Do you have a problem that might be solved by a game?

I am looking for experts(relative experts welcome) to work with a development team to create a game prototype to further their research or to help solve a problem. I am leading a summer course and have one or two slots remaining to work with student developers as part of the CSU Summer Arts Game Development Studio.

What does this mean?

I would ask you to come to Fresno on Tuesday June 27 (I can pay a small stipend to cover mileage and a hotel room) and work with a development team to create a paper prototype. We have found that paper prototypes can be very expressive and surface key systems. Provide your expertise and help the development team understand your priorities for the prototype.

Be available via Skype to communicate with your team about the problem and how the solution can be used, advise the team on tasks as digital development proceeds.

Get the prototype at the end.

This is not something to be commercially monetized (without your teams permission of course), but something to further your research, non-profit work or work within an educational context.

The risk is that it will take some of your time and attention, you may not get what you expect out of it, the the reward is that you will have a chance to work with some bright developers on a prototype that could enhance your work.

If you are interested send an email to and include a basic overview of your problem (or message me), let me know your availability on June 27 and we can go from here. Needless to say, time is short.

Feel free to reach out if this is not a perfect fit, I am looking for the most interesting problems to challenge us.

Summer Game Development 2017

For the past few weeks I have been architecting a summer intensive class in video game development. This is based on my experience with the Art/CS 108 course, the Global Game Jam, the Game Development Club at SJSU, and conversations with the MIT Game Lab. Please note that everything in this post is tentative including our proposed dates of June 26 –

Please note that until the budget is approved in November this has an odd status in that it is approved pending budget. This will be a post where I outline the goals and thoughts as well as artists who have tentatively consented to be part of the faculty and why I think they are important.

Proposed faculty listed alphabetically: (note that the event is over a year from now, and may change)

Anna Anthropy – Designer and provocateur, Anna continues to make and publish games at the intersection of personal experience and the utmost playability. Anna has worked with me before both as a lecturer and an exhibitor in games shows curated by JP and myself. I am looking forward to the energy and perspective she will bring to the two week intensive course. I know that she will inspire students by her example and her energy.

JP Bruneau – John and I have been curatorial partners on a few shows now, and in addition to being a founding member of the Game Development Club at SJSU he is also a founding member of Ars Virtua. John teaches game design and development at The New School in NYC now and continues to make art and games. John has helped many students thru the game development process and also works with Baby Castles.

Heather Logas – Heather has an MFA in Game Design and has taught at UCSC as well as having worked on major game titles. She currently consults with companies thru games to focus on their core beliefs and competencies. Heather uses games to help business. Heather has a practical approach to design and an ability to communicate that is impressive in addition to her design portfolio.

James Morgan – Artist and educator who teaches at SJSU and advises the Game Development Club at SJSU. Teaches SJSU’s only Game Studies course as well as intro digital media courses in the CADRE Media Lab. James main job will be to make sure everything happens as it is suppose to.

The course will be focused on creating robust game prototypes/ finished games that address issues in STEAM categories. This is to say that the next step is to recruit some faculty across the CSU that have STEM/STEAM based problems that may benefit from a proper game prototype. This process will take place in the fall semester with a short (possible) gathering in the spring to examine techniques and refine problems. The goal will not be to engage in the design or find specific solutions as that will be the teams problem, but to focus on surfacing the systems and background knowledge and keeping the scope small. Educators will learn the basics of prototyping in an attempt to understand the development process.

So what is on my mind now? What is in this for the students? Is it enough to say we’ll make a game with a product owner? What else will drive students to want to take this? How should teams be architected and built? Is there a way to permit some self selection as well as creating balance between programming, art and other tasks? Is there room for mentorship and people new to development?

Where to look for problems? Are there people who are underfunded for development but who have labs / centers / outreach programs that can benefit a team in ways other than pure funding? Will there be interest in continuing the project after the summer development, and how can that be handled? How will IP be handled?

There are lots of good questions here and lots of good people on board. I am excited for this and for the future. This is the soft announcement, so look for more information as time passes, I’m going to try to make it down to CSUMB to sit in on a little of the summer 16 edition of this and see how it plays on the ground. There is so much to be done and so many deadlines ahead. If you are interested in participating as a STEAM faculty or as a student please feel free to contact me directly.

Arcade Stats from AFK openings


The Game Dev Club volunteered an arcade cabinet to help flesh out the gaming options at the AFK openings.

We sent our brand new cabinet, lovingly referred to as “Coin-Op” and “Flagship” and it got a good amount of play.  There were some serious learning to be had regarding leaving the cabinet unattended.

We moved in for the first of the soft openings on March 26 and brought the machine back on April 21.  It lived on site almost a whole month and got some good play. One of the issues we had to deal with was the startup / shutdown sequence and trouble shooting. Davain Martinez took the lead on much of this as he was working at AFK but even his heroic efforts were not enough. We know that if we want to have a stand alone cabinet in public, it needs to be simpler to startup/shutdown and needs to be bulletproof, that is to say that it needs to be able to recover from its errors and to test to see if it is running properly and fix itself.

No small task.

Anyhow, here are the stats from the AFK openings, they are not terribly reliable especially since people have a tendency to walk away from a game, I think Laser Cat benefitted from this in terms of time played, but this does not effect number of plays (note the image should link to stats :

Screenshot 2015-04-24 14.56.45

Screenshot 2015-04-24 16.13.58

the spreadsheet is here: DSCF7243


This is the cabinet shortly after installation, note the impromptu power cord.

Cab at AFK


And in context of the space, it fits nicely and looks beautiful.

DSCF7323This is the last play session before we moved it out, much enthusiasm!


Global Game Jam 2015

The Game Development Club at SJSU is proud to host Global Game Jam 2015 on SJSU campus.

This 48 hour game jam has yielded games that have been crowd funded and otherwise published as well as games that have won awards at IndieCade and other festivals.

Game Dev always welcomes everyone, and even if this is your first game jam or even your first game we believe you have something to contribute and welcome you. Last year we had a bunch of great games that went on to be presented at Rockage, so we plan to do the same thing this year.

What will the theme be? Well that we won’t know until Friday Jan 23, but until then you can familiarize yourself with your favorite game engine or look over our arcade control scheme:

To participate:

1) Make an account at the Global Game Jam Site:

2) Join the SJSU Jam Site:

3) Join the Facebook event and introduce yourself:

Start a conversation and help us get to know you, it will be easier to get into a group this way, but it is not necessary.

4) Come to the first Game Dev meeting of the semester on Thursday Jan 22 at 7pm in the Mezzanine of the Library (right above the children’s section.)  Meet more people!

5) Come to Global Game Jam prepared.  The pre-jam starts at 430 in WSQ 109, we will be doing icebreakers and finding out what skills we have and what we like to play and want to make. If you are new, check out this video which sums up what you should be thinking:

6) Have Fun.  Fail Faster. Remember to hydrate, sleep and personal hygiene.

7) Feedback feedback feedback.  Help us make our events better, we shall be posting a before and after survey that should be pretty easy and fun and will help us make more awesome events in the future.

8) For a nice overview of the process take a look at this slide-set:

Signing up sooner guarantees you a spot, we are going to limit participation on site so that everyone has room to work, but teams working offsite that come for the kickoff and the followup are also welcome.  Everyone is welcome!


calidriscadreLocal sponsors: and

Games and Playing Games

I just had an amazing experience with a game and the gamification of one single bit of information. (Thursday 3/20)

The game was Out of Body as run at Swissnex as part of GDC.  The game was delightful.  We got into line to avoid the crowd, and I started talking with Sarah who was reading the great gatsby in line ahead of me. It was for a course she was taking which saddened me. I flirted with the ladies as they walked past us and then something amazing happened.

A gentlemen came by and offered us membership.  Membership included a black t-shirt and cutsies into line for the t-shirt owner and a +1. Sarah and I bought shirts and I laughed and joked about the “in app purchase” that took us to the experience ahead of others.

We played the game, it did not dissapoint. A little bit of pain, a little disorientation and in the end a diagnosis.  You were either infected or you were not.  My +1 Kelsey was declared free of infection, but I realized that my jacket sleeve conveniently covered my wristband.

One single bit of information… yes or no.

We played a game for the next two hours, a social game, a logic game, a princess bride game about my status.  One single bit of information, which I pointed out that I may or may not know, became the focus of an asymmetric game.

I asked Kelsey to make a declaration when he got on his bus, but that he should consider lying. He said he was not a good liar, so I took this into account when he departed. I expect to be infected, somehow I want to be infected, I can find out by looking but I have not.

He said, “You are infected” as he boarded his bus and it is the most amazing words I have heard in as long as I can remember. I really liked the answer.  Did he lie to me?  Did he feed into my desire, my delusion?  What does it even mean to be infected.

This, this is a most amazing game.  Build evidence, share an experience and then hide one single bit of information.

I shall know soon, but I do not know now.

(later) When I found out I was not disappointed.

robot battle game

game board

1) Place a piece on the board (you start with 2 pieces each)
2) Pick up resources, each resource you have give you +1 on die rolls
3) Move 1 space then attack (if possible)- you must have a resource to be able to attack
4) If you are supported in your attack you roll 1 extra die ( formula is # of robots +1)
5) Roll two dice, highest wins
6) attacker wins ties, winner takes resource or kills if no resources

a few more blogs

These students were either in the art section or the cs section, for the most part their experience is the same and when they work together the results can be stunning. Here are a few more blogs that I thought were interesting:

L2PlayL2Play – artist who produced a game prototype for the final. I think the paper prototyping is the most interesting entry as it shows a nice evolution and growth of a game.  I am also encouraged by her persistance in beating “This Is The Only Level” and that she found easter eggs in QWOP.
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 20.37.34
geisler-development – really interesting collaborative final prototype with arduino and fashion. His simulation of the paper prototype also goes real far towards understanting the game.  He also participated in game jams and hackathons during the semester, though I am sad it did not get represented here.
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 20.43.12
Desiree charts the evolution of a board game from initial prototype, through multiple play sessions to the beautiful project that she (and Kevin) presented for their final.  You can see the arts influence in the work in that it is really polished.  Will this be published?
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 20.50.51
CS108 Blog – the flow through this blog is kind of nice, it is interesting to compare the experience of the art vs the cs major in the class as they all experience essentially the same content.  This final project is a zombie shooter.
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 20.54.24
Game Design – I was particularly interested in Mitch’s consideration of gender and race in video games and his attempt to make sense of it for himself. He also made an interesting video retrospective of FEAR,  its mechanics and storyline.
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 21.02.07
Game – this student finished with a four player snake game. The game itself is a nice little prototype, and creating the mechanic makes it somewhat straight-forward to duplicate it, but making a four player game is ambitious.  Playtesting went well and now the big question is how to get this into an arcade cabinet, oh yah and art.
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 21.08.04
Art 108 – Melanie did a survey about gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation with her tumblr community and our class. My favorite outcome of hers what with regard to the questions she asks and how they can contain assumptions and even judgements. Interesting results too.
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 21.14.32
sweethorrorgaming – this was Michael’s first semester as a transfer student into the DMA program. I liked the idea of modding the tutorial, but this collaborative work really ended up being interesting. The final game presents an interesting prototype, and the rest of his blog is also worth a read.
Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 21.20.03
Cong Lu’s Game World – Cong Lu is one of the DMA grad students and it is so very evident in her work, beyond her background in CS she really did get the projects and excelled at them. Her final “sloth” was designed from the ground up in Unity.  She has an interesting perspective on UI and always seems to come up with something new. Additionally she participated in the Neurosky Hackathon and the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge.