The Creative Van :: Episode Three

Wait what? Episode Three?? No, no, no. Not that Episode Three, though it’s 10 times better than that will ever be. :p

This time round I have Jake Birkett (@GreyAlien) and Alex Vostrov (@AlexVostrov) talking all about being Indie developers. These guys are definitely the ones in the know. Between them they have about 40 years game development experience give or take. They’re also the brains behind Full Indie. (Don’t forget to join and get involved)

Jake talks about how becoming indie has changed him and his family, how he’s the better for it and speaks his mind about “asshole” developers.

Alex talks about his recent release, Infested Planet, and about how he HAD to get the game as a point to himself.

Now get listening!!

 

Again, don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes if you wish.

 

The Creative Van :: Episode Two

Episode Two Link

 

The Creative Van Episode Two is finally here. After months of hard work, NDAs and contract signings and some government intervention it’s finally out on general release.

This time around I got the non stop, action hero of gaming, Chevy Ray Johnston (@ChevyRay). He talks all about himself, what he does and the many games he’s created so far and they people he’s worked with. Does he give all the juiciest gossip from the indie game development scene? You’ll just have to listen to find out.

He also talks about his recently released game, Fat Wizard. Which he developed with Matt Thorson (@MattThorson) and not to forgot the awesome voice acting provided by Evan Balster.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes of you so happen to use that.

 


Google+ & Android

I’ve been using Google+ for a few days now thanks to @edenfire_Paul (who also introduced me to Twitter). It’s good and bad. Bad namely because, for the same reason as all other Google products, I can’t change my primary email address. Since I was invited by a close friend, he invited me with my older email address but I still receive those emails into my newer account and so now my Google+ account is associated with old me.

I have also been using the Google+ Android app since then as well. It has been great for easily posting updates, uploading photos and just generally keeping in touch. Good and all, until I noticed something very strange today. I was messing around with the status/link/update section of the home page and noticed the small icon for photos. I clicked this thinking I could use photos I’ve previously uploaded to use in newer posts. Yes the uploads were there, but also photos I took with the normal camera application during my house hunting walk yesterday. These I obviously didn’t upload, or want to upload to Google+ as they were just for reference for me. I don’t know when they were uploaded but since I was popping in and out of the application it could have been anytime. This is honestly the first thing I really do not like about Google+. Privacy FTL.

#html5sdf or bust

Last Tuesday (June 21st) I went to an unknown to me place called The Waldorf Hotel for the HTML5 Summer DevFest. Was an awesome web talks and beers day and really got me excited about all things web related. I’ve said that before about the #WPIEBCVan talk but this is exactly what I needed. I was in a slump and after going to other talks, conferences and meet ups I was beginning that the good ones really are hard to find, but no I was wrong, this was awesome.

The day was kicked off by a nice intro by John Bristowe (@jbristowe) really just showing how awesome HTML5 is and can be by constantly reciting his link blog, which to be honest I do look for inspiration, make awesome web. Next up was Brian LeRoux (@brianleroux) of PhoneGap fame (or infamy). TBH honest I can’t really remember the details of what he talked about beyond the extremely meme slides. It was just really cool hearing him talk and chatting with him afterwards about what they have to do for PhoneGap to give people an great application/service.

html5 DJs^^(@jbristowe and @brianleroux doing html5 DJ)^^

The rest of the day kind of went by in a haze but the rest of the speakers were Boris Smus (@borismus) talking about mobile web and touch events, Brian Fling (@fling) talking about how mathematical, psychological and just pure iteration design is. Brian Flings talk really did help me think about design from a far different perspective. Then there was Tom Dale (@tomdale) talking about SproutCore, and finally there was Thomas Lewis(@TommyLee) who made me admit it, publicly, that I do use <tables> far more than I should even though I know they should be left back in the 90s with <marquee> and <blink>. He actually went on about an IE development in the form of CSS grids which definitely perked up my ears.

Massive thanks to John Bristowe (@jbristowe), Boris Mann (@bmann) and the Vancouver HTML5 Meetup Group (@HTML5Vancouver) for putting the event on and I am well looking forward to the next one.

Twitter Attacks :: Full Indie Game Jam Review

Mutation

Over the weekend of June 17th I finally partook in my first game jam. I’ve helped out a many a Global Game Jam but finally thought that yeah sure my game coding skills are very lackluster and normalized databases don’t make for good gameplay but when I head Full Indie was holding it’s first ever game jam I just knew I had to give it a go.

I honestly had no idea what I could put my skills to and had a creeping feeling that I’d be useless to any team, have to learn something completely new in 48 hours or a bit of both. This feeling was calmed a little bit when I was at an IGDA Vancouver meet up at Radical Entertainment the Tuesday before and met James Karg (@Twisted_majic) who was also taking part in the Full Indie game jam and we batted around some ideas about Twitter. On D-Day we got talking again and with the inclusion of Cody Labossiere (@codylabossiere) we started to hammer out any ideas that came into our heads. (I had met Cody previously at another Full Indie meet up).

The main theme given to us was “Spawning”. This was due to it being Fathers Day on the Sunday and all fathers have spawn little mini thems. As you can  see from the photo above we just went with any idea relating to spawning we could think of, even Kevin Bacon got mentioned. Once some core themes were out there we started on any game idea we could think of, these ranged from god games to fertilization. We kept trying to think of better core concepts but it just wasn’t happening, once bacon was mentioned earlier pizza was soon planted in our heads and this made our stomachs growl like nothing else so we decided on a small break and some food.

Beers

Once we had pizza half stuffed in our faces we knew we were missing something ….. beer. So a quick trip back to the jam via a liquor store we were sorted. We kind of all agreed to drop all the half ideas we had and just do something with Twitter. Only a half full of half “maybe …” sentences later and we came up with a word battle fighting game. #Fighter was born. (that’s not the final name. actually it’s not even a working name, I just thought of it now).

The premise of the game is to sign up easily using your Twitter account and then challenge friends using keyword hash tags and then just do battle using Twitter, somewhat, normally using predefined hashtags as battle commands. This is all record by our server and then determines the winner. A simple conceptual idea I had for explaining it, Pokemon but through Twitter, and less animal cruelty. It is a rather simplistic core concept but we all had very busy weekend plans besides the game jam, which involved drinking, and so the game never got to a working state. I do apologize for  this as it was my coding skills that weren’t able to deliver in a short time frame. Though I do believe that with only an hour or two of work I can get it working in some form. I really just need to set some time aside for it.

The Full Indie game jam was a brilliant experience and I cannot wait for the next one to come up. Hopefully then I will not have so many beers and other plans on the weekend and actually come out with a working prototype. Until next time #KAPOW!!!! Also photo credit and beer cheers to Chevy Ray Johnston (@ChevyRay)

Mo Money, Mo Time

Yeah just wanted to write a quick wee update on what I’ve been up to. Working. That’s about it. It’s cool because of the money and friends I am making but I really need to set aside some time for my own work. Anyone know of any great personal organizer apps that could help me with this?

Anyways, that really is all. Currently at Make Web Not War so will do a post on it soon. In the meantime just check it out on Twitter, @WebNotWar

An Irish Man Abroad :: 03

As you may have noticed, the “An Irish Man Abroad” series has rather halted after only two entries. Well that has happened because I wanted to make Vancouver my bitch and well, it made me it’s bitch. I came here being rather cocky thinking I’d just walk into some job and well, it’s been humbling to get the “no” response so much. This along with the fact I was determined to get a job before doing my next post, it appeared to get very quiet. Finally that silence can now be broken

John Geoffrey Wins At Getting A Job

Wednesday last I stared work at QuickMobile. WOOOOOO. As Patrick Payne (@quickmobile), CEO/Founder, said today, we’re not called Quick for nothing. The business is based around smartphone apps and mobile websites. Due to this it is a very fast paced environment with app talk going on everywhere. Submissions this, version that. Thing is, I LOVE IT! I have been nursing a nerd tenting since I started. I’m sure the sheer excitement will pass soon but I love just working in an environment where it’s peoples job to talk about this stuff. With my web background, I’m working on the mobile web side of things, mainly dealing with  data. It’s well cool.

This really has just been a short update on what’s been going on as an Irish man abroad, and well, you’ll get more frequent updates from here on out. Also, read through the Scott Pilgrim books again. Loves them. Also, that’s where the “winning” comment came from.

The Creative Van :: Episode 01

 

IT’S HERE! The very first episode of The Creative Van is now live for your listening pleasure. For those that I haven’t discussed this with yet, The Creative Van is a podcast I’ve started to help showcase the creative industry in Vancouver. I’m looking to interview people in the film, music, games and web industries and hear all about what they’re up to and where they think the future is going. Since I’m personally interested in the games industry it really was expected that the first episode would be just that.

Episode 01 :: Nels Anderson and Graham Jans

During this episode I let Nels Anderson and Graham Jams take control of the mics and talk all about Vancouver and it’s place in the games industry. They talk all about the indie scene, the IGF, SIGGRAPH and their call to arms for all Vancouverites.

Music for this episode has been provided by SG Wilson. Check out his website at Geokda.co.uk for lots of great tracks.

Many thanks to Nels and Graham for providing the talk for this episode and to Stuart for the music. Also I am still looking for somebody to do some art work for the podcast and the upcoming website, so contact me for details. I hope you all enjoy it and if you want to talk about anything or want me to interview specific people, just email: info@thecreativevan.com

Game On

I was at the EA Burnaby offices on Monday last for the relaunch of IGDA Vancouver. It was a great opportunity to get to actually chat with some of the game developers from around Vancouver. After hearing Kelly Zmak talking to everyone at Global Game Jam Vancouver in an inspirational way it was refreshing hearing the man talk about what’s closest to his heart, the games development community. Everyone that spoke was very passionate about what they had to say and all I can say is that it is looking very promising for games development in Vancouver, from AAA titles to Facebook games, everyone was represented and shared many of the same thoughts and ideas.

Whilst I’m on the topic, the EA campus in Burnaby is HUGE and COOL. I was in such awe at how cool the place was that I totally forgot to take any photos (hence the stock photo of the campus from above). It’s amazing what games can pay for. :)

As I was in at the re-launch of IGDA Vancouver I got word that IGDA Scotland are trying to restart again. It’s looking like that with the game development environment changing in such radical ways the community does really want to help everyone out and help everyone grow together. So if you’re in Scotland, check them out and help out as much as you can.