Summer is finally here, and once again the Game Designprogram has a reason to celebrate. It’s graduation night, a night to celebrate, to look back on the year, and recognize the amazing things they have done.
The Graduation and Awards show on June 27th has a mix of parts: one part formal, and one part fun. The formal part of the evening hosted by Tanya Jensen, began with a congratulatory speech from the Head of Game Design Dave Warfield, then the student-elected class speaker Daniel Garma took us back through a timeline of this past year in Game Design, and finally student selected Instructor speaker Calder Archinuk closed the speeches with an overview of the 34 iterations of his grad speech.
Each of the speakers had some deep insight into what they had just been through, and how to prepare for the coming months, but mostly it was a chance to look back on the year, and look ahead to the bright future this class has. The formalities continued with the handing out of diplomas and the embarrassingly long handshakes that make up that portion of the evening. Congratulations to Guerric, Nicha, Jeremy, Rafe, Jakobsen, Spencer, and Jaymee, all who graduated with honours.
This past Thursday, VFS Game Design once again hosted its Pitch and Play event. The GD34s pitched their games to a full house of industry professionals and VFS alumni. Each team was full of excitement and passion and they showed off the products of their long days and sleepless nights. All of their hard work definitely paid off as each team presented a highly polished game. The attendees were all impressed by the quality of the games, and by how relevant the games were to the current market with some of the games being playable on mobile devices or ready for online play.
It’s that time again. Here at VFS Game Design we’ve welcomed a new class into the fold, the GD38s! With the coming of this gaggle of bright eyed designers we break out games, delicious snacks, and our socializing hats for their welcome party!
Held on the second Friday of a new term, the welcome party is a chance for the new students to meet and greet their more seasoned peers in a fun/relaxed environment. With the senior students busy working on their respective projects, it can be easy to miss getting a chance to say hello.
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. Read More
Microsoft and Vancouver Film School’s Hat Jam worked together to bring Vancouver a special way to celebrate Pi Day on March 14 – a Pi Game Jam. Over the course of 48 hours, participants worked together in small teams to create games celebrating the mathematical constant pi (π). The event took place at the Microsoft Vancouver Development Center, from March 14-16, 2014.
The Microsoft Developer Center was a great location for the jam, with an awesome rec room (a pool table that turns into a ping pong table!) and tons of big offices for developers to brainstorm and have meetings in. There was a lot of blank paper to scribble on, and big huge whiteboards to draw on. For a whole weekend, Microsoft let over 40 developers run wild in their offices, with never-ending pizza, coffee, and pie.
Spring is in the air, and once again the Game Designprogram has a reason to celebrate. It’s graduation night, a night to celebrate, to look back on the year, and recognize the amazing things they have done.
The Graduation and Awards show on April 24th has a mix of parts: one part formal, and one part fun. The formal part of the evening hosted by Tanya Jensen, began with a congratulatory speech from the Head of Game Design Dave Warfield, then the student-elected class speaker Janel Jolly spoke about the strength of the bond between all of her classmates this past year in Game Design, and finally student selected Instructor speaker Dan Sochan closed the speeches with some great advice and words of wisdom for the most recent group of Game Design Alumni.
Each of the speakers had some deep insight into what they had just been through, and how to prepare for the coming months, but mostly it was a chance to look back on the year, and look ahead to the bright future this class has. The formalities continued with the handing out of diplomas and the embarrassingly long handshakes that make up that portion of the evening. Congratulations to Alberto, Frankie, Maria and Janel, all who graduated with honours. Read More
It was a full house on Thursday, April 3rd for the Pitch and Play event at the VFS Game Design campus. Every seat was filled as game developers from various companies filed into the presentation studio. The nerves of this term’s graduating class were buzzing as each team lined up to present their final project, but all of the long hours and dedication they put into practicing their presentations and polishing their games definitely paid off. Each team came in and went out with a bang, leaving all who attended very impressed with the projects.
James Beasely, Dustin Williamson, Emiliano Guerrero, and Ethan Maddix present Run or Roast
The most stirring talk at GDC this year had to be Manveer Heir’s talk “Misogyny, Racism and Homophobia: Where Do Video Games Stand?” but that’s already very well covered by the internet in general. Go read about it, then come back here. This article is on the future of the game industry according to GDC presenters.
It’s easy to sound smart at GDC, or in games in general. Just talk about how we got the industry to the state we are now. Through the power of hindsight you sound like a genius with just a bit of research. The really brave GDC presenters were the ones making predictions about the future.
Dean Takahashi of GamesBeat was one of the brave ones this year, making ten predictions in just an hour, including a number of questions the industry really doesn’t want to hear.
1) Are we in a golden age?
2) Are we in a bubble?
3) Do valuations of game companies make sense?
4) Who is going to win?
5) Who is the most efficient at making games?
6) How many people do you need to make great games?
At GDC 2014 one of the most interesting talks for me was a talk by Jeff Lynn of Riot Games on encouraging sportsmanship in players. This concept isn’t new in engineering online experiences but Riot Games has an interesting twist in that Riot Games focuses on four different ‘behavior inflection points’ rather than just in-game behaviour.
Choosing a game mode, pre-game, in-game and post-game are all seen as points to encourage sportsmanship behaviours. If you pave the way towards good experiences before matches or after matches, you greatly increase the odds that a players’ overall experience is seen as positive.
The company starts from the premise that all players are inherently good, but bad contexts give rise to bad behaviours. If a player has a positive day, gets the character and role they want, then obviously they’re entering the game on a high note, coincidentally it all worked out in the players’ favour. On the other hand, if they had a bad day, can’t get the player they want, they’re having a bad experience before they start playing.
With Pi Jam coming up this Friday, I sat down with organizer Anna Prein, a fellow 2013 Women in Games Scholarship recipient and current Vancouver Film School student to find out more about the jam, as well as the history of Hat Jam.
So what’s this thing you’re organizing?
It’s called Pi Jam. It’s a 48-hour game jam. It used to be called Hat Jam, VFS Hat Jam, but now we’re doing this with Microsoft so we wanted to change the name.