Pitch & Play for the 32nd Game Design Class

One night is the sum of an entire years work from the Game Design students of Vancouver Film School. This fabled night, the end of the pilgrimage, is titled Pitch & Play. Many students refer to it simply as Industry Night, for it is this night that the graduating class of students presents their final games to a studio full of industry officials with eyes for fresh talent. This is the night for them to seize life and ascend from game student to actual Game Designer.

On Feburary 6th 2014, three final games were showcased from the graduating class of GD32 (GD=Game Design, 32 = Thirty Second class to go through the program. Labels are super cool!). As a bonus for the crowd, a fourth game was shown as well. A group of students from the GD34’s created a flash game in the first half of their 1 year program, it was shown as the night’s appetizer.

Figure 1: Kdu Novaes – Mechanics and UI Designer, Chema Leon – Programmer

Stacking Smores opened the night! It was designed and created in two terms (4 months) for the Flash Project that all students partake in during their 2nd and 3rd terms. Throughout the year, students are encouraged to not just think about finishing a project, but how they could use that project in the future after VFS. Stacking Smores was created with the intention of eventually porting it to mobile devices. With this final goal in mind, this group of students produced a highly polished product worthy enough to be shown during Pitch & Play! “We hope this was a good appetizer for tonight, please enjoy the GD32 projects!” was the closing statement by the team artist and Women in Games Scholarship winner, Nicha Jaijadesuk.
You can play the game HERE

Figure 2: Katherine Hairfield – Project Manager and Mechanics Designer, Nicha Jaijadesuk – Artist


 

Figure 3: Michael Cameron – QA and Systems Designer, Rony Miller – UI Designer and Artist, Moustafa Tharwat – Project Manager and Level Designer

The main attraction of the night began with Tempt, a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) where two teams fight to gain control over an ancient golem in the center of the arena. The game is functional and able to be played online with up to 7 other people! The Tempt team displayed this by having people play the game upstairs along with them playing on the stage. Players can choose from four playable characters. Each character has one characteristic they are strong against, and one they are weak against. It was important to the team to create this Rock-Paper-Scissors effect, driving the mindset that teamwork is vital to moving through the arena.

You can play the game HERE

Figure 4: Guilherme Leite – Programmer, Devon Shimek – 3D Artist and Lighting


 

Figure 5: Brandon Crawford – Solo Project

Next up was HighLights, a solo project by Brandon Crawford. He did all the art, programing and design in a total of 5 months. His hard work really showed for such a short time frame.
HighLights is an on rails shooter that has the player assuming the character of a dragon with the goal of defeating all the phoenixes atop the Great Wall of China. The Great Wall is shown in epic fashion in a neon centric style. All the “highlights” vibrate to the beat of the song, and even the enemies are fueled and controlled by the beats of the music. Players can expect a high octane fight for their lives in Highlights!

You can play the game HERE


 

Figure 6: Karthik Subramanyam – Core Programmer and UI Designer, Miles Lepine – Camera and Tools Programmer

Rails of Fury ended the night strong. In an X-Games style event sponsored by Crimson Ox, players take control of Jace Wango in an attempt to break all the paracarting world records in this high speed on-rails platformer in which they will balance, track switch and perform outrageous stunts.

Figure 7 Sebastian Pachmayr – Environmental and Lighting Artist, Colin Cormier – Level Designer, Melissa Borda – Project Manager, Character Artist and Animator

The attention to detail really shows in this title. The menus are gorgeous and the simple low geometry art style displays extremely well. The team, wanting a unique visual feel, looked to graphic artists for inspiration. The art style was not only stylish, but well thought out. Spending weeks creating highly detailed textures would have been lost to the player as they rocket through levels. The team’s time was better put to improving the experience for the player.

You can play the game HERE


 

As the presentations ended, the second portion of the night began, the actual Play of the Pitch & Play. Everyone headed up to the second floor to actually get their hands on the games.

Figure 8: Rick Davidson enjoying Rails of Fury

People laughed while having a great time experiencing the talent in the room first hand. Many of the industry people there are actually alumni of the program. Every couple months they make the trek back to the VFS campus to support and possibly hire the newly graduating class.

Figure 9 Brant Stutheit – Teacher Assistant, Jonathan Falkowski – Instructor, Carolina Mastretta – Associate Designer at Relic Entertainment… All of them Alumni of VFS Game Design

A word of advice to the graduating class from Rick Davidson, a graduate of GD 02 and now Independent Video Gam Consultant, is to simply “Keep making games. You are not on holiday yet!”


Jakobsen Beck and Tim Gautron are class reps and game Design students at VFS