The CPCC Simulation and Game Development department has moved!
We are still in the Levine Technology Building, but now we are located on the first floor, setup complete with our own lobby so our SGD students have a place to relax and study that is their own. If you are interested in enrolling in our program, please contact any of our instructors or advisers. Marc.firstname.lastname@example.org , Farhad.email@example.com , or Perry.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Carolina Games Summit is about to commence at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro. This event is a full day summit that holds interest for gamers and developers both, as CGS holds about 10-20 classrooms full of the newest gaming platforms and even those dating back to the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube era(Smash and Mario Kart are still king).
The game developers looking for more career related fun will be happy to know that EA, Redstorm, Funcom, Autodesk and more are always there exhibiting and happy to talk to a budding developer.
This is a great place to attend if you don’t have the budget for East Coast Game Conference or Game Developer’s Conference but you still want to put yourself out there and network with some of the industry’s finest.
On another note, CGS is always looking for student volunteers!
Designing Better Levels Through Human Survival Instincts
The experience of users in a space is something that architects have understood for centuries but which has been lost with the Postmodern focus on building forms. In a work that evolved from his Architecture Masters thesis, game design professor Christopher Totten set out to understand how buildings and games make better user experiences. What he learned was how to make better levels. Through case studies and building analysis, this presentation shows how video game environments can learn from architecture in ways that begin with human survival instincts. Shelter, shadow, shade, and vertigo are all explored to discover how levels can be both thrilling and fun.
Chris Totten is a Washington, DC-based professor of game design and 3D animation. He has also participated in several independent game projects as an artist, animator, and project manager. Chris has written articles featured on both Gamasutra and Video Game Writers. He is currently writing a textbook called Game Character Creation in Blender and Unity, which will be released by Wiley Publishing in the summer of 2012. He has a Masters Degree in Architecture with a concentration in digital media from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Chris wants to help shape a new generation of game designers who look deeper into their designs. He works with students and other designers to challenge gaming conventions through cross-disciplinary research.
Author: Mike Sellers, a game designer for over 15…
Inspiration can come from daily life, from taking a walk or a drive, from playing another game, from seeing a problem that can be modeled in a game, or from the ever-present “wouldn’t it be cool if…” Another useful way to get ideas is to set constraints; many people don’t do as well as you might think with a completely empty canvas. So choose limiting conditions, even arbitrary ones (you can always change it later). So: this is a game about flying. Everything in this game is a shade of blue. The game is about loss and rebirth. Just typing those (at random) you may have three new ideas for games you could spin from them — and other people would come up with ones that are completely different from yours.
All that said, and not to sound flippant, but the problem isn’t coming up with ideas — it’s sorting the bad ones from the good ones, and then focusing on one good one for long enough to turn it into something. For most designers, ideas come in an unending stream. It’s like a fascinating and frustrating firehose of ideas that you can’t really turn off. All you can do is quickly scrawl down your idea (cloud creatures living in twilight, rotating with the earth, dying with the night but being reborn with the sunrise — etc) and get back to the idea you’re supposed to be working on.
Whenever a big budget title enters the first phases of development it has to go through a great deal of scrutiny. It needs to prove before square one that it will make back the tens of millions of dollars its going to cost to make (movies and TV are guilty of this too). The developer has to use things like Metacritc scores and game sales to prove saleability to publishers or financiers in order to get the funding they need to make the game. Understandably publishers and money people are in the business of spending money to make money and don’t want to take risks on anything they don’t think can make a profit for them. To be palatable for consideration, games frequently have to be boiled down to “it’s like Bioshock in space”, or “think Farmville with guns”, or some other mash-up of proven successful titles. This practice of circling around established ideas to create the new content of tomorrow ultimately suffocates creativity at its heart. It inadvertently paints the picture that if something hasn’t been done before it can’t be done, or if it’s been done badly then the genre is a failure. Just because a genre hasn’t been well represented before, or because an idea hasn’t been attempted, doesn’t mean the idea can’t be a hit when made correctly. Yet if a game concept strays too far from the established examples provable through review scores and sales numbers, it frequently makes the game prohibitively difficult to fund even if the ideas fit the game design perfectly. There’s no way around it, but the good games you love will naturally and inadvertently destroy creativity for games to come.