Tonight marked the first ever Dallas XNA User Group meeting at the SMU Guildhall. Most of the core group of us, as well as some new friends, were able to get together tonight to check out the venue, discuss what the group was going to cover, what it’s priorities were, and who was going to do what roles within the group. It looks like the overall style of the group is going to be an interactive meeting environment where the group will have presenters that discuss topics with everyone (rather than just present) while we work towards the shared goal of developing games as a team. We’re planning to start off small with the basics of game design – from both the design and coding perspectives – and work our way into simple 2D games (like Connect 4 or Bejeweled) into more advanced scrolling games (like Defender and Pitfall) and ultimately into real 3D, first-person game development. We’re hoping to attract some very experienced game developers to help share their knowledge with the rest of us and serve as mentors for those that really want to learn the deep dark secrets of game design and development. The best part is, we were able to get input from everyone, and incorporate everyone’s ideas into crafting something the whole group can be proud of.
As with all new things, it will be a learning experience for those running the group, but I think that this is a topic that we’ve needed in Dallas for some time. A few months ago, my teammate Jared Bienz helped start the Houston Area Game Developers group and they’ve been very successful in meeting regularly and drawing a good crowd. Hopefully our group will be just as successful, and perhaps even coordinate with their group from time to time on speakers, topics and possibly co-game development! I’d also love to see these two groups collaborate on a re-GDC conference, where they bring back content from the fabled Game Developer Conference and make it available to the masses. More on that (hopefully) in a few months – for now, we’re going to focus on meeting regularly, having a solid track of presenters and topics, and most of all, having fun!
Kudos to Rick, Robert, Jake and all our new friends for a successful first meeting – I’m really looking forward to working with you guys on some really cool games – especially those that I can deploy onto my Zune!