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Theme

Living in a cloud

We are back (again) for our third London GameCraft.

If you haven't been to the first two and don't know what happens, here's a description of what happens:

London GameCraft is a game jam event where folks come together to make games! Teams (or brave individuals,) get together and are given a theme early in the morning and from there have as little as 8 hours (sometimes 12 if we’re feeling generous). Games are built from scratch on any platform you like, at the end of the day the games are demoed by a panel of judges who award prizes for the best contenders. It’s a great chance to flex your creative muscles, tackle some quick and dirty coding problems, and to get out there and meet other game-makers face to face.

You have 12 hours from then to make a game, followed by networking and play-testing (by the judges and your peers) and at the end winners are announced. We will provide all meals (including a beer & pizza reception in the evening) and refreshments throughout the day. Please bring your own laptop and power leads (you always need them).

REGISTRATION

If you have any questions, you can email us (Andrea/Vicky) at [email protected].

BREAKDOWN OF THE DAY

ABOUT SKILLS MATTER

Skills Matter’s mission is to promote continuous learning and innovation in software. More than 35,000 people get together at Skills Matter each year, everyone with the goal of improving themselves and our community. We welcomed 42,000 face-to-face visits to our talks, workshops and gatherings in the last 12 months and our SkillsCast videos were seen by several hundreds of thousands of passionate developers too. Follow us on twitter @skillsmatter #skillsmatter

The event will be taking place on Saturday, 29th November at the Skills Matter eXchange in Clerkenwell, Central London.

Judges

YOU! It's people's choice.

  1. Take x1 lego brick.
  2. Play games.
  3. Remember your favourite game's team number.
  4. Hand in your lego brick to organiser and tell them your favourite game's team number.

News

Big thanks to Jason Farmer (Songbird Creations) for creating this awesome video of November's London GameCraft 2014.

And not to mention their fantastic green screen and making it available to everyone all day during the jam).

Check out what went on, interviews with folks of completed games, and some green screen fun!

GameCraft London - Sat 29th November 2014 @ Skills Matter

Up at 03:30... yes, you read that right... to make the red-eye flight to London from Dublin for GameCraft at Skills Matter. We made it in time with five minutes to spare. I was a bit wobbly self from a wee bit of motion sickness but soon back on my feet after announcing the start of GameCraft at 09:30.

The theme was "Living in a cloud", and it was so quiet that you can hear a pin drop. At this point I'm never sure if people was just drawing a blank, not being awake seeing it's so early or the cogs in their heads are working furiously to come up with a game idea.

Green screen was set up by @thecacktus for anyone who wants assets for their game quickly and easily.

Although I figure people are a bit unsure about green screen, but eventually a couple of people asked for help like

Folks were asked to get interviewed by Jason and have their game superimposed in the background:

People's Choice

First

Team 3

Second

Team 2

Third

Team 15

Fourth

Team 11

Here are some more photos of the day:

A special guest blog by Written by Jason Farmer (@thecacktus).

That's the issue I was faced with while putting the graphics together for the game I'm currently working on. I'm a so-so 2d artist and a terrible animator. After spending a lot of effort getting a game running only to have my efforts overshadowed by the terrible animation caused me to think seriously about the direction my art was taking.

It wasn't the first time I'd had to consider my animating skills. (or lack thereof) Back in 2007, I wrote a game which won the Pascal Game Development forum competition, It was called Crashblock, a game which fused platforming gameplay with tetris (the theme of the competition was Multiplexity). After having the idea it quickly became apparent that my desire to create a character with fluid animation seen in games like Flashback or Another world would be beyond my capabilities. So one day, I decided to film my wife running, jumping and climbing on bins in a local park to get the movement I needed. The exercise was a success, I had my in-game character and it fit with the game really well. Although I almost gave myself carpal tunnel syndrome from the manual rotoscoping of each frame and I vowed never to do that again.

So back to the current game, I realised that I would yet again be unable to build the models and animate the characters and make them in any way lifelike, so I built costumes, purchased equipment and captured all of the animations using a greenscreen. Employing friends and family to dress up and pretend to be heroes and by-standers.

This again turned out to be a lot of work, however the majority of this was in developing a piece of software to isolate the frames into loopable sections to make smooth walk, run and idle animations possible. To record the walking and running animations, I filmed the actors on a treadmill moving at a set speed. This did result in having to manually erase the treadmill in post production but it was a lot easier than rotoscoping a person from the busy background of a local park.

Our process is as follows:

  1. Set up greenscreen equipment.

  2. Film actors doing their thing.

  3. Take footage from camera and place into a sensibly named directory

  4. Load the animation into Adobe After Effects and reorientate and scale as required.

  5. Apply the chromakey effect and ensure that the greenscreen is completely transparent with as few artifacts on the subject as possible.

  6. Crop and Render the animation as individual frames into another suitably named directory

  7. Load the directory into my Folder Animator program and designate start and end positions for looped animations.

  8. Export these frames into another directory.

  9. Load frames into TexturePacker, configure for the project as required.

  10. Export from TexturePacker - producing a nice texture containing the images and a plist file (or whatever file the engine/framework needs - texturepacker is great!)

The great thing about this process is that it can cater for pretty much any kind of shooting, be it people, soft toys or racing cars.

Most of all, it frees people from the idea that to make something look good, they need to be an expert in Maya or 3DStudio. If they have an idea, they can use real world items or even make the items in the real world and take pictures.

After-all, the guns in Doom were all manipulated photos of toy guns from toys r us - and that worked out well for iD.

We'll be bringing a selection of props with us which can be manipulated by someone wearing a chromakey bodysuit or rotated by the Legotastic turntable (pat pending on that btw)

Oh, I forgot: Step 11. Have fun making the game and worrying less about the graphics.

See you on Saturday

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Where

Skills Matter, 116-120 Goswell Rd, London, EC1V 7DP, United Kingdom