Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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.

Successful Job Fair at Cogswell College

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Welcome to the Job Fair at Cogswell College

A great big thank you goes out to all of the employers, students and alumni who took part in our recent job fair on March 15. This hugely successful event featured 11 employers and drew more than 100 students and alumni to campus to apply for more than 50 positions.

Opportunities included post graduate jobs, part-time summer jobs and internships with employers looking to hire artists, programmers, marketing assistants and retail associates to name a few of the positions available. A good number of the students who completed employment applications at the job fair, have been asked to take the next step and interview for those positions.

From the minute the doors opened at 10AM until they closed at 2PM, students and alumni flocked into the Dragon’s Den, resumes in hand and waited patiently to talk to each of the employers present. In preparation, Nikki Love, Director of Cogswell College’s Career Services, had offered numerous sessions over the last few months on interviewing techniques and resume development to help students be successful at the job fair.

For more information about the next job fair or to advertise a position to Cogswell College students and alumni, please contact Nikki Love at nlove@cogswell.edu or phone her at 408-498-5102.

Job Fair Art Test for Karmen's Art Shoppes

Waiting in line to talk to Grimm Bros, LLC, representative, Ash Monif

Global Game Jam 2013 Team Videos

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

In case you missed the event but want to find out what happened in 48 hours of intense game-making, here’s your chance. Check out the videos that recap each of the teams who worked their magic at Cogswell College during Global Game Jam 2013.

This international event of more than 16,000 jammers took place in 63 countries with 319 sites hosting teams. Worldwide more than 3,000 games were developed. Cogswell has been a host site since the first Global Game Jam in 2009 and is happy to continue providing a forum that helps push the boundaries of game development.

Our site’s teams had a lot of fun and are proud of what they accomplished in a short period of time.

Team “Allergy Alliance

Team “Heart Attack

Team “Knights of the Longtable

Team “Rocketblood

Team “Tinman

Cogs Con 2013 Coming Soon!

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

It’s time to spend some time in Nerd’s Paradise. Join us at Cogswell College on Saturday, April 27, from 10AM to 6PM for Cogs Con 2013 – a celebration of everything that makes our student body special. Visiting artists, alumni and students will fill the Dragon’s Den with their handiwork and considerable talents. Admission Tickets are $5 online and $10 at the door.

In addition to the displays of art, games and craft items a host of activities are scheduled throughout the day. Check out the exhibitors already confirmed.

Scheduled Activities Include:

Character Design Panel

Special Guest: Bordin will be hosting a panel on character design, how it’s done and his creative process. Depending on how tired his hands are, he may be able to demo his unique art style.

Magic the Gathering Draft:

Cogswell’s Friday Night Magic club will be hosting a draft tournament of the Gatecrash expansion. The tournament is open to EVERYONE will be Single Round Elimination. The entry fee is only $3.00! The prizes may range from a fat-pack, to half a booster box!

DND Delve:

For those who enjoy table-top gaming we will have an experienced Dungeon Master who will be bringing pre-made characters and a quick delve for anyone interested. There will probably be a limit of 5 players.

C4 Lottery Raffle:

Just like last year, Cogswell Comic Creation Club will be having a huge raffle that will be held near the end of the event. Tickets will be cheap 1 for $1 or 12 for $10! We will have a variety of cool prizes so don’t miss out!

Masquerade Event:

Fan of anime and good at imitating your favorite character? Then take part in the Masquerade Event. Just like last year we will be judging you on creativity and skill. Display the craft of Cosplay well and you may just win some amazing prizes.

Concept Art Demo:

Cogswell Seniors Frankie Perez and Kyle Sewnarain will be hosting a live demo of character and environmental concept art! Watch as the use their knowledge of art and design to create fantastic pieces and talk about what it means to work as a concept artist!

DATE:  Saturday, April 27

TIME:  10AM to 6PM

WHERE: Cogswell College, 1175 Bordeaux Dr., Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Tickets $5 online and $10 at the door

Photos from CogsCon 2012

Look Who Took the 12 Hour Comic Challenge

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

On Friday, February 15, the Cogswell Comic Creation Club – fondly known around campus as the C4 – seven hardy souls and one faculty adviser gathered in room 156 at 2:00PM for 12 hours of intense comic development. Yes, that does mean that they were busy drafting and drawing in this art form until 2:00AM Saturday morning.

The goal was for each participant to generate one six page story. They were well fortified with snacks and caffeine enhanced beverages.

Some students created their artwork the old-fashioned way – using paper and pencil – while others generated their comics straight from their computers. A lively discussion ensued about digital versus hand-drawn. The main question centered on, can you say you are selling original artwork if it’s digital? They didn’t reach a conclusion but had a good time arguing the pros and cons of each method.

Can’t wait to see the final products!

Let us know what you think about the digital versus hand-drawn debate.

Oscar Nominated Short Films in San Jose

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Here’s your chance to actually see the Oscar Nominated short films on a big screen in a local theater. The San Jose Camera 3 will screen all of the shorts today and tomorrow.

Camera 3 is located at:  288 S. Second St.,San Jose,CA,95113  (408) 294-3334

Screening Schedule:

2/1 (4:45p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animated
2/1 (6:50p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animated
2/1 (8:50p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Live Action
2/2 (12:25p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animated
2/2 (2:25p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animated
2/2 (4:25p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Live Action
2/2 (6:50p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animated
2/2 (8:50p) The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Live Action