VGS Workshop Materials

Slides, plans, etc for the 2016-2017 Princeton Video Game Society intro gamedev workshop series
Each week is designed to run 60-90 minutes
Slides, notes, and recommended links will be posted here


MISC NOTES AND RECOMMENDED LINKS
Highly Recommended: make a twitter account and follow game developers. That's where a lot of current design discourse takes place. If you're not sure where to start, look at the accounts @_drew_wallace is following, from the bottom up
Highly Recommended: Everything on this influences list
Highly Recommended: Everything in the top 150 or so on this list of good games
^ Exponentially higher recommendation for the ones higher on the list, but everything in the top 150 has a big unique takeaway
the items below are all good things not already included on the lists above:
Martin Jonasson & Petri Purho - Juice It or Lose It (talk, 2012)
Frank Lantz - The Immersive Fallacy (talk, 2005)
David Kanaga - Music Object, Substance, Organism (talk, 2014)
Andy Hull - Free-falling through the Goldilocks Zone (talk, 2014)
Games Done Quick Archives (speedrunning event archives)
AGDQ 2015 Tetris The Grandmaster Showcase (event video, 2015)
pannenkoek2012 - "the mario 64 half A presses video" (video, 2016)
Salen and Zimmerman - Rules of Play (book, 2003) (should read the actual book)
Don Norman - The Design of Everyday Things (book, 1988) (should read the actual book)
Matthew Frederick - 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (book, 2007)
Random Minecraft Player - Minecraft FIREE WTFFFFFF!!!!! (video, 2010)
Joel Goodwin - Stop Crying About Choice (article, 2014)
Joel Goodwin - The Unbearable Now: An Interpretation of The Witness (video, 2016)
Frank Lantz - Parley (article, 2015)
Mark Rosewater - Timmy, Johnny, and Spike Revisited (article, 2006)


WEEK 1: Conceptions of Games (9/30/16)
(SLIDES)

- The Immersive Fallacy (Lantz, 2005): The simulation gap is essential for effective representation (video)
- Sid Meier's "A game is a series of interesting decisions"
- Rules of Play (Salen & Zimmerman, 2003): Rules / Play / Culture
- Homo Ludens (Huizinga, 1939): An early, broader conception of play (Wikipedia)
- Play Everything (Bogost, 2016): Play is this process of operating the world (interview) (Frank Lantz review)
- Hearts and Minds (Lantz, 2014): "Games are the aesthetic form of instrumental reason" (talk video) (Half-Life 2 Speedrun)
- Other Ideas (Various): systems, order, experimentation, learning, rewards, etc
- Exercise for next time: Think of a game that engages each of the Rules of Play game elements


WEEK 2: Intro to Game Programming; Meaningful Play (10/7/16)
(SLIDES)

We're using p5.js, a JavaScript port of the Java-based creative framework/language Processing.
Java aficionados are free to just use Processing (really, anything you're comfortable using is fine).
p5.js download (get the complete package and the editor)
p5.js reference
- a quick tour through p5.js/Processing.
- a quick intro to the concept of "meaningful play," as discussed in Rules of Play (Salen and Zimmerman)
- looking at Tic-Tac-Toe and attempting to redesign it to make players' decisions meaningful.
Relevant links:
- Chris DeLeon - Here's why I stopped teaching Unity first
- Eric Zimmerman - How I Teach Game Design


WEEK 3: Implementing Pong; Designing visuals and audio alongside mechanics (10/14/16)
(SLIDES) (Pong code)

As before, we're using p5.js.
- a quick walkthrough of implementing Pong
- modifying and redesigning Pong, with attention to visuals and audio
Recommended links:
- Juice it or lose it (Martin Jonasson & Petri Purho): a classic (and fun and short) talk on how visuals and audio effects are crucial to our experience of a game. A nice complement to our Tic-Tac-Toe exercise last week - formal mechanics are super important, but you need to look at all game elements to get a full picture (for those who missed it, last week we redesigned Tic-Tac-Toe to make decisions more meaningful).
- This twitter thread: ""code"+"asset" is an *irreducible* blend, treating them separately has bad design pitfalls"
- Doug Wilson - A Tale of Two Jousts: Multimedia, Game Feel, and Imagination: the actual talk being discussed in that Twitter thread
- That Twitter thread also features the two images below. Which of these is harder?



WEEK 4: Competitive Multiplayer (10/21/16)
(SLIDES)

- balance
- yomi (Sirlin)
- donkeyspace (Lantz)
- design/analysis exercise: Pong
- design/analysis exercise: Behead
Recommended links:
- Frank Lantz - Life and Death and Middle Pair (talk)
- David Sirlin - various articles (Recommended: "Balancing Multiplayer Games," "Solvability")
- Playing Out Loud (curated by Zach Gage) (video tumblr)
- OODA loops (why APM matters) (wikipedia article)
- Frank Lantz - Counting Frames (talk)
- Zach Gage - Really Bad Chess (game)
- Skullclamp, We Hardly Knew Ye (article)


Midterms Week (no workshop, no particular theme) (10/28/16)
Links of the Week:
- Zach Gage - Let's Get Physical - lessons from the real world
- Zach Gage - The Systems Design of Tharsis
- and the actual game Tharsis
- Monster Factory: What if Dark Souls Were Made Of Pizza?
- Robert Yang - Level With Me, a post-mortem
- and the actual Level With Me mod


Week 5: Actually Making Games (no slides) (11/17/16)
Links of the Week:
making games
- Hello World - Brendon Chung (Thirty Flights of Loving, Gravity Bone)
intent
- The Center Of All Things - Rami Ismail (Vlambeer - Nuclear Throne, Ridiculous Fishing)
- How I analyze a game - Raph Koster (A Theory of Fun, Ultima Online)
- couple of relevant games: Devil Daggers, Desert Golfing, Gravity Bone, Radiator 2, Room of 1000 Snakes
fun
- LIST OF FROGS IN VIDEOGAMES - thecatamites (Space Funeral, Goblet Grotto, 50 short games)
- LIST OF WHALES IN VIDEOGAMES - Dylan Schneider
misc
- dump.txt - maybe less accessible but really excellent bunch of thoughts from developer thecatamites (Space Funeral, Goblet Grotto, 50 short games) (again)


12/1/16
Links of the week:

TIMMY, JOHNNY, AND SPIKE REVISITED - Mark Rosewater - a framework for looking at different types of players in traditional games and how they get enjoyment.
Design Language - Mark Rosewater - a further look at the framework presented in (1) and some ways of designing for it.


12/9/16
Links of the week:

Robert Yang - "Not a manifesto; on game development as cultural work"
Paolo Pedercini - "Courses"

2/8/17
Links of the week:
How Designers Engineer Luck into Games: a nice and short overview of the topic by Simon Parkin
good games I (Brendan Keogh) played in 2016: quick, solid takes on a bunch of games, from Firewatch to Final Fantasy XV to No Man's Sky and Really Bad Chess and more
Genesis 4 Melee Leffen vs Mango: wow
Can’t play, won’t play: why the term "gamification" is misleading/inaccurate. 6 years old and still relevant
Depicting Vulgar Profligacy: on curation, exhibition, and "good" and "bad" games
After years of speculation, aliens have been found in Elite: Dangerous: it's true
content world: thecatamites with a positive look at "weird videogames": "the coldness that haunts game development, ... now no longer something to be pushed away through increasingly elaborate forms of player feedback, becomes the medium through which the imagination functions"
Intro to Ludic Ecologonomy (Pt. 1): yep.

2/15/17
Links of the week:
Mikkel Gjoel and Mikkel Svendsen - The Rendering of INSIDE
Robert Venturi - Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture
Raymond Queneau - Exercises on Style
Susan Sontag - On Style


3/26/17
Links of the week:
game engine architecture, jason gregory (naughty dog)
(excellent overview of all the different tech bits that go into a game and how they're built)
http://www.gameenginebook.com/
data-oriented design and c++, mike acton (insomniac)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX0ItVEVjHc
doom3 bfgsource code reviews, fabian sanglard
(really, all the source code reviews on his site)
gta vgraphics studies, adrian courreges
buddy ai in the last of us, max dyckhoff (naughty dog)
http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1020364/Ellie-Buddy-AI-in-The
parallelizing the naughty dog engine using fibers, christian gyrling (naughty dog)
http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1022186/Parallelizing-the-Naughty-Dog-Engine

technical art culture of uncharted 4, andrew maximov (naughty dog)
http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1023251/Technical-Art-Culture-of-Uncharted
free-falling through the goldilocks zone, andy hull (spelunky hd)
(practical code scoping for small teams)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GWavyfFbIY


Future weeks will be posted here as they happen