Pitch & Play: Class 28 from a students perspective

Months of hard work finally came to fruition for the game design program’s 28th graduating class last Thursday night. The class had their Pitch and Play event where they showed off their finished student projects to a sizable crowd. Five teams took to the stage to present the culmination of all their efforts to an eager crowd of industry professionals.

The evening was kicked off with an opening speech from none other than Dave Warfield, head of the VFS game design program. He then passed the mike to one Sean Smillie, VFS instructor and mentor, who served as the charismatic master of ceremonies for the remainder of the presentations.

The first student team took to the stage to present Demonella, a third person shooter starring a deeply disturbed little girl in a horror-themed carnival setting. Their demonstration pitted their character’s abilities of spitting fire and summoning demonic hands against waves of exploding sentient toy bears, along with a few other circus terrors.

After them was Big Jet, in which players assume control of an aerial combat robot, who is, tragically, flightless. This does not seem to be too much a of a hindrance to Big Jet’s combat prowess, as players can make use of Big Jet’s turbine to sweep up debris in a cyclone and shoot it out at foes. The team’s demonstration was a whirlwind of excitement.

The team behind Bullet Ride then took to the stage to strut their stuff, presenting a game that depicts the day-to-day life of the fine little gentlemen who work tirelessly to ensure bullets hit their mark. Player’s assume control of one of these men as he, as the title suggests, rides a bullet towards its target. Players use the game’s controls to bounce around, avoid obstacles and amass points until finally going back to defeat the villain of the game, cowardly hiding behind his hostage.

Chromeras was up next to present their work: an online party game in which players take control of one of four colourful characters and engage in party-game-madness. The team had asked their classmates upstairs to be ready to play, in order to show the multiplayer possibilities of the game in the “Rainbow Quest” mode, in which players race around a map in pursuit of a butterfly while simultaneously trying to collect powerups, avoid obstacles, and blast their opponents into oblivion.

To finish off the presentations came the team behind The Horroring. A rather grave title, this game puts players in control of a deceased girl bent on killing her friends to metaphorically liven up her afterlife. Players achieve this by spooking the game’s numerous villagers to achieve the spectral credibility necessary to unlock more ghostly abilities.

With that the presentations came to a close, but the evening was far from over. The audience was invited upstairs to play these magnificent titles firsthand, and shake hands with the students behind them. Drinks were served and the second floor became a flurry of networking fun between students and professionals.

“Everyone was really great,” said Pavel Tomasik, coder for The Horroring, when asked later about the evening’s events, “all the people who came were really excited about the ideas and really talkative.” He went on to say: “I didn’t expect [the feedback] to be as positive as it was. It was such a pleasant surprise.” Similarly, Byron, the technical artist for Bullet Ride, said that “Everyone is there to enjoy your game, not to destroy it”; reinforcing the evening’s positive tone.

During the event, we got the opportunity to exchange a few words with some of the industry attendees around snack plates or computers; if they all had their word on what they saw and played, one thing never ceased to come up:

“I was really, really impressed by these games”, said Ted Carefoot from Lemonade Labs. “The evening exceeded my expectations.”

This opinion was shared by Sean Smiley, co-founder of Planet Fiction Studios and mentor for Big Jet, who jokingly added “It’s surprising how good [the students] look once they’ve cleaned themselves up.”

The GD28s’ Pitch & Play night definitely set a bar for the future classes; “They are always progressing”, said Melany Hamill, mentor of The Horroring before giving away the secret of the GD28’s success:
“They never stop working.”

Joel Bailey and Adrien Gilley are VFS Game Design students currently doing Pre-Production for their final projects.

All of the games presented at Pitch & Play are available to be downloaded and played by clicking HERE