Indie Tech Talk #17 - Andy Hull

A really rare look into the tech under the hood in spelunky, and what it means to find the sweet spot in technology design. Andy does a great job of tackling a subject we all deal with, and yet I’ve somehow never seen covered before.


Game Center MFA Students Bring Playstation Game Jam Success to GDC!

A month has flown by since the Team Snakesss Crumble project was picked as a finalist entry for the Playstation Mobile Game Jam at Indiecade East 2013. In that time, amidst numerous academic deadlines for classes at ITP, NYU Poly and the Game Center, the four person team has managed to stay focused on crumbling their way to excellence. After several iterations, the game’s central mechanic has more or less remained intact or, depending on how you look it, precariously fragile. Players pilot a rectangular avatar composed of many smaller pieces that are sheared off and crumbled into space as they move through a series of narrowing obstacles. What has changed more than anything is the level design, which now now includes a surprising twist not seen at the Indiecade event. A good bit of thought and effort has also gone into balancing sub-goals and scaling of the game’s difficulty over time. All of this has opened some new pathways for us to consider how this project will expand in the future.

Writing at the beginning of our final push we thought now might be a good time to introduce the team and their respective roles. Ilya Zarembsky is our programming guru and local curmudgeon, bringing us all down to earth while making our dreams into reality by forging ahead with the PSM SDK. Stephen Clark is responsible for Crumble’s art direction as well as sharing in the level design and audio production roles. Team troubadour, Zeke Virant was essential in designing the game’s original mechanic and has continued to refine this concept and the accompanying level design through rigorous playtesting at the Game Center’s Playtest Fridays, a weekly public playtest at the Game Center’s Game Library. As Crumble’s product manager, Maxim Kolbowski-Frampton has constantly pushed the team to tackle the project’s weakest points, helping to synthesize diverging designs as well as generating audio and art assets for the current prototype.

It’s a little early for a post-mortem but we’ve already learned a lot from the early stages of working on this game. One major challenge has involved becoming more familiar with the SDK. Learning how to manage collisions, garbage collection and splitting up art assets into composite parts has allowed us to dramatically reduce the overall file size and greatly improve the game’s memory load. Because of its extended format, this gamejam has also been a great exercise in following through on an idea. In the end, we had to limit our rehashing of game design concepts in order to focus on the central logic of player experience and, so doing, prioritize those aspects of Crumble that could be improved in the timeframe allowed. We feel incredibly lucky to have been among such tough competition and hope that our final prototype shows our ability to expand this game into a beautiful multi-layered experience, with a broad appeal.

If you’d like play Crumble and meet Team Snakesss at GDC, they will be at the Sony booth and at the Game Center Meet up.

Sony Booth

Wednesday: 12PM – 2

Thursday: 4PM – 6

Friday: 11:30AM – 12

Game Center Meet up (And the Tabletop Game Longue)

Tuesday: 12:30PM – 1:30

Friday: 12:30PM -1:30

More information about the Game Center at GDC here


The NYU Game Center has partnered with the EVO Tournament to create a scholarship to study game design at New York University. If you have a passion for fighting games and want to join the next generation of great game designers we welcome you apply for EVO scholarship and create the future of fighting games in the Fall 2014 class at the Game Center.

The scholarship will be funded by the proceeds from the HD stream at EVO, so every person who upgrades to HD will be directly funding a scholarship for someone in the fighting game community.

To receive the scholarship, prospective students will apply to the MFA program when our applications open in the Fall and complete supplemental application material about their involvement in the fighting game community. We’re also considering funding undergraduate studies with the EVO scholarship. Prospective undergraduate students should write to gamecenter@nyu.edu to express their interest in receiving the EVO scholarship for their undergraduate studies.

We’re committed to recruiting the very best for this brand new kind of scholarship, so Game Center Program Coordinator Dylan McKenzie will be at EVO 2013 to meet with prospective students. In the spirit of EVO we’ll have our own competitive games there, including undergraduate and graduate work, as well as games commissioned for No Quarter. If you’re at EVO this weekend, stop by our booth at the Indie Showcase in the Bally Grand Ballroom and play Slash Dash, Killer Queen, Field-1, and There Shall be Lancing! Plus our booth will be right next to previous No Quarter games with their own booths, Barabariball and Nidhogg. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions about making games at the Game Center!

Fresh Starts

New semester. New projects. New building. New apartment. It’s time to do awesome things.

Field-1 is winding down. We’ve got new audio in, and we’ve managed to solve most of the issues that have been plaguing us throughout the project. (Curse you, ofxGamepad!) We’ll be building an arcade cabinet this weekend and installing it at Death By Audio in Williamsburg. Should have some pics forthcoming. Exciting!

I’ve also started actually working on thesis with my team. We’ve started our devblog which will be updated regularly.

Somehow I’ve also managed to start studying Street Fighter IV as a project about learning how to learn how to play a game deeply. All I really know about it right now is I’m not very good at SF4.


This year’s No Quarter Exhibition marks the first event in the newly founded NYU Game Center X Attract Mode initiative. Five Attract Mode artists have created five awesome pieces depicting some past No Quarter games which will be featured at this year’s exhibition. Check out the talented artists who created the above pieces: 

Mark Essen’s Nidhogg, by Hamlet Machine

Noah Sasso’s BaraBariBall by Kyle Fewell

Ramiro Corbetta’s Hokra, by Jovo Ve

Robin Arnott’s Deep Sea, by Steve Courtney

Matt Parker’s Recurse by Rachel Morris

The pieces will be on display and sale throughout the exhibition. For more information on Attract Mode: http://attractmo.de/