What is the Full Indie Summit?

I want to talk about conferences. Game conferences, specifically. There is a group in Vancouver called Full Indie who is organizing the second year of their Full Indie Summit.

I am one of those organizers and want to explain what the Summit is about and also talk about conferences in general, what they are good for and how to get the best out of them.

What is the Summit?

The Full Indie Summit is a conference on game development with a focus on the independent developer. The Summit features presentations and panels on all matters of interest to game developers, with the goal to inform, educate, inspire and motivate.
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Experiences with Environments: Part 3 Unity

Result from Previous Article

Result from Previous Article

Creating the scene in Epic’s Unreal Development Kit was fun and interesting. The next step was to create the same scene, shown at the beginning of the article, in Unity.

Welcome to the final part of the Experiences with Environments series. This article will go through importing assets into Unity, creation of Shaders in Acegikmo’s Shader Forge, lighting using Lightmapping Extended, and post-processing using Image Effects.

Like with UDK, I wanted to begin with creating the same composition as the previous two scenes. Before I started importing assets, however, I needed to first create an organizational menu to place all of my new assets in. You can create a menu any way you would like, but this is how I created it:

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Experiences with Environments: Part 1 Creation

Concept Used for Creation. Arted by Jeremy Love

At the beginning of Term 3, I decided to start on a journey and I never would have expected to have learned so much. I wanted to create a whole environment from scratch, while keeping up with my schoolwork. At first, I believed that the mixture of the two would be easy, but I soon figured out that my skills and drive would be tested.

Welcome to the three part series of Experiences with Environments. These articles explain my process, problems and successes that I found during my progress of creating a full scene. The series will cover my ideology from concept, creation in Autodesk Maya and Pixologic Zbrush, creation of textures, then finally, transferring to and creating materials in Epic’s Unreal Development Kit and Unity 3D. This part covers concept, creation of Maya and Zbrush elements, and textures.

The first step to my quest was finding a good piece of concept art. I wanted to find a piece that would challenge my skills, but keep within my skill level. Therefore, I picked the picture featured at the beginning of the article. What caught my eye the most was the reflections and the emissive lights within the environment. I did not previously know how to create these effects, so I sought out to make this picture a virtual reality. Thank you to Jeremy Love from JeremyLove.com for inspiring me with this picture.

The next step was creating the environment in Maya. After three attempts, I finally modelled everything:

Everything Modelled

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New Games for the New Year

Game Design Arcade Play the Games — No coins required

I am always inspired when I look back in January and see how prolific our students were with their game creations. In 2013, VFS Game Design students produced over 100 games using Unity, UDK, Flash and HTML5.

Below we have selected 6 inspiring games that are sure to motivate any game making enthusiast out there to create their first title for 2014!

Bullet Ride (GD28) – Bullet Ride is a 3rd person fast paced action game, where the player steers a bullet through an art deco world, developed by a team of five students using Unity 4.0.

Play Bullet Ride HERE.

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Level Design, Game Programming, or Game Art?

It’s about time to choose streams now.

The time flies so fast. 4 months passed, since I have studied here.
Term 2 is going end. Term 3 with more specialized courses is coming.
To become more specialized in each game development’s field, VFS let us choose 2 major streams in term 3.
We still have other Game Design courses, but these ones allow us to go deeper in areas we are interested in.

We have to choose 2 from the following available 3 streams

1. Level Design: More level design on UDK and also game environment design in Unity. We are going to get our hands on these tools and level design tips!

   

 2. Game Programming: Advance programming in c# with more complex topics such as AI, network, etc. And a course for HTML5.

       

3. Game Art: More on 3D modelling and lighting techniques. The most artistic courses!

 

In Team management class, teacher Rick Davidson (GD02) reminded everyone about “specializing”. This course really clicks everyone’s passion and also motivates us.

He told us to think about and write down what we really want to do, and what we want to be, and MAKE THIS STICK! DO IT! GO FOR IT!

For me, I choose level design and Game Art, because they are the top two things I love to do. I have found out that I enjoy doing the assignments of both Level Design and Game Art courses.

In conclusion,

“Choose what you are passionate about”

You have to work hard on the assignments in your chosen stream. You are going to make your portfolio and go to work in these fields.

May the passion be with you! :D


Nicha Jaijadesuk is Game Design student at VFS, and a winner of the Women in Games Scholarship

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

Unite 2013

The annual conference by Unity Technologies was held August 28-30, this time in VFS Game Design’s home city. For three days, the Vancouver Convention Centre was swarmed by hundreds of Unity developers, from all over the world – four days, if you count the August 27 Training day, a bonus for those new to the technology.

Again, the Unite conference showed what a great piece of software Unity is, and will become.

The opening keynotes by CEO David Hegalson and CTO Joachim Ante described the evolving technical and philosophical direction of the company, with the expected amount of touchy feely about democratizing game development, and changing the world, both of which appear to be going according to plan.

David’s new announcements included Unity Cloud, a mobile ad service going into closed beta, and Unity Games, which sounds like an evolution of Union, Unity’s publishing platform. Joachim primarily talked about improvements to Unity’s GUI and 2D systems in version 4.3, both a long time coming, as well as some great improvements to the Mecanim animation system. No firm date on the next version, though. Understandable, given 4.2 shipped shortly before the conference.

Then, legendary game designer Richard Garriott, back from Earth orbit, gave a guest keynote that was a nostalgic stroll through his three decades of game development. The perspective made one appreciate how far game development has come, and the remarkable tool that Unity is.

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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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Term 2 Approaches Like a Storm

Term 2! Term 2! So much to do!

If you know what I’m cheering about, congratulations, because I don’t (yet). After the happy-fun-bonding times of Term 1, where we had relatively few assignments and spent hours playing Super Mario Bros. WiiU (which, by the way, is fabulous, and I encourage everyone to check it out from the Resources room… if our class hasn’t taken it already), Term 2 is like a road into darkness.

I don’t mean to be ominous or anything, but when there are instructors approaching you with warnings about the increased workload, you start to worry. We’ve seen first-hand what Term 2 does to people, too. The class before us, Game Design class 32, started it off cheerily enough, popping into our room to say hi on a near-daily basis. Then they began to disappear. We’d pack up to leave at 10 pm, and find them in the kitchen, preparing for an all-nighter — and that was only half-way through! Spottings of Moustafa grew fewer. The circles under their eyes grew darker. (But we love you, GD32!)

GD33

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Things You Wish You Knew About Unity v4 Before You Went To The Dev Floor

So there you are, you’re sitting downstairs on the Dev Floor sweating bullets over your final project and the line of code or prefab that you’re staring at just isn’t working and all you can think is “WTF is going on — I know I’m doing everything right… it must be Unity‘s fault.” So you take the next logical course of action; you wander over to Bren Lynne and Peter Walsh‘s office. No dice; they are off helping someone else or teaching… What now?

Sadly, for those of you who fit the above scenario, this article may have come a little bit too late. But for the rest of you, this article may give you a hand with some of the stickier points that you may encounter, as well as with some common problems that my class had a hard time with. As of my writing this I believe that VFS Game Design has upgraded to the newest Unity (4.1) but all or almost all of this is relevant, regardless.

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