2015 At Philly GameWorks

Our 2015 Schedule is coming together now and it looks exciting!  First off in January we are going to hear from Andrew Smith, the Director of Developer Education at AgeCheq.  He’s going to teach us how to use the great Phaser framework to make games that will work right in your browser.  Phaser is also optimized for mobile browsers.

Check out the meetup here: Coding With Kids With the Phaser Framework

But that’s not all.  Andrew wants you developers to bring your kids and get them interested in programming. He is going to start from the very beginning of web development basics.  There is no better way to get your kids excited about development than to ignite their passion for creating their own games (it’s what I did on my first PC).

Here are some of the other topics we are scheduling right now for the first half of the year:

  • Creating 3D Assets for your 3D Games
  • Making your First 3D Game With Unity
  • Building Mods for Minecraft
  • PHL Collective will join us to talk about publishing their games on Steam and for consoles

And as always we are reaching out to the rest of the Philadelphia game development community and we will be hearing from more game publishers so they can help us learn the art of finishing games.

Come join us at Philly GameWorks in 2015 and get ready to publish your first game.

A Thanks To Our Membership – And Our Shared New Year’s Resolution

From Chris Gomez (@SpaceShot), Co-Founder of Philly GameWorks

As 2014 comes to a close, I wanted to say thanks to the enthusiastic and dedicated membership that has been supporting Philly GameWorks at the end of its first year.

I approached Dave Voyles about starting this group because it was the “user group” I always wanted to go to myself.  Thanks to Dave and Amanda Lange, we have the support of Microsoft providing us a space to meet in Malvern.  I am grateful to have Microsoft’s support and especially the Technical Evangelist group that wants to help every one of us publish our first game.

The Malvern office is ideally positioned to capture the development community that already comes out in support of Philly.Net.  I also felt we could talk to other developers who have built a career in “line-of-business” programming but have wondered what the dark secrets of game programming are.

I hope that in 2014 we provided a good introduction.  In 2015 we will continue to look at tools and techniques, and I am very excited to see some interesting new directions we can go in thanks to the expertise of our own members.  We also are talking with the game development community in Center City and I am thrilled that you will get to meet these awesome folks in 2015 as well.

Our 2015 New Year’s Resolution
And in 2015, our shared New Year’s Resolution is to publish our first games.  That means each and every one of us finishes and ships a game.  There’s never been a better time to do this yourself or with a small team, so this is our shared goal.  Let us help you and let us all work towards this goal!

Don’t forget that Philadelphia has a thriving game development community.  Check out the Dev Night link below. It’s highly recommended.

Philly Dev Night – Hosted by Cipher Prime

And use a great program like One Game A Month to help keep your game ideas focused and small so you can meet your New Year’s resolution!

Introduction to 3D Graphics – Terminology Not Code

RSVP for the meetup here: http://www.meetup.com/Philly-Game-Works-Microsoft-Malvern/events/214769072/

It’s often easier to understand the ideas of 2D game graphics with sprites or spritesheets that contain frames of animation. But the world of 3D graphics is filled with lingo and scary sounding math.

From vectors, matrices, vertices, and meshes to shaders, skinning, and tweening, this presentation is a primer on “How 3D Works” so that you can more easily understand the libraries, frameworks, and game creation tools that are throwing these terms at you.

Come join us for a presentation about the “lingo” of 3D graphics that you will encounter in game engines like Unity, Unreal Engine, or in programming texts, blogs, and samples. This is a presentation where code is NOT the star. Instead, we want you to come away feeling comfortable that you can get started with great tools to build games and high performance graphics.

Project Spark – Game Development for Windows and Xbox One

We’ve studied various toolsets at Philly GameWorks.  We’ve looked at the Unity Game Engine in depth, and spent a little time with MonoGame and GameMaker.  In October, we’re looking at BabylonJS for games on the web.

In November, we’re going to start by taking a look at an innovative game platform built for your Xbox One. Project Spark allows you to develop games with your Xbox One or Windows 8 PC using a game engine that is built right into the game, so to speak.

Project Spark Meetup – RSVP Here

You can build games with your Windows 8 PC and play them on your Xbox One.  Or you can record animations of yourself moving, dancing, jumping, or running with your Kinect on Xbox One and apply them to the characters in the game you are building.  The games are shared and rated among the Project Spark community.

There’s no “programming” the way we think of programming languages, algorithms, or code. However, you can create logic for your game characters on-screen, so that the game’s characters respond the way you want to make the game you want.

This is a perfect way to get the whole family involved in game development. If you have Windows 8 PCs, you can develop and play on those PCs. If you have an Xbox one, you can develop and play there. And if you have both, the games you make on one platform work on the other as well.

Bring your Windows 8 laptops and get started with Project Spark at Philly GameWorks.

Get Started with BabylonJS

At Philly Game Works, Dave Voyles introduced BabylonJS, an open source game development library for the web. You can view the slides here:

Learning Resources

If you’re getting started with BabylonJS and want to see some samples and walkthroughs, check out their wiki on GitHub:

BabylonJS Wiki on GitHub

There is even a playground, with a built in code editor for you to experiment with the samples right in the browser!

BabylonJS Playground with built in code editor

But I missed the presentation!

That’s okay. You can see the slides Dave presented and watch a video introducing BabylonJS at JSConf by David Catuhe.

Join us at Philly Game Works

So join us on October 30th and bring your laptop to get started making games for the web with your development skills!

RSVP at Philly Game Works Meetup

Coming up at Philly GameWorks

This post lays out our agenda for the rest of the year.  To finish the month of September, we’ll finish exploring platformer games at the meeting on September 25th.  Bring your laptops with Unity installed, because this is a Hands-On lab!

In October, we will shift focus to games in the browser.  This is great for beginners to web development and if you’re an experienced web developer you may be surprised as to how powerful the browser platform has become to support web based games.  The meetings for October are October 9th and 23rd.

The 9th is a presentation on BabylonJS, a game engine for modern browsers that lets you use your JavaScript skills to build games.

The 23rd will be a Hands On Lab where we can all build our first Web based game together.

In November and December, there will only be one meeting each so we can all enjoy our holiday time.  But the group will spend the 2nd Thursday of each working on our first 3D games.  There will be Hands-On time to go along with 3D development basics.

It’ll be an exciting end of the year at Philly GameWorks.  Be sure to watch this space, and follow @phillygameworks on Twitter for short announcements and updates.

Platformer Part 1 Finished Project Posted

On August 14, we began working together to explore what it takes to make a 2D platformer in Unity.

[Here’s how far we got last time: Platformer Unity Project – Week 1 (ZIP)]

I am still working on the Hands-On Lab writeup, which will allow you to walk through the document and create this from scratch.  I have been working to get the format right for future labs.  So at the risk on falling behind (ugh), I am going to have a couple to do this weekend. But that’s okay.  I think it’s really important we try to make this content work for people who can’t come to every meeting or are new to the group.  We never want Philly Game Works to feel like it’s closed to newcomers or that you have to put your life on hold to come by!

So for now, here is the completed Platformer project showing how far we got in Week 1.  It has:

  • The main character asset cut into a spritesheet.
  • Platforms that use Box Colliders so Unity knows where things collide with them
  • We added the RigidBody and BoxCollider components to the main character so that Unity would automatically start applying gravity and then collide with the platforms.
  • We animated the main character by using the Animator tool “dope sheet” to declare the frames of animation
  • We set up a walking and an idle animation so he wouldn’t stand still while moving and wouldn’t look like he was walking in place while standing still.
  • We added two scripts.  One script fired events based on what controls the player was using.  It would fire events that the player was moving, trying to jump, etc.  This let us discuss the “cross input” methods Unity has to let you control mouse, keyboard, and gamepad from one method.
  • We added a sound effect when the player jumps.

So the plan is to complete the pdf so you can follow along.  But for now you can download the current state after week 1 here:

Platformer Unity Project – Week 1 (ZIP)


August 14 – Build a platformer in Unity

For the next few months we’re going to try to move a little beyond the basic “Intro To…” talk and towards building games.

In the month of August, we’ll have two meetings. At the first one on August 14th, we’ll begin building a platformer in Unity.

See the meetup and RSVP here: http://www.meetup.com/Philly-Game-Works-Microsoft-Malvern/events/196194882/

Lab Content:  http://1drv.ms/1qaFBCj

Bring your laptops and have the following installed to follow along:

Unity 3D engine

Visual Studio 2013 (Express Edition works too! But note that you want Express Edition for Windows Store to publish to Windows 8 and Express Edition for Desktop to publish a more traditional .exe)

The VSUnity plug in (unfortunately, this requires Visual Studio Professional or above) will be demonstrated, too. This isn’t strictly required.

See you there!

July 10 – GameMaker Studio, presented at Penn State Great Valley

Our next meeting is July 10th and please note the special location!  We normally meet at Microsoft Malvern but for this meeting our good friends at Penn State Great Valley is hosting!

RSVP at the Meetup site: http://www.meetup.com/Philly-Game-Works-Microsoft-Malvern/events/188235332/

Amanda Lange will guide us through GameMaker Studio by YoYo Games.  This is a popular tool for building games that target HTML5/JavaScript platforms.  However, the tool exports to all major platforms including iOS, Android, Windows 8 and Windows Phone because all major platforms now support browser based games!