Unity Best Practices With Yossarian King And Gerald Orban From Blackbird Interactive

Yggy King talking to VFS Game Design students about good coding practices

On Friday, May 17, 2013 two VFS Game Design Industry Mentors from Blackbird InteractiveYossarian (Yggy) King and Gerald Orban gave a presentation on how to maintain the quality of Unity based projects and guided us on how to use the engine at its best. They have been using Unity3D for more than 3 years now and are guiding Game Design classes (GD 28 & 29) currently on the production floor.

They covered 3 key things during the presentation:

  1. Design and Code – Keeping the code simple and clear
  2. Test and Debug – knowing the right tools to do it
  3. Managing your project – staying organized and thinking ahead.

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Ambient Occlusion in Game Art (part 1)

There are no lights in this image (which is of a tree)

What Is Ambient Occlusion?

Ambient occlusion creates the look of soft shadows, a very pleasing trait in computer graphics that often favor crispness and sharp precise edges over softness and subtlety. But Ambient Occlusion (AO) is not actually lighting at all, but rather a material/surface property applied to geometry!

Ambient Occlusion in Game Art Image 2

How it works

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Create a Game in 48 Hours for Ludum Dare 26!

Would you believe me if I told you it was possible to create a game in just 48 hours? If not, then you’re definitely not going to believe that there’s an online community of thousands of developers that do it tri-annually!

Meet Ludum Dare, the rapid game creation community, where developers all over the world, including myself, gather (figuratively) in a mass competition to create a game from scratch in just one weekend! The 26th official Ludum Dare runs from April 26-29, and all aspiring game developers should sign up and give it a shot! To sign up, all you have to do is create a WordPress account on the Ludum Dare compo page.

The official Theme Slaughter takes place the week before the competition starts, and all participants vote on a myriad of themes to decide what the official theme will be. Here’s the catch, though: the winning theme is not announced until the moment the 48-hour competition kicks off!

From there, you have the weekend to create your game however you like. You can use tools such as Game Maker, Flash, or Unity, or you can code from scratch in your language of choice. To keep inspired and see what everybody else is up to, you can watch the Ludum Dare blog, where competitors post screenshots of their progress, share the tools they are using, and even record timelapses of their development process!

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FULL INDIE SUMMIT

Held by the organizers of the tremendously successful Full Indie monthly meetup, the Full Indie Summit saw hundreds of independent game developers from all over the west coast pack into the Rio Theatre on Saturday, April 20 to listen to more than a dozen short talks by independent game developers and others. Attendees included a significant number of VFS students and grads. It was great to see so many familiar faces!

Nels Anderson of Klei Entertainment opened the summit with an excellent talk on his strategies for developing Mark of the Ninja. He covered all the typical elements of stealth action games, and how he went about both converting and inverting them when creating a 2D stealth game.

Next up was Jeff Isselee from Skull Theatre who spoke about the fascinating photogrammetry art pipeline they are using for their Unity-powered game, Rustclad. Photogrammetry essentially means creating 3d models from photographs of real-world models and objects. The results are both impressive and unique.

Joel Green gave a talk called Game n’ Farmer, in which he prognosticated on the possibility of game development outside of cities — specifically, from a rural homestead on Vancouver Island. As a game developer who dislikes city living more and more every day, I found his talk intriguing and inspiring.

VFS Game Design alumnus, Nick Yonge of Krang Games spoke about his strategies for rapid development, offering tons of great tips when developing prototypes or vertical slices.
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My Top Ten List For GDC 2013 — Part 2

Games Development Conference 2013

Welcome to Part 2 of my GDC Top 10, featuring moments from the great, but exhausting, 2013 Game Developers Conference.  You can read Part 1 here.

But before I begin, here’s a photograph I’d like to dedicate to Bren Lynne, our programming instructor!

John Romero! …And some other guy!
John Romero! …And some other guy!

#5 Meeting Industry Heavies

You never know who you will bump into at GDC. I found myself riding the escalator next to John Romero, the designer of the original Doom. Doom was a very influential game for me personally, as well as a landmark in the history of games. It’s nice to meet someone you admire, and GDC has an atmosphere that makes it easy to approach anyone and start up a conversation.
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Tech Talk : Zero to Hero – Getting Your First Technical Games Developer Job

Tech Talk Banner

As Senior Technical Instructor here at VFS, the question I get asked the most by students nearing graduation is how to ace an interview for becoming a technical designer, technical artist, or programmer. I’ve hired many people in my time in the industry, so I’m happy to help! Students want to know what to expect, how to handle the tough questions, and what to say when the dreaded negotiations about money start. This first Tech Talk is a guide through the steps most students will take from leaving VFS to when they land their first dream job.

Getting that Phone Call

Before you get to the interview you need to get asked to attend one! This is where a polished professional resume is key. Don’t try to stand out too much with fancy graphics and stylised text. Since it’s now normal for everyone to try to stand out with something funky, you will actually fare better with a clean looking page. Make sure to get it reviewed by at least two professionals working in industry before submitting it. Keep it under four pages, and even if you have no professional experience, cover your accomplishments. Employers want to see that you have both skills and are a real human that can interact and have fun with other people. When it’s ready – get ready to apply – everywhere. Getting that first call can take a long time and you need to apply to a lot of employers. Once you have your foot in the door and some experience behind you, future searches will take a lot less time.

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The Oarering

Pfffff. KC Irvine of Big Jet has put on his maximum trollololol face and made us the gorgeous poster you see below. The Oarering… Really?

The Oarering

Well, joke’s on him. The Horroring is not gonna take this lying down. I’m already planning a meeting where we’re gonna go over how to get him back. Stay tuned!

In other news I’ve been struggling with Unity lighting. Unfortunately, I was not in the art stream and missed out on the amazing lighting class, apart from a few sessions I sat in on. Therefore, I am trying to learn as I go. I have a relative amount of experience creating decent lighting in UDK but Unity is very different, so it’s a bit of an adjustment.

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Game Design Industry Night : Pitch N Play #27

2013 April Game Design Class 27 Pitch N Play

On Thursday, April 4, 2013 at our industry night event Pitch N Play, the 27th class of VFS Game Design students will present the final games that they have spent the last 4 months designing and developing. The students are excited to share their hard work and look forward to having experienced game industry people review, play, and provide feedback on what they have created. This feedback is invaluable to help them prepare their portfolios, for their graduation on April 18th.

This group of students will be presenting four games created using the Unity Game Engine.
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Unity Coming to Sony Consoles in 2013

Unity Technologies has recently announced that they’ve entered into a “strategic partnership” with Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), and that their free game development tool will be able to publish to Sony consoles before 2014.

This is big news for indie, hobbyist, and professional game developers alike! Game developers using Unity will soon be able to create games for the Playstation 4 and PS Vita consoles, further expanding the wide array of targets Unity can already publish to.

What is Unity?

For those unaware, Unity is a cross-platform game engine for developing 3D games. It comes with built-in scripting, scene editor, shader support, physics simulation, and all the tools one needs to create games that look and play great. Not only is the basic version free to download, at any time you can upgrade it to add support for more platforms (iOS, Android, Flash) and more special features (lighting, animation, pathfinding).
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The Haunting

Women in Games Scholarship winner 2012 Kristina Soltvedt

This is getting weirder now. Ever since I took down my lucky charm (a picture of some garlic I printed), our workstations have gone from odd to crazy. The light at our work station is flashing and giving us all seizures.

Yes, it’s only going on in our space, and No, it’s not an indication that the light bulb needs changing. It’s appropriately a haunting!

Production is trudging along. We just passed Milestone 1 and have all the stuff in we want for that. So, thus far, we are feeling very good about the project.

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