Interning at Relic During Turbulent Times

Relic Entertainment Mine Splash Screen

My first step1 towards the video games industry was to come to Vancouver Film School to study Game Design in 2011, uprooting both my wife and our three beautiful, intelligent housepets to brave the rain, long hours, and Canucks fans on the Skytrain. I graduated in August of 2012, and just shy of two months later was successful in landing my first job in games interning as an Assistant Development Manager at Relic Entertainment.

I was thrilled, of course. By combing through Relic’s back-catalog of Triple-A games you can see that the studio hasn’t just paid lip-service to their mandates of innovation, passion, and pride in their work. Every game they’ve made, from the legendary Homeworld to the highest-rated RTS of all time, Company of Heroes, sought to break new ground. They are innovators and risk-takers in a risk-averse triple-A industry space, and I was proud to be there.

Relic Entertainment Game Design Intern Isaac Calon

When I started in November of 2012, Relic was under the umbrella of venerable games publisher THQ, and when my internship ended in March, the studio was owned by SEGA. While the story of that transition ultimately started years ago (and is thus beyond the scope of this article), I want to share with you the shorter version of having a front-row seat to the final stages of that often stressful and surprising transition.

But first, how I got there.
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New Arcade Feature Bar With A Focus On Game Design Alumni

One of the goals we had when we created the Arcade website was to not only feature the amazing games and stories from the Game Design Campus, but also to feature the success stories of our alumni. Today we have added a new feature to Arcade that does just that… The Feature Bar.

If you look to the top of the page, right there below our highlighted games, you will notice this new addition. Here is where we will highlight some key stories and news items we publish, as well as links to three pages featuring accomplishments by our Alumni, which we will continue to update. These pages are:

Alumni on the Job — An up-to-date list of the jobs our graduates have been hired to do since they’ve graduated.

Alumni Published Games — A chronological listing of the published games our graduates have had a hand in creating.

Alumni Indie Studios — A listing of the Indie Game Studios created by our graduates.

There’s nothing that makes me more proud than when I look back and see the successes of our alumni. I think you’ll be amazed to discover the impact they have had in the gaming world.

As always, if you have any changes or additions to make to these alumni pages, just drop me a line.

Dave Warfield is Head of Department for Game Design

Power Up! Music To Game By Art Contest

PowerUp Contest Banner

Power Up! Music To Game By, is a compilation album of video game and geek-related content sourced and arranged by students in the VFS  Entertainment Business Management program. I came across the Power Up Art Contest, which had the task “Draw the two characters of our Power Up album in a videogame inspired setting”, thanks to a link Dave Warfield posted online. After learning that this competition was for a VFS project with a noble cause – supporting the Child’s Play Charity - I figured submitting a drawing would be a good way to stay connected with the school while helping out with a good cause. It was also a productive way to spend a normally lazy weekend afternoon.
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How Much Would You Sacrifice For the One You Love? — Allie Hamilton

“Plagued by tragedy, young Allie must uncover the truth to protect those she loves in this grand story of mystery, romance, and survival. Become part of the action and help Allie find clues, solve puzzles, and get the answers she needs.”

Allie Hamilton is an interactive movie game for iOS created by Vincent Chi, a 3D Animation & Visual Effects grad and current Game Design Lighting instructor. The app includes over half an hour of animated video, 36 mini-games and puzzles, and 14 original music tracks.
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A Tale Of Three Thursdays (…Plus One)

Siddharth Chinnakaruppan Rajendran

The major groundwork for this story was laid on the day before the First Thursday, when my portfolio instructor, Nicole Maas, came by my desk to review my progress. She saw my Manchester United themed workplace and liked that I’m into football (soccer for you North Americans). And I was glad she called it ‘football’. That’s when she suggested I email her my resume.

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Game Design Grads On Making Pulse-Pounding Frocket!

Frocket! Banner

From Left to Right, it's Tyler Hebenton, Dave Crisp & Brad Keys

Frocket is a an arcade-style game for all ages (named after its star character), where the player controls a dopey swamp creature strapped to a malfunctioning jet-pack. His mission is to find and eat every delicious cupcake he can. It’s now available for iPhone and iPad as a download through iTunes, and there is the possibility of it being released on other platforms at a later date. Frocket is produced by Ganz Studios, which is located in Toronto, and was developed with the help of three VFS Game Design grads: Brad KeysDave Crisp and Tyler Hebenton.

We caught up with them to talk about the game, their involvement in it and their time as students in the Game Design program.

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VFS Grad Brian Hayes: From Scientist To Animator To Games Creative Director

Brian Hayes Creative Director, EA

Brian Hayes is a graduate of the VFS Classical Animation program, but he’s now a Creative Director at Electronic Arts, one of the biggest game companies in the world. He also started out as a scientist. So how does that work – going from scientist to animator to a creative director of games, working on such popular titles as Def Jam: IconFight Night Round 4 and Fight Night Champion? It sounded like an interesting journey, so we spoke with Brian to find out more about it.

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Interview with Game Design Grad Cory Hasselbach On Halo 4

Cory Hasselbach Mission Designer

Halo 4 launched on November 6, 2012, and quickly became the number one selling game in North American, receiving great reviews, with IGN declaring it “a bar-raising triumph for the entire first-person shooter genre.”

We’re certainly proud of the many VFS grads from different departments who worked on the project, including Game Design alumni Armando Troisi (Narrative Director), who we featured recently, and Cory Hasselbach, who we are featuring today.

Cory Hasselbach graduated from VFS back in 2005, winning the award for Best Multiplayer Game (for First Light), and now works as Mission Designer for 343 Industries, the producers of Halo 4. Cory talked to us about his experience at VFS, his role as Mission Designer and what makes Halo 4 such a great game.

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Game Design Grad Armando Troisi Talks Narrative Direction On Halo 4

Halo 4 Promo-Poster

Halo 4 for Xbox 360 launches today (November 6, 2012) with much excitement, after three years of development. There have been some great teasers produced over the last couple of months, including the live-action trailer by David Fincher and Tim Miller, and the five-part web series Forward Unto Dawn, which just released the final episode on Friday, Nov 2.

Halo 4 is the first installment of the Reclaimer Trilogy, which builds off the world developed in the original trilogy Halo, but is its own distinct story.

We’re very proud of the fact that VFS graduates were involved in the development of this highly anticipated game, including Game Design alumnus, Armando Troisi (Narrative Director, 343 Industries), who was kind enough to spare some of his time for us, during an intense period, to talk about the game and his involvement in it.

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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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