It was a full house on Thursday, April 3rd for the Pitch and Play event at the VFS Game Design campus. Every seat was filled as game developers from various companies filed into the presentation studio. The nerves of this term’s graduating class were buzzing as each team lined up to present their final project, but all of the long hours and dedication they put into practicing their presentations and polishing their games definitely paid off. Each team came in and went out with a bang, leaving all who attended very impressed with the projects.
To kick things off, I, Dustin Williamson, currently in term 4 of 6, had the unique opportunity of presenting a 2D game called Run or Roast developed by Ethan Maddix, James Beasely, Emiliano Guerrero and myself using the Flash engine. Run Or Roast is a side scrolling platformer where you play as a marshmallow action hero who must save his fellow comrades from getting roasted and eaten alive by an evil hungry human. Run Or Roast features parkour elements such as wall jumping and “inflating” to defy gravity as well as punching to break blocks and ultimately defeat the boss. The developers in the crowd had nothing but good things to say about our presentation and the polish of our game.
Play Run or Roast here: http://community.vfs.com/arcade/game/run-or-roast/
The first of the graduating class to present was Camp Roanoke made by Anna Prein, Michelangelo Pereira, Tyson Bednar, Juan Pintos. It’s a 3D isometric co-op hack and slash with procedurally generated dungeons. After waking up in their camp site in the middle of the night only to find all of their parents have gone missing, 4 young adventurers, equipped with their mighty “marsh-mallers”, fight off strange monsters to survive as many days as they can. Up to four players can play this game as one of the four young adventurers. A character upgrade system allows each player to develop their character to cater to their playing style.
Play Camp Roanoke here: http://community.vfs.com/arcade/game/camp-roanoke/
The next game to make its appearance was Hero of Space by Victor Zanelatto, Siddartha Rangaswamy Devaraj, and Nick Plouffe. Hero of Space is a sci-fi 2.5D side scrolling shooter. Siddartha opened with an intro that warranted a hearty cluster of laughter (the good kind) from the crowd, the same laughter that would continue throughout several points during their presentation. I’m sure it’s fair to say that this team’s motto throughout development was “It’s not enough” as they continued to add on feature after feature, each bringing more depth to the game experience. Everything from the protagonist’s voice sounding incredibly similar to everyone’s favourite Austrian action star, to hilarious callbacks to arcade games from the late 70’s, to teasing us with only a glimpse of the boss battle is what kept everyone’s eyes glued to the projector screen as we marvelled at the vibrant colours, lighting, fast-paced action, and unique character of Hero of Space.
Play Hero of Space here: http://community.vfs.com/arcade/game/hero-of-space/
Lastly, Jukebox Paradise, made by Maria Lee, Frankie Fasola, Alberto Mastretta, and Janel Jolly, is a couch team-based brawler for 2-4 that takes place in a charming 1950′s jukebox diner on a spinning vinyl record where players fight over yummy ingredients to create the ultimate milkshake. The level of polish in this game is amazing. The team focused on the brawling aspect of the game from the start, and it shows. The UI (User Interface) in the game is clean and was constructed so players are aware of key information at all times. The team talked about their design decisions as well. For example, in regards to the spinning ability which works as a counter, they capped the number of spins players can perform to 5 so they don’t spam the button and overuse such ability. At the end of their presentation, a question about the reason behind the lack of power-ups in the game came up. The team did implement power-ups for the game, but during development they found that they weren’t adding that much. So instead, they removed the power-ups entirely and focused on polishing the game experience.
Play Jukebox Paradise here: http://community.vfs.com/arcade/game/jukebox-paradise/
After the presentations ended, the second portion of the night began where people in the audience get a chance to play the games.
There was also one solo project called Minerva, a 2D puzzle platformer made in Construct 2 by Alberto Menezes.
Play Minerva here: http://community.vfs.com/arcade/game/minerva/
There was a big turnout on the night. Industry people ranging from AAA studios to mobile companies came and tried the games first hand. Everybody had a blast and was very happy with the games from GD33.
Here are a few quotes from industry people about the night, some of them VFS alumni themselves:
“Super super polished [games], super impressed.” – James Dodge, Associate Designer at Relic Entertainment and VFS Game Design alumni
“Really polished, on the ball, all the games.” – Lawrence Mathes, Narrative Designer at IUGO Mobile Entertainment, and VFS Game Design alumni
“Great projects. Polish and a tight scope are key.” – Dan Sochan, Senior Producer at United Front Games
A word of advice from mentor Shane Neville to future Game Design students:
“The school gives back what you put in. Work really hard, ask the questions : those are the guys that came here that already work [in the industry]. All the ones who did the extra effort. The more you put in, the more you get out.”
Congratulations GD33s! We wish you the best in your careers!
Dustin Williamson and Enrique Eduardo Klein Garcia Godos are students in the VFS Game Design program