The Graduation Ceremony of Class GD31

Class GD31 saw the end of 2013 with a bang by celebrating their Graduation from the Game Design program.  The night was a mixture of looking back at an amazing year of work accomplished, friendships forged and exciting opportunities to look forward to.

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“Nuts for Gems” a big winner at SBGames Festival

sbgames2014

Our Game Design final project was submitted for the SBGames Festival competition in Brazil and came out a big winner.

  • Third place in voting for best game by visual, Category PC / Web, choice of jury
  • Third place in voting for the best game aspect of game design, Category PC / Web, choice of jury
  • First place in the voting for best game developed by students
  • Honorable Mention for the Full Games, choice of Jury category

Nuts for Gems was created as a VFS Final Project by Kristine Tilos, Pedro Fraiao de Cardial, Liam Semeniuk, and Luciana Abe. (Nuts for Gems can be checked out and played HERE)

Following is a quick translation of the website to English…


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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

Alumni Projects: U55 – End of the Line

Leaving VFS is hard. I dare say just about every alumnus or alumna can sing a song about the emptiness you start to feel once you relinquish your key card…
So what do we do to fill this hole? We move on to other amazing and exciting projects!!

In my case this was U55 – END OF THE LINE, a project that my friend Malte M. Boettcher had started back in Germany.
Unified by a strong vision, he assembled a team of about 20 people, all of whom were eager to get on board the project and contribute to the planning and development of U55.

U55 – END OF THE LINE is a survival horror action adventure set in the subway system underneath Berlin that leads players through a subterranean maze infested with unimaginable horrors.

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A Conversation With… GD Alumni John Brunkhart

John Brunkhart is a graduate of the 14th Game Design class at VFS. John graduated back in 2010 with Honours, and won awards for best board game design, best level design, best flash game (class award), and the rare ‘Follow the Leader Award’ for performing with dedication and excellence in the GD program and inspiring his classmates to do the same. He was snapped up quickly by Volition Studios in Champaign, Illinois to be an Associate Designer. Recently we had a chance to catch up with him…

What inspired you to come to study game design?

I had been talking with a friend about an MMO (City of Heroes) we both played, and how we would improve it. On a whim, I went to the publisher’s website and saw they had an opening for a game designer. I jokingly suggested that I would get a job as a designer there, work my way up, and fix the game from the inside. She said, dead-serious “You should do that. You should apply.” I figured I didn’t have a chance, but decided to take the design test, anyway. As I took the test, I suddenly realized ‘Hey … I can do this!’. On the drive home from work (I’d taken the test there after hours), I felt more energized than I had in years, and realized I needed to be working in game design, not where I was. I almost got the job, but didn’t … but by that point I knew what I wanted to do with myself, so I went to school to polish my skills and better my chances at landing a position.

John’s dog “Trooper” fills in while he takes a break

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Luigi’s Mansion 2 : Interview with VFS Alumni on the Development Team

Box Art for Luigi's Mansion 2 : Dark Moon

Luigi’s Mansion 2 : Dark Moon was released March 24, 2013 and right away it took off like a rocket. It was the top selling game in Japan for three weeks in a row. We (myself, Senior Instructor Andrew Laing and Head Of Department Dave Warfield) conducted an interview with VFS Game Design graduates who helped in the creation of this very successful game.

Thanks very much to Diego Pons, Matt McTavish, Cavin Yen, and Jeffrie Wu for their time and for producing such a fun game. And thanks to Doug Tronsgard and Rob Davidson from Next Level Games (NLG) for helping to make this interview happen.

Cavin Yen, Diego Pons, Matt McTavish (behind Diego) & Jeffrie Wu
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My Top Ten List For GDC 2013 — Part 2

Games Development Conference 2013

Welcome to Part 2 of my GDC Top 10, featuring moments from the great, but exhausting, 2013 Game Developers Conference.  You can read Part 1 here.

But before I begin, here’s a photograph I’d like to dedicate to Bren Lynne, our programming instructor!

John Romero! …And some other guy!
John Romero! …And some other guy!

#5 Meeting Industry Heavies

You never know who you will bump into at GDC. I found myself riding the escalator next to John Romero, the designer of the original Doom. Doom was a very influential game for me personally, as well as a landmark in the history of games. It’s nice to meet someone you admire, and GDC has an atmosphere that makes it easy to approach anyone and start up a conversation.
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My Top Ten List For GDC 2013 — Part 1

Games Development Conference 2013

The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is great and exhausting at the same time. Over twenty thousand attendees from our industry converge on the Moscone Center in San Francisco to exchange ideas, make new contacts, attend seminars and meet old friends. The quality and quantity of talks is staggering. After five days, you’re exhausted. But it’s the good kind of exhausted — like, “I just finished a marathon!” exhausted (At least, I assume that is what it feels like after you run a marathon).

There’s too much awesome to get into one post, so here is Part 1 of my GDC 2013 Top Ten.

#10: Hideo Kojima IS Metal Gear Solid V!

I’m not a fanboy, but I am inspired by the amazing work Hideo Kojima‘s team is doing on the Fox Engine. Trust me; this is actually the man himself under the bandages. His first game that I played was a little adventure on the SEGA CD called Snatcher, a Bladerunner inspired title that even supported the lightgun. Always on the bleeding edge of technology, he astounded the crowd with a live demo of his forthcoming Metal Gear. He ran the demo on a PC, and we can only hope that the tech makes the leap to the next gen consoles.

Hideo Kojima
Great entrance. Please take note of my presentation skills, pupils! Also take note that ONLY Hideo Kojima can pull off this entrance.

A year ago, Konami ran a “Is it Real, or is it FOX challenge?” (The original page is down but you can see it here on Kotaku. — It’s great to read the comments that lay down the challenge of whether this could run in real time. It does. I saw it. In engine.)
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VFS @ SXSW : The Best of Both Worlds

Setting up the VFS Game Design Booth at SXSW

Last week, Vancouver Film School visited Austin, Texas to attend South by Southwest (SXSW), Austin’s annual mega-festival, which celebrates film, music and interactive media on both a local and international scale. Consider this a case of testing the waters — since it was VFS’s first visit — but it demonstrates that VFS shows well on any stage, and we really enjoyed meeting, greeting and eating amongst the city’s finest and friendliest.

First of all, full disclosure that I’m an alumnus (yes, I Googled the grammar), and a very recent one at that, of the VFS Game Design program. SXSW was a real thrill for its size and bustle, and it’s officially the first event that I’ve got to visit as a full-blown industry professional. While there, I met developers from Unity, Nintendo, the new Xi3 Piston computer, and of games like Hawken, Tomb Raider (the new one!) and World of Tanks. I even sat in on a discussion featuring one of my favourite designers, Jenova Chen, the creator of Journey, Flower and Flow, and found myself building Lego creations at a random table, sitting beside the legendary Cliff Bleszinski, the creator of Gears of War. I helped him look for fence pieces.

A crowd of interest in the Game Design Booth

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The Ghostwalker Shadow Initiative (GSI) : Managing An Epic Campaign

GSI Banner

While attending the VFS Game Design program as a student, it became a common joke that all of my projects would somehow become epic. This was even carried over into one of the program’s more unusual offerings: the RPG Lab — a class dedicated to teaching students how to play Dungeons and Dragons. The course continues to this day, maintained through the exemplary dungeon mastering of one Diego Pons, and I’ve been lucky to teach the course alongside him for the past two years. But while Diego has been taking students on a journey that may or may not actually involve dragons, I’ve been offering a change of pace by guiding students through a Shadowrun campaign. Or three. More on that shortly.

GSI Shadowrun Logo

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