Archive for the ‘Game Engineering’ Category

Cogswell Student to Present Mobile App Game at SIGGRAPH

Monday, August 4th, 2014

SUNNYVALE, CA – A student from Cogswell College’s Game Studio will present a newly produced, school-developed mobile app game during the 2014 SIGGRAPH Conference’s “Appy Hour” showcase in Vancouver.

Cara Ricci, one of Cogswell’s Game Design Art students participating in the project-based learning Game Studio, will be presenting the new game, titled Tangram Jam, at SIGGRAPH. The game was developed and produced as part of a Cogswell Game Design & Development course. SIGGRAPH’s “Appy Hour” is designed to showcase the next generation of mobile applications and their creators. Demos by developers of interactive, animated, location-based, visualization and game apps will be presented.

Tangram Jam is an iOS and Android mobile educational puzzle game created by students attending Cogswell’s Game Studio. The game is aimed at third- and fourth-grade students, and has been designed to teach them concepts of adding fractions. The game leverages visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning style techniques in a fun and stimulating environment. 3D characters and procedurally generated music are also featured in the game.

Jerome Solomon, Cogswell’s Dean of the College and Director of Game Design & Development program, says,

“Cara Ricci’s contribution to the exciting new kids game Tangram Jam has been invaluable. She completely redesigned our user interface and contributed much of the game’s UX (user experience). She also worked as a character animator on our team. The look and feel, UX, and animations featured in this new game are critical to making its game play experience fun and engaging for third- and fourth-grade students.”

Adds Cara Ricci, “Almost everything on this project was new and different for me, since I had never previously worked on a video game project with a team comprised of more than five people. There was a lot of teaching and learning from each other, since we had to pass off work and take on unfamiliar tasks. It was exciting for me to have learned such a huge amount of information in a very small period of time. Our original idea was to develop a game that would teach fractions to children in a fun and visually pleasing manner. I believe that the kids who ultimately play Tangram Jam will learn math through shape and color association, as well as how fractions are basically pieces of a whole. Hopefully, it will also teach them how to make decisions quickly, and how to organize and categorize within a restricted time limit.”

As seen on Computer Graphics World: http://cgw.com/Press-Center/Siggraph/2014/Cogswell-Student-Presents-Mobile-App-Game-at-SIG.aspx

Other sources:

Computer Graphics World
Animation World Network
Gamasutra
Shoot Publicity Wire
Games Press

Game Developer Diversity Is Needed to Further Industry Boom

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

An encouraging report by the International Game Developers Association recently found that women now make up 22% of the computer game workforce. This is a massive improvement from the previous figure of just 4% of the UK industry in 2009.

But it doesn’t go far enough. A serious sector ought to have a workforce that reflects wider society. Until it does, the industry will see its creativity diminish, its reputation suffer and eventually its bottom line will be hit.

Although the computer games industry is approximately 40 years old it has grown rapidly over the past decade or two. What was once largely small firms and individuals programming in their bedrooms is now a $15 billion market dominated by multinational corporations. And it’s still growing — one forecast says the industry will be worth $82 billion by 2017.

According to the Entertainment Software Association in 2013 women represented 48% of players and are equal purchasers of games. So given all this, why are women still underrepresented in the industry workforce?

See the full publication here.

Visit Cogswell’s Game Design & Development program page to learn more about how to start your education and career in the game development industry!

This Software Will Let Anyone Create Virtual Reality Games

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

While the frontiers of virtual reality are expanding due to increased interest in the Oculus Rift headset, creating games and virtual reality experiences has generally been limited to those who can program.

Sixense, a company known for its motion controllers that excel in virtual environments, wants to lower the barrier of entry to VR creation to anyone with a little design know-how with its upcoming software development kit. The SixenseVR SDK will integrate into Unity and Unreal Engine, two of the most popular game engines, giving creators a toolset that already supports most gaming platforms.

“The main reason this is important is because quite often developers such as designers and artist have great game concepts but are not proficient in programming and are often dependent on others to see their ideas come to life,” said Sixense Creative Director Danny Woodall. “Giving them the ability to prototype and flush out their ideas without the aid of someone else is very powerful. Unreal 4 has a similar vision and uses a system called blueprints to allow developers to use a node based visual scripting system.”

Read the full article here.

Developers – do you support this technology? Weigh in below!

E3 Fans Go Bananas at The Super Smash Bros. Invitational Tournament: The Olympics of Nintendo

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

The most talked about title at the recent E3 convention, held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, was the upcoming and highly anticipated fourth installment of Super Smash Brothers. The hype was generated from its massive fan base for the first chance to see the game in action, as well as the first ever Super Smash Brothers for Wii U Invitational tournament.

E3 Fans dressed up as their favorite Smash Bros. characters and waited in an entry line that wrapped nearly the entire circumference around the Staples Center. Superfans included Pikachu, Ness, WaLuigi, and a very vocal Yoshi. Check out the line footage here:

Fans from around the world also got to partake in the event, as it was broadcast on Twitch, a live-streaming video platform focused on gaming. This truly was the Olympics of Nintendo. The Super Smash fans cheered for their favorite digitally animated heroes (Megaman appeared to be the crowd favorite) and held up signs as the countdown to show time commenced.

Geoff Keighley of Spike TV’s GTTV (Game Trailers TV) hosted the Invitational, promising fans a first look at the game as well as the tournament itself. 16 highly skilled players from around the world met to compete in the tournament. One by one players fell as commentators shouted over-excited observations during game play. The Invitational climaxed as Zero Suit Samus (played by professional gamer Gonzalo “CTZeRo” Barrios) defeated Kirby in the final match.

Super Smash Brothers for Wii U will be released in late winter of 2014. The title boasts running speeds of 60fps, which means players are going to get a graphically-smooth fighting experience. Another perk is the simplicity of controls, as it can be played with almost any of the previous game console controllers. This offers players the familiarity of past titles, with the updated design tech capabilities of the Wii U.

Cogswell offers programs in Game Design and Development combining both engineering and art for games and various forms of interactive technology.

Would you wait in line to watch an epic gaming tournament? Who is your favorite Smash Bros. character? Tell us in the comment section below!

The Lessons Learned After Spending 13 Years Making One Game

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

What happens when you spend literally half your life working on one game? This burden was carried by one developer as he spent 13 years trying to develop “the game he had always wanted to make.”

Adam Butcher started working on his game Tobias and the Dark Sceptres when he was 14 years old. He was using Multimedia Fusion when he started, game creation software for those without coding experiences that became popular in the early 2000s.

Now that Tobias and the Dark Sceptres is complete, Butcher looks back on his years of toil in this charmingly animated YouTube video. He calls his labor “The Game That Time Forgot” because of how much gaming standards, especially the concept of indie games, had changed since he started as a teenager. He said he hoped the video is a cautionary tale to developers who let a project consume too much.

Butcher is free of his albatross now, and the game can be downloaded at no charge on its website.

See the full story here.

Interested in Game Design & Development? Read more about Cogswell’s Bachelor Degree Program!

Virtual Reality: The Not So Distant Future of Gaming… Is Already Here

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

At this year’s E3, Electronic Entertainment Expo held in Los Angeles, we saw a huge focus on software. Last year’s E3 was all about hardware with the upcoming hype of Xbox One and PS4, but this year we saw a push for titles from both the big name, and independent developers. This year however we are seeing an emergence of virtual reality technology becoming more of an actuality rather than science-fiction fantasy.

Oculus VR, a virtual reality technologies company, has been the catalyst in the push for virtual reality development. Oculus VR reported selling more than 85,000 of the Oculus VR Development Kits, prototypes for developers to begin creating virtual reality titles. Oculus VR was recently purchased by Facebook for a whopping $2 billion dollars, furthering the push for Virtual Reality.

Sony recently introduced its own Virtual Reality headset prototype “Project Morpheus” to PlayStation 4. The headset will work with the PlayStation Move controllers, the Dual shock 4, and PlayStation Move Camera. The current development kit offers 1080p display and a 90-degree field of view.

The virtual reality market is rapidly growing, and will only get bigger. Next month Oculus VR is scheduled to release the second-generation Oculus Development Kit. It’s a higher resolution headset and also fixes previous issues with latency. Once released, game developers both independent and mainstream will take advantage of this new technology to create bigger and better titles. Cogswell’s offers programs in Game Design and Development combining both engineering and art for games and various forms of interactive technology.

When do you expect to have a virtual reality device in your home? Is virtual reality another over-hyped trend? What game would you like to play in virtual reality? Tell us in the comments below!

Sources: Mashable, The Verge

Mario Kart 8 and Anti-Gravity: A New Frontier in Racing Game Design

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

The 22-year-old Mario Kart franchise has always been Nintendo’s go-to game when it comes to boosting sales. The May 29th release of Mario Kart 8, couldn’t have come at a better time. Nintendo recently slashed its sales forecast for the Wii U down to a mere 3.6 million for the current fiscal year. The title may boost revenue for the floundering Wii U system, however the release also boasts new and innovative factions of video game design with the concept of Anti-Gravity.

Anti-Gravity allows gamers to defy the laws of physics and race on tracks horizontal, vertical, and upside-down. This creates a whole new angle on track options, game play, and the overall fun-factor. However defying the laws of gravity in a racing game proved complicated for game designers.

IGN Game reviewer Jose Otero offered insight on the issue in his recent review How Anti-Gravity Made Mario Kart Better. “We always want to introduce an element of surprise,” Director Kosuke Yabuki told IGN. “We thought that just improving the graphics to make the game prettier wouldn’t be enough.” Yabuki and the team came up with lots of ideas for what the new hook for Mario Kart 8 would be, but they settled on changing the direction of gravity,” Ostero said.

Mario Kart had a lot of to think about in terms of processes and physics. “Working in anti-gravity along with the speed of the karts, the camera location, and items that were in play was difficult,” said Ostero, “The team tried to come up with a system that would automatically determine gravity as a player raced along as a potential solution, but the results weren’t satisfactory.

The solution was a manual method of controlled gravity. “A programmer set specific areas that would activate different gravity in each course. This decision eventually led to being able to play these courses in a natural and comfortable way,” Ostero said.

The final product introduces a noteworthy new concept that’s subtle, but adds to the overall visual aesthetics. This also introduces a new spin on the concept of anti-gravity within the realm of racing games. Cogswell’s Game Design & Development programs exemplify the intersection of engineering and art concepts like that of anti-gravity.

Are you going to buy Mario Kart 8? – Do you think that game design concepts like anti-gravity are enough to further the franchise? – Are you Team Mario or Team Luigi? Tell us in the comments below!

Source: IGN

Crowdfunding in Game Development

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Video games are often developed under larger publishing companies, or produced by developers themselves as independent titles. However, the new trend of crowdfunding puts gaming in the hands of the consumer rather than designer. Gamers can choose to fund the games they find interesting and are genuinely excited to play.

The crowdfunding model received significant attention in the video game world with the success of “Double Fine Adventure”, a point-and-click adventure game that earned more than $3 million via Kickstarter in excess of the initial $400,000 funding request.

Crowdfunding allows independent developers the means to create a desired product and also creates a consumer-fueled marketing strategy. Social Media is key with crowdfunding. Titles that don’t generate enough buzz won’t reach their initial funding requests. A little less than half of video game crowd-funded titles successfully obtain their target funds.

Knowledge about these strategies are key to game designers. Cogswell College offers programs Game Design & Development that gives aspiring designers the art and engineering skills necessary to produce quality content that consumers demand. Cogswell also offers their Masters in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a comprehensive program for students to learn the entrepreneurial skills needed to create, establish and grow their own ventures. These skills key to a successful game designer.

Top 10 Games we’d Love to Play in Virtual Reality

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

The next chapter of gaming and entertainment is almost here; virtual reality. As Sony prepares ‘Project Morpheus’, a virtual reality prototype for the PS4; the realism that virtual reality games will be taken from concept to completion is approaching quickly. This new technology will deliver a sense of presence, where you as the player actually feel like you’re inside the game and your emotions feel that much more real.

With the knowledge that this will soon be available to the masses, CraveOnline made a list of the Top 10 Games We’d Love to Play in Virtual Reality. Although we think that practically any game in existence would be insanely cool to experience through virtual reality; this list really gets the imagination going at the idea of experiencing these games in a seemingly real environment. Take a look at their list and see for yourself!

What games would you love to experience through virtual reality? Comment below!

Can Indie Games Thrive Without Big Publishers?

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

As the gaming landscape evolves, it’s becoming more common for Indie Game Developers to go beyond industry barriers to get their game to the public. Digital downloads and crowdfunding has made this type of self-publishing seem like a feasible alternative to working for big name publishers.

“The publishing people all watch [a game] and then make passive, aesthetic appraisals of active, functional aspects of a game,” wrote an anonymous developer, providing an attack on major game publishers. “This is because the bulk of execs can’t and don’t want to play or understand how games work.”

The recent success of indie developed games such as Minecraft, Super Meat Boy, and Broken Age have broken through the industry barriers and have given independent game developers hope that they can make a living without exchanging their intellectual property over to the big name publishers.

“Doing independent development via Indie Fund or Kickstarter allows us to be free of the pressure to change our game and to avoid things that seem risky,” Double Fine developer, Tim Shafer, says, “Now, we will rise or fall on our own merits.”

Check out this Mashable article for more on game developers who self-funded a game, and how the Indie Game industry has evolved. There are risks and benefits with working for major publishers and through self-funding. If given the choice, which route would you take?