Lesson Night: Can Games Really Solve Real-World Problems? (March 15th, 6:30pm)

People often talk about how games cause tons of problems — such as violence, obesity, addiction, aggression, or loneliness — but perhaps we should also talk about how games can solve real-world problems, too. In this talk, Dr. Karen Schrier of Marist College will take you on a tour of problem-solving games–from Foldit to the Beanstalk game. These games use crowdsourcing and collective intelligence techniques to encourage players to participate in real-world problem solving, data analysis, and more. Maybe a game will help us cure cancer or find world peace!

Instructor Bio:

Karen Schrier, now in her sixth year at Marist College, teaches courses in games and interactive media and directs the Games & Emerging Media program. She also directs the Play Innovation Lab, where she works with students to create and research games/media. Dr. Schrier’s scholarship is interdisciplinary, and is focused on the intersection of games with education, ethics, empathy, civic engagement, and citizen science. Prior to Marist College, she spent over a decade producing websites, apps, and games at organizations such as Scholastic, Nickelodeon, BrainPOP, and PBS/Channel 13. She is the editor of the book series, Learning, Education & Games, published by ETC Press (Carnegie Mellon), and co-editor of two books on games and ethics. She has written over 30 publications, including single-authored articles published in journals such as Educational Technology Research & Development and the Journal of Moral Education. Her latest book, Knowledge Games: How Playing Games Can Help Solve Problems, Create Insight, and Make Change, was published in 2016 by Johns Hopkins University Press, and has been covered by Forbes, New Scientist, and Times Higher Education, Radio NZ and SiriusXM. She holds a doctorate from Columbia University/Teachers College, master’s degree from MIT, and a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College.

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Game Club: Firewatch (hosted by Patrick T.) (March 16th, 7:30-9:30)

Hey all!

As you’ve probably already figured out, our Game Club game for this month is “Firewatch”, and it will be hosted by Patrick. A first-person adventure that takes place in the Shoshone National Forest, you are placed in the role of Henry, a fire lookout. As ominous things begin to happen, it’s up to you and your supervisor, Delilah, to communicate via walkie-talkie and work together to unravel the mystery.

Firewatch can be played on Windows, OS X, Linux, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.

Try your best to play some of the game before you arrive, and be prepared for spoilers! We will meet in the boardroom and begin the discussion after 7:30 pm.

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Social Night – 007: Agent Under Fire! (March 1st, 6-9 pm)

Hey there Space Cadets! Due to some scheduling conflicts that have arisen in the wake of GDC 2017, we’ve moved Social Night to this upcoming Wednesday. We’re sorry for the short notice, and hope you can still attend!

The featured game this week is “007: Agent Under Fire”, a first-person shooter packed with weird powerups, cool guns, labyrithine maps, and slick spy gadgets to help you hunt down your friends and/or enemies. But be warned – this is a game from the ancient year of 2002, so don’t be surprised if some stuff seems outdated. Just try the game out, and most importantly, have fun! And don’t forget, we have plenty of other games for people to play besides our monthly Social Night pick.


Black History Game Jam

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To participate in this event, please reserve a free ticket on Eventbrite: Black History Game Jam tickets

In celebration of Black History Month, the next event in our #include series will be the Black History Game Jam, a day long “hackathon” dedicated to creating games, interactive artwork and stories inspired by African American history and culture. Come join us in recognizing and celebrating African American contributions to history and culture while creating your own game!

Everyone is welcome to take part in this public game making event, and first time creators are highly encouraged to participate. The atmosphere at #include events is fun and collaborative, and a team of experienced mentors will be on hand to help out any newcomers and provide guidance on how you can bring your game ideas to life.

The jam will take place on Sunday, February 26th starting at 10am and ending at 4pm. Participants are invited to gather at The Arts Center (located at 265 River Street in Troy) at 10am on Sunday in order to join in the event kickoff, which will feature a brief word of welcome from the organizers, an introduction to our team of volunteer mentors and a chance for you to meet the other participants.

The Black History Game Jam is open to participants of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels. Tickets are free, but spaces are limited, so please book your ticket early to avoid missing out on your chance to participate in the game jam. Please read all of the event info below before booking your place in the jam.


Sunday, February 26th 10am-4pm


The Arts Center of the Capital Region (265 River Street, Troy)




About the Jam:

The game jam will take place at The Arts Center of The Capital Region, located at 265 River Street in Troy. The kickoff event will take place at 10am on Sunday, February 26th and the event will run until 4pm. The jam will be centered around the theme of African American history, and participants will be encouraged to create games and digital artwork inspired by this theme.

The Arts Center is located in close proximity to a variety of dining options, but there is no eating or drinking allowed inside the venue itself, so please take this into consideration when planning for meals and snack breaks.

Games created by the participants will also be featured at an upcoming showcase event, which will take place at The Arts Center during the next monthly Troy Night Out celebration to occur after the jam. The showcase will be held from 5-9pm on Friday, March 31st in the same room where the jam is taking place.


Mentors Wanted!
If you are a local game developer or someone with experience in a related field (programmer, artist, designer, musician, etc.) and you have a few hours that you’d be willing to contribute toward volunteering as a mentor during a future #include event, please volunteer using the mentor sign up sheet in order to let us know you’re interested. Once you have signed up using the online form, we will get in contact with you to provide further details on how you can get involved with our upcoming diversity events.



About #include:

#include is a series of diversity-focused, creative events hosted by Tech Valley Game Space that are intended to support aspiring game makers in the Capital Region. The goal of the #include initiative is to provide recurring, local classes and game jams targeted toward groups that continue to be underrepresented within the game development community, in order to demystify the process of digital game creation and make it more accessible and welcoming for everyone.

For more information, please visit http://techvalleygamespace.com/include

Lesson Night: TVGS Mentorship Groups Launch Into Orbit! (February 15, 6-9pm)

You asked for it, and now it has finally arrived! At this meeting, we’ll be introducing Orbit, our new mentorship program designed to provide greater opportunities for learning and collaboration at TVGS than ever before.

Orbit is all about bringing local game makers (and aspiring game makers!) together based around mutual interests, and providing a consistent environment for sustained skill development, personal growth, and community building.

Curious to learn more? Join us for this meeting! We’ll be fielding all of your questions, gathering feedback, and providing an overview of the initial set of Orbit groups that will be launching later this month.

Do you have a particular topic that you’d like to learn more about, or a desire to meet other local creators that share your interests? Let us know what types of Orbit groups you’d like to see in the future by filling out the feedback and suggestion form located here.

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TVGS Mentorship Groups – Call For Feedback

Are you an aspiring game maker in the Capital Region looking to develop and refine your skills?

Are you a practicing game developer (professional/indie/hobbyist) interested in meeting up with local peers that share your interests?

Do you run a game studio in the Capital Region that would benefit from connecting with a local community of game makers? Are there particular skill gaps within the talent pool that you encounter when trying to recruit local candidates?

If you answered “yes” or even “maybe” to any of the above, we want your feedback! TVGS is looking to expand our educational offerings with a new series of mentorship groups designed to provide accessible opportunities for support, skill development, and community building among local game makers. If you have suggestions for what mentorship group topics you’d like to see, please share your ideas with us via this feedback form.

Social Night: Towerfall! (February 8, 6-9 pm)

Let’s celebrate the moment at the Tech Valley Game Space with a fun-filled social night! We’ll relax and have a good time talking about games, development, and other topics.

Got a new project to show off? Let’s play it! Have a cool game to play? Bring it in! Want to bring your own VR? Everyone and every gaming news item, project, idea, and gadget are welcome!

This month we’re playing Towerfall, a fun multiplayer game where you stick your friends full of arrows!



Community Projects Shark Tank

TVGS Community Night and Shark Tank 10 (January 25, 2017) (6-9 pm)

Welcome to the community, projects, and shark tank event!
If you have a project that you need help with, this is the time to request any assistance from the community! TVGS has a goal to help create local games, and there are multiple projects ongoing.
Back in October, we held our ninth “shark tank” session, where anyone with a game idea was invited to present a five minute pitch. The pitches were then voted on by attendees, and a team of TVGS volunteers have been working together over the intervening month(s) to develop the concept that received the most votes into a working prototype.
Now that over a full month has elapsed (as well as the holiday season), the progress that was made on the winning project will be presented.
This time around we’ll be hearing from Neil Alers on the progress of his game “Double Rainbow Mirrors”, winner of our last Shark Tank event. The results of the past several weeks will be shared, and there will be time afterwards for feedback and questions.
We do need to limit the total number of pitches for scheduling purposes. Therefore, if you wish to participate in the event, we ask that you please RSVP in advance using the registration form: http://goo.gl/forms/bffPovTE9jG58XLh2

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Lesson Night: Mega Microtalks! (January 18)

For the next TVGS Lesson Night, our presenter will be… all of you! As a change of pace from our usual format, we will be hosting a series of 5-10 minute “microtalks” from a variety of different speakers.

If you’re interested in presenting a short talk, please sign up using this form. Your talk could be a mini-lesson related to game development, a personal story about some hard-won bit of wisdom you’ve acquired from a recent project, a rave review of your favorite game, or even just a goofy bit of performance art. Just make sure to keep it short and sweet!

Here is a list of the microtalks that have been submitted so far:

“Flash Forward: Cross-Platform Game Development with Haxe & OpenFL” by Jamey Stevenson – A brief introduction to Haxe & OpenFL, how they relate to Flash, why they’re cool and why you should use them.

“Resources for Visual Novel creators” by Frederika Edgington-Giordano – Frederika will be discussing the resources that she has found and used for creating Visual Novels. These resources could be useful for creating other types of games.

“How to come up with an innovative game idea: game jam edition” by Taro Omiya – Winner of Ludum Dare 37’s Innovation category, Taro Omiya will provide his method of coming up with innovative game ideas during game jams. Check out this short talk for some flash of inspiration!

“Using Simple Spreadsheet Techniques to Help Balance Your Game” by Jamey Stevenson – Jamey has done a fair amount of economy design and balancing using spreadsheet tools like Excel. He will provide a whirlwind tour of the techniques he uses to keep a game economy organized and ensure that it is easy to maintain and update.

“How to buy PC components for a custom build!” by Alana O’Hair – Do you want to learn how to build a PC, but don’t know where to start? This introduction to custom PC’s will cover Alana’s techniques for building the best system for your needs and budget.

“Elegant Chaos: Setting up a Alt-Control booth” by John Ceceri III – From Alt.Ctrl.GDC alum John Ceceri III, you’ll be hearing a brief discussion of the dos and don’t for setting up a non-standard controller game!

“Composition – a brief intro” by Jason Harlow – What makes good composition? How can I improve my art and photography? How can I look at the world and see things differently?

“Simple Hex Maps and You” by Patrick Totaro – Patrick will talk about a hex tile system he created in Unity. He will quickly discuss pathfinding and coordinate systems.

Please RSVP using the links below:

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