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....

2022-08-05 · 5 min · 1029 words · Darren Kearney

Where to start in gamedev in Ireland

Meet people! Ireland The Games Co-Op Meetup - https://www.meetup.com/en-AU/The-Games-Co-Op/ Imirt - https://imirt.ie Galway Game Jam - https://galwaygamejam.com https://gamedevelopers.ie NI GameDev Network - https://nigame.dev/ Conferences Gamescom (Koln, Germany) Develop: Brighton (Brighton, UK) Learn stuff! Business Books: The game dev business handbook. https://gamedevbizbook.com You 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....

2022-05-24 · 2 min · 373 words · Darren Kearney

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....

2022-03-31 · 3 min · 618 words · Darren Kearney

A few considerations for teaching Unity to folks on the spectrum from a lay-person who has delivered a single evening course (Is this a joke? Well I learned a lot, might as well blog it!)

Main takeaways Folks on the autism spectrum can learn Unity like anyone else. Spoiler alert, it’s a huge challenge for anyone! Especially so if you are not familiar with computers to begin with. If one finds Unity interesting and is actively curious, they will find learning a more rewarding experience. Individuals vary! No one person on the spectrum is representative of the group. For better learning outcomes, please provide your course participants with: compassion and understanding, adequete time, adequate resources (computers to run Unity, ability to practice at home), a well designed course curriculum, an instructor with patience and compassion, an assistant to provide additional support to class, a low-distraction space that is consistent each lesson (no loud games, no calls in class, no distressing sounds, no strobing lights) space for students to get up and move around whenever they want Bring everyone together and present at the beginning of class for a few minutes if needed, use visual examples rather than text, animated or otherwise....

2022-02-27 · 9 min · 1806 words · Darren Kearney

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....

2021-10-14 · 4 min · 834 words · Darren Kearney

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....

2021-08-31 · 6 min · 1131 words · Darren Kearney

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....

2021-06-22 · 1 min · 147 words · Darren Kearney

Thoughts on Slipways development from PICO-8 to Unity

I’ve been following this game since it’s first iteration was developed and released on the PICO-8 website. It’s a wonderfully casual and short playtime for a game with a 4X strategy feel. Did the developer always have the evolution of the game in mind from the beginning? Having played another game from the developer in the past I guess you could say I was becoming a fan. The development of Slipways was also fun to follow as a PICO-8 enthusiast....

2021-06-15 · 2 min · 236 words · Darren Kearney

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....

2020-12-29 · 5 min · 934 words · Darren Kearney

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. Benefits of 3D tools that you can’t get with 2D tools You can easily play around with camera position in real-time. You can easily play around with lighting in real-time....

2020-07-05 · 5 min · 868 words · Darren Kearney

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....

2020-06-04 · 10 min · 1955 words · Darren Kearney

Learning C++ to help comprehend gamedev research

So many things to learn, so little time. I don’t know why I do this, maybe because I am curious or interested in making lots of different kinds of things - from games, to art and music. I am interested in how things work, and I can easily get lost in concentration as I investigate further, drawing paralleles with my existing understanding. In any case, I keep finding myself with lots to learn and not enough time to learn it....

2020-05-31 · 5 min · 972 words · Darren Kearney

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....

2020-04-21 · 2 min · 215 words · Darren Kearney

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. Random sketches during idea generation last night…ye ¯\_(ツ)_/ #ldjam46 Possible title for the game. I like the colours. Concept art in MS Paint with breakdown of areas for figuring out rooms layout and connections. #ldjam46 Screenshot of agri dome area. #ldjam46 Screen of elevator controls in agri dome #ldjam46 Screen of sub level 1 #ldjam46...

2020-04-19 · 1 min · 154 words · Darren Kearney

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....

2020-04-09 · 2 min · 335 words · Darren Kearney

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)....

2020-02-16 · 5 min · 1019 words · Darren Kearney

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:...

2020-01-05 · 3 min · 427 words · Darren Kearney

WP-CLI batch edit thousands of posts at once

In this article, I will walk through how I made a bash script using WP-CLI to edit categories on thousands of posts at once, showing you the script at various stages of revision. Hopefully, this will demonstrate the problem-solving process, so that it may help you solve something like this quicker than me. The issue at hand One of my WordPress clients wanted to reorganise a bunch of their posts into different categories....

2019-09-30 · 12 min · 2545 words · Darren Kearney

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 in real life....

2019-08-10 · 11 min · 2195 words · Darren Kearney

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....

2019-04-21 · 5 min · 872 words · Darren Kearney

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....

2019-04-16 · 2 min · 402 words · Darren Kearney

Writing more concise posts, more regularly.

As it turns out, I’m terrible at giving myself time to write. There are many things I’d like to write about - game jams, workshops, meetups, tech and tools, thoughts on game development and animation, and even music. I’ve learned that if I aim smaller in scope, there is a much greater chance I’ll find time to actually fit it in my schedule. Managing that, I can turn writing into a consistent habit....

2019-04-16 · 1 min · 161 words · Darren Kearney

OBSTACLES v0.0.8 - 1GAM Galway Update and Changelog

Originally posted on the itch.io OBSTACLES Devlog. Yesterday I brought OBSTACLES to a local meetup that I run called 1GAM Galway. You can read about that meetup here. 1GAM Galway is a game dev meetup I run that follows the onegameamonth.com challenge and a serves as a time and place for game developers and hobbyists to play each others game projects, give feedback and chat. Today I’ve been addressing a few things about the game that were discovered or suggested at 1GAM Galway....

2018-11-07 · 3 min · 451 words · Darren Kearney

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....

2018-11-05 · 3 min · 464 words · Darren Kearney