It’s crazy how fast a year can fly by when you’re busy learning about game mechanics, design theory and of course, modelling your own 3D octopus. And even though I can hardly believe it, I find myself working in the industry as a Project Manager Intern at Demonware.
For readers that may not know what Demonware is or what they do, here is a quick backgrounder for you: Demonware is a subsidiary company of Activision Blizzard that provides game studios online software and services so that they can focus on creating great gameplay experiences. In the meanwhile, Demonware works to make all of the multiplayer magic – matchmaking, leaderboards and game lobbies – happen behind-the-scenes. Some of the titles that Demonware supports are arguably the most anticipated games to come out this year - Destiny and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Jukebox Paradise is one of the four games that is being developed on the production floor at VFS. It is a 3D local multiplayer where players brawl on a vinyl record inside a 1950s jukebox-diner to serve customers their milkshakes! These blogs are short reflections of the design and early development processes that the team went through, and we’d like to share them with the VFS community. We hope you enjoy them! For more information on Jukebox Paradise, please feel free to check out our website!
One of the best pieces of advice that I have received from my time at the VFS Game Design campus has been to have fun, because hey, we’re studying to make video games, right? Life, as we may all know, can get hectic, and having fun might slip from our priority list. But my team and I learned the value of having fun during our pre-production process in Term 4 when brainstorming concepts for our final game. After spending several days brainstorming on campus with a whiteboard and markers, everyone agreed that a change of pace was needed. And since we were all interested in science, a field trip to the Telus World of Science seemed like the perfect place to get in touch with our ‘fun’ side.
Brainstorming at Science World turned out to be a blast. Drawing inspirations from all of the juicy science experiments, we came up with new concepts and discussed previous ideas in a new light. Getting in touch with our ‘fun’ side also proved to be a great team building experience. At Science World, everyone on the team bonded over puzzles, trippy optical illusions and of course, cool demonstrations with fire!
Once every term, all of the class representatives from the various departments of the Vancouver Film School meet at the VFS Café to listen to a keynote speaker and to meet other fellow class reps. For November’s VFS Class Representative Dinner, the featured speakers were Andy Fedorchuk (GD 30) – Associate Designer at Relic Entertainment, and James Daniell (GD 25) – Game Designer at IUGO, who spoke on their experiences about finding jobs after school and networking.
Both James and Andy had previous work experience before attending the VFS Game Design program. James had previous game making experience with friends in college, while Andy held several random careers. One common thing was that they both loved playing games, and they wanted to pursue careers that would allow them to makes games forreal.
Needless to say, their aspirations have become a reality. As a Brian Wood Memorial Scholarship Recipient, Andy is an Associate Designer at Relic Entertainment. He admits that if it hadn’t been for the internship, he knows he would probably still be looking for a job. James was able to relate since he was selective with the jobs to which he applied, and did not want to get just ‘any job’. When he interviewed with IUGO, he was genuinely enthused about working there as a Game Designer.
While the VFS Game Design program gave Andy and James the tools that they needed to get the jobs that they both wanted, they still needed to get their dream jobs for themselves – through networking!
For our busy readers, here are three important tips on networking our Alumni shared:
Talk to your Idols: Being a student has its perks! Approach an industry professional, inform them that you’re a student and then ask them if they have any advice for aspiring game designers!
Be Proactive: Ask for help when you need it – send emails or go to Meetups!
Be Casual: Don’t be blunt by asking a professional to give you a job. Networking doesn’t have to be stressful! Be casual and friendly, and soon enough, your downtime can turn into your networking time!
After the presentation, all of the class representatives were able to socialize and relax. While many of us returned back to our respective campuses after the dinner, it was a great opportunity to learn from the successful alumni of the VFS Game Design campus!
Maria Lee and Melissa Borda are VFS Game Design Students
Pitch & Play is an event held every term during which student teams present their final projects to an audience from the game industry. As students currently in the pre-production phase of our final projects, we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to attend this event and cover the games on show.
Senior Instructor Andrew Laing was the host of the evening, and kept the audience entertained throughout the night with his funny, and somewhat corny, jokes.
The welcome party for our VFS Game Design class (GD33) at VFS was the place to be on Friday afternoon. What more could you ask for? There was a ton of food, board games, video games, and of course, great company.
It was great to see how the party’s casual and friendly environment gave the GD33’s a great opportunity to network with previous Game Design classes. Video game tournaments took place at five stations with various consoles throughout the room. The Street Fighter 4 tournaments were being projected onto the big screen.