A Quiet Day at the Game Center

Right now, it’s Thanksgiving weekend. Had dinner with my family and returned to the city to get some work done. I showed up today to find the whole of the MAGNET center deserted, save for the security detail. There are three weeks left in the semester, and I’m dead-set on getting my thesis game in better shape before then.

Anyway, I’m pretty much alone on the floor, fretting about the Unity engine’s complete inability to do client-side prediction for networked multiplayer games, and stressing over my to-do┬álist. I decided to take a little walk around the floor and take pics of the place to share on the site.

I should preface this by saying that this whole Brooklyn-based facility is brand-spanking new. Last year, we were basically squatting in a couple of classrooms on the 9th floor of NYU Tisch. I kind of prefer everyone working in the same room and being in each other’s faces. Anyway, here is the tour:

magnet vestibule

I get off the elevator at the 8th floor into a sort of glass antechamber area, then swipe my NYU ID to get in past the two sets of doors.

magnet hall

The West side of the floor is office space for faculty and Game Center MFA students. At the end of the hall are the classrooms 829 and 830, which we use exclusively. The rest of the floor is divided between NYU Poly and NYU Steinhardt.

magnet studio

Game Center MFA students are assigned shared office space for their final year of the program. Counting tuition, I consider it the most expensive workplace on the planet, and I’m pretty intent on getting the most out of it. There have been ongoing problems with heating this space for whatever reason. As I speak, I feel the A/C blowing on me. Still, it’s a good setup, with a desk that can be raised to a standing position and a fancy desk lamp.

magnet class

This is room 830, where Bennett Foddy teaches his studio classes. I’m Bennett’s TA for one of these classes, acting as a helper and resident Unity know-it-all for the new crop of MFAs. It’s also where we keep some office supplies and random hardware. Pretty big monitor for presentations and such.

magnet shared studio

This is 829, which is a sort of collective office for all of the MFA students in their first year. We had a place like this back at Tisch, only with slightly more sunlight and more random film students wandering in. There are a few busted arcade cabinets in here as well.

magnet pantry

Here’s the pantry on the East side of the floor. Not pictured: fridge, and the worst coffee vending machine on the planet. Otherwise, it’s rather shiny.

magnet library

Here’s a shot of our Game’s Library. Quite a few video and board games are stored here. Kind of dark with everyone gone for the break.

magnet nidhogg

This is the centerpiece of our “Town Hall” area in front of the library. It’s called the Winnitron, or as most refer to it: the Nidhogg machine. Nidhogg is a very cool game, the reigning champion of the floor being my classmate Zeke Virant. The buttons are currently busted due to over-enthusiastic play.

So that’s a circuit of the floor, or the interesting parts, at least. If I ever have time, I’ll post on the old Tisch Space and maybe take some shots of the Game Center when people are actually here.

Transparency

I’m naturally a very reserved person, so posting to this blog or social media happens to be a challenge at times. Attending Metatopia over the weekend, I was repeatedly advised to drop these old habits and take to social media more, establish a rapport with fans. Naturally, the next thing I did was lose my phone charger and spend the next day without an internet connection. Regardless, I’m resolved to inform people about what’s going on in my life a bit more, and get into the habit of documenting everything (interesting) that I’m going through, primarily through Twitter.

To start with, I’m still an MFA student at the NYU Game Center, so my attention is split between Against the Wall and my thesis game, a project called Asterisk. Now, Asterisk was designed to be as close to the opposite of Against the Wall as I could manage: It’s a networked multiplayer 2D space shooter. I’ve posted a few times on my other blog about it, but posting there is like painting a picture and locking it in a drawer. I’ll need to put up a dedicated Asterisk blog soon enough.

Just keeping myself active, busy, and my mind on more than one project. The alternative laser-focus has been detrimental in the past, I need to be able to switch off between things. This need to create a variety of things was what brought me to the Game Center in the first place. I’ve become a better designer through practice and experimenting with other forms, and have access to amazing advice from Bennett Foddy, Frank Lantz, and Clara Fern├índez-Vara.

So, in the past two months, I’ve taken AtW to IndieCade in the NYU tent, submitted it to the IGF, learned and experimented with networked multiplayer code (not for AtW), and started developing an actual story-centric tabletop. I’ll write another post this week on the game plan going forward, and probably expand on what I’ve been up to.