December marked the fifth month of Fargo Game Makers, and with the Holiday Season around the corner, we wanted to make it a special by having people bring in and share what they were working on.
Meet-up attendees got a chance to:
Play Erin Nyren-Erickson's math card game 9 Apples
Check out Erik Meyer's math RPG game Sum that he is building in Unity
Look at Raven Rock Digitals innovative code that is being used to power Infinite Tower and a peek at their side project Lockout
Be the first to play Beach Interactive's The Abettor's Letters: French
Get a behind the scenes look at Chad Close's and Beach Interactive's unannounced secret project
It was our most jam packed meet-up yet, with a packed room and plenty of original content. We are looking forward to having another show and tell style meet-up in the coming months. Thanks to all who came!
Come join FGM for our 5th meet-up! It's Monday December 8th, 6pm at the Fargo Downtown Atomic Coffee.
This month is going to be a bit different since we are squeezed in the midst of the holiday season. No speaker, instead an open forum where everyone is welcome to bring and share anything they have been working on related to game development! That includes concept work, art, prototypes, and finished projects too. See ya there!
Exciting news, past meet-up speaker CJ Schnase revealed today that his company, Wicked Soul Studios, has just received official approval as a Nintendo developer for the Wii-U console. Congratulations to CJ and the team!
This month was a FGM meet-up first, as we had our first presentation on a physical board game.
Game Maker Davin Loegering presented, giving us a preview of his current project, a complex board game that features things like customizable characters, and various win conditions. Davin is a software engineer by trade, and has experience in making video games, but this is his first foray into creating a physical board game.
Davin says that making a board game has it's own challenges; while you don't have to code, the player now has to number crunch and manage all the analytics of the game, something that usually happens behind the scenes in a video game. Making that an enjoyable aspect of the game is vital to it being fun. Also the complexity of manufacturing costs is something that can influence the game mechanics, something that he has learned in the development process.At the end of the presentation, Davin gave the audience a look at some the game assets.
A really awesome look into the process of making a complex board game, and comparing and contrasting it from video game development. Thanks to Davin for sharing his project, and for everyone who showed up to support him!
On December 3rd, there is going to be a Hackathon Tech event here in town. While it's not strictly about game development, it would be a great starting point for people to jump into development and to make more tech connections here in town. Details are below.
Did you know you don't have to be a master-level techie to rock a Hackathon? In fact, you don't even have to be a programmer! Hackathons are for anyone interested in: computer programming, software development, graphic and/or interface design, project management, and for those with a general interest in tech. No need to be shy– whether you're entry level or expert level, all are welcome at the upcoming Hack Fargo Hackathon. If you've been hesitating on signing up for Hack Fargo on December 3rd, we highly encourage you to sign up and come check it out!
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Myriad Mobile Headquarters:
507 7th Street North, Floor 3
Fargo, ND 58102
$10 General / $5 Students
Cost is only to reserve your ticket. We'll give you a full refund when you show up to the hackathon!
The team over at at Big 4 Productions was featured in the Fargo Forum this week, check out the article here. They just put out their game Redshift on the Google Play and App Store this past month too. Congratulations Big 4 Productions team!
Time tested blueprints and templates for indie game developer success are in short supply, likely due to the wide range of variables involved in any particular effort (changing goals, number of people, assets required, company/organizational needs, timeframe, etc). I'm choosing to keep the focus of this writing on production, i.e. the middle steps (I'm avoiding the exciting first moments and the thrilling culmination); as the scope of project work balloons and technical challenges present themselves, development becomes a stamina sport requiring careful attention to detail.
In chess, middlegame refers to the point in a match where the opening (the first moves that establish position and engagement early on) has transitioned to a struggle for control of the board; many pieces are in play, yet the end is far from decided.
I've been working on Sum, a math game targeting K-5 common core standards, for three months, and I'm learning as I go. I was fortunate, because I had a clear goal from the beginning: I'm striving to create a game aligned with early education needs that creates reports for teachers and is, more importantly, fun to play. I also possess a clear view of my skills: I have dabbled in coding, but my main strengths are in writing, art creation, and level building.
Like chess, we get better by doing; I am teaching myself C#. Unfortunately, most games stall because of differences of creative opinion, lack of accountability, unclear goals, or the headaches that come with coordinating a team with no budget. So far, I've had help from a few kind members of the local Unity community, but game decisions have all been mine to make, and simpler has been better.
Here's what the player currently experiences:
A math wizard floats around a tree-covered map at the edge of a city, and after clicking on the glowing orbs that spawn around a tree, first grade math questions pop up. When questions are answered correctly, the score increases.
The goals are becoming clearer as the project progresses; I still need to: Input the rest of the math questions by grade, add art assets, create a power-up and experience system, create a dialog and quest system, create a database to log results, and design a visual help interface for students who need assistance with the questions. Presentation of content will be essential to the success of this game, and these may seem like formidable goals, but consider: Three months ago, I knew no C# and had never used Unity3D. I had no levels made, no 3D assets, no idea of how to work with sprite animation.
Now, I have a demo. It's not a complete game, but it's a demo.
From this point, it's about managing the steps and refining the scope. I don't need 15 levels to have a finished game. I don't need 200 power-ups. Five levels and 10 power-ups is fine. Maybe other people will work with me from this point (which adds complexity and non-disclosure agreements, for example); maybe it'll be a largely solo project with community help. The biggest thing is to stay in the moment, to keep it moving forward, and to keep it from crumbling under its own weight.
Like chess, everything has a cost. If I ask someone to help me, I have to make sure we have the same expectations. If I change the scope of the project, I need to balance content with time to create said content. If I create a company, or seek grants, or start a GitHub to back up and version the game, I have to recognize that each of those things requires focused attention.
In chess, I've always found the middlegame to be the most exciting part, because so much can happen. A few clever moves can lead to victory; a careless blunder can remove firepower from the board and lead to a long decline. The clock is ticking.
Erik is a multi-talented game maker from right here in Fargo. Check back for future updates on his upcoming game, Sum.
The fourth Fargo Game Makers meet-up has been announced. Come join us on the 15th for an evening of discussion, sharing and connecting with other people creating games in the Fargo-Moorhead community. All are welcome to come check it out!
"Raven Rock Digital needs testers for a very early alpha build of Lockout! The game is in a early state and is very rough around the edges. The point of this testing is to hunt for bugs in the core gameplay logic and to get feedback on the core gameplay mechanics.
We are looking for 2 testers, anyone who helps us with testing in this early state can choose to be added to the credits of the game, will have our eternal thanks, will be invited for future test phases, and as an added bonus will also get a free copy of the full game once it's completed on the platform of their choosing (PC, Mac, IOS (phone or tablet version), or Android(again phone or tablet version)). For every bug found the tester will also receive an additional copy free upon release for a friend or to have a copy on another platform.
The tester will have access to the development build for one week and then it will become locked out (pun intended). They will also need to sign a non-disclosure agreement before receiving access to the development build." For more Information, check out their page: https://www.facebook.com/RavenRockDigital/timeline Email: RavenRockDigital@gmail.com
This week was an exciting week for FGM, as we saw the Android release of Big 4 Productions Redshift. The game is a mobile action/adventure side-scrolling game that features 20+ levels, multiple weapons to use, a painted art style, and a full length original soundtrack. It's great to see ambitious projects like Redshift come out of Fargo, congratulations to the team at Big 4 Productions!
You can download their game on the Google Play Store here.
And game maker Erik Meyer released a teaser screen of his most recent project, an open world game that uses a math learning mechanic. Erik has an awesome pixel art style that he is slowly implementing to recreate a unique 3D world. We are looking forward to hearing more about this exciting project.
Very excited to have finally launched the Fargo Game Makers Page. We wanted to make sure that every Game Maker could have access to content beyond just our Facebook group, as not everyone uses Facebook.
The main focus of this page will be to share meet-up dates, re-caps of past speakers, and articles on game-related content for the Fargo area.
Also, if you would like to share your studio/game or freelance website, we have space on the sidebar. This would be a cool opportunity to share your hard work, and to show all the cool game related projects happening in Fargo.
Send your site link to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be featured.
Hello everyone! Just wanted to recap our meet-up from this weekend for those who couldn't make it.
We changed up the location to the backroom of Atomic Coffee, where we got to listen to CJ Schnase from Wicked Soul Studios, LLC.
When asked what role he plays in the studio, CJ talked about "wearing
multiple hats", from doing game design, working in Unity, and creating
business contracts with others working on the project.
Currently, he is working on a project to take the Gameboy
game 'Super Mario Land 2' and re-coloring the entire game in Unity for a
potential re-release. He is currently waiting to hear back from
Nintendo to see if his project will be approved for future release.
CJ also shared his expertise on protecting your game ideas by giving us
a rundown of his Non-Disclosure Agreement contract. He shared his NDA
with everyone in the group, so if interested, there is a download link
on the group Facebook page.
Thanks again to all who came out to the meet-up, hope to see everyone next month!