Archive for the ‘Video Game’ Category

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.

Math for Video Game Developer Tutorial

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Cogswell students in physics class learning important math concepts

For those thinking about becoming a video game programmer, here’s a weekly instructional YouTube series that shows you how to use math to make your games. Every Thursday you’ll learn how to implement one game design, starting from the underlying mathematical concept and ending with its C++ implementation.

As part of Cogswell College’s Game Design & Development degree program, you have the opportunity to gain in-depth, hands-on experience learning and using both the math and physics you will need to enter the video game industry. Our curriculum focuses on giving you the fundamental skills and then applying them in a project-based educational environment.

Whether you are more interested in the art side or the engineering side of game, our degree program gives you the tools you need to be successful.

Small Game Developers Can Take on Goliath

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Yes, small developers can take on Goliath but don’t expect to beat them if you play by Goliath’s rules. In an article by Chris Gray for Gamasutra, the author talks about his experience as a small developer and what you can learn from for four small developers (Supercell, Mojang, Imangi and Plague Inc.) who managed to out-maneuver the big guys each in their own way.

One interesting fact from the article – a political scientist named Ivan Arreguín-Toft looked at every war fought in the past two hundred years between strong and weak combatants. He found that when the underdogs acknowledged their weakness and chose an unconventional strategy, the “David’s” won in 63.6 percent of the cases. So, when underdogs choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, they win, even when everything we think we know about power says they shouldn’t.

Which strategy do you think will work best for you?

The Hidden Meaning Behind Doors in Video Games

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

As a game designer, you’ve probably figured out that humans are pretty interesting creatures but we have a few idiosyncrasies both individually and collectively. Lots of these behavioral tendencies were ingrained in us back when we carried clubs and were still waiting for the magic of fire to warm our little toes.

In this fascinating article in Gamasutra by Dale Dobson, it turns out that the human mind has a reset button when it comes to walking through doorways or other portals. The piece goes on to examine how doors were used in several games (Zork I, Venture, Mystery Fun House, The Legend of Zelda, Resident Evil, Super Mario 64, Grand Theft Auto III, Shenmue, The Walking Dead episode 104, and the aptly named, Portal) and how our brains respond to each situation.

Dobson concludes the article, “Buried deep in our evolutionary history is a belief that opening a door moves us forward into new places and experiences, but our brains also tend to get a little bit lost when we do so. Game designs that recognize and accommodate these basic human needs and tendencies are more likely to provide rich and rewarding human experiences.”

How does a door or barrier in a game make you behave?

Game Studio Class Works with Prairie Rainbow Company

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

This fall the Game Studio Class will roll up its collective sleeves, put on their thinking caps and create a ‘Rainbow Squares’ mobile and pc game for the Prairie Rainbow Company to help elementary school children learn math.

This Oakland California company is operated by George Gagnon, Pre-Engineering Partnerships Director at UC Berkeley and Michelle Collay, Director of the Urban Teacher Leadership program at Cal State East Bay. Prairie Rainbow develops board games and teacher and parent guides to help students learn math. The Rainbow Math Models are designed to engage tactile learners who need to build a physical model, image learners who need to create a representation of  a mental model, and language learners who need to hear, read, or write a number model. Rainbow Math Models are made of wood that is hand cut and painted by home crafts people in the Bay Area of California.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to work with Rainbow Prairie Company to help them move in a new direction by designing a video game that suits the learning needs of their customers,” said Jerome Solomon, head of the Game Design & Development program at Cogswell. “One goal of our Game program is to offer students real-world learning opportunities. This partnership gives students the chance to not only design a math learning game but to test the prototype in local schools.”

This is a big step for Prairie Rainbow Company as it ventures into the realm of using video games to help children master important math and conceptualization skills. Cogswell College is pleased they chose to partner with us to develop this additional learning pathway for its customers.

You can enroll for the class now. Fall 2013 semester starts August 26.