Tag Archives: Game Dev

#GDDG16 – Game Dev Days Graz

We are organizing the first Game Dev Days Graz!

Game Dev Days Graz is a community event for everyone who is interesting in game development: connecting industry, indies, academia, research.

The event is free to attend, but the number of places is limited and advance registration is required. Saturday is reserved for panels, talks, and games. Sunday we will organize an optional social event.


Details: http://gddg.gamedevgraz.at/


New Paper: Interdisciplinary and International Game Projects for Creative Learning @ITICSE16

Published in:
Cover Image
· Proceeding
ITiCSE ’16 Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
Pages 29-34
ACM New York, NY, USA ©2016


In traditional computer science courses, students do not often get the chance to experience an entire project cycle, starting from the idea development stage and ending with the final release of a product together with collaborators from different disciplines. Developing a game gives learners the possibility to experience an entire development cycle, to learn how to work in a team, and to learn new skillsets required to create games. Students can profit even more from an interdisciplinary and international setup. In this paper, we describe a first pilot of an interdisciplinary and international student game project, during which students from different backgrounds, and with different nationalities and different learning expectations can work together to develop games. We report on a first pilot with 24 students studying different subjects, such as computer science, law, or biology, in two different countries. First results show that such programs are highly engaging for students, can boost their employability, have a high learning outcome, and raise their interest in international collaborations.


Read Paper: Paper

Talk@RESPAWN 2016 – The Art of Games User Research – To Know Your Player You Must Become Your Player


Find me on Aug 16, 14:30 – 15:30 at the RESPAWN 2016 giving a talk on Games User Research.


There are many cases where a brilliant game design concept fails just because of a disappointing player experience. This can be in a very early stage, when players already fail understanding the game idea or how to play the game. Often games also fail in delivering the wrong experience by bad design decisions or putting bad UI design in place. Many of these mistakes can be avoided early. In this talk I will give different practical examples of such elements in different iterations of the development process and explain how games user research and enhanced play-testing forms can be used to make your game more usable, easier to understand, and in the end more enjoyable.



Book recommendations

This is my personal recommendation for a reading list. And also a list of books I use for the lecture.

*** Jane McGonigal – Reality is Broken
One of my favourite books. Jane McGonigal gives some inspirations and ideas of how to use games in different contexts. Reads like a novel and avoids theoretical aspects.
*** Jesse Schell – The Art of Game Design
This is the book I am using a lot for my lecture. Very good summary of the most important design aspects from different points of view (technical aspects, player psychology, all different design things).
*** Scott Rogers – Level Up (2nd Edition)
Also a very good design on game design. I’ve especially enjoyed the bonus chapters with inspirational lists for environments, game mechanics, and different templates as inspirational resource for your games.
** Jeremy Gibson – Introduction to Game Design, Prototyping, and Development
This book gives also a very nice introduction on game design techniques, but in a more practical manner. The main part of this book is a unity and C# tutorial.
** Raph Koster – A Theory of Fun
I simple love the style of this book. It has comics and sketches 😉
* Flow – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Wonderful book (THE book) about the flow experience with neat examples from all different fields.
* Katie Salen & Eric Zimmerman – Rules of Play
Very interesting book on game design with a lot of practical examples.

Note: Amazon credit me a small referal amount, should you purchase a book after following these links.

Barcamp Graz – GameDev Session

Session docu of my gamedev session at barcamp-graz.at/ 
Game Development to unite designers, artists, programmers, audio engineers, industrials, students, humanists, …………….
Indie Game Meetups (Vorbeikommen!!) 
– 1x per Month http://indiegamesgraz.at 
Game Jams (48 hours of awesomeness ) 
http://jam.gamelabgraz.com (3-5 July at TU Graz)
http://gamejam.at (Every Januar )
www.eu-youthaward.org (May, organized by EYA)
My TU Graz Course on Game Design and Development + List of cool Videos & Readings 
Unity Development: 
    – http://unity3d.com I
    – Cool tutorial: http://pixelnest.io/tutorials/2d-game-unity/  
    – MS Game developed with Unity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQGknz2rjiQ 
    – Unity Tutorials: http://unity3d.com/learn/tutorials/ 
Learn to code (You can learn everything 😉 ): 
Other Links:
    – Monument Valley Development Costs: http://www.polygon.com/2015/1/15/7552899/monument-valley-sales-costs 
    – Great Video: How to be a game designer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQvWMdWhFCc 


Project Outcomes – Game Design and Development Course at TUGraz

Following an overview of the students’ project outcomes of my first course  “Game Design and Development” at Graz University of Technology. Amazing projects! Check them out and enjoy playing them  :)

Rage of Frostie

When a sad snowman wants his carrot back he is willing to take some serious risks. Come and help frostie with his adventure by guiding through a variety of challenging levels. To do so you must throw your head, melt down, jump over all kind of danger and hide behind your self created ice blocks. So are you ready to explore this and much more ?

Technology: Design: Gimp Game Engine: Unity

Credits: Artur Knaus Caterina Nahler David Kastl Domenik “Ghosti” Melcher Rudi Wagner Music freeSFX.co.uk opengameart.org opengameart.org (Tom Peter) Thanks Linda Bär Armin Astrid


screenshot1 screenshot2 screenshot3 screenshot4 screenshot5


Charly, the butcher penguin

The game is a 2D hack and slay game using the Unity engine to bring the player into the bloody life of a penguin named Charly who has to travel from the Arctic to the Antarctic, crossing several other continents where he encounters waves of enemies he has to fight.
One day Charly woke up in the arctic. Nobody knows why. Maybe he was kidnapped by cola drinking polarbears. He has to return to his family in Antarctica. On his journey he has to travel through several countries. It doesn’t take long time until he finds out, that the world is full of evil. So he takes an axe and slaughters his way back home.


Technology: Unity 4.6, Gimp

Credits: Melbinger, Pranter, Schlager. Gegnergrafiken: Nikolaus Zoltan


africa arctic europe northamerica


Project Chronos.

Project Chronos is a new and revolutionary 3D Puzzle Plattformer Game. You play one of many Robots in an Underground Science Lab. You don’t know much about who you are or what is your purpose. The only thing you know for sure, you have to escape this creepy Lab. But the Lab is full of Dangerous Traps. For surviving this horror trip, you have 3 suits for you’re use. The suits are in different colors and have different abilities. You can change the color in a suit changer. You have to solve riddles and overcome gorges, and use your abilities to survive. The levels are getting more difficult, from level to level. We have also implemented 4 tutorial levels to get you going with the controls. The game will be available for PC&MAC and later on HTML5. Have fun with our game.


Technology: Unreal Engine 4 Blender Quixel Suite Substance Designer + Painter No C++ only Blueprints

Credits: Andreas Lang Mathias Punkenhofer Kevin Gruber


The Revenge Of The Dot

The Revenge Of The Dot is a fast-paced, multi-player arcade game with puzzle elements. One player controls the snake (w/a/s/d) and tries to catch and eat the dot, which is controlled by the other player (up/down/left/right). The goal of the dot-player is to defeat the snake via solving mathematical equations by collecting the correct mathematical symbols and/or by tricking the snake to run into the world’s boundary. The difficulty levels (easy – hard) vary in speed of the game and the used arithmetic operations.


Technology: – Netbeans IDE, Phaser JS (open source HTML5 game framework) – GIMP, Bristol & Audacity (graphics & sounds)

Credits: Lukas Krisper


screenshot_1 screenshot_2 screenshot_3



PapercraftX is a classical Shoot’em’up (“Shmup”) with vertical scrolling direction and fast paced gameplay! You control your paperplane/paperspaceship/paperwhatever and shoot bullets at enemies to destroy them, while evading enemy attacks. We utilized fully 3D graphics in a 2D gameplay, which proved to work quite well for this type of arcade-style game. The goal of the game is to get as many points as possible before dying. At this point the gameplay is purely highscore-focused and there’s no “winning the game”, the motivation to play again comes from the urge to either beat your own highscore or to beat the highscore of other players. For the visual design we decided on an origami look, everything you see should look like it has been crafted out of paper, even the bullets. For the origami figures 3D models were created and paper textures applied to them. This enabled us to utilize simple forms but still maintain a polished look of the final assets. The simple forms proved of great value to not distract from the fast action gameplay mechanics while still looking good. To separate the gameplay area visually from the background scenery, not only textured clouds and fog were used, but also the saturation of the textures was altered. The player can choose between three different ships, which differentiate from each other in terms of movement speed, weapon power, firerate and health. These are only starting values though and by collecting upgrades one ship can surpass the others in a certain skill although it has the lowest value in that particular skill by default. Each ship has a primary and secondary weapon, which are used by either left/right mouse button click or, when using a keyboard, the Ctrl/Alt-keys. After the ship is selected the main game can begin. Pretty much immediately after the game is started the first wave of enemies appears and the gameplay begins. To stand a chance against the waves of enemies the player has to collect upgrades, which are spawned from killed enemies. Without collecting as many of these upgrades as possible it’s impossible to survive in the later parts of the game, when the enemies not only get stronger, but also faster and their numbers increase. There are different kinds of extras to collect: Upgrades, which increase one of the four basic stats (movement speed, firepower, firerate, health). Then there are powerups, which can give you an additional clusterbomb (these are very limited and to be used with caution) or add an additional shot. This additional shot is fired simultaneously with your regular shots, in either an straight forward (“normal”) or a fan-shaped fashion (“spread”). These powerups add single shots if you collect another one of the same kind, but they also replace your current powerup if you collect one of the other kind, effectively acting as downgrades if the player doesn’t pay attention to what he’s collecting. Last but not least there are modifiers, which can add a fire (enemies burn after being hit and take damage for 4 seconds) or a water (slows enemies down, because wet paper is apparently slower 😉 ) ability to your shots. We intend on continuing with development, adding new enemies, implementing touch controls for mobile, adding epic bosses and generally adding better graphics since all of the final assets were created during the last three days of the project. Overall project duration was two weeks, we relied heavily on an iteration based workflow utilizing placeholder graphics for the programmers to work with.


Technology: Unity 4.6, Github, Blender

Credits: Phil Gosch Ilija Simic Stephan Keller



titlescreen_opaque screen_ship_combined_2 Bild 6 upgrades ship select 2


The Little Lobbyist (Global Game Jam Game)

PThis game was created during Global Game Jam Graz 2015. There were only 48 hours to finish it and we had to think of a game suitable to the slogan “What do we do now”. PLOT: You and your friends plan to go out this evening. You have an idea where you want to go and need to convince your friends to choose your favorite location. After meeting up and drinking some drinks the group decides where to go. You ask them: What do we do now? HOW TO PLAY: By engaging in dialogue, and mentioning certain topics to certain people, you try to influence the majority-decision of the group … But beware, each member of the group has her or his preferences – and influences other members of the group, as modeled by the underlying hidden social graph.


Technology: Phaser

Credits: Art Manfred Rohrer Raphaela Klein Programming Stefan Reichenauer Christian Paier Matthias Frey Ilija Simic Music Mathias Lux Management Marco Fruhwirth



Game Design and Development Course at TUGraz

706.402 Game Design and Development

Week 0




Week 1




Week 2




Week 3




Week 4

Week 4: Graphics and Art in Game Development

Project Schedule

Send slides

03/03/2015 to jpirekr@iicm.edu

Final Student Presentations

10/03/2015 17:00 HSi12

button 2o15 – Festival of Gaming Culture

button 2o15 – Festival of Gaming Culture
06.-07. März 2015

Fr, 6.3.: 15:00 Uhr bis 03:00 Uhr
Sa, 7.3.: 10:00 bis 23:00 Uhr
Seifenfabrik Graz

Eintritt: VVK: 9,- AK: 13,-
Eintritt ab 16 Jahren

-> Vorverkaufskarten gibs im ludovico oder bei mir im Büro (Inffeldgasse, bitte Mail)

Jetzt bekommt Graz sein eigenes Gaming-Festival
Mit dem Festival der Spiele veranstaltet Ludovico seit vielen Jahren ein jährliches Fest der Spielkultur. Jetzt sollen auch die Bildschirmspiele stärker zum Zug kommen, mit einem eigenen Festival, das digitale Spiele und ihre kulturelle Bedeutung in den Mittelpunkt stellt.

Im würdigen Rahmen der Grazer Seifenfabrik werden zwei Tage lang die Geschichte der Bildschirmspiele und ihre Gegenwart direkt erlebbar – etwa bei einer spielbaren Zeitreise von den ersten digitalen Spielen bis zur Virtual Reality. Oder im Gespräch mit österreichischen SpielentwicklerInnen.

button 2o15 feiert die Spielkultur in all ihrer Vielfalt, kreativ, gemütlich und kommunikativ.

Ausblick auf unser Programm:
Spielbare Zeitreise
Startschuss für Minecraft Graz – Wir bauen Graz!
Schwerpunkt: Österreichische Bildschirmspiele
Vom Bildschirm auf’s Spielbrett – Brettspielumsetzungen digitaler Spiele


10 Tips for a Game Jam.

1. Keep it simple! 

When designing a game which should be delivered in only one weekend it is important to start with simple game mechanics and a feasible storyline.

2. Lack of artists? Stick to 2 Dimensions.

Often game jams lack of artists. When designing your game it might be helpful to stick to two dimensions instead of trying to force a fancy 3D game.

3. Use a simple game engine. 

At a game jam developers with different skills and experience levels are supposed to work together. Hence, even for experienced game developers it might be reasonable to stick to development editors which are easy to learn and use such as GameMaker (https://www.yoyogames.com/studio) or Unity (https://unity3d.com/). This will facilitate not only the development process but also the distribution process (see next point).

4. Make your game playable & distributable.

You want to develop a game for people to play it! It is easier to show the game to friends in a web-browser than on your phone or as an exe which must be downloaded first. Choose the game engine to support your “target” group / platform, or in the best case choose an engine, which already comes with distribution possibilities to several platforms.

5. Hacking is welcome. 

In contrast to traditional coding projects, in a game jam it is absolutely OK to write code which might be not super reusable and is not optimized, nor fully commented. Main goal: In the end it should work. However, it might be helpful if you still try to write code, which is readable for you (if you want to change something, or are looking for bugs) and your team partners.

6. Finish your game!

Goal #1 is to finish your game. Even if you submit a game with minimal functionality, you shipped a working game. Ensure this by prioritizing the game functionalities (from VERY IMPORTANT to NICE TO HAVE) and scheduling them accordingly. Another very imporant tool helping you to achieve this goal is the usage of a subversioning system! (e.g. https://github.com/ or sourceforge.net/) Only submit working versions! This will ensure that you can submit a working version at the end, and also allows other jammers to test your game at different stages (see tip 9).

7. Art can wait. Work with placeholders.

If you are in lack of artists and team members it might be helpful to work with placeholders first and concentrate on the mechanics instead of spending too much time on designing objects and the environment.

8. Audio is more important than you might expect.

Even if it does not appear important during the development phase, audio elements are one of the most important parts of a good game. Even small effects (e.g. jumping sounds) or a nice background music will dramatically change your games’ atmosphere.

9. Test, test, test!

Of course you should test your game for bugs, but don’t forget to test your game for fun! Ask other jammers to play your game to give you tips, and test other games to give tips!

10. Have fun!

Even it is stressful and you lack of sleep and have a pizza and coffee overdose – you should remember the game jam as a fun experience – so avoid arguments with your team mates and don’t forget to stick to regular breaks for food, coffee, and sleep!

Tools & Resources 


Gamemaker or GameSalad(make games without expert programming skills)

– Unity3D (2d and 3d games .. wonderful tutorial for 2d games: http://pixelnest.io/tutorials/2d-game-unity/)

– and lots of other brilliant SDKs for programmers!

Art & Environment: 

– 2D Art:  Photoshop TrialGimp 

– 3D Art: BlenderAutodesk 3ds MAX Trial, Google Sketch Up

– Audio: Audacity

– Download Resources: http://opengameart.org/

In the case these 10 tips were not enough please go and find 16 Tips at: http://gamedevelopment.tutsplus.com/articles/tips-tools-and-resources-for-your-next-game-jam–gamedev-12084