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Game Design Principles for Engaging Experiences

Exploring the World of Video Game Design at Vancouver Animation School

Hello, gamers and enthusiasts! Welcome to a recap of our recent webinar on video game design at Vancouver Animation School. I'm Calvin Luk, and I'll be your guide through the exciting world of game development.

Introduction: Tony's Webinar Kickoff

The webinar began with an introduction by Tony, one of the esteemed faculty members of the Vancouver Animation School. Unfortunately, the host, Tony, experienced some technical difficulties at the start, but fear not – the excitement for the video game design course was palpable.

Tony provided an overview of Vancouver Animation School, highlighting its status as the first online school in Canada. The school boasts 11 diploma courses, with an impressive evolution from its initial two courses in 3D computer animation and Concept art.

A Glimpse into the Courses: 11 Diplomas and Counting

The webinar covered various courses offered by the school, ranging from 2D and 3D animation to advanced modeling, digital matte painting, and even an Esports diploma for those interested in managing tournaments and teams. The newest addition, Production Management in Digital Entertainment, reflects the school's commitment to both creative and managerial aspects of the industry.

Tony emphasized that all courses are led by industry professionals, with himself being the Head of Faculty and contributing over 20 years of experience in the animation industry. As the webinar focused on video game design, Tony delved into the importance of virtual reality (VR) and its potential in the future.

Tony's Background: A Game Designer's Journey

Tony shared his extensive background, having worked on TV series, commercials, and Disney feature animation. With 18 years of experience as an instructor, he expressed his passion for video game design, the main focus of the webinar.

Principles of Game Design for Engaging Experiences

Tony transitioned into the core topic of the webinar: principles of game design for engaging experiences. As Tony emphasized, engaging players involves making deliberate decisions in design. Here are some key principles discussed:

  1. Focus on the Core Loop:
    • Establish a set of systems and interactions that players will repeatedly engage with.
    • Create a seamless loop of actions, such as obtaining items, using them, and exploring, to keep players actively participating.
  2. Design Systemic Foundations:
    • Develop a robust foundation of systemic mechanics that allows players to experiment and find creative solutions.
    • Encourage player agency by providing tools for problem-solving within the game world.
  3. Simple to Learn, Difficult to Master:
    • Keep game mechanics easy to learn but provide depth for mastery.
    • Use games like Doom 2016 as examples, where simplicity in rules coexists with deep, nuanced gameplay.
  4. Provide Meaningful Decisions:
    • Ensure players make decisions that impact the game.
    • Cited Dishonored as an example where players' choices directly influence the narrative and gameplay.
  5. Clarity-Focused Design:
    • Prioritize clear communication of gameplay systems and mechanics to reduce player frustration.
    • Praised God of War (2018) for its clear and impactful combat sequences.
  6. The Player's Story Matters:
    • Acknowledge that players engage with games for various reasons.
    • Highlighted Red Dead Redemption 2, where players often remember their unique experiences and narratives within the game.

Vancouver Animation School's Video Game Design Program

The webinar seamlessly transitioned to an overview of the Video Game Design Program at Vancouver Animation School. Tony introduced the 12-month program divided into four three-month terms.

Program Highlights:

  • Game design foundations, tools, and roles.
  • In-depth learning about gameplay and level design.
  • Emphasis on project creation, allowing students to apply their knowledge.
  • Technical sessions, live classes, and review sessions for comprehensive learning.
  • Industry-relevant content updated regularly based on current trends.

Instructors: Industry Experts and Professionals

The webinar highlighted the expertise of the program's instructors:

  1. Tony – Lead Instructor: Offers over 20 years of professional experience in animation and game design.
  2. Craig Williams – Lead Designer: Brings extensive experience and insight into game design and development.
  3. Adam Chandler – Technical Instructor: Provides expertise in both games and interactive media, offering a unique perspective.

Enrollment Process and Portfolio Submission:

Prospective students were encouraged to submit a portfolio showcasing their creativity. However, for those without a portfolio, there is an option to take the Intro to Digital Arts course before enrolling in the diploma courses.

Software Requirements:

Tony clarified that the required software, such as Unity and Unreal, is either free or very affordable. Additional assets and tools can be accessed through free asset stores.

Q&A Session and Closing Remarks

The webinar concluded with a brief Q&A session, touching on topics like favorite colors and other light-hearted queries. Participants were reminded to reach out for any further questions.

In the end, Tony expressed gratitude to everyone for their participation and interest in the webinar. Attendees were encouraged to contact Vancouver Animation School for more information or to enroll in the exciting Video Game Design Program.

And that's a wrap! Thank you for exploring the fascinating realm of video game design with us. Stay tuned for more exciting updates from Vancouver Animation School!

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