Halo 4 Lead Designer to Headline Game Design Expo 2013

We’re thrilled to announce our first speakers for Industry Speaker Day at Game Design Expo 2013, hosted by the one-year VFS Game Design program!

Lead Designer Chris Haluke of 343 Industries, developers of Halo 4, will be on hand to discuss his team’s innovative approach to the game’s episodic co-op campaign, Spartan Ops. For a taste, here’s Chris talking Spartan Ops and more with our friend Scott Jones of Electric Playground.

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Inside the Game: Skyrim’s Bruce Nesmith

Skyrim poster

Early this year, Game Design Expo - an industry event and open house hosted by the one-year VFS Game Design program – assembled a lineup of game industry luminaries.

That roster included Bruce Nesmith, Director of Design at Bethesda, who,to a full house, shed light on dynamic content in the juggernaut RPG The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Today, we’re pleased to share video of Nesmith’s Skyrim presentation in its entirety, for free. Watch it now!

And what timing, with news of Skyrim‘s next DLC doing the rounds and another Game Design Expo on the horizon (January 19 and 20, 2013)! We’ll have more video from this year’s event very soon, and some exciting announcements of a new speaker schedule. Stay tuned!

Isaac Calon is the Newest Relic Internship Winner

(From left to right: Relic Development Director, Otto Ottosson, VFS grad Isaac Calon, and Relic recruiter Kelly Gies)

Relic Entertainment announced the newest winner of the Brian Wood Memorial Internship, and it is Isaac Calon.

Relic, the Vancouver-based developers of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine among other popular games, offers the four-month internship to three graduating VFS Game Design students every year to honour and continue the legacy of Brian Wood, a Relic game designer who passed away in 2010.

Isaac graduated from the one-year program this past August. Prior to coming to VFS, he earned a Communications degree and worked as a writer and manager in corporate settings. At VFS, he was on the team behind R.O.Bit and helped create two other games during his year. His internship will place him as a production intern on an unannounced Relic title.

Check out Isaac’s portfolio

Hello Out There, We’re on the Air : NHL 13 Hits Shelves

Screenshot of NHL 13 game

With a lockout looming in the National Hockey League, the season is hanging in the balance. But for those of us who like our hip-checks virtual, EA’s venerable NHL series has our backs with NHL 13.

Diehard fans of the Vancouver-developed franchise know there are some changes under the hood. And while you’re enjoying that new AI, skating, and other bells and whistles, hit pause and take a second to appreciate the handiwork of some VFS alumni who worked on the title.

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VFS Student Game Pulse Wins at 2012 Unity Awards

The good news keeps coming for the recent graduates behind the student game Pulse, which they created during their year in the VFS Game Design program. The team has just won Best Student Project at the 2012 Unity Awards ceremony in Amsterdam! Pulse was up against very stiff competition, so we couldn’t be prouder of the team for getting the win. Congratulations!

Here’s the press release announcing the winners.

Want to know what all the hubbub is about? You can play Pulse yourself right now! Just head over to the team’s site to check it out.

VFS Game Design Students Nominated for 2012 Unity Awards

Poster for Game Design Students' game The Mask of Qi

Two VFS Game Design student teams are finalists for 2012 Unity Awards under the category “Best Student Project” — and their games are getting a fair amount of buzz too, with articles written in both Eurogamer and VG247 about the nominations! The games nominated are Pulse and The Mask of Qi.

Poster for the Design Student's Game Pulse
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Game Changing : Thriving During Game Industry Seismic Shift

Games are changing.

The landscape once dominated by behemoth AAA titles is almost gone.

Gamers have more choices. Social games and free-to-play models have transformed the game industry you thought you knew. And ballooning budgets for high-profile titles mean you need a blockbuster of Modern Warfare proportions to turn a profit.

As The Verge wrote in their July 22nd article: “Developing an AAA game is rapidly becoming one of the most expensive enterprises humans can undertake, outside of building battleships, launching space vehicles, or making movies.”

But here’s the thing. For the emerging game designer — or animator or sound editor, for that matter — none of this a bad thing. It actually means opportunity.
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2012 Women in Games Scholarship Winner : Kristina Soltvedt Wiik

2012 marks the fourth year Vancouver Film School has offered the Women in Games Scholarship, opening up more opportunities for women in Game Design, and in those four years we’ve seen an impressive roster of diverse winners. Shannon Lee, the inaugural winner, hails from Vancouver, although the prize found her in Japan; she is now at BigPark innovating with Kinect. Second-year winner Annie Dickerson is a native of Washington State, and a former elementary school teacher, and currently works for East Side Games. Larissa Baptista from Brazil was the third recipient, and was recently featured with her final project team on CBC television.

Kristin Soltvedt Wiik, winner of Women in Games Scholarship

This year’s winner, Kristina Soltvedt Wiik, hails from Norway, and arrives at VFS having worked for three years as a journalist for Gamereactor Magazine. Kristina is especially interested in the narrative possibilities of games, and has already worked as a Narrative Designer on a PC game developed in Vancouver.

Kristina says, “It is a tremendous privilege to be awarded such a coveted scholarship, and I can’t help but be excited at the possibility of realizing my dreams. I’m really looking forward to the year ahead of me, and the ensuing opportunities my year at VFS will surely offer.”

Congratulations, Kristina!