Con-GRAD-ulations to the 27th Game Design Graduating Class

VFS Game Design Graduation and Awards Show Class 27

At the end of every year in the Game Design program there is a chance to celebrate. The students work so hard throughout the year, and accomplish so much, we need to take some time and celebrate what they have accomplished. It’s not just about the Diploma, it’s also about the amazing things they have done throughout their entire year.

The Graduation and Awards show on April 18th had 2 parts: one part formal, and one part fun. The formal part of the evening began with speeches from myself, from the student-elected class speaker Brant Stutheit, and the student selected Instructor speaker Brenda Gershkovitch. 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 handshakes that make up that portion of the evening.

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…

Game Design Awards

The Mitchell Brothers — Roger and Chris — presented the Best Game Concept Award; an award that looks at the original and unique game ideas that students create in their first couple of terms. The winner was Brant Stutheit with his game concept Human Motion.

The Mitchell Brothers

During term one, the students create a board game. Employment Prep instructor Cathy Oye and TA Damien LeLievre presented the award for Best Board Game to Cory Epp for Drawing While Blind.

Next up is everyone’s favourite assignment — the dreaded Detailed Design Document. Their Detailed Design Document instructor Jon Falkowski and Senior Instructor Andrew Laing demonstrated the new Google Goggles, and then gave the award to Cory Whyte  for his game, Edgar the Egger.

Jon Falkowski and Andrew Laing demonstrated the new "Google Goggles"

All new for the GD27 class were the series of Excellence Awards, which are based on outstanding work done during the year in one of 4 specialties: Level Design, Story, Coding and Art. The winners were: Garret Metcalf (Level Design), Nick Luiten (Story), Lawrence Mathes (Coding), and Nigel Loster (Art).

The students were asked to select an “Unsung Hero” — someone who goes out of their way to assist, guide, or educate, separately from any type of instructor responsibilities. Graduating students Nigel Loster and Jordan Lang presented the award to Benjamin Stern who is a Teaching Assistant.

Also selected by students are two awards that focus on the classroom: the Best Instructor and Best Course Awards. First up, graduating students Nick Luiten and Lawrence Mathes presented the Best Instructor Award to Brenda Gershkovitch, then graduating students Corey Whyte and Brandon Alexander presented the Best Course Award to Vincent Chi for the Environment & Lighting course.

The first of 2 major project awards was next: the Best Flash Game is based on the first team-based game project that students create in term 2. The 2 Flash instructors Chevy Ray Johnston and Jacob Tran presented the award to Bunk’s Dream by Brandon Alexander, Lori Smryl, and Rishabh Katti.

Dave Warfield and Brenda Gershkovitch

The final award of the evening is also the biggest assignment of the year — the culmination of an entire year’s worth of training put into practice… the 8 week Pre-Production, 12 week Development, team-based Final Projects… Myself and Business of Games instructor Brenda Gershkovitch were proud to say. “And the Winner is… Halbjorn’s Wrath by Brandon Alexander, Brant Stutheit, Marcelo Blanes, and Nigel Loster.

Photo: Marcelo Blanes, Nigel Loster, Brandon Alexander, and Brant Stutheit with their Best Final Project Awards

(For a complete list of past Game Design Awards Winners click here)

Following the Awards show, a post-graduation celebration was held at the MET. What happens at the MET, stays at MET.

The Nominees and winners should all be very proud of their work, but this was just a small sample of the incredible work that all of these students did over the course of the year. So, to the entire 27th class of Game Design, I say, Con-GRAD-ulations! I look forward to seeing amazing things from all of you in the future!

Dave Warfield is Head of Department for Game Design