Archive for the ‘Game Audio’ Category

Tour at Zynga

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Image source: www.adweek.com

There were dogs everywhere. Perhaps that shouldn’t have been a surprise to me after seeing the huge dog logo on the massive building, but it still caught me off guard in a pleasant way. Zynga also gave off this sense of happiness—just walking in, I could tell that the people employed by Zynga were pretty content with their environment. For those of you who don’t know, Zynga happens to be one of the largest and best-known mobile and social gaming companies in the bay area– you’ve probably also seen a few games of theirs on Facebook.

A group of four people and myself from Cogswell got the chance to visit Zynga from Women in Games International, a group formed for the purpose of providing women with support and opportunities in the game industry. While there, we got a tour of the studio, which included the exercise room, bar (yes, there’s a full bar) the candy room, and the Farmville rooms!

After the tour, we got to enjoy some h’ordeuvres and listen to a panel given by women leaders at Zynga. Some of them had been in the industry for quite some time, and a few originally hadn’t had any intention of going into games. Yet another one actually played WOW as a side hobby. (Yes!)

It was amazing to see Zynga up close. It was clear to see the passion that they had for their work. We also got to do a lot of great networking, and meet people working in the heart of the mobile game industry. It was an amazing opportunity!

Sierra Gaston

Women in Animation and Women in Games International

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Image from http://www.womeninanimation.org/


Image from http://www.womeningamesinternational.org/

The animation and games industries are two places where you rarely find women working, until recently. Even Cogswell has been a heavily male-dominated school until a few years ago. What’s exciting is the wide-spread growth of organizations that are specifically for women in these industries (although men may join). These groups promote networking, inclusion, exposure, encouragement and opportunities to hear industry leaders. By creating a more diverse workplace, animations and games will be even stronger therefore garner more consumer enjoyment.

Two organizations that I am involved with are Women in Animation and Women in Games International. Thanks to Women in Animation, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Pixar twice as well as network with some of the best known women in the business. Being a newer member to Women in Games (WIG), this week I will visiting Zynga’s campus for the re-opening of the San Francisco WIG chapter. As a primary developer of Facebook games, Zynga is one of the most famous game companies in the Bay Area.

I definitely recommend checking these two groups out, and any groups dedicated to animation and games in general. As well as being fun to join, they can be key to getting crucial contacts in the industry.

http://www.womeningamesinternational.org/
http://www.womeninanimation.org/

Sierra Gaston

COGSWELL COLLEGE TO HOST GLOBAL GAME JAM EVENT AT SILICON VALLEY CAMPUS JANUARY 23-25

Thursday, January 15th, 2015


Sunnyvale, CA, January 13, 2015 — Cogswell College, a leading educational institution offering a unique curriculum fusing Digital Art, Engineering and Entrepreneurship, will serve as one of the international hosts of the 2015 Global Game Jam (GGJ) Event (January 23-25) at its campus in Silicon Valley. Cogswell has been hosting GGJ since 2009, and is one of the original sites to host this unique event in the Bay Area.

To register for the Cogswell-hosted event, please see: http://www.cogswell.edu/ggj2015

The goal behind the annual Global Game Jam (GGJ) is for people from all walks of life to come together and make a video game, or non-digital game like a board game or card game, during one single weekend. Participants rapidly prototype game designs and inject new ideas to help grow the game industry. GGJ asks participants to create a game from beginning to end in a prescribed time (maximum of 48 hours). The brief time span is meant to help encourage creative thinking, always resulting in small but innovative and experimental games.

Regarding the event, Albert Chen, Cogswell’s Assistant Professor, Game Design & Development, said, “The Global Game Jam hosted at Cogswell College exemplifies what Silicon Valley is all about. Within 48 hours, students, alumni, professionals and hobbyists will converge in the spirit of Hewlett & Packard and Jobs & Wozniak, to turn ideas into innovative game prototypes and future game startups. Our students will have another great opportunity by which to learn the value of doing and creating.”

Run by a small international team of volunteers, the annual GGJ is the world’s largest game jam (game creation) event, and takes place around the world at numerous physical locations simultaneously. GGJ is the outgrowth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, people can still come together, be creative, share experiences, and express themselves in a multitude of ways by using video games. The weekend stirs a global creative buzz in games, while at the same time exploring the process of development, be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression. GGJ is condensed into a 48- hour development cycle, and encourages people from diverse backgrounds to participate and contribute to this global spread of game development and creativity.

The structure of each Global Game Jam begins when people gather on a Friday late afternoon, watch a short video keynote with advice from leading game developers, and then receive a “secret theme.” All physical locations that participate in each GGJ event, worldwide, are then challenged to create brand new games based on that same theme. These games are to be completed by the following Sunday afternoon.

ABOUT GLOBAL GAME JAM:

The brainchild of Susan Gold in collaboration with Gorm Lai and Ian Schreiber, the Global Game Jam (GGJ) was founded in 2008, inspired by the many game jams before it, such as the Indie Game Jam, Ludum Dare and Nordic Game Jam. GGJ was a project of the International Game Developer’s Association (IGDA) from 2009-2012. Starting with GGJ 2013, the event has been managed by Global Game Jam, Inc.

The 1st annual Global Game Jam was held in 2009 to much critical acclaim and success. With over 1600 participants in 23 countries, and a theme of “As long as we have each other, we will never run out of problems,” the GGJ produced 370 games. In 2010, the number of participants increased to over 4300 with 900 finished games on the theme of “Deception.” GGJ participants worldwide have continued to dramatically increase in numbers during each subsequent year of this unique event.

GGJ is a volunteer-run organization, built upon the very hard work of its leadership, site organizers, and participants. For more information, please visit: http://globalgamejam.org/about

ABOUT COGSWELL COLLEGE:

Designed as a “fiercely collaborative, living laboratory,” Cogswell College is located in the heart of the legendary Silicon Valley in Sunnyvale, California. The school is a WASC accredited, four-year institution of higher education with a specialized curriculum that fuses digital arts, audio technology, game design, engineering and entrepreneurship.

Numerous alumni of Cogswell College have secured prominent positions within the entertainment, videogame, technology, computer, animation, and motion graphics industries throughout California and beyond. Several of these alumni have established careers with such high profile companies as Activision, DreamWorks Animation, Disney, Electronic Arts, Pixar, and Microsoft Game Studio. Many other alumni have launched their own creative ventures.

Recent Cogswell alumni were members of the Academy Award-winning production teams which worked on the blockbuster films “Frozen” and “Life of Pi.” Some of the other well-known consumer projects to which Cogswell alumni have contributed include the feature films “The Boxtrolls” and “The Avengers,” and the popular videogames “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “Halo 4” and “Battlefield Hardline.”

Additionally, animated short films conceived and produced by Cogswell students have gone on to win prestigious awards, including those presented by the California International Animation Festival, the Colorado Film Festival, the Oregon Film Festival, the Miami Film Festival, the Philadelphia Film & Animation Festival, the San Jose Short Film Festival, and Canada’s International Film Festival.

Cogswell College is located at 1175 Bordeaux Drive, Sunnyvale, California, 94089. For more information, please call 1-800-264-7955 or visit: http://www.cogswell.edu/

Marc Farly, Senior Sound Designer at Sony Playstation

Monday, December 1st, 2014

Cogswell AES Student Chapter Presents: Marc Farly
Monday, December 1th
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Dragon’s Den

Are you interested in sound design? What about sound design Sony Playstation? Senior Sound Designer Marc Farly is coming to Cogswell College to share his experiences and background, then open the floor to give  students a chance to have their real world questions answered.  Don’t miss it!

Day of the Devs

Monday, November 10th, 2014

Day of the Devs - Double Fine convention - in San Francisco, California

It was a video game enthusiast’s paradise. Screens and consoles decked every wall of (nearly) every room of the two story Old Mint building in San Francisco, all displaying demos of games to be released within the next year. There was a crowd gathered around each display, each person eager to get a chance at playing the game. I was attending with a few other friends from Cogswell, whose brains I could audibly hear exploding as they took in scenery and games around them.

The turnout of indie game developers was amazing. Day of the Devs was hosted by Double Fine, so they had a room full of their own soon-to-be-released games such as Costume Quest 2 and even a remastered version of Grim Fandango, but the rest of the building was filled with small studio games like Night In The Woods and Knight Squad (my personal favorites), Classroom Aquatic, Push Me Pull You, Spy Party, Ikarus, and Please Don’t, Spacedog. A few of the games were played with an Oculus Rift headset. There was even a swag shop full of t-shirts and books related to the games. Outside in the courtyard was a bar and a stage where live DJ’s played music, and games were actively played on a large screen by their developers.

It was enough to make any self-declared nerd hyperventilate. Being as there were a thousand in attendance, the excitement in the air was palpable. Within the first ten minutes, I was thrown a controller and fighting in an arena with five or six other well-seasoned game players. My first thought was along the line of panic, as I was sure I was going to get my butt kicked by people who definitely played more often than I did, but by the first game I was hooked and throwing other players to their deaths.

In the game Classroom Aquatic, one player wore Oculus Rift headgear and was plunged into an underwater school for dolphins. The character they played was a student diver who hadn’t studied for a test. As a result, the player is forced to cheat off of the neighboring students in the room. The trick was to avoid being caught by the teacher. The game effectively gave the player knots in their stomach, and was especially nerve-wracking when players were caught and scolded by the teacher.

Day of the Devs was amazing for one huge reason; EVERYONE there was in love with games, whether they were fans or developers. As a result, there was a feeling of common purpose and enthusiasm. We were all there for the same thing, and it was exciting to be in a place where people from inside the industry and out of it mixed together in a gaming paradise.

During the course of the evening, we got to talk to Double Fine creators, several other indie game makers, and even managed some networking with other people in the game industry! It was absolutely a beneficial experience, and it made the prospect of graduation and getting to work in the industry more tangible. I’m looking forward to next year with Day of the Devs!

Sound Design: An Ear for Detail

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

Crash, Bang, Boom, – Snap, Crackle, Pop – Slam, Bam, Shazam – Not only are these onomatopoetic, but also harmonic gold to sound designers and editors alike. Sounds often make or break video content, and knowing what works takes more than just a keen ear for detail. Sound designers combine the art and science of sound to create the perfect fit for television, film, and video game content.

Editor vs. Designer

Recently, the lines between a sound director and that of a sound editor have been blurred. The major difference being that a sound director is a glorified editor of sorts. A sound editor is responsible for the existing sound – i.e. editing of the dialogue syncing, and removal of extraneous background noise.

On larger budget productions a sound designer is brought in to not only oversee the work of the sound editors, but is also responsible for crafting new sounds – i.e. laser gun fights, cars exploding, tornado wind storms, etc.  Sound designers are also responsible for creating the overall emotional atmosphere of the scene. What sound additions/subtractions would create more tension, suspense, or comedy?

Job Description

Sound designers tend to work long hours with strict deadlines. Depending on a production’s budget, sound designers may start their work months in advance of filming. There is a large level of strategy and organization required in order to conceptualize the production in its entirety. A sound designer must forecast and plan out what sounds he or she will have to create, verses what can be shot organically.

A vast technical knowledge is required in order to digitally create, mix, edit, and distort sound. Sound effects are then layered into the production along with dialogue and music. On the flip side, a vast creative knowledge is also required for designers to fashion new sounds where one had not yet existed. Designers get innovative, and use everyday objects to create new sounds – i.e. crunching cellophane to imitate a fire crackling, or flexing a large sheet of aluminum to replicate thunder.

Sound design is a highly competitive area, and jobs are based on experience. Education is vital to develop an ear for detail. Interested in a career in sound editing or design? Check out Cogswell’s Digital Audio Technology program to develop and fine tune your skills!

Cogswell’s Game Studio – The Joy of Bringing a Game Concept to Life

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Listen in as Cogswell students Sean Langhi, the Engineering & Design Lead and Bugi Kaigwa, Art Lead for the Prairie Rainbow project, share their excitement about the work they are doing in the Game Studio. Access the video here for a sneak peek into a game development team at Cogswell.

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. This Game Studio project is taking the company’s board game concept and turning it into a unity-based action puzzle game for mobile devices that will not only support the different learning methods but will add another dimension to the user’s experience.

“One goal of our Game program is to offer students real-world learning opportunities,” said Jerome Solomon, Director of Cogswell’s Game Design & Development degree program. “This partnership gives students the chance to not only design a math learning game but to test the prototype in local schools.”

Under the supervision of faculty and industry advisors, Cogswell’s comprehensive project-based learning focus gives students the chance to work on teams that mirror real game development teams of artists, engineers, animators, game designers, audio specialists, and management. Our unique system of Studio classes offers students the opportunity to experience the entire production pipeline from concept through shipping in the process of delivering a professional-quality product.

Global Game Jam Recap and link to Games

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Cogswell hosted 28 jammers from January 24 to 26 during Global Game Jam 2014. Here’s a recap of what happened over that 48 hour period. We hope you will take a few minutes to check out the games our teams developed.

  • We were one of 487 jam sites around the world with 23,452 participants making video games.
  • At Cogswell, we made 7 games/playable prototypes.  We made more than the folks at Stanford!!!!
  • We had a mix of people ranging from Cogswell students to Google engineers.

3 largest single jam sites in the world:

  • Tel Aviv, Israel = 485
  • Curitiba, Brazil = 410
  • Giza, Egypt = 400

Many thanks to the Cogswell faculty and staff and the Global Game Jam 2014 volunteer organizers who made this experience possible!

Here’s the link to all our games

Check out photos from GGJ 2014 at Cogswell College

More Photos

Sound Designing for the Video Game Tearaway

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Fascinating commentary by Kenny Young, Head of Audio at Media Molecule, gives you an inside look at the joys and challenges of designing sound from the bottom up for a video game in this article in Designing Sound. He discusses his work on Tearaway and offers several opinions about creating the audio for video games in general. For instance:

“Those of us who work in games have a massive advantage over those who work in traditional linear media – even if audio tends to be brought in later than other disciplines, the constant iteration and flux of a game during development provides opportunities for audio to influence the project.”

“If there is one thing that is missing in the early stage of a game’s development it is well-defined and reliable context, even more so when developing a new intellectual property from scratch… There is a leap of faith required whereby you need to let go of creating anything coherent and embrace your inner incompetent audio designer – kiss goodbye to doing any work that chimes on multiple levels. It’s like being a beginner all over again, only more painful because you have the curse of knowing what it feels like to do good work.

“Sounds thrown at a prototype by a programmer are not going to develop and improve over time which prevents a more sophisticated audio aesthetic from emerging.”

The article includes samples of work throughout to demonstrate the techniques used or solutions developed. He also talks at length about the decisions that went into creating what seemed like a simple idea – give players the chance to touch the record to make the music stop, scratch the record to scratch the music and have fun doing so – but it wasn’t as simple as it sounded.

After reading the piece do you agree/disagree with any of his ideas?

Cogswell College is a 2014 Global Game Jam Host Site

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Eating pizza and waiting for the Opening Presentation at GGJ 2013

Cogswell College is pleased to once again serve as a host site for the Global Game Jam. The College’s involvement with the annual event began with the first sponsored Game Jam in 2009.

DATE: January 24 – 26, 2014

TIME: 6:00PM on Friday and wrapping up at 3:00PM on Sunday

PLACE: Cogswell College, 1175 Bordeaux Dr, Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Registration required

COST: $10 students (with college email address); $20 Cogswell Alumni and $40 general public

INCLUDED with registration: Pizza on Friday evening, continental breakfast on Saturday and Sunday and snacks and coffee throughout the weekend.

The Global Game Jam (GGJ) is the world’s largest game jam event taking place around the world at physical locations. Think of it as a hackathon focused on game development. It is the growth of an idea that in today’s heavily connected world, we could come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using video games – it is very universal.

REGISTER now for an action-packed weekend of game development and networking!

Don't miss the fun!