Archive for the ‘Video Game’ Category

Rational Game Design Handbook

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

The introduction to this article in Gamasutra by Luke McMillian sets the tone for the piece. “When a sound engineer is given the task of recording a particular sound, they rely on a set of tools such as microphones and preamps to take a less than ideal input signal and ‘shape’ this input to what they desire. What we hear as consumer is the product of many hours of fine tuning and tweaking to reach the ideal outcome. Games are no different.

Their designers test and fine tune their product until they have crafted what they believe to be the most ideal player experience. The difference for a game designer is that the method of achieving this ideal player experience doesn’t come in the form of a tangible, standardized device.”

This in-depth comparison between the work of a sound designer and a game designer covers a lot of territory including using noise to stifle competition and the different types of noise used to do this – action noise, rules noise, feedback noise and model noise – and strategies for applying noise.

The piece also mentions Cogswell grad, Steve Swink, for offering “one of the best ways of thinking of games in terms of representational layers, versus mechanics. Swink does this by visualizing how Street Fighter is merely a collection of moving rectangles tied to mathematical formulae BUT represented visually in a way that provides the player with context.”

How will you use sound in your next game project?

Independence High School After School Program

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Faculty,Tony Dias, helps students with the day's lesson. Tony graduated from Independence High.

Cogswell College and Independence High School have teamed up to introduce high school students to the exciting opportunities that blending art and technology opens to them. Over the course of 10 weeks students choose either digital painting or audio desktop production for the first 5 weeks and software engineering or video game design for the final 5 weeks.

“The goal of this program is to get students excited about something they might initially think is boring,” says Abraham Chacko, executive director of admissions and facilitator for the after school program at Cogswell College. “These are kids from the Silicon Valley,” Chacko continues. “When they hear the word ‘engineering,’ they think ‘I don’t want to have a job like my parents,’ but when you mention Disney, Pixar or video games and the job opportunities associated with them, they become excited about learning programming and engineering skills.”

Faculty, Reid Winfrey, offers design tips to students on the day's lesson.

The demand for skilled engineers in the U.S. continues to grow, with engineering degree holders experiencing some of the best job prospects in the country straight out of college. Jack Aiello is a Project Lead The Way trained instructor who teaches Introduction Engineering Design at Independence High, and is coordinator of the pre-engineering program, Space Technology Engineering Academy Magnet (STEAM). He serves as the faculty facilitator for the after-school program, in partnership with Chacko and uses a project-based, individualized teaching method similar to Cogswell’s.

“The ability to connect and engage our students in Cogswell’s environment is incredible,” says Aiello. “Running a class with 25 students working in a project-based environment is more advantageous than a traditional teaching model with lectures or video presentations at the front of a classroom of 35 or more students. The hands-on computer and audio equipment, programming tools and Industry experienced instructors available at Cogswell allow our students an exciting peek into the real world of the digital creative arts. At the end of each of our two hour weekly sessions at Cogswell, the students walk away with a feeling of accomplishment and pride for what they have created. They are enthusiastic and look forward to coming back next week.  Our students are on the consumer side of the ‘Digital Divide’, many from immigrant families that use technology, social media and video games, but don’t know how to leverage the technology to create something NEW; such as designing a video game, making an animated movie, or producing their own music. ”

Learn more in this news item.

5 Obscure Marvel Characters

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Gamora – Drax the Destroyer – Rocket Raccoon – may not we well known Marvel Comic book characters from the Guardians of the Galaxy series but might make a blockbuster movie under the guidance of Director, James Gunn.

Check out this slideshare presentation to see what he has in mind.

Which one is your favorite?

A Guide to Video Game Kickstarter Funding

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

In case you’ve been thinking about creating a Kickstarter campaign for one of your projects, here’s a handy – and very detailed – guide to answer all your questions. With a whopping 32 chapters, this online guide covers everything.

Chapter topics include: setting goals, structuring rewards, popularity rankings, building community, dealing with objections, the last 48 hours and so much more.

Let us know if you ran a Kickstarter campaign and how it went.

The Future of Video Games – Is It in the Cloud?

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Thomas Bidaux, former development director at NCsoft, CEO of online game consulting firm ICO partners, and advisory board member for GDC Next; was recently interviewed by Gamasutra about his thoughts on where the video game industry is heading. In his opinion, one of the big influencers in how games are made and played will be using cloud technology.

  • While he thinks cloud computing still has much to prove to convince him, he does see a lot of untapped potential from cloud computing in the way games are conceived. A few other points he covered during the interview include:
  • How he sees the rise of cloud computing tech changing the industry – the best change would be those that players don’t even notice, convenience.
  • What does he see as the challenges of content creation changing in the future – user generated content requires good UI, good documentation because game developers are basically running a project inside their project.

What other changes do you think cloud computing technology will make to video game development?

Puzzle Game Project Class Gets Underway

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

In a recent Skype call on a large monitor at the front of the classroom, George Gagnon, Founder of Prairie Rainbow Company, met with students and faculty for an introductory session to clarify parameters for the project and to present the concepts the two student teams developed in a 48 hour turnaround.

The eleven students enrolled in the class were divided into two teams and tasked with creating a video game version of the Rainbow Squares table top game. Rainbow Squares is a puzzle game designed for elementary, secondary or adult learners to use as an individual or group learning tool. The game consists of six squares, each made up of three different rainbow-colored pieces. Each of these pieces can be used to form other squares using two, four, five or six pieces or can be used to learn addition and fractions.

“Rainbow Math Models are designed to engage students and let them learn through the method that is best for them,” said George. “Feelings learners get to build a physical model, image learners can create a visual model, while language learners have the chance to hear, read, or write a number model,” added George.  “I think by offering Rainbow Squares as a virtual learning tool, more students will have access to the learning method that works for them.”

After students introduced themselves, a representative from each team outlined the concepts they were considering for the game design.

The Red Team started with general ideas and then branched out. They thought it was important for the video game to represent the physical game since the product has been so successful. The team’s goal is to make students want to play the game over and over. They also discussed implementing different levels for different shapes such as one level to focus on manipulating squares, another for pentagons and another for triangles. Other ideas involved creating a limited moves mode or an addition mode with each block being assigned a numerical value. The team would also like to explore a multiplayer option.

The Blue Team first wanted to know if George would prefer a more structural approach to presenting the concepts of addition and fractions or would he consider a more spatial representation of the math concepts through graphs or perhaps as weights on a scale. Would he like the final game to be more session-based play or individual play? If he would like a more structural approach to teaching the concepts, then they are thinking about a more traditional approach with something like Tetris.

“I love the creativity the teams have put into the process. I’m excited about what I’ve heard today and can’t wait to see the finished products,” said George.

Animation for Game Class Video

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

The Animation for Game class worked hard all summer – producing 30+ assignments over the course of the summer.

Near the end of the summer, they held an Open House to show off their work. Faculty member, Jonali Bhattacharyya who teaches the class, said she was really pleased with the quantity and quality of work the students produced. “I wanted them to learn how to work under the pressure of a real work situation,” said Jonali.

Here are a few video clips taken during the Open House as faculty, staff and students tested out the video games. Clip one. Clip two. Clip three.

Best Incentivization Networks for Game Developers

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

If your game was the only one in town – and it was fun to play, then you would have no problem finding a multitude of players eager to purchase your creation. However, with more than 150,000 games in the app store, it’s all too easy to get lost in the crowd.

In order to get their work in front of their intended audiences, more game designers are turning to incentivized networks or app discovery platforms to make sure people can find them. Some platforms buy traffic from other incentivized networks, increasing your risk of buying duplicate traffic. So how do you go about choosing the right network for your work?

This article in Venture Beat, offers helpful tips for choosing the right network for you – choose a ‘destination’ app discovery network, integrate a social media plan and focus on user engagement.

What do you think about incentivizing programs?

The Best Game Art of 2013

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Kotaku announced the winners of the “Into the Pixel” 2013 Collection. You can learn a lot from studying the best so here is the sampling. Some are 2D, some are 3D but each has something the judges thought was exceptional.

What games would you add to this list? What games would you delete from the list?

The Rise of the Indie Games

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

An indie game company founded by Cogswell Alumni

Here’s a thoughtful video offering insights from a number of European indie game developers about the success – and the reasons behind the success – of the indie game industry. One of the secrets is the agility these smaller companies have to address the needs of niche audiences and to try something that flies in the face of mainstream thinking.

But there are challenges to being a small, indie developer and they talk about these as well.

Let us know what you think is the biggest benefit of being an indie game developer.