INTERVIEW: Eric Ford, Designer & Programmer of ‘Social Justice Warriors’

SocialJusticeWarriors

In Social Justice Warriors (SJW), the player takes on the role of an internet crusader, fighting trolls wielding popular fallacies such as “Argument from Self-Knowledge”, “Ad Hominem Attack” and “Argument from Incredulity”. Taking inspiration from traditional role-playing games, SJW features four player-classes: Paladin, Cleric, Mage and Rogue.

SJW_Screenshot

Each round the player deals one of four attacks to manage their sanity and reputation levels whilst simultaneously destroying those of their opponents. The game ends when the player’s sanity, reputation, or both, are destroyed.

Initially inspired by a picture of “social justice warrior videogame journalists to avoid” that was making the rounds on social media, the game is a satire on human interaction online and the pains of internet debates.

I spoke with Eric Ford (A.K.A. Nondecimal), designer and programmer of SJW, to find out more about the inspiration behind the game, the process of making it, and public reaction since releasing it and putting it on Steam Greenlight.

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Interview: Anna Prein, Pi Jam Organizer and Time-Travelling Unicorn

 

With Pi Jam coming up this Friday, I sat down with organizer Anna Prein, a fellow 2013 Women in Games Scholarship recipient and current Vancouver Film School student to find out more about the jam, as well as the history of Hat Jam.

 

So what’s this thing you’re organizing?

It’s called Pi Jam. It’s a 48-hour game jam. It used to be called Hat Jam, VFS Hat Jam, but now we’re doing this with Microsoft so we wanted to change the name.

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Ludum Dare #28 – Mama is Sick [Post-Mortem]

Note: Ludum Dare is a quarterly game jam where participants from all over the world make a game from start to finish in 48 hours (competition mode) or 72 hours (jam mode). Guerric and I did the jam. The theme was ‘You Only Get One’. Entries are judged based on: innovation, fun, theme, graphics, audio, humor, mood and overall. Participants play and rate each others games. Results will be announced on January 5th, 2014.

‘Mama is Sick’ can be played HERE

 

My first Ludum Dare! And my second game jam ever.

This post will cover what mine and @GarrickWinter (Guerric Haché)’s game is about, a summary of the process we went about making it and the top 3 things done well and the top 3 things we could improve on.

Quick description of our game (taken from the instructions screen):

“Mama is Sick” is a resource-management, hard-times simulation game.

YOU ONLY GET ONE DOLLAR A DAY to look after your family (thanks to a generous family from overseas) while papa is away and mama is sick.

Buy food and water to make sure the food, water and health bars of you and your family don’t reach zero or death will occur.

If your education bar reaches zero, you won’t graduate high school.

You have to last 50 days until papa comes back. Will you manage to graduate? Will everyone survive?

You can work in a clothing factory to earn 50c a day, but be careful not to miss too much school. You also need to study at least three days a week or risk not being able to graduate.

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 5.49.59 PM

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FEMINISM IN THE GAMES INDUSTRY: THE IMPORTANCE OF ASKING ‘WHY?’

*Disclaimer: This article may contain more questions than answers.*

Contents:

Prologue & Introduction

Interview: Brenda Bailey Gerschkovitch (Silicon Sisters, CEO)

Interview: Kirsten Forbes (Silicon Sisters, COO)

Interview: Mathew Kumar (MK Ultra, CEO and Creative Director)

Conclusion

FeminismNickIllustration

Illustration by: Nicholas Gilbert

PROLOGUE: Why should we care about feminism?

The following is a recent conversation I had with a fellow Vancouver Film School student, Michelangelo Pereira Huezo.

Michelangelo: “You’re really interested in feminism, right?”

Jaymee: “Yeah, I am.”

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Hat Jam 3 – The Temptation of Antonio the Vampire [Post-Mortem]

Hat Jam is a game jam that runs at VFS (Vancouver Film School) once a term and is organized by fellow students Anna Prein and Michelangelo Pereira Huezo.

Teams of 3 had less than 48 hours to design and make a game from scratch, based on a painting that was randomly given to them.

You can read Anna’s write up of the jam on the VFS arcade and play games made by other teams HERE.

I entered with two of my classmates, Danilo Reyes and Guerric Haché, winning best story.

Picture taken from here: Danilo, myself and Guerric, with a screenshot of our game.

This post is about the process behind the game we made, ‘The Temptation of Antonio the Vampire’, which can be played by clicking HERE.

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Interview with Jay Cormier, Co-Creator of Belfort and Train of Thought

Meet Jay Cormier. Together with Sen-Foong Lim, he has published board game titles such as Belfort (2011) and Train of Thought (2011) under the duo’s moniker, the Bamboozle Brothers. But that’s not all! As of June 2013, Jay also teaches the Game Theory Analog class at VFS, passing on his years of board game design experience. But wait – there’s more! Jay is also a tech blogger and a children’s entertainer, clowning around Canada with his jungle-explorer persona Bertolt. I chatted with Jay about how he got into game design, coming up with Belfort and it’s upcoming expansion, as well as advice for fellow game designers who are looking to get published.

Growing up with a family that played lots of board games together, Jay became interested in designing games at an early age, eventually taking on his first dungeon master role for the fantasy tabletop game ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ in seventh grade.

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L.A. Noire: Game Analysis and Suggested Improvements

Introduction to L.A. Noire

L.A. Noire (2011) was developed over a period of seven years by the now defunct Team Bondi in conjunction with Rockstar Games. It is predominantly an action-adventure game with third-person shooter and open-world sandbox driving elements. Thematically, it draws heavily upon the neo-noir detective thriller genre.  However L.A. Noire’s emphasis on story, light gameplay and mix of various game genres is the source of its polarized reviews. The game appears to cater to the needs of traditional adventure game fans, which leaves players expecting more hardcore action-based gameplay disappointed. This analysis will observe how the strengths and weaknesses of L.A. Noire’s design hinges on whether the player belongs to either faction – as well as the aspects that shine or fail regardless of player preference.

Having shipped almost 5 million copies, L.A. Noire qualifies as a commercial success[1]. The game has also done well critically, however the difference between critic and user aggregated scores on Metacritic are of note. The 6% different between the PC and console versions can be attributed to the collapse of Team Bondi prior to the PC release, resulting in Rockstar Leeds taking over production.

  Xbox 360[2] Playstation 3[3] PC[4]
Critic 89% 89% 83%
User 77% 74% 77%

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VFS life: Game Theory Practical (A.K.A. play-board-games-class)

Warning: this blog post contains very little educational content.

A little introduction: I am an Australian-Malaysian-Macanese singing-acting-dancing-book-loving-raging-feminist who is a moody optimist. I like cats. Cool. Done. Let’s move on. SCHOOL.

Here’s my summary of student life thus far:

  • Average of 6 hours of class a day, with a minimum of 3 and maximum of 9
  • We get around 2-5 assignments per week
  • Everybody in my class is a crazy kid with a huge variety of game ideas
  • You put in a butt-load of work, you get out a butt-load of work to fuel your launch into the industry

In this post, I’m going to chronicle one of my favourite classes thus far: Game Theory Practical. Schmancy name for ‘Play board games for 3 hours and discuss what you liked and didn’t like about them’.

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Meet Women in Games Scholarship winners Jaymee Mak and Nicha Jaijadesuk

A couple of weeks ago, our latest winners of the Women in Games Scholarship winners started the Game Design program at VFS.  We asked Jaymee Mak and Nicha Jaijadesuk to sit down with each other and introduce themselves to our GD community, here’s the result…

Jaymee: Hello, Nicha.

Nicha: Hi, Jaymee! How are you?

J: Goooood.

N: Is this the first time you have studied overseas?

J: Yeah, but when I was in Australia I traveled interstate for university.

N: Oh That’s great, for me this is the first time. I have never been in an international environment like this before.

J: So, haven’t you travel oversea before?

N: Nope, I used to travel overseas but it’s just for travel.

J: So, what do you think about it?

N: It is very exciting. There are new environments, new friends, new culture, new food. I love it! Just some problem for a non-native English speaker like me, the first week of studies was a tough time for me, I think my English still needs to be improved. Sometimes I cannot catch my friends’ words, and I have to ask them to repeat it again.
(Sorry guys.) Anyway, this week, I feel I am getting better and better now!

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Congratulations to 2013’s Women In Games Scholarship Winners

Women in Games Scholarship Winners

Each year VFS awards an outstanding candidate the Women in Game Scholarship to the Game Design program, which sets them on the way to being next generation game designers. But this year, for the 5th Annual edition, there is a bit of a surprise — the candidates were so impressive that we awarded it to four of them!

Pictured above, from left to right are:  Janel Jolly of Canada, Jaymee Mak of Australia, Anna Prein from Russia and Nicha Jaijadesuk of Thailand.

Two winners will be arriving in April, and the other two will be arriving in June. All of the winners of the scholarship will be sharing their experience with everybody by way of blog posts to Arcade. You can read the posts of the current Women in Games Scholarship winner Kristina Soltvedt from Norway (who will graduate from VFS this June) here. Previous winners Shannon Lee of Canada, (now at BigPark Games), Annie Dickerson from USA, (currently at Grantoo), and Larissa Baptista from Brazil, (who won a Unity Award for best Student game and is currently with DeNa Studios) have graduated and are now making their mark in the games industry.

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