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


September is/was a busy one..!

Phfewew! That is the sound I will make come October first. The third sentence of next month’s Portland Indie Game Squad invite reads, “At this meeting, we’ll be revisiting PIGSquad’s September activities, including the OMSI Mini Maker Faire, XOXO Arcade, the recent Jane McGonigal lecture, the Mechlo/Tonight We Launch chiptune show, the September Art/Code Night, and the Portland Retro Gaming Expo!” That is a lot of stuff for one month.

S’been great, though! Many positive experiences. XOXO Arcade put me in touch with a few indies and their awesomely elusive traveling games (play Joust, BaraBariBall, or Nidhogg if you ever get the chance, as it will probably be the first/last time they’ll even be available for you to play). Disasterpeace performed that evening and we were able to hang out at the arcade afterwards.

That was the same weekend as the OMSI Mini Maker Faire, where PIGSquad had a table featuring numerous members’ projects. We were written up by Geek Dad here and were able to generate lots of interest for local games, chiptune music, games education, and Yono – a collaborative pixel art project currently in its Kickstarter phase! My personal favorite part of the exhibition was PIGSquad’s make-your-own trading cards, which ended up being hilariousss. The event as a whole also went much better than any other exhibition I’ve ever planned; it was a phenomenal experience to work with such organized, enthusiastic, and responsible members. We were pitching each others’ projects, had a great looking setup, and managed to provide something for everyone. Great experience.

And from that, we march forward to the Portland Retro Gaming Expo this coming weekend after a PIGSquad Art/Code Night, where we have more games and game-related projects to show off to a more focused crowd. Got a banner on order and contingency plans at the ready after having experienced our weekend at the OMSI Mini Maker Faire; we’re gonna fly through this one (NOTE: JOKE. WHEN PIGS FLY. Y’KNOW?).

Just uploaded some great chiptune stuff from the Chipworm Birthday House Show this past weekend onto YouTube as well. Watch the below video and click on the YouTube link for two more performances on my channel!

Soyah, damn. Lots of stuff going on; next month seems like it’ll be slow in comparison, though we’re planning a Game Jam and panel discussion that will fit into each other and launch a greater effort to support the game development movement here in Portland. Talkin’ big stuff. I’ll be glad to isolate something like that and sanction it to its own month.


PAX Prime 2012

Man, PAX was a blast this year. I met so many great people, there were about 25 PIGSquad members present, I was actually super excited for some upcoming games thanks to the Megabooth, and I’m just all-around so encouraged by the international indie community and its patrons.

Now that I’m back in Portland, I’m having a hard time emulating that enthusiasm because this area has its work cut out for it. I don’t know what it’s like in Austin, Seattle, San Fran, New York, or other gamedev communities in the states or worldwide because I haven’t spent a worthy amount of time in those environments, but man, it’s been so weird to completely immerse myself in the thing I love most and then go back to a place where people couldn’t care less about game development, aren’t as enthusiastic about the medium but still name it their primary interest, or try to humor me without realizing the massive amounts of enthusiasm that keep people going in the scene. I felt so at home this past weekend, and I really want to create a similarly welcoming environment in Portland so that home isn’t impossible to achieve. And I feel that people with similar amounts of enthusiasm experience what I do upon returning to their more developed game communities even, which I guess is the long way of saying that moving is dumb and that I’m not going to do it.

ThAt BeInG sAiD/lOnG sToRy ShOrT, it’s weird to come home to worrisome things happening with regard to events like XOXO Arcade, the OMSI Mini Maker Faire (which you should go to), and a general PIGSquad meeting after having had a perfectly executed – and in some cases, serendipitous – weekend in the midst of so many awesome people and projects. That just sets a standard, though, and I’m in it for the long haul!

So dang, lots of cool stuff happened. The above is a group photo which a surprising amount of people made it to despite so many panels, tournaments, and dinner timez taking place then; you can see that a whole bunch of people wore the PIGSquad @ PAX 2012 shirt, which is awesome! I think everyone had a great time, and there were many reports of people asking about the group. I spoke with numerous developers and community organizers in Seattle who were interested in collaborating on “local” northwest events, which is great because I want to hop in at every turn! Also got to talk to some people about the details involved in volunteering/attending GDC and other conventions of a similar PAX-ilk, so I’ll be capitalizing on those opportunities when they arise, too!

Also finally got to meet Ashley Zeldin and John Nesky in person! I had been speaking with John for awhile regarding a Beep Box-related project and met Ashley through him, following their Game Jam games and IGDA endeavors since on Twitter and via other means. They’re so so great, and Ashley helped inspire me to look into the idea of hosting a panel on community organizing next year at PAX (which I believe the convention sorely needs)! Can’t wait until we can hang out next, and we’re already talking about ways to help each other promote projects like PIGSquad, Beep Box, games, and more..!

Had the pleasure of meeting developers from Octodad, Spry fox, Bootsnake, Mojang, and Vlambeer as well! Most everyone was super nice and wanted to talk about their games, which is great, because I had a lot to tell them! I’d have to say that I’m most excited for LUFTRAUSER and Leap Day; two beautiful (and totally different) games that are right up my alley. Look into them when you get the chance; they’re the first games that’ve gotten me excited to sit down and play something in awhile!

So yeah, that’s a sum up of my PAX. A super great time leaving me lusting for more upon returning home. But that’s good; I’m stoked to play the networking game (hate that word, though), am realizing lots about how to best help local devs and support our own community, have lots of people to call on for advice/help/collaboration, witnessed a huge boost in motivation to continue work on my own games, and gained a more positive outlook on the future of my personal interactions with game developers, game communities, and even non-game entities.

Here’s to friends, storytelling, and feeling at home!

Lots of PIGSquad news as of yesterday! GeekOutTourney/GGJ2013/Orycon/DK

Pfwhewph, a bunch of stuff is going on!

First off, I’ve been having some very interesting talks with people who are pursuing the prospect of hosting community art centers focusing on “younger” art (AKA all of the things that I do/love), including electronic music, videogame education, indie film stuff, zines/comics, etcetcetc. Met with a current leader of a Clackamas County arts organization to speak about some ideas, and I’m just finding that more and more people are in support (especially in light of Clackamas County budget cuts regarding art in schools paired with its lack of art/community centers in comparison to Multnomah County, the lack of leadership accountability in sooo many networking organizations that I’ve participated in and researched, and the time and place that we’re experiencing economy/technology/demographic-wise). I’m really excited to see where this talk goes when someone is ready to make a move – this idea has only been around in my head for the past two weeks, so I’m taking it slow and considering everything before jumping into anything.

In other news, I interacted with a whole bunch’a PIGSquad stuff yesterday. We connected with the founder of ChickTech to see how PIGSquad could help with regard to their women in technology workshop in January, spoke with DJ Switch of the Dangerous Kids Podcast to get in on hosting a videogame tournament at the 1.337 year anniversary of Geek Out @ The Space Room on July 27th, started talking about hosting Global Game Jam 2013 next year, and reserved a table at Oregon’s science fiction convention “Orycon” for November. tHaT iS a LoT oF sTuFf.

And speaking of Dangerous Kids, our member Rob was on their podcast the other night after speaking with them about his current podcast beta testing for a PIGSquad podcast! You can listen to the Dangerous Kids PIGSquad Cast here, and Rob’s PIGSquad PIGCast will be leaving beta in the coming months!

I also made these special little animations just for you. They love you so much!

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!

Dataport 12/2011

I went to December’s Dataport chiptune show last night at the Backspace Cafe and had a great time – Dakota Clark opened and Cheap Dinosaurs/Animal Style closed out after that. In addition to having a good time with friends, I was really blown away by a few aspects of the show… Dakota’s act was very different from what I had seen at Micropalooza this year. Quite a few of the songs in his set focused on building discordance and then resolving quick in a climax every measure, which I was a huuuge fan of. Emotional storytelling through music at its finest. I was pissed that I didn’t get video of his second song specifically, but ah, well. I’ll probably ask him to come play for PIGSquad’s Porkland Chiptune show as Ovenrake come January…

Cheap Dinosaurs and Animal Style put on a great show as well. Their second act featured a glitchnes esque display that I hadn’t seen before, but looks like a New York pulsewavey kinda thing; I was a fan of the “strobe” option. Happened to record the entirety of one of two of my favorite songs of their set:

And yeah, good night. Saw some great music, talked to a lot of good friends, didn’t blow my ears out cuz’a earplugs, and didn’t have to pay for parking. Propz to 2PP, ajumpsbshoots, mechlo, and greightbit!

Saw the Longshots at the Tonic Lounge Tonight

Saw my friend Eric play saxy sax at the Tonic Lounge tonight with his band “The Longshots.” They’re really great live – if you’re in or around Eugene/Portland, see them next time they’re in town, and give ’em a like on Facebook in the meantime.

Last time he was in town, Eric and I began working on a sax/accordion duet demo that we plan to put in front of game devs. It’s an odd aesthetic, but something we’re both fans of. I feel like a good sidescroller or point ‘n click could come out of it. Even if a game wasn’t made around dem choons, it’s good to play music with Eric again; we used to play together in highschool in a band called The Chapstick Experiment, which (d)evolved into Dry Lips towards the end of good ol’ band times. We threw stuff on Last.fm awhile ago, but I’m not sure we have any of our old songs up for free download. You can listen to segments of songs here, at least.