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!