Unity Meetup Group Spotlights Pulse

Photo of Team Pixel Pi at Vancouver Unity Games Meetup at the VFS Cafe

Wednesday night, the Vancouver Unity Games Meetup Group convened at VFS Café for a recap of related events and developments, including some highlights of the recent Unity Awards Show and a special announcement concerning their new relationship with Nintendo. Unity Community Evangelist, Joe Robins, presented on behalf of Unity Technologies, and VFS Game Design grads, Richard Harrison and Maxwell Hannaman, presented the game Pulse (winner of the Unity Award for Best Student Project) on behalf of their team. Larissa (Lala) Fuchs, Leanne Roed, and Michael Cooper were also present in the audience and made themselves available to people interest in trying or talking about the game.
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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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VFS Game Design Summer Intensive : Level, Story, Art

UDK First-Person Shooter

The VFS Game Design Summer Intensive covered a lot of ground over days two and three, delving into Level DesignStorytelling/Interactive Narrative and Game Art.

Day 2 introduced the students to the core of game design: constructing the environment and scripting the events of the play. Game Design Instructor and 3D Environment Artist, Victor Kam, introduced students to the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), which uses the Unreal Engine (a game engine developed by Epic Games, first used in the 1998 first-person shooter game Unreal). UDK is a free download available to the general public (for non-commercial games, although, games built using the free kit can be sold according to certain relatively minor stipulations outlined in Unreal Technology’s Licensing Terms).


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VFS Game Design Summer Intensive : The Fundamentals of Game Theory

Team Asgard presenting their idea

The VFS Game Design Summer Intensive kicked off on Monday (Aug 13, 2012) with Game Theory 1 and 2, taught by Instructor Chris Mitchell and Senior Instructor Andrew Laing. It started with an overview of the production pipeline, provided an outline of key developments in the relatively short history of console, online and mobile games, and focused on creative exercises related to preproduction processes.

The students came to life immediately as they were broken up into teams to brainstorm unique game ideas. They were given 5 essential questions to answer to help in the creative process. These questions and their ultimate resolution into a concise “pitch” sentence provided guidance throughout the day’s exercises, and clearly they represent the heart of the matter for Game Design in general:

  1. What is the game?
  2. What is the core mechanic?
  3. What is the core challenge?
  4. Why make the game?
  5. Why would you enjoy making the game?

(A great example of the one sentence “pitch” was provided by Chris Mitchell: “I want to make a chibi-style 2d twitch fighter with dinosaurs for weapons.”)
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6 Essential Ingredients for an Open-World Indie Game

T-minus a week and a half! There’s a ticking clock facing Game Design students as they sprint towards Pitch & Play, their industry showcase night. One of the five games on display this round will be The Last Phoenix, an open-world aerial melee/dogfighting game, and the first open-world game developed by students in the program. To celebrate the impending launch, the Last Phoenix team has assembled their top six tips for creating an open-world game.

Make the Movement Fun

Since the player is both moving through a large world and doesn’t always know the optimal path, we needed to make sure that the actual experience of moving – in our case, flying – was fun and had a layer of depth. After all, players are going to be doing a lot of it. We decided early on we wanted to add dives, rolls, and loops to the Phoenix’s movement. This served to both avoid enemy attacks and allow the player to weave through the many pillars and arches scattered through the game world.
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