15 Years!

OGPC participants win Gold for their game!

We just got this news from one of our coaches:

The Glitchbusters submitted their last year’s OGPC game (Building Spree) to the Scholastics art and writing awards which received over 700 entries from all over the country in the video game category and the results from the national judging has come in and I am so glad to say that Building Spree has won the Gold Medal and AMD game changer award at the national level. The team will be attending the award ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York in May.

You can see the full list of awards online — look for the “Building Spree” entry. Congrats!

Tools of the Trade: Which GameMaker?

GameMaker is currently available in two versions. GameMaker 8.1 is the older version of the software.
GameMaker Studio is a completely new version of the software. Each one can be downloaded and used for free with some limitations.

Summary

If you want to work (or start work for free) – go with GameMaker 8.1. If you are willing/able to spend money, 8.1 is cheaper (educational institutions can buy bulk licenses: 10 for ~$175, $40 otherwise) and probably the option to go for. GameMaker Studio is $50 and the standard version would not get you a whole lot extra, stepping up to the Pro editions for $99 gets you Team features, which make it easier to integrate multiple people’s work into one project (something that otherwise can be a challenge).

GameMaker 8.1 Lite (Free)

The missing features are mostly eye candy:

  • Ability to arbitrarily scale/rotate sprites (for things like pointing the direction a ship is going you have to fake with subframes pointing different directions and changing which frame you show – but this is clunky and doesn’t play well with trying to use subframes for their real purpose : animation).
  • Use the particle/effects systems for things like explosions and smoke
  • Load external resources, play movies, splash screens, etc…
  • Some of the fancier drawing tools (gradients, scaled text, some of the GML drawing commands)
  • Change the cursor

GameMaker Studio (Free)

Most of the eye candy stuff works, but they limit how many resources you can use (detailed list here). You are very likely to bump into these restrictions if your game is even moderately complex.

  • Limit of 5 rooms, 20 sprites, 10 sounds, 15 objects…
  • Functionality that is disabled is:
    • export modules (HTML/iOS/etc)
    • things that could help you get around resource limitation (can’t load external files, can’t do texture manipulations)

Compatibility

The Studio version can open most 8.1 projects and save to version 8.1, but 8.1 cannot open Studio projects.

What is coming in 2013

We have an exciting and aggressive plan for 2013. Here’s what will be coming in the next few months:

  • The 2013 theme and detailed calendar will be posted by early December 2012.
  • We will hold at least 4 Game Jams in 2013 throughout the state!
  • We will hold a Game Jam at the Chick Tech conference Jan 26–27 2013
  • We will hold a Game Jam at Portland State University in February 2013, date to be announced.
  • We are also working on Game Jam locations in the gorge, Bend area, and southern Oregon. Stay tuned!

Finally, our main event will be on Saturday, May 4 2013 at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, OR.

Gaming for Social Good Event in Portland

OGPC volunteers Chris Brooks and Jason Galbraith will be on a panel for the Gaming for Social Good event in Portland on Thursday, June 21, 6pm-9pm. More info:

As the use of video games becomes more pervasive—think Angry Birds to Farmville to Wii Fitness—it becomes useful to consider their wider impact on our lives. Are they merely useful for entertainment, or can games help create change through creativity, imagination and play? Can games be valuable for mission-based groups like non-profits, NGOs and community organizations? How can game development connect students to real-world problems?

We’ll kick off the evening with a panel discussion including speakers at the intersection of gaming and game development for education, non-profit enablement and youth outreach. Our panelists will explore how gaming and the creation of games can positively impact our local communities and wider world mission-based efforts. Following audience Q&A, everyone is welcome to continue the discussion over networking, food and soft drinks.