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Warp Zone Winter 2017 Scholarships

Warp Zone Winter 2017 Scholarships

Louisville Makes Games is sponsoring two people to become key-holding members of Warp Zone for 6 months from November 1st, 2017 to April 30th, 2018.

By offering independent game creator a way to join Warp Zone as a full member through a scholarship for free, we want to grow the pool of awesome talent and add value to existing memberships, while giving someone who may not traditionally have access to the community a key to grow themselves as a game creator.

The due date for submissions is October 20th, 2017 and recipients of the two scholarships will be announced on October 31st, 2017.

Fill out the application form here.

Summer Game Creation Program at Warp Zone

Summer Game Creation Program at Warp Zone

On Saturday, August 12, 2017, 11 students ages 10-16 presented games they made at Warp Zone Louisville as part of Louisville Makes Games – Education’s first six-week game creation program:

We’re excited about this step in our education program and look forward to future offerings.

Thank you to everyone who made this program a success!

  • Our students! See their presentations above.
  • Stephanie Youstra – Primary Instructor
  • Allen-Michael Brower – Content Volunteer (Story)
  • Alex Bezuska – Content Volunteer (Sound/Music)
  • Veronica Rivera – Content Volunteer (Art)
  • Eric Lathrop – Content Volunteer (Programming)
  • Stephen Abrams – Volunteer Assistant
  • Loi LeMix – Photographer/Videographer
  • Humana Foundation – Funding
Stephanie Youstra, our primary instructor, demonstrates a game creation tool for students.
Assistant instructor Stephen Abrams assists students prior to presentations.
Students collaborate to refine their games before presenting.
Cognitively Biased: #Winning the Game Within Your Own Mind

Cognitively Biased: #Winning the Game Within Your Own Mind

On Thursday, May 25th, 2017, Warp Zone hosted Louisville IxDA’s June meetup, “Biases in User Research Created by YOU!” The speaker for the event was Darren Kall, the Managing Director of Specific Clarity. He’s worked with a wide variety of companies like AT&T Bell Laboratories, Microsoft, and IBM. He spoke about a variety of different biases and how they can have an effect on research data. We all have biases. It’s a part of human nature and we wouldn’t be humans without them. Darren made this workshop very engaging by having the audience practice different exercises that helped us recognized a particular bias and we walked away with different solutions we can implement.

This led me to do my own research on bias, how it can affect our decision-making, and some practical ways we can all work on our own bias.

What is a bias?

Before attending this event I was watching a course on Lynda.com by Stacey Gordon called “Unconscious Bias.” Stacey is cofounder and chief human capital consultant at Career Incubator. Her course was very informative. If you didn’t get to attend Darren’s event, you should definitely check out her course. Stacey defines unconscious bias as “the attitudes or stereotypes that effect our views, our actions, and our decision-making ability.”

TechTarget.com defines Cognitive bias as “Cognitive bias is a limitation in objective thinking that is caused by the tendency for the human brain to perceive information through a filter of personal experience and preferences.”

We all see the world through a filter of some sort. Our life experience has kind of jaded us. This can have both positive and negative impact on our judgement. There are a lot of different types of bias and I encourage you to research them on your own. I am going to talk about 3 of them here and I challenge you to search for even more.

Three Examples of Bias

Confirmation Bias

Psychology Today explains that confirmation bias “occurs from the direct influence of desire on beliefs. When people would like a certain idea/concept to be true, they end up believing it to be true. They are motivated by wishful thinking. This error leads the individual to stop gathering information when the evidence gathered so far confirms the views (prejudices) one would like to be true.”

So you have this one track mind and you are determined to see this thing through. You retire team members that weren’t on board. You become the lone wolf on your idea. Who knows if it will work out the way you had hoped. You are just dead set on this one idea and failure isn’t an option. Well, either you are the most ambitious person in the world or you are a victim of your own Confirmation Bias.

Status-quo Bias

WiseGeek.com says “The status quo bias is a cognitive bias that leads people to prefer that things remain the same, or that they change as little as possible, if they absolutely must be altered. This cognitive bias plays a role in a number of fields, including economics, political science, sociology, and psychology, and many studies have been conducted on it to look at ways in which it influences human behavior. By being aware of the role that the status quo bias plays in their own lives, people can take steps to reduce the influence of this bias on their decision making.”

I think everyone is guilty of having a status-quo bias. You’ve used the same staple programs for years and learning something new is a struggle. So as new talent and new ideas are being introduced into your work area, you may be uncomfortable. You were the lead web designer on the team using Photoshop and the new designer on the team is showing people how to design and prototype with Sketch and Adobe XD. So now you feel some type of way. This was the design process everyone was using 5 years ago and now it’s becoming obsolete?

Framing Effect

Pagewiz.com some good definitions on what Framing means. “Framing is the relationship between context and information as it determines meaning.” “Framing is not about what is said, but how it is said.” “…the way words and concepts are presented and “slanted” so that they will produce a wished-for effect”

Marketers and Advertisers love framing. Sometimes you have to bend things a little in order to get a desired result. It’s wrong to outright lie to people, but if you want to sell something, you have to make it attractive to people. Another example is politics. The candidate has to frame their opponent in a negative light and make their platform appealing. Vice versa. The end goal is one candidate will win, the other will lose. Is one political platform actually better than the other? This is where framing gets involved. Using words in a way to persuade people in a certain direction.

Putting solutions into practice

So in what way can we tackle Confirmation Bias? Well, is it healthy to go all in on one idea? Sometimes the most ambitious endeavors pay off. Who said that anything is full proof? Also, there is always risk involved in anything that you do. Just make sure that the moves that you make and the direction you are heading is based on objective facts and not on wishful thinking. Try introducing an unbiased third party or someone who is not directly involved in your department to sit in on the discussion, listen to all sides, and offer some suggestions.

How to get out of being in the Status-quo? Embrace the change and learn to master it. Constantly attend meetups, conferences, and participate in chat groups and forums to keep the conversation flowing; try out new software with an open mind. Start small and work your way up to get acquainted with that new thing. People still use Photoshop to design digital products. Show off how your staple tool can still be relevant. Always be learning.

Do you think that you are the type of person who can’t fall for anything? That you can’t be “sold” on something? People have cognitive bias for and against different words. So things are framed all the time to influence our behavior. Just try to be more rational in your thinking. Don’t jump the gun. Crunch the numbers. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. So don’t let framing frame You!

How this could relate to game development?

There are a lot of games out there. I mean a LOT. So when you think about that next project, you’ve gathered your team, and you’re ready to hit the drawing board, try to minimize the amount of bias in your creative process.

From what I have researched about bias, some of the ways we can overcome our biases is by trying to be as objective, practical, and practice good listening skills. Have a diverse team of people with different backgrounds. The first idea is not always the best. Really test this idea out to its limits. Don’t waste time and money on an idea that isn’t fully vetted. If it’s not a great idea at first, that’s OK. Either perfect it or set it to the side until it can be picked up later. Also, be honest. Don’t let emotion get in the way and be realistic. Don’t try to make it into something that it just isn’t. Finally, communicate with your team. Don’t stay silent. If something’s not right say something. You will either get the answer you need or maybe save the team.

Could this be the ultimate game? Like Final Fantasy? To win against your own cognitive bias? I wonder if that’s possible. Maybe a computer program could. Probably not a human being. But if you could, what would the prize be? $1,000,000? How about I settle for winning the smaller battles and being satisfied with that. In games you have to fail a few times before you can win a battle. I can start over. I can still gain XP and then it’s off to the next stage.

If you have a game you and your team has been working on, we would love to see it. So in the near future we will be hosting more Play Testing Nights at Warp Zone Louisville. If you are not a Warp Zone member, reach out to a member and let’s hang out and try your game. It’s a great way to get feedback and constructive criticism.

Sources

Unconcious Bias
https://www.lynda.com/Business-tutorials/Unconscious-Bias/515183-2.html

TechTarget.com
http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/cognitive-bias

Psychology Today
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-choice/201504/what-is-confirmation-bias

WiseGeek.com
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-status-quo-bias.htm

PageWiz
http://www.pagewiz.com/blog/online-marketing/framing-effect

 

Veronica Rivera is a Graphic Designer and Front-End Developer living in Louisville, KY. She has been a part of the Louisville Makes Games community for over a year and loves making games that are fun and colorful. She graduated in Fall 2011 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Western Kentucky University. She works full time as a Graphic/Web Designer for Jefferson County Public Schools and is a Designer and Developer for Rise & Shine Games. Drunken Boss Fight, PolyMorphic, Flip Flap, Cali Bunga, and Guppi are among the games she has helped to create. Favorite games are the Sims, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Tamagotchi, Tales of Phantasia, and Chrono Trigger. You can follow her on social media @justvcreative and Rise & Shine Games @riseshinegames.

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.

LMG Visits Trinity High School

LMG Visits Trinity High School

I recently had the opportunity to represent LMG at my alma mater, Trinity High School in Louisville, and gave a talk to the Video Game Theory and Analysis class. We took thirty minutes to recreate a stripped-down version of a Ludum Dare 35 entry, Element Undesired, created by myself and LMG board member, Cara Smith. In the Q&A session, I was reminded yet again that the largest barrier to entry in game development is still simply not knowing where to start. Look for more resources on that topic at LMG soon.

Here’s the full scratch port of the original LD35 game, along with the class demo.

 

Warp Zone Summer Scholarships

Warp Zone Summer Scholarships

Louisville Makes Games is sponsoring two people to become key-holding members of Warp Zone for 6 months from March 1, 2017 to August 31, 2017.

By offering independent developers a way to join Warp Zone as a full member through a scholarship for free, we want to grow the pool of awesome talent and add value to existing memberships, while giving someone who may not traditionally have access to the community a key to grow themselves as a developer.

The due date for submissions is February 15, 2017 and recipients of the two scholarships will be announced on February 28th, 2017.

Fill out the application form here.

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
Game Dev Industry talk Series – Joseph Baird of Third Rail Games

Game Dev Industry talk Series – Joseph Baird of Third Rail Games

Joseph Baird from Bloomington, IN visited us at Warp Zone Louisville to talk about his experience being an independent game developer working on learning games. Joseph is enthusiastic, encouraging, and approachable. I think we all had a great evening and feel more motivated having heard from this great regional developer.

Joseph Baird, indie game developer from Bloomington, IN

Joseph on the internet:

LMG at Humana’s Digital Experience Center (DEC)

LMG at Humana’s Digital Experience Center (DEC)

LMG presented an overview of the organization at Humana’s DEC.

dec_pano_small

Following are some brief notes from the Q&A:

qanda