A very merry PIGSquadsmas

Just posted the events that I’ll be hosting for the Portland Indie Game Squad‘s 2012 December!

First off, there’s our open-forum general meeting, at which attendees will be having in-person discussion about upcoming events, Global Game Jam 2013, our own projects, and anything else that needs to be brought up indie-games-wise.

The next evening, we’ll be having another boardgame night! Our first one was held last Monday, and everyone had a blast – about 25 people attended and brought about eight games in addition to the selection that The Side Door had already provided, there’s a great food and drink selection at the venue, and Mondays are dead so we almost had the place to ourselves! I also brought my first-person-shooter boardgame – FiercePeg Shootout – which I’ll be testing again at this upcoming boardgame night after having fixed a few mechanics from last week!

The Monday after, we’ll be revisiting The Side Door for our first ever half-jam! I had been considering whether December should entail a PIGSquad-hosted movie night, a pitch party, or a number of other evening-long events, but I was most excited by my idea of a half-jam, which is a scaled-down game jam where participants focus on concept work to bring a game’s basic structure to fruition, exploring gameplay mechanics, concept art, story, mood, scope, and marketing in a more rudimentary brainstorming setting, aiming to come up with a design document rather than a full game. It’ll be a lot less of a time investment, a lot less trouble for me to find a venue, and a lot less technical than a full-fledged jam, so I hope a lot of people of varying skill levels can make it and come up with some awesome game ideas!

See you soon, I guess ;D


February 2012 PIGSquad Meeting

Our monthly PIGSquad general meeting was held last night! 20 people showed up, which was perfect for our varied agenda; we discussed Global Game Jam retrospectives, our Porkland Chiptune show coming up on the 24th at the Backspace Cafe, organizing art/coding nights, participating in a user-generated conference called Barcamp, and a bunch of projects that everyone’s been working on!

It was great to hear opinions on how the GGJ could have been better run – I felt that everything was executed appropriately, but there’s always room for improvement! There were lots of interesting points about the schedule for the first hour and a half of the Jam, mostly revolving around when the prompt was delivered in relation to when teams formed, when the keynote was shown, etc. There were also numerous critiques about the IGDA’s website, which I agree should be changed for those registering, those showcasing their games, those trying to have their games discovered, and the like. People were interested in playing everyone’s games at the end of the Jam as well, but everyone was super ready to vacate after 48 hours in the same building, so we’ll be saving that for the postmortem (the date/location of which is still TBA)! Perhaps a few things will be different when we do our next PIGJam in April.

Details about the Porkland Chiptune show will be out soon, I’m planning on getting everyone together for a art/coding hangout at the NW Lucky Lab late next week, and I’m continually trying to get feedback on the PIGSquad forums regarding the arcade cabinet we’re looking to construct and put in Ground Kontrol (if you have any opinions on that, please send ’em our way). So yah, things are lookin’ good! Might also be worth mentioning that a large group of us hung around the meeting location to talk until about 10:30pm (meeting starts at 7); it’s great to know that everyone’s been having a great time with each other!

I’ve also gotten started on a video blog that I hope to start releasing every MWF, titled, “So There’s This Game.” It’s based on the fun we had at GGJ with videogamena.me. I’ll post when done!

Global Game Jam 2012

I hosted Global Game Jam 2012 this past weekend! The event entails a race against a 48-hour clock, where teams of game developers must make a game based on a universal theme by the end of the period. This one’s “global” because 11,247 people participated in 244 locations around the world on the same weekend and following the same prompt! Our local Portland event hosted 41 participants, who formed 9 teams and created 6 playable games! Everyone had a great time, as is expected (/required) of any Jam, and I’m looking forward to GGJ13 as well as a Portland Indie Game Jam I hope to host in April!

The weekend went as follows:

  • Introductions/Icebreaker Activity/Team Formation/Keynote Video
  • Prompt Delivery
  • Brainstorming/Concept
  • Design
  • Playable Version
  • Polish
  • Upload

The later steps had recommended deadlines, which all of the teams more or less followed, but everyone had to go through a similar process to be able to get a cohesive, complete, and working game by the end of these 48 hours of madness (which was honestly cut a bit short due to my being late and the IGDA’s requirement that people upload a bit earlier).

The prompt ^^^

An interpretation of the prompt ^^^ (thumbs fucking up)

My personal experience of the Jam was great. The past month or so was a little cray because I had to do my best to pump us up to our 50 person capacity, coordinate building dealz with the Art Institute and volunteers with the ACM SIGGRAPH, and sift through not-so-efficient communication methods that were provided by the International Game Developers Association, but everything worked out very well during the actual event. I guess my only huge complaint about that last ordeal was the promise that GGJ hosts would receive the keynote video as well as the prompt the Sunday before the Jam (five days), and, after frantically searching for it in the organization’s communication board, I realized it hadn’t even been sent out until 10:30pm the night before. So that was a relief.

But yeah, what a great weekend. I always get super inspired when I’m around a large group of people who pride themselves in creativity and problem solving, and I was completely immersed in these great minds’ entire weekend – a few people asked me about what I actually did, since I wasn’t allowed to make a game due to seeing the prompt ahead of time, and I had ended up just walking around and hanging out with teams the whole time (minus a few alonetimes on the intarwebs). By the time I had spent 15 minutes with each team, it had been an hour and a half since visiting the first one, so I’d start the cycle over again. It was so great to see art, gameplay, code, music, teams, and ideas grow, and knowing that at least 20 people were awake and working at any given time makes a Jam like this so communal and enveloping. I can’t wait for some of my other projects to start getting off the ground, because working with some of these people is half the fun.

So there’s having a good time with everyone, getting swarmed with ideas, and having had the honor to host the Global Gatdam Game Jam, but I honestly couldn’t really name any special milestones that happened at any specific time… I know I cheated and got six hours of sleep on the first “night” and four on the second, I beat my high score in Super Crate Box, we went out for sushi after everything was over, one team fell apart/tears fell hard/they got back together and made a game, SIGGRAPH came in for interviews and brought food, I had a great idea for a video blog, I worked on some Space Eulogy stuff, we went out for pizza at one point, a game developer from Norway stopped by, and… some other stuff. I’m not necessarily sure as to the order in which this took place, but here’s to Game Jams!

Please click on some of the image links to see what they’re all about! You can also view all of the game projects produced at the Portland site by looking under “Game Projects” on the right-hand side of our site’s page, and we’ll be hosting an official, open-to-the-public post-mortem event at the Art Institute sometime in the near future. Show these games some love!

January 2012 PIGSquad Meeting

Quick post before bed. The PIGSquad meeting to precede the fast upcoming Global Game Jam 2012 had much to do with this weekend – we had quite a few new people show up to the meeting to ask about some Jam logistics, and I got some great feedback. Members are very interested in having suggested deadlines for the event, I was told to look out for data loss issues on the Art Institute’s computers, and there was a good point brought up about the resources necessary for the brainstorming portion of the first night (I’m not sure there’s as much whiteboard space as there was at the Halloween PIGJam). As of RIGHT NOW, there are 51 Jammers registered, and I have yet to make the suggested schedule for the weekend, solidify ideas for icebreaker activities at the beginning of the night, coordinate food help, figure out the keynote video, and figure out the upload process. Oof.

In other news, I’ve been making great progress on the Space Funeral project, and I still need to report in on how the Failsafe Moving Party went, which was held the same night as THIS VERY PIGSQUAD MEETING (dun dun DUN). More to come lata, I g2g2sleep.

Stoked for the Failsafe Moving Party and PIGSquad Stuff!

Whoa man! Today’s got me stoked; I’ve been slinging links left ‘n right for the Failsafe Moving Party, the Global Game Jam, and the first PIGSquad meeting we will’ve had in a month and a half!

Failsafe’s hopefully gonna turn out to be insane (cray, at the very least). DJs Downpour and Maltron will be killing it with a regular EDM Sunday at Pioneer Pub, and Logan and I are hoping to pull in the entirety of Oregon City to raise a ruckus. We’re throwing out free shirts, buying people drinks, making it rain (Cash/Stickers/Pokemon cards), and distributing other various goodies all night. We’ve got a dance party at 10. We’ll be wearing sunglasses at night. It’ll be off the Hook. We’re all ready to party, but are YOU? I want everyone I know to spread this link around as much as they can so that >329402305 people show up. The fate of Failsafe (Fatesafe) depends on it.

And this whole deal is taking place right after this month’s PIGSquad meeting, at which we’ll be talking a lot about the Global Game Jam! I juuust responded to a couple of e-mails regarding the Jam, and we’ve got about 33 participants signed up already! Our max is approx. 50, so if you’re lookin’ to Jam and Jam hard, you best register, gameboy!

WAT an excellent month.

Joust & GGJ

Straight to the good stuff: “Johann Sebastian Joust” was introduced to quite a few of us at the previous PIGSquad meeting, and we were able to play for awhile when we were through with businessy stuff. I’ve been super stoked on posting video for it, but the game’s unreleased and I was told to hush until the time was right. Whelp, time’s right. Here’re some s00per classic moments from last month’s meeting!

Also, I’ve opened up registration for the Portland’s faction of Global Game Jam 2012, which I was asked to run after having led the 2011 Halloween PIGJam. For those unaware, a Game Jam challenges developers to create a playable game within a 48 hour period based on a prompt delivered at the beginning of said 48 hour period. After having run a PIGSquad specific one in Halloween, Corvus Elrod of PAGDIG (Portland’s IGDA sect) asked me to take over this year’s GGJ, so I’ll be hosting at the Art Institute between January 27th and January 29th! If you’re interested in participating in GGJ this year, follow these instructions to register! I’d also appreciate help, so comment on this post or get in touch with me otherwise if you’d like to help out in any way!