Game Design Grads On Making Pulse-Pounding Frocket!

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From Left to Right, it's Tyler Hebenton, Dave Crisp & Brad Keys

Frocket is a an arcade-style game for all ages (named after its star character), where the player controls a dopey swamp creature strapped to a malfunctioning jet-pack. His mission is to find and eat every delicious cupcake he can. It’s now available for iPhone and iPad as a download through iTunes, and there is the possibility of it being released on other platforms at a later date. Frocket is produced by Ganz Studios, which is located in Toronto, and was developed with the help of three VFS Game Design grads: Brad KeysDave Crisp and Tyler Hebenton.

We caught up with them to talk about the game, their involvement in it and their time as students in the Game Design program.

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VFS Grad Brian Hayes: From Scientist To Animator To Games Creative Director

Brian Hayes Creative Director, EA

Brian Hayes is a graduate of the VFS Classical Animation program, but he’s now a Creative Director at Electronic Arts, one of the biggest game companies in the world. He also started out as a scientist. So how does that work – going from scientist to animator to a creative director of games, working on such popular titles as Def Jam: IconFight Night Round 4 and Fight Night Champion? It sounded like an interesting journey, so we spoke with Brian to find out more about it.

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Interview with Game Design Grad Cory Hasselbach On Halo 4

Cory Hasselbach Mission Designer

Halo 4 launched on November 6, 2012, and quickly became the number one selling game in North American, receiving great reviews, with IGN declaring it “a bar-raising triumph for the entire first-person shooter genre.”

We’re certainly proud of the many VFS grads from different departments who worked on the project, including Game Design alumni Armando Troisi (Narrative Director), who we featured recently, and Cory Hasselbach, who we are featuring today.

Cory Hasselbach graduated from VFS back in 2005, winning the award for Best Multiplayer Game (for First Light), and now works as Mission Designer for 343 Industries, the producers of Halo 4. Cory talked to us about his experience at VFS, his role as Mission Designer and what makes Halo 4 such a great game.

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Game Design Grad Armando Troisi Talks Narrative Direction On Halo 4

Halo 4 Promo-Poster

Halo 4 for Xbox 360 launches today (November 6, 2012) with much excitement, after three years of development. There have been some great teasers produced over the last couple of months, including the live-action trailer by David Fincher and Tim Miller, and the five-part web series Forward Unto Dawn, which just released the final episode on Friday, Nov 2.

Halo 4 is the first installment of the Reclaimer Trilogy, which builds off the world developed in the original trilogy Halo, but is its own distinct story.

We’re very proud of the fact that VFS graduates were involved in the development of this highly anticipated game, including Game Design alumnus, Armando Troisi (Narrative Director, 343 Industries), who was kind enough to spare some of his time for us, during an intense period, to talk about the game and his involvement in it.

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Zoe Curnoe on Women in Games

Zoe Curnoe and Giraffe by Rory McGuire

VFS Game Design Instructor Zoe Curnoe loves games, which is a good thing, since she’s also Development Director 2 at Electronic Arts, one of the biggest game companies in the world. And that love of games extends to making them better, and to making the industry better too — particularly when it comes to encouraging women to participate as creators, producers and players. To this end, she is also co-chair of Women in Games Vancouver, an organization committed to “Champion professional development, career growth opportunities, networking, mentoring and education opportunities within the games community in Canada.” We recently spoke with Zoe about her passion for games, her ideas about getting more girls and women interested in both playing them and working in the game industry, and her opinion about a few recent controversies.

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Unity Meetup Group Spotlights Pulse

Photo of Team Pixel Pi at Vancouver Unity Games Meetup at the VFS Cafe

Wednesday night, the Vancouver Unity Games Meetup Group convened at VFS Café for a recap of related events and developments, including some highlights of the recent Unity Awards Show and a special announcement concerning their new relationship with Nintendo. Unity Community Evangelist, Joe Robins, presented on behalf of Unity Technologies, and VFS Game Design grads, Richard Harrison and Maxwell Hannaman, presented the game Pulse (winner of the Unity Award for Best Student Project) on behalf of their team. Larissa (Lala) Fuchs, Leanne Roed, and Michael Cooper were also present in the audience and made themselves available to people interest in trying or talking about the game.
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UFG’s Sleeping Dogs : The VFS Connection

Cover for Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs is an open world action-adventure video game developed by United Front Games (UFG) and published by Square Enix for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Since it’s release on August 14, it’s been flying off the shelves, and it’s had some great reviews — with GameRankings and Metacritic, giving it an aggregate score of 85 and 82 percent, respectively. This is also some source of pride for VFS, given that a range of some 30 people (students and faculty), including Game Design Instructor Victor Kam, who was Senior World Artist at UFG, Game Design Industry Mentor Dan Sochan, who has also been a Producer at UFG since 2007, and alumnus Jeffrie Wu, who was Technical Designer at UFG, and is currently Technical Level Designer at Next Level Games.

We spoke recently with Jeffrie Wu about his experience working on the game (starting back in 2009) and present our inteview with him here:

Sleeping Dogs Screenshot
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Game Design Summer Intensive: Flash Games & Graduation!

Starting Screen for Pogo Man Flash Bounce Game

The Game Design Summer Intensive finished up on Friday (Aug 17, 2012) with a full day dedicated to creating a Flash Game. The day was split into two parts, with the first part providing a quick hands-on tutorial in Flash, using a Bounce Game Template that each student customized to their own (sometimes hilarious) specifications. (View the Flash Bounce Game Template) Senior Instructor Jacob Tran, Instructor Chevy Johnston and Teaching Assistants Crystal Lau (Game Audio) and Benjamin Stern were all on hand to guide the students through the process.

Instructors helping with flash class

The overall concept and introduction was presented by Jacob Tran, providing some historical background and a discussion about the value of creating Flash Games in the larger context of game development for the Game Design Program. It’s a great tool for prototyping, and it became apparent that the entire process throughout the day served as a mini-model of the full program year. It’s a perfect way to understand how all the separate elements of the full program necessarily depend upon each other to make a great and successful game.

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