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Category: Game Development

Thoughts on game jams after Galway Game Jam 19

I was recently asked to provide a blurb about the event, which lead me to write a bit too much. So, I thought I would drop my thoughts on game jams here on my blog in case anyone else was interested. Galway Game Jam 19 – “Wild” / “Wild Galway” – hybrid jam At Galway Game Jam 19, we ran a hybrid game-making event – the first time we’ve had one since January 2020. We also had another first – a collaboration with Ardán and CREW. This is the first time Galway Game Jam has gained any external interest from local screen industry organisations, in nearly a decade of jams, so we hope this experience will be the first of…

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Where to start in gamedev in Ireland

Meet people! IrelandThe Games Co-Op Meetup – https://www.meetup.com/en-AU/The-Games-Co-Op/Imirt – https://imirt.ieGalway Game Jam – https://galwaygamejam.comhttps://gamedevelopers.ieNI GameDev Network – https://nigame.dev/ ConferencesGamescom (Koln, Germany)Develop: Brighton (Brighton, UK) Learn stuff! Business Books: The game dev business handbook. https://gamedevbizbook.comYou might know about running other businesses already. This book is aimed at game developers / makers who don’t know about business but want to set up their own game development business/studio. The book has insights and advice from industry veterans, so definitely worth a read. Programming I generally learn a lot as I have to from searching the web for documentation, tutorials, online courses and youtube how-to videos. I prefer reading text and trying to code it myself. As such, here are two awesome websites to get your feet wet in…

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GDC 2022 Global Game Jam Scholarship – a quick report

Hi folks, I have recently returned from my trip to Game Developers Conference (GDC). The Global Game Jam’s scholarship program was instrumental in my ability to attend this industry event. More details here. I’m currently self-isolating at home feeling very fatigued as I recover from Covid-19, which I seem to have contracted during my visit to the states. In brief… I learned a great deal, and my personal scholarship mission was to be taken in two parts. Part one is to take in as much as knowledge as I can, while meeting with as many people as I can, in order to be a bridge back to Galway. Part two is to maximise the effect of that learning for the…

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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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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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Game Jam+ 2019 in Dublin

I made a game called DeathCatcher on a team with some lovely folks at the GameJamPlus 2019 48 hour game jam in Dublin. Our team name was MetalAsFolk. If you have a Quest VR headset, you can get the build here: https://gamejolt.com/games/deathcatcher/430699 Lessons I learned How to make a shader! What a shader is. What a vertex shader does. What a fragment shader does. Things that could have made our pitch better More art assets in the slides, more theming in the slides in general Video clips of gameplay Video clips of someone playing the VR game, with a screen of what is happening in-game in the video, to show off the and fun of interacting with the game world…

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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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Darren’s (Quick and Dirty) Pico-8 Cart Masher

About a week after UL’s Game Dev Soc Game Jam, I had some free time to revisit the collaboration tool I made for the gamejam team. It was nothing special, but I was hit by a mini-epiphany of turning it into a super-simple web app that would aim to make it as easy as possible to use. A fun little side-project, why not? Generally when solving any problem I have to ask myself “Has this been solved before?” because usually the answer is “Yes” and in this highly connected world we live in there is a Good Reason why a problem has not already been solved by someone else, in which case there is some rewarding thinking in asking yourself…

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Ludum Dare 41 – Combine 2 Incompatible Genres (Part 2)

Here I write about my second day of the gamejam weekend. Part 1 is here. Happy Accidents On the second day of the gamejam, I had a scheduling mishap. I had convinced myself that I had band practice and took some notes for the game in the morning. After I went into town and learned of my mistake I decided to use it as an opportunity for learning. Knowing practically nothing about how a café or tea room actually works I reckoned it would be a good first step to organize a short meeting with some people who run such a business. My research hat on, I set out for a place that serves tea and has a relaxing atmosphere…

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Ludum Dare 41 – Combine 2 Incompatible Genres (Part 1)

This theme is fantastic – it drives creativity. Simply by getting you to juxtapose genres in a particular way to see what doesn’t fit! Then think of idea’s that are achievable in the given time. Repeat until you land on something you think might be fun and wow, it’s already going to be fun simply on the merit of it’s wacky genre combination. I’ve started to work on a Turn-Based Strategy Game that is actually a Text Adventure made using Twine. We’ll see where it gets to by the end of the jam. I started working on it after dinner. Here’s some screenshots as I log off for the day:

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