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.
Dan Sochan, Senior Producer at United Front Games and VFS Mentor, was the Master of Ceremonies for the evening in order to “Save us from Dave’s jokes”.
The first presentation of the evening was PaperWings, a third-person downhill racing game made by Katherine Hairfield, Scott Thompson, Spencer Goring, and Tim Gautron. PaperWings was inspired by the sport of Kite-Fighting, a sport where opponents fly elaborate kites into each other in order to cut the other kite’s strings. PaperWings has the player fly one of these kites through a long winding ravine with the hopes of reaching the end in the shortest amount of time. The player must avoid obstacles such as trees and falling rocks while seeking out the wind tunnels that will give the player a speed boost. The player is able to customize their kite and compete with their friends on a leaderboard for the best times. Players can also race against a “ghost” that represents either their own best time or the best time on the leaderboard. PaperWings was designed to use the gyroscopic movements of mobile devices to control the kite and is ready to play on tablets.
Paper Wings is available to play on the Google Play store and the VFS Arcade.
THE PUZZLE GUARDIAN
The Puzzle Guardian is a first-person adventure game made by Leonardo Burgatte, Matthew Hoppe, Paul Erichson, and Sean Carrick. The Puzzle Guardian combines first-person combat with puzzle (hah) mechanics to create a game with a unique feel and beautiful visuals. What really made The Puzzle Guardian stand out was the great detail the team put into the visual aspects of the game. Everything in the world; the roads, the leaves, the water and even the ducks were made of puzzle pieces. The lighting in The Puzzle Guardian also looked great, with dappled sunlight shining through the leaves of the trees giving the impression of a late summer afternoon.
The Puzzle Guardian is available to play on the VFS Arcade.
Atrophy is a survival platformer made by Chris King, Jakobsen Beck, Nick Gilbert, and Rafe Alfaro. In Atrophy players take the role of Kilo, a knight on a quest to discover why his kingdom is suddenly empty of all its inhabitants. As Kilo, players must jump, slide, and wall-run their way through a cliff side castle-town in order to escape the black liquid entity known as “The Purge”. Players are taken on a roller-coaster ride as they are chased by the Purge through the empty streets, mountain paths, and underground caves that make up Atrophy’s world. The Purge is always nipping at the player’s heels and driving them forward, giving Atrophy fast-paced and intense gameplay. Players are rated by how long they can survive and scores are uploaded to a website leaderboard for all to see.
Atrophy is available to play on the VFS Arcade.
Misorderly is a third-person casual-action-runner made by Jaymee Mak, Keegan Myra, Guerric Hache, and Jeremy Katsumata. Misorderly, the “rythmless rhythm game”, takes place inside a computer where the four main characters must outrun the patch that is creeping forward to delete them. The characters each have a colour and shape that the player must match to the series of enemies that appear in their path. The player switches them by using the 1-4 number keys to assign each character to a lane. Once the player has killed enough enemies, they unlock their “Princess Power” which gives one of their characters an overcharged attack that can clear out large groups of enemies. The player’s goal is to survive as long as possible and high scores are saved on a leaderboard for friends to compete against.
Misorderly is available to play on the VFS Arcade
IInside is a level based running game for mobile devices made by Daniel Garma, Nicha Jaijadesuk, and Semin Sim. IInside is about a young girl who is trapped in a dream-state. She must outrun the demons of her past by completing a number of levels or “Ordeals”. The player must jump over and break through obstacles to complete these Ordeals. Once the player has been running for long enough, they can enter a unique mode where they must repeatedly swipe in an indicated direction to multiply their score. The amount of polish put into this game was amazing. The visuals were bright and responsive and there was a ton of player feedback. IInside has been exported to mobile devices and the PS Vita.
IInside is available to play on the VFS Arcade.
Nebular Online is a 3rd person Multiplayer Online Battle Arena made by Adir Fakiro, Chema Leon, Kdu Novaes, and Willy Campos. In Nebular players choose one of three playable characters and battle for control of a solar system by jumping between a series of tiny planets. Players capture control points to gain income that they can spend on upgrades to their abilities. It is a team battle, so players must work together to gain control of the map. For the presentation, the Nebular team was playing against the GD35s upstairs. The gameplay was fast and frantic. It looked incredibly satisfying to jump from one planet to the next, leaving a crater at your impact site. The Nebular team plans to release the game after creating a larger selection of characters.
Nebular Online is available to play on the VFS Arcade.
Once each team had finished presenting everyone went up to the second floor to have a few drinks, play a few games, and discuss the final projects with the teams.
There was also two solo projects that were shown off upstairs.
Ghost Light is a third person action game made by Andrew Cheney. The player takes the role of a small orb of light who uses a teleporting mechanic to traverse the world. The player also has a ghostly hammer that they can use to defend themselves from enemies.
The other solo project was a portfolio piece. Danilo Reyes modelled and fully animated two game-ready characters. The models looked great and will be awesome additions to a portfolio.
For the rest of the evening all of the attendees were free to play all of the games and talk with the teams who made them. Everyone had a great time talking games and making connections.
Matthew and I went around to the graduating teams and asked them for some quick advice for all the students getting ready to begin their final projects.
“Playtest early, even if you think your game isn’t ready yet” – Katherine Hairfield, PaperWings
“Sit down and choose what you and your players want out of the game. It will help with design arguments later” – Willy Campos, Nebular
“Always hit your milestones, even if it means cutting something” – Paul Erichson, The Puzzle Guardian
“You’ve gotta be able to kill your babies” – Nick Gilbert, Atrophy
“Create a detailed psychographic for your target market. Knowing exactly who you’re making the game for will help focus your design.” – Jeremy Katsumata, Misorderly
We also talked to a few of the industry attendees to see what they thought of the projects.
“…impressed with the relevance of the games. We’re seeing more mobile and online games.” – Kelly Gies, Senior Recruiter at Relic Entertainment
“I’m impressed with all the game’s high-level concepts” – Hampus Gross, Candlelight Entertainment Inc and VFS Alumni
It was a fantastic night. The room was buzzing with excitement and a definite tone of relief from the GD34s. They all had a great presentation and can definitely be proud of all their hard work.
And then Dave kicked us out.
David Milne and Matthew Thomas are Game Design students at VFS