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Author: Alex Bezuska

The history of Louisville Makes Games talk we gave at Vector Conference

The history of Louisville Makes Games talk we gave at Vector Conference

This is from a conference we spoke at in April 2017

Now that Warp Zone Louisville is one year old and the nonprofit Louisville makes games is over a year and a half old we have learned many things. None of us knew what to expect going into starting a nonprofit or a community space, we saw what others around the world were doing and followed in their footsteps. The journey has had many ups and downs but overall we feel confident that community is a huge benefit to independent game devs. In this round table we will give tips and answer questions that will hopefully help anyone looking to foster a community of game developers in their location.

 

This talk was a part of the Vector 2017 Game Development conference, held at Eastern Kentucky University in partnership with Idea Festival, the Kentucky Innovation Network, and Eastern Kentucky Gaming Institute. For more information go to www.vectorconf.com

Yes we are artists, yes we are running a business

Yes we are artists, yes we are running a business

We recently had the pleasure of hearing from Jay Kidd of Wraith Games based out of Cincinnati Ohio. We setup a remote video call with Jay and displayed it on our projector at Warp Zone Louisville game dev space. I came away with a lot of great information.


Jay’s talk was live streamed and recorded on youtube.

First I would like to say that Jay is an enthusiastic speaker and you can instantly tell he is passionate about both making games and healing others in the community. At Jay’s studio which he founded in high school he handles a lot of jobs including marketing, promotion, business plans all on top of actually making the games. His talk was broken down into two main parts: business and marketing/promotion with questions and thoughtful answers scattered throughout.

The business portion was a refreshing contrast to what I continually hear about funding your game in that Jay suggests actually creating a traditional business plan and approaching a bank. it seems like crowdfunding through platforms such as kickstarter or Patreon, signing with a publisher at the cost of reduced creative control, or going out of your own pocket are the “indie” routes I hear about most often. Jay recommends coming up with market research, and presenting your case to the bank or credit union based on a 3-year plan.

In the second half of Jay’s talk he shared his experience with what works when it comes to promotion and marketing. Promotion defined as: showing up and having a booth at conventions and expos complete with banners, branded table cloth, signs and giving away cards, flyers, stickers and other SWAG. The marketing portion dove deep into social media – what to post, who to post to, and most importantly how often. Jay discussed Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as the main platforms they focus their efforts on.

I feel like my studio, Two Scoop Games, can always benefit from thinking more and putting more focused effort into the business plan and marketing behind the games we are making. I have tended to stray from a lot of planning or even thinking of what we do from a business perspective because as indies we tend to want to cast aside the notion that what we are doing is a business or work, we usually want to ‘keep it fun’. I do believe you can think of your work as art while simultaneously making a living from what you do, and that balance is worth the hard work of achieving. I will leave you with a quote from Scott Benson (Night in the Woods):
“Make art.
Make rent.
Help others do the same.”

 

 

Alex Bezuska game artist and developer, Two Scoop Games

Alex Bezuska is a game artist and developer for Two Scoop Games and Director at Louisville Makes Games!. Alex is obsessively passionate about making games and building the local game development community. He is also an avid lover of ice cream.

Odd bug with Unity animator state machine & new character concepts

Odd bug with Unity animator state machine & new character concepts

Kick Bot Dev Log June 26th 2017
-Alex Bezuska

When playing around with new artwork we noticed that the jump animation was only actually playing for one frame, it turned out to be a tricky issue to solve but Eric was able to get that working.  Our animation for the player uses the Unity animator state machine and for some reason, making the jump state the default state fixes it. No idea why.

Unity animator state machine for Kick Bot DX
Unity animator state machine for Kick Bot DX

Eric also worked on some tweaks to the high score screen working like it used to, including setting the “New best” to purple, and hiding the level score when game over screen shows.

I worked on some sketches but I was generally dried up creatively on the character designs, I am only really happy with the astronaut character:

Kick Bot DX character concept art sketches
Kick Bot DX character concept art sketches

Kick Bot DX is being created for the Kentucky Fried Pixels (KFP) game jam which ends July 9th, we will be releasing a pay-what-you-want bundle of games on August 17th!
Sign up here to get an email when the KFP bundle is released

Who is Alex?

Alex Bezuska is the cofounder/ artist for Two Scoop Games and Director at Louisville Makes Games! Alex is obsessively passionate about making games and building the local game development community. He is also an avid lover of ice cream.

Keep up to date with all the latest news and updates from Two Scoop Games by joining our mailing list!

Two Scoop games on Twitter: @TwoScoopGames

 

 

New bots with special abilities in the works for Kick Bot DX!

New bots with special abilities in the works for Kick Bot DX!

It has been just over a week since the Kentucky Fried Pixels game jam kickoff and we here at Two Scoop Games have been hard at work conceptualizing the future of Kick Bot. If you didn’t get a chance to read our last post where I explain more about Kentucky Fried Pixels you can check it out here: Kentucky Fried Pixels!

Kick Bot DX launch plan

    1. Get game up to feature-parity with the current version on Chrome Web Store and release as an update to the existing game. This will be a big improvement in a few areas like performance and responsiveness, but it will also fix an issue with high scores not being saved for some users.
    2. Add new features. We have been working hard during the Kentucky Fried Pixels game jam to include new features (sign up here to be notified of the bundle release!).
    3. iOS and Android release. This version will include unlockable/purchasable new playable characters with unique abilities…More on those to be announced in the future! 😉

 

 

My main focus has been working on lots of concept art while Eric works on getting the game’s main features working. Our new playable character ideas are all based around special moves they can do. There will be 7 new bots in addition to the classic Kick Bot which will be the default starter character.

 

Concept art for Kick Bot playable characters (most likely not going into game)
Concept art for Kick Bot playable characters (most likely not going into game)

Having a constraint like knowing the special ability of the character really helps to create a solid design based around a core mechanic. I am excited about the new focused direction on having 8 total bots each with special moves. The special moves have been brainstormed and the best have been chosen, now I will continue working on interesting concepts for the characters.

Eric has been working on the high score system which will later tie into leaderboards.

 

TLDR;

  • Three-pronged approach to launching Kick Bot DX
  • New unlockable playable characters each with unique new abilities in the works
  • Working on concept art – new ideas for new BOTS!
  • High score system that won’t lose scores


Keep up to date with all the latest news and updates from Two Scoop Games by joining our mailing list! 


-Alex Bezuska,

Game Artist and Animator
Two Scoop Games

 


Who is Alex?

Alex Bezuska is the cofounder/ artist for Two Scoop Games and Director at Louisville Makes Games! Alex is obsessively passionate about making games and building the local game development community. He is also an avid lover of ice cream.

Two Scoop Games cooks up a new version of Kick Bot for Kentucky Fried Pixels

Two Scoop Games cooks up a new version of Kick Bot for Kentucky Fried Pixels

For the second year in a row my game studio, Two Scoop Games, is proudly participating in the Kentucky Fried Pixels (KFP) game jam! For those unfamiliar, a game jam is an event for people who make games or want to make games to stretch their skills and creative muscles to produce a game based on a theme within a given timeframe. KFP fits that description, but has a couple of fun and interesting quirks. It is based out of our game dev home, Louisville, KY and it is actually two jams in one; a 48 hour in-person event to kick the game jam off, followed by 30 days to polish and prepare your project for inclusion in the KFP bundle. Bundles of games have been around for a while, one you might have heard of is the Humble Indie Bundle, the concept is multiple game creators selling their games together with a pay-what-you-want price tag on a digital distribution channel, in our case Itch.io. This is a great opportunity for a team or individual to earn their first dollar for doing something they love — creating games!

The jam started Friday, June 9 and we already had a plan of what we were going to work on — so we jumped right in after an awesome keynote full of jam tips by Kyle Pulver.
Our project for the weekend was rebuilding one of the first games Eric and I created together back in 2013; Kick Bot! Kick Bot is our most successful game from a sheer number of weekly active users standpoint, it fluctuates between 25k and 40k. That number is partially due to being featured on the Chrome Web Store homepage along with our other game, Scurry. There have also been quite a few YouTube videos made of people struggling through the game! So this new version will be released as an update and gift for all the Chromebook users we currently have.

Kick Bot, a game by Two Scoop Games on display at CodePaLOUsa, Louisville Kentucky June 2017
Kick Bot, a game by Two Scoop Games on display at CodePaLOUsa, Louisville Kentucky June 2017

In Kick Bot, you play as a robot painstakingly engineered for one thing and one thing only – wall jumping! In this brutal endless climber you must test your reflexes and jump from wall to wall avoiding hazards and proving your skill.

We set out with a goal to rebuild the game in Unity so that cross-platform release will be possible for desktop, Chrome Web Store, iOS, and Android. Throughout the course of the weekend things went surprisingly smoothly, because we had an amazing resource available — the Louisville Makes Games community! Many teams in our community have Unity experience and expertise, and we took full advantage of our close proximity to ask lots of questions and learn as much as we could. The community aspect of game jams has always been just as important as the learning for me, and with a community that is humble, helpful, and hoping you succeed, the positive impact can’t be denied.

The process of ‘porting’ our game to Unity went very well. Eric focused on the core gameplay and mechanics and translated all of the math to make the game move and feel just like the original. I focused on converting and cleaning up artwork, creating a new logo, and learning the feature-packed Unity particle system.

kick bot game by two scoop games small explosion

As with all of our game jams, we end Sunday night at 7pm and do presentations of each team and their game. I was proud to show what we were able to complete, it looked like the original game plus more, so we named it “Kick Bot DX”.

Eric Lathrop and Alex bezuska of Two Scoop Games showing their creation Kick Bot DX at the Kentucky Fried Pixels game Jam, Louisville Kentucky June 11th
Eric Lathrop and Alex Bezuska of Two Scoop Games showing their creation Kick Bot DX at the Kentucky Fried Pixels game Jam, Louisville Kentucky June 11th

The plan from here is to spend more time on it leading up to the July 9th end of Kentucky Fried Pixels and get it to a state where it is complete enough to launch on iOS and Android, and sold as part of the KFP bundle on itch.io of course!

Kick Bot DX by Two Scoop Games
Kick Bot DX by Two Scoop Games

The next big hurdle is a marketing plan. We want to give this new DX version to the players and fans on Chrome Web Store as a gift, then point them in the direction of the mobile apps, and start hinting at a sequel with even more features.

You can play the current version of Kick Bot here and buy the Kentucky Fried Pixels Bundle soon! Sign up for the Kentucky Fried Pixels email list to get updates when the bundle is available for purchase!

Louisville game creators planning to travel to Richmond KY for Vector Conf 2017!

Louisville game creators planning to travel to Richmond KY for Vector Conf 2017!

Vector is a game developer’s conference taking place April 21-22 2017 (fri-sat) in Richmond KY. The conference is held at Eastern Kentucky University on April 21-22, 2017 in collaboration with the EKU Gaming Institute, the Richmond office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, RunJumpDev, and TechBase 10. Vector is a celebration of local developers, as well as a chance to network with leaders and peers in the field of game design and development.

This will be Vector’s second year, and a high attendance will help push Kentucky as a viable state for game development careers. Vector is the only known conference in Kentucky specifically geared towards all game developers. Last year, Vector 2016 had some very enlightening talks and from the looks of the lineup, this year will be no exception.

Speakers announced so far: Aleissia Laidacker, Lisa Brown (originally from Louisville, KY), Mark Mandel, and Daniel “C418” Rosenfeld. For me, the talk that stood out the most last year was one on accessibility in games which I still benefit from thinking back to when designing UI and control schemes for my projects.

If you are at all interested in making games, or are currently making games and want to pick up great advice and worthwhile tips, I recommend you check it out. Travel is about 1h 35min from downtown Louisville, and since it is a two day event lodging might be necessary. The cost of admission is very low, only $40 for a full 2 day ticket or $20 for just a single day.
Check out vectorconf.com

If anyone is going, or interested in going to this event, please reach out to me on twitter @alexbezuska and I will loop you in on our travel carpooling/caravan plans. I hope to see all my Run Jump Dev friends there, and maybe organize a group for dinner one night.

Our Ludum Dare 37 Games!

Our Ludum Dare 37 Games!

Check out all of the games our local community in Louisville created for Ludum Dare 37! Ludum Dare is a global game jam where people from around the world form teams and create brand new games in 48hours!

"4.5"

Jam Entry by senabryer

4.5 is a memory game. You are trapped within a small room repeating itself, each time adding a new item. Remember the item, or return to the beginning. Aside from the room itself, all the 3D assets were free ones from Unity's public store. Controlled with a mouse and keyboard.

Created by Sena Bryer @senabryer

Known bugs:
-can cause certain versions of Linux to crash (tested with Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon)

Stuff I'd like to add were I to continue this:
-getting a web browser build up and running (assuming the filesize isn't simply too huge)
-making my own assets for it, or at least just getting a whole bunch more
-adding random elements to it to switch the room up instead of having the same one every time
-adding actual hallways to walk through instead of just simple blackout transitions

Play 4.5

"Baggage - A game of Roommate Bliss"

Jam Entry by chipmonkey

Working but unfinished.
Assets take a moment to load, give the black screen a few seconds.
Two roommates are locked in their one-room apartment. One likes music and if you place a disco-ball, radio, or TV in the room and they touch it, they will turn it on. The other one will turn it off. Drag and drop beds in the room so they can sleep. Other interactions weren't completed in time for the jam, but the idea is that roommates would have varied preferences: early sleepers would dislike night music, party animals would interfere with calm roommates. Fights over the lone toilet, food in the fridge, pets, etc. would cause roommates to be happy, unhappy, fight and, if things go poorly, die.
Music EXCEPT the TV routine are all custom.
Team: LilacLlama, ChipMonkey, ParisTurtle, Hyteck9, (and sort of UlrichVonBeck). Shout out to @GameDevLou

Play Baggage - A game of Roommate Bliss

"Battle Dads"

Jam Entry by Peach Pie Productions

Battle DADS is a 4 player "dont fall off the level" party-style deathmatch game. Knock off the other players to get points. The game by default has bots active.

- Press F2 to turn off AI to play with 3 other people on controllers

- CONTROLS:
- RT or LMB to charge lasers.
- LT or RMB to shoot machine gun.
- A or BUMPERS or SPACE to shield.

Created by Isaac Baldwin (IndieKeep) and Ben James (Peach Pie Productions)
from Louisville KY

Play Battle Dads

"Cleanstalkers: Hidden Agenda"

Jam Entry by cooperra

What happens when your cat-allergic parents drop in and you gotta tidy up quick?

It's CLEANSTALKERS: HIDDEN AGENDA!

Game is incomplete. First time using Phaser js. It wasn't as helpful as I thought (had to do my own ECS), but its Signals library was nice.

Try tapping on various objects to open and close them. No audio.

Read the rest of the dialog script here: http://cooperra.com/ld37-cleanstalkers/dialog/LudumDare37.txt

See the unused assets here: https://github.com/cooperra/ld37-cleanstalkers/tree/master/assets

Art by Darren Vogt
Programming by Robbie Cooper

Thanks for checkin' out our entry!

Play Cleanstalkers: Hidden Agenda

"Finding Home"

Compo Entry by abezuska

A game about an insecure snail learning about life and home from forest friends.

Some people have had issues in chrome, if you do please try downloading for Win/Mac/Linux or try running the web game in Firefox. -Thanks!

Play Finding Home

"Home Is Where The Heart Is"

Jam Entry by ambocclusion

Home Is Where The Heart is a weird little dating game. You show up unexpected in a homeless land. You must earn the trust of the 3 villagers and have them move inside of you. Make the right choices and do the tasks they ask and you can make everyone happy.


wasd to move and space bar is to interact with characters and objects

Allen-Michael Brower - Programming
Josh Grilli - Art/Animation
Ben Wiley- Music

Play Home Is Where The Heart Is

"Junk in the Bunk"

Jam Entry by roaringcatgames

Junk in the Bunk is a game where you play the role of a doomdsay prepper that has just finished his bunker. Unfortunately, a meteor is already on its way, and you have to rush to fill your bunker with the supplies you want with you through the end of the world!

Rush to store your supplies in the bunker before the end comes!!

**Unfortunately, you had just moved in, so there aren't a lot of stuffs in the house for you to put into storage. That, or maybe it's because we ran out of precious time to create more artwork. There seems to be a small bug with initiating walking up and down the stairs mechanic on the web version. We'd recommend you download it. **


Controls:
MOVE: Arrows or WASD
ACTION: Space or F
ZOOM: Z

Team:
Art - Loi LeMix - @loilemix
Sound & Music - Nathan Hutchens - @lucidbard
Programming - Barry Rowe - @barryrowe

Build with libGDX, Ashley ECS, and our own Kitten2d extensions for Ashley.

Built with 30 other developers at Warp Zone Louisville with Louisville Makes Games.

Play Junk in the Bunk

"Mail Room"

Compo Entry by guru-guru

Welcome to the mail room we got fun and games.

Play Mail Room

"Mean Streets"

Compo Entry by backlashblues

In Mean Streets, you're a kid dropping water balloons from your window on people passing by. You have 30 seconds and 10 balloons to get as many points as you can.

I ran out of time before I could add any other characters (including people you have to avoid hitting) or finish the animations, but it's playable. :)

CONTROLS:
Move: arrows or A and D
Toss Water Balloon: spacebar

Play Mean Streets

"Pew Pew Pew"

Jam Entry by Rise and Shine Games

We did not finish the idea. The game starts in the cockpit of a one room spaceship. The player can walk around with WASD or the arrow keys. The idea in this room was to have the player upgrade the ship and move to the controls to move to the shooter scene but for now the two scenes are toggled using the "K" key.

The next scene is a side scrolling bullet hell shooter. WASD or arrow keys will move the ship around the screen. Space shoots, and Enter changes weapons.

Play Pew Pew Pew

"Phase Shift Respawn"

Jam Entry by awesomerex

Local battle arena.

2 - 4 players can duke it out in this game.
Gamepad required.
Hold any button - join.

Controls
left stick - move
right stick - aim
any button - shoot

Hit the orange square to activate your bullets and make them deadly.
After shots are activated, shots will annihilate any player they touch.

Credits:
Programming
Eric Lathrop @ericlathrop
Rex Soriano @LoLo_R

Music & Sound Effects:
H9D Studios
Brian Schmidt
http://www.h9dstudios.com/

Made with:
PIXI.js
NPM "entity-component-system"

Play Phase Shift Respawn