Past Meetup

January Meetup - Game Jams, Humor, & Responsive Game Design

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For our January event, we'll hear from local indie game developer M. James Short, owner of Newmark Software and creator of the brand new iOS title Hyperemesis Pizza. He'll discuss how he draws inspiration from game jams, the role of humor in game design, and his process for turning a game jam entry into a full release. We'll also hear a short talk by Jesse Freeman, Developer Evangelist at Amazon, about responsive game design.

Newmark Software originally began as a way to release Stella's Adventure, a game that M. James Short and his daughter (Stella) started working on in 2013. While that title has not yet been released, Newmark went on to become an outlet for M. James plus contributors to create additional work. Starting in late 2013, he became prolific in the game jam scene, releasing 10 games in eleven months. All together, his titles have been enjoyed by over 50,000 people across all platforms.

Newmark's first commercial release, Hyperemesis Pizza, will be available for iPad in late January 2015. The game makes heavy use of retro graphics and black comedy, putting you in the shoes of a pizza shop owner whose food makes customers.... throw up. The game also features an '80s hard rock soundtrack from local composer and sound designer Dave Shumway.

As a part-time hobbyist developer, M. James strongly believes in the importance of game jams. He'll explain how participating in these events helped him practice finishing games, smooth out his workflow, and experiment with humor in unexpected ways. He'll also discuss his process for turning a game jam entry into a full release, and the value of choosing an art style that can be implemented quickly. Finally, he'll touch on his strategies for balancing indie game dev with a full-time job (and a full-time life), and the challenges of taking small ideas to a mass market.

Before our main talk, we'll also hear a short presentation from Jesse Freeman, Developer Evangelist at Amazon. He'll discuss "responsive game design", which is based on the same concepts used in responsive design for web apps. It includes the following key principles:

• Game graphics and UI support multiple resolutions
• Game mechanics work across multiple types of input
• Publish to multiple platforms with the same codebase
• Saved data is synced across all platforms

During this talk, he’ll cover how to apply this strategy to your own games enabling them to scale across desktop, mobile, tablet and even TV. Jesse has worked in mobile and web development for various companies, including Microsoft, MLB, HBO, the New York Jets, VW, Tommy Hilfiger, Heavy and many more.

Schedule for this event:
• 6:30pm - Arrival and socializing
• 7:00pm - Intro and announcements
• 7:10pm - Jesse Freeman talk
• 7:30pm - Q&A
• 7:40pm - M. James Short talk
• 8:20pm - Q&A
• 8:30pm - More socializing

Supported by Amazon:
Thanks to generous support from Amazon, this event will include free beer and pizza (which we promise won't make you sick). For more info, please visit: