Archive for the ‘Video Game’ Category

What Does the Game Design Manager Say?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Screen shot from the video.

At Cogswell College we focus on learning by doing. While we don’t ignore the theory and principles behind a process, we don’t feel the learning is complete until you’ve actually undertaken a project and put the new skills to use.

The Fall Semester ‘Project Management’ class had to break up into teams and then develop promotional materials that would introduce people to one of Cogswell’s majors. The goal of the mid-term project’s assignment was for the collateral developed to interest people in becoming students at Cogswell. In order to successfully complete the project, students had to organize, assign tasks, set up a timetable, deliver the project and then evaluate their results.

“I wanted the finished piece to show the pride they take in their education, why they are excited about what they are doing and what they are about as students,” said Albert Chen, faculty for the class. “The assignment definitely reinforced the skills they learned during the class.”

This short video highlighting Cogswell’s Digital Media Management degree program and its Game Design & Business Modeling major was completed in two weeks by a team of six students. The students who worked on the project are: Vincent Velo, Andrew Traxler, Eric Tran, Frank Maddox, Oleksandra Keehl and Halsey Herms.

Games Made by Committee – Oh, My!

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Here’s a humorous look at the way a game design plan put together by a committee might pencil out. Apparently, the old adage that too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the stew, also applies to other things in life – including implementing the amazing game design you first envisioned.

Maybe if they had gone through Cogswell’s Digital Media Management program majoring in Game Design & Business Modeling, the game might have come together differently.

Have you ever designed by committee? How did that project work out?

The Making of Assassins Creed III: Origins

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

If you are a fan of the Assassins Creed series and want to learn more about how the developers decide how to keep each new installment fresh, then this cool behind-the-scenes video offers some intriguing insights. Listen to the team members talk about how they envisioned reinventing the experience.

If you have played AC III, do you think the achieved what they wanted to with this game?

Famed Game Designer, Brenda Romero, Visited Cogswell College

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Yesterday award-winning game designer, artist, writer & creative director, Brenda Romero,  gave her IndieTalk, “Jiro Dreams of Game Design.” The talked was inspired by the movie, “Jiro Dreams of Shushi.”

If you ever wondered what a 3 star Michelin Chef can teach you about game design, well Brenda Romero has an answer. Even if you never wondered – Brenda’s talk was well worth listening to.

Brenda had been making games for Facebook where the mentality was to create minimum viable products. This approach meant that you expected to fix bugs and then add features as you discovered what players really wanted. You did not expect to ship, or strive for, a great game. In the real-world producers don’t say, “let’s make this game great so take all the time you want.” In the real-world the goal is to deliver games on time and on budget.

One of her personal projects was “Trains” – where every single decision mattered as she labored to make a game that was as good as she could make it. She had the luxury of time and never put in something to just to make the game work. She could wait until the right decision appeared.

She wondered what made some things great and others not. Then she came across asparagus – one perfectly prepared, perfectly decorated and perfectly presented plate of asparagus. She realized that a fully designed experience is the foundation of greatness.

Following are some of the things she learned from studying this 3 star group of chefs:

  • Great ideas – you can never rest on your laurels.
  • Great Ingredients – start with the best you can get. You will spend more time managing failures than successes.
  • Think in terms of shipping constantly – great chefs ‘ship’ 10,000 items during their lifetime while a game designer may only ship 100. Polish and perfect every step of the way.
  • Consistency – a chef must deliver every night.

Brenda will be presenting her talk at the upcoming GDC next spring.

Some Nutty Game Ideas that Should See the Light of Day

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

The Twitter doppelganger of Peter Molyneux

This wistful and witty article by Kirk Hamilton in Kotaku presents 10 Amazing Peter Molydeux (the mad twitter doppelgänger of famed game designer, Peter Molyneux) ideas that need to become games right now.

Here are two of the ‘fake’ twitter posts ideas:

-Imagine if in new Guitar Hero you play as a busker, you witness your city evolve as your music changes the decisions of the people around you.

-3D adventure game where you have amnesia and wake up in a gigantic museum where every room is devoted to a year of your life.

Which of these ideas would you like to see turned into a game?

Brenda Romero to Speak at Cogswell

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Cogswell College is pleased to welcome award-winning game designer, artist, writer and creative director, Brenda Romero, to campus on Thursday, November 14. During this student only event she will be giving her IndieCade talk entitled:  “Jiro Dreams of Game Design” from 12:30 to 1:30 in the Dragon’s Den.

During her presentation, Brenda will talk about the traits that three-star chefs share and the lessons game designers can learn from them. From early on in the careers, three-star Michelin chefs – a rarified 106 in the world at present – have a nearly tyrannical hold on their kitchens. They insist on perfection in every ingredient, in temperature, in presentation and in accompaniment. From the first to the last impression, every part of a perfect culinary experience is an obsession so many chase and so few achieve. Interestingly enough, it is something they do because they are driven to, not for money or fame, but because of the pursuit of perfection itself. It is a passion many of us share and struggle to achieve in a world where shipping a game often means compromising on our ideal vision.

About Brenda Romero

Brenda entered the video game industry in 1981 at the age of 15. She is the longest continuously serving woman in the video game industry. Brenda worked with a variety of digital game companies as a game designer or creative director, including Atari, Sir-tech Software, Electronic Arts and numerous companies in the social and mobile space. She is presently the Program Director for the UC Santa Cruz Master’s in Games + Playable Media and the Co-founder, Chief Operating Officer of Loot Drop, a social and mobile game company. Brenda serves on the advisory board of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games at the Strong Museum of Play and also works with John Romero and The Romero Archives to record game designers discussing their game design process for historical archiving.

She is the recipient of the 2013 Women in Games Lifetime Achievement Award awarded by Microsoft and previously was a nominee in Microsoft’s 2010 Women in Games game design award. Romero was also named one of Forbes “12 Women in Gaming to Watch” in 2013 and Woman of the Year by Charisma+2 Magazine in 2010, one of the top 20 most influential women in the game industry by Gamasutra.com in 2008 and one of the 100 most influential women in the game industry by Next Generation magazine in 2007. Nerve magazine also called her one of the 50 artists, actors, authors, activists and icons who are making the world a more stimulating place.

David Kim of Animoca Discusses Challenges of Getting Your App Discovered

Monday, October 28th, 2013

In this short video clip from Devsbuildit, David Kim of Animoca discusses his company and how developers can stand out from the rest of the crowd.  Some of his tips include:

  • Even though we operate in a global marketplace, your global needs a local focus.
  • The best indicator of success is to know your audience.
  • The industry has seen an attitude switch from just ‘getting eyeballs on your game’ to ‘how do I make money.’
  • He has seen a tendency for companies to rely on their brands’ popularity rather than the quality of the product being developed.

What do you think is the most important thing you can do to make sure your intended audience finds your game?

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?