Posts Tagged ‘games’

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!


Game Club Submits New Game to IGF

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Clark & Dagger - Cogswell Game Dev Club

After more than 3 months of development, the Cogswell Game Club has finished another project.

The game is called Clark & Dagger and is about a Spy (Dagger) and a Hacker (Clark). The point of the game is to use each of character’s unique abilities to advance through the levels. The game is geared toward a multiplayer experience, so players will only be able to succeed if they work together.

The club submitted their game to the Independent Games Festival Student Competition to try and earn one of the eight places in the IGF Student Showcase. The eight finalists get to bask in the spotlight at the upcoming Game Developer Conference and thousands of people get to play their game.

The last time a game from the Cogswell Game Club was accepted into the Showcase was in 2003 for a game titled, “The Gates of Temlaha.” The word around campus is that they were accepted that year because of their amazing feat of creating their own 3D engine.

Team Cogswell will be going up against some schools that are featured in the showcase every year but Project Coordinator and Lead Developer, Brody Brooks, is confident their game stands a good chance in the competition this year. Brody proposed the project initially around the time he was starting an internship at NASA and didn’t think he would have time to work on it. The other group members kept coming to him and asking for help and advice and soon Brody became Project Coordinator despite his schedule.

Brody also told us that the genesis of the project was very organic and sort of happened by osmosis. Slowly students around school become interested in the project. Luckily every person who joined was very talented and committed and even though the majority of the team was part-time, they each brought their own perspective and ideas to the project.

Future plans for Clark & Dagger are to round up a bunch of the group members and hold a Level Jam weekend. (Level Jam – when a group of people get together and just try to design a bunch of levels for a game.) After the Level Jam, the group plans to move on to the next project and let “Clark ‘n Dagger”  fade into history – or become the next big seller.

As for Brody, he is starting his own company. He plans to make games for PC and Console systems with all games being downloadable. Brody says that he is aiming for the Indy game market and his demographic is the college crowd.

The guys at Cogswell’s Game Club are always looking for feedback, so download( their game and see what you think.

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed. Talk to you again soon.