Posts Tagged ‘Game Design’

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

Jodediah Holmes and GXDev Award Winning Game Patchwork

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015


Q:Tell me about you. What’s your name? What school do you go to? What is your degree program? Frosh/Soph/Jr./Sr.? Are you a part of any clubs?

A:Hello! I am Jodediah Holems. You may recognize me from my personal brands: pajama pants and hubcap backpack. I am the Game Development Club president at Cogswell College, where I organize teams, give lectures, hold workshops, and kindle the growth of my fellow game friends. I am aspiring to become a professional weirdo, but at the moment I am only part-time. At Cogswell I’m under the Digital Media Management degree, and I’m a junior.

Q: What was the competition that you entered? How many participants were there (if you know)?

A: I recently participated in GXDev: Everyone Create’s Games, a 24 hour game jam put on by the GaymerX organizers. I’d say there were around 30 developers in attendance, figured from the ~10 games made by teams of less than 5 (there were two solo teams, I was one). The goal was to make a game in 24 hours from the theme “the stories that aren’t told.”

Q: What did you win???

A: I won in 2 categories: Strangest Game and Judge’s Pick. I got two lovely glass bricks, a DVD, and some other nifty digital gifts as a reward! I also got to feel very excited for a whole week. I still can’t handle it.

Q:Tell me about your game. What is it called? How does it play? What is the goal? How long did it take you to make? Did you create it by yourself or with friends?

A: My game is called PATCHWORK, and it’s a bit of a game soup. The official genre is “Tetris-Jenga-word-search-diary-entry-collect-a-thon”, and it is played with two people, two devices that can run an .html file, and ten painted pieces. One player builds a balancing building, searches for words, and enters found words into their device to read a selection of secret stories. The other player is in control of certain parts of the process, answering questions and assisting the player in such a way as to bend the outcome of the game to their will. Nobody knows how many secret stories there actually are, but it doesn’t matter. Some people choose to stop playing after the stories make them cry or laugh or feel.

Q: Where did you get the inspiration for the game? Is it based on anything?

A: My local art gallery was putting on a project where members of the community could buy oddly shaped wooden blocks, paint them, and bring them back to form one giant puzzle mural. I noticed that they were Tetris shapes and remembered that I was going to a game jam, so I asked if I could have a whole bunch. I walked out with ten. These pieces whispered “Hey, I really want to be in a game,” so I planned to fulfill their dreams. This merged with a couple of other ideas I had, those being:

  1. I really want to make a game that is played a little bit in a Gamemaker file, a little bit in a Twine file, a little bit in physical space, and maybe also over email or something.
  2. Oh yeah, this is a queer game jam! I should write the letters S, E, I, A, L, B, and N all over the backs of the tetris tiles. Someone may unwittingly spell LESBIANS. That would be humor.
    Those ideas all came together in a gallon pot for 45 minutes on medium-high heat, and emerged as PATCHWORK. They were all inspired by certain Big Ideas I’ve observed across games and games academia, but otherwise there were no direct inspirations.

Q: What programming did you do for the game? What languages did you use?

A: I do not know programming. I made the digital portion of this game in Twine, a program for making text-based choose your own adventure-type games. It is very easy to learn, I’d recommend you check out out! http://twinery.org

Q: What advice would you give to another student trying to enter a gaming, or game creation competition?

A: Do it. Participate in as many events as possible. Meet people. Run through every door.

Q: There’s something really intoxicating about games that have physical and virtual elements. Do you think there’s particular power in combining elements of both?

A: All digital games have physical elements, which is something I don’t think a lot of people think about. Your hands are always going to be interacting with a mouse, keyboard, controller, or other contraption. A really easy way to make a game that genuinely surprises people is to have that in mind, intentionally forming a physical something that isn’t a mouse, keyboard, or typical controller. It’s so easy to make something unlike anything your audience has ever seen, and that’s incredibly powerful!

Q: Here’s where I get super arty on you — do you think our lives are more physical or virtual? Or is the difference unimportant?

A: Ahhh, that’s a great question! When I hear “are our lives more physical or virtual,” I immediately connect physical to body and virtual to mind. There have definitely been times where I think “bodies are handcuffing my spirit to the earth. I’d be so much happier if I wasn’t weighed down with needing to sleep, eat, exercise, and perform for people. I just want to be a brain.” There are also times when I’m upset with my brain and feel the opposite feelings, but that happens less often.

The internet, as it exists on phones and computers and wires in our homes, very much fuels the idea of bodies as inconveniences. Chairs, mice, keyboards, controllers, and screens don’t respect our bodies. What is the point of the rest of me when I can lead a happy connected existence as a brain, a couple of fingers, and a pair of eyes? That’s why I think games with designed physical components are so powerful. Even if they still only require your brain, fingers, and eyes, doing it in a way that is new and interesting lets you know that someone out there respects your fingers. Someone out there understands the terrible sameness your fingers have to deal with every day. Someone out there wants you to experience your body in a world designed for your mind.

Q: What are your aspirations for the future?

A: I would very much like to ascend to the next mortal plane, but in the meantime I will make games and art and friends. Dismantle capitalism!

Watch a short clip of Patchwork on Vine at: Patchwork

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/

Global Game Jam at Cogswell College!

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Poster Image created by Jose Hernandez

Global Game Jam is a worldwide event in which over 20k “jammers” meet together in various locations around the globe to make games, and once again, we are hosting it at Cogswell! It is an intense 48 hour event in which programmers, artists, designers and audio folks are challenged to come together to build games from scratch. Best of all, every game produced is absolutely free to download once it’s finished. Admission is $40 for the general public, $20 for Cogswell Alumni, and $10 for any Cogswell or college student with a valid college email address. Price includes a pizza dinner Friday night and snacks throughout the weekend.  Don’t miss the chance to be part of something huge as space is limited to 50 participants this year. Register soon!  http://www.cogswell.edu/ggj2015

Cogswell Kicks Off 2nd Annual After School Program with San Jose’s Independence High School

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

COGSWELL COLLEGE KICKS OFF 2ND ANNUAL “AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM” FOR FALL 2014 IN CONJUNCTION WITH SAN JOSE’S INDEPENDENCE HIGH SCHOOL

Sunnyvale, CA, November 10, 2014 – Cogswell College, a leading educational institution offering a unique, project-based curriculum fusing Digital Art, Engineering and Entrepreneurship, has just commenced its 2nd Annual “After School” program with 48 students currently enrolled.

Cogswell College designed this program in conjunction Mr. Jack Aiello a senior instructor with San Jose’s Independence High School. The After School program represents a shared endeavor between Cogswell College and Independence High School, and is made possible for the high school through a five year grant from Goodwill to Independence High and Cogswell’s support of providing free instructions and usage of their studios and equipment.

The Cogswell After School program will run for eight weeks, and offers courses in the areas of Digital Audio, Digital Animation and Game Design. This unique program engages students in a project-based learning environment led by Cogswell faculty, and features classes modeled on a redesigned Cogswell curriculum – one that is specifically suited to meet the needs of high school students.

Abraham Chacko, Cogswell’s VP of Admissions & Marketing, and facilitator for the After School program, said, “The teenagers who attend Independence High School are from the Silicon Valley, so when they realize that we are offering custom designed classes to them in digital animation, game design and digital audio, their ears really perk up! They know that future jobs within companies like Disney and Pixar might be within reach, if they have the knowledge and exposure to these digital art forms early in life.”

“We are delighted to be in the second year of this program. Last year, the response to this wonderful program was terrific. We had 50 students participate in 2013,” Grettel Castro-Stanley, Independent High School’s Principal said. “Those students reported back to us that they learned a lot, were inspired and encouraged, and had a great deal of fun in the process.”

Independence High School’s Jack Aiello is a “Project Lead The Way” – trained instructor who teaches Introduction to Engineering Design at Independence High. He is also a coordinator of that school’s pre-engineering program, Space Technology Engineering Academy Magnet (STEAM). He serves as the faculty facilitator for the Cogswell After School program in tandem with Chacko.

“Running an after school class with 20 students at Cogswell, working in a project-based environment, is far more advantageous than the more traditional teaching model that involves lectures or video presentations at the front of a classroom of 35 or more students,” says Aiello. “The hands-on computer and audio equipment, programming tools and industry-experienced instructors that Cogswell offers us are a tremendously valuable resource. The partnership with Cogswell allows our students an exciting peek into the ‘behind-the-scenes’ world of the digital creative arts, and gives them a leg up into the super competitive, post graduate world of securing creative jobs in the digital space.”

ABOUT INDEPENDENCE HIGH SCHOOL:

Located in San Jose, CA, Independence High School is one of the largest high schools in Northern California. With a student body of approximately 3200 for the 2014-2015 year, Independence is also part of the East Side Union High School District. The high school is one of about 400 State of California school participants in the California Partnership Academies (CPA) program. The program stresses rigorous academics and career technical education, with a career focus. Schools involved with the CPA program boast the highest graduation rates (95%) in the state, attributing this to their focus on pre-engineering and technical education programs and smaller learning communities.

For more information on Independence High School, please see: http://www.ihs.schoolloop.com/

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/

Contact for Cogswell College:
Rachael Sass
Creative Services Manager
Sunnyvale, CA
408/498-5150
rsass@cogswell.edu

Media Contact for Cogswell College:
Dan Harary
The Asbury PR Agency
Beverly Hills, CA
310/859-1831
dan@asburypr.com

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