Meet Women in Games Scholarship Winners Anna Prein & Janel Jolly

Women in Games Scholarship Winners Anna Prein and Janel Jolly

It’s Week 5 of Term 1, and we thought it was about time for us to sit down and have a chat – “we” being Janel Jolly and Anna Prein, from VFS Game Design‘s Class 33. Being both recipients of the Women in Games Scholarship, we wanted to learn more about each other, and what we thought of the program. So, let’s start!

Janel Jolly : Hey Anna! I’ll go ahead and start with the first question. What attracted you to the Game Design program at the Vancouver Film School?

Anna Prein : I’ve been living in Vancouver for about 5 years now, and a former roommate actually applied for the same Women in Games Scholarship a few years back. Once I had finished having my existential crisis about doing an unrelated undergraduate degree and then committed to pursuing game design, VFS was the first school I thought of.

In the past year, I started actively going to events in the community here, like Full Indie, and I kept meeting VFS Game Design graduates who were all intensely positive about their experience and who urged me to apply. I think that was definitely the biggest push! What about you?

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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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Hasty update : The Horroring

Women In Games Scholarship winner Kristina Wiik

Updates are in order. Trust me, I have not been lazy in updating my blog; I have just been extremely busy. That sounds like an excuse, but at VFS it’s actually true. Ask anyone. I’m not being funny. I am a shell of my former self.

Anywhooooo, crippling exhaustion aside, the game is coming along beautifully. I’m absolutely thrilled with our progress. Being a team of four, we’ve all had to take time out of our day to learn new tools, methods and plugins to get this game to the level we wanted it to be at — And I couldn’t be happier with where we’re at right now. Yeah, we’ve got minor issues, but they are all fixable within the time we have left.

Without getting too sappy I just want to thank my team for their amazing efforts. I’ve loved being a part of this project and this team. Team Horroring go! Here’s a picture of us (from left to right: Me, Olivia Veras, Pavel Tomasik and Alejandro Borjas) looking awkward and stiff.

Team Horroring: Me, Olivia, Pavel and Alejandro

So, what’s happened on the project since my last blog? Everything, really. The village looks like a village now. I’ve been set dressing and playing with new ground textures to give the areas some flavour. I’ve also been working a lot in uScript to set up all the tutorials and the hints for the player, as well as cut cameras. In addition, I’ve been working with the strumpy shader editor. Finally managed to create a shader with a working alpha channel so the ghost looks pretty damn good right now.

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Flash Game Presentations : Game Design Class 30

students presenting their Flash Game

The Flash Game Presentations have been a long-standing tradition here at VFS Game Design.

Working in a small team, the students develop a Flash game over a 14-week period in Terms 2 and 3. While learning the intricacies of the Flash engine, the students write code, create art and produce audio for their games. The whole process culminates in a presentation to the entire Game Design student body, faculty and staff.

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Tech Talk : Zero to Hero – Getting Your First Technical Games Developer Job

Tech Talk Banner

As Senior Technical Instructor here at VFS, the question I get asked the most by students nearing graduation is how to ace an interview for becoming a technical designer, technical artist, or programmer. I’ve hired many people in my time in the industry, so I’m happy to help! Students want to know what to expect, how to handle the tough questions, and what to say when the dreaded negotiations about money start. This first Tech Talk is a guide through the steps most students will take from leaving VFS to when they land their first dream job.

Getting that Phone Call

Before you get to the interview you need to get asked to attend one! This is where a polished professional resume is key. Don’t try to stand out too much with fancy graphics and stylised text. Since it’s now normal for everyone to try to stand out with something funky, you will actually fare better with a clean looking page. Make sure to get it reviewed by at least two professionals working in industry before submitting it. Keep it under four pages, and even if you have no professional experience, cover your accomplishments. Employers want to see that you have both skills and are a real human that can interact and have fun with other people. When it’s ready – get ready to apply – everywhere. Getting that first call can take a long time and you need to apply to a lot of employers. Once you have your foot in the door and some experience behind you, future searches will take a lot less time.

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Game Design Summer Intensive: Flash Games & Graduation!

Starting Screen for Pogo Man Flash Bounce Game

The Game Design Summer Intensive finished up on Friday (Aug 17, 2012) with a full day dedicated to creating a Flash Game. The day was split into two parts, with the first part providing a quick hands-on tutorial in Flash, using a Bounce Game Template that each student customized to their own (sometimes hilarious) specifications. (View the Flash Bounce Game Template) Senior Instructor Jacob Tran, Instructor Chevy Johnston and Teaching Assistants Crystal Lau (Game Audio) and Benjamin Stern were all on hand to guide the students through the process.

Instructors helping with flash class

The overall concept and introduction was presented by Jacob Tran, providing some historical background and a discussion about the value of creating Flash Games in the larger context of game development for the Game Design Program. It’s a great tool for prototyping, and it became apparent that the entire process throughout the day served as a mini-model of the full program year. It’s a perfect way to understand how all the separate elements of the full program necessarily depend upon each other to make a great and successful game.

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