Posts Tagged ‘Game Development’

Ten Years of Game Club Celebration

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
All 10 Game Club Presidents in order of presidency.  Starting in the back row, L to R, Ash Monif, Greg Reisdorf, Steve Foot, Austin Ivansmith, Danny Johnson.  Front row, L to R, Jeremy Welch, Tobiah Marks, Josh Cogswell, Brody Brooks, Nick Lindberg

All 10 Game Club Presidents in order of presidency. Starting in the back row, L to R, Ash Monif, Greg Reisdorf, Steve Foot, Austin Ivansmith, Danny Johnson. Front row, L to R, Jeremy Welch, Tobiah Marks, Josh Cogswell, Brody Brooks, Nick Lindberg

On September 18, 2010 about 30 game enthusiasts gathered in the Dragon’s Den at Cogswell College to share stories and reconnect with friends old and new.  With it’s 10th president recently elected, the Cogswell Game Development Club celebrated it’s decade long existence by inviting back all of the past presidents for a panel.  The newly elected president, Cogswell student Nick Lindberg, moderated.  During the event, many questions were asked and many stories told.  Here are some of the highlights:

Question: What happened during each presidency and how it differ from the previous president?

Answer:  The first 3 presidents (Ash Monif, Greg Reisdorf and Steve Foot) tried to make larger games, either mods or with writing their own game engine. During Austin Ivansmith’s presidency, he tried recreating an existing game. For the next two years (presidents Danny Johnson and Jeremy Welch), smaller games were concentrated on – particularly by using Game Maker and similar applications. Tobiah Marks’ presidency was more one of creating an environment that helped small teams of people create their own game ideas. The next two years after (presidents Josh Cogswell and Brody Brooks) went back to more game creation using Game Maker and the like.   Currently the club is trying to get back to  somewhat like how it was in the beginning.

Question: What mistakes were made and what were the lessons learned?

Answer: The presidents took turns making suggestions which included: bribe people with pizza, keep the scope small, display what you’re working on and show it off at school events, do what you can and keep researching what you don’t know.

The presidents offered their observations about how the interaction with the rest of the school changed over the course of time – both staff and faculty (i.e. game classes) – during their presidencies. Most of the earlier presidents were met with skepticism about the value of the club and concern that it would interfere with what teachers were trying to teach whereas later presidents received more support from the school in the way of resources including a room for the club and an understanding that the club reinforced what students learned in the classroom.

The presidents also discussed how the club helped them get into the game industry, which was mostly by having a portfolio and knowing how to work well on a team.  Currently the presidents are employed as follows:

Ash Monif – Subatomic Studios

Greg Reisdorf – Sledgehammer Games

Steve Foot – WayForward Technologies

Austin Ivansmith – WayForward Technologies

Danny Johnson -Gaijin Games

Jeremy Welch – Maxis

Tobiah Marks – Yobonja

Josh Cogswell – Rhythm & Hues

Brody Brooks – student at Cogswell

Nick Lindberg – student at Cogswell

See all of the photos at http://www.cogswellalumni.com/10yearsgameclub


-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement

Ten Years of Cogswell Game Club Celebration

Monday, August 30th, 2010

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Meet Our Game Design Faculty

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Albert Chen is the Assistant Professor of Game Design and Development and joined Cogswell’s full-time faculty in 2007. He heads the Game Art concentration under Digital Arts and Animation (DAA) program and Digital Arts and Engineering (DAE) under the Engineering program. He is also the Associate Director for Cogswell’s Engineering Simulation and Animation Laboratory (ESAL), and the recipient of the Boeing Performance Excellence Award in 2008.

His goal is to provide the mentoring and support students need to excel at Cogswell and in the video game and digital media industries.

Mr. Chen was a professional game developer for over twelve years with credits in nearly two dozen game titles. His roles included Game Designer at EA, Game Design Director and Senior Level Designer at Factor 5, Level Layout Manager at 3DO, and Mission Designer, 3D Art Technician, International Lead Tester and QA Tester at LucasArts. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of California at Davis.

Learn more about Cogswell’s Game Design Program.

-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement

Learn to Develop Video Games in a Professional Studio Setting

Friday, June 11th, 2010
Albert Chen with his Game Class

Albert Chen with his Game Class

Love video games? Want to make them? Then why not learn what it might be like to work in a start-up? Cogswell’s Game Studio brings together students from all majors – game design, concept art, 3D modeling, animation, sound design and programming – to develop a video game. During the class students experience first-hand the trials, tribulations and excitement of video game development from the ground up as they participate in hands-on team projects that have hard, aggressive deadlines.

“The focus is on learning how to work as an effective and efficient development team to produce fun, playable games on schedule while fitting in with students’ regular course load,” said Albert Chen, Director of the Game Development program at Cogswell College. “The goal of the class is to prepare students for the rigors of development and give them at least one “shipped” title for their resume.”

Game Studio provides a unique opportunity for students to apply what they have learned, deal with personnel conflicts, troubleshoot production problems and identify any gaps in their skill set that need to be addressed before graduation. The unofficial motto for the studio is: “Work harder, Work smarter, Work together.”

Students learn a variety of open-source tools that replicate those found in industry. MediaWiki is used for planning, project management and documentation. Source control management (SCM) software such as Subversion and Mercurial is used to maintain version control of all game assets. This eliminates accidental data loss or overwrites and provides an easy to maintain asset organization and management system. Mantis is used for bug tracking and exposing students to a formal QA process.

Students create, own and develop their intellectual property (IP) and are responsible for 100% of the work. They take on real-world game development roles and have the opportunity to “test-drive” them during production with the guidance of a video game industry veteran serving as their instructor/Executive Producer. The class also gives students the opportunity to become familiar with the latest industry production practices such as SCRUM. Quality, accountability, attention to detail, polish and “fun factor” are heavily emphasized throughout the course.

Technology
The class currently uses Unity3D as its game engine and primary game creation tool. Javascript is the main scripting language used by the team. Target SKU’s include PC/Mac, web browsers and iPhone.

Digital content creation (DCC) tools used on the project include but are not limited to: Maya, Modo, Photoshop and Illustrator.

Mixamo has partnered with the Game Studio and given students free access to their animation and motion capture technology.

The class is also working with Neurosky to explore the potential of their brain/computer-interface technology.

Deliverables
The final deliverable for the spring 2010 term is a “vertical slice” (a fully realized, playable cross-section of all the major game features that will be in the final game project). The final deliverable for the fall 2011 term will be a fully playable polished game product.

-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement

Intel’s Level Up Game Demo Development Competition

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

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The competition, going into its fourth year, is an opportunity for developers to create game demos that use Intel’s Visual Adrenaline tools. Entrants start by submitting game demo concepts that explain through words and images what their game will feature.

Concepts that are accepted will move to the next round for judging, which requires a playable demo leveraging a trial edition of Intel’s Visual Adrenaline tools.

Judges in the past have included industry experts and leaders such as Sid Meier, Will Wright, Rick Raymo, and Brad Wardell.

Deadline is June 21st.

For submission information and official rules, click here.

Game Development Program Featured in Biz Journal

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Photo by Vicki Thompson

Photo by Vicki Thompson

Cogswell College proves once again that it is on the cutting edge of educating students for careers in the Game Development field. When the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal needed information about how the video game industry is changing and the adjustments educators should make to prepare students for successful careers, Cogswell faculty, Albert Chen, had the answers.

Social networking, mobile devices and the internet have tremendously expanded the opportunities within the video game market. At Cogswell, students experience project-based classes that operate like an indie game studio in order to prepare them for the work environment they are likely to encounter.

Click here to read the article.

Register NOW for the Global Game Jam at Cogswell!

Monday, January 25th, 2010

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There’s still time to register for the Global Game Jam at Cogswell College!  Please go to http://cogswellalumni.com/ggj2010/

Don’t delay!  Spots are filling up QUICK!

Cogswell Faculty Spotlight – Albert Chen, Digital Art & Animation

Friday, December 18th, 2009

albertchenAlbert Chen

Albert Chen is the Assistant Professor of Game Design and Development and joined Cogswell’s full-time faculty in 2007. He heads the Game Art concentration under Digital Arts and Animation (DAA) program and Digital Arts and Engineering (DAE) under the Engineering program. He is also the Associate Director for Cogswell’s Engineering Simulation and Animation Laboratory (ESAL), and the recipient of the Boeing Performance Excellence Award in 2008. His goal is to provide the mentoring and support students need to excel at Cogswell and in the video game and digital media industries. Mr. Chen was a professional game developer for over twelve years with credits in nearly two dozen game titles. His roles included Game Designer at EA, Game Design Director and Senior Level Designer at Factor 5, Level Layout Manager at 3DO, and Mission Designer, 3D Art Technician, International Lead Tester and QA Tester at LucasArts. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of California at Davis.

What classes do you currently teach?

Game 3: Introduction to game development and production, Content and creativity development, Entertainment Design and 3D Modeling portfolio

Do you have a favorite class to teach? If so, why?

Content and creativity development is currently my favorite because it’s purely focused on thinking outside the box and teamwork which results in some very cool student projects.

Have you worked for non-academic companies in the past? Which ones? How did that experience make you a better teacher?

I was a professional game developer for over 12 years prior to joining Cogswell. I have worked at Lucasarts, The 3DO Company, Factor 5 and EA. My past experience in mentoring junior designers has helped me develop my teaching style. I call it “Tough love”.

What made you decide that you wanted to teach?

When I was a game developer, I enjoyed working with and mentoring new designers. At Cogswell, I saw an opportunity to constantly get that kind of interaction with students.

What projects have you worked on in the past? What was your role in the project?

I was 3D Art Technician for Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi and Grim Fandango where I processed raw mo-cap data and fixed technical problems in digital art and animation.

As Level Layout Manager for Sarge’s Heroes 2 PS1, I managed a design team that developed and shipped a game in 7 months.

I was a level designer for Star Wars: Roque Squadron 2 – Rogue Leader (which launched with the Nintendo Gamecube) and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3 – Rebel Strike. My levels were used for the pre-sell disks and shown at trade shows like E3.

As Game Design Director and Designer on Lair, I was responsible for building and managing a design team.

What projects (personal or professional) are you currently working on?
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Cogswell Hosting Silicon Valley Global Game Jam

Monday, December 7th, 2009
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Brainstorming during Game Jam 2009 at Cogswell

Have you ever wanted to be part of something really big? Now’s your chance! Join other San Francisco/Silicon Valley game enthusiasts for the second annual Global Game Jam weekend.

Following last year’s hugely successful inaugural event, organizers are expecting Game Jam 2010 to be even more spectacular. So far more than 100 locations in 31 different countries will host events – and the numbers are growing every day.

Cogswell Polytechnical College is pleased to host this exciting event in the Bay Area. The Global Game Jam begins at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 29 and ends at 3:00p.m. on Sunday, January 31.

Game Jams foster innovation and experimentation – it’s all about making games and in the GGJ you’re part of a global experiment in creativity. A game jam is not for the faint of heart though. Expect two days of hard work, experimentation, little sleep, new friends, great ideas, laughs, technical issues and the time of your life.

What could be better than the chance to challenge your creativity and technical expertise in a collaborative marathon? Not much if you love to make games!

Learn more about the event and reserve your space now.

Space limitation: 50 participants, so make sure to register early.

-Bonnie Phelps, Dean of Institutional Advancement

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A group in the Game Jam 2009 works on their game.

What is Video Game Level Design?

Monday, October 26th, 2009

600px-UnrealEd

 

 

We asked Assistant Professor Albert Chen to explain level design

If Game Development covers how games are made and Game Design determines what the game is and how it is played, Level Design is about defining the moment to moment experience for the player. It includes planning and creating the actual spaces that the player travels through and orchestrating heart-pounding encounters and events that happen along the way.

Can students learn level design at Cogswell?

This past summer term, we offered a six-week Special Topic – Intro to Level Design Workshop. This intensive course introduced students to the fundamentals of 3D level design for 1st person shooters. By using Unreal Tournament 3′s level editor to build playable multiplayer levels, students were able to experience the level design process first-hand. They also learned the theories behind competitive multiplayer map creation to control play balance, intensity and flow.

In Spring, we will offer an Advanced Level Design course. Check the Spring schedule when it is released in early October.

Want to learn more about our Game Art, Game Development, or our Digital Art and Animation programs?

Visit the Cogswell College website or better yet, arrange a tour of our campus and see where you can begin your career in video games.

-Michael Martin, Dean of the College