The 28th Graduation of Game Design

It’s June already, and once again the Game Design program has a reason to celebrate. Another group of amazing students has battled through the year, and has truly earned a reason to be proud. It wasn’t truly over when they finished their final projects, it’s tonight, the night they get their diplomas and learn who has won the end of year awards.

The Graduation and Awards show on June 20th has a mix of parts: one part formal, and one part fun. The formal part of the evening began with a speech from myself, then the student-elected class speaker Ornella Carolina Mastretta had a few words, and finally student selected Instructor speaker Chris Mitchell closed the speeches with some heart-warming words.

There was laughter, there were tears, but mostly there were great reflections on the friendships that have formed, the experiences that the class have all been through together, and some useful advice for being successful, as they move onto the next phase of their lives. The formalities were wrapped up with the handing out of diplomas and the embarrassingly long handshakes that make up that portion of the evening. Congratulations to Lorena, Jethro, Francisco and Harry who all graduated with honours.

Next, during a short break, parents, friends and family members were invited up to the 2nd floor production space, where they could see the area that the students’ final projects were created, play the games they made and have some snacks and refreshments.

After the break, the Awards show began… Read More

A Conversation With… GD Alumni John Brunkhart

John Brunkhart is a graduate of the 14th Game Design class at VFS. John graduated back in 2010 with Honours, and won awards for best board game design, best level design, best flash game (class award), and the rare ‘Follow the Leader Award’ for performing with dedication and excellence in the GD program and inspiring his classmates to do the same. He was snapped up quickly by Volition Studios in Champaign, Illinois to be an Associate Designer. Recently we had a chance to catch up with him…

What inspired you to come to study game design?

I had been talking with a friend about an MMO (City of Heroes) we both played, and how we would improve it. On a whim, I went to the publisher’s website and saw they had an opening for a game designer. I jokingly suggested that I would get a job as a designer there, work my way up, and fix the game from the inside. She said, dead-serious “You should do that. You should apply.” I figured I didn’t have a chance, but decided to take the design test, anyway. As I took the test, I suddenly realized ‘Hey … I can do this!’. On the drive home from work (I’d taken the test there after hours), I felt more energized than I had in years, and realized I needed to be working in game design, not where I was. I almost got the job, but didn’t … but by that point I knew what I wanted to do with myself, so I went to school to polish my skills and better my chances at landing a position.

John’s dog “Trooper” fills in while he takes a break

Read More

A Review Of The First Double Feature Friday with Brock Robin and Games Night!

A Conversation With : Brock Robin

Double Feature Friday, as the name suggests, is an event with two features. The first being A Conversation With, which is a Q&A session with a VFS Game Design graduate, and the second being Games Night, where students can duke it out in Street Fighter or a myriad of other games that one might wish to play. Friday was the first of such events, but hopefully not the last.

Feature one: A Conversation With: Brock Robin

To start off the festivities we had a Q&A session with Brock Robin, a former game design student (GD07), who is now a systems designer at Relic Entertainment. Brock spoke about his time here at VFS and shared his experiences at Relic with us, offering insights into what the industry is like as well as advice for current students.

Read More

Double Feature Friday : A Conversation With + Games Night

Double Feature Friday : A Conversation With and Games Night

VFS Game Design Teaching Assistant Isaac Calon came up with this great idea for the Students Only segment called “A Conversation With…” It kicks off with Brock Robin (veteran Relic Entertainment game designer and Game Design alumnus), who will be in the TV Studio to answer students’ questions. Students should come prepared! He’ll stick around until 7:00PM or until the questions stop.

Afterwards, the studio will be kept open to play board games, Magic, and Super Street Fighter 4 AE. We plan to start kicking people out at 9:00PM.

The plan is to bring in a new industry veteran once a month for another Double-Feature Friday. Andrés Molina, Programmer and Designer on the Company of Heroes 2 team at Relic is on deck for June.