Getting Involved

Part of the motivation for creating this website is…motivation! Therefore, in addition to this website, I am planning on getting involved in a number of other ways to help keep myself motivated.

Professional Organizations

Getting involved with a professional organization will provide me with chances to talk about game development and software development in general. However, they also provide other benefits like discounts on travelling and conferences, insurance, and access to lots of knowledge through people, research papers/articles, and publications. As a note, membership does cost money so these may not be options for everyone.

The first organization is obvious: the International Game Development Association or IGDA. The IGDA has a “local” chapter centered on Washington, D.C., and they also have several Special Interest Groups that a member can join covering various specialities. I haven’t picked out any of those just yet, but I know I’ll be joining more than one!

Two other organizations that apply more generally to programming and development are the ACM and the IEEE. The ACM has a Special Interest Group called SIGGRAPH that is about computer graphics and therefore game development. While the IEEE has a Computer Society that generally relates to computer software and a Computational Intelligence Society that specifically runs the IEEE Conference on Computational Intelligence and Games. I haven’t decided which of these two to get involved with, but chances are that I should just join both and see what I can get out of them.

Testing Myself

If you develop games and don’t know what a game jam is, take a moment to educate yourself via Wikipedia. Basically, you create a prototype for a game inside of a single weekend which sounds like a pretty intense experience. I don’t know yet which game jam will be my first, but I am certainly looking forward to participating in one! There is even the possibility that I may be attending my first game jam as one of the organizers. The details are a bit premature at this time, but if it falls into place and happens, expect a much more detailed post all about it! I am just not sure if I will get to actually create a game if I’m helping to host, but it will still serve the purpose of getting involved.

Future MakingVsPlaying Features

The last way that I will talk about getting involved is through this website. Obviously, the website already allows me to share my efforts, but there is more to come! In the future, you can expect to have forums and for these blog posts to be connected to those forums. The forums will be a place where everyone, including myself, can find some motivation and community. Additionally, prototypes that I share will eventually have their source code made open and accessible. The FleaGame will be the first project to have its source code shared — I just need to get around to it and work on the project settings a bit.

“Playing” League of Legends

I need a first post…

Since I haven’t been working on my “Flea Game” in the last couple weeks I am selecting something that I find myself spending some of my free time doing. Don’t worry about the lack of explanation for the “Flea Game”, I’ll get to it soon. So this will be the first Playing post on the blog and as a category it represents posts that fill in between more productive posts where I’m actually working on a game or learning something new.

I have been following the updates for League of Legends. However, this is a “Playing” post with quotes around it because I haven’t actually been playing the game lately. In fact I haven’t played a game since the third season kicked off. But given my familiarity (playing since release), I find it pretty easy to follow changes to characters that I know, to read the “Red Tracker” (which is all about employee posts), and to learn about new champions and other additions to the game.

So what am I getting out of it if I’m not actually playing the game? For starters the game represents a very complex system of stats, positioning, items, masteries, runes, champions, and more. Systems like this attract my attention greatly, like a huge complicated puzzle with lots of moving parts. I have a sort of internal model for the game in my head and I can sort of simulate and visualize changes while reading about them. This also helps in software development because discussing changes creates ripples in the internal model and gives insight to potential pitfalls and complications. Also, the posts from the Red Tracker reveal the internal workings of a successful game developer. It sounds very much like they have an awesome group of people over there and it is entertaining and interesting to me to read about some of the office adventures being had and development decisions being made. It makes me want to apply!

That being said, I understand that reading about it (or any game) is no substitute for playing the game. I will be trying to lower the amount of reading I do and get back to actually playing the game. But most of my friends who used to play have given up on it, so I will be going solo (queue) to get back into things.

But this begs the question as will most of the Playing posts: given that I have limited free-time, and that I have a long-time desire to make games in addition to being an avid player, how much time do I divert from playing games in order to make them? Should I give them up entirely for a time in order to make better progress in development?