Open Game Lab Hours

Starting with this Sunday – November 16th, 2014 – the Technology Cooperative will be open the third Sunday of the month from 2PM – 5PM for an “Open Game Lab”.  In addition to these Sundays, the Technology Cooperative will also be holding a weekly Open Game Lab every Tuesday night from 5:30 PM – 8PM.  Because these are on going events, please check the Technology Cooperative Program Calendar for any last minute cancellations or changes.

These labs will be 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 of other game designers.  There will be no presentations scheduled during the labs, those will continue to be held on the 2nd Sunday of the month at the regular meetup.

The Technology Cooperative does have a few older laptops and Raspberry Pis available for use running open source software that can be used.  These systems are not super fast and may limit the tools you can use in making a game.  If you have the means to bring your own system to work from it is highly recommended.

November 2014 Meetup Links

Some of the news and things discussed at the meetup:

Unity for Playstation Mobile Vita and TV notes:

“Ludum Dare” Game Jam – December 5th – 8th, 2014

Update: We will not be meeting up on Sunday December 7th.  Instead we will share our games the following Sunday (the 14th) at our regular monthly meetup.

We will again take part in the Ludum Dare game jam this December.  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 December 5th @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 will be using the space Saturday morning).

We will meet again Sunday December 7th @6PM at the Technology Cooperative – The Ludum Dare “compo” ends at 9PM on Sunday, and the “jam” at 9PM on Monday.  Your game must be submitted by then, so if you need to skip / come late to finish your game, by all means do.  The Ludum Dare servers are notorious for being overloaded in the last moments so do not wait too long to submit your game.  We’ll meetup to share our games, war stories of success and failure, and check out other entries.

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
  • 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.

Viva la Vita! – November 9th, 2014 Meetup

This month’s topic will be led by Michael C. Neel  and discuss using Unity with Sony’s Vita and PlayStation TV (aka Vita TV):

The Vita, Sony’s handled console, is often described as an also-ran to the Nintendo 3DS.  While the Vita’s estimated 10 Million units sold may not be enough for the number #1 slot, it is a large market and it is a market that is open to indie developers for free.  The recently launched PlayStation TV (aka Vita TV) extends the Vita platform reach with a $100 micro-console.

Is this session we will cover how to join the PlayStation Mobile Developer Program, setup retail (no devkits required) Vita and PlayStation TV consoles for testing, and how to use the free version of Unity for development.  The session will not go into game development in depth but we will cover Vita specific features experienced Unity developers need to be aware of.

Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee there will be no Coldplay references during this presentation

About the Speaker:

Michael C. Neel (aka @ViNull) is an active community leader who organizes the Knoxville Game Design group, co-founder and volunteer at the Technology Cooperative, a non-profit focused on technology access and education, and founder of CodeStock, a developer’s community conference in Knoxville TN.  Michael’s hobbies include writing about and creating videos of games and game design at GameMarx, and via FuncWorks, LLC. He is proud to be blessed with three amazing daughters and a wife who not only inflates and pops his ego as necessary, but works with him on his many, many projects.

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.

Getting Approved – October 12th, 2014

Our speaker will be Ryan Waller of local Knoxville indie studio Forthright Entertainment.  Ryan will be discussing their recent experiences working with Nintendo as an Indie, and advice for others looking for a platform holder’s approval.  Forthright Entertainment is a console and mobile game developer in in the heart of the Tennessee Technological Corridor with a goal of delivering innovative, fun and engaging games that enables players to just have fun.  You can check out and support their latest game Fake Colors on Steam Greenlight.

We also may have some special guests this month.  A group of 2nd grade students in the Lego League may come buy to ask some questions about game development.

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.

September 2014 Meetup Links

Thanks to Dylan Wolf for breaking down tabletop game mechanics and how these mechanics can be used in video games.

Some of the things mentioned at the meetup:

Shows playing tabletop games: Tabletop | Watch It Played

Some of the games mentioned (not all of these are done by the above shows, so I found the best video I could!):

A Tabletop Game Mechanics Primer – September 14, 2014

This month’s topic will be led by Dylan Wolf on his analysis of tabletop game mechanics:

What can a video game designer learn from tabletop games? This talk will discuss the overlap between analog and digital game mechanics. For those new to board gaming, I’ll cover some of the categories and genres of modern board and card games. I’ll also highlight particular games that are good examples of these genres or have interesting implementations of certain mechanics.

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.

PS. Last month was the Ludum Dare game jam and you can check out all the KGD entries here.

KGD Ludum Dare #30 Roundup

This past August was once again Ludum Dare game jam time, and several Knoxville game designers took part.  The theme was “Connected Worlds” and each developer or team had to use this theme some way in their game.  Here are the games submitted to the jam, plus another game completed by Ruth Ann who choose not to upload her game but showed it off Sunday night.

Revo by Devon, Elena, and Manuele

Play the game here

This was originally going to be an iOS game that played out over simulated text messages.. Since none of the team knew iOS development, that turned out to be unrealistic. Then, we were hoping to make a “graphical” text adventure, but we’re still getting the graphics together. We may make a more fleshed-out version in Twine after the jam. For now, the text-only version will have to suffice, but the screenshot shows a tease of the style of the graphical version.

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Planetary Escape by Paul

Play the game here

I Found it really hard to think of something to link with the theme.. This is the best I could come up with :)

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Parallel Puzzles by Dylan

Play the game here

A match-3 game with two connected boards.

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Dots by Mike

Play the game here

Puzzle game of “connect the dots”. There are 12 levels in this version.

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Dream World by Levi

Play the game here

Adventure through the connected dream worlds to find the clarity of your true reality.

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Postmortems and Other Things

Several members wrote about the jam and made time-lapse videos of the process:

August Meetup Links 2014

A big thanks to Zack Parrish for visiting the group and sharing his experiences creating music for video games.  You can check out Zack’s work on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

One of the places mentioned by Zack was TIGSource Forums which is a good place to find or offer help with other indie game creators.

Group member Devon Campbell has launched a new site called PowerUp Games which ultimately aims to help indies get the exposure and coverage for their games.  Currently the site has an active blog featuring interviews with gaming journalists like Konstantinos Dimopoulos and Patrick Klepek giving advice on getting your game coverage.  This site also has a reddit-style news portal, but at the time of this post was down.  I said it was a new site!

Zack Parrish, Ludum Dare, Hearthstone – August 10th, 2014 Meetup

Zack Parrish Video Game Composer

Our next meetup will be led by guest speaker Zack Parrish, a video game music composer with a strong focus on producing music for independent video games.  Long time members will know his work from XBLIG games such as Antipole and Cute Things Dying Violently as well as the Indie Games Uprising.   Recently he worked on the soundtrack for Valdis Story: Abyssal City and won an Outstanding Contribution – Independent Composer award by the Annual Game Music Awards 2013.  Come with your questions on creating music for videos games and working with a professional composer.  You can check out Zack’s work on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.

Knoxville Hearthstone Group

A while back I announced a Hearthstone Open tournament and we’ve now held a second and plan to hold them monthly.  If you are interested in  announcements of future tournaments or to just hang out with some local Hearthstone players check out the KnoxHS facebook group.  Unless it’s some really big news, there won’t be anymore Hearthstone announcements to this list.

“Ludum Dare” Game Jam – August 22nd – 25th, 2014

We will again take part in the Ludum Dare game jam this month.  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 August 22nd @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 will be using the space Saturday morning).

We will meet again Sunday August 24th @7PM at the Technology Cooperative – The Ludum Dare “compo” ends at 9PM on Sunday, and the “jam” at 9PM on Monday.  Your game must be submitted by then, so if you need to skip / come late to finish your game, by all means do.  The Ludum Dare servers are notorious for being overloaded in the last moments so do not wait too long to submit your game.  We’ll meetup to share our games, war stories of success and failure, and check out other entries.

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
  • 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.