Your Guide to Seeing Mike at CodeStock 2014

9 Jul


The Quest for Fun talk has been moved to Saturday at 4:30 PM (and Getting Started with MongoDB in .Net has been moved up to 1:50 PM) – no room change on either.  This was to make room so that I can sit in on the CodeStock Annual Women in Technology Panel Saturday 1:50 PM in room 400a.

Original Post:

It’s that time of year when Knoxville, TN becomes frequently mentioned on Twitter in tech circles – aka CodeStock!

This year there are 2 days, featuring 70 speakers, giving 120 presentations to 450 attendees and I know what you’re thinking – how can I increase my odds of seeing Mike speak at CodeStock will all this going on?  Well fear no more, this handy guide will let you know where your best chances to watch Mike in action will be.

To maximize your potential download Guidebook to your mobile device, download the CodeStock 2014 Schedule, mark the following sessions on “My Schedule” and turn on all forms of alert in the app.

The first chance will be Friday at 9:55 AM in room 413b, where Mike will be presenting Game Development with Unity:

Unity is a cross platform game development IDE that can target PC. Mac, Linux, Web, iOS, Android, PlayStation (PS3, PS4, Vita, and PSM), Xbox (360 and XboxOne), and Wii U – many of these for free. Code in Unity can be written in JavaScript or C# and uses the open source .Net implementation Mono under the hood. You can even use Visual Studio as the code editor! This session will be a live demonstration of Unity, and a look at some simple games made with Unity. The format will be an instructor led discussion so come with any questions you have about Unity. For more information about Unity or to download the free version visit

The next opportunity will be Saturday at 9:50 AM in room 400b, where Mike will be presenting Building a 2D Tile Engine in Unity:

Tile engines are the workhorses of the 2D world. From platformers to RPGs to puzzle games, a good tile engine can allow a single or small developer staff to create a large, expressive game they might be able to otherwise. For XNA I had created an open source tile engine called XTiled and when I switched to Unity I wanted to bring my tile engine with me. This meant not only learning how to extend the Unity editor, but also how to efficiently construct a game on the framework. This session covers using the UTiled engine in Unity, how it works, and how to extend the Unity editor for your own plugins and games.

The last session is a last minute addition and will be Saturday at 1:50 PM in room 413b, where Mike will do an encore of his 2013 session Quest for Fun:

What is fun? What makes an activity exciting and enjoyable? Can fun be planned? Can you design fun the same way an architect designs a building? These are more than abstract thoughts, but questions that kept me awake at night. As a game designer I want to know if I’m creating something fun long before the game is in beta test and years of development were wasted. This session represents the years of research I spent answering the question, and the questions that followed. We will cover why people play games, expectations of the design, decoding feedback, and most importantly the preferences of the player and how they relate to our own. Ultimately this is a talk about how to be a better developer through the lens of game design, so even if you are not interested in creating games you will come away enlightened!

These won’t be your only chances to see Mike – expect random Mike appearances in the audience of other sessions, lighting talks, and open spaces.  It may be overwhelming to be in the presence of one such as Mike but rest assured he’s a very humble, down to earth guy with not the slight bit of an ego!