GD34 Pitch and Play

This past Thursday, VFS Game Design once again hosted its Pitch and Play event. The GD34s pitched their games to a full house of industry professionals and VFS alumni. Each team was full of excitement and passion and they showed off the products of their long days and sleepless nights. All of their hard work definitely paid off as each team presented a highly polished game. The attendees were all impressed by the quality of the games, and by how relevant the games were to the current market with some of the games being playable on mobile devices or ready for online play.

Dave Warfield welcoming the guests.

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GD38 Welcome Party

It’s that time again. Here at VFS Game Design we’ve welcomed a new class into the fold, the GD38s! With the coming of this gaggle of bright eyed designers we break out games, delicious snacks, and our socializing hats for their welcome party!

Held on the second Friday of a new term, the welcome party is a chance for the new students to meet and greet their more seasoned peers in a fun/relaxed environment. With the senior students busy working on their respective projects, it can be easy to miss getting a chance to say hello.

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Pi Jam 2014: Microsoft, Math, and Madness

Microsoft and Vancouver Film School’s Hat Jam worked together to bring Vancouver a special way to celebrate Pi Day on March 14 – a Pi Game Jam. Over the course of 48 hours, participants worked together in small teams to create games celebrating the mathematical constant pi (π). The event took place at the Microsoft Vancouver Development Center, from March 14-16, 2014.

The Microsoft Developer Center was a great location for the jam, with an awesome rec room (a pool table that turns into a ping pong table!) and tons of big offices for developers to brainstorm and have meetings in. There was a lot of blank paper to scribble on, and big huge whiteboards to draw on. For a whole weekend, Microsoft let over 40 developers run wild in their offices, with never-ending pizza, coffee, and pie.

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GD33 Graduation & Awards Show

Spring is in the air, 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 April 24th has a mix of parts: one part formal, and one part fun. The formal part of the evening hosted by Tanya Jensenbegan with a congratulatory speech from the Head of Game Design Dave Warfield, then the student-elected class speaker Janel Jolly spoke about the strength of the bond between all of her classmates this past year in Game Design, and finally student selected Instructor speaker Dan Sochan closed the speeches with some great advice and words of wisdom for the most recent group of Game Design Alumni.

 

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 Alberto, Frankie, Maria and Janel, all who graduated with honours.
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Easter Eggs and Candy

With the cold and frosty winter behind us, it’s time to break out our bunny ears and get in the Easter spirit! It looks like the Easter bunny came early this year, delivering a basket full of candy goodness that is sure to satisfy your sweet-tooth. Below are some sugary pieces we were generous enough to share:

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GD33 Pitch and Play

Dave Warfield opens the night

 

It was a full house on Thursday, April 3rd for the Pitch and Play event at the VFS Game Design campus. Every seat was filled as game developers from various companies filed into the presentation studio. The nerves of this term’s graduating class were buzzing as each team lined up to present their final project, but all of the long hours and dedication they put into practicing their presentations and polishing their games definitely paid off. Each team came in and went out with a bang, leaving all who attended very impressed with the projects.


James Beasely, Dustin Williamson, Emiliano Guerrero, and Ethan Maddix present Run or Roast

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On the Other Side of the Table

I’m Alvin and I graduated from the VFS Game Design Program. As a student, I focused on learning as much as I could, and everything came at me so fast that often the details got fuzzy. As a Teaching Assistant, or being on the other side of the table as some like to call it, that focus needed to be redirected toward fine details and assisting students.

Within a three hour lecture, a student is given a lot of information that they’re expected to just remember. But obviously there are going to be points that stand out more, and there will be points that they’ll forget altogether unless they put it into practice daily. The majority of the students probably won’t care about that small portion of information that was forgotten. But when a single student comes to us with a question about even the most minuscule detail, it’s up to us to have an answer they can trust and move forward with.

Now I’m not saying as a TA you have to immediately study all the details and potential questions that students may have, but one of the most important things is to be prepared. This may require that you’ll have to do the assignment yourself to really understand where the questions are coming from, and what other potential questions may be. It’s also very important to have a solid foundation of knowledge on that particular piece of software. If you understand all the components that you’re working with, it just takes a bit of disassembling and finding the source of your issue. Most of the problems students have will come down to the fine details; being prepared and having a solid foundation just makes things easier.

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Experiences with Environments: Part 3 Unity

Result from Previous Article

Result from Previous Article

Creating the scene in Epic’s Unreal Development Kit was fun and interesting. The next step was to create the same scene, shown at the beginning of the article, in Unity.

Welcome to the final part of the Experiences with Environments series. This article will go through importing assets into Unity, creation of Shaders in Acegikmo’s Shader Forge, lighting using Lightmapping Extended, and post-processing using Image Effects.

Like with UDK, I wanted to begin with creating the same composition as the previous two scenes. Before I started importing assets, however, I needed to first create an organizational menu to place all of my new assets in. You can create a menu any way you would like, but this is how I created it:

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Experiences with Environments: Part 2 Unreal Development Kit

Result of Experiences with Environments: Part 1 Creation

Result of Experiences with Environments: Part 1 Creation

After creating the scene in Autodesk’s Maya, I was very excited to start delving into the impressive and sophisticated program of Epic’s Unreal Development Kit to light my scene and truly make it come alive.

Welcome to the second article in the three part series of Experiences with Environments. In this article, I will discuss my process for importing my assets, creating materials for those assets, lighting, and post-processing techniques.

The first task was to create the same composition in UDK that I had in Maya. I exported my meshes as .fbx files and imported them into the Content Browser of UDK. I inserted the same meshes and then added a couple of wires to add a little more realism to the scene. I then dragged the meshes from the content browser onto the scene to create the visual below:

Meshes Placed in UDK

Meshes Placed in UDK

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Interview: Anna Prein, Pi Jam Organizer and Time-Travelling Unicorn

 

With Pi Jam coming up this Friday, I sat down with organizer Anna Prein, a fellow 2013 Women in Games Scholarship recipient and current Vancouver Film School student to find out more about the jam, as well as the history of Hat Jam.

 

So what’s this thing you’re organizing?

It’s called Pi Jam. It’s a 48-hour game jam. It used to be called Hat Jam, VFS Hat Jam, but now we’re doing this with Microsoft so we wanted to change the name.

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