Game Jam: Ludum Dare – April 17-20th 2015

It’s 2015 and there is time for the Ludum Dare game jam!  (that’s a Klax reference)  If you’ve been to a jam in the past, it will be very similar.  Some Notes:

Your game does not need to be complex and you don’t need to spend every hour of the jam devoted to making the game.  Simple is better, and seeing friends and family is a good break to keep you fresh.  The goal is to finish, and the reward is having completed a game!  You can enter solo or as a team and parents, this is a great activity to do together with your kids.

We will meet Friday April 17th @7PM at the Technology Cooperative – The Ludum Dare officially kicks off at 9PM when the game theme is announced.  This will be a good time for any last minute questions on the jam, software, or process you have for making your game.

From Friday until Sunday work on your game.  We won’t be keeping the Techco open the whole weekend for the jam (and there is a group that uses the space Saturday mornings), and we won’t have a Game Lab Sunday, April 19th.

We’ll share and recap our entries at the following meetup, May 10th, 2015.

What you should do before the jam:

  • Read over the rules of the Ludum Dare and decide if you’ll be doing the “compo” or “jam” version.
  • Get your development system ready to go – figure out what software you’ll be using and make sure it’s ready to go.
    A list of common tools others have used in Ludum Dare is listed on the Tools page, and links from previous meetups can be found on our site.
  • Make an account on the Ludum Dare website
  • Make an account on Itch.io (optional, but great place to host your entry)
  • The week leading up to the Jam, check the Ludum Dare site daily to vote on topics
  • It’s common to live stream your game development – if you plan to do this then:
    • Setup a Twitch.tv account
    • Install Open Broadcaster Software – a free, open source app for live streaming
    • Test out Twitch and OBS (don’t wait to the jam to start learning about live streaming!)
  • It’s also common to make a timelapse video of your development, and there are some tools to help with this too.  Again, test this out on your system before the jam beings.

March 2015 Meetup Notes and Links

Important Reminder:  There will be no Open Game Lab this Sunday (March 15th) or Next Tuesday (March 17th).  We will resume the Open Game Labs starting Tuesday, March 24th.

Things Mentioned at the Meetup:

Thank again to Daniel Buchanan for speaking on and providing demos of the state of virtual reality in video games.  The slides from his presentation are below.

Virtual Reality is Reality – March 8th, 2015 Meetup

Reminders and Announcements:

Open Game Labs:   The group hosts an Open Game Lab every Tuesday 5:30PM – 8PM and on the 3rd Sunday of the month 2PM – 5PM.  These labs are unstructured time for anyone to come to the space, hang out and work on their game.  If you are just starting out this is also a great time to come ask questions!

Call for Topics – April’s Meetup is Open! If you’ve been to a meetup you know that the group is very informal and you do not need a well timed and polished presentation.  A presentation can simply be discussing a topic while showing a demo on a laptop.  If you are interested in presenting or have a request for a topic you would like to see covered please contact Michael at michael.neel@gmail.com

Next Game Jam:  The next Ludum Dare is scheduled for April 17th.  Now is the time to block out that weekend on your calendars to make sure you have the time set aside.  If you are curious what happened during a Ludum Dare and how to get ready, check out the post from December’s jam.

Facebook and Twitter: It’s been mentioned in the meetings but never sent out until now but the group has a facebook group.  The group is closed, so you’ll need request access and it make take a day or two to get approved.  If you don’t get approved in a few days, send me an email at the address above.  There is also a twitter list maintained by Levi.  For info on joining the twitter list, contact Levi @gatechgrad.

This Month’s Topic: Virtual Reality

Daniel Buchanan will be our speaker this month, discussing using Virtual Reality in games and how to make games using the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. He will discuss some of the unique challenges VR presents to game developers and how those challenges have been overcome in the past. Daniel will be working in Unity3D and will present development for games on the PC/Mac/Linux platform as well as the Android and iPhone mobile platform. Q&A will follow the presentation and he hopes that the discussion will make VR more attainable to the local game development scene.

About the Speaker: Daniel Buchanan is an AR/VR Experience Engineer at Agilibility. He has worked on web application development and mobile application development in the past, however his main focus lately is developing Augmented and Virtual Reality applications for the Oculus Rift and the Google Cardboard. Daniel believes that 2015 will be the year of Virtual Reality and that VR will fundamentally change the way people work and play. He started VARDNet.org, the Virtual and Augmented Reality Developers Network, which meets every fourth Tuesday at 6pm at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center in Market Square. Daniel works in Unity3D and C#, as well as in Illustrator and Photoshop to make assets and textures for his experiences. He has two games in the Android app store, Pocket Graveyard and Cardboard Graveyard. He just published his first game in the Oculus Share store this year.

Location and Time

The meetup will be held at the Technology Cooperative located at 13 Emory Place, Knoxville TN.  Parking is available in front of the Technology Cooperative.  We start at 2PM and open with some roundtable discussion and a Show ‘n Tell where everyone can show a bit of their in progress game, favorite tool, mechanic they love in another game, or anything they find helpful and want to share with the group.

February 2015 Meetup Notes and Links

News Items and Articles:

Special thanks to Junior Lego League team #377 for visiting and showing their project “Around the World Gamers”.  Best of luck in competition Saturday!

Marquis’ McGee was new to the group and is interested in working with developers to create music for their games.  You can contact Marquis’ by email at mmcgee10 utk edu and also check out some of his work at the ConceptArtMusic Youtbue Channel.

John Romero level design notes and slides:

Analytics Links:

Analytics and FPS Level Design – February 8th, 2015 Meetup

Reminders and Announcements:

Open Game Labs:   The group hosts an Open Game Lab every Tuesday 5:30PM – 8PM and on the 3rd Sunday of the month 2PM – 5PM.  These labs are unstructured time for anyone to come to the space, hang out and work on their game.  If you are just starting out this is also a great time to come ask questions!

Call for Topics:  We need speakers!  If you’ve been to a meetup you know that the group is very informal and you do not need a well timed and polished presentation.  A presentation can simply be discussing a topic while showing a demo on a laptop.  If you are interested in presenting or have a request for a topic you would like to see covered please contact Michael at michael.neel@gmail.com

Next Game Jam:  The next Ludum Dare is scheduled for April 17th.  Now is the time to block out that weekend on your calendars to make sure you have the time set aside.  If you are curious what happened during a Ludum Dare and how to get ready, check out the post from December’s jam.

Facebook and Twitter: It’s been mentioned in the meetings but never sent out until now but the group has a facebook group.  The group is closed, so you’ll need request access and it make take a day or two to get approved.  If you don’t get approved in a few days, send me an email at the address above.  There is also a twitter list maintained by Levi.  For info on joining the twitter list, contact Levi @gatechgrad.

This Month’s Topic: Analytics and FPS Level Design

This month Michael C. Neel will be speaking on tracking your players with analytics and sharing some design tips for levels in a first person shooter (these are two separate topics, not analytics for FPSs).

For the analytics portion we’ll cover two services for analytics, the established and popular Game Analytics (any engine) and the new Unity Analytics Beta (Unity only).  Michael has been collecting stats for a few of his games and will demonstrate how to use the data to find and fix weak spots in the game’s design.

In the second topic Michael will share tips learned from researching Doom and Quake level design.  Then Michael will share some methods for making a Quake style game in Unity using Blender as a level editor.  Yes, Michael is using Blender now proving old dogs can learn new tricks and programs with horrible user experience.

Location and Time

The meetup will be held at the Technology Cooperative located at 13 Emory Place, Knoxville TN.  Parking is available in front of the Technology Cooperative.  As always we will start at 2PM and open with a Show ‘n Tell where everyone can show a bit of their in progress game, favorite tool, mechanic they love in another game, or anything they find helpful and want to share with the group.

Art App Roundup – January 11th, 2015 Meetup

Welcome to 2015!  I hope everyone’s new year’s resolutions include ship a game! 

Quick Reminder – Open Game Labs:   The group hosts an Open Game Lab every Tuesday 5:30PM – 8PM and on the 3rd Sunday of the month 2PM – 5PM.  These labs are unstructured time for anyone to come to the space, hang out and work on their game.  If you are just starting out this is also a great time to come ask questions!

Also, congratulations are in order for Dylan who placed in the top 100 (#97) of Ludum Dare Compo entries!

Okay, details on the next meetup.  Last month we shared a bunch of different things in a series of micro talks, but these all had a “code” feel to them, so this month we are doing it again but with an art focus.  Currently we have two speakers lined up:

If there is an art application you would like to demonstrate, send me a email and we’ll get it added to the list.

The meetup will be held at the Technology Cooperative located at 13 Emory Place, Knoxville TN.  Parking is available in front of the Technology Cooperative.  As always we will start at 2PM and open with a Show ‘n Tell where everyone can show a bit of their in progress game, favorite tool, mechanic they love in another game, or anything they find helpful and want to share with the group.

December 2014 Meetup Links

News discussed at the start of the meetup:

Mike’s Idle Games Links:

AI Book Forrest referenced: Programming Game AI By Example

Levi’s Playmaker Links:

KGD Ludum Dare #31 Roundup

The past weekend was another Ludum Dare game jam, and once again several games were submitted by Knoxville Game Design members.  The theme this time was “Entire Game on One Screen” though many of us were hoping for ☃(not “snowman” but the unicode symbol for snowman was a possible theme).  I think you’ll see that many of us included some cold love for unicode Frosty…

Ice Fishing Derby by Dylan

Play the game here

Ice Fishing Derby is inspired by David Crane’s Fishing Derby for the Atari 2600 (where the entire game was played on one screen–there wasn’t even a title!) My goal was also to make a retro-style game.

This game is a bit more complicated, however. You’re ice fishing, so you have to cut holes in the ice, and you can use bait to attract fish.

Each fish is worth $1 to $3. In addition to being your score, you can use this to buy various types of bait. Each bait has different properties: some attract fish at greater distances, some keep fish interested longer, and some are less likely to be lost once you reel in a fish.

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TV World by Levi

Play the game here
Watch Time-lapse

Make your way through the nine channels of the TV World!
Collect remotes… shoot everything else!

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Snowman Simulator by Jacob

Play the game here

Jacob (age 11) has his interpretation of the theme presents: Snowman Simulator
play with: WSAD, arrows, mouse — secret stuff to click on and do. can you find multiplayer mode? Get the high score?

Made with GameMaker Studio and Tile Studio.

Dad helped with minor debugging, encouraging, and cleanup for submission. Jacob did 99% of the work.

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Click For Dragons! by Mike, Rachel, Hannah, and Cicelie

Play the game here
Watch Time-lapse

We decided to combine the fun of idle games like cookie clicker with the RPG setting of games like Dragon Age. It’s a game you can play while playing other games in Ludum Dare!

The development team was myself, my wife, and my two oldest daughters (we entered the game jam as a team). Even though this is a jam entry, everything in the game was made by us.

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Build A Snowman by Paul

Play the game here

I have to admit, the original idea was all based around the fact that the ‘uni-code snowman’ may have won, but the theme still allowed me to build this.

There are 8 boxes at the bottom of the screen, and falling from the left and right you have parts of a snowman, two snowballs, hat, coal and a carrot. The idea being you catch it, and drag it down to the box, as you do, a piece appears in the box, get all the pieces the snowman starts to dance, click it, you’ll get points.

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Winter Potpourri! – December 14th, 2014 Meetup

Our next meetup will be a combination of Ludum Dare recap and some micro-talks on gamedev.  Currently the Ludum Dare “Jam” is still happening and the list of KGD entries isn’t complete, but here are some of the games so far:

If you have a game not listed, please send an email to michael.neel@gmail.com to make sure it’s listed in the full roundup to be posted later in the week.

For micro-talks we currently have Levi talking about Playmaker and Mike covering initial impressions of Unity 4.6’s new GUI features.   More micro-talk topics are welcome!

The meetup will be held at the Technology Cooperative located at 13 Emory Place, Knoxville TN.  Parking is available in front of the Technology Cooperative.  As always we will start at 2PM and open with a Show ‘n Tell where everyone can show a bit of their in progress game, favorite tool, mechanic they love in another game, or anything they find helpful and want to share with the group.