Welcome to Game Design and Art Collaborations (GDA)! Today was the first club meeting for the school year!
What Are We?
GDA is three things: a place to meet new people, a place to learn new things, and a place to collaboratively develop games! We do all this through our various programs throughout the year.
We have five categories for our different programs, with some overlap between them. First, is our Mock Studio!
Mock Studio is the main event for GDA. Here, we all come together through our various departments (more on that below) to develop a game demo over the course of the school year with goal of presenting it at the UCSC Games Showcase. If you want an idea for the kind of games we make, take a look at our Mock Studio Games page!
What game will we make this year? You decide! Members get to pitch their own games! The winning pitch gets to be our game for the year, with the pitchers becoming the Game Leads!
The Pitching Process!
In order to have a successful pitch, there’s some important deadlines and rules you’ll need to know. First: you must attend at least 3 general meetings to pitch. While we’ll be willing to make exceptions for special circumstances, it is important that you attend these meetings to keep up with what is going on.
The first draft of the pitch will be due on Week 3 Friday (10/14/2022). The final pitch will be due Week 6 Friday (11/4/2022). The following event will be the Pitch Night, where we watch all the pitches. At the end of pitch night, voting will open up on the games. Look out for more information in future meetings!
Next, our Events! I know, it’s a vague name. The reason for that name is that there’s just so much that goes under this category. This includes Guest Speakers, Game Jams (like the Microgame Jam), and even more! This what our event schedule is looking like so far:
Pitching a Game with Molly Thompson! (10/21)
Molly Thompson is a GDA Alum who was the Pitcher and Game Lead for Occultus Ocularus! Want to learn about what makes for a successful pitch? Come and listen in!
Game Workers of Southern California
Game Workers of Southern California is a collective of developers advocating for game workers rights. Join in if you want to learn more about their cause while also getting some insight from industry professionals!
For those who don’t know, Game Jams are events where people form teams to develop games together under a time limit (usually at least a day, likely more). Here are some examples of the Jams we host!
Microgame Jam (10/01) is an event where we all come together to develop microgames to compile together in one big WarioWare-esque game. Check the Discord for more info!
Global Game Jam (Winter Quarter) is a worldwide annual game jam where, for 48 hours, teams work to make games that work with a theme announced by the Global Game Jam organization. For an idea of what we mean, take a look at the theme reveal from last year! GDA hosts UCSC’s jam site for the Global Game Jam. More information will be revealed as we get closer to the event.
Whether you’re an experienced game developer, someone whose not even sure what a video game is, or someone in between, GDA is here to help you grow your skills! Throughout the year, we’ll be holding various workshops to help with various skills. While most will be game development related, some are more oriented towards general life skills like our Resume Building Workshop we do every year (more information on that in a later meeting).
Every week on Saturday we host Community Nights! Here we all come together to play games, watch movies, make friends, and in general just have a great time. Every week we alternate between playing a game or watching a movie/show. What we play/see will be voted on by you! Take a look at the Discord for more info!
If you came to today’s event (either via Zoom or in person), congrats! You’ve been to your first GDA General Meeting! During these meetings we discuss the club and any upcoming events, host workshops, and work on the Mock Studio project. These meetings are central to what we do here at GDA, so make sure to come! Below is our schedule for the upcoming General Meetings. Note that the blue meetings will be online on Zoom and the meetings will be in person at DARC 308!
Week 2: Meet the Departments & Introduction to Pitching
Week 3: Icebreakers
Week 4: Molly Thompson Guest Speaker Event (Pitching 101)
Week 5: Pitch Reviews
Week 6: Also Pitch Reviews
Week 7: PITCH NIGHT!!!
Week 8: Guest Speaker
Week 9: Introduction to Unity Engine (Unity Night)!
I told you there would be more on this later. The departments are the different areas of focus we have here at GDA! In total we have six: Art, Production, Writing, Design, Programming, and Sound! We’ll be going more in depth on the departments next meeting, but here are some SparkNotes on what they are.
Games look good (or, at least, they should). But why? Because of Art. In the art department, you can develop assets for the game, learn how to use various different art software, and have a place to share your creations with others! Your Art Officers this year are Andrew Dunne (he/him), Annie Zhang (she/her) (whose also a Vice President), and Gloria Chim (she/her).
Production can be seen as the support class of game development (don’t worry, this isn’t League of Legends. We appreciate our supports here). Production helps ensure that everything runs smoothly, maintaining a birds eye view of the development. You’ll be learning about different production practices, including various planning and management skills. Your Production Officers this year are Dylan Mahler (any/all) and Zoey Laytart (They/It).
The Writing department focuses on building the lore, style and dialogue of the games. This includes making style guides, helping out with the documentation of what we make, working on dialogue, and much more. You’ll also learn how to use various tools such as Twine, Yarn Spinner, and Ink. Your Writing Officer this year is Ryan McCarthy (he/him).
Design, well, designs the games we play. This includes developing mechanics, as well as dissecting mechanics of games you know and love. Design is also very interconnected to other departments, so you’ll be doing a lot of communication with others (programming especially). In the process, you’ll learn to use tools like Unity Game Engine as well as Google Docs/Sheets for designing/laying out mechanics. Your Design Officers this year are Nik Thomas (He/Him) and Neo Zhang (He/Him).
This one is the best department. I’m definitely not a biased CSE major. This department focuses on building the core systems, tools, and gameplay through code. There are a variety of engines you can use like Unity, Unreal, and Godot (although we tend to use Unity). You’ll be using Git to collaborate with each other throughout the year. Your Programming Officers this year are Jonah Ryan (he/him) and Calex Raffield (he/him).
Music and sound effects good 👍. Sound’s job is to make and implement the music and sound effects for the game. This involves using Digital Audio Workstations to make the sounds, as well as using Unity and Audio Middleware like FMOD to implement them. Your Sound Officers are Parmpreet Gill (he/him) and Autumn Moulios (she/her).
The Cool Department
I lied earlier in the programming section, this one is the coolest department (definitely not because I’m in it). We’re the officers that don’t quite fit in any of the previous departments. Instead, we help run the logistics and other aspects of the club. This includes your president Robert Newlin (he/him), lead officer Tyler Knowlton (he/him), event coordinator Tiana Chamsi (she/her), outreach officer Annalivia Martin Straw (she/her), treasurer Nick Schetman (he/him), community manager Sophie Martin (she/her), and me, webmaster Rohan Venkatapuram (he/him).
That was all for this meeting! With that, the GDA season has begun! Welcome!