Posts Tagged ‘Game Design’

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

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.

Free-to-Play Games on the Rise

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Many experts in the game design industry predict that the rising trend in free-to-play games will continue during 2014 and the foreseeable future. Insiders and outsiders alike are of the opinion that free-to-play was just for mobile and browser titles, but that’s not the case.

Some high quality offerings have become available over the last couple of years and with the success they’ve experienced, more are planned. Full games such as Team Fortress 2, League of Legends, PlanetSide 2, and Star Wars: The Old Republic have all launched on the free-to-play platform.

There are definitely pros and cons to free-to-play. On the positive side, people can try the game and play for extended periods of time before spending money. Casual gamers can enjoy playing without paying monthly fees. It offers a cheap entertainment alternative.

The flip side is that free isn’t free in a lot of cases, and it’s difficult to tell when you first start playing how much it will cost to maintain interest or stay competitive because many players will choose to add options. Some options give players a competitive advantage, hence the allegations of “pay to win,” and many players are willing to buy anything and pay any price to win.

How game designers make money with free-to-play games

It seems counter-intuitive that a game designer would make money for a free game, but they can actually make more money if done correctly by offering it for free rather than a pay-to-play model.

Through micro-transactions, (generally $1-$5) game designers make options available to enhance the player’s experience. Some purists decry this as “pay to win,” but many of the things you can buy in the cash shop are cosmetic options to differentiate players from each other.

Free-to-play games also monetize through advertising. Many have ads that pop up during breaks; in-game advertising banners placed throughout the game simulate advertising at sporting events. In-game adverting affects the game as little as possible.

It’s estimated that the free-to-play version of Team Fortress 2 generated 12 times the revenue of its subscription counterpart. So if it’s done well, game designers will find the free-to-play platform very lucrative.

As a consumer, do you use free-to-play games, or spend a little extra to enjoy an ad free gaming experience?

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?