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.”
Andy Fedorchuk of GD30 took some time out from his teams’ final Unity based project, Inkling, to do some networking. He put it this way: “It was such an amazing opportunity to network with people from all over the world in all areas of development.”

Richard Garriot, aka Lord British was the keynote speaker.

There were lots of cool new products on display such as Dice+ which resonated strongly with many of those in attendance. “Dice Plus was really cool because I love board games. It’s dice for iOS and Android interfacing, it has a gyroscope and each face is touch sensitive.” Said a clearly interested Pietro Esposti from Game Design class 31. You can check out this universal board game controller HERE. Next time you play Monopoly I challenge you to refer to the dice as “Universal Board Game Controllers”!

Universal Board Game Controller: Meet Dice+

Microsoft made more than a few friends when they gave away many mobile phones. The only catch was compiling a Unity project to the platform. It was basically a give-away as the process is so simple with Unity. “Unite got me really excited about Windows 8 Mobile because it’s ridiculously easy to port my games to it.” said Alvin Kwok from GD31.
“The most useful talk was ‘Extending co-routines for Power and Glory’, I’ll use it in my final project, StarStruck, for sure.” said Jim Dodge of GD31 when asked about which of the many lectures was the best. Although at the time of this writing that particular lecture has not been posted, check out some of the other lectures that have been posted online by our great friends over at Unity…

So much learning!

From Left, Current GD34 student Spencer Goring, Janel Jolly (GD33), TA Quin Henshaw, GD32 Melissa Borda and GD33 student and HatJam2 organizer Anna Prein

“We were too busy working on our final (Unity) game Sweet Escape to attend, but it’s great to be able to watch the videos online.” said GD31 student Marcus Lembi.
Jesse Mark from Unity project String Theory decided to make the time to attend. “I was impressed with the amount of talks given. Every hour there was a great talk.” Teammate Jesse Bardell is also very happy he attended: “I was really impressed with how indie developer friendly Microsoft was. I got a Nokia 820 for free! All I had to do was export a Unity game to their platform, which took me about 5 minutes.”


Janel and Melissa couldn’t pass up the free candy bar, courtesy Facebook and Unity

A highlight for the instructors had to be seeing graduate Lance Mueller from GD20 take the stage as a featured presenter along with his co-worker from BlackBird Interactive. Lance was the mission designer on his student team project Remnant (A GREAT game, check it out HERE if you haven’t played it!). Lance also won the Brian Woods Memorial internship at Relic and then went on to join the BBI team on Hardware.

Lance Mueller giving a talk at Unite on his hud process for Homeworld:Shipbreakers

Lance gave a great talk on the fantastic work the team is doing on Hardware, complete with a short demo to an amazed crowd. Many Jaws dropped and much salivating was observed. Great job Lance! Breaking news: the day after Lance gave this talk Blackbird announced that the project will now be moving forward as Homeworld: Shipbreakers!

An inside look at the HUD design behind Homeworld:Shipbreakers

Facebook was promoting it’s new Unity SDK that makes integrating Unity games with Facebook much easier. To celebrate, here’s one last shot of some recent grads getting their sugar rush on at the Facebook event which was held at the Fairmont Hotel.

Recent grads Nathan Tipper and Jordan Tame looking to put on weight because ‘Winter is Coming!”

It was a great learning opportunity, and on behalf of all who attended from Vancouver Film School I would like to say a big thank you to Unity for choosing Vancouver as a location. A special thank you goes out to Jessika Jackson  for all her extra assistance that ensured our students and staff had an amazing time!

Andrew Laing teaches Game Mechanics, Presentation Skills and Project Design at VFS Game Design