Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Double Fine Productions Hosting Fan Day

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Double Fine Productions has announced that it is hosting a special “Day of the Devs” event on November 2. The event is open to the public and in addition to meeting the great Double Fine crew – which includes several Cogswell graduates – guests will mingle with other indie developers and have the chance to test the company’s new Kickstarter-funded game, “Broken Age.”

Learn more about the event at GamePolitics.com or RSVP at the Day of the Devs website.

Day of the Devs will take place at Public Works at 161 Erie St. in San Francisco from 4-8 p.m. on November 2. The event is free to attend, though no one under 21 will be allowed in, likely due to alcohol being on-site.

Animation Show of Shows Comes to Cogswell

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Cogswell College will have the distinct privilege of hosting “The Animation Show of Shows” right here on campus on September 24, 2013. This exclusive evening of short animated films brings together a collection of the best the film festival world has to offer. Many of these films have only been available on a limited basis – making this rare opportunity even more special.

DATE:  Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TIME:  7:00 to 9:00PM

PLACE:  Dragon’s Den

SEATING IS LIMITED

RSVP:  Sign up in the Pulse Office and pick up your ticket

Since 1998, The Animation Show of Shows has selected the best in animated short films from the world’s most renowned animation festivals and presented them at the major animation studios to inspire their animators and directors. The screenings at major studios such as DreamWorks, Pixar, Disney and many others throughout North America have served to inspire and enrich the many professionals who have been lucky enough to see them.

The techniques range from hand-drawn, paint on glass and stop-motion, to the latest computer-generated imagery, with its ability to conjure entire worlds with astonishing verisimilitude. Together these films capture, in the words of Andrew Stanton, director of Finding Nemo, “all the wit, cleverness, integrity, warmth and humor that humanity is capable of,” and have a universal appeal that makes them ideal for sharing with family and friends.

Join us in the Dragon’s Den on Tuesday, September 24, to enjoy the art, talent and creativity of some of the best animators in the world.

Images from Summerfest 2013

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

If you missed this event – we’re sorry. Here’s a recap of the day:

Water Slides, Slip n’ Slide, Boffer Sword Battle, Inflatable Boxing, Pie Eating Contest – oh, my! But that’s not all – Baton Jousting, Lemon Jousting, Water Pong, Video Games, Live Bands and did we mention – FREE FOOD!

Looks like fun but you just couldn’t make it last Saturday?  Well, there’s always next year!

Women in Animation Presentation at Pixar

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Cogswell College students at the Women in Animation San Francisco Pixar Studio event.

On July 16 more than 20 female students attended the Women in Animation San Francisco screening of Monsters University at Pixar Studio. After the movie, everyone at the event had the chance to listen to a panel of talented women who worked in Technical, Artistic and Production roles on the film followed by an audience Q&A session.

Rosalie Wynne, one of the students who attended was impressed by the size of Pixar and the amenities they provide their employees like the dining areas all over the building. “I also enjoyed touring the second floor where they kept their art gallery and had some concept art on display,” she said.

Students Rosalie Wynne and Cara Ricci at Pixar

Rosalie noticed that the panelist had mostly arrived at Pixar in the mid-1990s to early-2000s and were able to work their way up the ranks. She doesn’t think that approach will work now. “Our generation has to have all this schooling and amazing portfolios and reels to be considered for jobs now. I think the days are mostly past when  you can start at the bottom and work your way up into an artist’s position,” she added.

One of the main things the panelists stressed was the importance of being collaborative and to learn to communicate effectively. They said overall, working at Pixar is about being a team player plus learning when to fight for your ideas and when to let them go.

At Cogswell College – in addition to an amazing faculty and curriculum – we provide multiple learning experiences both through on-campus and off-campus events.

Students Amanda Martinez, Ashley Evans, Jennifer Hicks and friends at Pixar.

I Am A Gamer Event This Weekend

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Calling all gaming enthusiasts to join Cogswell alumnus, Tobiah Marks and Kenny Spade of Microsoft for a 48 hour “I Am A Gamer” Game Jam at the Microsoft BizSpark Lab.

I Am A Gamer is working to change the image of female protagonists in video games. Too often women characters in games are portrayed as weak and helpless or as the object of desire for the male characters.

The theme of this Game Jam is to, “make a game featuring awesome female protagonists.”

Since space is limited to 50 people, Game Jammers need to register through Eventbrite for the event that runs from 5:30PM on Friday, July 12 and ends at 9:00PM on Sunday July 14.

For more information about the event and some video suggestions to watch that help explain the issue, visit Facebook.

Join Cogswell for Some Twitter Fun Next Week

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Between Monday, June 24, and Monday, July 1, your tweets and retweets can earn you the chance to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate.

You can either retweet any of the @CogswellCollege tweets or you can tweet you answer to this question: “Which animated character reminds you of yourself and why?” Multiple tweets with different answers are encouraged. Be creative!! Remember – the more tweets or retweets, the better.

Rules:

  1. Twitter account must be following @CogswellCollege to be eligible
  2. Each Tweet must contain #CogswellCollege to be counted as an entry
  3. Retweets from your followers will count as an additional entry
  4. Only tweets and retweets between midnight on June 23, 2013 and midnight on July 1, 2013 meeting contest criteria will be eligible for contest entry
  5. The more tweets and retweets per account, the more chances that person will have to win
  6. Contest winner will be announced on July 2 at 1:00PM PST

We look forward to seeing what you have to say. Happy Tweeting!!

Idea to IPO Start Up Fair at Cogswell College June 5

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

We hope you will join us. Please RSVP to the Meetup.


The Power of Game Mechanics for the Real World

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

How Companies, Non-profits and Government Organizations Can Utilize Advanced Gamification


Cogswell Assistant Professor Albert Chen (second from right) and the panel of game mechanics experts

The idea of using game mechanics for business purposes is a popular one, with “gamification” elements being added to a lot of products or experiences. From profile completeness scores in LinkedIn, to badges in FourSquare to commenting leaderboards on popular blogs, game mechanics have become fairly ubiquitous.

But according to a panel of experts in the game mechanics space, these elements are just touching the surface of this powerful emotional and psychological force. Video gaming companies are at the forefront of developing increasingly sophisticated games, but businesses, non-profits and governmental organizations will increasingly be tapping into these powerful gaming mechanics as new models are created.

Read on to see why game mechanics are so powerful and how they can be used for various different business or non-business applications.

The Power of Game Mechanics

1) Game Mechanics Impact Brain Chemistry

Game mechanics are powerful because they impact brain chemistry. The different types of games can provide different types of physiological rewards to the player.

  • Learning (concentrating/solving problems/exploring) – Norepinephrine)
  • Overcoming Challenges – Epinephrine (Adrenaline)
  • Building Social Connections – Oxytocin)
  • Building/Finding Order – Seratonin

2) Core Loops Lead to More Usage (and repeat visits)

Game mechanics create simple core loops that gamers do over and over again. These create an addictive cycle that makes it hard to stop playing.

For example, the core loop in Farmville is:

  • Plant Seeds -> Harvest Resources -> Buy Seeds -> Plant Seeds.

The core loop for Gears of War is:

  • Move to Next Position -> Select Correct Weapon -> Aim and Fire Until Clear -> Move to Next Position

It was argued that core loops in daily life can be powerful for consumer behavior beyond games. For example, the core loop for Starbucks is something like:

  • Arrive at Starbucks – > Order and Chat with Regular Barrista -> Enjoy Your Coffee -> Repeat Tomorrow

This core loop turns buying coffee into an annuity for Starbucks. Perhaps this ability to create a strong core loop is why the Starbuck’s model has been so powerful.

3) New Element Prevent Core Loop “Tolerance”

As with anything addictive, the emotional (and chemical) rewards provided by the core loop decrease over time. So, how does a game company (or other business) bring people back to play (or buy) again?

A game like Angry Birds does this with new worlds and increased difficulty. Another way they bring people back it is to show incomplete levels that require “clean up”, keeping people busy getting creating order!

Providing a special item that is only available for a limited time is a way to stimulate demand and sales (and to keep up interest). For example, the McRib is one of McDonald’s ways of stimulating their customer base. Happy meals and various giveaways are others. Disney DVDs that would come out of the vault and be available for a limited time is another example of this.

4) Games Don’t Depend On Increasing Player Motivation

Game mechanics can’t assume that players will become more motivated to learn or add skills to play higher and higher levels. In other words, the challenges can’t become so hard for any level of player that they give up. So, to create this “system of the grind”, as a player’s level increases, it should be just about as easy to kill the mouse from level 1 as it is to kill the dragon in level 10. Perhaps the player will have accumulated more powers and slightly more skill, but it can’t be too far off from the original level of difficulty.

For a real-life example, Village Harvest had success with taking donated fruit from people’s trees and giving it to the elderly. But with success, they didn’t necessarily want to expand the program, making it harder for volunteers to help. They wanted to make the process a simple habit (a core loop) for each volunteer, making the overall program more sustainable and not a burden on them.

5) Game Mechanics Can Be Applied to Real World Problems

Game designers have access to huge numbers of rabid fans and they are pushing the envelope in terms of building powerful experiences that are designed to influence user behavior.

Games like Call of Duty, SIM City and Grand Theft Auto are examples of immersive experiences where game designers have a choice of what to simulate and what not to – simulating real life but with parts specifically removed.  Mobile games like Angry Birds and Diner Dash create seemingly mindless but nevertheless addictive games. Both types of games attract millions and game designers are constantly refining the games to improve stickiness and return visits.

Cases: Applying Game Mechanics to the Real World

Game mechanics can be applied to solve real world problems, to generate new ideas, or to provide better (or cheaper) results. Some examples of practical applications include:

  • NASA and Life Support: NASA created a competition for developers to work on life support systems for travel to Mars. They used the motivation of competition to push for better and more unique ideas.
  • Netflix used a similar competition to improve the algorithm for its movie database.
  • Galaxy Zoo was created to use a game-like system to allow people to crowd-source the classification of galaxies. They received 70,000 classifications within 24 hours of the launch in 2007. That’s one approach to handling “big data”.
  • The problem that Hope Labs wanted to solve was that people would stop taking their medication, leading to health issues. So, they developed an immersive game where players could go into their bodies and shoot the cancer cells, allowing patients to visualize the power of the medicines.
  • FitBit, Fitocracy and other fitness companies provide scoring, social elements and feedback loops that help people keep up their level of activity.
  • Smoking: In an experiment in Canada, virtual reality games were used to successfully reduce the urge to smoke.
  • Poker and currency conversion: In another example, a poker site solved the massive problem of online currency conversion in order to facilitate play across the world.

How To Make Game Mechanics Work For Your Organization

In thinking about how to add game mechanics to your company’s products or services (or any other organization, for that matter), here are six elements to consider:

1) Make It “Crunchy” – Crisply define the target audience for the change (e.g. mothers between 25-45 years old) and the behavior you would like to impact.

2) Make It Measurable – Make sure the behavior is specifically described and is measurable.

3) Define Your Core Loop – Understand what core actions the person will do regularly to keep them participating.

4) Do Compulsion Analysis – Understand what will keep them coming back the next day.

5) Measure Behavior – Track and analyze the results.

6) Test Engagement Strategies – Make sure you engage with your participants and try different things to see the impact on their participation.

Game mechanics go beyond badges and leaderboards. They can wield significant power if used correctly in ways that align with participant motivation. While video game designers are at the cutting edge, increasingly companies and other organizations will be using more advanced game design techniques.

Are you integrating game design techniques into your company or organization’s business model?

Why or why not?

To Learn More…

To find out about Cogswell’s programs, including Game Design, Digital Art, Game Audio, Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Digital Media Management: Cogswell College, Silicon Valley, Programs.

This article is based on the panel by five experts, including Cogswell Assistant Professor Albert Chen and moderator Margarita Quihuis of SocialxDesign. It was held at law firm Sheppard Mullin for the Silicon Valley Innovation Institute on May 15th.

About the author: Tom Treanor will be teaching two courses in Cogswell’s Masters Program in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Fall of 2013. He writes about Social Media Marketing in the Bay Area at Right Mix Marketing.

Reason Group Meets at Cogswell College

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

If you are a Propellerhead, then you just missed a chance to mingle with and learn from some of the best in the field. On May 4, 23 Reason fans gathered in the Dragon’s Den at Cogswell College to dive more deeply into the features and functionality of Reason 7.

One enthusiast drove all the way up from Los Angeles to meet some of his idols. “I got to meet Peff & EditEd as well as other Reason users from the Bay area,” he said.

More events are sure to follow!

Alan Strahsburg showing off what's new in Propellerhead Reason 7

Ed Bauman showing 'ReCover' work he did for Frederic Riesterer

Kurt Kurasaki from PEEF demoing how to use Rack Extension plugins Directre and Buffre

Relive the Fun from Cogs Con 2013

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Cogs Con 2013 was a day to remember. Congratulations to the Associated Student Body and Cogswell’s Comic Creation Club on an outstanding job. Everything ran smoothly and there was definitely a lot going on.

Thanks to all of the amazing exhibitors who shared their talent and products at Cogs Con 2013. A great big shout out goes to:
Amigurumi Crafts, Michael & Ahnthony Sardi, Halzee Herms & Katie Fortune, Tiger’s Tangibles, Ratgirl Productions, Sugar Clay Cafe, Creepy Town Miniatures, Yobanja, Amelia Davis, Gaz Davis DeWolfe, Ronin Collectibles, Rackage, L. Planas, Jackie Lo, Jasmine Ho, Handy Lee, Simplexity, Cogswell College Game Club and our special guest, Bordin Marsinkul of Hyper Booster Studio!

Watch one of the costume contest videos on Cogswell’s Youtube Channel and then check out the others while you are there.