This time A Conversation with… tracked down Scott Morin who is teaching Level Design here at VFS, Scott was from our 9th graduating class.
Tell me about what you are doing now in the Games Industry
After a few years of jumping studio to studio from the west coast of Canada to the east, I find myself back where it started – at Vancouver Film School. This time around I’m on the other side of the fence, teaching level design. I teach all of the four level design courses here at VFS; theory, practical, application and specialization. I also get to mentor and guide the students along the development of their final projects.
We have a special holiday edition of On the Level where I had a chance to talk with not one but two former Game Design graduates, Elliott Walton of GD14 and Braden Bahen of GD09. Both of whom recently released Assassin’s Creed: Rogue working as Level Designers at Ubisoft Quebec.
Is it nerve-racking to be working on an existing franchise with such a large established fan base?
Elliott Walton: Absolutely! That being said I don’t personally tend to concentrate too much on those aspects during production and instead just focus on creating interesting gameplay and situations to put the player into. We usually have an overarching storyline to pay attention to that spans multiple titles, but one thing I love about working on the franchise is the excitement of presenting the next location and characters. For me it keeps things fresh and interesting. Of course we will always have to work with constraints but that can really be said about any title whether it is a new IP or a very established franchise such as Assassin’s Creed. That being said, announcement dates and release dates are always exciting and nerve racking for me.
Braden Bahen: Yes and no. You certainly can feel the pressure online from the fans to provide them with the best Assassin’s Creed game possible. AC fans are an intelligent bunch who want to experience great stories and interesting historic periods inside a rewarding game. They are also vocal about what they love and what they hate in games. The pressure can sometimes get to you and you can get frustrated but its part of the job, frankly.
I frequently check out /r/assassinscreed and read through it to get a sense of what the really passionate fans have to say at the moment. There are often lots of good points I agree with and lots of good points I disagree with but you can’t please everyone. At the end of the day we all want to make the best game possible and that’s what keeps us pushing on. Read More
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.
It’s Fall in Vancouver, and once again the Game Designprogram has a reason to celebrate. It’s graduation night, a night to celebrate, to look back on the year, and recognize the amazing things they have done.
The Graduation and Awards show on October 23rd has a mix of parts: one part formal, and one part fun. The formal part of the evening hosted by Tanya Jensen, began with a congratulatory speech from the Head of Game Design Dave Warfield, then the student-elected class speaker David Milne took us through stories of the past year in Game Design, and finally student selected Instructor speaker Rick Davidson closed the speeches with his advice for the class.
Each of the speakers had some deep insight into what they had just been through, and how to prepare for the coming months, but mostly it was a chance to look back on the year, and look ahead to the bright future this class has. The formalities continued with the handing out of diplomas and the embarrassingly long handshakes that make up that portion of the evening. Congratulations to James, Ian, David, James, and Matthew, all who graduated with honours.