ALL THE LIGHTS!

I have finally found something that I absolutely love doing! Environment and lighting! Take a look at a bit of concept art for the God of War: Ascension game that came out for PlayStation 3 in 2013.

Cool, right? Yeah. Yes, it is! Well, in our Environment & Lighting class, we were shown how to light up a scene in UDK (Unreal Development Kit). So then our instructor assigned us the task of taking a bit of concept art, and recreating it with the assets available in UDK and spamming point lights all over the place in our scene in an attempt to recreate it, playing with lighting in the foreground, midground, and background. I’m not finished with mine yet, but I am super close! Let me know what you think!

Unfortunately, I’ve spent more time on this than I probably should have… But I love it so much. Doing this kind of work makes me super happy. OK, BED TIME.

We are now here.

First week of term three is over and it took waiting until Friday to earn our first concrete assignments of the term. Spirits are high and everyone seems pretty determined to kick ass and specialize. With the day having come to a close a few hours ago, our streams have been cemented forever into our future gravestones.

"Here lies Jean, a man who believes he made the right choice."

Dramatics aside, I chose to stick with the Programming and Game Art streams, while still sitting in on and auditing the Level Design courses. Having taken every class this week, I can comfortably say that Mission Design doesn’t thoroughly interest me, but our instructor from Level Design 2 is accompanying us further on this journey to Game Design greatness into Level Design 3. One might compare him to Gandalf the Grey, leading the Fellowship to Mordor… Or something. I’m not a huge Lord of the Rings fan, though the films are neat. And Ian McKellen is super awesome. HOLLA BACK, MAGNETO.

But yeah, I’m happy. Been working on our game design document for our 2D Game Project and look forward to fleshing it out this weekend. And I’ll also be looking ahead into the Programming assignments, in an attempt to get an early start and wrap my head around C++ and its strangeness. Truthfully, I can’t wait until we’re in term four and learning HTML5 game design. But I’ll slow down to enjoy the now.

Off to a bar to join other game design students and alumni for a night of networking, and of course laughs and brews.

I AM PUMPED.

- Jean

We are now here.

First week of term three is over and it took waiting until Friday to earn our first concrete assignments of the term. Spirits are high and everyone seems pretty determined to kick ass and specialize. With the day having come to a close a few hours ago, our streams have been cemented forever into our future gravestones.

"Here lies Jean, a man who believes he made the right choice."

Dramatics aside, I chose to stick with the Programming and Game Art streams, while still sitting in on and auditing the Level Design courses. Having taken every class this week, I can comfortably say that Mission Design doesn’t thoroughly interest me, but our instructor from Level Design 2 is accompanying us further on this journey to Game Design greatness into Level Design 3. One might compare him to Gandalf the Grey, leading the Fellowship to Mordor… Or something. I’m not a huge Lord of the Rings fan, though the films are neat. And Ian McKellen is super awesome. HOLLA BACK, MAGNETO.

But yeah, I’m happy. Been working on our game design document for our 2D Game Project and look forward to fleshing it out this weekend. And I’ll also be looking ahead into the Programming assignments, in an attempt to get an early start and wrap my head around C++ and its strangeness. Truthfully, I can’t wait until we’re in term four and learning HTML5 game design. But I’ll slow down to enjoy the now.

Off to a bar to join other game design students and alumni for a night of networking, and of course laughs and brews.

I AM PUMPED.

- Jean

When fear strikes.

As I lay in bed ready to sleep post our Mobile / Social Design class, I begin to realize that tomorrow and the rest of this week will be the defining moment of what I am going to get out of my experience here at VFS.

Tomorrow, I begin my day with Programming 2. As I have stated in this blog before many times (or at least it feels that way), Programming is definitely my extreme weakness when I consider everything I have done so far in the past four months. It requires a certain way of thinking that hasn’t quite clicked for me yet, but I am seriously hoping it comes soon. (Oh, what I would give to be Sylar to just understand how things work!)

This week is the deadline for choosing our stream for the next two terms. As mentioned before, they are Game Art, Programming, and Level Design. Currently, I am enrolled in Game Art and Programming, but will still sit in on the Level Design classes. I have done so because as a person who would like to pursue an independent game development route after school, these skills would be the most valuable to me. I also believe that I would benefit the most from having instruction for these two, whereas I could refine my Level Design skills through massive amounts of quality playtesting. Whether or not this opinion of mine is correct, it helped me determine what is most important to me as a student wanting to learn all that I can, and what I want to be capable of doing straight out of school. First Day Value!

My greatest fear right now is thinking about Friday and the possibility that I might actually swap out Programming for Level Design. I just hate giving up on something, knowing how badly I want it. Like I said, I plan to sit in on every class anyway, regardless of the streams I’ve chosen, but I feel like the pressure of being graded for something will help me learn it better and care more about it.

I can’t think about it too much tonight, or I’ll never sleep. Tomorrow is Wednesday, and it’s a full day of class from 9:00am to 9:30pm, starting with Programming 2, then Mission Design, and finishing with Game Interface Design. It actually sounds like a really fun day. And hopefully the coding won’t be so bad.

- Jean ( jeryes )

Not much love for term two.

The title of this post is misleading. It’s not that I didn’t love term two, because I did, but rather, I barely wrote about it during the last two months. Obviously, this is my fault, because no one else is going to be writing in my blog on my behalf, but it was a busy term, and although I meant to do a recap about it sooner, I figured that today, the first day of term three, would be as appropriate of a time as any other.

In a week, we would have the following classes:

  • Level Design 2 (Unreal Development Kit)
  • Game Mechanics
  • Team Management
  • Game Theory Digital
  • Game Art 2 
  • Critical Analysis
  • Unity 1
  • 2D Gaming Project

These aren’t ranked in any order of preference or anything, just so we’re clear, because Game Art 2 would definitely be up at the top otherwise.

Anyway, this term was our first foray into using UDK for Level Design, and it took a lot of getting used to, especially the one Ctrl+S keyboard shortcut, which isn’t used to save, but rather a substractive brush which we weren’t allowed to use. If it had been me who designed it, I would have left the Save shortcut as is, and done some Ctrl+Alt+A thing so it was opposite of the additive brush, but… I digress. All in all, I ended up with a pretty strong mark in Level Design 2, making a pretty swankified disco ball space station level with a light that changes colours. (OK, yes. I wanted to make a gay level. Sue me.)

Unity 1 was definitely not my best class, though I really wanted it to be up there alongside Game Art 2. Programming is still something I do not fully understand, and it is frustrating to me for that reason, but I don’t want to give up. However, we declared our streams at the end of term (Game Art, Level Design, or Programming) and I chose Game Art and Programming. I have a feeling this will change…by this Friday, because that is the deadline. But I did make my first solo project video game which is fun. A one button game that also counted towards Game Mechanics.

I don’t really have much to say about Game Mechanics, other than it was an interesting opportunity to think about the mechanics that are put into a game, their value for the game, and how you would go about fine tuning everything within the game system so that it is balanced. And ultimately, if it doesn’t work, chuck it.

Game Theory Digital was playing games during the practical sessions, and learning more design choices in the theoretical part of it. 2D Gaming Project was learning new things in Unity. Critical Analysis was all about, obviously, analyzing video games critically. Game Art 2 was creating pixel art characters with animations, learning how to texture 3D models using UV’s, and creating low-polygon art with the help of bump maps, normals, etc… Probably stuff that doesn’t make any sense to you if you don’t know anything about 3D modeling. I would advise you look it up instead of me attempting to explain it. Haha.

Team Management, though, was a very interesting class. Apart from learning what it takes to have a well working team, what it takes to be a great team member and/or team leader, our instructor gave us the real talk about what it was like to work in the games industry and what kind of expectations we should have about it.

Term two really flew by. And here I am, on a break from the first class of term three, finishing off this post. I’m ready to do this all over again after twelve days off. Bring it, VFS.

- Jean ( jeryes )

Hiiiiiiiiii guys. I’ve missed you.

Currently working on a Deathmatch level map in Level Design 2 class.The first image is of a paper map that we were assigned to make before starting the design in Unreal Development Kit. The maps are to be designed for 6-8 player Deathmatch games, and there should be use of UDK’s Kismet (which I haven’t quite thought about yet, but I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with something), and take us around 25 to 30 hours to complete.

The paper map is missing things like player spawn points, weapon and health pickups, jump pads, gravity volumes, etc. I am not really a Deathmatch type of player, but this is super fun. My level’s name is Jumpomatic. At least for right now. I may have been thinking about Daft Punk while I was designing it. 

Technologic.. Technologic…

Sorry for the lack of blogging, everyone. I’ve got a couple of drafts waiting. I WILL HAVE MORE CONTENT, I PROMISE. DON’T HURT ME. *crying*

As always, if you have questions about the Game Design program at Vancouver Film School, feel free to hit up my Ask box and I’ll try to answer you quickly!

- Jean

Oh boy.

So it has seriously been a while since I wrote an actual post in this here blog. Let that be an indication to you, would-be game design students, that this program is demanding. And to be completely truthful, I haven’t been working on assignments the whole time I’ve been absent. Oh, no, no, no. On the contrary! I’ve been playing video games because I hardly gave myself time for that last term!

I’ve learned that it’s very important to maintain a healthy balance of school work and your life. Last term had too many nights of staying up too late. This term has been lighter on the homework side, but that’s because we’re working on our 2D games right now!

My group is working on a game that we’ve tentatively titled “Thread”. We really like this title, and it may be the one we keep at the very end. We’re a team of four, with myself being the project manager, and then we have our art lead, programming lead, and audio/QA lead. My team has some pretty rad people, and we’re super pumped for our game.

We’re currently trying to shape it so that everyone can share the same vision, which is essentially my responsibility. I’ll be producing a Game Design Document (GDD) that will contain our vision so everyone stays on the same page. It’s all very exciting!

And that’s just a bit of a taste of what we’re going through right now. It’s late, and I’ve been working on an art asset for the game. Until next time. And hopefully it’s sooner rather than later!

- Jean

Pixel Art Tutorial

makegames:


Note:
This tutorial was created in 2007 for my personal website. Some small tweaks have been made since then, but nothing too significant.

In this 10-step tutorial, I’ll teach you how to create a “sprite”, which is a stand-alone two-dimensional character or object. The term comes from video games, of course.

Creating pixel art is a skill I picked up because I needed graphics for my games. After a lot of practice, I became kinda handy with it, and started to see it more as actual art rather than just a tool. These days, pixel art is quite popular in game development and illustration.

This pixel tutorial was created many years ago to teach people the basic concepts behind pixel art, but I’ve streamlined it a lot since its first incarnation. There are other pixel tutorials around, but I find them to be overly-complicated and too wordy. Pixel art is not a science. You should never have to calculate a vector when doing pixel art.

Read More

I figure for anyone looking to create pixel art, this tutorial might be useful!

48 Hour Game Jam. I’m in one this weekend starting tonight. It’s for VFS Game Design and Programming students called “Hat Jam 5”.
Don’t know what a game jam is? It’s an event that’s held were mini development teams are given a 48 hour timeframe to develop a working video game. Sounds intense, right? Yeah. But these happen in centres all over the world! You can check out the website for the Global Game Jam by clicking here!
I signed up, but I don’t really know how I’ll contribute yet. I definitely won’t be programming though. Maybe I’ll be the artist on the team. Or audio? Maybe QA. Or maybe I’ll just be that guy who provide creative input and gets everyone their game making fuel.
WOO HOO!
- Jean

48 Hour Game Jam. I’m in one this weekend starting tonight. It’s for VFS Game Design and Programming students called “Hat Jam 5”.

Don’t know what a game jam is? It’s an event that’s held were mini development teams are given a 48 hour timeframe to develop a working video game. Sounds intense, right? Yeah. But these happen in centres all over the world! You can check out the website for the Global Game Jam by clicking here!

I signed up, but I don’t really know how I’ll contribute yet. I definitely won’t be programming though. Maybe I’ll be the artist on the team. Or audio? Maybe QA. Or maybe I’ll just be that guy who provide creative input and gets everyone their game making fuel.

WOO HOO!

- Jean

Game designers.

Out with my classmates right now after our Team Management class, but this sentence here (in the image above) is really resonating with me. Our instructor advised us to stop talking about ourselves as “aspiring” game designers. We ARE game designers. 

We have been in the program for two months now, and we need to start selling ourselves as people working in the industry. Every day is an interview, and every human interaction we have is leaving new impressions for the people who have the ability to connect us with professionals looking to hire budding artists, programmers, level designers, etc.

Day one of term two is over. We opened with Critical Analysis, giving us the tools to do some in depth thinking about what we like and dislike about the games we love, hate, and have yet to play. 

Canada Day tomorrow. Hoping to get some work done. Pretty big wake up call listening to our Team Management instructor. We need to bring Day One Value to the development studios we’ll be looking to have hire us, and I know I have some skills, but I need to step up my game to make myself desired.

Night, all.

- Jean

Game designers.

Out with my classmates right now after our Team Management class, but this sentence here (in the image above) is really resonating with me. Our instructor advised us to stop talking about ourselves as “aspiring” game designers. We ARE game designers.

We have been in the program for two months now, and we need to start selling ourselves as people working in the industry. Every day is an interview, and every human interaction we have is leaving new impressions for the people who have the ability to connect us with professionals looking to hire budding artists, programmers, level designers, etc.

Day one of term two is over. We opened with Critical Analysis, giving us the tools to do some in depth thinking about what we like and dislike about the games we love, hate, and have yet to play.

Canada Day tomorrow. Hoping to get some work done. Pretty big wake up call listening to our Team Management instructor. We need to bring Day One Value to the development studios we’ll be looking to have hire us, and I know I have some skills, but I need to step up my game to make myself desired.

Night, all.

- Jean

This is the look of someone who is so glad that classes for term one have finally come to a close. Granted, we still have an assignment due tomorrow, but considering we’ll have a full day to complete our objectives, it is completely manageable. This would have meant that it was a four day weekend for us, but shame on me for leaving it until the last day anyway!
I handed in my third assignment for Game Art 1 about an hour ago; it is the one where I attempted to recreate Ness’ living room from EarthBound for the SNES. I plan to share as many of my assignments with you readers as I can, but I’m considering touching some of them up to do a mini "then and now" kind of thing. Would be interesting to see where I was hoping to take the assignment had we been given more time or extra knowledge which couldn’t fit within the confines of seven three-hour classes.
Suffice it to say that term one has been extremely enjoyable, and I am loving what I am doing. You’ve seen the challenges that I have had, and hopefully where my strengths are showing. As much as Maya is a frustrating tool to learn, I am definitely loving the idea that I may become a 3D modeller. I might even just become that guy that textures, as that’s something that totally interests me. But I definitely want to be able to add programming to my toolkit for after graduation, so I’m going to work extra hard to learn what I can and what are the walls that are keeping me from progressing in that field.
It’s been so wonderful to work with the amazing educators this term. They each offer so much to the table in such different and unique ways, that I’m looking forward to the continuation of those fostering relationships. There is so much to learn here!
Thanks for the great first term, Vancouver Film School. You’ve reignited my passion to learn and to achieve. Great things will come out of GD38, I’m sure. We’ve only seen a glimpse of what we can each bring to the table in the game industry.
Time for some shut eye, though. Especially if I want a fresh brain to get that last assignment finished. Good night! And thank you to my 41 followers for being a part of the first chapter of this amazing new life ahead of me!
- Jean

This is the look of someone who is so glad that classes for term one have finally come to a close. Granted, we still have an assignment due tomorrow, but considering we’ll have a full day to complete our objectives, it is completely manageable. This would have meant that it was a four day weekend for us, but shame on me for leaving it until the last day anyway!

I handed in my third assignment for Game Art 1 about an hour ago; it is the one where I attempted to recreate Ness’ living room from EarthBound for the SNES. I plan to share as many of my assignments with you readers as I can, but I’m considering touching some of them up to do a mini "then and now" kind of thing. Would be interesting to see where I was hoping to take the assignment had we been given more time or extra knowledge which couldn’t fit within the confines of seven three-hour classes.

Suffice it to say that term one has been extremely enjoyable, and I am loving what I am doing. You’ve seen the challenges that I have had, and hopefully where my strengths are showing. As much as Maya is a frustrating tool to learn, I am definitely loving the idea that I may become a 3D modeller. I might even just become that guy that textures, as that’s something that totally interests me. But I definitely want to be able to add programming to my toolkit for after graduation, so I’m going to work extra hard to learn what I can and what are the walls that are keeping me from progressing in that field.

It’s been so wonderful to work with the amazing educators this term. They each offer so much to the table in such different and unique ways, that I’m looking forward to the continuation of those fostering relationships. There is so much to learn here!

Thanks for the great first term, Vancouver Film School. You’ve reignited my passion to learn and to achieve. Great things will come out of GD38, I’m sure. We’ve only seen a glimpse of what we can each bring to the table in the game industry.

Time for some shut eye, though. Especially if I want a fresh brain to get that last assignment finished. Good night! And thank you to my 41 followers for being a part of the first chapter of this amazing new life ahead of me!

- Jean