Articles by olano

Marc Olano is an Associate Professor in the CSEE department at UMBC and Director of the Computer Science Game Development Track. Dr. Olano’s primary area of research is real-time 3D graphics, with forays into other applications of programmable graphics hardware.

We now have live streaming of the UMBC Global Game Jam 2014 site at youtube.com/umbcgaim! For now, it’s a bunch of people in a computer lab, but check back for the demos tomorrow (Sunday January 26th) around 3:00. Should be fun to watch.

The Global Game Jam has announced their diversifiers for 2014. These are not the theme, which will be announced Friday at the jam. These are optional additional things you can add to your game to help it stand out. Unlike the theme, we’re allowed to share these now. Have fun thinking about how you might explore them in a game.

They are:

  1. Back to the 1885. The game could have been built and played in the 19th century.
  2. Can You Come And Play? The game has a local multi-player mode.
  3. Design, Create, Play. All the content in the game is procedurally created, including graphics and sound.
  4. Hackontroller. The game must use a custom controller invented by the team, or use an existing controller in unconventional manner.
  5. Homo Sapiens are Boring. The game is meant to be played by cats.
  6. Honor Aaron Swartz. The game only uses materials found in the public domain.
  7. I am who I want to be. The game has characters, but nothing in their design suggests a gender.
  8. Inclusive. The game is specifically designed to be accessible to one or more groups of gamers with disabilities – vision, motor, hearing or cognitive impairments.
  9. Rebels Learns it Better. In this educational game a hidden learning path is provided for those who oppose the given rules.
  10. Round and Round. Rotation is one of the primary mechanics in the game.
  11. The Ultimate Bechdel Test Survivor. The game survives all three conditions of the Bechdel test.
  12. You Only Live Thrice. The player only has 3 lives and each level starts over when you die.
  13. You Say it! The game utilises audio produced by the player either recording or instructing player to make sounds.

UMBC is once again hosting the Global Gam Jam this January. It will run from 5pm Friday, January 24th to 5pm Sunday, January 26th, just before classes start. Once again, thanks to a generous donation by NextCentury, registration is free. Space is limited, so sign up now!

For anyone who hasn’t participated, the global game jam is a 48 hour game development event with hundreds of host sites around the world. At 5pm local time, introduce the jam and announce this year’s theme. Previous year’s themes have ranged from a phrase (“as long as we’re together there will always be problems”) to a word (“extinction”) to an image (ouroboros: a snake eating its tail), to a sound (the recording of a heartbeat). Participants brainstorm game ideas around the theme, form into teams, and spend the weekend building games that are designed to be both fun and express the theme.

The UMBC site is not restricted to just students. In previous years, we have had a mix of UMBC students, alumni, students from other schools, game development professionals, and just people with an interest in game development. More details at gaim.umbc.edu/global-game-jam. However, we are limited to just 40 participants, so sign up early if you want to come. If UMBC fills up, other local(ish) sites include the Unviersity of Baltimore, American University, and George Mason University. If you are not near UMBC, check the Global Game Jam for a host site near you.

Make plans to come to the 2013 UMBC Digital Entertainment Conference (DEC) on Saturday, April 27th, starting at 10am in the Engineering Building lecture hall on the UMBC campus. This day long event is organized by the UMBC Game Developers Club, and sponsored this year by Mindgrub.

The DEC is open to anyone, and features speakers from Firaxis Games, Zenimax, Pure Bang Games, Bioware Mythic, and Mindgrub. Whether you are a High School student, go to UMBC or another University, or are already working in a different industry, you are sure find interesting information about how the games industry works, how some current developers got started, and what they do. If you are a game developer, you are sure to find High School students, UMBC students and students from other Universities who are interested in jobs in the games industry.

Schedule:

10:00 Jeremy Shopf – Lead Graphics Engineer, Firaxis
11:00 Ching Lau – Artist, Zenimax
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Ben Walsh – CEO, Pure Bang Games
2:00 Carrie Gouskos – Lead Producer, Bioware Mythic
3:00 Michelle Menard – Designer
4:00 Alex Hachey – Game Design Lead, Mindgrub

Sponsored by mindgrub_logo_small

There was a nice article in the Baltimore Sun on the state of Maryland’s games industry.

Word of the day: “turbulent”. Second word of the day: “indie”

We have 30 participants in the Global Game Jam at UMBC this weekend, working on eight different games. Fitting for a world-wide event, the theme this year is non-verbal, it is the sound of a human heartbeat. They started at 5PM Friday, to build games around this theme.

Starting around 3:30PM, each team will be demoing their game, with the demos live-streamed on the web at twitch.tv/olanom. Watch and be amazed!

This weekend, UMBC will be one of 320 sites from 65 countries around the world participating in Global Game Jam 2013. This year’s theme is announced at 5pm local time on Friday, and teams all over the world work all weekend to build games around the theme. If you want to participate you can sign up through the Global Game Jam global organization. UMBC’s site is full, but there are other sites in the MD/VA area for those interested in participating. You’ll be able to track our progress on twitter (#ggj13 for global twitter feed, #umbcggj for UMBC), and on our live streaming feed (to be announced here when the game jam begins).

For those signed up for the UMBC site, here are some basic details on what to expect Friday.

  • We’ve got a talk about the Corona mobile game SDK at 4:30 Friday.
  • The main GGJ activities start at 5:00 this Friday, and will conclude by 5:00 on Sunday.
  • The UMBC site will be closing down from 11pm-7am Friday and Saturday night. Do not plan on being able to spend the night in the lab.
  • We’ll be in the GAIM lab, room 005 in the Engineering building. For those not already on campus, there are campus maps online.
  • Permit (not visitor) parking spots are free after 3:30 Friday and through the weekend.
  • Thanks to a generous donation from Next Century Corporation, we’ll have food for all participants all weekend.

 

 

OnyxFest is an independent game showcase, with networking opportunities, presentations by area indie game developers, and games to try. It will be Saturday, February 2nd from 10:00-3:00 in the Gameroom in the UMBC Commons. Details on the facebook event page.

According to a story on the Washington Post web site December 17th, a study of game sales per capita and gun-related murders per capita in 10 countries shows no real correlation. At the end, there’s a graph showing a linear fit through the data, showing a weak negative correlation, but as scattered as the data is, even drawing that line makes no sense to me. None the less, it certainly doesn’t look like correlation (much less causation) between the two.

Here’s a post that’s interesting for both programmers and artists. Sébastian LeGarde is an game engine and graphics programmer at Dontnod entertainment in Paris. He has a blog with a variety of good posts on the programming side of achieving realistic physically-based illumination. He’s just started a series on rendering rainy and wet scenes, starting with a collection of photos and observations showing the different ways rain actually appears in the real world. Whether you are an artist or programmer, when you’re trying to get something new, it’s always a good idea to go out and observe the world. You can’t get it right, if you don’t know what it is supposed to look like. Check it out!

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