Philly “Move Your Body” Game Jam

The game jam at Philly Dev Night this month was a huge success! I was really happy to be able to sponsor such a cool event and participate in playing all the games!

The secret theme that we announced at the event July 2 was “Move your body.” This year I’ve gotten really interested in gamifying ways to get fit, between Xbox Fitness and Fitbit… and I was wondering what other great movement-based game ideas that people would have. Microsoft sponsored by catering the game showcase on July 16. Here’s a look at some of the games!

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The crowd favorite game (by popular vote) was Headbanger. Headbanger consisted of an iPhone attached to a long-haired rock ‘n’ roll wig. Music played (through hooked up speakers, so the crowd could also hear) and the headbanger player had to bang his/her head in time with the music. Pictures were hard to take because the headbanging was so fast and furious!

Up close: a scrambled brain

Up close: a scrambled brain

Dancing Master used up to four Xbox 360 controllers to control feet on the screen and step in time with music. The twist is literally twisting…. The controls for the game involve using one stick and set of shoulder buttons, on each side of the controller, for each foot. It was surprisingly difficult to get things to line up! But it had a great selection of music and was fun to watch.

A few games were on the iPad – one rolling ball demo involved holding the iPad still to avoid the ball onscreen rolling off. Drumandala was developed as an iPad or PC game, but worked better on the touch screen, using fingers to tap shapes in a shooter-like, but zen, atmosphere.

One jammer took the theme “Move your body” literally, and made an adventure/stealth game about how to most effectively hide a corpse. This was improved by the addition of sloppy awkward ragdoll physics on the corpse… oh, and Will Stallwood’s photograph attached to the head for an ounce of realism.

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A couple of non-digital games were also displayed. Jake O’Brien called his game entry  Sight is Over Rated. Two teams worked together, with one blindfolded member and one member telling the blindfolded teammate how to move. The object of the game was for the blindfolded team mate to pick up cards from the table while avoiding an obstacle course of cups.

Safari Sock Hop was another purely analog game, involving pantomime to music. Cards handed out to two two-person teams told them what animal to mimic, and what type of dance they should do while pretending to be that animal. Here’s a tap-dancing octopus, for example:

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My personal favorite game of the jam was Cipher Prime’s game, which was just called Bodies. This game encouraged all the players to get up and walk around the city, several blocks around the building. Their smartphones would give them a “hot and cold” interface when they were close to a point of interest, and then when they were close enough, a riddle appeared onscreen. If they took a photograph that matched the answer for the riddle, they got a point. Cipher Prime wants to eventually expand this game to allow people to create customized geotagged scavenger hunts for each other.

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I was really proud to take part in this jam. The games were great and there was a ton of energy! Thanks to Philly Dev Night for a great time! For the curious, Dev Night does game jams monthly! Just check the schedule at http://phillydevnight.com.

 

Leaving for Origins!

Tomorrow we’re taking off for the Origins Game Fair in Columbus!

How exciting is this: this year I’m going to be DMing a couple of sessions with Rogue Cthulhu! I love playing in their games every year, and this year I’ve finally got the courage to run my own!

But you don’t need me to make posts about my travel anymore. As you can see, I’ve added a handy Events Page to show you where I’ll be. Just check it out here: SecondTruth Events

Best of Build and Windows 10

Now some important news from Microsoft for developers out there:

Build sold out in record time this year, so a lot of people may have missed out. If you’re one of those unlucky few, there’s a few ways to catch up on news…

Microsoft Virtual Academy has a “Best of Build and Windows 10” video series you can check out! It goes into the new app model, news for game developers, info about the new Edge browser, IoT, open-source, and more.

And for more in depth Windows 10 development content, a free live-streamed event will be held on the same web site starting tomorrow! Register now for A Developer’s Guide to Windows 10.

Or, if you’re near a major city and want to venture outside, check out the Build Tour. Day-long live events may be coming to your country/area! We have Atlanta coming up on May 20, and Chicago on June 10, and lots more. These events are international so one may be closer to home than you think! Look it up at https://www.build15.com/

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MomJam – The Voxelles Mother’s Day Game Jam

I’ve remarked quite a bit in the past about “Dad Games:” the gamification of fatherhood that seemed to be a recent fad in AAA game design. But the inevitable question arises: where are all the Mom Games?

When I say “games about moms,” many people mention “well, there’s that one with the badgers” (Shelter). Cart Life has an honest exploration of human motherhood. Moms do show up in blockbuster games, but often as antagonists. Now Sonya Blade can perform a fatality on her own daughter, which… has some psychological ramifications I’m sure. But surely games about motherhood is a topic that needs more exploration.

This month the Voxelles, Chicago’s female game development group, had a Mother’s Day Game Jam about this very topic! And I was there! Continue reading

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HoloLens and GameDev News at Build

Some highlights from the Build keynotes today and the announcements from Microsoft:

News: HoloLens apps, for Microsoft’s AR HoloLens device, are Windows 10 apps. Windows 10 apps that run in windows will be able to snap to your actual walls. For examples, see some pictures here or check out the link to the video: HoloLens on the Walls

Unity 3D will work to create apps and games for HoloLens! I’ve heard really great things about this integration. Imagine making a game character that could run right out into the real world and jump around on all your furniture… More info released from Unity today here: Unity Blog

Unity announced deeper integration with Visual Studio recently. So not to leave Mac or Linux developers behind, Visual Studio Code is a new cross-platform Visual Studio family member. You can get it here, free: Visual Studio Code

Full Unity support for this is still pending, but it has some features that Mac and Linux developers should find useful!

Also, for game devs who have been holding off on Windows support for their games, Build also announced support to easily retarget Windows with your Java or C++ apps from Android and Objective C apps from iOS. Here’s some details at TechCrunch.

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