

On Sunday at 6:00pm, everyone will stop working, and everyone will get a chance to look at all of the games that have been made. We'll also start cleaning up and helping everyone get ready to go home. It's also likely that we might all decide to go out to some restaurant together for dinner (the food would not be free in this case).

Tips and Advice


Important: Please put the room's phone number into your phone contacts: (520) 626-7324. If you ever get locked out of the building during the event, you can then call this number and we will send someone to let you in. We will likely have poor cellphone reception throughout the event, since we will be in what is essentially the basement of the ECE building. This is why we insist that you call the room phone because that will be the most reliable. Also, the poor reception will eat away at your phone's battery, so you might want to bring your charger.

You should be able to get free parking in the parking lot next to the ECE building starting at 5:00pm on Friday. Parking on campus is usually free during the weekends, unless there's a big event such as a home football game.

Also, please plan to take a lot of breaks. It's not healthy to sit in front of a computer for more than a few hours at a time, so use this as an excuse to get up, go outside, and get some sun. One of the best things that we did during the last game jam was to have the entire team take breaks together, which made for some great team-bonding moments as we would just spend the break time goofing around and having fun.

And finally, don't get discouraged if you don't have a lot of experience! Usually half of our participants are new to game development, and the game jam is actually a great environment to learn how to build your first game. The constraints of the event will teach you how to focus on the most important parts of your game, and you'll get to more clearly see how your work gets translated into the final product.

Also, don't forget to RSVP!

Questions


If you have any more questions, please ask Zuoming at zuomingshi@email.arizona.edu.

Monday, October 21, 2013


This week, Dylan gave an hour-long talk about The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask. He talked about several other games as well, including FTL, Gone Home, and Shelter (which we played at the end of the meeting), but the underlying idea that tied the talk together was what Dylan called "takeaway," or your ability to take away something meaningful from your experience with a game.


It was a very engaging and interesting talk. If you ever wondered why some people love Majora's Mask so much (or why others find it so strange and nontraditional), this talk does a great job of explaining it, while still keeping it accessible to those who haven't played the game without too many spoilers.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


We started the meeting by announcing the new three-week competition, which starts today. We spent a good amount of time talking about the rules of the competition and how the submission process works.


Then at 7:15, Livio started his presentation about one of his old game projects, Orange U. Blue. This game was made for the club's previous three-week game competition, and the talk went over what went right and what went wrong with the project. It's a good example of what a small, first game project looks like.


Then at 27:00, Dylan started talking about SPY, which is an alternate reality game where you take on the role of a secret agent and you try to complete missions throughout your everyday life. It's intended to be played on college campuses, and much of the game is focused on trying to figure out who's a spy (who's playing the game) and who isn't. We learned about the game when we were contacted by the lead developer of the game, and you can play the game for free if you register on the game's website with your university email address.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


This Saturday, the GameDev Club will be holding a game design workshop. This will be a hands-on introduction to the field of game design, and you'll learn some great skills about how to apply good design perspectives to your game projects.

When: Saturday, October 19th, from 1pm to 3pm.
Where: Gould-Simpson building, room 942

Click here to RSVP!

This workshops assumes that you've had little to no exposure to the field of game design (or any design field), and most of our time will be spent on small design exercises that will try to teach you how to think like a game designer. If you're interested in a career as a game designer, or if you've ever wondered what the profession was like, then this workshop will help you see what kind of skills this job requires.

(You can also take what you've learned in this workshop to increase your chances of winning our Three-Week Game Competition.)

Don't forget to RSVP!

Monday, October 14, 2013


Today the GameDev Club is starting a competition! The challenge: try to make a game in just three weeks. And the theme for this competition is: Halloween.

This doesn't mean that your game has to be about Halloween; all it means is that your game has to tie to the Halloween in some way. For instance, you could make a game about candy, or maybe something about ghosts, or perhaps a game about Autumn. It's a pretty loose and open theme, as long as you can find a reasonable way to tie your game back to the theme.

There will be prizes for the winners, and we'll reveal what the prizes are once the competition has ended. Since the scope of the competition is so short, the main point of the competition is to just have fun trying to make a very small game, so try not to get too competitive!

So here are the rules of the competition:
  1. You may work in teams or you can work alone (teams of 2-3 recommended). Please fill out this form in order to register your team into the competition. You can enter the competition at any time before the final due date. If at some point you decide to change or add to your team mid-competition, just register again.
  2. You may make either a video game or a non-digital game, such as a board game, card game, or maybe even a sport?
  3. Final submissions are due on Monday, November 4th, 2013 at 11:59pm. We will post special instructions on how to submit your projects soon. Make sure you are on the gamedev club's mailing list in order to receive these updates.
  4. If you're making a non-digital game, then you need to submit your game to the officers by the club meeting on that Monday (so from 5:00pm to 6:00pm at ECE 105). If you can't make that time, then please contact the club officers to coordinate another time to drop off your game.
If you want to make your game for the club's OUYA console, you can click here to get started. The OUYA is an Android-based console, so you can develop for it using Java, and you can test it on your own computer. If you want to test it on the OUYA console, then please come to the IEEE room (room 105 of the Electrical and Computer Engineering building) and then ask for the IEEE officer in the room to take out the OUYA for you. If you have any questions about it, just ask a GameDev officer about it.

Good luck everyone!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

At last week's meeting, we spent most of the time talking about our past trips to the Game Developers Conference and why you should come with us to this year's GDC!


Tyler has been to GDC twice as a conference associate (CA), which allows people to volunteer their time to help run the conference and they get a a free trip to GDC in return. We encourage all of our members to apply to the CA program, because it's a pretty awesome program.


Then, starting at around 30:10 in the recording, Livio started a mini-talk about his trip to GDC two years ago, in which he learned that the Expo Pass probably isn't enough, which is why he's been saving his money up for a more expensive pass for this year.


And finally, starting at around 43:05, Greyson demoed his latest game. It's called "Laserbike Racing," and it's basically a recreation of Tron inside of the game Roblox.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Our video for this meeting was uploaded a little late because Patrick got sick and wasn't able to finish editing it in time.


Jordan started the meeting by talking about a Skyrim mod that he's been working on. Specifically he was asking for playtesters so that he could get a better idea for whether or not his mod is improving the leveling system in the way that he hopes it is.


Then, starting at around 5:02 in the recording, Cindy gave a talk about giving good constructive criticism. It was a very interactive talk with lots of fun examples, and you can see that the group was in fact getting better at giving useful feedback.


Finally, starting at 39:30, Patrick gave a talk about how centering your game design around a specific kind of experience can lead to really great games. He used Mark of the Ninja as an example of a game that does this exceptionally well, and we also talked a bit about stealth game design in general.


Friday, October 11, 2013

It's likely that this may have been our best game night yet. Here are some interesting facts:
  • There were around 37 people at our peak.
  • There were about a dozen of us who stayed after midnight, and we finally left at around 2am.
  • We ordered Jimmy Johns for food, which was the second time in our club's history when we ordered something other than pizza for food. It was expensive, but it was worth it!
  • When we ran out of food, we ended up ordering pizza anyway.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Once again, the GameDev Club is teaming up with the IEEE club to hold a game night! There will be food, and everyone is encouraged to bring their own games, snacks, TVs, computers, etc.
  • When: Friday, October 11th, starting at 5:30pm until midnight.
  • Where: Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) building, room 105 (map below)

Important Info

  1. Please RSVP using this form: http://bit.ly/IEEEGameNight.
  2. You can park for free in the parking lot by the ECE building (lot #3039) after 5:00pm.
  3. The doors for the building, as well as the elevator, close at around 6pm, so call the IEEE room at 520-626-7324 if you're locked out. It's best to add that number to your contacts, just in case.
  4. In order to get to the bottom floor of the ECE building, please only use the South stairwell door, which will be left open.
  5. While we've never had any incidents before, the clubs are not responsible for damaged, lost, or stolen valuables. It's generally good practice to label your things to make sure they don't get mixed up.
  6. In accordance to university policy, no alcohol, firearms, or weapons will be allowed.

University Map

Below is a map of where the ECE building is. To view the map in another window, click here.


View Larger Map

Questions

If you have any questions, send an email to Livio at ldelac01@email.arizona.edu.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013



The video for last week's meeting is finally up! Below is a summary of everything we did at the meeting:

1) OUYA Announcement


We started the meeting with an announcement about the club's newly purchased OUYA console. It was paid for by the computer science department, and it's a pretty awesome fit for club considering that it's so easy to develop for and considering that most members know Java.

2) Game Projects Updates


Next, starting at around 4:00 in the recording, we went around the room and talked about all of the game projects that are currently going on. We had around eight different projects that we went through.

3) Discussion about Storytelling in Games

At around 14:25, we kinda went on a really interesting tangent about the challenges of storytelling in games. We later continued the discussion on our Facebook group, where we basically just shared some awesome talks by Rhianna Pratchett, as well as Extra Credit's episode on how to construct a game narrative.

4) Career Advice Talk


And finally, starting at 21:20 in the recording, Livio gave a Career Advice Talk, which focused on helping people get jobs in the games industry. There was a lot of content covered in this talk, since it included both general and industry-specific advice.