This time A Conversation with… tracked down Brennan Massicotte, from our 7th graduating class, at Blackbird Interactive.
Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry
I’m working on the art direction and concept art of the Homeworld property in development at Blackbird Interactive. This involves a lot of painting images to inform and inspire the production of game content as well as overall project vision.
Before I came to VFS I was working as an architect. I have always loved creating and design and I see programming as another form of making, and like architecture it shapes our world in meaningful ways.
Therefore, for me, the progression to programming has been a very logical one. There are the same management issues, maintainability issues, good practice, incorporating new technologies and human factors. What is different and I find incredibly fulfilling is that I no longer have to rely on a 3rd party construction team to realize the design, I can now built it myself.
On the 19th of February Vancouver Film School hosted their first “VFS.HelloWorld” Event, its name is inspired on the very first application that every programmer has written since 1978, when they have started learning how to code. This event marks the end of the first year of the newly launched course: Programming for Games, Web & Mobile.
The program was designed one year ago in response to incredible industrial demand for multi-skilled graduates with experience across a range of technologies. Now one year on, the first class (PG01) graduates with an unmatched range of skills in Game, Web and Mobile Development and take the stage to showcase the wide variety of projects they have produced over the year.
The night started with a speech by Peter Walsh, followed by the host of the night Scott Henshaw. Both have taught PG01 throughout the entire year.
“It is the only program in the world which in one year allows graduates to hit the ground running into any career – from interactive game development to mobile apps to web services.” – Peter Walsh (Senior Instructor)
So many times we have parents asking us about how their teenage kids can develop their skills before they are ready for a program like VFS Game Design or VFS Programming for Games, Web & Mobile. It was always a tough question to answer, as very few communities offered this type of training.
Now there is, one of our instructors, Ivo van der Marel, is also the CTO for Under the GUI. Under the GUI is a computer programming school dedicated to teaching children from 8-16 how to create video games and more. They teach in the evenings and weekends, outside of regular school hours. Their teachers encourage students to expand their limitless creativity through the creation of video games, apps, and traditional software using the same tools used by professionals in the field.
This could be the perfect stepping stone to prepare for a VFS program, giving them a running start on the career of their dreams.
This time A Conversation with… tracked down Kevin Maloney, from our 12th graduating class, at Harebrained Schemes in Seattle.
Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry
These days I am a Game Designer here at Harebrained Schemes in the greater Seattle area and have been on Shadowrun the whole time. I’m kind of an all season radial in our smallish shop. I was brought on as a Level Designer for our first kickstarted project “Shadowrun Returns”. I started with making content but as time went by I found plenty more things to keep me busy. So beyond taking levels from concept to ship, I design features, script AI and along with a few other folks get to pitch in on the narrative side of things as well. Read More
There’s no better way to finish the year than with a game jam, more specifically, the Ludum Dare Game Jam. As recent graduates of the Game Design program at VFS, Patrick Palulis and myself, Erich Kohlweg, along with current Programming student, Hugo Moraleida did just that. We created Baulders, a 3D top down local multiplayer pinball game for the 72 hour jam.
For those who are unfamiliar with Ludum Dare, it is an online community best know for “Ludum Dare”, the Accelerated Game Development Event of the same name (also called a “Game Jam”). During a Ludum Dare, developers from around the world spend a weekend creating games based on a theme suggested by the community. Ludum Dare events take place every April, August, and December.
Starting with the theme, “Entire Game on One Screen”, we three students created the concept during a quick brainstorming session. This allowed us to get right into making the game. Hugo took on the role of programming, Patrick did the audio, UI, and particles while I worked on environment art.
In August 2013, Vancouver Film School opened an international contest for full and partial scholarships. We both participated and won full tuition for the Game Design program. You can check out the videos here: Sandra’s and Dani’s. Since then we’ve been through a long road, and we’d like to share our story with you.
Hi, My name is Dani Kogan, I would like to introduce to you Sandra Gersenowies. Sandra is an amazing character artist from Mexico and a passionate game developer, she is highly driven and will not rest till she is the best at what she does. When I met Sandra, my first impression was that she seemed very angry, but I soon learned that it was just her default expression. Once you manage to get past her defenses she is an awesome person to talk to and a good friend.
I will not lie, at first Dani Kogan seemed like a very shady character. Maybe it was the messy long hair or the weird Russian accent (although he is from Israel), but soon enough I realized that he was extremely knowledgeable about audio, with a great work ethic, and an almost enviable passion for videogames. Given our personalities it seemed almost impossible that we would be able to cross more than a few words without killing each other, but we ended up having a good friendship which led to us working together in a great final project, but we’ll get to that later.
The GD37 class recently presented their final games at their Pitch & Play event. In addition to being the last Pitch & Play event of 2014, these games also represented the first collaboration between students from the Game Design program and students from the recently introduced Programming for Web, Games and Mobile program.
Head of Department Dave Warfield introduced the students and thanked the audience for attending before turning over the event to Dan Sochan, emcee for the evening. After warming up the audience with a few jokes, Dan quickly transitioned to the students’ final projects.
The Brave Tactics team: From left, Kunyeup Lee (Project Manager/Level Designer), Taylor Voth (Systems Programmer), Ben Farrow (Gameplay Designer), Christian Hernandez (Artist), and Ian Jenson (Tech Designer/U.I)
With 12 teams, Hat Jam 7: Meow Tales, was a boisterous and magical affair. The game jam brought together over 60 students and alumni from the VFS Game Design, Programming and Entertainment Business Management campuses.