Gamers can read! This week: Traitor’s Blade

Are you salivating while you wait for season 4 of Game of Thrones? Well I have just the thing to tide you over until that GoT itch can be scratched. It’s called a book! You remember those! And interestingly enough, I just learned that Game of Thrones is actually based on a series of them. The tome I am reviewing today is called Traitor’s Blade.

Traitor’s Blade is high fantasy that follows the exploits of swordsman Falcio val Mond. The setting is a medieval world named Tristia which is divided into several duchies. Tristia is a very well thought out land and contains many factions and history of its own. And if you enjoy a lot of action, witty writing and great storytelling you are sure to enjoy Traitor’s Blade.

The opening sequence makes it very clear that this story is not for children but rather adult fans of fantasy. And no quarter is afforded to the reader when it comes to the depictions of violence contained within. The combat sequences are very well detailed and part of that description is going to include the unpleasant end result for one duelist every time.

Busy author Sebastien de Castell was kind enough to answer a few questions in between his book signings and other interviews.

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VFS Students show strong presence at Unite 2013

Kiley Giguere GD18 Alumni made the trip from GameHouse in Victoria for Unite

This year, Unity’s big conference, Unite 2013 was held in Vancouver. The VFS Game Design students and alumni were all over this conference. Everywhere I turned I was delighted to see past and current students learning about all the cool stuff going on with Unity right now. I checked in with some of the attendees and here are some of their highlights. This post is mainly to reflect the student experiences of those in attendance from our program.

from left: Kay Chan, Omar Chapa , Richard Harrison, Michael Cooper and Maxwell Hannaman all from game design class GD22.

It was a great chance to mingle with vendors of world class software like Photon, a multiplayer plugin available for Unity, made by Exit Games. There were also plenty of actual Unity developers in attendance chatting about their experiences with Unity. One VFS student, Wes Bassett (GD31) was not disappointed: “The Post Mortems were the most informative for me, because they shed light on the actual Process.” Read More

Game Design Robot Demo for Foundation

On July 1 three instructors from the game design program visited the Foundation program to give the students an overview of the wonderful world of games that they could create if they enroll. Those instructors were Bren Lynn, Andrew Laing & Roger Mitchell.

The talk consisted of three parts; Introduction to Game Design, Creation of Art, and Empowering your Game Code.

The Introduction to Game Design.

The game demo we showed is of two types of battling robots, who are trying to destroy each other. They both have start positions or spawn points, which are locations that generate the robots at the beginning. These spawn points also allow more robots to be created from the same location.   Each robot comes with a rapid fire gun and grenade launcher.  The students will be able to alter the parameters for weapons range and fire rate, robots speed, stamina and shield abilities, as well as adjusting spawn damage range. The win state will be when the boss robot is destroyed.

To help the students understand the game demo, we gave them a copy of the basic game to use.

Rules of the Design.

The ideas for this Robot Game demo is born in design… How will the gameplay work? Do the enemies attack patterns change? Can you introduce new elements that will alter the game play? How will the win or lose conditions be satisfied? Will it all evolve? These were the types of questions that were proposed, and discussed as part of this segment.
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The Game Design Summer Intensive Experience 2013

During the week of July 8 to 12, 2013, the Game Design program at Vancouver Film School, located in Vancouver’s Chinatown district, welcomed 15 brave explorers to its Game Design Summer Intensive experience. These explorers may have come from different lands and backgrounds, but they had one thing in common – a passion for creating video games. It is thanks to this passion that they found themselves enrolled in a week-long intensive experience of All Things Video Game Design.

DAY I

The students’ initiation began with a welcome from the Head of the Game Design program Dave Warfield, after which they were off to their first class of Game Theory taught by Instructor Chris Mitchell and Senior Instructor Andrew Laing. During the course of the day students became immersed in the roles of the game designer and analyzed the basic rules and mechanics of gaming.

One of the hardest things to do is to come up with an idea… and by idea, I mean a ‘good’ idea.  There is a fine art to making a game challenging yet entertaining – the motto: if a segment of the game or level is not fun to play, then it needs to be cut, no matter how much you love it. Chris and Andrew shared useful advice, suggestions, techniques and approaches on how to keep the creative process fresh and flourishing, as well where to find inspiration.

Right off the bat, students were divided into teams and asked to brainstorm unique game ideas, keeping in mind 5 essential questions:
1. What is the game?
2. What is the core mechanic?
3. What is the core challenge?
4. Why make the game?
5. Why would you enjoy making the game?

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Luigi’s Mansion 2 : Interview with VFS Alumni on the Development Team

Box Art for Luigi's Mansion 2 : Dark Moon

Luigi’s Mansion 2 : Dark Moon was released March 24, 2013 and right away it took off like a rocket. It was the top selling game in Japan for three weeks in a row. We (myself, Senior Instructor Andrew Laing and Head Of Department Dave Warfield) conducted an interview with VFS Game Design graduates who helped in the creation of this very successful game.

Thanks very much to Diego Pons, Matt McTavish, Cavin Yen, and Jeffrie Wu for their time and for producing such a fun game. And thanks to Doug Tronsgard and Rob Davidson from Next Level Games (NLG) for helping to make this interview happen.

Cavin Yen, Diego Pons, Matt McTavish (behind Diego) & Jeffrie Wu
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VFS Game Design Summer Intensive : The Fundamentals of Game Theory

Team Asgard presenting their idea

The VFS Game Design Summer Intensive kicked off on Monday (Aug 13, 2012) with Game Theory 1 and 2, taught by Instructor Chris Mitchell and Senior Instructor Andrew Laing. It started with an overview of the production pipeline, provided an outline of key developments in the relatively short history of console, online and mobile games, and focused on creative exercises related to preproduction processes.

The students came to life immediately as they were broken up into teams to brainstorm unique game ideas. They were given 5 essential questions to answer to help in the creative process. These questions and their ultimate resolution into a concise “pitch” sentence provided guidance throughout the day’s exercises, and clearly they represent the heart of the matter for Game Design in general:

  1. What is the game?
  2. What is the core mechanic?
  3. What is the core challenge?
  4. Why make the game?
  5. Why would you enjoy making the game?

(A great example of the one sentence “pitch” was provided by Chris Mitchell: “I want to make a chibi-style 2d twitch fighter with dinosaurs for weapons.”)
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