Posts Tagged ‘video game’

Dare of the Week: 002

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

draw a video game character dressed as another video game character

It is that time of the week people! This weeks dare???

Draw me your favorite video game character dressed as a completely other video game character! HAHA!

And then post them here!!! http://www.facebook.com/cogswellcollege

The State of the Video Game Industry-It’s not dead!

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

I’m sure many of you have opinions of the Video Game Industry as of today and comparisons of yesteryear with many of those opinions being justified with speak of mostly Triple A titles. That might because the Triple A titles set the bar for all video game advances or just that people who talk about video games publically only care about those titles. The truth that sits away from your opinions, whether they are right or wrong, is that today in the year of 2011 the Video Gaming Industry could not be going stronger…minus a few things released in the last few days (I’m looking at you Gearbox and 2k). Now I know that statement is a bit hard to believe but hear me out people. (more…)

Psychology and Video Games, part deux

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Hey everyone, time to get back to our talk about psychology in video games.

Let’s dive right back into our previous discussion about conditioned and unconditioned responses. Just a quick reminder so we don’t need to back track: conditioned responses are like tutorials, reoccurring quick time events, things you find out on your own through trial and error, etc. Now we get to delve into unconditioned responses, which deal with a players natural response to stimuli… and hopefully we can get to fight or flight before the third part of this incredibly long blog post!

Unconditioned responses: not touching a hot stove after having found out that hot=pain, knowing that a headache is not good, being parched after a good workout. We train ourselves unknowingly to follow these responses day in and day out to make our lives easier and safer. Games use this natural human trait and expand on it within their world by giving you experiences that you the player may like or dislike but give you one crucial fact to these experiences: they won’t let you progress. Well, that’s not entirely true since secret bosses can be ignored throughout a whole game. Okay, let’s just say that games use unconditioned responses as a tool to make a game more vast and explorative in more than just ways that hinder ones progress… but for now we will stick to progress hindering. To present the way it works, take an imaginary game where you are the main character and you have to save the world from bad guys. These bad guys have attacks that will hurt you and you can attack them back. As an added bonus, the game gives you areas that you can hide while they attack, so you can wait for the perfect time to strike. At this point you have a few choices but two main choices. Do you charge in, guns a blazing? Or do you take the safe route and wait patiently for your time to strike?  Both can get you further in the game, but what if one of those choices almost always ended you up in failure? Say the charging tactic would get you killed instantly because your enemies can kill you the closer you are to them. You’d try and try to kill these enemies over and over and always come up short. Sure, you might get lucky sometime but that’s probably not going to happen with how this area is designed. Frustrated, you stop and think about what you can do to avoid failing over and over again. You remember that there were areas where the enemies couldn’t attack you and take advantage of them next time. Suddenly, the enemies forget you are there and nod off for a bit which gives you the opportunity to attack them for a short time and finally win, leaving you happy and satisfied. The game developers gave you two ways to handle a task where both could get the job done, but one made it easier than the other. One way made you furious, and the other made you happy.  Although my reasoning is a bit broad here, the unconditioned response was your feelings towards each different style of playing. When you got killed doing something one way, you got furious which is how any human reacts when they can’t progress, but when you did progress, you were satisfied and glad. It is the natural way we would react to something when stimuli is presented to us such as being hungry when we smell food, or being thirsty when it’s too hot. I’m really banking on the universal thought that people like to progress in life and only touching on the mechanic of progression inside video games today so don’t think that this is the only way that game developers use unconditioned responses in video games today. Anyways I think I’ve given a good idea on both conditioned and unconditioned responses. Time to move onto the fight or flight reflex in gaming!

Let’s keep this part short and sweet. Fight or flight is the reaction that we get when presented with a situation that requires an almost immediate response. You can’t have some in-between answer for this problem; it can be only one or the other and has to be made right then and there. Early video games really banked on fight or flight since it always kept the player engaged and gave opportunity for replay value. A perfect example of this reflex in the past is the game Rally X where you are in control of a car that is speeding within a confined space with three or more racers trying to crash into your car. Your goal is to capture flags so you can advance to the next level while avoiding the enemy cars with a burnout mechanic equipped on the car that can disable any car caught in it’s smokescreen. That burnout mechanic is what really made that games fight or flight input shine since the paths you could take were designed to have the enemy cars corner you and destroy your car, but was expansive enough so you could use that burnout or your own skill to get yourself out of sticky situations. The real defining factor that made it fight or flight was the games ability to give you choices that ended you up in either one place or another: I’m running into a tight space…do I avoid them using my own skill/the burnout button, or do I just accept my fate and try again? The choice in which one is better is irrelevant, because at this point you have two choices: die or survive. Many old school games use these choices to make a much more exciting experience and let the player progress the way they would like.  These days fight or flight is used, but sometimes in more confined experiences. Quick time events are perfect examples of this since some are optional, and some are required in order for you to progress. Not to say that mandatory fight or flight choices are bad, but a little variety never hurt anyone, right?

I’m really glad I got through all that in under 1,000 words… oh darn I’m already over. Well, at least this touched on one complete topic. All we have got left is subliminal messaging and relatable video games. Check you guys next time!

-Davain

Global Game Jam at Cogswell, a success!

Friday, February 11th, 2011

In the fast-paced 48 hours that is IGDA Global Game Jam, eight teams shelled out eight playable games!  Cogswell students joined alumni and professionals, notably Namco and Cryptic Studios, to hammer out ideas and see them come to fruition.

The Cogwell College campus was one of six GGJ sites in the state of California.  On a global scale, all of the sites yielded about 1500 games in total.

The games created at Cogswell are available for download.  Just look for “Cogswell.”

Global Game Jam coming back to Cogswell

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Once again, the Global Game Jam event is coming back to Cogswell Polytechnical College.  Previous years have been major successes, with both professionals and students collaborating on fully functional games.  Last year’s game jam yielded 13 games, which was the most of any other jam site in the US!

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, the Global Game Jam event takes place every year in one weekend all across the globe.  This means that thousands of people are working on games continuously for one weekend, allowing the participants to be a part of a worldwide gaming phenomenon!  Participants form teams and each team creates a game over the 48 hour period.  This means everything from concept to programming to audio recording for aural cues happens before the end of the event, resulting in a finished product that is playable and possibly available for sale soon after.  Many Cogswell students from all majors and backgrounds get involved in this huge game creation frenzy.  No matter what one’s part, each person has something they can take credit for and put in his or her portfolio. From an audio perspective, it provides a great opportunity to work on becoming efficient, because one needs to be when there are multiple teams who desire to have sound effects in their games and a short range of time to get it done!  Space is limited, so if you want to make sure you get into the Global Game Jam, register early!

Speaking of AUDIO and JAMS, if you come by the campus on Mondays between 11:00am and 3:00pm you may hear some beautiful music filtering through the hallways near the studios!  The Audio Producers and Engineers Club (APEC) is holding a weekly jam session where fellow students can bring their instrument of choice and create music in an improv setting.  APEC has been very involved in creating opportunities for Digital Audio Technology students, as well as all other majors, to enrich their aural worlds.  The club has been active in lobbying for equipment requested by students, extended acoustics knowledge in hands-on projects, and holding workshops to further investigate recording techniques.

-Rachel

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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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

Lucasfilm Recruiters Visit Cogswell

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Last Monday night Cogswell hosted a visit by Lucasfilm Recruiters. They showed some of the pioneering work the done by the various divisions of Lucasfilm, and even showed some work in production. They spoke about some of the changes in the industry and how graduating students can prepare for a career- in particular, the Jedi Academy Internship.

One of the most interesting points was that there are a few rare entry level positions with these companies. They are looking for strong Riggers at the moment, and they are always looking for entry level Technical Directors. The Recruiter from Lucasfilm Animation stressed that your chances of landing an entry level job increase exponentially if you are an animator but you have some programming and scripting under your belt.

This visit highlights the importance of always keeping a reel in progress. If you were prepared on Monday night, there was a good chance you could have picked up a rigging gig at LucasArts! Just another example of why it is better to prepare than to plan. Many times students hear about openings and start to prepare a reel, but by the time they are ready the opportunity has long passed. Be diligent and always have your best work ready to show to recruiters.

I want to mention that we are running Rigging 1 right now, and we will offer Rigging 2 next semester. You probably already know that we updated our Scripting for CG class that we are running now, and if there is interest, we can run again next term. One other course to note is the new Game Level Design 2 on the schedule next semester. The Spring 2010 class schedule will be released next week.

Keep your eyes open for the next industry visit, and keep that reel up to date!

-Michael Martin, Dean of the College

Where Do Technical Artists and Technical Directors Come From?

Friday, October 16th, 2009

code_art_fig1

The next time you watch a feature length film or play a video game, take a close look at the credits. You will notice that there is a large number of Technical Artists and Technical Directors.

Yet, if you try to locate a college that offers a degree for this fast growing job title, you will be hard pressed to find one.

You are in luck — Cogswell College offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Digital Arts Engineering that blends programming and art courses into coherent knowledge sets to prepare students for careers as Technical Artists and Technical Directors. These people are a technically adept and artistically trained visual problem solver. In a video game world they know how the artists and designers want to work and how the programmers want the assets. In the motion picture and animation world, they take on every job that 3D animators and 3D modelers cannot do in addition to pipeline support and tools creation. In fact, there are usually more technical artists on a visual effects team than any other type of artist.

This type of unique problem solver is in increasingly high demand. You can read a recent article on last week’s Gamasutra newsletter

To find out more about this unique engineering and art hybrid degree, visit the Cogswell website or contact Dr Hadi Aggoune, Director of Engineering.

-Michael Martin, Dean of the College

Cogswell Game Development Club Hosts Another Successful Game Night

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Game-Night

On a warm July evening, the Cogswell Game Development Club held another of their famous Game Nights – a late night of console gaming. Current students, incoming fall freshmen and Spanish students all took part in games such as F-Zero (projected onto the front 15’ wall), Rock Band, Dance Dance Revolution, Halo 3 and Gears of War.

There was also a designated table for students to set up their laptops to work on homework or personal art projects and still enjoy the camaraderie. Student Andrew Severns barbecued up delicious burgers and hot dogs and later in the evening DJ’ed. About 40 people attended and a good time was had by all.

Game Development Club President Brody Brooks said about the evening: “Homework can get pretty stressful sometimes, so it’s always great to kick back with friends and relieve some of it. Game Night was, as always, a great release.”

~ Rachael Reisdorf, Design Coordinator