Posts Tagged ‘games’


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:

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.


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:


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:

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?

Indie Game: The Movie

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Indie Game: The Movie
Every once in a while I see a film out there that is not only beautifully executed but emotionally impacting as well. I recently came across a film that I thinks hits those two points on a very high level.

Indie Game: The Movie, is a documentary that takes you through the trials and emotions of a few indie game designers. What makes this film so significant to the students here at Cogswell is this is something that nearly each and every one of them can empathize with. Cogswells students are getting trained and taught the skills they need to get a job in the industry but not every one of them want to just go work for an already established studio. Many of these students have something that we all have and that are quite honestly, hard to ignore: Dreams.

I talk to Cogswell students everyday here at work, and sometimes even when I am away from work since most of them are close friends of mine. These kids and adults have dreams to not only create games for others but to also create their own gaming studios. We live in an age of entrepreneurship and the students see the opportunity to jump in and fight for everything they have been dreaming of.

It goes without saying though, that none of this is an easy path to follow. Just because you are chasing your dreams does not mean it’s easier than just getting a job, it doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing the whole way and it is definitely not guaranteed that it will pay off. Putting your career and professional name on the line can be a scary thing and takes guts. Which is exactly why I think anyone who is on that kind of a journey should try their hardest to see this film.

Go on over to the website and check out the details and if its going to be screened in your city. It’s important to support people like this, without them, we wouldn’t have some the our most memorable games. I think its well worth your time. ;)

Here is the link to the Official site – Indie Game: The Movie.

Day 3 at GDC

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Cogswell College at GDC 2012

Hey everyone!

I am super excited to be back here in office today! I had a crazy time last week and loved every second of it. The third and final day at GDC was so fun! It was a shorter day than the others but so much happened. The first thing was that the students decided to go out and prove how much they loved games by trying to win every contest at the expo booths, they did pretty well and their spoils proved it. They also went out and tried talking to as many indy game designers as possible. Many of them had amazing conversations with the designers and who knows what will come of that, but I foresee epic things on the horizon. So all in all, this years GDC experience was an amazing one and the students can’t wait to go next year!

We have a couple pictures of the team getting together at the booth at the end of the day and expressing their satisfaction. Here they are below:

Cogswell Students at GDC

Cogswell Students at GDC 2012

Be sure to keep reading everyone, we will be having some pretty cool things coming up on the blog! I will talk to you soon!


Day 2 at GDC – Update: 003

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Cogswell College at GDC 2012

Yesterday was an exciting day on the expo floor. Everyone started to get pretty lively toward the end of the day. One of the coolest parts of the day was one of our own students entered the sketching contest and the NVIDIA booth and made it all the way to the finals! She came in second but only by a tie-breaker judge, it was very very close! So congratulations to Amelia!!! (pics below during the contest)

NVIDIA Sketch contest at GDC 2012

Anther great bit of news was our students were showing excellent networking skills with the indy game developers as well as big companies. It seemed that every hour a student would come back and tell us of a potential deal or partnership or connection they made personally and with the school in mind. Cogswell students are always looking to expand our programs and their presence here at GDC really showed it!

Today the Expo floor gets opened up to all students, including high schoolers, so we expect it to be pretty busy! I will let you know whats going on a bit later! Talk you all soon and as always, if you are at GDC, come by and check us out at booth 638!


Day 2 at GDC – Update: 002

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Cogswell College at GDC 2012

Ok everyone,

So today at the Cogswell booth has been really interesting. Interest among people on the Expo floor is still high and people are stopping by to say “hi” and check us out. As I mentioned before, The IGF Awards was last night and a big group of students went. A game developer from Montreal won the grand prize and there wasn’t much disagreement among the students that he deserved it. Everyone from Cogswell who played his game loved it, so if you guys wanna check out the game, it’s called Fez and it’s by a developer called Polytron.

IGF News did an article on the Awards as well:

There has been a lot of talk about the different audio technologies that have been developed and are being shown here as well. Several of our students are excited and hopeful about taking the information and knowledge and bringing it back to the school to try and incorperate it. I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

I will be checking in toward the end of the day and give you the low down as usual. Talk to you soon!


Day 2 at GDC – Update: 001

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Cogswell College at GDC 2012

Hey Blog Readers!

I was here bright and early to watch everyone start rolling into the Expo floor. Last night around the city there were serveral parties hosted by various game companies and the like, so needless to say, this morning everyone is a little tired. But the energy is picking up and there are smiles on every face. Our student volunteers are doing a great job as well, so a big thank you so far goes out to Matt, Dashiell, Jennifer, Nick, Andrew S, Shane and Andrew M! You guys are rockin’ it!

I will be checking back in a little later today to update everyone. Talk to you soon!


Day 1 at GDC – Update: 003

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Cogswell College at GDC 2012

Hey Everyone,

So today was a great day for Cogswell at GDC. So many people stopped by the booth to talk to our students and representatives. Many connections were made that could end up being potential partnerships. Also, many companies that saw Cogswell as a very special place for training the future of the game design industry. Many alumni stopped by as well took a look at our games and demo reel, every one of them commented about how great the work from the students is looking and especially things coming from Project X. I had several conversations myself with people who thought what Cogswell is doing is an amazing thing.

A bunch of the student volunteers and other Cogswell people decided to stick around for the IGF Awards to see who won. If anything special comes from that I will be sure to let you know!

If you have never heard of the IFG, click here to get the details:

So all in all, today was a great for day on the Expo floor. We are looking forward to an even better Thursday and Friday. I will check in with you guys soon. Stay tuned!


Smart Words for Gamers

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Hapy Monday to everyone, hope you all are having a good start to your week. If you aren’t or even if you are, I found this great video over the weekend. Recently there was an astounding TED talk about how games are actually making kids smarter. So for any of you who are aspiring game designers and have people telling you there is no future in games…tell them to watch this!

Student Sessions ///001: Davain Martinez

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

About once a week here on the Cogswell Blog, I want to do a small sit down with a current student and talk to them about what is happening on campus, things that are coming down the pike and how their classes are going. I plan to call these interviews “Student Sessions.”  Today I sat down with one of my friends on campus, Davain Martinez, who is a Game Design sophomore right now. We always have good conversations and here is how today’s went:

Zombie – Hey Davain, thanks for sitting down with me and chatting.

Davain – No problem, I like helping out around the school.

Zombie – So, what I am really curious about right now is what cool stuff is going on around campus. Can you give me any insight?

Davain – Well, we just held our annual Halloween party. It went really well and everyone had a great time. It took us about a month and a half of planning. The Cogswell Women’s Club headed it up and a bunch of other students and clubs backed them up. One of the coolest things we did was a Pumpkin Carving contest which became a Pumpkin Chucking Contest….. yeah, that was a fun one to watch. We had a raffle and tons of treats.

We just finished mid-terms, so all the students (and teachers) are starting to breathe again and it’s a major weight off everyone’s shoulders. This frees up some time to plan for our next giant event. Comic Club is in full swing planning an event called “CogsCon.” It’s basically an on-campus comic convention that will feature mostly student work from the Comic Club as well as other students outside of the club.

Zombie – That all sounds pretty exciting, I will definitely drop by for that. How are classes going? Do you have a favorite class right now?

Davain – Classes are always hectic but they are still good, I’m taking 15 units though. Most are project based, that always brings more work than normal GE classes. My Entrepreneurship class (Building Blocks of Entrepreneurship) is probably one of my favorites right now because it has opened my eyes to the things I look at every day. I now care more about my money and how I spend it. The class has also made me think about how I manage my own personal projects.

Zombie – Sounds like you have a good grasp on what is going on in your academic life right now. Since you are a game design student, what is your favorite current release and what are you also looking forward to in the near future?

Davain – “Uncharted 3” is my current favorite release even though it’s not my favorite series of games, but right now I am hooked. As far as an upcoming release, it would have to be “Minecraft.” It has been out for months, but Mojang’s official release for “Minecraft” is on the 18th of November. I am really excited to say that I was part of the testing during beta and will continue to support the game for years to come.

Zombie – Cool, I still need to check out that game, I have only heard good things. Well Davain, thanks for stopping by buddy. I’m sure I’ll talk to you again soon and our followers will be looking forward to hearing from you again.

Davain – No, thank you, talk to you soon man.

Hope you all enjoyed this Student Session. See you all again soon! Peace!