“Mutual butt-kicking.” Getting Out of a Rut, Bots, Procedural Generation

This week’s roundtable episode has it all: Confusion, technobabble, randomness… and shoot, a whole lot more besides!

Glitch Connect digital games festival is coming up, May 5th-7th in Minneapolis. Get your tickets now!

We’re still looking for feedback from our listeners! Be nice and visit our feedback form. It will only take a minute and it will help make the show better!

Nice Games Club feedback form
Glitch Connect

[0:02:54] Getting Out of a Rut
Tim Schafer on productivity
Stephen’s motivation week

[0:19:44] Bots! Bots! Bots!
Tech the Tech
Tracery for Unity
Kate Compton
Mark Gritter on Twitter
“Play This Clever Adventure Game Entirely On Twitter” – Kotaku
MN Bot Makers – Meetup
Quick, Draw!
Cheap Bots Done Quick

[0:35:40] Procedural Generation
“Procedural world generation: The simulation, functional and planning approaches” – Gamasutra
“Spelunky Generator Lessons” – Darius Kazemi
“No Man’s Sky – Procedural Content” – 3DGameDev Blog
“How Planets are Made in Elite: Dangerous Horizons” – WCCF Tech
“Fallout 4: Here’s All the Names That Codsworth Can Say” – Gamespot

“Pick up all the things!” Prototyping, Point and Clicks, User Interfaces

In this super-sized episode, your nice hosts get into the gritty details of game design with a trio of terrific topics. Martha lays out the concept for her next game, Stephen complains about Smash Bros. (!), and Mark takes a lot of notes. Plus, maybe the best topic transitions to ever come out of the clubhouse!

GlitchCon digital games festival is coming up, May 5th-7th in Minneapolis. Get your tickets now!

We’re still looking for feedback from our listeners! Be nice and visit our feedback form. It will only take a minute of your time and it will help us make the show better.

GlitchCon Brewery tour
Nice Games Club feedback form

[0:05:18] Prototyping
GDC Game Design Workshop
Mark’s Sonic The Hedgehog solitaire card game
Holographic Mark Mk I

[0:26:28] Point and Clicks
Puzzle Dependency Graph Primer” – Gamasutra
The Day of The Tentacle: Dependency Graph Analysis” – The Website is Down
Double Fine Adventure
Humongous Entertainment
Cosmic Osmo
“25 years of HyperCard—the missing link to the Web” – Ars Technica

[0:42:26] User Interfaces
“User interface design in video games” – Gamasutra
“The User Interface Continuum: A Study Of Player Preference” – Gamasutra
Splinter Cell: Conviction Developer Diary” – IGN
“Mirror’s Edge – UX is not UI” – GUR-U
Hue’s color blind mode in action
Color Jumper’s color blind mode in action
The Division UI and Gameplay Walkthrough”
Breaking Conventions with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” – GDC 2017

“We are artists and we should be artists.” Demoing and Playtesting, Project Management, Messages and Meanings

A day late but worth the wait! In this high signal-to-noise roundtable episode, each member of the club picks a topic that they are particularly passionate about:

Stephen shares his wisdom and guidance about playtesting your work early and often, Martha helps you get your act together in a practical discussion about project management, and Mark tries to explain the obligation he feels as an artist, but picks a weird hill to die on as he wrongly insists that Portal 2 isn’t really about anything.

We’re trying to make the show even better and we need your input! Be nice and visit our feedback form to tell us what you think!

Ice Cold Games
Nice Games Club feedback form

[0:03:27] Demoing and Playtesting

[0:33:26] Project Management
Agile development
Waterfall development
Kanban development
“The Blue Yarn” – 99% Invisible
“NUMMI 2015” – This American Life

David Megarry’s Three Questions all project managers should ask:
“Do you have all the resources you need?”
“Do you have any roadblocks or impediments?”
“Are you on schedule?”

“A project manager (PM) is more of a problem solver than anything else. If you don’t have the resources, the PM finds them. If there are roadblocks, the PM helps to find a way to get around them. If not on schedule, the PM alters it or adds more resources or changes scope. Above all, the PM communicates with management as to the state of the project so they can make proper decisions and not be blindsided or surprised.” -David Megarry

[0:52:56] Messages and Meanings
Summerland, a novel by Michael Chabon
“A Closer Look At How Three Assassin’s Creed Games Have Handled Slavery” – Kotaku
“For Honor’s accidental alt-right connection” – Polygon

“Can I tweet about this?” Glitch’s Immersion, Work/Life Balance, Tools of the Trade

It’s an episode packed to the gills, hosted by two manatees and an otter!

Your hosts each talk about their time with Glitch’s Immersion program, and Mark shares what he learned about its most recent cohort, which he filmed for an upcoming documentary.

We then bum ourselves out talking about how we never have enough time to work on our projects, but things pick up for the final segment as we gab about some of our our favorite gamedev tools, including a bunch of suggestions from listeners. Be sure to browse the links below to learn more about them!

Martha’s Voxel Art!



[04:00] Glitch’s Immersion Program

[18:22] Work/Life Balance

[32:33] Tools of the Trade

Version Control

Unity Assets
Unity Asset Store
Super Fast Soft Shadows

Graphics Software
3d Studio Max
Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Animate
Pyxel Edit

User Forums
Stack Overflow
Unity forums

Game Engines
Citrus Engine

Sound and Music

Project Management
Visual Understanding Environment

Code Editors / IDEs
Visual Studio Code
Visual Studio
JetBrains Rider
Flash Builder

Google Keep

Other Resources
Humble Indie Dev Bundles
Midwest Game Jam Resources

“Try it once.” Watching Games, Narrative in Games, Board Games

Our 10th(!!!) episode has your nice hosts teetering on the edge of not-so-niceness as they each describe something they just don’t get (or don’t quite like) in gaming, and hope the other two can bring them around.

[01:28] Watching Games
EVO Fighting Game Tournament
“The Controversial Dichotomy Between Sports and eSports” – Huffington Post
Achievement Hunter – Rooster Teeth
Defend the House (“gaming Mythbusters”) – YouTube
Contradiction: Spot the Liar! – Giant Bomb
Her Story
“On Let’s Plays” – That Dragon, Cancer

[13:00] Narrative in Games
“Ludonarrative Dissonance in Bioshock” – Click Nothing
Batman: Arkham Knight – lockup scene
Portal 2 – funniest quotes
The Stanley Parable
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons – ending (Let’s Play)

[29:27] Board Games
Dungeon! (created by Martha’s dad, David Megarry)
Animal Town Games: Save the Whales, Dam Builders, Nectar Collector
Star Trek: Ascendancy
Puerto Rico