Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Brooklyn Magazine on The Bushwick Board Game

Brooklyn Magazine used to be a classy periodical - until it published this article. *chuckle*

Steel Battalion Cabinet?!

A friend of mine, Dave Shuff, was crazy enough to build an arcade cabinet in his Williamsburg Brooklyn apartment for a game with the most elaborate controller ever. Check out this article where I get my first Kill Screen Magazine mention ; )

Monday, December 15, 2014

Bushwick Board Game on DNAinfo

I took The Bushwick Board Game to the Booby Trap last week and an instagram pic set the fuse of interest alight leading to this interview.

Of course there's still rooftop parties in Bushwick! Heheh. 

The 2015 edition will have the largest design overhaul ever. If you would like to play it or get a copy, drop me a line.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hardware Review: DK2 v. Google Cardboard

Dev Kit 2

I received my Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 on August 25th and have been meaning to write this entry for a while but gave some time before divulging hardware and software reports.

The first thing I noticed with the DK2 was the narrower field of view. To me, FOV is a major component in the illusion of immersion and to take away from that was a kick in the pants. I understand that the aspect ratio must fit with the larger plan of mobile phone resolutions and whatnot, but compared to DK1 it was like looking through a porthole into the VR world. 

Another blow to the immersion were bizarrely placed air vents that let in tons of light, breaking you out of whatever simulation you were in. I could even look down and see the real world under my nose (and my nose is pretty big). I used gaffer tape to alleviate these annoyances.

The increased resolution is a huge plus, and was amped to hit the Rift ArcadeRiftEnabled and Oculus Share to download content. I kept in mind that DK2 is sadly not compatible with DK1 content. By the end of this I had a pile of content for Mac and another pile for PC.

Hooking up the DK2 to my PC was a bumpy ride and I ended up writing out steps to do so for the future forgetful me to refer to. Each game had it’s own particularities that I would write out the quirks to if need be. All content is not created equal and lots of stuff didn’t work. Stuff that did I separated into another folder. I use a PS3 controller on Mac w/ GamePad Companion and a Logitek wired controller on PC with GamePadder.

Google Cardboard w/ Samsung Galaxy S3 and Nyko Playpad

A few weeks ago I got the DoDo VR Case and spent an hour assembling it. The iOS App store only has a few VR experiences for it so I got a Moto G running Android for cheap and quickly found out I couldn’t try any VR apps because it didn’t have a gyroscope! I ended up getting a Samsung Galaxy S3 which works gorgeously. I downloaded handfuls of apps and there are some excellent ones.

I attached a velcro strip to the sides of the headset so it can stay on my head without me holding it on with my hands, and I put some paper towel padding around the nose so the weight wouldn’t give me blisters. Very comfy, even with glasses. In my hands I had the Nyko Playpad synced using Bluetooth. The resolution looks sharper than DK2. 

Google Cardboard is much less cumbersome than DK2, and not having a tether cord to a computer is psychologically liberating. Best of all - the games you load up actually work with out much fiddling around! Just tap & play. 

The Samsung Gear VR just came out and It says my Galaxy S3 won’t fit in it but I’d like to give it a shot - I have lots of gaffer tape!

I’ll return with a software entry soon!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Arts in Bushwick Article

Aniela Coveleski, a journalist for Arts in Bushwick, happened upon Artcade 3000 during Bushwick Open Studios and enjoyed the "good vibes" of the show. She interviewed me for a great article about games, art and NYC's indie scene. Read it here and decide for yourself if games are art!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Artcade 3000 wrap up

     The 2nd Annual Artcade 3000 Indie Game Arcade at Bushwick Open Studios took place this past May 30th - June 1st in my apartment in Bushwick. Over 300 people attended over the course of 3 epic days of games, drinks and demos.

     The local multiplayer game Futbol Forever by Anthony Marefat and Michael Kahane has gone on to premiere its new cabinet at the Death By Audio Arcade.

     Also playing was Crystal Brawl by Studio Mercato, which had an exclusive cabinet at DBA previous to Arcade 3000.

     Ink Blots was an Oculus Rift enabled adventure matching game by Boogie Down Games.

     Returning was game designer Jaime Fraina of Giant Fox Games with his take on the "difficult tapper" mobile genre. It was called Slippery Sloth.

     Friday, May 30th was the developer / participant opening. BOS revelers and game devs mingled the night away over controllers and the 2014 edition of the Bushwick Board Game (free beers!).

      ManipIt was a complex tilt puzzle game.

     Saturday different demos were loaded into the Oculus Rift and a constant stream of people poured in during the shows open hours of 11a-10p.

     Sunday was even busier than the previous day and wrapped up with the warm glow of love and happiness.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Local Multiplayer Rules Summer / New AR Project

The Arcade 3000 recap is coming soon (after the article on it is published). Till then, here's some gamey news.


•I played God of War 3 on the projector, which is a tight epic classic. The “making of” films that are unlocked when you complete the game are excellent. 
•On iOS I played Ridiculous Fishing until I reached the credits, then continued to play until I unlocked more fish. Very addictive - I’m going to play until I unlock em’ all. Can’t wait till my next subway ride! 
•Played a couple wicked 4 player OUYA exclusives: Duck Game and Toto Temple Deluxe (from Juicy Beast). 

Wasn’t long before we went back to the perfect-in-every-way Towerfall. Did I hear a rumor that Towerfall: Ascension comes to OUYA later this month?

The biggest treat has been Broken Age on my OUYA. This is what all art should strive to do - present truths about our world in a  fun and interesting way. When I play the games of Edmund McMillen I think “this is how I feel”. Broken Age has these moments while shifting through levels of meaning. And in the spirit of Double-Fine's nothing-to-hide look at their creative processes, there's a "making of" documentary. Everyone interested in game creation should watch the Amnesia Fortnight series.

In other news - Where’s my Rift Dev kit 2?! “ships in July", right? Oh wait - it’s August. Does this mean I won't get mine?

I’ve also been working 
on a secret project with an app developer here in Bushwick Brooklyn. It’s a location based game that utilizes augmented reality in the gameplay. Very exciting stuff and will write more about it in the future. No, it doesn't play on Google Cardboard.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Artcade 3000 is #137 on BOS Map

The Bushwick Open Studios directory is up, and Artcade 3000 will be #137 on the map.

The hours will be:

May 30   4p-10p
May 31   11a-10p
June 1    12p-8p

So come by!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Submit your game by May 1st!

I'll be hosting another Artcade 3000 for Bushwick Open Studios May 30-June 1st. I want to show your game! If you have a project that is weird / "artistic", I'd like to have a look. Maybe we can hook up an alternate controller with Makey Makey.

Last year the event was a huge success. Here is the postmortem for it.

Shoot me a message if you'd like to submit something.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Play The White Rooms in your web browser!

Here is the link to play The White Rooms. You may have to download the Unity player. 

Here are the controls:

WASD - move
IJKL - look
Spacebar or O - jump
Y - Menu


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The first 20 days

The first 20 days that The White Rooms has been on OUYA it has:
-Gotten out of the Sandbox category and into the FPS / Shooter and Meditative categories
-3 out of 5 stars (20ppl voted)
-328 downloads and 18 likes
-been compared to Antichamber
-had it's flaws pointed out on the forums
-been called an "interesting concept"

All in all a fun experiment for me to get started with Unity and try my hand at exposure even if the game could have used more vigorous testing.

Now I'm adding touch controls for an attempt at my first Android launch. Wish me luck.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Submitted to OUYA on Schedule!

My first Unity video game, made from scratch in 3 months, has been submitted for OUYA review on January 31st as per my schedule.

This was easier said than done. I felt like I was taking a computer science exam during every step of the lengthy, confusing and sparsely documented process. After some back & forth for a couple days I signed and built my .apk after several rounds of testing on the OUYA console.

I had to set the screen resolution for my scenes to: screen.resolution(1280, 720, true, 60); because the game ran choppy on OUYA (but runs great on my Galaxy Note 10.1). There was also a process of importing an OUYA package into Unity that was a surprise that messed up my input settings.

But I persevered in the face of great adversity.




Four hours later, I get an email that it was approved! I quickly hit publish on the dev portal and the status changed to Published. 

I don't see the game appearing on the Discover menu on the console, so I'll be checking back to see how long that process takes. Feedback from the reviewer "Real cool submission! The only thing that we wanted to note was that there was lots of controller locking and stiff character movement. If this could be optimized for a future update that would be awesome! Other than that everything looks good to go!"

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Final hurdles

My new retina screened MacBook Pro can run Steam games well so I’m playing Amnesia through the HDMI to flatscreen with headphones. I do this in the dark, of course.

My first simple Unity 3D game project, The White Rooms, has entered the playtesting phase. It doesn't work as well on OUYA as it does on the Galaxy Note 10.1. A friend came over and played it last night. Now I have a list of changes + sounds to add. The biggest hurdles being - how to stop the player from slowing when it touches the walls, and how to perform a music fade with code.

Here is a still with the Dreamcatcher my friend made:

Monday, January 20, 2014


The internet is my school. One quickly discovers that people on community forums are not teachers. They want to help, but there can be long threads of pure confusion when the answer can be quickly listed in a few steps. Some programmers read the question and write "learn programming before asking a question." Yes, there is such a thing as a stupid question so I carefully research before posting one.

Patience and persistence are key here. With these skills I recently discovered how to create fade in / out effects and animations. I made a heavenly gate in Blender from scratch also. I'm still figuring out vertex painting.

It's very neat that I downloaded Unity 3D less than 3 months ago and now I have a 9 level "escape the rooms" game that plays smoothly.

I made some sound effects and music in Garage Band and Final Cut Pro. Fun times.

Yes, that's The Pod which I can apply effects to voice and guitar.

My friend is a talented artist and working on the Dreamcatcher for the game. I told her January 30th deadline, which is when I want to be submitting the game to OUYA. The playtesting / debugging race is on!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Glowing figures and a knife

The deep freeze of Winter is upon me, and work on The White Rooms Rooms has escalated! Yesterday I created a couple eerie figures using Make Human and brought them into Blender then Unity (with much difficulty after making some tweaks to a hole in the devils head in Blender - Unity didn't like the changed .fbx). These things animate spookily behind their halo lighting effects:

I had to make sure in the preferences that Unity was able to import the Make Human files. Then I made a knife model from scratch in Blender and attempted to vertex paint it. I couldn't get the brushes to paint correctly even after watching a couple Youtube tutorials so I ended up unwrapping it and painting it in Photoshop. There appeared to be some weird pixels on the blade but it was a happy accident - they made it look rusty and used.

Now that I look at it, the colors are somehow reversed - I wanted the handle brown. What the heck?

I shifted level to to level 1 and remade level 2 from scratch in Blender then added it to the scene (scaling it to 3500 as always). Today I go through all the levels adding the new enemies and making tweaks to the levels.