It’s Christmastime at VFS, and what better reason to celebrate than Graduation. Our 37th class of Game Design graduated on December 18th.
It all begins with speeches from the Head of the Department, Dave Warfield, the class selected student speaker, Nicholas Romeo, and wrapped up with the student selected Instructor, Andrew Laing. Each of them looked back on the last year, and also looked ahead at the great future these alumni have in the Games Industry. Dave’s Christmas poem is included at the end of this article.
Another term, another Hat Jam! This one was held the weekend before Halloween, so we decided to choose 13 horror-esque classical artworks, and have the teams randomly draw one to work with. As is becoming standard for Hat Jam, we were blown away by the results. Instructors Bren Lynne and Victor Kam sacrificed some of their precious Sunday time to come out and judge — not to mention that Bren was also a sporadic Unity mentor through-out the weekend! Both have our utmost gratitude for supporting the Hat Jam cause. Prizes were donated by Microsoft, and included full licensed copies of Windows 8 for the top 4 teams.
Team Members (left to right): Spencer Goring (GD34), Willy Campos (GD34), Carlos Eduardo Da Costa Novaes (GD34) Theme:Mask Still Life III, by Emil Nolde
This team received one of the less classically-oriented paintings to work with, and turned out an exceptionally clever platformer, worthy of the Grand Prize. Each mask shows you the world in a different way, and use of all three masks is required to advance. On top of the great gameplay and puzzle elements, this team turned out some beautiful visual effects and stayed true to their theme, for a wonderfully cohesive game. Given more time, the judges believed the concept and mechanics behind this game could really lead to something great.
Meet Jay Cormier. Together with Sen-Foong Lim, he has published board game titles such as Belfort (2011) and Train of Thought (2011) under the duo’s moniker, the Bamboozle Brothers. But that’s not all! As of June 2013, Jay also teaches the Game Theory Analog class at VFS, passing on his years of board game design experience. But wait – there’s more! Jay is also a tech blogger and a children’s entertainer, clowning around Canada with his jungle-explorer persona Bertolt. I chatted with Jay about how he got into game design, coming up with Belfort and it’s upcoming expansion, as well as advice for fellow game designers who are looking to get published.
Growing up with a family that played lots of board games together, Jay became interested in designing games at an early age, eventually taking on his first dungeon master role for the fantasy tabletop game ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ in seventh grade.