Boardgame Award Spiel des Jahres

After work one evening, fellow TA Shad invited me out to a dinner with a focused discussion on board games. Slightly interested, I decided to tag along. Although I wasn’t expecting to see Instructors Jay and Graeme, it wasn’t a surprise since they are definitely huge board game enthusiasts! After everyone went around the tables introducing themselves and food was ordered, the special guest introduced himself as Tom Felber. Although I did not know him before or the Spiel des Jahres beforehand, I most certainly will remember it now!

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Job Hunting 101 with East Side Games

For those who weren’t able to make it out to East Side Games’ talk about Job Hunting 101, here is a quick summary of the talk! I’d also like to extend a humble thank you to Josh, Kay, Jordan, Josh (yes, 2 of them) and Susan for coming out and offering your advice! It was very much appreciated.

Kicking the presentation off with pizza from Uncle Fatih’s graciously provided by East Side Games and the large turnout of students, the 5 speakers introduced themselves and some of their most important pieces of advice when seeking out a job. By far the largest take away from their talk was the importance of NETWORKING!!

One of the best ways to accomplish this is going out to local meet up events and just speaking with the people there! One such example is the Full Indie Summit this Saturday (August 9th) where many game companies in town will be out, as well as after parties, one of such being hosted by East Side Games themselves!

Another important point, is knowing the company, knowing their games, and playing them! It was heavily emphasized that there is more to talk about in the application process if you know the company and games, as well as showing your passion and hustle. In the games industry, being able to work hard is a strong trait that is valued from prospective companies.

It’s also important to ask, “Not what your company can do for you, but what you can do for your company.” This has importance in not only making sure that you are valuable for your company, but you are to make a more lasting impression if you are able to adapt what you do to best suit the company’s needs, sometimes even changing job roles.

Ultimately, it’s also valuable to be professional, but be yourself. Because it’s important that you are able to fit in with the companies culture and get along with everyone there. Which includes 6 valuable words from Josh, “Leave your ego at the door”.

Although this is just a summary, hopefully the wise words of East Side Games is able to help you out when looking for your first or next job!

Westley Bassett is a TA at VFS and an alumni of the Game Design program

Teaching the Player

Months ago when working on our final student project in term 5 and 6, one of the difficulties of our core mechanic was how to actually teach it to the player. If we told the player verbally how to play while they were experimenting, they were able to take what we told them and what they were experiencing to figure out exactly what was going on. When we got to the point where we were having blind playtests without talking to the players, it became a very different story.

Even if we typed out the exact words that we would verbally tell the player, “When your pack is the opposite colour of the surface, you will bounce. When it is the same color, you will slide.” It took players a long time to figure out exactly what that meant. We tried to simplify it down by introducing the inter-workings of these mechanics down, and trying fancy word graphics that were colored to match what color we wanted you to be, but it still wasn’t enough. Too many player’s still were not able to understand what we were trying to teach them by the end of our tutorial to set them up for the rest of the game.

Pre Alpha Tutorial

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The Importance of Reverse Engineering

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There are many people out there who think they have a winning game concept based on borrowing and meshing two or more concepts together. One such example that I’ve heard a lot recently is taking the combat of Dark Souls 2 and combining it with some other game feature. Whether that’s with a narrative of another game, a different type of RPG system or the platforming of another game; at face value it seems like it could be really cool, especially if you enjoy the combat of Dark Souls 2. If you were to try to make this game a reality, it would be very important to understand how exactly Dark Souls combat works as well as why it is made to be a certain way and what about that appeals to you and other players. Without it, you are likely to end up with a combat system that feels nothing like what you were hoping for. This is what we call Reverse Engineering.

Reverse Engineering is the practice of taking something that already exists and peeling away its layers to better understand exactly what makes it tick. For example, Super Mario is known for having an intuitive jump that makes sense for the player to use. If I was to make a game that revolved around platforming and jumping, it would be very important for me to take a close look at Mario’s jump to understand what about it resonates with players. How low and high can Mario jump? What is the full range of both jump height as well as horizontal movement? How long does it take for Mario to complete a jump? How long does the player have to hold the jump button for to achieve the maximum jump? How much of an impact does sprinting have on his jump? What is the rate of acceleration for his ascent and descent? How long does Mario “float” at the peak of his jump?

Mario Jump in order of input

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