Cool Jams Inc – Making a Pokémon Clone with Crayon Language

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Earlier this month, I attended a local game jam called Cool Jams, Inc., which was inspired by (and not necessarily affiliated with) Polygon’s CoolGames, Inc. podcast. The premise of the podcast is to take terrible game ideas from Twitter and flesh them out into a playable game design. The jam’s premise was for people to take random ideas from the show and actually build them, while often adding their own spin to them. The event was hosted at Seattle’s own Indies Workshop, with an itch.io page for submissions.

I was really looking forward to this jam, mostly because I knew a lot of people who’d be there and I was looking forward to hanging out with everyone. I’ve participated in tons of game jams before, so I was excited by this jam’s change of pace. In that spirit, I decided ahead of time that I wouldn’t use Unity for this project. I was originally thinking of using Flash and ActionScript 3.0 just for nostalgia’s sake. But then my friend Blake O’Hare jokingly suggested that I use his Crayon programming language, and I thought, “sure, why not?”

Crayon is literally a programming language that Blake made. It’s not a library. It’s not a translated language. Crayon projects run on their own VM which can be exported to a variety of platforms including Web (JS & HTML5), C#, Java, Python (PyGame), and Android (still experimental). I’ve seen Blake make some pretty cool games using Crayon, and the idea of trying it out sounded pretty fun.

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Seattle VR Hackathon Project: Disaster Recovery Training Simulator

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It’s time for another mini-postmortem! Last weekend I attended the Seattle VR Hackathon, and we ended up making a VR crane simulator. I worked on this project with Sean Siem, Staishy Siem, Maggie Lu, Jae Nwawe, and Matthew Chan.

Download: Disaster Recovery Training Simulator
Minimum Requirements: Windows, Vive, VR-ready specs

The VR Hackathon group has organized several hackathons around the world. This was their fourth time hosting a Seattle event, as well as my second time attending their event. As someone who attends almost every hackathon and game jam that he sees, I can confidently say that the Seattle VR Hackathon is one of my favorites. Few events are this well-run, but there’s also just something about the Seattle VR community and the organizers that gives this event an insanely good vibe. If you get a chance to attend one of these hackathons in the future, I highly recommend it.

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TankXP VR: Drive a tank to fight aliens

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This weekend I spent 48 hours making a VR game for Ludum Dare #36 called TankXP VR. The theme for this competition was “ancient technology.”

“Oh no! An alien invasion! Time to strap on your Vive and show them who’s boss using your awesome tank. Unfortunately, your tank’s operating system seems to be a little out of date….”

Download TankXP VR for Windows & HTC Vive
*Requires at least the smallest Play Area size (Standing VR not supported)

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#LDJAM Game: Interstate 34

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Hey guys, I made a game for Ludum Dare #34 this weekend, and it won the 2nd place prize for single-person entries at the Seattle Indies LD34 event! Here’s the link to the submission, and below is a brief description of the game. The rest of this post has some fun facts on how this game got made.

Beat up cars smaller than you to get points!
Don’t get hit by bigger cars or you lose your combo!

Download & play “Interstate 34” (PC, Mac, Linux)
Download the source code (Unity Engine)

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Magnet Ball Mega-Postmortem: How Learning on-the-fly Saved an Ambitious Student Project

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The following is my honors thesis, which is a research paper that I had to write in order to graduate with Honors from the University of Arizona. I had published the first two parts of this paper on my previous blog, but I have never published the full work until now. While I did try to adapt the tone of the paper to be more fitting for online reading, the paper is mostly unmodified, aside from a few major additions made to part four.

I’m going to warn you now; this paper is LONG. One of the goals when I was writing this was to show enough detail so that students who wish to try running a project like this could learn from our process and our mistakes. This project was a ton of fun, and I hope you’ll have fun reading about it.

Table of Contents

  1. Intro
    1. Abstract
    2. The Team
    3. Introduction
  2. PART ONE: Recruiting and Managing People
    1. Starting the Project
    2. Designing the Team Experience
    3. The Recruitment Process
    4. Unfortunately, Our Team was Too Big
    5. Availability and Communication Problems
  3. PART TWO: The Senses Project
    1. A Broken Pre-Production Phase
    2. The First Prototype
    3. The Second Prototype
    4. Turning the Project Around
  4. PART THREE: Pre-Production Done Right
    1. Fixing our Creative Process
    2. Rapid Prototyping and the Creative Process
    3. The Fruits of Pre-Production
    4. Prototype 1: Fighting Blind
    5. Prototype 2: Detonator
    6. Prototype 3: Particle Racer
    7. Prototype 4: Runner
    8. Prototype 5: Magnet Man
    9. Prototype 5, v2: Magnet Ball
  5. PART FOUR: Prototyping until the Bitter End
    1. Our Creative Process during Production
    2. Our Development Process during Production
    3. Thoughts on the Prototype-Centered Process
    4. Things I Would Do Differently
    5. In Conclusion

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