2014 VFS Holiday-Retrospectacular and Game-Update Bonanza

Hey all, with the end of 2014 fast approaching and a new year around the corner we here at VFS thought it would be nice to look back at the year and highlight everyone’s hard work as well as look forward to 2015! (and put the spotlight on all the new games that have been updated in this websites library!)

When I consider 2014 it’s hard to believe all that has changed since I was in my second term at this time last year. Students have graduated, Staff has come and gone, Alumni have gotten exciting jobs in Vancouver and around the world, a new program that VFS is offering here at the Game Design campus has started: “Programming for Games, Web, & Mobile”, and perhaps most importantly we have made a lot of really cool and exciting games. Five Game Design classes have graduated with one more class, the GD37′s (who are notable for being the first GD class to collaborate with the new Programming program) graduating in the coming weeks.

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Post-Mortem: Misorderly [VFS Student Project]



It’s difficult to explain anything that went right with our project without first explaining everything that went wrong. So for this post-mortem, I’ll be examining the major obstacles we faced in creating the casual action runner that is Misorderly – and what it took to overcome them. I should mention that all points raised here relate to soft skills – design, project management – so if you’re looking for a technical post-mortem, this isn’t it.

Problem 1: Mixed Vision

Misorderly wasn’t our first idea. Originally, our favourite concept was a god game where tiny people wandered around a rubik’s cube planet and each square was a different land form that evolved depending on the other land forms it touched. But at the time, the teachers felt it was more of a toy, than an actual game, so we shelved that idea.

All the other ideas we came up with, only most, and not all of the team loved. And at VFS (Vancouver Film School), you’re encouraged to only go forth with an idea for your final project if everybody loves it. So if I were to go back even further, I’d offer the notion that something that was done incorrectly in our class was team forming. Each person on our team had such different player preferences. To the extent where one of our teaching assistants, Brant Stutheit, suggested that we do an activity where we write down our top 5 favourite games and see which ones we had in common. It took us until our top 20 games to eventually reach consensus – Bioware’s Dragon Age series. We then explored what it was about the series that we enjoyed, and we realized we all liked playing as mages. This was the beginning of Misorderly.

We decided to make a game centered on being a mage. So we brainstormed what we each enjoyed about playing as a mage – healing, buffs, spells, support – and we deduced our mage would need a party. But given the scope of 5 months and 5 relatively inexperienced students – how could we manage to capture the essence of the RPGs we loved?

Suggestions were made for things we thought would make our lives easier in production, such as a side-scrolling camera to reduce environment art assets needed. Or a cartoony art style over hyperrealism, to invest in creating more characters versus polishing a fewer number. Or restricted, grid-based movement, to simplify combat. But not everyone was ecstatic about these changes in direction.

Everything I’ve mentioned thus far formed the basis for the mixed vision we had for the majority of production. We were so concerned with placating everybody’s wants that we A) wasted a lot of time in pre-production changing our game concept and B) ended up with a “swamp water” game concept that had too broad of a target audience (not that we were able to accurate pin point what our genre or expected player experience was for the longest time).

Menu Screen

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Brian Wood Memorial Internship goes to Guerric Haché

Congratulations to soon-to-graduate VFS Game Design student Guerric Haché (pictured here with Kelly Gies of Relic Entertainment/Sega)! Guerric was selected for the Brian Wood Memorial Internship with Relic Games!

The Brian Wood Memorial Internship was founded by VFS Game Design and Relic Games in memory of the late Brian Wood, who was Relic’s Company of Heroes Online lead designer. Three Game Design students a year are offered the scholarship for a period of four months. The inaugural internship was awarded in February 2011, to Zach Williams. Other recent winners have included: Andres MolinaMaxwell Hannaman, Isaac Calon, Alex Mueller, Carolina Mastretta, Andy Fedorchuk, and James Dodge.

Guerric Haché, our second winner for 2014, will graduate from the Game Design program on June 26, 2014. His graduating game project, Misorderly, which he developed in collaboration with fellow students Jaymee Mak, Jeremy Katsumata, and Keegan Myra can be found here on the Arcade Games page.


GD34 Pitch and Play

This past Thursday, VFS Game Design once again hosted its Pitch and Play event. The GD34s pitched their games to a full house of industry professionals and VFS alumni. Each team was full of excitement and passion and they showed off the products of their long days and sleepless nights. All of their hard work definitely paid off as each team presented a highly polished game. The attendees were all impressed by the quality of the games, and by how relevant the games were to the current market with some of the games being playable on mobile devices or ready for online play.

Dave Warfield welcoming the guests.

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