Game Design student Yuri Mainka – “All I had to do was press start”

We got a chance to speak with Game Design student Yuri Mainka about his time at VFS so far, and what drove him to pursue his passion on becoming a game designer. Here’s what Yuri had to say.

Games have always been a big part of my life. Whether it was providing me with fun moments, helping me learn English or allowing me to have experiences that I couldn’t have anywhere else, they have always been a passion of mine. And a big part of the reason is because when games decide to tell a story, they do so in a very unique and engaging way.

As the years passed I played many games and, in turn, experienced many stories. I felt that I could always take something away from each one of these unique worlds and its inhabitants. Something that helped me become a better person and shape my values. Those were the games that struck me the most. So, it was a no-brainer for me to dedicate my life to work with games, so I could one day create experiences such as the ones that so heavily influenced me.

Before coming to VFS, I worked 3 years as an indie developer back in Brazil. First as a Game Designer in my own group called Crimson Studios and later as a Level Designer/Programmer in a small studio called Give Me Five Entertainment. During that time, I learned a lot and as a result of that, shipped three small mobile games. However, it got to a point in my life where I didn’t feel that Brazil’s games industry could give me the opportunities that I strived for. So, I started looking abroad for a place that could help me achieve my dreams of working in big game studios. That’s when I found out that a representative of Vancouver Film School was touring in my city advertising the Game Design Course.

VFS is absolutely everything I was hoping for and more. Even though it pained me to leave my family and friends back home, I never regretted my choice for a second, thanks to the incredible opportunities that I could see taking shape in front of me here. During my time in the Game Design Program, I was able to meet the most amazing people. Among those were extremely prepared instructors and a new family in the form of my classmates.

If I had to pick one single thing that stood out as the most important thing I’m taking away from my time at VFS, it would certainly be the networking opportunities. Sure, we have fantastic classes, such as Interactive Narrative and Level Design, but we also have instructors that are active industry members or have close ties with the industry and for me, the experience they can share with us is invaluable.

I’m still 2 months away of graduating, but I look to my future in the industry with confidence. Specially when I look back to what I accomplished in the crazy year that passed.

VFS helped me grow in two very important ways: As a person and as a game designer. The former, by allowing me to work with many different people and learning to respect each of them to work well as a team, and also because this if my first time living by myself (and what an experience this has been!). And the latter, by showing me what I really love about game design and where I want to focus my efforts on: Level Design and Narrative Design. I’m just in love with these two disciplines and how they, in many ways, correlate to provide the player with the most amazing experience. To be able to tell stories and guide the player through their personal journey in each game. That can’t be anything but special!

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For me, all I had to do was press Start.

 

Yuri Mainka

 

 

A Conversation with… Michael Shannon

This time A Conversation with… checked out another one of our local developers and caught up with Michael Shannon from our 24th graduating class.

 

·         Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

Currently I am working as a Jr. Multiplayer Level Designer at The Coalition. Primarily I design multiplayer maps for Gears of War 4. I also helped with some design tasks for the Gears of War Ultimate Edition. Gears of War has always been my favourite game series by far, so working on the games is an incredible privilege!

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A Conversation with… Kristina Wiik

This time A Conversation with… checked out another one of our local developers and caught up with Kristina Wiik from our 28th graduating class.

  Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

I am now working as a game designer for United Front Games. This is a bit of a catch-all for me; I do a bit of everything within design and writing.

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A Conversation With… Andres Molina

This time A Conversation with… checked out one of our local developers and caught up with GD18 alumni Andres Molina.

 

• Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry
I’m currently a Game Designer at Popcap EA, working on Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. My primary focus is game modes (particularly Garden Ops), but it’s such a dynamic team that I have the opportunity to dabble in different areas of the game. It keeps me on my toes!

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A Conversation With… Mohit Punia

This time A Conversation with… Headed back overseas to India, where we found Mohit Punia from our 9th graduating class working as a lead Designer in India.

 

  •       Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

I am working as a Lead game designer at Aquimo sports Pvt. Ltd. in India. We are currently developing motion sensor based sports titles for Mobile platform. As a lead I take care of game’s complete design from concept to release and then regular updates.  However that’s just 50% of the job the rest includes actively working with art and dev team to execute, troubleshoot or polish the design. If required I also help manage the product. Overall I love all aspects of game development.

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A Conversation with… Adrian Audet

This time A Conversation with… took the ferry over to Vancouver Island and found Adrian Audet, an alumni of the 7th graduating class, working at Gamehouse Canada.

 

 

  •        Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

My current role is Producer at GameHouse Canada, in downtown Victoria. Producer leaning towards the Project Manager side, with numerous opportunities to engage with creative features or new content. It’s a great mix currently which I find very engaging.

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A Conversation with… Alex Weatherston

This time A Conversation with… headed overseas to find a grad from our 9th class of Game Design, Alex Weatherston is working at Massive Entertainment in Sweden.

 

  • Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

I’m currently working as a UI Designer at Massive Entertainment in Malmo, Sweden on Tom Clancy’s The Division. The title of UI Designer is a bit deceptive as I tend to end up creating designs across the entire project that don’t neatly fit into just “UI” like the seamless online sections.

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A conversation With… Lawrence Metten

This time A Conversation with… crossed the border and found Lawrence Metten at 343 Industries in Seattle, Lawrence is from our 13th graduating class.

  • Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

I’m a Senior Multiplayer Designer at 343 Industries currently working on Halo 5: Guardians. In this role I’ve helped create competitive game modes and designed features and systems for use across all of multiplayer. The majority of my work at 343 has been on Warzone, our ambitious new 12v12 mode that we recently announced at E3. It’s been rewarding developing this new mode from a pitch into a prototype and now into something that we’re only a couple months from releasing on Oct. 27.

 

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A Conversation with… Jordan Tame

This time A Conversation with… bumped into Jordan Tame at Bestie’s, so we asked him a few questions, Jordan is from our 29th graduating class.

 

  •  Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

I am a Game Design generalist at East Side Games Studio, a Vancouver based independent studio. My focus is on mobile, “free to play” game design for a few different projects. this includes writing up and owning communication for features.

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A Conversation with… Grayson Scantlebury

This time A Conversation with… tracked down Grayson Scantlebury at EA, he is from our 8th graduating class.

Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry

I’m a designer on Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2. When I joined the team I was working on some of the new stuff we haven’t announced yet but the last few months I’ve been focusing on designing levels.

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