I have been interested in learning Unity for some time though never seem to get around to completing online courses. To finally tackle this personal mission, I have teamed up with two artists from Goat Planet so I can learn Unity by making a game and focus on the technical side of things.
Motivation and accountibility
Running my own business is demanding on my time. When I have to weigh up the decision of spending more time on business projects or online courses, I often go to the business. However, I still want to learn Unity.
As we all know from behavioural economics, humans really suck at making decisions. We must find ways to overcome our shortfalls in decision making. Luckily there are a bunch of tried and trusted approaches to trick yourself into the path you actually want to take. If you are interested, look up nudges, accountibility and get lost in a sea of interesting psychological studies.
One way to keep motivated is to increase accountability. The idea is that if you tell people you are working on something, there is now some social pressure on you to perform. In fact, there are services you can use just for this purpose alone! If you work on the same project as someone else, the accountibility goes up again, since they actually need your work to further the project to completion. This makes sense!
Since following an online course by myself only holds myself accountable, the accountability level is low. I believe the best way to learn is through doing, and I want to increase my accountability for the project, I decided to form a team.
With a team, you have team members and meetings, the levels accountablilty hits the ceiling!
Motivation goes way up too, since it’s actually fun to work with other people on a creative project, and the result will be better than anything you can make alone. But how can I increase accountability even more?
Livestream the development of the game, in the open, on Twitch. Share every mistake and learning moment with the world at large. Oh my god, the pressure! Suddenly I became completely excited about the whole project, and that excitment spread through the team.
Motivation is infectious!
When I started my first stream, a friend of mine tuned into the channel and got super motivated to work on their own game. They made pixel art, a sprite sheet, and a level. As it turns out, seeing your friends working on their passion projects has an infectious motivation aura! Surely there must be some studies out there that show this.
Hearing this news made the whole project a success in a way I didn’t even think could happen. If I can somehow motivate anyone else to work on their own game or to pick up a new skill, that’s an amazing bonus. Still, I remain super excited to continue development and can’t wait til my next stream!
As Galway’s Site Organiser, I’ve joined the first ever Global Game Jam cross-site collaboration experiment with a small bunch of participating Site Organisers across the world. Our Galway site will be teaming up with Seattle, and we will have at least one team with members in both sides of the planet, jamming together. How exciting!
Galway and Seattle are also sister cities! This is news to me, though the Seattle-Galway sister city status was established in the 1980’s. In fact there is a monument in both cities, two rocks, which point to each other in a straight line through the Earth. A great photo-op, and sure jammers on both sides will likely have to deal with the rain!
Hopefully this collaboration experiment will be an interesting challenge and will provide a more “global” experience for the jammers who take part.
Unlike the regular Global Game Jam team formation’s, we will need to get our cross-site teams established before the event in order for the teams to fully participate across time-zones.
If you are interested in joining our jam-site and participating in the cross-site collaboration with Seattle, please get in touch as soon as possible.
I’m super busy for the next while but will catch up on doing a follow up to my little adventure to Köln, Germany for one of the largest game conferences on the planet.
In short, I went over without a plan and a desire to meet people and learn about the event. It was my first game convention outside of Ireland and I don’t really have any demo worth showing at the moment. I met a bunch of awesome people and have a much better idea about what I will do next year.
I’d recommend it, even though the whole thing is madness. Laters!
I’ve recently started experimenting with streaming.
People have streamed for years, why now?
Streaming is still kind of a strange (and scary) new world for me. For the longest time I have generally been disinterested in streaming, choosing instead to view pre-recorded videos of my favourite game developers and interesting people doing their thing. I always felt streaming was kind of disingenuous and relied on cheap psychological tricks, sensationalism and controversy to get peoples attention. Much like modern advertising and sensationalist news headlines. However, I have slowly been discovering a more wholesome side of streaming on my personal side-quest to learn of wholesome things.
Have you ever watched the Joy of Painting with Bob Ross on twitch? I have, and I absolutely adore it. Ross delivers a tutorial, but he does so with an effortless skill, creating a calm and safe space simply bustling with creativity.
Clearly Bob Ross was very professional about the whole set up and he managed to create a wonderful atmosphere, where he put his viewers – who he would address as his students – at ease, and encourage them to make the best of their mistakes while they followed along at home.
One day, watching the stream, it sort of occurred to me that I wanted to do something like that, and that I could do that. I was already planning to get a computer for making games – now I wanted one to also stream!
Computer – check! Mic – not yet… (please wait, researching!)
Now I that I have my computer and I am working away at gamedev, I have finally put some time aside to learn more about streaming and find channels and streamers of people who are doing things I find interesting.
You can come across some lovely gems out there. There are quite a few streamers that have a great connection with their viewers and have a great time sharing what they love with everyone. Streamers such as the talented Johnathan Ong – who even inspired me to make art one day with his creative expression of a composition that I love.
It makes me think about the passion that is shown by the streamers I like. I wonder is that a key element? I guess we will find out!
I am interested in streaming to for a few reasons. Let’s be a little reductive and write them into a list:
I stream to share what I love doing.
I stream to reach more people with my projects who might actually want to support either me or the project.
I stream for the fun of it, because why not?
Building a community is probably the most difficult thing there. It takes time, and there needs to be a project to gather around. Currently there is not even much project to share, so my work is cut out for me!
Stream experiments and plans for future streams.
I am currently focusing on creating things and playing indie video games that I enjoy.
So far I have streamed:
experiments in game development with PICO-8
digital painting (fan art)
playing Risk of Rain2
playing Heat Signature
.This weekend I will be streaming my desktop for Game Jam +, because I love gamejams – and why not?
If you have any suggestions or feedback please let me know! You can scroll down on the twitch channel and fill out the suggestion box. I suppose I should probably link you to the stream after all of this!
Now I can finally add to the chorus of the internet: please follow and subscribe!
You can check out my experimental stream here: https://twitch.tv/mindcauldrongames
In this three week evening course Darren Kearney (Mind Cauldron) will teach you the basics of making tiny games using PICO-8 – a “fantasy console” and delightful game making tool.
This course takes a hands-on approach to learning. Each student will make a tiny retro arcade hi-score chaser from design to delivery in only 3 weeks.
This course presents a great opportunity to learn the basics of programming in a fun and friendly environment.
From his experience with running game making events over the past 4 years and from his own game projects, Darren will be able to flag common pitfalls faced by beginners and offer suggestions on how you can avoid them.
When: 7pm-9pm on Wednesdays 5th, 12th & 19th June.
Where: Just Art It, 33 Dominick Street Lower, Galway, Ireland
You will be provided with your own copy of PICO-8. Please see requirements below.
The skills and knowledge gained in this course will help equip you to make your own PICO-8 games and share them with the world.
This course will touch on the following topics:
2D Pixel Art,
Game Audio and Music,
This course presents a great
opportunity to learn the basics of programming. The skills you learn can
be used to develop games or other projects.
Who is this course for?
This course is aimed at adults who
are curious about games and how to make them. You do not need to have
any prior experience in any aspect of the game development to qualify
for this course. If you are interested and willing to learn, then you
are already prepared!
Here is what you will have achieved by the end of the course:
You will have made your first tiny game – a retro arcade classic hi-score chaser – using PICO-8,
shared your tiny creation with the world using PICO-8’s online platform.
Students are required to:
Bring their own laptop with cables.
Be familiar with using computers and browsing the internet.
Supply a contact email address for course correspondence and registering their copy of PICO-8.
A copy of PICO-8 is required for the
course. This is included in the course price. If you already have your
own copy of PICO-8 please contact us before the course begins.
What is PICO-8?
PICO-8 is a “fantasy console” created
by Lexaloffle. A fantasy console is an application that emulates the
restrictions of retro-era game consoles, mostly used by hobbyists.
PICO-8 also provides simple yet
powerful tools to make and share your own retro style games. It is
designed to make developing games a joy.
The artificial limitations built into PICO-8 serve as a walled sandbox that you can play with. It’s often easier for us humans to be creative within clear limitations. It is also very common that beginners over-scope their projects. PICO-8 solves some of the problems of over-scoping your project by virtue of these limitations. Many hobbyist game developers and educators use PICO-8 to make their first games and teach concepts of programming.
Regarding programming, PICO-8 uses it’s own subset of the Lua programming language. Lua is commonly used in the Game industry to allow people to develop their own custom game “mods” for their favourite games on Desktop platforms (Windows/Mac/Linux). If you are curious about the application of your programming skills after the course, your familiarity with PICO-8’s Lua can translate into Lua, which can be used to develope larger games. The approach to coding, testing and fixing your code will be applicable everywhere!
Here are the goals we hope to achieve with our course.
Teach beginners that they can make games
Give anyone who is curious about games a taste of game development.
Focus on skills and approach
Empower and encourage course
participants to continue making their own games after the course has
finished by applying a practical approach to classwork.
Provide a friendly, safe learning environment
We (Mind Cauldron and Just Art It, Galway) believe that you deserve to be comfortable and safe, to enjoy learning, and simply in general! We have a Code of Conduct that helps us to keep everything in order which every student and tutor must read, understand and agree to before they can attend or participate in the course.
About the Tutor
Darren Kearney (Mind Cauldron) is a
game developer and game development community leader based in Galway,
Ireland. Darren has been running game jams (game making events),
workshops, courses and other game development related events in Galway
and around Ireland since 2014.
Darren organises a lot of local game development related events. He’s an organiser behind Galway Game Jam, is a board member of Global GameCraft CLtG., organiser of monthly local game developer meetup group 1GAM Galway, and was the site organiser for Global Game Jam ‘19 at PorterShed, Galway.
Organising and participating in game
making events for over 4 years has given Darren insight into the common
pitfalls faced by people making games. Darren will guide you through
making your own tiny game, highlighting these pitfalls so you can avoid
them. Darren is also super friendly guy who wants to bring the joy and
challenge of making games to anyone in Galway who has a notion of making
games! Darren also sports an impressive beard, so we suspect he has
hidden wizardly powers!
Darren uses a practical, workshop style approach.
You will be following along with instruction rather than listening to a lecture. By going step by step through the process of making a tiny game, highlighting key concepts along the way, you will gain more confidence and remember the lesson better.
You are encouraged to focus as the time will be limited. You are welcome to ask questions (which is why we keep the class size small!). When faced with something you don’t understand, that’s totally normal and okay. Darren will offer an explanation if asked and wants you to feel comfortable making mistakes and playing around with the possibilities, both during and after the course.
I’ve been running a free hosting plan for over a year for my first WordPress development clients who opted in. Unfortunately it is time for the free plan to come to an end. Thank you to everyone who has participated in this fun and educational experiment.
If your website is currently on this hosting plan you must make arrangements to migrate your WordPress site before the deadline.
“When do I have to migrate my website?”
The Free WordPress Hosting servers will be taken offline at the start of next month. The deadline is Thursday 28th of February 2019 at 5pm.
“What do I have to do with my website?”
To keep your website online you must find another hosting arrangement. Here are your options:
I am grateful that you have chosen to stay with me on my web development journey by sticking with my web hosting to this point.
Current clients will be notified by email at the start of the sunset period at the beginning of February 2019.
On purchasing a Basic WordPress Hosting plan for your website we will discuss your requirements and assist in transferring your website at no additional cost.
“Can we still avail of Free Hosting if my website is for a charity or non-profit organization?”
Requests from charities and non-profits will be assessed on a case by case basis. Please send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
“Why is the free hosting plan stopping?”
As a quick refresher, the free WordPress hosting was a project I was running for my very first web development clients. The free cost was due to the fact it was experimental and I was still learning a lot about web servers and hosting. I was able to build a lightning fast server that could serve basic WordPress sites from Dublin, Ireland to Vancouver, Canada, in under 3 seconds.
Over the past several months the cost of running the servers has increased and I am no longer able to sustain the increased cost and effort to maintain them.
To respond to the situation, I am bringing the free hosting offer to a close with a month’s notice as well as offering a new paid hosting plan for anyone who wishes to host with Mind Cauldron
During this sunset of the free hosting servers, I will be investing in a new infrastructure for Mind Cauldron’s paid WordPress hosting plan. This new set up aims to be more sustainable and easily maintained, providing a more robust hosting solution.
I’m putting together Galway’s next Global Game Jam. Global Game Jam 2019.
Over the last 4 years, Pulse College Galway has brought Global Game Jam to Galway and made it into a landmark game making event for the community. Unfortunately, Pulse College Galway has closed it’s Galway Campus earlier this year and Chris Colston will not be able to continue as an organiser.
Chris reached out to the community and I answered the call. I have run many game jams in the past, and I’m currently on the board of Global GameCraft LtdG. Chris has been supportive of me taking on the role of organiser for this event. I am more than happy to ensure that Galway does not lose it’s Global Game Jam tradition!
I’ve registered with Global Game Jam and will update mindcauldron.com with news over the coming weeks.
“Introduction to 3D Modelling with Blender” is a beginners level course starting this weekend at the PorterShed, Galway. The workshops will be delivered by Trevor Burke, 3D Artist of Howling Hamster Games.
Blender is a free, open-source tool for creating and rendering 3D art and animations. It is used mostly by smaller studios in both the Game and Film/Animation industries, including a few Galway-based game developers.
The course starts this Saturday 24th November, with a second day on Saturday 1st December.
Mind Cauldron will award a certificate of completion participants on completing the course. Please note that these certificates are not recognised by the NFQ, though they may still be a valuable addition to your C.V.
Mind Cauldron is a new game development business in Galway run by Darren Kearney. Darren is an active member of the game development community in Ireland and is the best known for organising game making events locally and nationally.