Token 6

Howdy Folks, Zac here. Recently an event called Token 6 happened at Emporium, a beer-cade, in Logan Square. Token 6 is a really neat pop-up event that features local comics, music, video games, and art. The event was hosted by Really Easy Press, which is a small studio and publisher based in the Wallingford area of Seattle, Washington and is operated by the power couple Erik and Christine Schneider Guiterrez. For real though these folks are great and made an awesome event.

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We had a blast showcasing the game Sashimi Slammer!

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Sashimi Slammer is a game where two player’s slam on some of the best fish controllers known to man. The goal of the game is the slam your opponent’s fish into their deep fryer to cook them to crispy perfection.

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The event was a blast and we had a great turn out! This was JDE’s second time show casing a game at the Token events, and we hope to be there next year! Be sure to check out http://token-expo.com/ to get updates on when the next one is happening and to peep Really Easy Press’s Facebook Page. See y’all next time at Token 7!

Vamped Games Jam Recap

Hey gang it’s Kailey again this time with a radical game jam recap

This past weekend, July 6th- 8th, we had another awesome game jam hosted by Vamped Games creators of Funk Unplugged! The theme was “Music was just Wiggly Air”.

We had a wonderful turn out and created two teams to participate. The first game created by John Scovic, DON and Thomas Newsome, is called “Root Note”.  The player tries to help their planets inhabitants by giving them some groovy melodies.  Capture Seeds of the instrument they desire, and plant the trees near them to satisfy their needs!

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The other game is by,  Zac Mascarenas, George Sekalias, Gage O’Connor, Kailey Phan Mitchell, Scott Summers & Stepfan Thelemaque, and is called “Intended Resonance”. Intended Resonance is a game about working together in order to reach the end of a maze. Each player controls the other’s ‘resonance’ to see what is around them. Help one another traverse through the darkness with the power of music!

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We also had Patrick Regan stop by during the jam to give us a post mortem. He talked about the ups and downs of working on their game Funk Unplugged.

The DePaul Alumni talked about the pros and cons of their development process. He talked about how his team mostly worked remotely with one another so it took them a longer time to create the game. He also talked about their kickstarters, the first one wasn’t super successful in their opinion but they did a second one and it was a success.  Patrick talked about the relief he has now since the games release. Some advice he game to us was “Play to your teams strengths” so that you can reliable expectations when working on a project. He also said that some general advice was get any idea/ prototype up and running as soon as possible!

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On Sunday, Dillion Wallace came back with Patrick to play the games we created. It was a super fun experience and a very unique jam! We had a blast, that’s all for now, thanks for tuning in!

 

Nourishment Jam 2018

Gage & Zac here again for another Game Jam review!

This time we’re tackling the exciting Nourishment Jam that we held on June 22. As the title suggests, the theme centered around all things food and food-loving.

Enough people participated enabling us to form one solid team and create a well-polished typing game called, Buddy Bugatti’s Tasty Town. We had a fun time refining our typing skills as well as gaining inspiration from YouTube food reviewer’s and other food celebrities.

On the road to completion, it would seem we faced multiple problems when it was one. That problem was the use of prefabs. In the we had to learn the hard way of depending on prefabs for certain aspects of unity like using canvas is not the greatest practice. But after some tinkering around and rearrange some tasks to separate mangers, we prevailed and finished up the game.

It was an interesting experience having a single team pump out polished work revolving around such a fun idea. As well as seeing the passion of the members who were willing to continue development on this game past the submission date. It was also great to see members willing to combat the inclement weather to jam it out with us that weekend.

The overall experience was fun and relaxing. Hope to see everyone next time for the Vamped Games Game Jam! See ya soon!

Indie City May Meeting

Howdy Folks!

Zac again, recently the Indie City Games May Meetup occurred and some spicy things went down. Starting off the event was a presentation from Billy Basso. He gave us the rundown of his experience making game engines in C++ and how it all began with emulating what other editors had provided, but then went into some weird unorthodox methods in making personal engines that are meant to only be used in solo projects. While indeed unorthodox extremely enlightening in providing a different approach to making engines.

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Billy Basso giving a talk about rolling his own engine and level editor from scratch in C++, and some of the cool advantages this approach has afforded him.

From there the meetup went into their Indie Open Mic, a period where indie folk from all over are given 5 minutes a piece to present what they are working on. During this month’s session some folks went on about some weird fish fighting game, I wonder who they were, as well as others going into depth about updates on their indie projects that they have been working on for a while. There was even an attendee, Sarah Sexton, who shared their knowledge on how to make a chat bot as well as the one they had produced. Once the open mic ended the open play / mingling period began. During this time those who had their gear for their games set up shop for playtesting and invited all to playtest. While attendees play tested the games, everyone ranging from students to industry folk mingled and networked.

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Indie City May Meeting Dinner

After the event happened, we had an awesome birthday dinner with the indie developers there. We shared tons of cool ideas, jokes, and stories on Chicago and games as whole. Overall this day was really helpful because it gave an insight of what our community has to offer. We look forward to the next event and hopefully having more passionate students attending and showcasing!

 

(Photos courtesy of Sarah Sexton – @Saelia)

BuddyCops: A Look Into OmniBus

Hey gang! Kailey here,

First, a big thank you to BuddyCops, the creators of OmniBus, for coming and speaking to us.  As the co-creators, Amir and Jeremy, gave their post-mortem talk, they laid down some helpful tips about the making of their game, OmniBus!

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OmniBus creators – Jeremy Crockett & Amir Badri

After an introduction, they gave a brief history of the game. The idea of OmniBus started out as an idea that occurred in an ethics class that they both took while studying at DePaul University. This idea continued throughout the summer before their senior year but was then pushed aside once school started up again. Jeremy then brought the idea back up and thus the process of OmniBus began. They talked about the vices and virtues of having a Kickstarter, trying to keep up a social media presence and gaining a publisher. Pertaining to gaining a publisher Amir and Jeremy highlighted how their game peaked before its release. Their game had been played by the popular YouTuber, PewDiePie, which made the game explode and the pair were able to gain a publisher because of its newfound popularity!

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Pewdiepie & Online Presence

Looking back at their own project they told us to have a development blog to keep track of your own progress and to give teases to people who are invested. They talked about how looking back at their development blog was like looking back on your Facebook pictures.

They also talked about the importance of being involved in the Chicago gaming scene. They encouraged people to go to meetings like “Indie City”, which is happening this Saturday (5/26 @ 1pm), “Industry Night” and attend festivals like “BitBash” to make connections with people, “Rub butts with all the indies” -Amir. They encouraged this because in their experience finding and making connections is extremely helpful, most people in the industry will be willing to give feedback to your projects; as long as you find the right people, “Indies helping indies” -Amir

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Preview of the event

(Top two photos courtesy of Amir and Jeremy)

JDE Public Info Session Recap

Howdy Folks!

Zac here giving you a quick run-down of our public info session for the JDE. First and foremost, our expectations for attendance were blown out of the water, we initially thought only 15 people were going to come by. Instead we had a huge turnout of over 30 potential members who range from freshmen to seniors, and even some alumni showed up.

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Past the numbers, we did a run through of the history of what was, and the future plans of what will be. Long story short the future plans is essentially expanding upon what the glorious Josh Delson built before such that it continues to live on past the initial group.

Things to take away are the planned 4 Game Jams for the summer session, the independent study meant to help polish what was made during summer, and then the passing on of roles to the younger generation of students as the seniors go into capstone. With the structure in place, and the plans set pretty much in stone, we got a bright future ahead of us.

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TOKEN 5

We had a blast showcasing GAZE at TOKEN 5!

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Surprisingly we had a successful turnout with a full house of people wanting to play our game. The event was hosted in Emporium, an arcade bar, with other striving artists fomr the Chicago land area. The JDE was their first ever video game related showcase which became a massive hit. The owners of the bar loved what we were doing then put our game, GAZE, on every monitor in the actual building!

Overall we gained tons of publicity from people in Chicago and networked with some amazing artists as well.

PixelPop 2017

Major takeaways from PixelPop Festival:
1.) Game development community in St. Louis is friendly, reliable, huge, and inclusive.
2.) Its rapidly growing with strong independent developers from all over the country.
3.) Its a hidden gem of passionate people with some awesome upcoming games.

Overall this weekend was fantastic and it was so fun uncovering what the Midwest has the offer. We had an amazing opportunity to showcase in St. Louis and give a postmortem on our experience with GAZE. Thanks to that we even became one of their Festival Selections!

 

 

Bringing concepts to life…

Hello again! Tiffany here.

This week, we went through making a lot of changes to our designs and concepts for the ship game we are making. An idea everyone liked was some type of catamaran, and we came up with a collaborative sketch of what we all think might make a good model for our ship in Maya.

Our players have the opportunity to move around the ship and go to different stations of the ship, so we had to create an interesting space for them to move around on. While we haven’t completely solidified the shapes of certain things or the designs or things like weapons, we are working together to make it all come together.

Here is a quick preview of where our ship model is as of today, with more iterations coming in during the week.

I am really excited for this model, and it will be a lot of fun to throw some textures and sculpted elements on to it to truly bring it to life (at least, as much as an inanimate object can be brought to life).

Enjoy and you’ll hear from me again soon!

Getting to work on art

Hey everyone, welcome to Team Phoenix! We are working on a battleship type game set in a bio-luminescent world, so our art direction for this game is going to be very interesting and a lot of fun.

To start, we have been gathering references of cool settings with vivid colors – mostly oranges, blues, greens, and some purples. We are going for a kind of tropical world, as well. All of these neat colors are going to be reflected in our ships, environment assets, shores, and characters! So far, my team has been putting all of these references together, as well as having conversations of what we might like to see. We will have some cool concepts coming soon, so keep an eye out for what we have been up to. This is something we are super excited about!

Here is a sneak preview of a WIP for one of our ship designs. We are working with a lot of different ship types, and we will be adding more to these designs after everyone kind of talks through what we have and what our gameplay goals are. An interesting concept we want to play with is having the environment becoming a visual aspect of the ship, almost like it is kind of taking over the vessel. Enjoy!

 

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Designing Eachother

During a class session, we decided to collaborate with each other’s teams. Since we both have a general understanding of what we want to create, we decided to add a twist in the design process. The twist was designing each other’s games.

The two teams that partook in this was Chimera and Phoenix. Since the teacher called in sick that day, this was an excellent opportunity to get some creative freedom. How this was structured started with half an hour of white boarding then pitching to each other the significance of our ideas. We both came up with new perspectives on each other’s concepts. Some the complete opposite of the original concept, but it worked out somehow.

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More Planes!

Today starts the end of Humani Tsunami and the beginning of Contrail. We as a group started looking at concrete festivals related to the game we were trying to work on. Contrail is a competitive multiplayer game where players fly around a unique space and attempt to cut one another off by creating a collidable trail. The trails persists on the map, creating more obstacles overtime for the players to avoid. It was like Tron, but in a 3D world. What we want the audience to feel when designing this was an easy to pick up game, but can be hard to master. Something with a stylized reality visual, but if need be, solid color pallettes.

In the team meeting, we talked about what can we make in 10 weeks, a base game mode. What is our vision as a team was Futuristic Modeling or Wind Waker Visuals. Below are some things we put on our mood board.

 

Mini Maker Faire

The Maker Faire is the Greatest Show and Tell on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning. During the JDE showcase in the summer, we connected with people affiliated with this faire. 
Trevor, Edgar, and I accepted this offer to promote projects they showcased together. Each game are different from the norm of games. Stay Cool! was a DDR Pad Controlled party game and LemonGame Stand was an experience where the player gradually loses their senses while making the perfect lemonade. We spent the whole day getting told of positive feedback from the people at the fair.
What was interesting in my opinion was how we were able to have a variety of people play the games. This wasn’t like a video game festival with gamers everywhere, but there were families everywhere consisting of children, parents, young adults, and grandparents. Each one of them passionately walking up to our tables with a strong interest in playing. They asked about next steps on these games and where they will go, but right now we have them on hold for the future.

Back to Square One

We brainstormed 14 potential ideas for our next game. The majority of the games were focused on creating local based games and we were researching if our brainstormed games have been created in the past. Over the weekend the group was assigned to brainstorm and bring in new ideas for the next week. The methods we used were paper jams, talking about what we liked about our favorite games, talking about what we disliked and how we could improve those games, looking into the core of a certain games within genres, physical activities we played in the past, and researching other local based games.

We looked into successful franchises such as rock band, Nintendo, Guitar Hero, Dance Dance Revolution, Wario Ware, etc. The reason why we looked into these franchises was because they were playing the game locally. We grew up with these couch games and had fond memories of playing them. The thought of playing together in one room was an experience we wanted to portray to our players.

As a group, we found a research study about multiplayer games. The study was researching if players were more competitive or cooperative. In the research they found out that the older the player, the less competitive they were. We had to consider who our audience and we found this study to be helpful information.

The next week consists of a pitching to our instructor. We had two plans, if one of our pitches was approved, we would continue working on that game. If the game was denied, we would continue brainstorming and pitch new games to our instructor on the first day of class.

Putting on Hold and Finding a Core

The reason why we put HumaniTsunami on hold was because our instructors asked us to find the core of our game and we were unable to discover the core. Within the last week, we looked for 20 other games that are similar to the game, and find what made our game unique. The core makes the whole experience of the game and what our intentions were for the audience to take away from playing the game. The core that we found was the level design, destruction in the world, and exploration. Our core didn’t seem strong enough and we felt like our game wasn’t able to be completed in time. During the past couple of weeks we ran into technical issues, constant reiterations, and availability to meet together at the same time. Before we had to show our instructor a prototype, we made a decision to put HumaniTsunami on hold.

Shooting for IGF Submission

When the producers of JDE came together to decide on a schedule for the summer, they decided that a submission to the IGF would be the ideal goal for games that we created. Now, the IGF is not the definitive end goal for JDE. In fact, if our games don’t end up as IGF submissions, it will not be the end of the world. However, the producers believed that having it as a goal would be important in ensuring members were focused and had something to look forward to. Initially, the producers wanted to have the majority of the chosen game (at least the alpha) to be completed by the IGF submission deadline, Oct. 26. However, as time went on and the schedule for the JDE changed for the summer, so did our expectations and planned deliverables. Instead of having the alpha completed by submission, a vertical slice for our games would be completed instead. The producers believed that this was way more realistic since our teams split up to work on two games instead of one large game.

For Snow Angel, we decided that our vertical slice would consist of 5 distinct levels. Typically, a vertical slice is a demo of the game and consists of one completed and polished level. However, because our levels are much lake that of Super Meat Boy, which are relatively short and focus on introducing and testing one mechanic, we decided that 5 was realistic goal to achieve. Initially, we thought 10 levels would be appropriate, but quickly realized that it would probably be unachievable given our current timeline. Thus, we wanted 5 levels that represented the typical flow of our game. They break down like so:

  • Level 1: Tutorial (Breaking down the basic structure of the game and introducing players to placing platforms)
  • Level 2: Introduction to ramps (In addition to adding standard ice blocks, players will learn to change their upward direction via ramps)
  • Level 3: Introduction to bouncy blocks (Players are introduced to blocks that allow the player to drastically change their forward momentum)
  • Level 4: Introduction to changing direction (Players are introduced to blocks that allow the player to change direction)
  • level 5: Mini-Boss (Now that the player has been introduced to the core mechanics of the game, they must use them in tandem in order to conquer the level).

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