PROCJAM

Make Something That Makes Something

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PROCJAM Theme Announced

Published / by Mike / Leave a Comment

We’re just a few hours away from midnight in London, which means #procjam has almost started across half the world. The optional theme for the jam is INFINITY – maybe you’ll make infinite content? Maybe your game will be set in somewhere infinite, like space? Maybe you’ll try and get players to face the idea of infinity as they try your game out?

Please remember that this theme is optional. PROCJAM already has a theme – it’s procedural content generation – and this theme is just a little extra bonus for those that want it. This jam is about having fun and making cool things, and you shouldn’t let a silly theme get in the way of either of those two things.

In about fifteen hours – 12.30pm GMT – we’ll be going live with our day of talks on Twitch. I hope you’ll tune in to see them! It’s a shaky amateur setup, but our speakers are anything but. Come along to watch amazing people talk about fascinating work, and ask them questions on Twitch chat and through Twitter using #procjam. 

Also don’t forget there are two other jams this week – 7DFPS for making a first-person shooter, and 7DRL for making a roguelike. Both jams accept entries from #procjam too, so you could enter two (or three!) amazing jams this week all at once.

I hope you’ll bear with us tomorrow as we take on a rather huge task. I’ll be working flat-out to make it the best event possible for everyone. Thank you for all your support so far, and I hope you have a great week making things that make things!

PROCJAM BONUS STREAM!?

Published / by Mike / Leave a Comment

We’re very lucky to have several physical meetups happening for PROCJAM this year, like one in Southampton in the UK where developers are meeting up to kick off the jam. There’s a very special meetup going on over at the University of Santa Cruz in California, where their students and staff are going to be starting the jam off with some tutorials and talks, beginning just as our day of talks comes to an end.

I’ve been speaking to the organiser, Kate Compton, and she’s going to try and stream their event on our Twitch channel following the main PROCJAM talks. We’re not sure when it’ll start yet, or what the tutorials will contain, but if you just can’t get enough jam after we finish in London on Saturday, you’ll be able to tune in to Kate’s event on the same channel and enjoy some more procedural generation chitchat (hopefully!)

Huge thanks to Kate for setting this up. There’s lots of technical hurdles to get over but we hope you’ll bear with us. It should be a fantastic day. 

Getting To The PROCJAM Talks

Published / by Mike / Leave a Comment

If you’re one of the lucky people with a ticket to this year’s PROCJAM talks at Goldsmiths, you’ll probably want to know how to actually find the place. We’re in the New Academic Building (or NAB) which is at the far end of the Goldsmiths campus. The nearest stations are New Cross Gate and New Cross, both of which are just a few minutes from London Bridge. Click here to view the area on Google Maps. 

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The NAB is quite tucked away, but helpfully it’s by a very big landmark on campus: the college green, which is next to the main university building. If you ask someone for directions to the Goldsmiths college green, they should be able to help you. The green looks like this, and the NAB is on the far side hidden behind some trees:

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It’s opposite the rather grand main university building:

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The easiest way to get here is to walk down Laurie Grove, which you can see on the map linked above. There’s a pub on the corner called the New Cross House (which we’ll be going to after the talks, so make a note as you walk past!) Walk down the road, then at the end there’ll be a security gate on your left where you can enter the university. The gate should be open and security will know that there’s an event on.

If you walk through the gate and continue you should find yourself at the green. The NAB is to your right: follow the path along and up some steps. We’ll try and have some posters in place to guide people.

There’s a few other ways to get to the NAB. From New Cross Gate you can walk down St. James’ road and take a tiny alley at the end to get to the same security gate on Laurie Grove. Or, you can come down via St. Donnatt’s road which runs very near the New Academic Building. Laurie Grove is probably the best approach, but if you run into any problems, ping us on Twitter.

Here’s the map again.

PROCJAM FAQ

Published / by Mike / Leave a Comment

Hey jammers! Another post for the pre-jam week. This one’s some questions we get asked a lot, with answers. We’ll edit more in as they come. Tweet us – @mtrc and @procjam!

What is PROCJAM?

PROCJAM is an online jam for making games and other things inspired by procedural generation. It’s launching with a day of talks, streamed online from a live London event at Goldsmiths University!

Will you record the talks?

Yes! We’ll be putting them on YouTube soon after the broadcast.

Can I enter the jam from home over the internet?

Sure! PROCJAM is just like Ludum Dare – we’re all working on our games online, so you can enter from wherever you are.

How do I get to Goldsmiths for the PROCJAM Talk Day?

We’ll have details on how to get to Goldsmiths going up soon. Remember, you need a ticket to come and see the talks! They’re currently sold out but there is a waiting list.

Can I write my PROCJAM entry in this language/for this platform/wearing these clothes/etc.

Of course! PROCJAM is trying to be the most inclusive jam it can be. We want you to be comfortable working on whatever you want.

Do I have to make a game?

No! You can make tools, art, generative toys, anything you want.

Do I have to make software?

No! You can make a boardgame, or origami, or any other physical stuff you’d like. If you make a board or card game, you can still submit the design to itch.io if you like. 

Do we need to open source our entry?

No. You can if you like (it would help everyone learn more and share ideas!) but there’s no requirement to do so. 

Is there a theme?

We’ll be announcing a SUPER-OPTIONAL extra theme on Friday (just as the date line enters the 8th. It’s just a little flavour and inspiration for people. If you want to ignore the theme, please ignore the theme. I imagine I’m gonna ignore it myself! 

Can I start early/use an existing project/use libraries or other code?

Yes. One of the aims of PROCJAM is to be as laid back and fun to enter as possible. All we ask is that you work on a procedural/generative thing of some kind between the 8th and 17th November. If you want to extend an existing game, that’s cool. If you want to start early so you’ve got the game bits done by Saturday, that’s cool too. If you want to use external libraries, tools or whatever, that’s cool too.

We want you to have fun and be relaxed, because that’s how people do their best work. If you need to break any of PROCJAM’s very few rules, please break them. 

How can I connect with other people entering the jam?

PROCJAM doesn’t have a forum or anything (we’ll be remedying this for next year) so the best way is to connect over Twitter by using the hashtag #PROCJAM. We might try and get an IRC channel set up – if anyone has experience doing this, feel free to email mike @ gamesbyangelina.org

PROCJAM Talks Schedule

Published / by Mike / Leave a Comment

Hello, jammers! It’s less than a week before #procjam starts – this Saturday! We have lots of important posts coming up to let you know important info about the jam and the day of talks. First up is our schedule for this Saturday 8th NovemberRemember, we’ll be streaming the talks live on TwitchFor up-to-the-minute information on changes to the schedule, the stream or the jam, please follow the PROCJAM Twitter or Mike on Twitter.

All times are GMT – London time.

12:30 pm – Welcome – Mike Cook, PROCJAM Organiser

12:40 pm – Make Something That Makes Something That Isn’t A Game – Dr. Gillian Smith, Northeastern University

13:10 pm  Involving the Player in Procedural Generation – Darren Grey, Games of Grey

13:40 pm – Coffee Break – BYOC for Twitch viewers 🙂

14:00 pm Units of Meaning – Tanya X Short, Kitfox Games

14:30 pm – Procedural Doesn’t Mean Random: Generating Interesting Content – Hazel McKendrick, Hello Games

15:00 pm – Playing With Scale In Procedural Generation: Linking World History To Individual Characters – Mark Johnson, Ultima Ratio Regum

15:30 pm – Coffee Break #2

15:50 pm – Flow In Procedural Generation – Tom Coxon, Bytten Studio

16:20 pm – Q&A Session with Hal Barwood, project lead on LucasArts’ procedural gem Indiana Jones And His Desktop Adventures.

16:50 pm – panoramic.al – Fernando Ramallo

17:20 pm– Closing – Mike Cook, PROCJAM Organiser

You may notice we’ve slipped in a new speaker announcement in here – Hal Barwood, who worked at LucasArts creating the amazing procedural Desktop Adventures series, as well as the Fate of Atlantis, will be doing a Skype Q&A on Saturday answering questions about narratives, procedural content and game design. I’m delighted to have Hal on the schedule.

After the jam some people will be heading to the nearby New Cross House pub for drinks, food and chatter about procedural generation (and other things). Please join us! Twitch viewers – we probably won’t stream this sadly 😉

More to come this week, including directions to the event, an FAQ about the jam, and of course the theme announcement!

Procedural Generation Tutorials – Getting Started

Published / by Mike / 1 Comment on Procedural Generation Tutorials – Getting Started

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Hey jammers! Thanks for giving us an amazing kickstart on Twitter and around the web last month when we launched. Everyone’s talking about #procjam and I’m looking forward to an amazing jam next month. 

Lots of people got in touch to say they were just starting to get into procedural generation, or they weren’t sure where to start. I hope this jam will be as inclusive as possible – if you have a query or a worry about entering or being eligible, please ask me on Twitter, but 99% of the time the answer will be ‘whatever helps you take part’. Want to start making a game now and make your generator in the jam? Go for it. Want to make a tabletop game? Oh my goodness please go for it. Want to make it on a plane? Want to make it on a train? Please feel free to join in! This jam is about making things, and breaking rules. Come and do something crazy!

To help you get started, I’m going to try and collect big lists of tutorials for getting started in procedural generation. They’ll be for different experience levels and about different kinds of content, but they’ll all be really useful and interesting. If you have a tutorial you know about, or you wrote one yourself, please let me know on Twitter so I can add it!

I’ll be editing this later to label each tutorial with (my estimate of) experience levels/complexity. I hope some of this helps! I’ll add and expand to this as I get more suggestions and make more discoveries.

Dungeons

http://gamedevelopment.tutsplus.com/tutorials/create-a-procedurally-generated-dungeon-cave-system—gamedev-10099

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/MarcinSeredynski/20140321/211068/Bake_Your_Own_3D_Dungeons_With_Procedural_Recipes.php

http://tinykeep.com/dungen/

http://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/1dlwc4/procedural_dungeon_generation_algorithm_explained/

http://phidinh.com/content-dungen.html

http://www.roguebasin.com/index.php?title=Basic_BSP_Dungeon_generation

Caves

http://noelberry.ca/2011/04/procedural-generation-the-caves

http://gamedevelopment.tutsplus.com/tutorials/generate-random-cave-levels-using-cellular-automata—gamedev-9664

Platformer Levels

http://tinysubversions.com/spelunkyGen/

Spaceships

http://www.pentadact.com/2014-02-07-randomly-generating-simple-spaceships-in-heat-signature/

http://www.pentadact.com/2014-07-19-improving-heat-signatures-randomly-generated-ships-inside-and-out/

Cities

http://learningthreejs.com/blog/2013/08/02/how-to-do-a-procedural-city-in-100lines/

http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=2940

Worlds/Islands/Maps

http://www-cs-students.stanford.edu/~amitp/game-programming/polygon-map-generation/

http://www.stuffwithstuff.com/robot-frog/3d/hills/index.html

http://bytten-studio.com/devlog/2014/09/08/overworld-overview-part-1/

http://web.archive.org/web/20110825054218/http://properundead.com/2009/03/cave-generator.html

Mazes

http://weblog.jamisbuck.org/2011/2/7/maze-generation-algorithm-recap#article_body

http://eis-blog.ucsc.edu/2011/10/map-generation-speedrun/

Textures

http://www.upvector.com/?section=Tutorials&subsection=Intro%20to%20Procedural%20Textures

Puzzles

http://bytten-studio.com/devlog//2012/11/30/lock-and-key-puzzle-generation/

Colours

http://blog.noctua-software.com/procedural-colors-for-game.html

Roguebasin (Assorted Roguelike Tutorials)

http://www.roguebasin.com/index.php?title=Articles

Final Speakers Announced + Tickets!

Published / by Mike / Leave a Comment

Check out the jam site on itch.io!

Get your free ticket to be at the event live in London on November 8th!

Our final three speakers are ready to be announced, making the full speaker lineup for the PROCJAM opening day finished and final! That means we can also reveal the venue details and open up tickets for those who want to come along in person. PROCJAM 2014 is happening and it’s going to be great!

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Tanya X Short – Kitfox Games

Tanya is the Creative Director at Kitfox Games, developer of procedural RPG Shattered Planet, and has an impressive history in the industry including work on The Secret World and organising the Pixelles initiative. Kitfox have a huge passion for procedurality, and Tanya writes and speaks often about the use of procedural generation in games. Tanya will very kindly be giving her talk through the tubes of the Internet from Canada!

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Fernando Ramallo – Panoramical

Fernando is a game designer and artist behind amazing and beautiful interactive works, including Snaaaake! and You Must Hold Onto Your Mother’s Hand. His most recent work on Panoramical is a beautiful ‘exploration toy’ that features incredible dynamic music and awe-inspiring visual design. We’re very excited to have Fernando come and lead us down different kinds of generative routes at PROCJAM.

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Darren Grey – Games Of Grey, Tales of Maj’Eyal, Roguelike Radio

Darren is a game designer, a writer, a 7DRL judge and host of Roguelike Radio – and an absolute expert on generating things in games. His work includes a strong foundation in all the classic generative roots of the roguelike genre, right through to experimental generative music in games like MosaicDarren’s amazing knowledge of the genre as it stands today will also open everyone’s eyes to what great uses content generation can be put to.

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PROCJAM 2014 At Goldsmiths

With all seven of our speakers announced we’re delighted to announce that we’ll be holding our day of talks at Goldsmiths, part of the University of London located in New Cross. We’ll be taking over one of the largest lecture theatres in the New Academic Building, and broadcasting the talks live on Twitch so everyone can listen in and ask questions from around the world.

If you’re around London on November 8th, come and join in the talks in person! We’ll have coffee and biscuits and some of the most interesting procedural generation folk around. Click here to claim a free ticket!

More Speakers Announced!

Published / by Mike / Leave a Comment

Check out the jam site on itch.io!

We’ve got two more speaker announcements for this weekend. Next week we’ll be finalising the rest of our speakers and putting up a place for you to get tickets to the event. For now, we’re delighted to introduce you to two more of the procedural generation experts who’ll be speaking at our event in November.

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Hazel McKendrick – Hello Games

Hazel is currently a developer on procedural space opera No Man’s Sky, but has a long history as a developer fascinated with generating stuff. No Man’s Sky is a game that promises to generate just about everything in its world, and while Hazel won’t be talking about the game at PROCJAM, she’ll be sharing the wisdom she’s gained while working on NMS and her many other past experiments!

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Mark Johnson – Ultima Ratio Regum

A day of talks about procedural generation wouldn’t be complete without a word from someone trying to generate entire worlds, histories and civilisations. Mark is the sole developer of Ultima Ratio Regum, a hybrid game of many genres, underpinned by what looks set to be a world generator to rival Dwarf Fortress’ for intrigue, epic and interesting things to see and do. 

We’re collecting resources on procedural content generation – tutorials, resources, videos and more. Send me anything you’ve got, either to mike@cutgar.net or tweet at us @procjam and @mtrc. We’ll post up everything we can to this tumblr over the coming weeks. See you again soon!

First Speaker Announcements!

Published / by Mike / Leave a Comment

We’ll be announcing our speakers over the coming days. These people are all super procedural generation folk who will be giving talks on the first day of the jam – Saturday, November 8th. If you’re in London we’ll have details of how you can watch the talks in person, but for everyone else we’ll have a live stream and post-stream recordings so you can watch the speakers wherever you are!

Tom Coxon – Bytten Studio

Tom is the developer behind Lenna’s Inception, the action-adventure game that procedurally generates the entire world and all the puzzles inside it. Our banners feature lovely screenshots from his game – all generated by his clever code!

Check out this blog series Tom is starting discussing how procedural generation in Lenna’s Inception works!

Dr. Gillian Smith, Northeastern University

Gillian is a researcher and lecturer in procedural content generation over at Northeastern University in the US. Her research in the past included Tanagra – a procedural level design tool that helped complete levels begun by humans – and Endless Web, a platformer where procedural generation was the core game mechanic.

Gillian also talks about the future of procedural generation, both for researchers and game developers – check out this paper from the Experimental AI Workshop Gillian wrote this year.

We’ve got more speakers to announce but we’re very excited to start introducing you to our panel of experts. We’re really looking forward to hearing what they have to say to motivate us and kick off the jam – we’re sure you are too!