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Even though we're more than capable of making our own website from scratch, we decided that our time would be better spent making games, not making websites!
News and Updates
It's time for this year's first meeting!!
Our first meeting is going to be tomorrow (Monday) from 5-6pm in the IEEE room (ECE building, room 105). Normally, we hold our meetings in the Gould-Simpson building, but it's taking much longer to reserve a room than I expected.
This meeting will introduce new members to the club and all of the events that we're going to do this year. We'll also spend some time talking about projects, both the ongoing ones and the future projects that many members will inevitably want to start.
Below is a map, in case you need help finding the Electrical and Computer Engineering building:
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The first meeting went great! Unfortunately, we couldn't film it, because OSCR is making us go through some two-day process before we can rent one of their cameras again.
After introductions and general information about the club, we spent most of the meeting talking about the different game projects that we're working on right now, the mistakes and horror stories of some of our past projects, and general advice for those wishing to start a new project. It was a really great discussion.
There were about 15 people there, but I imagine we probably would've had more if ACM hadn't stolen some of our members, if we had decided on a room early enough to have advertise in some of the weekly emails, and if the club fair wasn't cancelled. And maybe if we had pizza.
We won't have a meeting next week because of Labor Day. But we will have a Game Night on the Friday after Labor Day. It's going to be in the same room as today's meeting, and we'll post more information about it as the date approaches.
We'll have our next regular meeting on Monday, September 10th, and I might give a talk about prototyping and the iterative development process. Dylan will also give a talk, but I'm not sure if he's decided on what exactly it'll be about yet.
Because today's meeting went so well, we decided to start holding our regular meetings in the IEEE room from now on. The room is great for holding club meetings, because unlike a classroom, it feels much more natural to have group discussions in there. It's also large enough that we don't feel crowded in there, as with our previous room.
It's time to pick our meeting times for next semester! Everyone needs to fill out this Doodle Poll by checking every time slot in which you'll probably be available for a meeting. We'll then use the final results to pick the time that works best for the most number of people, and if you can't make it to the meetings, then you'll at least be able to watch them on YouTube.
Even though the time slots in this poll are only half-hours, remember that we'll need a full hour for the meetings. If you plan to attend ACM meetings next semester, I think they're planning to continue their "Mondays from 6-7" schedule that they had last year.
Doodle Poll: http://doodle.com/h8mivsd97hy8z3zi
Here are the links to the songs played before the meeting started:
Yamato Spear (Mega Man 8 remix)
Bubble Junkie (Sonic the Hedgehog remix)
On the Highway (Mega Man X remix)
Today, I we did something unprecedented: we talked about programming! We've tended to avoid this topic because we don't want people to think that our club is all about programming, which is a common assumption that people make when they learn about us.
I personally think this was one of our best meetings yet, just because of the variety of topics that we were able to cover within the hour. I started the meeting with a talk about Object-Oriented Programming, which was then followed by Dylan's talk about the interesting problems behind mixing artificial intelligence with 3D animations. After that we looked for other things to do, so we talked about Pac-Man for a bit, before eventually coming back to talking about AI.
We started the meeting with a quick presentation from Taylor Hartmann, who was advertising the Lenevo Student Tech Trip Sweepstakes, which offers students a free, all-expenses paid trip to visit Intel, Lenevo, and a third unknown tech company (apparently it's supposed to be a surprise). It looks like a great opportunity for programmers and engineers.
Today we tried to revive the group game analysis idea, but from a different direction. Rather than centering the discussion around specific games, we tried centering it around specific topics. Some of the topics we looked at during the meeting were: multiplayer games, narrative in games, and the club itself.
Whether or not this approach was actually a good idea is debatable. I liked how the conversation felt much more alive than last time, since we weren't distracted by the task of playing (and trying to beat) the games that we were supposed to be analyzing. Unfortunately, the idea of sitting around talking about stuff just doesn't seem like a very good way to be spending the club meetings. Maybe we should just save these group game analysis discussions for the game nights.
We are holding our next game night on Friday, March 23rd, 2011! Be there!
As usual, it will be held in the IEEE room, which is in the ECE building, room 105, and it'll start at around 5:00pm. If you have any trouble finding the room or getting in, please call the room directly at 520-626-7324.
More information can be found on the club listserv.
This week, those of us who attended the Game Developers Conference talked about how awesome it was and what we learned.
Tyler Wallace, who got accepted into the Conference Associate volunteer program, described it as one of the best things he's ever done. Tyler May, who used a scholarship to pay for an All-Access Pass, said it was tons of fun and an incredible learning experience. Meanwhile, I got the Expo Pass, which focuses more on networking than attending talks and sessions, but I still managed to find a way to learn new things by playing lots of games while talking to the people who made them.
While attending the conference, Tyler May and I decided that we wanted to start a game project to enter it into next year's Independent Games Festival. This might sound like an impulsive idea, but we've actually put a lot of thought into this, and we are very serious about this project. Now we are looking for dedicated people to join our team! If you're interested, click here for more information.
Given that it was the Monday before Spring Break, as well as the week of the Game Developers Conference, this week's meeting had an alarmingly low turnout. Fortunately, we were filming everything, so we had a virtual audience of unknown size to keep us company.
This week, Zuoming gave a presentation on Cave Story. We analyzed the game while comparing both the original and the recent re-release.
Meanwhile, two of our members were already in San Fransisco, attending the Game Developers Conference. I would soon join them on Wednesday, and that's partly why I'm posting this update almost a week late. After the break is over, we'll dedicate the next meeting to talking about how awesome GDC was.
Today, Tyler Wallace gave a presentation about Civilization V, and the presentation files are attached at the bottom of this post.
We had about 20 minutes left after the presentation, so we played The Cat and the Coup, an artsy "documentary" game about Mohammed Mossadegh, who was the Prime Minister of Iran during the early 1950's.
Here are the links to the songs played before the meeting:
Midna's Lament - The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Leon's Theme - F-Zero GX
Angel Island Zone (Act 1) - Sonic the Hedgehog 3
This week was the first part of my series of presentations on how to successfully manage your game projects. The focus for today was the iterative development model, which is basically a mandatory skill for any student hoping to build a complete game.
In the spirit of project management, we're starting a new routine where we start each meeting by doing brief project progress reports. Everyone who's working on a project this semester is expected to tell the group what work they were able to get done during the previous week and what they plan to get done by the next meeting. This will give everyone a better perspective on how all the projects are going, and it'll create an added incentive to get work done.
After the presentation, we had about half an hour left, so we demoed some of the games that we created for the game design class. We should really add these games to the club site, once we find a way to make executables of these games for both Windows and Mac.
During yesterday's meeting, Rory gave a presentation on why Google Summer of Code is awesome and why you should get involved right now. It's a great way to dramatically improve your programming skills, it gives you real experience, and it makes your resume much more attractive. The presentation slides are attached below, in both PowerPoint and PDF format.
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