Category Jon

Board Games, Game Jams, and the Occasional Outbreak!

Hi again, folks!

The past week has been pretty action packed, and the semester is only getting busier.  We’re in the middle of midterms, and starting the really intense phase of the courses. I’m now learning Assembly (essentially, the language that we actually use to talk to computers, that the computer then translate into the binary language), and all of my courses have really stepped up their workloads.

Fortunately, I’ve still found time to have some fun now and then.

Last week saw the campus-wide game of Outbreak take over the school.

Official Logo - all credit to DIgiPen and its artists!

Official ‘Outbreak’ Poster – all credit to DigiPen and its artists!

Outbreak is essentially glorified zombie tag, but it’s a big event here every October.  So much so it’s not uncommon to see people planning their days and class events around it.

The gam...

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Robo Knight Rusty!

Hey folks,

This week ended up being even busier than anticipated with the start of our group project at school, so that’s why I’ve had such a delay with my post.

I’ve been meeting a bunch of people at school, and fortunately, was able to find a group for a game team really quickly.  The team project makes up the majority of our grade in our GAM100 (project) class that we have this semester, so it’s important to quickly establish a rapport and get started.  Since we’re all still so raw in terms of programming ability, GAM class is more about team development, communication, and cohesion than anything else.

Of course, we still have to make a fun game.

As part of the process, however, we all had to transfer our GAM100 class into the same section so we could present together, work together d...

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Lesson #1: Don’t Overscope…

Hey Everybody!

It’s been another busy week, but I wanted to give you the scoop on my most recent project and some important lessons learned in the past week.

This week’s game project was a platformer I call ‘Elemental’:


If you’re not familiar with the name ‘platformer’, just think Super Mario Bros.  That’s the basic idea.


Look at that incredible character design!

Now, with my first math test this week and a bunch of other assignments coming due, I had less time to work on this game than the last.  However, I foolishly developed a design that required far, far more work than I initially realized.

The basic premise of my game is that the player’s character takes on attributes of the environment when they touch it...

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Digital Pens

Well, folks, it’s time to finally give you the scoop on my school adventures so far.  To sum it up in just a few words: it’s been great!

Wait, don’t go just yet!

I talked last week about how school has been keeping me busy.  That’s an understatement.  It’s quickly become apparent that I’m working on school projects from about 9 am (slightly after arrival on campus) to between 7:30 and 9 pm every day.  And that’s not just weekdays – that includes some busy weekends, too.  Only by being super proactive with my work have I been able to keep up on posts and other writing.

But that’s not to say I’m not enjoying the experience.  I haven’t had a single day yet where the time moved slowly.  Not a single period has been boring, or lacked the opportunity to learn something...

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PAX… and Pox

It’s been quite a blur the last couple of weeks, folks!

With the start of school I’ve been hard pressed to find time to do much of anything but study, and it’s only Week 2!  Seeing as a couple of my classes really haven’t even gotten started yet, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a hectic semester.

Before school started, however, I had the chance to participate in the annual Seattle spectacle known as PAX, or Penny Arcade Expo for the uninitiated.  It’s a giant gaming convention that thousands of people and groups participate in every year, including DigiPen.  The indie (small independent developer) presence at PAX is huge, and it’s a great way for the DigiPen students to show off the games they make at school.

It’s also a ton of fun...

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The End of One Road Always Leads to Another…

Leaving those beautiful Redwoods, Mike and I headed North to my new home: Seattle!  Or technically, Redmond.

I haven’t lived through a winter here yet, but the city really is a beautiful one:


Trees line the avenues of the city, and between Puget sound and the mountains surrounding it, you get quite a view.

As you might have guessed, this picture is from the Space Needle.


Most of you know about the Space Needle, but you might not know all of it’s history.  It was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, at a cost of $4.5 million.  Incredibly, it was almost never completed because a suitable plot of land couldn’t be found.  Since it was being privately financed, it couldn’t be built just anywhere, and had to be within the area designated as the fairgrounds...

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Post Delay…

Sorry folks – I promised a new post Thursday, and it’s almost ready to go, but I haven’t had a chance to finish it yet between school and PAX Prime happening this weekend.  I’ll have my final travel post and a follow-up post on PAX next week!

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The Tree at the End of the Road

The final leg of my cross-country journey is upon us, folks.

After spending more than a month on the road – and as much as I’ve enjoyed visiting friends and family, seeing incredible sights, and meeting new people – I’m definitely ready to wrap things up.  But there’s still one more person to see, and a few places to visit.  My stays were brief, but they definitely left an impression.

My first stop after leaving LA was the unique cultural center that is the city of San Francisco.

San Francisco (SF) is different than any other city I’ve ever visited.  First off, driving into the city is quite spectacular...

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Welcome to LA LA land!

My next stop was the West Coast of California – LA and Corona del Mar!

If you’ve never been to LA or Corona Del Mar, you might not understand how accurate the title of the post is, but honestly, a bad day in either of those locations can trump a good day somewhere else.  The California sun is pretty much always shining, but it doesn’t get insanely hot, like Twentynine Palms, or humid, like Florida.

If you’ve got to pick one place to visit in California, it’s hard to go wrong with Corona del Mar.  When I say the weather is perfect, I mean it’s PERFECT.

For those of you living someplace other than right there (or maybe San Diego), imagine being able to leave your windows and doors open year round because the temperature is always fantastic...

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There’s actually quite a bit more than just Twentynine Palms…

The Golden State welcomes you!

As I journeyed further West, my next stop was the desert town of Twentynine Palms.  Home to one of the largest military bases in the world, and perhaps the site of the most strangely located Naval Hospital in history.  Dry and barren, except for the Joshua Trees, the desert really is a neat place, if you know where to look.

But first, you have to know the rule: don’t go out in the middle of the day.  It’s brutally hot.  Morning and dusk are your friends.

If you remember that, you’ll be fine.  The temperature actually falls to very pleasant levels during the evenings.

I came to this dusty land to see my Uncle Jay, Aunt Shelly, and Cousin Jeff.  My uncle is in the Navy, and currently posted at the Robert E. Bush Memorial Hospital...

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