Gamers can read! This week: Traitor’s Blade

Are you salivating while you wait for season 4 of Game of Thrones? Well I have just the thing to tide you over until that GoT itch can be scratched. It’s called a book! You remember those! And interestingly enough, I just learned that Game of Thrones is actually based on a series of them. The tome I am reviewing today is called Traitor’s Blade.

Traitor’s Blade is high fantasy that follows the exploits of swordsman Falcio val Mond. The setting is a medieval world named Tristia which is divided into several duchies. Tristia is a very well thought out land and contains many factions and history of its own. And if you enjoy a lot of action, witty writing and great storytelling you are sure to enjoy Traitor’s Blade.

The opening sequence makes it very clear that this story is not for children but rather adult fans of fantasy. And no quarter is afforded to the reader when it comes to the depictions of violence contained within. The combat sequences are very well detailed and part of that description is going to include the unpleasant end result for one duelist every time.

Busy author Sebastien de Castell was kind enough to answer a few questions in between his book signings and other interviews.

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Pitch & Play for the 30th Game Design Class

Every Game Design class has a special day that they look forward to, it’s called Pitch & Play. It’s the night that the whole year builds up to, it is the culmination of 8 weeks of planning and design, and 12 weeks of development.

Pitch & Play is the event where student teams show off their games, first with a formal 5-10 minute presentation, followed by a social mingler where invited industry guests have a chance to sit down and play their games, ask questions, provide feedback and get to know the students better before they graduate.

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VFS Students show strong presence at Unite 2013

Kiley Giguere GD18 Alumni made the trip from GameHouse in Victoria for Unite

This year, Unity’s big conference, Unite 2013 was held in Vancouver. The VFS Game Design students and alumni were all over this conference. Everywhere I turned I was delighted to see past and current students learning about all the cool stuff going on with Unity right now. I checked in with some of the attendees and here are some of their highlights. This post is mainly to reflect the student experiences of those in attendance from our program.

from left: Kay Chan, Omar Chapa , Richard Harrison, Michael Cooper and Maxwell Hannaman all from game design class GD22.

It was a great chance to mingle with vendors of world class software like Photon, a multiplayer plugin available for Unity, made by Exit Games. There were also plenty of actual Unity developers in attendance chatting about their experiences with Unity. One VFS student, Wes Bassett (GD31) was not disappointed: “The Post Mortems were the most informative for me, because they shed light on the actual Process.” Read More

Luigi’s Mansion 2 : Interview with VFS Alumni on the Development Team

Box Art for Luigi's Mansion 2 : Dark Moon

Luigi’s Mansion 2 : Dark Moon was released March 24, 2013 and right away it took off like a rocket. It was the top selling game in Japan for three weeks in a row. We (myself, Senior Instructor Andrew Laing and Head Of Department Dave Warfield) conducted an interview with VFS Game Design graduates who helped in the creation of this very successful game.

Thanks very much to Diego Pons, Matt McTavish, Cavin Yen, and Jeffrie Wu for their time and for producing such a fun game. And thanks to Doug Tronsgard and Rob Davidson from Next Level Games (NLG) for helping to make this interview happen.

Cavin Yen, Diego Pons, Matt McTavish (behind Diego) & Jeffrie Wu
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My Top Ten List For GDC 2013 — Part 2

Games Development Conference 2013

Welcome to Part 2 of my GDC Top 10, featuring moments from the great, but exhausting, 2013 Game Developers Conference.  You can read Part 1 here.

But before I begin, here’s a photograph I’d like to dedicate to Bren Lynne, our programming instructor!

John Romero! …And some other guy!
John Romero! …And some other guy!

#5 Meeting Industry Heavies

You never know who you will bump into at GDC. I found myself riding the escalator next to John Romero, the designer of the original Doom. Doom was a very influential game for me personally, as well as a landmark in the history of games. It’s nice to meet someone you admire, and GDC has an atmosphere that makes it easy to approach anyone and start up a conversation.
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My Top Ten List For GDC 2013 — Part 1

Games Development Conference 2013

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is great and exhausting at the same time. Over twenty thousand attendees from our industry converge on the Moscone Center in San Francisco to exchange ideas, make new contacts, attend seminars and meet old friends. The quality and quantity of talks is staggering. After five days, you’re exhausted. But it’s the good kind of exhausted — like, “I just finished a marathon!” exhausted (At least, I assume that is what it feels like after you run a marathon).

There’s too much awesome to get into one post, so here is Part 1 of my GDC 2013 Top Ten.

#10: Hideo Kojima IS Metal Gear Solid V!

I’m not a fanboy, but I am inspired by the amazing work Hideo Kojima‘s team is doing on the Fox Engine. Trust me; this is actually the man himself under the bandages. His first game that I played was a little adventure on the SEGA CD called Snatcher, a Bladerunner inspired title that even supported the lightgun. Always on the bleeding edge of technology, he astounded the crowd with a live demo of his forthcoming Metal Gear. He ran the demo on a PC, and we can only hope that the tech makes the leap to the next gen consoles.

Hideo Kojima
Great entrance. Please take note of my presentation skills, pupils! Also take note that ONLY Hideo Kojima can pull off this entrance.

A year ago, Konami ran a “Is it Real, or is it FOX challenge?” (The original page is down but you can see it here on Kotaku. — It’s great to read the comments that lay down the challenge of whether this could run in real time. It does. I saw it. In engine.)
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Sony’s PS4 Announcement

PS4 Announcement

After watching a huge two-hour press conference from New York with a group of students and instructors, where Sony announced the PS4 for release this Holiday season, I decided to share a few of my thoughts on the new console (but remember, nobody has actually played it or seen the actual unit yet).

The production value behind this event was very high, even being described by some as extravagant. The call went out to a lot of well-known industry personalities, who were there to help support the cause. Sony clearly wanted to show that they had addressed development issues and that world class developers were on board with the product. We all like the idea of consoles still being relevant. It already feels a bit nostalgic, though.

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