The Peer Presentations were definitely not what we expected. We had the assumption that once we got down to the studio, we were to sit down and be assigned a topic, which we would take back to class with an hour to work on it. Then we were supposed to go back down and present what we had to our peers (the current students, instructors, TAs and other staff). But this was not the case — we were deceived by everyone in the school.
On January 19th, 2013 I was given the opportunity to volunteer at this year’s Game Design Expo, which presented some fantastic guest speakers from all around the games industry, giving their take on some fascinating topics. When I wasn’t chatting up other attendees, setting up presentation booths, passing around microphones like an Olympic torch bearer, or snagging a few chocolate croissants (I’m addicted, now), I had a chance to attend some of the presentations held by the speakers throughout the day.
It’s been a week since the Game Design Expo, and I’ve had a lot of time to soak in what Industry Speaker Day day contained, and to allow the mass amount of information to stew around in my brain like a game design tea-bag. But I find myself resonating with one particular talk given by a very off-the-wall, yet incredibly personable individual. The man I speak of is Patrick Plourde, the Creative Director at Ubisoft, whose latest project, Far Cry 3, has earned much attention and acclaim these past few months.
On Friday, January 18, to kick off the 2013 Game Design Expo I went to a presentation by Armando Troisi at the VFS Game Design campus. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the VFS game design alumnus. I quickly learned that Armando Troisi is a “somebody” in the video game industry — he’s Narrative Director at 343 Industries, who developed Halo 4.
After he spoke about who he is and where he is in the world of video game production, he opened up the floor for questions. I have recently started learning Interactive Narrative Design in the Game Design program, so a lot of what he had to say was central to my current projects. The information he shared was so relevant and informative that I was compelled to speak to him afterwards, if only just to shake his hand and say “Thanks”. As his allotted time came to a close, I looked over my notes to recap. That’s when I noticed that I had missed something.
One of the ultimate outcomes of the VFS Game Design program is the final project, where “guided by mentors carefully selected from local development studios, student teams conceive, plan, and execute game design projects.” The results are presented at the industry night Pitch N’ Play. Students strive to be original and entertaining, and in the case of Major Hertz, they certainly hit the mark. The game was developed by students James Daniell, Alex Schmidt, Josh Reader, Michael Shannon and Ed Hicks (with collaborative help by Moritz Grabosch, Alastair Leong, Bobby Sangha, Alan Riva Palacio, Kevin Locsin, Daniel Martin and Cody Howes).
Major Hertz won the prize for Best Final Project for their graduating class and was recently one of the featured games at the 2013 Game Design Expo. I spoke recently with the graduates about the game and their experience creating it.
So the Sims Seasons is out now, and I am not ashamed to say I am a lover of Sims. I can completely geek out an entire weekend on this game, and after 48 hours, I realize my sim has reached the top of the business ladder, learned how to make sushi, and had a family. I, on the other hand, have not slept for two days, eaten only junk, and not gotten any closer to reaching my desired career.
I was recently pointed in the direction of this article and I really loved the topic of it. It’s well-written, to the point, and it says something important about both gaming culture and those who are not part of it.
Please read and share: I Was Ashamed To Be A Gamer — I Don’t Feel That Way Anymore
(From left to right: Relic Development Director, Otto Ottosson, VFS grad Isaac Calon, and Relic recruiter Kelly Gies)
Relic Entertainment announced the newest winner of the Brian Wood Memorial Internship, and it is Isaac Calon.
Relic, the Vancouver-based developers of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine among other popular games, offers the four-month internship to three graduating VFS Game Design students every year to honour and continue the legacy of Brian Wood, a Relic game designer who passed away in 2010.
Isaac graduated from the one-year program this past August. Prior to coming to VFS, he earned a Communications degree and worked as a writer and manager in corporate settings. At VFS, he was on the team behind R.O.Bit and helped create two other games during his year. His internship will place him as a production intern on an unannounced Relic title.
Check out Isaac’s portfolio
This is my first blog post in a while. I think the last time I had a blog I was about fifteen or so. And back then I was writing about how much I hated school, what a brat I was and how WoW was the best thing in the world. Things have changed a bit. School is pretty awesome and WoW is a faint memory. When you study game design at VFS you don’t really have time to play games. Oh the irony. I know.
Two VFS Game Design student teams are finalists for 2012 Unity Awards under the category “Best Student Project” — and their games are getting a fair amount of buzz too, with articles written in both Eurogamer and VG247 about the nominations! The games nominated are Pulse and The Mask of Qi.
2012 marks the fourth year Vancouver Film School has offered the Women in Games Scholarship, opening up more opportunities for women in Game Design, and in those four years we’ve seen an impressive roster of diverse winners. Shannon Lee, the inaugural winner, hails from Vancouver, although the prize found her in Japan; she is now at BigPark innovating with Kinect. Second-year winner Annie Dickerson is a native of Washington State, and a former elementary school teacher, and currently works for East Side Games. Larissa Baptista from Brazil was the third recipient, and was recently featured with her final project team on CBC television.
This year’s winner, Kristina Soltvedt Wiik, hails from Norway, and arrives at VFS having worked for three years as a journalist for Gamereactor Magazine. Kristina is especially interested in the narrative possibilities of games, and has already worked as a Narrative Designer on a PC game developed in Vancouver.
Kristina says, “It is a tremendous privilege to be awarded such a coveted scholarship, and I can’t help but be excited at the possibility of realizing my dreams. I’m really looking forward to the year ahead of me, and the ensuing opportunities my year at VFS will surely offer.”