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Reporting from the trenches

  • Waggle Words is Coming!

    Waggle-Words-Alpha---Vermont-Digital-Arts-600w-03

    You and me and baby makes three. And another baby makes four. And two cats and two dogs and six chickens makes fourteen. And then Mama decides she wants honey bees and the total soars to somewhere around 25,000. That’s the family that makes up Vermont Digital Arts.

    You could say that we are all the worker bees. Papa is an artist and programmer and does most of the technical work at Vermont Digital Arts. Mama is the Queen Bee who sits back and is fed royal jelly all day … oh no, wait, that was my fantasy. No, Mama flits from one thing to the next, writing, designing, organizing, keeping the hive running. The two youngest humans in the family make games, stories, art and music.

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    One day the youngest human thought that it would be cool to have a game that was a cross between Spell Tower (http://www.spelltower.com/) and Chip Chain (http://chip-chain.com/), so a meeting was called. Everyone (except the chickens and the bees) gathered around the dinner table and talked about what such a game would look like. Mama took notes and then a few days later made a paper prototype. Being a beekeeper, she used hexagons to make a honeycomb board and took the name Waggle Words from the movements that bees make to communicate with each other which is called a “waggle dance”.  

    The family decided that Papa, a trained artist who wanted to hone his programming skills, would engineer the game himself. Learning how to program requires time, patience and extra baking. Thankfully, Papa was up to the task of learning and Eldest Child who loves to bake kept everyone happy with lots of treats.

    Finally the Vermont Digital Arts family has a playable game. We are so excited about how Waggle Words is turning out. It is a super fun, strategic, single-player word game AND it will also be a groundbreaking multi-player VR game. Just wait!

    Waggle-Words-Alpha---Vermont-Digital-Arts-05

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  • Unite 2015 – Art Optimizations Video

    Unite Boston was a blast! So many great talks, tech demos and game developers!

    In case you missed it, Elliott Mitchell’s talk on art optimizations for Unity 5 is online for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy!

    Feel free to contact Elliott on Twitter if you have any questions about his talk!

    Elliott Mitchell Unite 2015

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  • Vermont Digital Arts at Unite Boston 2015

    Unite Boston 2015

    Unite 2015, the annual Unity game developer conference, is scheduled to be held in Boston, MA, September 21st – 23rd! Isn’t that exciting?!?

    I’m Elliott Mitchell, co-founder of Vermont Digital Arts and the Boston Unity Group. I am honored to announce that I will be presenting at Unite for the fourth consecutive year! My session, Unity Maximus: Art Optimizations for Maximum Performance in Unity 5, was announced on a list of talks published on Unity’s blog yesterday. This talk will be geared towards helping artists and designers who are beginners with Unity 5 art optimizations.

    Unity Maximus: Art Optimizations for Maximum Performance in Unity 5, is scheduled for Tuesday, September 22nd, 5:00-5:30, Ballroom A.

    Unite-2015-Unity-Maximus

    Many platforms, like VR and mobile, place high demands on developers to meet acceptable frame rates or else risk failure. Often, the art assets in a Unity project look fantastic but no matter how optimized the code base is, the build just doesn’t meet the desired frame rate. Unoptimized art assets, including some art which may be purchased on the Asset Store, can seriously hinder performance on demanding platforms. In this session, we will highlight some red flags to look out for in a variety of art asset types and identify key optimizations that can be implemented into your art pipeline to significantly increase performance on demanding platforms. Art asset types covered will include:

    • 3D Models, Animations and Rigs
    • 2D Textures and Sprites
    • Materials and Shaders

    I’ll likely cover a few more topics like lightmapping & post process effects.

    I hope to see you at Unite 2015 Boston!

    Best,

    -Elliott

    EDIT 9/18: Changed the time and location to Tuesday, September 22nd, 5:00-5:30, Ballroom A.

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  • School’s Out Summer Sale

    Schools Out Summer Sale

    School’s Out Summer Sale! July 23rd – July 29th

    Kids want a summer of fun and parents want a summer of learning, growth and skill. What if downtime could be both fun and enriching?

    Presenting the 2015 School’s Out Summer Sale (July 23rd – July 29th)! Enjoy discounts on 8 amazing, awarding-winning games and apps for both iOS and Android that are packed with fun and entertainment to last all summer! Made by the most innovative and creative game designers from all over the world, these games are guaranteed to keep kids both entertained and sharp in the summer heat.  And they’re just as fun for adults too – so enjoy some time playing these games with your kids this summer!

    Slice Fractions by Ululab

    Check out the official School’s Out Summer Sale webpage to learn more about the featured games and participating studios!

     

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Check back soon to see what surprises are in the pipeline!