New Games for the New Year

Game Design Arcade Play the Games — No coins required

I am always inspired when I look back in January and see how prolific our students were with their game creations. In 2013, VFS Game Design students produced over 100 games using Unity, UDK, Flash and HTML5.

Below we have selected 6 inspiring games that are sure to motivate any game making enthusiast out there to create their first title for 2014!

Bullet Ride (GD28) – Bullet Ride is a 3rd person fast paced action game, where the player steers a bullet through an art deco world, developed by a team of five students using Unity 4.0.

Play Bullet Ride HERE.

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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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GD31′s Pitch & Play Event

Pitch & Play is an event held every term during which student teams present their final projects to an audience from the game industry. As students currently in the pre-production phase of our final projects, we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to attend this event and cover the games on show.

Senior Instructor Andrew Laing was the host of the evening, and kept the audience entertained throughout the night with his funny, and somewhat corny, jokes.

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Hat Jam 3 – The Temptation of Antonio the Vampire [Post-Mortem]

Hat Jam is a game jam that runs at VFS (Vancouver Film School) once a term and is organized by fellow students Anna Prein and Michelangelo Pereira Huezo.

Teams of 3 had less than 48 hours to design and make a game from scratch, based on a painting that was randomly given to them.

You can read Anna’s write up of the jam on the VFS arcade and play games made by other teams HERE.

I entered with two of my classmates, Danilo Reyes and Guerric Haché, winning best story.

Picture taken from here: Danilo, myself and Guerric, with a screenshot of our game.

This post is about the process behind the game we made, ‘The Temptation of Antonio the Vampire’, which can be played by clicking HERE.

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Hat Jam 3: Thirteen Games

Another term, another Hat Jam! This one was held the weekend before Halloween, so we decided to choose 13 horror-esque classical artworks, and have the teams randomly draw one to work with. As is becoming standard for Hat Jam, we were blown away by the results. Instructors Bren Lynne and Victor Kam sacrificed some of their precious Sunday time to come out and judge — not to mention that Bren was also a sporadic Unity mentor through-out the weekend! Both have our utmost gratitude for supporting the Hat Jam cause. Prizes were donated by Microsoft, and included full licensed copies of Windows 8 for the top 4 teams.

Grand Prize: Masked [Play here!]

Team Members (left to right): Spencer Goring (GD34), Willy Campos (GD34), Carlos Eduardo Da Costa Novaes (GD34)
Theme:  Mask Still Life III, by Emil Nolde

This team received one of the less classically-oriented paintings to work with, and turned out an exceptionally clever platformer, worthy of the Grand Prize. Each mask shows you the world in a different way, and use of all three masks is required to advance. On top of the great gameplay and puzzle elements, this team turned out some beautiful visual effects and stayed true to their theme, for a wonderfully cohesive game. Given more time, the judges believed the concept and mechanics behind this game could really lead to something great.

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CAUTION: Ghoulish Games Ahead

You only need to visit Comic-Con to find that costumes and gamers go hand-in-hand. Cosplay is the natural product of game designers marrying unique worlds with engaging characters. It’s no surprise then that Halloween is a popular holiday here on campus.

 The dark, spooky and ghoulish themes that come with the holiday are often echoed in our student games. Below we have selected 8 frightening games to get you in the Halloween spirit!

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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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Hat Jam 2: 48 hours, 8 games

Following the success of the first Hat Jam, myself (Anna Prein) and classmate Michelangelo Pereira Huezo banded together to organize the second incarnation of this VFS game jam. Leaping Coyote Interactive also generously offered to sponsor this time, meaning that we could provide some food, snacks, donuts, and lots and lots of coffee.

Leaping Coyote Interactive Logo

If you already know what a game jam is, go ahead and skip this paragraph, but otherwise — a game jam is an event (usually over 48 consecutive hours) in which teams create a small game from start to finish. Game jams are increasingly more popular these days, with events like Global Game Jam, Ludum Dare, and Indie Speed Run! Some have prizes, but all game jams are fundamentally about the same core values of teamwork, creativity, and passion. They’re also a great way to learn, as GD34’s Daniel Garma will attest to: “You learn so much by jamming. People don’t even know. They don’t even KNOW.”

This time around, nearly 30 VFS Game Design students and TAs participated, creating eight fabulous games. Each team drew a theme from our fancy hat; themes were produced by the Video Game Name Generator. From there, it was a grueling 48 hours of work, work, work, and temporary periods of sleep-deprivation-induced madness.

GD34 students Semin Sim and Scott Thompson, looking pretty relaxed.

 

New Term 1 students from GD35 also joined us! From left to right: Emiliano Guerrero, Emilio Pelaez, and Matt Holland.

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GD34 Board Game Presentations

For those of you who read my previous blog post, you may have been wondering why we devoted 3 hours each week to playing board games in class.

For these babies:

They might not look like much in their boxes, but they are the result of hours of work by individuals and partners, slaving over rule sets and playtesting sessions to create kick ass board games for our Game Theory Analog class.

The requirements were simple (not really):

  1. Interesting or unique concept.
  2. Core mechanics that match the theme.
  3. Game mechanics that lead to fun and interesting decisions for the target audience.
  4. Play-test documentation
  5. Clear, easy to understand and logical rules – with game play examples and images.
  6. Boxed game with neatly stored components and functional artwork.
  7. In-Class Presentation of the goal and core mechanisms of the game, as well as the evolution of the game from conception through to final prototype.
  8. BONUS POINTS for anything that exceeded expectations.

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The 29th Annual Game Design Awards Show

Just like that, summer is almost over, 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 August 15th has a mix of parts: one part formal, and one part fun. The formal part of the evening began with a speech from myself, then the student-elected class speaker Jordan Tame spoke about his favourite Kung Fu movie, and finally student selected Instructor speaker Andrew Laing closed the speeches with some heart-warming words and gelato.

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 about the fact that Andrew brought Gelato. The formalities continued with the handing out of diplomas and the embarrassingly long handshakes that make up that portion of the evening. Congratulations to Pedro and Peter who both graduated with honours.
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