Grad Night for the 36th class of Game Design

It’s Fall in Vancouver, and once again the Game Design program 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 Jensenbegan 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.

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 first award of the evening was the Best Flash Game, the first team-based game project that students create in term 2. Game Audio Instructor Steve Royea and Flash Instructor Jacob Tran presented the award to Any Means Necessary by  James Holloway-Currie, Dale Schollen, and Mike Luxton.


Senior Instructors Chris Mitchell and Andrew Laing presented the next award for 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 David Milne with his game concept Deer Hunter Hunter.


During term one, the students create a board game. Game Theory Practical instructor Jay Cormier and TA Andy Fedorchuk presented the award for Best Board Game won by James Preston for Goblin Raid.


Next up is everyone’s favourite assignment — the biblical in size, Detailed Design Document. DDDoc instructor Jonathan Falkowski and teaching assistant Jon Tittley gave the award to Ian Longiaru  for his game, SCP-610: Awakened.


The awards were then given for the 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: David Milne (Level Design), Dale Schollen & Richard Coburn  (Story), Taylor Morris (Coding), and Iain Lawson (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 Matthew Thomas and David Milne presented the award to Shad Miller, an alumni and Teaching Assistant at VFS.


Also selected by students are two awards that focus on the classroom: the Best Instructor and Best Course Awards.

First up, graduating students Sharman Sidhu and Jeremy Powell presented the Best Instructor Award to Rick Davidson, then graduating students Valerio Terreri and Taylor Morris presented the Best Course Award to Victor Kam for the Environment & Lighting course. 



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… Best Instructor Rick Davidson, and Head of Game Design Dave Warfield announced “And the Winner is… ARC by Richard Coburn, Ian Longiaru, Valerio Terreri, and Dale Schollen. (click HERE to check it out)

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


Following the Awards show, a post-graduation celebration was held at Malone’s Bar & Grill. As best we could tell, a good time was had by all.

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 36th class of  Game Design, I say, Con-GRAD-ulations! I look forward to seeing amazing things from all of you in the future!