About Dylan Wolf


Recording a panel video with free software

After MomoCon moved online, I had to record a video for my panel, The Joy of Game Development. Since this was a live coding demo, I needed to capture my screen and vocal narration. To make it feel more like a panel, I also captured my webcam.

I used five pieces of free software to accomplish this:

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Ludum Dare 46: Procedurally generating potted plants in Unity

For Ludum Dare 46, I created a very simple tamagotchi game called “Potted Plant Simulator” in Unity (you can find the code here). We kicked around this idea for “Keep it Alive” at the Knox Game Design online meetup, but it was more or less a joke.

However, brainstorming brought me back to the idea because I started wondering about how to procedurally generate a plant in Unity. I speculated that Unity’s hierarchy system (which localizes position, scale, and rotation to the parent node) would let you chain together branches, and I had to test that hypothesis. (Spoiler: hierarchy does not seem to be the best way to handle this.)

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Cards Against Humanity

Yes, a single game merits an entire post, because there’s a pretty good chance that this game will be your event’s problematic fave.

I’ll be honest, I liked Cards Against Humanity. Liked, past tense. When it first came out, all the expressions of bigotry and cruelty and general horribleness felt like “punching up”–making fun of people who actually believe and say all that stuff for reals.

I now believe that’s a rationalization, or at least it was on my part.

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Running RPGs

Successfully running an RPG at a convention is an art form (one I haven’t mastered). It’s loud and everyone’s under tight time constraints. (Dire Bear Adventuring Co. did an excellent job running D&D at the last few Hamacon events, if you want a good example.)

Here’s a few quick rules I use when running games at cons:

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Scheduled Games

One of my main goals for Hamacon analog gaming was running events. This is typical when you’re talking about CCGs (tournaments) or RPGs (one-shot adventures), but I wanted to extend this to board games. Specifically, I wanted to introduce games that were fun or interesting, weren’t necessarily popular (i.e., you wouldn’t find on Tabletop or similar shows), and weren’t necessarily easy to learn (i.e., not Cards Against Humanity or Love Letter).

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Remember Your Contacts

I updated one section of my “Hamacon Analog Gaming Bible” after every event: a list of people who had run something or otherwise provided content to the event. (This is the primary reason I’m writing a blog series instead of just making that document public in Google Docs.)

I am not a people person. I can handle all manner of technical details (like scheduling, teaching games, planning procedures, etc.) but as soon as I have to send an email or make a phone call I get antsy. Rest assured, I didn’t keep this contact list so I could send out an email blast as soon as I started planning.

The main purpose of your contacts list is to remember key details. Who are they? What did they do? How do you successfully get in touch with them?

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Game Check Out

If you’re running a free play board game library, you’ll need to have some sort of check-out system. It doesn’t have to be complicated–and it’s better if it’s not–but there’s a surprising amount of refinement you have to do to get it right.

My process uses two index card boxes labeled “checked out” and “checked in.” (If you haven’t read the “toolkit” post in this series, it will be helpful to cross-reference.) When someone checks out a game:

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