Environmental Art: Concept to Execution Part 2

Last week we had a look at whiteboxing out the major details of our level.  We then brought that mesh into a 3d package and started to refine the meshes.  Today we’ll look at bringing them back into the game engine and replace all the primitives with some refined models.  I’d call this the medium detailing portion of the level, so things like structural supports and landmarks should all be placed with first pass meshes and materials.

 

The modeling process at this point is nothing too complicated.  Simple shapes and basic texture sheet for a majority of the assets.  As you can see on the prop screenshot I try to keep things modular as possible, this way I can try different looks out by piecing parts together.

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Interview with Jay Cormier, Co-Creator of Belfort and Train of Thought

Meet Jay Cormier. Together with Sen-Foong Lim, he has published board game titles such as Belfort (2011) and Train of Thought (2011) under the duo’s moniker, the Bamboozle Brothers. But that’s not all! As of June 2013, Jay also teaches the Game Theory Analog class at VFS, passing on his years of board game design experience. But wait – there’s more! Jay is also a tech blogger and a children’s entertainer, clowning around Canada with his jungle-explorer persona Bertolt. I chatted with Jay about how he got into game design, coming up with Belfort and it’s upcoming expansion, as well as advice for fellow game designers who are looking to get published.

Growing up with a family that played lots of board games together, Jay became interested in designing games at an early age, eventually taking on his first dungeon master role for the fantasy tabletop game ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ in seventh grade.

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Graduation and Awards Show for the 30th class of Game Design

It’s almost Halloween, and once again the Game Design program 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 October 17th has a mix of parts: one part formal, and one part fun. The formal part of the evening hosted by Tanya Jensenbegan with a speech from myself, then the student-elected class speaker Anthony Bruno broke down some vital statistics of his past year in Game Design, and finally student selected Instructor speaker Andrew Laing closed the speeches with some heart-warming words and stories about fog.

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 Anthony, Andy, Elad, Eric, Joel and Adrien, all who graduated with honours.
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Think Design : Cognitive Dissonance

Has this ever happened to you? You saw a job posting, and it sounded perfect, like they copy/pasted your resume as their ideal candidate. You applied, landed the interview, and aced it. You pictured yourself and the company running and leaping toward each other on a beach – in slow motion. You told all your friends how awesome it was going to be to work there, and you were so excited you checked your email every twenty minutes for the offer letter.

Nailed it! I’m like the Rocky of business.

But the offer didn’t come. And so you waited. Eventually, you emailed yourself to make sure your email was still working. It was. So you sent the interviewer a quick message to make sure you didn’t miss an email. The interviewer wrote back, and you opened the email expecting to see an apology and the offer letter, but instead you read that they went with someone else.

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Level Design, Game Programming, or Game Art?

It’s about time to choose streams now.

The time flies so fast. 4 months passed, since I have studied here.
Term 2 is going end. Term 3 with more specialized courses is coming.
To become more specialized in each game development’s field, VFS let us choose 2 major streams in term 3.
We still have other Game Design courses, but these ones allow us to go deeper in areas we are interested in.

We have to choose 2 from the following available 3 streams

1. Level Design: More level design on UDK and also game environment design in Unity. We are going to get our hands on these tools and level design tips!

   

 2. Game Programming: Advance programming in c# with more complex topics such as AI, network, etc. And a course for HTML5.

       

3. Game Art: More on 3D modelling and lighting techniques. The most artistic courses!

 

In Team management class, teacher Rick Davidson (GD02) reminded everyone about “specializing”. This course really clicks everyone’s passion and also motivates us.

He told us to think about and write down what we really want to do, and what we want to be, and MAKE THIS STICK! DO IT! GO FOR IT!

For me, I choose level design and Game Art, because they are the top two things I love to do. I have found out that I enjoy doing the assignments of both Level Design and Game Art courses.

In conclusion,

“Choose what you are passionate about”

You have to work hard on the assignments in your chosen stream. You are going to make your portfolio and go to work in these fields.

May the passion be with you! :D


Nicha Jaijadesuk is Game Design student at VFS, and a winner of the Women in Games Scholarship

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.” Read More

Mythology 101: Episode 10

In the last episode of Mythology 101 we took a deeper look into the Norse mythology of Thor and Loki in particular. So far we have covered most of the major continents from Europe to Scandinavia, so it’s probably time to dig a little deeper into some of the mythology of Africa. This time let’s focus on the Dark Side of the Dark Continent’s mythology, the dangers and the demons, the nightmares and the stories of warning.

Before we get started, we should look at the mythology of how things got started…

According to the people of Zaire, there was a god named Bumba (aka Mbombo). One day Bumba became very ill with a very sore stomach, it kept getting worse until finally he vomited, he vomited the sun, then the moon and finally the earth. He felt a little better, then he got sick again, this time vomiting nine animals; a leopard, an eagle, a crocodile, a fish, a tortoise, another leopard (this time black), a white heron, a scarab beetle, and a goat. The newly formed animals then also got sick, and they vomited up the rest of the world’s creatures. The Heron threw-up all the flying birds, the crocodile threw-up all the snakes and iguanas, the goat threw-up all the horned animals, the fish threw-up all the other fish, and the scarab threw-up all the insects. Just when things seemed to be looking up, Bumba got sick again, and threw up mankind. Just seems really gross to me.

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Game Design Campus Sneak Peek!

Helloooo! This is a great time.

Regularly, we do not allow any strangers to come into our campus.

However, today I am going to take you on a tour!

Come on! Let’s go in!

First of all, to get into the building, we have to pass this double security door. It needs a VFS key card and password.

In order to access each area in the school, it requires keycards at almost every door!

(Sometimes, when I go off the campus to buy some food, I forget my keycard.
Then, I cannot get back into the building. LOL That was a great lesson for me.)

Anyway, Let’s start at the 3rd floor!

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Unite 2013

The annual conference by Unity Technologies was held August 28-30, this time in VFS Game Design’s home city. For three days, the Vancouver Convention Centre was swarmed by hundreds of Unity developers, from all over the world – four days, if you count the August 27 Training day, a bonus for those new to the technology.

Again, the Unite conference showed what a great piece of software Unity is, and will become.

The opening keynotes by CEO David Hegalson and CTO Joachim Ante described the evolving technical and philosophical direction of the company, with the expected amount of touchy feely about democratizing game development, and changing the world, both of which appear to be going according to plan.

David’s new announcements included Unity Cloud, a mobile ad service going into closed beta, and Unity Games, which sounds like an evolution of Union, Unity’s publishing platform. Joachim primarily talked about improvements to Unity’s GUI and 2D systems in version 4.3, both a long time coming, as well as some great improvements to the Mecanim animation system. No firm date on the next version, though. Understandable, given 4.2 shipped shortly before the conference.

Then, legendary game designer Richard Garriott, back from Earth orbit, gave a guest keynote that was a nostalgic stroll through his three decades of game development. The perspective made one appreciate how far game development has come, and the remarkable tool that Unity is.

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Mythology 101: Episode 9

Last time we ran through an overview of the previous episodes of Mythology 101, and after a couple week break, I am back. So this time we better bring in the big boys and focus on one of the cultures that is very deep with Mythology. The Northern lands of Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and Norway are known as Scandinavia, home to Norse Mythology. Norse Mythology is full of gods, giants and dwarves… truly though, there is one god that stands above them all, Thor.

No, not the Marvel Comics based Thor… the Norse God Thor, son of Odin. Let’s take a deeper look into the myths behind Thor and Loki, and I must warn you, unintentionally, I may be disclosing SPOILERS for future Thor movies without ever knowing.

The Beginning

Odin (Wodan) was the main god in Norse mythology, a god of war and death, with a softer side too, a god of poetry and wisdom. Odin has only one eye, because he traded the other eye for a drink from the well of wisdom to gain great knowledge. He was worshipped throughout Scandinavia and parts of Germany, there were temples throughout the lands for prayer, but the prayer did require human sacrifices.  Odin and the goddess Jord bore a son whom they named Thor.

DID YOU KNOW: When the English calendar was created, Wednesday was named after Odin (Wodan).

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