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Darren Kearney Posts

Teaching game development with the Western Care Association

This week I began teaching a game development course in Mayo. I was a bit nervous, but this quickly melted away as we got stuck into the course material. The class size was small, which was great, as it meant I was able to give each student my focussed attention. Nik Kemski was their previous tutor, so there’s a high standard to live up to! I will do my best, and I am enouraged that the students all seem very interested in the topic and engaged to learn. The first class covered the initial setup of the development environment – the boring stuff – just to get that out of the way and ensure we are all on the same…

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Building a Visual Novel game with Renpy and Spreadsheets

After trialing a few different visual novel builders, my team and I settled on Renpy for this game. Using Renpy as our game engine provides most everything we would want to make a visual game very quickly. Speed is a huge plus for us because our team of two artists, our writer and our programmer (me!) are all working on this project in our spare time. Having multiple people working on game assets can cause conflicts. The renpy game engine example game uses a single file for storing the game script – “script.rpy”. This file is used to direct the flow of the game. You can use it to make characters appear on screen and attribute text to that character.…

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Galway Game Jam 17 – “Community Spirit”

The Galway Game Jam 17 virtual jam had a lovely energy about it. The theme was selected from a process of rounds of suggestions and voting by the community. Quite a fitting theme! You can play the games made at the jam here: https://itch.io/jam/galway-game-jam-17 We also ran a livestream with mentors giving presentations on topics, or just chatting about gamedev. Some familiar faces returned for that, and we hosted some new mentors which is always fun. Overall the feedback was very positive for the jam and the livestream. Many people noted that they have noticed how Galway Game Jam livestream keeps improving with every jam. It’s nice to have that recognised! And nice to know that we are learning from…

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Galway Game Jam 16 virtual jam – Organising and running our first online-only game jam with a livestream!

This event went surprisingly well. While it was organised in haste, in a bit of a last-minute bid to get a gamejam done in 2020, the community really came together around this one to make it a worthwhile endeavor. Want to see the games made at this event? Check out itch.io/jam/galway-game-jam-16/entries Want to check out the livestream and clips? See our Galway Game Jam twitch and youtube channels in the references section below. Launch Video Livestream Well, the livestream is over and the VOD’s have been removed from twitch so unfortunately you can’t watch it anymore. We have downloaded the stream recordings though, with over 18 hours of footage from our two days of live streaming. We will be putting…

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2D illustration workflow with Blender’s Sculpt tools, Grease Pencil and Clip Studio Paint

Recently I’ve been experimenting with Blender as a tool for 2D illustrations. Using 3D CAD software gives you a lot for “free”. Incorporating 3D art tools into your 2D workflow, you will benefit from the strengths of 3D and can significantly speed up your 2D process.

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Impostor syndrome, learning language programming, creative puzzle pieces and low mood

As you might know from following me elsewhere online, I have been designing a new adventure game with some light puzzle and resource management mechanics. The working title for the project is “Fungi Garden”, and you can learn more about it on my website here: https://mindcauldron.com/fungi-garden The game is inspired by the fascinating interactions that occur in nature between mycelium, mycorrhiza and tree root systems. Currently, I have many ideas for the game. They are unfinished, incomplete ideas. It’s kind of like looking at something, but you can’t focus on it – it’s there, but it’s blurry, undefined. In his book “Spelunky” about the development of that very game, Derek Yu described something that I feel resonates with my current…

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Ludum Dare 46 – Keep it Alive – Day 3 Complete and Game Live!

This is the ending post about my Ludum Dare 46 entry. To start at the beginning, go to Day 1 here: https://darrenk.net/ludum-dare-46/ Ludum Dare 46 was an interesting challenge. There are many things I would change if I were to do it again. That said, I am quiet happy to have finished something – even if it is a sparse experience for the player. You can play the game here: https://darrenkearney.itch.io/toplogs You can rate it here: https://ldjam.com/events/ludum-dare/46/adventure-of-dome Thanks to everyone who hung out in the stream over the Ludum Dare event, it was a bit of fun. Streaming also helped someone from the bitsy community understand an issue I was having, since they could view my screen and I could…

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Ludum Dare 46 Keep it alive Day 1 Complete

I’m streaming development on https://twitch.tv/mindcauldrongames. Head over there and give me a follow! Here’s some progress and process in images. That wraps up my first full day at it. Pixel art took a lot longer than expected. And I spent way too longer deliberating about the idea and how to proceed. I was working as if I had another team member to write stuff. Oh well!

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Streaming, Gamedev and Learning Unity during Covid-19 social isolation

In the past few days I’ve been streaming a game dev series on my Mind Cauldron twitch account as I learn Unity in real time. You can follow along here: https://twitch.tv/mindcauldrongames The stream is a straight-forward live stream of my game development. If watching and chatting with someone while they work on their passion projects sounds like fun to you then your in for a treat. Otherwise it is suspiciously like you are watching a reality show of someone working from their home-office. I aim to stream nearly ever day. That way myself and my team can track progress on the game and hopefully feel something positive amidst the messed up global crisis as we work on our lovely little…

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Setting up a Linux development environment in WIndows Part 2

Since I posted the first part in this two-part series, a friend has encouraged me to continue my experiments with WSL, even after I discovered some issues with unsupported packages when building applications from source. I must admit that after a using WSL for a while doing other things, it is growing on me! However, I’m still curious how everything compares. I wanted to try out Linux in a virtual machine (VM). So I downloaded Vagrant to manage the virtual machines from the command line, and got Virtualbox as my VM hypervisor. I guess you could use which ever VM hypervisor you prefer. I downloaded the latest Virtualbox release, which at time of writing was a recently released 6.1 which…

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Setting up a Linux development environment in Windows – Part 1

I’m making a video game prototype that uses an online authorative server to process game logic. To develop this server-side program, I want to use my familiarity with Linux. I’ve worked with Ubuntu and Arch linux for over 10 years. I like Linux and open source tools, and I want to bring such a development environment to my Windows-based OS so I don’t have to reboot. There are three approaches one could take to achieve this: Virtual machine (VM) running a Linux distro of choice. Docker container running Linux distro of choice. Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) running Linux distro of choice. Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) I am curious about the Windows Subsystem for Linux, so set about using…

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Teaching drums

Today I delivered my second ever drum lesson. I learned about learning too! It seems to me that, in order to learn well, you need to understand the lesson in abstract terms, and train your nervous system for coordination. Many lessons and classes tend to be scheduled in half-hour or hour blocks of time. To my surprise, I’ve found that when I let these drum lessons go over an hour, by about 20-30 minutes, the rate of failure in the student drops a significant amount in the last 10-15 minutes. Why do they become more successful? Why are classes/lessons not set for 1hour 20 minutes by default? Why do they become more successful with more time on the kit? Practice,…

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Example configuration for Wireguard VPN tunnel

Wireguard is currently not fit for production use as it is under heavy development. With that in mind, it is an fantastic piece of software and I cannot wait for it to get security certification and proper testing, so we can adopt it into the IT workplace. VPN’s can be complicated. Wireguard is simple and I managed to configure and connect with only a few simple steps. Here is my example config so you can be even faster than me. In my own situation I had only a few hours to wipe a computer, build a dedicated workstation, learn, set up and test this VPN for a project. I can say it was one of the easiest to configure VPN’s…

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OBSTACLES – My Entry For UL Gamejam 3

OBSTACLES is a top-down 2d driving game that started life as an entry for the UL Gamejam held on November 3rd 2018. It’s available as a browser game playable with a keyboard or controller on itch.io. The gamejam theme was “Obstacles”, hence the game name. Designing the Game I sketched a few ideas for games and settled on an idea that became this game. The idea was that the computer plays as the car and you play as a monster/wizard that is throwing heavy objects on the road to cause the robot car to crash. With the pressure of time, and maybe a little too much time trying to figure out lanes and such, I decided to go simpler and…

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Test Driving Gutenberg

Why write about writing in a different editor? I’ve got a few other blog posts lined up, but they need a lot more work. As WordPress is moving to use Gutenberg soon, I decided to take it for a spin. I don’t want to mess up my in-progress stuff using the beta version of it! This opinion post that is largely inconsequential, but I did encounter a bug. Luckily, the Gutenberg editor was stable enough to throw up a screen to prevent me from using it further, so no need to worry just yet. Writing an article about Gutenberg is also a short and sweet way to get familiar with it. Plus I get to work on my writing skills.…

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