The Haunting

Women in Games Scholarship winner 2012 Kristina Soltvedt

This is getting weirder now. Ever since I took down my lucky charm (a picture of some garlic I printed), our workstations have gone from odd to crazy. The light at our work station is flashing and giving us all seizures.

Yes, it’s only going on in our space, and No, it’s not an indication that the light bulb needs changing. It’s appropriately a haunting!

Production is trudging along. We just passed Milestone 1 and have all the stuff in we want for that. So, thus far, we are feeling very good about the project.

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Game Design Readings : The Art of Game Design

I’m a great believer that a certain amount of wandering obsession is a valuable as a game designer. Many of the designers I know and admire have a remarkable capacity to be astounded and delighted by discovery, and are uncaring what that discovery might be. Game design detractors like to call us masters of none, but I much prefer the idea of being a student of everything. The world is large but my head is small, and I like it that way very much.

However, oddly enough, I’ve always been unsatisfied by the readings available on game design. Too often it feels like we’re playing at academics when our chosen profession is closer to a craft, uncovering through experimentation and experience. Plotted down in a textbook, game design feels too algorithmic; creating a fallacy that plugging in variables gives you enjoyable games emerging out the other end.
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Haunted Workstations

Women in Games Scholarship winner 2012 Kristina Soltvedt

Day 3.

Our group is falling into some sort of madness. Everything becomes a ghost pun. Maybe the team next to us is rubbing off. Halbjorn’s Wrath has an arsenal of bear puns, so I’m thinking they might be to blame. Not sure yet though. Will get back to you on that.

Our art is coming together soooo amazingly. Below is a little preview of a kid that’ll be in the game. Alejandro Borjas is hard at work with the models, as you can see. I’m amazed at the speed of his modeling; it’s really mind boggling. Four models done in a couple of days and looking awesome. Our PM Olivia Veras has already imported one of them into Unity and it looks ADORABLE. So psyched!

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Spoooooky production

Women in Games Scholarship Winner Kristina Soltvedt

Helloooo!
Long time no see and super busy. Extra points for half rhyme, I think.

Sooo much has happened in the last couple of months. Our class has moved down to the second floor and we are now in the Prrrrroduction phase of the year. This essentially means that we are making a game in a couple of months to be shown to the industry at the program’s Pitch and Play event.
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Best Final Project : Major Hertz

One of the ultimate outcomes of the VFS Game Design program is the final project, where “guided by mentors carefully selected from local development studios, student teams conceive, plan, and execute game design projects.” The results are presented at the industry night Pitch N’ Play. Students strive to be original and entertaining, and in the case of Major Hertz, they certainly hit the mark. The game was developed by students James Daniell, Alex Schmidt, Josh Reader, Michael Shannon and Ed Hicks (with collaborative help by Moritz Grabosch, Alastair Leong, Bobby Sangha, Alan Riva Palacio, Kevin Locsin, Daniel Martin and Cody Howes).

Major Hertz won the prize for Best Final Project for their graduating class and was recently one of the featured games at the 2013 Game Design Expo. I spoke recently with the graduates about the game and their experience creating it.
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6 Essential Ingredients for an Open-World Indie Game

T-minus a week and a half! There’s a ticking clock facing Game Design students as they sprint towards Pitch & Play, their industry showcase night. One of the five games on display this round will be The Last Phoenix, an open-world aerial melee/dogfighting game, and the first open-world game developed by students in the program. To celebrate the impending launch, the Last Phoenix team has assembled their top six tips for creating an open-world game.

Make the Movement Fun

Since the player is both moving through a large world and doesn’t always know the optimal path, we needed to make sure that the actual experience of moving – in our case, flying – was fun and had a layer of depth. After all, players are going to be doing a lot of it. We decided early on we wanted to add dives, rolls, and loops to the Phoenix’s movement. This served to both avoid enemy attacks and allow the player to weave through the many pillars and arches scattered through the game world.
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