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.

Project Spark, App Inventor, and April Game Jam – April 13th, 2014 Meetup

At our next meetup we’ll talk about two simple yet powerful frameworks you can use to make games.  Both of these are great options for your first game, or useful as a rapid prototyping tool for experienced developers.

Levi D. Smith will share his knowledge and experience in Project Spark.  Project Spark is a “game maker video game” for Microsoft Windows 8.1 and Xbox One, with Xbox 360 support planned.  All game building is done while playing the game, and creations can be shared online.  Levi will demo Project Spark on an Xbox One.

Michael C. Neel will introduce the basics of App Inventor.   App Inventor for Android is an open-source web application originally provided by Google, and now maintained by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  It uses a graphical interface and system of blocks, very similar to Scratch, which let’s users drag-and-drop to games and applications that run on Android devices.  Michael will demo App Inventor on an Android tablet.

“Ludum Dare” Game Jam – April 25th – 28th, 2014

We will again take part in the Ludum Dare game jam this month.  We’ll do this very similar to the game jam in December.  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 25th @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 27th @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.

In-app payments with OpenIAB and Unity – March 9th, 2014 Meetup

Important News! The Technology Cooperative has moved – read below for details!

Some cool news from members this month:

This month’s topic will be led by Dylan Wolf of FuncWorks, and cover his experience using the in-app purchase framework OpenIAB in Unity:

Setting up in-app payments in Unity can be confusing if you’re new to mobile app stores, even with a cross-platform, open-source plugin like OpenIAB. We’ll cover the basic concepts of in-app payments on Android and iOS, an example of configuring apps and products in an app store, and setting up OpenIAB in Unity.

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.

Next month our normal meetup will be replaced by the Ludum Dare game jam, scheduled for the weekend of April 25th – 28th.  More details to come!

February Meetup Links

In Progress Games by Members Mentioned:

Software Mentioned:

Audio / Video Gear Shown or Mentioned:

Other Stuff Mentioned:

Audio and Video Tools and Techniques – February 9th, 2014 Meetup

Our next meetup will be a roundtable discussion on creating audio (sound and music) for video games and also touch on video production for game trailers.

Levi D. Smith will share his knowledge and experience in Garage Band, PxTone, Bxfr, and Audacity.  Michael C. Neel will cover Reaper, FL Studio, Levelator, Audacity, and also bring some gear to show and discuss from microphones to video capture hardware.

Everyone is encouraged to participate and if there is a tool or device you find helpful please bring it or bring it up in the discussion!

The meetup will be held at the Technology Cooperative located in the Knoxville Old City at 130 W. Jackson Ave.  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.

KnoxGameDesign featured in this weeks MetroPulse!

Be sure to stop by your favorite coffee shop this week and grab the January 23rd, 2014 issue of the Knoxville Metropulse, with cover story featuring the Knoxville Game Design meetup and Ludum Dare.  If you can’t wait, you can also read the story online or download a PDF version that includes photos.  (In case these link no longer work in the future we’ve made an archive copy of the story here).  A big thanks to Mike Gibson (author) and David Luttrell (photographer) for their work covering the group and our participation in the Ludum Dare game jam. 

Our next meetup is February 9th and the topic is tentatively “music”.  I’ve reached out to local musician Zack Parrish and he will be coming to the group for a indie game music Q&A but his schedule is packed so it won’t be for a few months.  If anyone has a topic they would like to share for February let me know, if not we’ll go forward with “music” in a round table discussion style.

January Meetup Links

Show and Tell Links:

Unity 2D Links:

Making Unity Your Own – January 12, 2014 Meetup

The first meetup of the year will be lead by Michael C. Neel covering extending Unity with custom editors and file format support:

Over the holiday break I worked on a TMX map importer for Unity, called UTiled.  This session will cover the basics of extending Unity to add support for a custom file format, creating specialized editors for native and custom components, and some general tips on dealing with serialization issues in Unity.

I’ll also go into UTiled and the basics of rendering a tile map in Unity, both as a collection of 2D sprites and as a 3D mesh, and the pros / cons of each approach.

UTiled is available as an open source project, and can be downloaded from the Bitbucket UTiled Project page.  There isn’t much documentation yet, but Mike and Dylan created an overview video on using UTiled with Unity:

The meetup will be held at the Technology Cooperative located in the Knoxville Old City at 130 W. Jackson Ave.  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.