On Wednesday, October 22, 2014 VFS held it’s 2D Projects course presentations, which consisted of 7 great 2D games from the GD38 class. All the games, along with their descriptions and a link to play them are listed below.
FALLEN HERO is a 2.5D side-scrolling dark fantasy exploration game where the player goes through a medieval castle collecting clues and solving puzzles to discover the origins of the curse of the main protagonist, the fallen hero. The game mixes a blend of 2D size scrolling exploration with first person interactive sequences for puzzle solving and item pickups.
Developedby Daniel Alcivia Smith, Vitor Castanheira, Alain Marchino, and Jean-Paul Peschard.
In my last article I discussed the mythological structure of the Marvel Universe via the origins of The Human Torch, Iron Fist, Ben Reilly, and Kaine. This time I would like to look at the flip side of that coin and post about three heroes from DC Comics because this notion is equally as prevalent in the DC Universe as it is in the Marvel Universe, if not more so. Also in part one, I chose three somewhat obscure entries, this was a side-effect of my more in depth experience with Marvel Comics, in this entry I am selecting three of the heavier hitters from the DC Comics catalog.
It’s almost Halloween, 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 October 17th 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 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. Read More
Every Game Design class has a special day that they look forward to, it’s called Pitch & Play. It’s the night that the whole year builds up to, it is the culmination of 8 weeks of planning and design, and 12 weeks of development.
Pitch & Play is the event where student teams show off their games, first with a formal 5-10 minute presentation, followed by a social mingler where invited industry guests have a chance to sit down and play their games, ask questions, provide feedback and get to know the students better before they graduate.
L.A. Noire (2011) was developed over a period of seven years by the now defunct Team Bondi in conjunction with Rockstar Games. It is predominantly an action-adventure game with third-person shooter and open-world sandbox driving elements. Thematically, it draws heavily upon the neo-noir detective thriller genre. However L.A. Noire’s emphasis on story, light gameplay and mix of various game genres is the source of its polarized reviews. The game appears to cater to the needs of traditional adventure game fans, which leaves players expecting more hardcore action-based gameplay disappointed. This analysis will observe how the strengths and weaknesses of L.A. Noire’s design hinges on whether the player belongs to either faction – as well as the aspects that shine or fail regardless of player preference.
Having shipped almost 5 million copies, L.A. Noire qualifies as a commercial success. The game has also done well critically, however the difference between critic and user aggregated scores on Metacritic are of note. The 6% different between the PC and console versions can be attributed to the collapse of Team Bondi prior to the PC release, resulting in Rockstar Leeds taking over production.
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.
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.
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).
In Episode 6 I talked about the inclusion of animals in Egyptian mythology, how by looking at Mother Nature we could come up with ideas for characters, their backgrounds, meaning and abilities. This week I wanted to step away from characters and start thinking about the objects and weapons that might be a core part of your game designs. What better to look at for this than the Celtic mythologies, a wide range of myths that included Irish, Scottish, and Welsh stories.
A lot of the mythology from that time period may have been lost due to the Romans destruction of most of the Celtic writings, but there was still a lot of very interesting stories that survived in secret forms hidden from the Romans, or handed down generation to generation. When people are asked about myths and magical objects, the first things that come to mind are King Arthur’s Sword in the stone, the Stone of Scone (aka Stone of Destiny) from Scotland, and the infamous and lipstick covered Blarney stone in Ireland… but there is a lot more to Celtic mythology than a bunch of rocks.
In Episode 5 I took a deeper look at Dragons, the various types of dragons, the interesting stories and backgrounds of dragons, and ultimately just how embedded dragons are in so many different cultures. The purpose of this deeper look, was to think about how we can take one element of mythology and find many different ways of presenting it or altering it to best suit our game designs. In last weeks article I made reference to an Egyptian god by the name of Ra, let’s go back into a specific culture and examine some of the other gods of the Egyptians and see how that might help us to create interesting stories or characters.
When talking to people about Egyptian history, I always find it interesting that they have heard of the pyramids, but beyond Cleopatra and King Tut they really aren’t familiar with some of the most common Egyptian mythological characters. Let’s take a deeper look into some of those other gods and goddesses, and in particular look at the influence that animals had in Egyptian mythology.
It is widely known that the Egyptians treated cats as gods, just ask any cat owner and they will tell you that. The cat was a sacred animal in Egypt, appearing many times in hieroglyphs, and shown as a human-cat hybrid for the goddess Bastet. Early studies of Egyptian mythology showed her to be a lioness, and later a cat, that was both a fierce hunter and protector, a goddess of warfare, however later studies have deemed her to be a goddess of perfume… perfume needs a god?
Another of the cat gods is Sekhmet, she was the lion headed goddess of retribution, vengeance, and conquest. Her responsibilities included doling out punishment to those that were enemies of Ra (see below). As part of Egyptian beliefs, there was even a Sekhmet cult centre, and when one of the Pharaoh’s moved the capital, he moved the cult center too, believing she would protect him.