Week 3 – #ResistJam/Fake News

Week 3

For this week, some friends and I made Fake News.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 9.46.59 PM

The occasion was Resist Jam and I tapped Ruthie, Anton, Tyler, and Dave for help (thanks, y’all!!!).

The idea

A local multiplayer word game where you vie for fake front-page headlines in a fake newspaper. It was inspired by Quiplash and the good ol’ days of filling out Mad Libs all on your own. Add to this the political climate that we’re in right now where lies are basically part of everyday public discourse. It’s quite a joke, so what’s funnier than fake journalists coming up with fake headlines, Mad Libs-style, yeah?

What went well

We originally wanted to make a system where we could have players take turns being “editors”, voting for their favorite nouns/adjectives/verbs/adverbs in a prompt they’re given. At the end of all the turns, everyone votes for their top 3 headlines and the person with the most points (from votes) wins.

The implementation was dictated by the time constraint (more on that later), and we did a great job paring down the original idea to it’s current form. We kept the voting system in place for the different types of words, but it was easier to implement a persistent room with the current playable format that’s much more streamlined (prompt for two types of words from everyone, vote for your favorite, score off votes).

What went wrong

There was originally a plan to have animating panels and “juicier” UI. In order to do so, we tried to use Phaser on the front-end. We ran into a large amount time spent trying to figure out Phaser, itself and learning that one of Phaser’s quirks – not being able to handle text input elegantly. Having Phaser play nice with Anton’s Node/Websockets implementation in the back-end was also a pain (he was basically making swap to the DOM on a static page he had himself).

Rather than take the time to figure out a solution, we ended up on a static page with the persistent room. Shoutouts to Anton for putting together the server and having the game loop running in a little over a day.

I’ll leave y’all with Ruthie’s awesome avatar art that we didn’t get to use. Think you know who each one is? Leave it in a comment. 🙂

 

GDC 2017

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I didn’t even think I was going to make it to Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) this year! On the last day of Global Game Jam 2017, one of my group members asked if we were all going. Justin mentioned that he had accidentally double-booked his plane ticket and offered it up. Talk about serendipity…

Despite not having a badge or any clear plan/agenda for coming this year, 2017 was the most productive GDC I’ve had. Some highlights…

– On Sunday before the conference, I spoke on a Different Games panel with Ashley Alicea and Scott Jon Siegel. It was hosted at Patreon HQ and attended by GDC scholarship recipients, scholars from #INeedDiverseGames, and a convoy from Pixelles in Montreal. Shoutouts to Sarah for the invite and Catt for the connection! We spoke about starting out in the industry, gave advice to up-and-comers, and spoke on questions like new trends in games.

– This GDC was a welcome reunion. For the past 4-5 months, I’ve been in a transition – taking a break from freelance work/teaching in NYC and moving back to Richmond, Virginia for a well-needed mental break. I ran into so many friends/colleagues that it reminded me of how privileged and grateful I am for the support system this community has to offer.

– Since I didn’t have a badge, I missed out on talks. But my Twitter feed helped point out a few that were worth searching for in the Vault once they’re posted – Jenny Hsia on cuteness in games, Bonnie Ruberg talking about teaching students how to design under facism, Catt’s microtalk about teaching through making + doing. There were so many more!

– Tips for a successful GDC – try to wake up in the morning for the running group (thanks Adam + Rebekah for organizing!), don’t eat alone, go to Yerba Gardens every afternoon, and support Lost Levels.

Almost missing GDC this year but being able to travel out West, regardless, made me realize how valuable it is to just fly out, whether or not I had a badge to get into GDC. I did miss out on working on a game for this week but the time spent with everyone in San Francisco was invaluable.

 

 

One Game A Week – Introduction/Week 1

Introduction

For the new year, I decided to take on One Game A Week. I originally read about this design exercise through Rami Ismail’s article on Gamasutra and have seen iterations of this done like Adriel Walick’s blog and Christer Kaitila’s (@McFunkypants) onegameamonth.com.

I have a big problem with finishing. My laptop is filled with half-finished (or almost empty) Unity projects, all brief sparks where I’m excited about an idea but happen to stall out. It’s been quite frustrating because I know I can apply myself to client projects as a programmer in the past. Designing my own games have been a completely different story.

My goal for this year is to really nail down a consistent flow when it comes to my own work. One habit I’m going to try to break is getting easily distracted by the work of others. Doing One Game A Week (publicly and with set goals) is my way of holding myself accountable, putting my head down and trying to suss out bad habits I’ve picked up.

So one game a week with a blog post every Wednesday to show what I’ve done, finished or unfinished (hopefully more of the former)…


Week 1

I’m off to a…start.

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[Controls – Left/right arrows to control the weave]

Yes, if you follow me on Twitter and saw my tweet from last week, I hadn’t really fiddled with what I posted since then.

The idea

I had a word cloud going in my notebook and happened to write down “weave”. I also had been watching tons of driving movies/OutRun playthroughs, so I was thinking in lines and movement.

I also have been watching my friend finish his game and thought about how something something so frenetic could be so minimal.

What went well

It’s pleasing to the eye and fun with play with. I hadn’t used Line or TrailRenderers before and it was tons easier to create this effect with these built-in Unity features rather than make my own meshes on the fly.

What went wrong

Well, this isn’t exactly a game and wasn’t difficult to implement at all – two TrailRenderers attached to GameObjects with a little sculpting and futzing with the gradients.

If there is anything I could say about this, it’s that it wasn’t an attempt I was happy with. My MO has always been to make something look cool or try something I haven’t tried before without much design behind it, and that’s one habit in me I’m trying to correct.