- Game Dev Open Mic Night - Share insights, find collaborators, and get feedback!
For our October meetup, we're again opening up the floor for people to share game dev tips, get feedback, and more! OPEN MIC: The "open mic" portion of the night will feature informal talks about game dev issues, each lasting from 5-15 minutes. If you'd like to present, please arrive by 6:30 and find Todd to get on the list! Scheduled talks include: ▶︎ Andre Korenak and Carlin Castle will discuss Hextus, a mobile VR game they built for Google Cardboard / Daydream. They'll share details about their development pipeline and challenges they encountered while creating this atmospheric sandbox title. ▶︎ Brandon Wallace and Drew O'Meara are developing a secure communications platform that is distributed, offline first, and highly pluggable. They'll discuss how they're using Unity for the user interface of this tool, along with their broader plans. ▶︎ Justen Andrews and John Henderson will talk about the HOFT Institute's Game Lab, and what they've been up to for the past year at this local educational program focused on game development. PLAYTESTING: If you'd like to show off your work-in-progress game through hands-on playtesting, please bring your game on a device (tablet, laptop, or phone) so folks can get some time with it before and after the talks. EVERYONE ELSE: Those not presenting will have the opportunity to offer feedback, learn useful tips & tricks, discover collaboration opportunities, discuss other developers' challenges, and learn about important trends. Don't miss an exciting night with fast-paced presentations and lots of room for discussion! SCHEDULE: • 6:30pm - Arrival and socializing • 7:00pm - Intro and announcements • 7:10pm - Short presentations + audience Q&A • 8:15pm - More socializing + playtesting
- Designing for augmented reality w/ Lucas Martell of Mighty Coconut
For our June meetup, we're thrilled to feature Lucas Martell, owner of VFX and animation studio Mighty Coconut. His company recently released two augmented reality games for mobile devices. Lucas will discuss the creative process behind these titles, along with the challenges of designing, writing, and creating art for AR. (Please Note: This event was rescheduled from April.) ABOUT MIGHT COCONUT: Lucas has worked as a VFX artist and director for over 15 years. In 2014, he co-founded Mighty Coconut. The company has produced visual effects work for a range of clients, spanning TV commercials, feature films, and more. They've also created a number of original animated shorts and episodic series, including the viral hit "Pigeon: Impossible" (currently being adapted by Fox Entertainment into a feature film starring Will Smith). More info here: http://www.mightycoconut.com/ ABOUT 57° NORTH: In late 2017, Mighty Coconut released their first game, called 57° North. It follows two cousins shipwrecked on a remote island in Alaska. The player must help them survive, escape wild animals, and solve an unfolding mystery. The game is controlled by manipulating the Merge Cube (a block with printed patterns on each side that comes alive with interactive experiences when viewed through a smartphone's camera). Each choice is part of a branching storyline featuring lush animation and haunting music. More about the game here: http://www.mightycoconut.com/57north ABOUT LASER MAZER: In 2018, Mighty Coconut released another game, this one called Laser Mazer. Using augmented reality on mobile devices, it encourages players to get outside and play by moving around in the real world. Players must walk, dodge, crouch, hide, dance, and squeeze their way past deadly lasers in a virtual maze. The maze in the game is mapped onto a real-world setting, which encourages engagement with the physical world, as well as fun social interaction. More info here: https://mightycoconut.com/lasermazer/ ABOUT THE TALK: For his talk, Lucas will do a walkthrough of the production cycle for both games. He'll focus on how they used AR to tell a compelling story, and the challenges of narrative design, level design, writing content, creating art, and composing music for these unique game experiences. Don't miss what promises to be an enlightening event! SCHEDULE: • 6:30pm - Arrival and socializing • 7:00pm - Intro and announcements • 7:10pm - Lucas Martell talk • 8:10pm - More socializing
- Game Dev Open Mic Night - Share insights, find collaborators, and get feedback!
For our first meetup of 2018, we're once again opening up the floor for group members to share game dev tips, get feedback, and more! OPEN MIC: Want to share a game dev insight, get feedback on a project, find collaborators, or provide commentary on an industry trend? The "open mic" portion of the night will feature informal talks about game dev issues, each lasting from 5-15 minutes. If you'd like to present, please arrive by 6:30pm and find Todd to get on the list. Scheduled talks include: • Michael Lubker will discuss creating commercially releasable games in a short timeframe. His team is currently wrapping development on a Metroidvania-style game with an extremely short dev cycle. More info here: http://discord.gg/4pCTMkn • Tyler Coleman of Retora Games will discuss how his company's latest title handles F2P without consumable purchases, and how this has effected the product and development. More info here: http://www.retoragames.com/ • Finn Staber will discuss something awesome (topic TBD). More about Finn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/finn3d/ PLAYTESTING: Want to show off your work-in-progress game through hands-on playtesting? This is a great way to get feedback! If interested, please bring your game on a device (tablet, laptop, or phone) so folks can get some hands-on time with it before and after the talks. EVERYONE ELSE: For those not presenting, you'll have opportunities to offer feedback, learn useful tips & tricks, discover collaboration opportunities, discuss other developers' challenges, and hear about important trends. Don't miss an exciting night with fast-paced presentations and lots of opportunity for discussion! SCHEDULE: • 6:30pm - Arrival and socializing • 7:00pm - Intro and announcements • 7:10pm - Short presentations + audience Q&A • 8:15pm - More socializing + playtesting
- Managing Risk in Indie Game Dev – With Paul Tozour of Mothership Entertainment
For our October event, we'll hear from Paul Tozour of Mothership Entertainment, creators of the new sci-fi city-builder Aven Colony. He'll discuss ideas for assessing and managing risk in game dev projects. Paul has a long history in game dev, having worked in the industry for over 20 years. Earlier in his career, he served as an AI developer on titles like MechWarrior 4 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MechWarrior_4:_Vengeance) and Deus Ex 2 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_Ex:_Invisible_War). After that, he spent several years at Retro Studios working as a Senior Engineer on Metroid Prime 2 and 3 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metroid_Prime:_Trilogy). In 2009, Paul decided to pursue a technology management MSE degree from the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School of Business. His goal was to learn more about how to effectively manage the development process for software, in order to bring more rigor and excellence to the business side of game dev. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nXv_NT6Auo In 2013, he cofounded Mothership Entertainment, a small team of four veteran developers in Austin, to bring this wisdom to bear in the creation of new games. Their first title is Aven Colony (http://avencolony.com/), an ambitious science-fiction city-builder set on an alien world. It charges the player with the task of building a tiny, vulnerable colony into a huge, sprawling, epic metropolis while dealing with alien fungus infections, lightning storms, toxic gas eruptions, and all the challenges of surviving on an alien planet. It was released for PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4 in July 2017. For his talk, Paul will discuss the topic of risk in game development and some ideas for assessing and mitigating risk. He'll also cover Aven Colony and Mothership's approach to risk during development and some of what the team learned along the way. Don't miss these valuable lessons from an industry veteran with a totally unique perspective! Bonus Giveaway: Paul be giving out a limited number of Xbox and PS4 versions of the game. Schedule for this event: • 6:30pm - Arrival and socializing • 7:00pm - Intro and announcements • 7:10pm - Paul Tozour talk • 8:00pm - Q&A • 8:20pm - More socializing
- Game Dev Open Mic Night - Share insights, find collaborators, and get feedback!
After a long break (due to paternity leave), we're finally back with another event! For our July meetup, we're opening up the floor for group members to share game dev tips, get feedback, and more! Open Mic Night Do you have a game dev insight you'd like to share? Want to get feedback on a game project? Looking for collaborators and a chance to pitch your game to the group? Interested in providing commentary on a game dev trend? The "open mic" portion of the night will feature informal talks about game dev issues, each lasting from 5-15 minutes. Scheduled talks include one from Sam Potasznik of Wide Open Games (https://www.wideopengames.com/). He'll share tips for how to start thinking of your small games as a business. Other folks interested in speaking should come prepared to chime in! Feedback via Playtesting Want to show off your work-in-progress game through hands-on playtesting? We're happy to set up a few stations and let people circulate around the room to play different projects. This will be a great way to get valuable feedback! If interested, please bring your game on a device (tablet, laptop, or phone) so folks can get some hands-on time with it. Everyone Else For those not presenting, you'll have many opportunities to offer feedback, learn useful tips & tricks, discover collaboration opportunities, discuss other developers' challenges, and learn about trends in the indie & mobile game markets. Don't miss an exciting night with fast-paced presentations and lots of freewheeling discussion! Schedule For Event • 6:30pm - Arrival and socializing • 7:00pm - Intro and announcements • 7:10pm - Attendees circulate + playtest the games • 7:40pm - Short presentations + audience Q&A • 8:45pm - More socializing
- Building a Successful Indie Studio – With BlankMediaGames Founders
For our March event, we're featuring the founders of BlankMediaGames, a successful Austin indie studio and creators of the quirky online title Town of Salem. They'll discuss crowdfunding, game design, marketing, and growing your customer base. Town of Salem is online multiplayer game inspired by the party game Mafia and the Salem witch trials. It challenges players on their ability to convincingly lie and detect when other players are lying. Combining elements of cooperative and competitive social interaction, the game pairs chat-based gameplay and dark themes (murder, deception, lying and mob hysteria) with light-hearted, approachable animation. BlankMediaGames was founded by Josh Brittain and Blake Burns in 2014. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Town of Salem launched for web browsers later that year. Since then, the game has expanded to various platforms, including Steam and mobile devices, eventually growing to reach a million players every month. In 2016, the team raised nearly $400k via Kickstarter for a card game version of Town of Salem. As of 2017, BlankMediaGames is an 8-person team and going strong. It's not easy to start and grow a thriving indie studio over several years, and these guys have defied the odds! They'll share lessons learned and tips for business and creative success. Don't miss out on these valuable insights! Schedule for this event: • 6:30pm - Arrival and socializing • 7:00pm - Intro and announcements • 7:10pm - BlankMediaGames talk • 8:00pm - Q&A • 8:20pm - More socializing
- Integrating Twitch With Your Game (through live-streaming, chat bots, and more!)
Our first event of 2017 will feature a talk by Dallas Tester, Developer Programs Manager at Twitch. He'll share tips and ideas for how to integrate the popular live-streaming platform into your game. JUST ADDED: Local game dev Michael Molinari will give a short presentation on his recent game, which leveraged Twitch integration in a highly creative manner. More info below. Over the last several years, live-streaming has become a critical piece of the gaming ecosystem. It's an effective tool for promoting new titles and it opens up a range of exciting new game design opportunities. Of course, Twitch has been the major catalyst in helping to popularize live-streaming, and it remains the dominant player in the space. Dallas Tester, Developer Programs Manager at Twitch, will discuss options for integrating Twitch with your game. He'll provide a high-level overview of the Twitch platform for developers, including Identity, the REST API, chat bots, video embeds, and more. Michael Molinari is a game developer from Austin with 16 years of experience. After working at Namco Bandai as an artist, he went on to make games independently, receiving awards for his experimental releases Soundodger (http://www.soundodger.com/) and Choice Chamber (http://choicechamber.com/). He has also taken part in dozens of shorter game jams, creating memorable experiences through detailed visuals and dreamlike worlds. In Choice Chamber, Michael used Twitch integration to create a totally unique play experience. The game is designed to be live-streamed and viewers are encouraged to participate by typing into the chat box. A series of polls asks viewers to vote on questions that alter the game's progression in real-time, such as triggering special events, helping the player, or presenting additional challenges. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbjHcqxEu_U Any indie developer building a game in 2017 should at least consider whether live-streaming makes sense for their title. These talks will help you better understand the options available and evaluate whether your game is a good candidate to incorporate these features. Don't miss it! Schedule for this event: • 6:30pm - Arrival and socializing • 7:00pm - Intro and announcements • 7:10pm - Dallas Tester talk • 8:00pm - Q&A • 8:20pm - More socializing Supported by Twitch: Thanks to support from Twitch, this month's meetup will include free pizza and beer (and maybe a special surprise sweet treat)! Twitch is a social video platform upon which game creators can build businesses. Each day, close to 10 million visitors gather to watch and talk about video games with more than 2 million streamers. Build tools and integrations to grow your game with the millions of people on Twitch. Visit dev.twitch.tv (http://dev.twitch.tv/) to learn more.
- Game Dev Holiday Party + Open Mic Night!
For our December event, we're having a holiday party! Instead of a formal presentation, we'll have optional "open mic" intros, holiday snacks, and lots of time to socialize. Here's the schedule and details... 7:00pm - Arrival, Socializing, and Snacks Rather than pizza, we'll have a selection of holiday snacks available (both salty and sweet). And as usual, there will be refreshments on hand. 7:30pm - Short "Open Mic" Introductions We'll go around the room and let everyone share something with the group. This won't involve standing in front or preparing slides. Also, it's totally optional! But if you want to share, here's some stuff you could talk about: • Who you are / What you do • Your recent or current game projects • A quick game development tip or trick • Notable mobile or indie games you've played lately • Anything you'd like to see addressed in future events • Types of people you'd like to meet for collaboration 8:15pm - More Socializing We'll leave plenty of time at the end to hang out and meet fellow game devs. This is your chance to ask folks to elaborate on whatever they shared in the "open mic" portion!
- Looty Dungeon Post-Mortem – With Jake Sawyer & Saam Pahlavan of Taco Illuminati
For our October event, come hear Jake Sawyer & Saam Pahlavan of local indie game studio Taco Illuminati. They'll share lessons learned from the development and release of their critically acclaimed mobile game Looty Dungeon. Taco Illuminati was formed in 2015 when Jake Sawyer, Saam Pahlavan, and Damon Chandler joined forces to create an indie game studio. Jake had previously worked as an interactive designer at various software companies. Saam had worked as a designer at Spacetime Studios and released an indie game called Disorder (http://www.meetup.com/atx-mobile-game-devs/events/221858306/). And Damon had worked at various companies as a UI/UX designer, developer, and technical artist, along with creating an indie game called RGB (http://bigboomgames.com/rgb.html). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woznPKp1oos Looty Dungeon is inspired by the art style of Crossy Road, but applies that concept to a totally different genre. The game is an endless dungeon crawler, released first on iOS (and later on Android). The user can play as dozens of unique characters with their own abilities and play styles, battle monsters and bosses, and explore multiple environments. For their talk, Jake and Saam will conduct a port-mortem on their game's development and release. They'll especially focus on monetization and retention mechanics, as they believe a greater understanding of this topic could have vastly improved their game's success. (Looty Dungeon was featured by Apple, but that didn't necessarily make the game hugely profitable.) Don't miss what will surely be an informative discussion! Schedule for this event: • 6:30pm - Arrival and socializing • 7:00pm - Intro and announcements • 7:10pm - Taco Illuminati talk • 8:00pm - Q&A • 8:20pm - More socializing