Sunday, November 15, 2015

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 does the Game Jam start?

The event kicks off at 6:00 PM, Friday, November 20, 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, November 22. 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!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Our flagship events are Game Jams - weekend-long marathons where teams build games completely from scratch. There's no experience necessary, and you don't even have to be a club regular to participate! Members of Game Dev Club will gladly team up with anyone who doesn't come with a group. We also provide food for the entire length of the Game Jam, and take breaks where participants get ice cream, socialize, and talk to each other about their game projects. Game Jams tend to be pretty laid-back, and are great opportunities for students to gain real game development experience in a low-pressure environment.

Our first Game Jam of the 2018 spring semester is happening Friday, April 6, 2018! It starts at 6 PM that day, but we recommend that participants show up at 5:30 PM to form teams and socialize.

Some past Game Jam games can be found here:

More Coffee, Mr. President? (Windows only) The president needs coffee... but he also needs to run the country! Control the left side with WASD, and use the mouse to drink the coffee.

"Toast" and "Cookie Ninja" (Windows only)
These games won the last two Game Jams!
In "Toast: the Game," catch bread in your toaster slots and turn it into flaming toast (a weapon and a treat)! Use the arrow keys to move, Z to jump, Down to ground-pound (in the air), and X to shoot out your flaming toast.
In "Cookie Heist," clear the fields out of their cookies without being caught by the cookie farmers! The game explains the controls, but just to recap: arrow keys to move, and Z, Shift, and X to use power-ups.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015





This is a list of helpful software and media for anyone looking to make games! All of these have been used extensively by club members and officers.

Game Engines

Unity

One of the most feature-packed game engines out there, and it's completely free!* Unity is capable of building both 2D and 3D games, and has a powerful and polished user interface to get things done quickly. It uses C# as its programming language, which is like Java with some additional nice features, and has an incredibly large community 

*Until your game starts making thousands of dollars in revenue.

Love2D

The perfect game engine for learning game programming, Love2D is powered by incredibly simple and intuitive Lua scripting (if you've used Python... Lua is similar!). There's no interface to hold your hand here, but that also means Love2D projects are extremely lightweight and easy to collaborate on. Check out the wiki if you need help!


Phaser

Want to make browser games in JavaScript? In our opinion, there's no better way to do that than with Phaser. Phaser features a huge assortment of helpful tools and libraries, and runs extremely well on any HTML5-ready browser. We wouldn't recommend it if you're new to JavaScript, but if you've used it before this just might be your new favorite engine.

Ren'Py

Ren'Py isn't a general-purpose game engine like the previous ones. Instead, it's made for one genre and one genre only: visual novels! Ren'Py lets anyone try their hand at creating interactive stories, with no coding experience required! It's a popular choice with artists and writers who want to jump into the world of game development.

Asset Creation Software

Pixel Art: Piskel

Digital Painting: FireAlpaca

Sound Editing: Audacity

3D Modeling: Blender



Premade Assets


2D Art: OpenGameArt and Kenney.nl


3D Art: Unity Standard Assets and Textures.org


Music: Incompetech and dig.ccMixter


Sound Effects: Freesound.org and GameSounds.xyz


Websites to Follow

Extra Credits

Extra Credits is a web show that tries to bridge the gap between game developers and game fans with respect to the kinds of conversations that they're having about games. Not only do they frequently make thought-provoking videos that encourage you to look at games from a new perspective, but they're also a great resource for students who wish to eventually work in the games industry.


Game Maker's Toolkit

GMTK is a YouTube series that analyzes great games to find out what they can teach us about game design. If you're struggling to figure out how to make your games "fun", you could find a lot of great knowledge here!

Gamasutra

Gamasutra is one of the largest games industry news sites. It's targeted towards game developers, rather than game consumers, and the site features content that applies to any profession in the industry. You can find articles, opinion pieces, and guides written by prominent members of the industry. They also post great postmortems, which are retrospective articles that talk about the successes and failures of recently shipped games.

Great Books

The Art of Game Design

The Art of Game Design, by Jesse Schell, is definitely the best book on game design that you can find. It's written in a very honest and practical style that makes it a joy to read the whole way through. The book features 100 "lenses" that represent different design perspectives and questions to ask yourself when designing. This Book of Lenses is accompanied by a Deck of Lenses, which you can get as an app for Android or iOS, or as a physical deck of cards.




Challenges for Game Designers

While reading books is great, the vast majority of your design skills will be gained through experience. Challenges for Game Designers, by Brenda Brathwaite and Ian Schreiber, tries to teach you game design by providing hands-on, non-digital exercises that will let you give you a better feel of what it means to solve design problems and how to think like a designer.





Rules of Play

Rules of Play, by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman, is much a more academic and textbook-like approach to game design. Whether or not you'll find it useful or engaging really depends on your learning style. Despite that, it continues to be one of the most highly recommended and influential books on game design that you'll ever find.





A Theory of Fun

Like Rules of Play, Ralph Koster's Theory of Fun is another highly influential book in the field of game design. As the title suggests, it focuses on what exactly makes an interactive system fun, and it explores the fundamental reasons for why we like to play games.





Designing Virtual Worlds

Richard Bartle's Designing Virtual World is the definitive book on the subject of virtual world design. It's specifically about interactive virtual worlds, not fictional universes in general. This is a must read for any game designer.





Amazing Articles and Videos

Train (or How I Dumped Electricity and Learned to Love Design)

In this GDC 2010 talk, legendary game designer Brenda Brathwaite describes how she made a board game called Train and how the game was so emotionally powerful that it frequently brought players to tears. This talk also covers her personal history with game design and her desire to capture uncomfortable but powerful emotions through games. The video recording of this talk is one hour long, but it's an absolutely amazing talk.





John Cleese - A Lecture on Creativity

Monty Python comedian John Cleese gives a brilliant lecture about creativity. His main argument is that creativity is not a mysterious talent but rather a process that anyone can master. He talks about how play and persistence are crucial parts of any healthy creative process, and his advice is rooted in scientific research and practicality.





Randy Pausch's Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

You've probably heard of this before, but Randy Pausch's Last Lecture is one of the most entertaining and inspirational lectures that you'll ever watch. Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, and he co-founded CMU's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), which is probably the best school for game designers that you can find.





Interested in the club? Come to one of our meetings!

We meet at 5:30 PM every Monday in Gould-Simpson Room 856! Our meetings cover all kinds of topics: game design, art, music, and sound, the business of game startups, genre analysis, discussions about both little-known and popular games, and general career advice. There are also unofficial club dinners after the meetings - everyone's welcome!

Friday, April 10, 2015



Hi all, this week GameDev had two talks about the game Threes and almost 10 design tools you can use in 30 minutes. Along with that, there is talk about an end of the semester event, so stay tuned!

Announcements:

  • Mark from Kihon games will be speaking next Monday 
  • Potential Laser tag or sports/esports tournament/fun-time by the end of the smester 
  • Officer elections for the 2015-2016 are coming up soon. If you'd like to be an officer sign up here by Friday, April 17th. 

Cool-stuff:

  • Twinyjam
  • Make a text based game. 
  • It's over now, but look at all the cool creations 


Threes: the Mobile Masterpiece

by Jeremy

Threes is what you might call an adorable game. The goal of the game is simple, make the numbers bigger, and to do that all that is required is swiping in any direction. As you progress farther in the game you are given the ultimate reward: more and more cuteness. Graphic designers made this game, and that makes sense, because the game is mechanically simple, but the visuals kick in to make the player feel rewarded in a relaxing sort of way. This helps counteract the maddeningly addictive number mechancis of the game.

Threes emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the small details. When you swipe it's fluid and the feedback and transitions/animations are immediate and smooth. Due to the natural progression of numbers, advancing in the game explains itself. If you want to see the development process of the game it's been published online.



Ten Game Design Tools That You Can Use in 30 Minutes

by Zuoming

This is an unapollegitically, "click-baity" title that you would see on LifeHacker, but lets roll with it. Below is Rory's summary of each Game Design Tool. Though it's very note esque (since it's his meeting notes), I think it fits the list layout. Thanks Rory!

1) Initiative

When you enter a new game, you want to learn something, but it's a taxing experience. Would you play a new game everyday? No. It's exhausting. Learning can be daunting. A player comes in with some level of initiative with a willingness to learn how to play your game.

As the player learns to play the game, they will lose initiative until they do something cool that engages them. Eventually, they may just give up on playing the game.

Can your game get the player past their sinking initiative?

The beginning initiative is dependant on context and various factors.
  • Assigned in a class 
  • Friends play the game 
  • Cultural phenomenon 

2) Mechanics

No debate on what mechanics are. We'll go with base definition.
"Construct of rules that allow you to interact with the game."-Wikipedia. 

Different mechanics give different mileages. Trivial when said aloud. "How in the space of possible mechanics can I find the most mileage?"

3) Tutorial

Tuorials hurt initiative unless its hidden within the game. Or you can "bite the nail" and put it all in the beginning of the game, and make it short. 

4) Affordance

Affordance is used in various design disciplines. "How can you use things that already exist in real life to make your design better?" An example given in the archetypical book on design the Design of Everyday Things: doors designed to know whether or not a door should be pushed or pulled.


Example of Affordance

Extra Credits example: low resolution game with cash register, green rectangle, and grey circle? That low-resolution stuff is obviously money! Affordances make it easier to add more things to your game.

Example: a button that will increase upwards velocity with downward acceleration. That's jumping. Constant upwards velocity? Elevator? Think of good affordances to make things intuitive. Eventually, though, things will get too complicated, so you'll have to just teach it in.

Another example that Zuoming loves: Braid affordances Mario (affordances is now a verb, deal with it). Real-life is not a necessary source of affordance. Gets into the concepts of genres (not on the list).

5) Conveyance

Choose how to limit the players to do what you expect them to do. The beginning of Mario is a good example. The game conveys to the player that the player must go right. Conveyance can reduce the need for tutorials.

6) Inherent Challenge

Made the terminology up, don't look it up online. Something that already exists that adds interesting properties to the game (related to affordance). Example: local multiplayer. It's hard to break local multiplayer into something not fun. Deck building (aka probability).

Question: definition of inherent challenge? Free packages of affordance.

Another example: gravity.

7) Elegance

Extra Credits talks about depth-vs-complexity. Zuoming thinks of it in terms of amount of initiative/intuitiveness required vs variety of the game. Elegance is important beyond beauty, good for design, because when there are few rules you can really play around with them and really make it adaptable and change it.

Jumping mechanic is intuitive, but orbits are complicated.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Don't worry, you're not crazy. There are only 7 tools so far.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Hey everyone, just a few more days until our 2015 spring semester Game Jam! If you haven't already RSVP'd then you can sign up right here.

As for other announcments...

  • Our next Game Night is Firday, April 3rd.
  • Officer elections for the next academic year will be held soon. Look for an email.

Tonight we had two well-known members give talks. 

The first was an HTML5 talk by Rory. Some of the main points to walk away from his cherry blossom filled talk are:
  • HTML5 is accessible everywhere.
  • It's a great for prototyping; enabling you to dive straight into 2d development.
  • Rory enjoys writing in Vim.
  • Crafty - a JS game engine. Their site has some nifty code to get started with.
  • JSFiddle - a browser IDE for javascript.
  • Check out construct and impress (javascript frameworks) as well.
Rory helped walk us through all of this by making a brand new game involving a player controlled turquoise rectangle colliding with a big fat square, and all in just a few minutes! 



Our second speaker was Greyson giving a talk on his platform of expertise, Roblox. If you don't know what Roblox is then head on over to the Roblox site and check it out, To summarize briefly, it's an online platform to develop and sell/share games as well as play them (with 5 million people) in a very cubeoid setting.

The platform's functionality comes from the scripting language Lua. If you haven't heard of it before that's alright, but if you've ever even touched World of Warcraft, you'll have probably been in contact with it through the game's extensive, community-made UI addon library. It's also used in the popular Source game Gary's Mod.

Overall, developing in Roblox functions similarly to a toned down version of Unreal Engine or Unity without all the fancy-smancy graphical stuff. Without even knowing tons about coding you can hop right in and use the engine itself to prototype games. The best part of Roblox is probably the ability to publish a multiplayer game without writing a single line of raw networking code.

Greyson showed off Bed Simulator 2015 (I wonder if it's better than Rock Simulator), and how a game like it could be started through importing meshes and the models made by other members of the community.

Thanks for the talks guys!





Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring break is almost here, and I know we are all looking forward to a break from all of this school-stuff, but I wanted to remind everyone about our upcoming Game Jam. We will be hosting it on March 27th which is the weekend after we return from Spring Break. As usual, we will have free food for all participants during the weekend.

If you plan on attending (which you should be :P ) please RSVP here.

Last semester Cindy gave some tips on how to get the most out of a Game Jam, so I'll reiterate them here.

  1. Talk to people who have participated before and try to find a group with them. Think of it as if it were a 42 hours apprenticeship.
  2. Make sure you don't try and create Starcraft 2. Focus on a game with a small enough scope that you can get it working. Then you can add onto that if you have time.
  3. Eat the free food.
  4. Make sure to pace yourself. Don't try to stay up 42 hours programming because you'll start making terrible mistakes.

Hope to see you guys there!
                                                                                                                                                                   

As like last time you'll find more information below on the Game Jam written by our founder, Livio De La Cruz. ****The dates and contact information have been updated****


Once every semester, the GameDev Club holds an epic, multi-day, game-making marathon known as a game jam. During this event, students from all sorts of different backgrounds and majors come together to form teams and make an entire game in a single weekend. The game jam is definitely one of the most fun things you'll do all year, and it's a great excuse to broaden your skill set. Plus, there's free food all weekend.

Our next game jam will be on the weekend of April 4th, and this time the event will last for 42 hours so that you can have time on Sunday to get plenty of rest and catch up on any homework you might have.

  • Starts: Friday, Mar 27th at 5:00pm
  • Ends: Sunday, Mar 29th at 1:00pm
  • Location: Electrical and Computer Engineering building, room 105
  • As usual, it's a good idea to plan ahead so that you can minimize the amount of classwork that you'll have that weekend. For more information about the event, please read the rest of the post.

How does the Game Jam work?


Because the purpose of the game jam is to encourage students to improve and learn new skills, the game jam is open to anyone from any background and level of experience. For instance, the game jam is 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. Some examples of typical game jam themes are: evolution, color, artificial, etc.

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


Friday, Mar 27th, from 4:00pm to 5:00pm: many people will be transporting their computers, monitors, musical instruments, drawing tablets, etc., into the room. If you want to bring anything earlier, please contact Jonathan at jonwrightcs@email.arizona.edu

Friday, Mar 27th, from 5:00pm to 6:00pm: we're going to have a "social hour." During this time, participants will get a chance to eat 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.

Friday, Mar 27th, at 6:00pm: the theme is announced and everyone gets to work. This is when the 42-hour countdown begins, and then everyone's games will be due at 12:00pm on Sunday.

Sunday, Mar 29th from 12:00pm to 1:00pm: At this point, everyone's games will be due! We'll present everyone's games and then the community will vote on which game they think was the best. After this, everyone will be free to go home, unless they want to help us clean up. After cleaning up, many of us will be going to eat lunch together at some restaurant, so you're encouraged to join us!

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. Some participants, 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.

Important 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.
IF IT IS A UA HOME GAME DAY: park in Zone 1!!!! This parking lot is very close to ECE and it is free on the weekend regardless of a home game. If you are having trouble finding parking, please call the phone number above!

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. Having your entire team take breaks together can make for some great team-bonding moments since you typically spend that time 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 making games, 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.

Map

If you need a map, we have one!

Questions


If you have any more questions, please ask Patrick Wilkening pwilkeni@email.arizona.edu, Helen Jones helenjones@email.arizona.edu, or Gregory Ksionda ksiondag@email.arizona.edu.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015




EDIT: 

Our GameJam is not going to be until March 27th and due to schedule conflicts and the trip to GDC we will only be having one this semester. Sorry y'all. =(

Just a few more days until our 5th biannu... I guess that's not true anymore. It has been requested that we add another Game Jam to the schedule this semester, so gosh-darnit we're doing it! On January 30th we'll be hosting our 5th Game Jam (the first of two this semester). Hopefully classes won't have ramped up, so it'll be a "relaxing" weekend to put together a game.
Last semester Cindy gave some tips on how to get the most out of a Game Jam, so I'll reiterate them here.

  1. Talk to people who have participated before and try to find a group with them. Think of it as if it were a 42 hours apprenticeship.
  2. Make sure you don't try and create Starcraft 2. Focus on a game with a small enough scope that you can get it working. Then you can add onto that if you have time.
  3. Eat the free food.
  4. Make sure to pace yourself. Don't try to stay up 42 hours programming because you'll start making terrible mistakes.
                                                                                                                                                                    

As like last time you'll find more information below on the Game Jam written by our founder, Livio De La Cruz. ****The dates and contact information have been updated****


Once every semester, the GameDev Club holds an epic, multi-day, game-making marathon known as a game jam. During this event, students from all sorts of different backgrounds and majors come together to form teams and make an entire game in a single weekend. The game jam is definitely one of the most fun things you'll do all year, and it's a great excuse to broaden your skill set. Plus, there's free food all weekend.

Our next game jam will be on the weekend of April 4th, and this time the event will last for 42 hours so that you can have time on Sunday to get plenty of rest and catch up on any homework you might have.

  • Starts: Friday, Jan 30th at 5:00pm
  • Ends: Sunday, Feb 1st at 1:00pm
  • Location: Electrical and Computer Engineering building, room 105
  • As usual, it's a good idea to plan ahead so that you can minimize the amount of classwork that you'll have that weekend. For more information about the event, please read the rest of the post.

How does the Game Jam work?


Because the purpose of the game jam is to encourage students to improve and learn new skills, the game jam is open to anyone from any background and level of experience. For instance, the game jam is 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. Some examples of typical game jam themes are: evolution, color, artificial, etc.

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


Friday, Jan 30th, from 4:00pm to 5:00pm: many people will be transporting their computers, monitors, musical instruments, drawing tablets, etc., into the room. If you want to bring anything earlier, please contact Jonathan at jonwrightcs@email.arizona.edu

Friday, Jan 30th, from 5:00pm to 6:00pm: we're going to have a "social hour." During this time, participants will get a chance to eat 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.

Friday, Jan 30th, at 6:00pm: the theme is announced and everyone gets to work. This is when the 42-hour countdown begins, and then everyone's games will be due at 12:00pm on Sunday.

Sunday, Feb 1st from 12:00pm to 1:00pm: At this point, everyone's games will be due! We'll present everyone's games and then the community will vote on which game they think was the best. After this, everyone will be free to go home, unless they want to help us clean up. After cleaning up, many of us will be going to eat lunch together at some restaurant, so you're encouraged to join us!

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. Some participants, 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.

Important 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. Having your entire team take breaks together can make for some great team-bonding moments since you typically spend that time 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 making games, 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.


Questions


If you have any more questions, please ask Cindy at cindytrieu@email.arizona.edu