Friday, September 9, 2011

TD Bank Summer Reading Program

Summer Reading Program

The "Summer Reading Program", each kid reads or has 10 books read to them, TD Bankwill give your kids $10 each either for a new or an existing account, but the program ends end of the month, 30th September.

Great little program this and essentially free money for your under 18 year olds so got nothing to lose.

Monday, August 22, 2011

CryEngine 3 SDK Out now for free!

The engine is now available for free here.

Read the terms and conditions, but they sound pretty good for those that just want to tinker around with it.

To get started, the official documentation can be found here.

The community developed documentation, which is well worth a browse can be foundhere.

A simple guide to get started on creating a level can be found here.

More indepth knowledge can be found in the wiki here.

Now go and enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Collection of Boston Game Loop Writeups!

Information about what the Boston Game Loop is all about, for those who don't know can be found here.

For those who weren't able to make the GameLoop, a collection of notes, thoughts and write ups from various people who attended, in various disciplines are listed here that I could find. If there are any others, please let me know.

Darius Kazemi, on his blog, Tiny Subversions, has a indepth write up here.

"Embracing failure in game narratives"

Hybrid Mind Games

"Unconference unwriteup from a game undesigner" by Nick Lalone

For a photo look into the conference, Elliott Mitchell, has posted a public album here.

For those interested in the Philly Game Loop, which was a spin off from the Boston event, a good write up of that event can be found here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nappy Codes?

Huggies v Pampers

So you've been buying nappies and noticing that they have a sticker on the inside with a code you can redeem for prizes, with the flyer being able to win a years supply of nappies and wipes, how awesome!

Well not exactly...but you've nothing to lose by trying.

Once you've set up a user profile at both sites, you can plug your codes in. Pampers certainly make this a lot easier to do, as you can add more than one code at a time and if you're anything like me, I just keep them in a draw and do a bunch at a time when bored some evening, and gives you a chance to check out other prizes being offered.

Huggies, you have to enter and submit a code each time and also select a store where you bought them from a drop down menu, which is more hassle.

On the other hand, to enter the year supply of nappy and wipes with Huggies, it only costs you 5 points per draw and you can enter as often as you want. Pampers cost you 20 points to enter their monthly competition.

They both offer many other prizes that you can enter for. Huggies have a instant win thing where the prizes are smaller and use less points, but you find out straight away and they also have small monthly prizes such as a box of nappies that you can enter and wait till they draw a winner. Pampers allow you to spend the points on products, toilet seats, toys, that kind of thing as well.

One nice thing about Pampers, they have a chart showing how many points you'll likely earn for each product, because different type of nappies, sizes and number count get different points ranging from 10 for wipes or a small packet to 180 for a large box for instance. Huggies doesn't appear to do this and the points ranged from 4 I'm guessing for the wipes, to 25 for a packet of nappies.

At the end of the day, you've got nothing to lose by keeping the codes and doing the programs, but they probably aren't worth the extra cost over getting a store branded box of nappies, especially if they had a coupon you could use.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Free Discovery Museum Fridays

This is great for anyone living in the burbs or fancying a bit of a change.

The Children's Discovery Museum in Acton.

Every Friday till the end of August, between 4:30 and 8:30pm both the Children's Museum and the Science Museum portions at the place are free.

The Children's portion is fantastic for little kids, ideally from say 2.5 up till around 6 or so as they get to play with a fake train, water tables and a giant human bubble maker as well as a diner, a jungle themed room, a boat themed room, a theatre and a host of other fun little things for kids to play around with and explore.

Then over to the Science portion, aimed at slightly older kids, but 3 year olds will still love this. There are plenty of things for all ages, especially the musical instrument and noise making activities and water based activities.

Spending the evening here is very easy to do and a lot of fun. Not as crazy busy as the time they were doing the Free Friday event for the Highland Street people, so very easy to get in, park and play. The garden area is a great spot to have a picnic if you arrive early, or just play in the huge sandpit outside if the weather is nice.

Friday, July 29, 2011

$500 Collada contest

The Khronos Group is hosting a art contest that ends next week, 7th August.

The details of the contest can be found here.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mark Binder - Author and Entertainer

Mark Binder

An author of children's books. He bills himself more as a story teller though and if you get a chance to catch him doing a book session, you really should!

He has read at a lot of libraries and it was there that I managed to catch a show, which went on for 45 minutes, stories and a little bit of music, just enough to entertain and keep little minds in tune for.

Binder, has a collection of around 6 traditionally printed books, of which "It ate my sister" and "The bedtime story book" are particularly good collection of stories. He also has a collection of audio books and e-books. The audio books would be great to collect as he has such enthusiasm and energy in his story telling. Of which, is't a strict reading of his books, but a collection of age appropriate stories, some of which are based on the written tales but many being based off of stories you might recognise, that have either been updated or merged with similar stories, all with great amusement and audience participation.

At the end of the reading session, he did have a collection of audio CD's and books you could buy, offering them for $10 each instead of the regular $15, and if you bought two, you could get a third for free. These were all signed and personalised. He accepted cash, cheque and credit card, so you don't have to worry about being caught short if you wanted to buy a book after a showing.

For a list of his free readings, of which seem to be mostly in MA and RI can be found here.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Aqueduck Bathroom Faucet Extender - Review

Aqueduck Bathroom Faucet Extender

This product is made by Peachy LLC

For anyone with toddlers who are potty trained or getting that way, this is a really useful product!

You've got a toddler up on their stool, trying to wash their hands and they just can't reach and you don't want to be lifting them up every time, especially when they're starting to get a little heavy.

This is a simple, plastic piece that has a rubber attachment on one end which holds this onto the sink faucet and the plastic folds up creating a tube. Easily attaches to a variety of sink faucets.

Simple, easy to use product that'll help your kids out.

Best place to buy this seems to be on Amazon for $13

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tanglewood Marionettes - Review

Tanglewood Marionettes

So these guys, based in Ware, MA and do shows all over the state and further a field.

I most recently saw the "The Fairy Circus" performance which was held at the Strawberry Festival in Concord, MA.

I have seen them perform else where, with other shows, but this one in particular I thought was most appropriate for little toddlers and a mix range of kids. It was a lovely performance, with music and very laid back with a nice little bit of audience participation.

The performer really knew how to engage the kids as well as the parents and handled the crowd really nicely, especially when kids where getting a little too close to the stage.

After the show, the children were allowed to get a close up look of the puppets and touch them which was really nice, as they were lovely.

They have a pretty good list of free, public performances listed for the summer on their website, which if you get the chance, you should definitely check out with your family!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ben Rudnick and Friends - Review

Ben Rudnick and Friends, the group who played at the Strawberry Festival in Concord.

A very fun, family friendly and quirky little band with easy going music, a combination of blue grass and rock in their own original musings.

These guys seem to play all over the state and further out, but pretty much all are free concerts such as town summer green concerts, or fairs etc.

They played 3 sets of around 40 mins a piece with great music that the kids could dance around to, which was a lot of fun to see.

You have the opportunity of getting free music if you sign up to their newsletter, but also check out the samples they have of all their CD's.

At the end of each set, you could hang around and have a chat with the band and get the chance to buy their wares, which included CD's, fun tie dye t-shirts and a collection of other small things, but they really didn't put up a hard sell at all which was rather refreshing.

For a line up of coming soon events, which is listed on their site, include:-

July 11 - West Bridgewater, MA
July 12 - Newton, MA
July 13 - Boarding House Park, Lowell, MA
July 14 - North Kingston, RI
July 15 - Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Oak Hill, NY
July 19 - Revere, MA
July 20 - Candia, NH
July 21 - Medford, MA
July 22 - Lexington, MA

So for those in Boston, there's Newton and later in the summer, Natick as well as a host of other venues you could catch these guys. Well worth keeping an eye out for!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Strawberry Fest Review

Strawberry Festival

As mentioned last week, this happened last Saturday.

It's definitely a great event to be marked into your calendar for next year as it was a lovely, family event.

The strawberries were superb and the pick your own plentiful, as well as being very well priced at $3 a pound.

The farm also had a lovely marketstand type store where you could buy locally grown fruit and veg, which seemed to be very well priced as well. Plenty of lovely looking home made lunches boxes were available as well.

Because of the rain this time around, I don't think they had the pony rides which was a shame, but they did move the music and puppet shows into the greenhouse and there was plenty of room to enjoy them.

The one main consideration I think would be to arrive early, because even with the heavy morning rain, which had cleared out by the time this started at 11am, the place did get very busy by the time we arrived at lunchtime. There was quite a lot of parking available, but it was still a bit of a struggle to find a spot.

There also might be a bit of a struggle to use a pushchair if you had to as there might not much space to move it around easily when the shows get going and it's certainly very grassy outside.

The toilets inside were also very nice and clean and they had ample portaloos outside as well.

I'll get around to writing a review for the music and the puppet shows, which were both fantastic entertainment for everyone.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Slam Bolt Scrappers PSN Post Mortem

The last Boston Post Mortem was presented by, Eitan Glinert of Firehose Games.

The talk was a post mortem into their PSN released game, Slam Bolt Scrappers, which pre-release had received very favourable news from Pax East etc, but since release has not been getting the same kind of reviews. They cover the highs, lows and the bittersweets of the development and cover the lack of online multiplayer which was one of the biggest detractors in the reviews for the game.

This presentation was filmed by Firehose.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Free Fun Fridays - Family Events!!!

Highland Street have organised a Free Fun Friday for the summer, starting in July going through to the end of August.

Details of the events are here.

Basically, every Friday, there are a bundle of museums, art exhibits, zoo's and other children's activities that will be free. There's no registration, no need to be residents of the state or county, so a great way to have fun with the family and especially if you've got guests from out of state coming for the weekend.

Some of the personal highlights over the Fridays include :

425 Hawthorn Street – New Bedford

137 Warren Ave – Plymouth

177 Main Street - Acton

1 Franklin Park Rd - Dorchester

308 Congress St – Boston

149 Pond Street - Stoneham

9 Sullivan Avenue - Easton

1 Old Sturbridge Village Road - Sturbridge

222 Harrington Way - Worcester

What's nice about this, they are dotted all over the state of MA, so everyone should have the opportunity of finding something nearby as well as a few other fun day trips such as the Boston Harbour Ferries.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brit and other bargain goodies

So at the moment, The Christmas Tree shop has been carrying crates and crates, in loads of locations of Robinson's Barley Water, both in lemon and orange flavours for $1 each instead of the going $7.50 a bottle.

They also had sun factor 50 sun screen, especially childrens sun screen for $3 which normally go for $8-9 in Target.

Then head over to Ocean State Job Lots, they had chocolate digestives and hob nobs for $2 each and also a 2 for 1 deal on Terry's Chocolate Oranges, which were $3 each, which is a bargain.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Family Fun - Strawberry Festival

Verrill Farm in Concord, MA

25th June, 11am-3pm

Strawberry Festival, including ponies, hay rides, muppet shows, live music and a strawberry dessert competition.

Could be a lot of family fun for free.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Boston Blender User Group


Not to be confused with BUG (Boston Unity Group).

Good opportunity for Blender users to get together and talk about work flows, tools and other tips and tricks. This is especially good for indie devs to network as well as new comers who get the chance to meet a variety of skilled artists.

The next meet up is planned for 23rd of June, next week.

This group is organised by K. White Adam, who you can follow on twitter as @kadamwhite he also has a really interesting blog here, which covers indie game development and web design development.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Boston Pride Parade

The whole gay pride celebrations are ending today, 12th Sunday, but the parties have been going on through out the week and the big parade starting out on Tremont St, going past Boston Common and ending behind Faneuil Hall was yesterday.

What a great family day out, even if the weather was poo and it rained like crazy.

It was a great chance for kids to see a lot of diversity which they might not be accustomed to seeing with a lot of fun and friendly people. The atmosphere was great and really up lifting and the floats and people in the parade were great, having various organisations taking part from various religious and charity groups, various banks, Zip Car, Google Android, the works.

Plenty of free swag for people being handed out as well, must of which was very family friendly, beads, bracelets, sweets, keychains, balls etc. There was only one float handing out stuff that you might not want your little kids to get, packets of condoms, but as ZipCar had decorated their car with condom balloons, you might not have minded.

What a great party festival feel and a great day out with the kids. Would definitely recommend going again, or taking part if you can!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Awesome Bowl Protectors!

The Wrap by Boon

Check this product out here.

It's a rubberised wrap that protects your bowls, helps them stick to tables and makes them easier for kids to hold, so able to use your regular china which is lovely!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

10 games that you believe people should have played?

This blog has a list of games that you think people should have played and here's my list -

Deus Ex - Seems a lot of the younger folks haven't really played it and it's a great game, really nice use of upgrades

Sabre Team - Nice turn based, strategy shooter game from Atari/Amiga days

Railway Tycoon - Or any of those of the era, they're good wholesome family fun

Golden Eye - Just really nice multiplayer action, and destructible environments

Turok - just some lovely environments and a good bit of fun

Lara Croft - As annoying as some of it got, nice mini games and exploration and fun character moves that were new at the time

Snood - Really simple game mechanics, but it got my missus interested in games so it has to have something going for it

Hotel Dusk - Really nice story based game with simple graphics

Gamebook Adventures - iPhone story based game, shows that a good story can make a game

Wii Resort - Something that's not all very gamey, but has a bit of something for everyone in the family and very easy to get someone to play the odd game with you

Friday, May 20, 2011

Boston Unity Work Flow Event

Make Your Ideas a Reality: Suites and Unity Workflow

"On Tuesday, June 14th we are hosting event that should knock your socks off... Make Your Ideas a Reality with a Max and Maya workflow that works with Unity - there will be an in-depth look at Unity and the workflow with Max and Maya - then Carl will demonstrate how to make a game and build it for the web, iOS and Android.

Jono Forbes will be presenting Defective Studio's Unity-based world-builder, Platformer, working with their Maya plug-in for full modeling of terrain, and the ease in which it lets you move back and forth between Maya and Unity.

Carl Callewaert has 10 years experience working in motion capture, 3d animation and game development. His professional experience includes working as a liaison between artists, programmers and sales department on software/hardware development, motion capture pipelines and (mobile) game development. As an Autodesk Certified Instructor and Unity expert, Carl has taught specialized courses and workshops on game engines, key framing, motion capture, photo-realistic rendering, visual effects, modelling, level editing at companies and education institutes. Currently, Carl is Unity evangelist at the award wining company Unity Technologies . He also runs Fundi 3D where he is involved in the production of games. At The Gaming and Animation Institute of Fredericton Carl oversees the 3D gaming programs and runs the eMentorship program.

When: Tuesday, June 14th, 6pm - 10pm
Where: Bunker Hill Community College

How Much?: Free. But registration is required"

Should be an interesting event for Boston Indies to get involved with especially as the folks at GET put on such great stuff for the games community!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ni Hao, Kai-lan Discovery Game - Review

This game is aimed at children 3 plus, so we got it for our 3 year old. I don't recommend it, certainly unless the child is much older.

The dice popper, which I thought would be fun for our little one is incredibly hard to pop, I struggle to push it hard enough as it is.

The little pieces are really cheaply made and the card board inserts to the plastic base of the pieces just slide about and never stay put. There is also no box to this board game, so it's really hard to keep all the pieces together without losing them.

The instructions, if you actually want to play this properly are also not printed on the underside of the board, which is a really flimsy piece of cardboard, which is such an over site. The plastic that sits on the board is also rubbishy, weak and within minutes was cracking at the corners and falling apart.

Not very impressed with this game, which is a shame because it is very cute.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Legal Basics for Game Companies

A free half day conference in Waltham MA, hosted by Morse, Barnes-Brown & Pendleton, P.C. on the 5th of May 2011.

The iternary of the event is as follows:

Game Law Basics Sessions:

  • VC & Angel Financing - 1:00 - 2:00 pm
  • Strategic Partnering - 2:00 - 3:00 pm
  • IP Protection - 3:00 - 4:00 pm
  • Formation - 3:00 - 4:00 pm
  • Mergers & Acquisitions - 4:00 - 5:00 pm
  • Employment - 4:00 - 5:00 pm
More info on this great event for people thinking of starting up a studio, or who have started up can be found here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

What is Tech Art?

Here are presentation videos from the talk given at 3D Stimulus Day.

The panel was hosted by Chad Moore, who you can follow on twitter as @smapdi

He also has a great blog with a load of information about how to get a job as well as including slides to his talks which you can find here.

The rest of the panel was made up of the following people -

Ryan Griffin, Senior Character TD, Turbine - @griffinanimator
Elliott Mitchell, Vermont Digital Arts -
Brandon Bateman, Senior Tech Artist, Turbine
Farley Chery, Instructor, ITT Institute and Bunker Hill Community College
Justin Woodard, Technical Artist, Turbine -

The presentation covers what a technical artist means, covering how the varied role differs between the size and direction of the company from a large corporation to a small indie developer.

Roughly 45 mins in total over 3 parts, the final part includes part of the Q&A session.

Part 1 -

Part 2 -

Part 3 -

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Using Unity3D to create a 2D game

Presentation given by Alex Schwartz and Yilmaz Kiymaz of Owlchemy Labs.

The topic of making a 2D game by mixing 2D and 3D in Unity and some of their tools that were created and techniques that can easily be used.
Some of these tools are available on their website for free.

The presentation is in three parts, totalling around 45 minutes.

Part 1-3:

Part 2-3:

Part 3-3 including the QA session:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stuff from 3D Stimulus

So this is really a highlight of some of the info as there are videos of some of the talks to come later.

Okay, so most probably couldn't care, but asking to help folks at the local New England resellers out, they're looking to get 200 people signed up for the 20th April event. GET.

If they do, they'll get some money to put towards local events, and they've helped put on a lot of cool events for artists in the Boston area, so if you're in the area or just want to help out, register through them and it'll be much appreciated.

The webinar is mostly a bunch of presentations about vfx, one is from the effects on Black Swan and another movie and one is a game I think.

If anyone is interested, give Heidi a shout -

She needs your name, email and either an address or your company name and she'll automatically opt you out of receiving any Autodesk newsletter spam, unless you actually want it.

Other bits and pieces, Motion Builder or the Entertainment Suite of products, if you buy through GET, you'll get a free Kinect and set up with hacked software to have your own motion capture device out of it. if you want to check out the software that was demo'ed as a mocap software that plugged right into Motion Builder.

A nice free shader for people to use in their work was 3Point Shader Lite found here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

3D Stimulus Day

GET are hosting another 3D Stimulus Day event - 9th April

A recap about the event, which is an awesome free art and networking event -

Location: Mt. Ida, Newton, MA

Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Presentations this year include:

  • Chad Moore of Turbine and Rigging Dojo, with Job Hunting Tips for 3D Artists
  • Alex Schwartz and Yilmaz Kiymaz of Owlchemy Labs, presenting Mixing 2D and 3D in Unity
  • A panel-discussion with various tech artists from local game companies, mediated by Chad Moore
    • Ryan Griffin, Senior Character TD, Turbine
    • Elliott Mitchell, Vermont Digital Arts
    • Brandon Bateman, Senior Tech Artist, Turbine
    • Farley Chery, Instructor, ITT Institute and Bunker Hill Community College
    • Justin Woodard, Technical Artist, Turbine
  • Willem Van Der Schyf, Tencent Boston, presenting his Workflow for Character Creation using Max & ZBrush
  • Afternoon networking session upstairs with demos from local individuals and companies including Brass Monkey, Vermont Digital Arts, Owlchemy Labs, 3d Camera Technology, Mocap with Kinect and Motion Builder and lots more!!!

Adding to this, The Boston Post Mortem are having a meet up on the 13th April and will be talking about Game Law Hot Topics.

This should be a great, interesting meet up too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Salary Survey?

Adam Martin has a survey up to find game and web dev salaries.

Worth filling it in - Survey here.

The results of the survey will eventually be shown here in about a weeks time or so.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


For anyone that has been to conventions or to future ones such as PAX East, Conventionist might be a really handy app to have!

It has the event agenda's, maps of the floors and helps you schedule out your meetings.

While talking about conventions, especially with the recent GCE11, the nice folks over at DICE have shared their presentations which have loads of great information about what they did with Battlefield, which you can find here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

BUG - Multiplayer 3D Worlds

The last Boston Unity Group - BUG, meet up happened on the 15th of February. This talk was about 3D virtual worlds in Unity, given by Chris Hart, at Reaction Grid. You can follow her on twitter as @dstrawberrygirl

A good over view of the event was written up by the Lion Rampart here.