Game Jam Results – May 8th, 2016 Meetup

Designing an Android Game Meetup

Special announcement this month, the Knoxville Coding Dojo Meetup is holding an Android gamedev with Android Studio 6PM Tuesday May 3rd.  For more information, please visit and sign up on the Knoxville Coding Dojo Event Page.

Next Game Design Chat Podcast Game is Axiom Verge

This month’s game is Axiom Verge (available from the website, Steam, and Playstation 4 / Vita):

A failed scientist dies in an accident, only to awaken in a mysterious, alien world.

Where is he? How did he get here? And why do the fundamental laws of reality appear broken?

Life. Afterlife. Real. Virtual. Dream. Nightmare. It’s a thin line.

It’s Axiom Verge.

The podcast is recorded after the regular meetup ends.  Anyone is welcome to join the discussion with the only requirement being that you have played the game.  I highly recommend taking notes while playing so you have a good set of taking points for the podcast and have less of a chance of forgetting something!

You can check out all previous episodes at knoxgamedesign.org/podcast and subscribe to the show on iTunes or via the direct feed | Subscribe on iTunes

This Month’s Topic: Game Jam Results

Several members of the group entered games in the April Ludum Dare and will share the behind the scene tales of each.  The entries below may not be the full list, so if I missed your game please send me an email and let me know.  Also, if you have any in progress game or maybe you didn’t finish the jam please feel welcome to join us in sharing!

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.

Game Design Chat Episode #4 – DarkMaus

Game Design Chat is a monthly podcast by members of the Knoxville Game Design Meetup discussing a single game each episode. Please be aware the full game is discussed and the entire episode should be considered a spoiler for anyone who has not played the game.

This month’s game is DarkMaus and next month’s game will be Axiom Verge.

The hosts this month are:
Dylan Wolf – @dylanwolfdylanwolf.com
Levi Smith – @gatechgradlevidsmith.com
Michael Neel – @ViNullvinull.com

Game Jam: Ludum Dare April 15th – 18th 2015

It’s time for another Ludum Dare game jam!  If you’ve been to a jam in the past, it will be very similar. 

We will meet Friday April 15th @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 we won’t have a meetup Sunday, April 17th, 2015

We’ll share and recap our entries at the following meetup on May 8th, 2016.

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.

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)
  • Check the Ludum Dare site to vote on themes
  • 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.

Gamedev Potluck – April 10th, 2016 Meetup

Next Game Design Chat Podcast Game is Dark Maus

This month’s game is DarkMaus (available on Steam):

DarkMaus is an indie action RPG with challenging, skill-based combat that punishes careless play. In DarkMaus, you play a lonely wanderer searching for what’s left in a corrupted world. The odds are against you – you will certainly perish.

The podcast is recorded after the regular meetup ends.  Anyone is welcome to join the discussion with the only requirement being that you have played the game.  I highly recommend taking notes while playing so you have a good set of taking points for the podcast and have less of a chance of forgetting something!

You can check out all previous episodes at knoxgamedesign.org/podcast and subscribe to the show on iTunes or via the direct feed | Subscribe on iTunes

This Month’s Topic: Gamedev Potluck

This month bring your tool recommendations, in progress projects, and questions for an open roundtable of sharing and Q&A!  We’ll also spend some time recapping announcements that came out of //Build and GDC related to game dev.

Next Ludum Dare Game Jam is April 15-18th, 2016

The next Ludum Dare is April 15-18th, 2016.  We will again meet Friday night at 7PM for the kick off and the theme announcement at 9PM.  More details to come, but now is the time to mark the date on your calendar if you plan on joining in the fun!

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.

Leveling Up Knoxville Game Design

After many discussions with active members of Knoxville Game Design, we’ve decided to make a change to the focus of the group.  Change is not the right word – we are making some additions but nothing we’ve been doing will stop.  The first part is setting a new description and mission of the group:

Knoxville Game Design is a non-profit program of the Technology Cooperative to encourage and support video game development and design in the Knoxville Tennessee area.  We are here for all skill levels of any age or background who wish to pursue an interest in game design for personal curiosity or a professional career.

At first glance this may sound like what we’ve been doing, but there is a subtle shift from attending meetings to including those who do not attend regularly or at all.  This solves some of the problems we’ve had in the past, like including a member’s directory on the website.  How do you define “member” in an open, free group?  If instead the goal is to list people involved in game design in the Knoxville area then it is much easier to qualify people for the list.

Okay, with that bit out of the way here are the specific things underway:

Game Designer Directory

There will be a new section on the site that is a directory of game designers (designer here refers to all facets of game design from art, programming, music, etc.).  After much discussion we’ve decided this will be a directory of people, not companies though we’ll have a place in the bio to list a company.

To be listed in the directory, please email me at michael.neel@gmail.com with the information and links to include in your profile.  In the future this will be a more formal process with an online form, but I’d like to get a since of what everyone wants to include before committing to anything rigid.  Suggestions of things to include are your name as you want it to be listed, a short bio (one paragraph a few sentences long is best – focus it on your game design work), website, email or contact method, related social media and service accounts such as but not limited to twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and twitch.

The requirement to be included in the directory is a portfolio link.  This doesn’t have to be a big list of game made, it can be a single game made for a game jam, a portfolio of game art, or a collection music tracks composed.  Something that shows you have done more than “messed around” or “thought about it”.  If you need help getting this together just ask – it’s what we are here for!

Jobs and Services

Another new section will be a jobs and services board for companies looking for designers or offering services that are beneficial to game studios.  This is not unlike a classified ad section and we need a description of the service or position and a method for those interested to contact you.  If you have something for this section please email me at michael.neel@gmail.com.

Upcoming Events

This year we are looking at participating at a number of events held in Knoxville.  These events are a great way to promote the group, increase the audience for your games, and get experience participating in a trade show like setting.  Right now there are three events in the next few months we plan to participate in:

Open Streets Knoxville May 15th – You can find more information about this event at openstreetsknoxville.com but the Technology Cooperate is located right in the middle of all the action.  This will let us setup on “home turf” and invite the public to visit our space – an excellent opportunity to run an open demo of your game.

MakerPalooza 2.0 June 18th – (Note – still in process of getting space confirmed for the event) MakerPalooza 2.0 is the second MakerPalooza held by Pellissippi State.  The event is free and open to the public and hosts makers of all types sharing their passion and projects.

Emory Place Block Party August TBD – The Emory Place Block Party will be held again in 2016 and like Open Streets the Technology Cooperative is located right in the middle of the event.  Will update when the date is finalized.

If you would like to participate as a staff volunteer or as a game designer promoting their own work at any of these events please get in touch with me at michael.neel@gmail.com.

Game Design Chat Podcast

This one is already up on the website and you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes but incase you’ve missed it we now have a monthly podcast.  The show is like a book a month club, only instead of a book we choose an indie game to discuss.

The podcast is recorded after the regular meetup ends.  Anyone is welcome to join the discussion with the only requirement being that you have played the game.  I highly recommend taking notes while playing so you have a good set of taking points for the podcast and have less of a chance of forgetting something!

The game for the April 10th recording is Dark Maus available on Steam:

DarkMaus is an indie action RPG with challenging, skill-based combat that punishes careless play. In DarkMaus, you play a lonely wanderer searching for what’s left in a corrupted world. The odds are against you – you will certainly perish.

Listing on Meetup.com

Knoxville Game Design is now listed on meetup.com.  For existing members and those already on the mailing list it’s not much for a new feature – the meetings will still get announced on the mailing list and facebook group as they have in the past.  The Meetup.com page is to increase visibility and attract new members.  Joining there is optional but may be your preferred method for group updates and there is also a discussion forum that may get questions from time to time.

Knox Game Design Arcade Cabinet

This project is still in the early planning stages, but the idea is a custom built arcade cabinet that runs games created by members.  To help with this I’ve reached out and partnered with KnoxMakers to build the machine.  This arcade cabinet can be used as centerpiece when going to events and trade shows.  More information will come on this as it develops but it’s such a cool idea I couldn’t help but share!

Okay, this is the “short list” of what’s happening.  There are more ideas floating around but they will wait until after some of the above items get completed so we don’t risk taking on too much at once!

Game Design Chat Episode #3 – Crashlands

Game Design Chat is a monthly podcast by members of the Knoxville Game Design Meetup discussing a single game each episode. Please be aware the full game is discussed and the entire episode should be considered a spoiler for anyone who has not played the game.

This month’s game is Crashlands and next month’s game will be Dark Maus.

The hosts this month are:
Jacob
Jeffery
Dylan Wolf – @dylanwolfdylanwolf.com
Levi Smith – @gatechgradlevidsmith.com
Michael Neel – @ViNullvinull.com

Upcoming Events and Opportunities – March 20th, 2016 Meetup

Next Game Design Chat Podcast Game is Crashlands

This month’s game is Crashlands (available on Steam, iOS, and Android):

Crashlands is a story-driven crafting ARPG set in an outlandish world of hidden magic and high technology. Fight and tame alien beasts, craft resources into menacing weaponry, befriend the locals, and go toe-to-chin with a world-domineering maniac.

The podcast is recorded after the regular meetup ends.  Anyone is welcome to join the discussion with the only requirement being that you have played the game.  I highly recommend taking notes while playing so you have a good set of taking points for the podcast and have less of a chance of forgetting something!

You can check out all previous episodes at knoxgamedesign.org/podcast and subscribe to the show on iTunes or via the direct feed | Subscribe on iTunes

This Month’s Topic: Upcoming Events and Opportunities

This month will be a break from the normal and look at upcoming local events KDG can be a part of.  These events are to not only promote the group, but the individual developers and studios in the Knoxville area.  We’ll discuss how we’d like to participate in the events and also talk about other things the group can do to raise awareness of the indie scene here in Knoxville.

Next Ludum Dare Game Jam is April 15-18th, 2016

The next Ludum Dare is April 15-18th, 2016.  We will again meet Friday night at 7PM for the kick off and the theme announcement at 9PM.  More details to come, but now is the time to mark the date on your calendar if you plan on joining in the fun!

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.

The Podcast is Now on iTunes and March Meetup Date Change

March meetup moved to the 20th

Due to scheduling next month, the meetup has been pushed back a week to March 20th, 2016.  The time and place are the same, 2-5PM at the Technology Cooperative.

There is no set topic yet for the March meetup so if have something you would like to present or a discussion you would like to lead, please let me know!

The March podcast recording will also be moved to the 20th and take place after the meetup.  Speaking of the podcast…

Game Design Chat now available on iTunes!

The podcast has been accepted by Apple and is now listed in iTunes.  You can find the podcast by searching for “Knoxville Game” or go directly to the show using this link.  Of course you can still find links to all the shows at knoxgamedesign.org/category/podcast and download the MP3, subscribe to the direct feed, or watch it on YouTube.

The podcast is an indirect way to spread the word about the Knoxville Game Design Meetup, and we can use your help in doing so.  Mentioning the podcast on social media is always great and if you listen to the show please consider leaving a rating.  Ratings on iTunes are one of the biggest drivers of getting new listeners to discover a podcast.  (Please leave an honest review, it does no one any good otherwise – I’m not asking for 5 stars unless you feel we deserve it!)

If you wish to join us on an episode, the only requirements are you play the selected game (March’s title is Crashlands available on Steam, iOS, and Android) and you show up for the recording which takes place after the meetup.  I highly recommend taking some notes while playing so you can organize your thoughts for the show and reduce the chance you forget to mention something.

Ludum Dare is approaching…

Last, the next Ludum Dare is April 15-18th, 2016.  We will again meet Friday night at 7PM for the kick off and the theme announcement at 9PM.  More details to come, but now is the time to mark the date on your calendar if you plan on joining in the fun!

Game Design Chat Episode #2 – The Beginner’s Guide

Game Design Chat is a monthly podcast by members of the Knoxville Game Design Meetup discussing a single game each episode. Please be aware the full game is discussed and the entire episode should be considered a spoiler for anyone who has not played the game.

This month’s game is The Beginner’s Guide and next month’s game will be Crashlands.

The hosts this month are:
Jacob
Jeffery
Dylan Wolf – @dylanwolfdylanwolf.com
Levi Smith – @gatechgradlevidsmith.com
Michael Neel – @ViNullvinull.com

From Blender to Unity – February 14th, 2016 Meetup

We have a Podcast! – Next Game: The Beginner’s Guide

This email is being sent a little early (the meetup is next week, not this week) to give everyone who wants to participate in the podcast.

Each month a game is chosen, generally a popular indie title (but not from the group – that would get awkward) to play and discuss.  It’s like a book club but for games. This does mean those who join in have to buy and play the game, so while there may be an occasional exception titles will be $15 or less.

Last month’s game was Undertale – listen to the episode here.

This month’s game is The Beginner’s Guide (available on Steam). 

The Beginner’s Guide is a narrative video game from Davey Wreden, the creator of The Stanley Parable. It lasts about an hour and a half and has no traditional mechanics, no goals or objectives. Instead, it tells the story of a person struggling to deal with something they do not understand.

I highly recommend taking notes while playing so you have a good set of taking points for the podcast and have less of a chance of forgetting something! 

The podcast will be recorded after the regular meetup ends.  The last order of business for the regular meetup will be as a group deciding on the game for the next podcast episode.

This Month’s Topic: From Blender to Unity

This month Mike will demonstrate creating a model in Blender and loading it in Unity.  This includes creating the mesh, mapping the textures, and rigging for animation for mecanim and retargeting.  It’s a short description but it will be a big topic.

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.