April 2017 Online Hangout Announcement

Hello Knoxville Game Designers!

This is Levi D. Smith inviting you to attend the online hangout for April 9, 2017 at 2pm Eastern Time.  We will be using Google Hangouts again, which can be accessed at the following URL:  https://hangouts.google.com/call/vhh46lj3tncbvinkrztkhw5mfme
Be sure your microphone or webcam is working prior to the meeting.

April 2017 Meeting Agenda – https://drive.google.com/open?id=1RUmSr7_38_18pOojAmp5Pk0GO8OKbceRkxwrWEhWbLeXNg8gbdjA_5gONWL5o8gHDEFHd301nJhzWW4r

Video for last month’s online hangout is now available:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMvZcFUcr-4

The audio version is also available as a podcast on iTunes:   https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/game-design-chat/id1084873107

Please direct any questions to levidsmith@knoxgamedesign.org.

March 2017 Online Hangout Announcement

Hello Knoxville Game Designers!

This is Levi D. Smith inviting you to attend the online hangout for March 12, 2017 at 2pm Eastern Time.  We will be using Google Hangouts again, which can be accessed at the following URL:  https://hangouts.google.com/call/vhh46lj3tncbvinkrztkhw5mfme
Be sure your microphone or webcam is working prior to the meeting.

The agenda for the meeting is now available. I will be talking about adding Video Game metadata to your website, so that your game is indexed appropriately by search engines.

Just a reminder, Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday March 12, 2017, so please remember to turn your clocks ahead one hour prior to the meeting.

Be aware that we are no longer using Meetup for Knoxville Game Design events.  Please use http://www.knoxgamedesign.org/upcoming-events/ to keep track of the latest club events.

Video for last month’s online hangout is now available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osLAoHaxLKs
The audio version is also available as a podcast on iTunes:   https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/game-design-chat/id1084873107

Direct any questions to me at levidsmith@knoxgamedesign.org.

February 2017 Online Hangout

This is a reminder that there will not be an in-person meeting for February or March 2017.  We will be attempting to conduct the next two meetings online with Google Hangouts.  We will plan to meet again at the Technology Cooperative in April 2017 to coincide with Ludum Dare 38.  Be sure to check knoxgamedesign.org for the latest details.

Topics for the online Hangout on Sunday (February 12, 2017 at 2pm Eastern Time) are included in the meeting agenda.  There are two options for joining us.  Using Google Hangout will allow you to participate with a web camera or microphone.  Please verify that your web camera or microphone is working before the meeting.  There is also a view only option with YouTube, which also provides a chat room for leaving comments during the group meeting.

Thanks for everyone’s patience while we transition to this new format.  Please direct any questions to levidsmith@knoxgamedesign.org

January 8, 2017 Meetup – A New Direction

Hello Knox Game Design members!

Normally I’d have the default template here, but I’m skipping all that in hopes you’ll take a moment to read this email closer and join us this Sunday.

This will be the last meetup of Knox Game Design that I will be organizing.  I’m stepping down Lead Organizer (that’s what I’ve called myself if you were curious) after this meeting.

The first meeting of the group, originally called KnoXNA, was February 2010.  The group was part XNA game development and part robotics, mostly Lego Mindstorm bots but with an eye on using Microsoft Robotics Studio and XNA for bigger things.   We met weekly, which was a crazy pace for a group, and held mini challenges for the robots while talk though the XNA examples provided by Microsoft.  Things slowed down, the robotics side tapered off, and we moved to holding the meetings monthly at the newly formed Technology Cooperative (yes, the group is older than the TechCo!).  As Microsoft began to sunset XNA we renamed the group Knox Game Design to match an existing Facebook of local ITT Tech game design graduates.

This is a long time to have run a community group, and though I love it, it is something that takes time.  I’ve been over stretching myself lately and it’s time to dial back.  I want to focus on some of the things I’ve put off because I haven’t had the time and energy to do them.

We seen a lot of game designers, artists, programmers, musicians, and more at the meetups over the years.  I hope that this continues, and so the topic at this meetup will be to discuss the group and where it goes in 2017 and beyond. 

The Podcast

I have to admit I failed this time to play the selected game, Dwarf Fortress.  I gave it several attempts but the legends were true and this is not an easy game to jump into.  I’d still love to record a podcast after the meetup, and open it up to games we played over the break. 

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. 

Knox Game Design at Open Streets!

2016-05-17 12.27.35

Last weekend members of Knoxville Game Design came out to show off their games and spread the word about the group at Open Streets Knoxville.  It was our first time presenting as a group to the public and we learned a lot while having a lot of fun!  On hand at this event showing their games was:

Levi – http://levidsmith.com/
Dylan – http://www.dylanwolf.com/
Jacob – Jacob’s Latest Game
Mike – http://www.vinull.com/

Knoxville Game Design is looking forward to future events, and our next planned event is Makerpalooza held by Pellissippi State Community College.  Hope to see you there!

PS – Levi did an amazing job recording video of the group, check it out below:

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!

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!

Update to Open Game Lab Hours

Starting this week, there will no longer be a weekly Open Game Lab on Tuesdays.  There will still be an Open Game Lab on the 3rd Sunday from 2 – 5PM and the monthly meeting will still be taking place on the 2nd Sunday at 2PM – no changes there!

The reason for the change is to allow the TechCo to focus on in-school programs more and the attendance for the Tuesday labs was often zero.  If you have any questions please contact me at michael.neel@gmail.com

August 2015 Meetup Links

Here is a big o’le list of links from today’s meetup!

Game Jam: Ludum Dare – August 21st – 24th 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.  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 21th @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 meetup Sunday, August 23rd.

We’ll share and recap our entries at the following meetup, September 13th, 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.