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 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.

July Meetup Links 2014

A big thanks to Christopher Rathgeb for stopping by the group and sharing his experiences making games for mobile devices!  You can check out the games and apps Christopher mentioned at Zippz Studios.

Some of the things mentioned at this meetup:

Levi has posted his Programming the NES talk on YouTube & Slides in case you missed it at CodeStock:

Christopher Rathgeb – July 13th, 2014 Meetup

Our next meetup will feature guest speaker Christopher Rathgeb:

Christopher Rathgeb is a software developer and serial entrepreneur.  He spent 3 years with Oak Ridge National Laboratory before leaving to focus on developing mobile apps.  He has developed games with: UIKit, Cocos2D, and LibGDX.  For the past year, he has been working for Radio Systems Corporation developing web and mobile applications.

Christopher will also be presenting at CodeStock the same weekend on The Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs of an Indie App Developer.  Because our meetup is right on the heals of CodeStock, the topic is TBD.

Speaking of CodeStock, several KDG members will be presenting game related topics:

Last, a reminder that the Hearthstone Open is this coming weekend.  The event is free, for charity (so donations welcome) and setup for players at all skill levels so don’t worry if you are still learning – come out and have fun!  Details on the Hearthstone Open here.

Hearthstone Open – June 29th, 2014

Welcome to the first Hearthstone Open hosted by Knoxville Game Design and the Technology Cooperative!

Just The Facts:

  • When: Sunday June 29th, 2014 @ 2PM
  • Where: 13 Emory Place, Knoxville TN 37917
  • What To Bring: A laptop or iPad with Hearthstone installed – we may have some additional devices on hand, but cannot guarantee enough for everyone
  • How To Get Ready: Make sure you have your own account, and have completed the in-game tutorial.  Additionally you may want to “unlock” all the Heroes before the tournament
  • Who: Anyone with an interest in Hearthstone – all ages welcome
  • Why: To have fun and raise funds and awareness for the Technology Cooperative
    The cost is free – donations are welcome! (also attendees should be able to unlock the special Fireside Gathering card back!)


Eventbrite - Hearthstone Open hosted by Knoxville Game Design and Technology Cooperative

Tournament Details:

We will be running two different brackets, you can choose to enter either or both:

Open Bracket – A double elimination, best of three, bracket where any deck is allowed and both players can change decks between games.  Break out your best golden legendary cards or play a special constructed combo!

Basic Bracket – New to the game and look for a level playing field? This bracket will be a double elimination, best of three, bracket where players much choose a deck from the “Basic Decks” in Hearthstone.  Players can change decks between games, but all games must be played from the Basic Deck list.

Other Information:

This is the first event of this kind hosted by us, so things will be kept loose and simple.

We will have water available and may have other beverages and snacks, but no guarantees.

There may be an attempt to record and stream some of the games (in particular the finals) and by attending you agree you are okay with being filmed and/or photographed and that these videos and images may be used by the event royalty free.

About Hearthstone:

Hearthstone is a free to play fast paced strategy card game that’s easy to learn and massively fun. Start a free game on and play your cards to sling spells, summon creatures, and command the heroes of Warcraft in duels of epic strategy.

About the Hosts:

Knoxville Game Design is a Knoxville, TN based meetup group that encourages people young and old to get involved with game design and development.  The group welcomes all levels of designers, from veteran indies to new hobbyists.

The Technology Cooperative is a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization founded to create a technology-focused community that will provide computer-related technology access and awareness.

June Meetup Links 2014

Unity Links


100 Things Every Game Student Should Know

BizSpark Program

MindSweep – Video Game Makeover

NES Tutorial (How to make an NES game)


One Game a Month Challenge – Levi’s Page

Crytek Engine

Unreal Engine

Levi’s Knox Game Design Twitter List

Nintendo Software Developer’s Support Site (Wario World)

Unity In App Payment System – Unbill

GameDev Potpourri! June 8th Meetup

It’s another “fast month” and our next meetup is this weekend.  “GameDev Potpourri” may sound like another “open discussion” but it’s really an idea I want to test out this month that is a twist on last month.  Instead of one speaker filling the whole meetup, everyone (who wants to) can cover something for 10-20 minutes.

For example, I’ll talk about the new changes in Unity 4.5 that was released last week, and what to look forward to in 4.6.

If you know what you want to talk about, send me an email and I’ll add it to the list on the website.

If everything goes as planned we’ll have some awesome speakers for July and August.  Also in July is CodeStock where Dylan and I will both be giving talks on Unity.  As of this writing there are only 80 tickets left so don’t wait if you plan to attend.

In TechCo news, the Raspberry Pi meetup group is ending.  The group met every 3rd Sunday to discuss and work on projects involving the Raspberry Pi.  The group never built a following, so we’ve decided to end the group but keep the meetup.  What does that mean? It means every 3rd Sunday from 3PM – 5PM will be an “open lab” time at the TechCo.  You can come down and hang out to work on or discuss any project, not just Raspberry Pi related ones.

The Knoxville Game Design 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 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.

May Meetup Links 2014

Knoxville Game Developer Twitter List (Free web modeling tool)

Game Jams:

Character Outline/Brainstorm Tool:

Josh described a  tool for brainstorming a game’s characters and story.  I’ve found a site “StoryStarter” that sounds very similar you can read for more details.

First, you start with a table:

Character Setting Motivation Obstacle 1 Obstacle 2

For each character you complete the columns using the following template sentence:

It is a game about [character] in [setting] who is motivated by [motivation] and must overcome [obstacle] and [obstacle]

Open Discussion – May 11th Meetup

Since this meetup is right on the heels of Ludum Dare and taking place on Mother’s Day, we’re going to take it easy with an open discussion.  No set topic or speaker, so come ready to ask some questions and offer some advice.

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.

KGD Ludum Dare #29 Roundup

This past weekend was the second time members of the Knoxville Game Jam took part in the Ludum Dare game jam.  The theme was “Beneath the Surface” and each developer or team had to use this theme some way in their game.  There were a total of four games submitted from KGD teams, plus another game completed by Ruth Ann who choose not to upload her game but showed it off Sunday night.

Upper Crust by Dylan

Play the game here

You are a geomancer exploring beneath the surface of the earth. To move forward in your journey, you will need to bribe the giants who guard your path.


Archaeology by Levi

Play the game here

Welcome to Archaeology!

First select a surveyor to find good locations for treasure. If treasure is found nearby, the ground will be highlighted with a certain color.  Once you find a good location for treasure, assign an excavator to that area. If the excavator successfully digs up treasure, it will be shown in the world. Then assign an appraiser, who will determine the value of the treasure and add it to your total money.

Repeat until you’ve found all of the treasure, but you have only until 7pm before the game is over.


Under the Surface by Jacob

Play the game here

Jacob (age 10) went camping this weekend and created the game basically in a little over 1 day from Sunday – Monday. The game is a maze style game with a mining element and enemies trying to kill you. Arrow keys to navigate, some other hidden short cuts, in game warps and tricks. Dad did some debugging, score/health tweaking, and collision fixing, but Jacob did 95% of this one alone.


Jungle Noir by Rachel, Hannah, and Mike

Play the game here

We took the theme “Beneath the Surface” as a reference to hidden or double meanings, which lead to the noir setting.


Time-lapse Development Videos

It’s common for participates in the Ludum Dare to live stream their process, and then crunch the whole weekend down to a short video.  Both Mike (and team) and Levi made time-lapse videos:

TechCo AppCamp Announced – May 31st, 2014

Last meetup I mentioned we would be announcing a Techco AppCamp for teens, and we have!

Learn to build an application for your android phone or Tablet in one day. We will use the MIT Android App Inventor system. The App Inventor uses programming “blocks” to teach the concepts of programming. No earlier programming experience required!

If you or someone you know is interested, check out all the details on the TechCo Blog announcement for AppCamp.