Game Design
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  • NYFA Welcomes Hire Heroes USA

    On June 24, The New York Film Academy College of Visual and Performing Arts (NYFA) Veteran Services Department was fortunate to collaborate with Hire Heroes USA (HHUSA) to host a daylong exclusive employment workshop for NYFA’s veteran students. The NYFA military students also benefited from one-on-one time with the Transition Specialists from HHUSA.

    Hire Heroes and New York Film Academy

    Hire Heroes visits the New York Film Academy

     

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    Hire Heroes USA is a nonprofit that provides free, expert career coaching and job sourcing to hundreds of transitioning U.S. military members.

     

    Hire Heroes USA is a nonprofit that provides free, expert career coaching and job sourcing to hundreds of transitioning U.S. military members, assisting veterans and spouses with finding employment.

    The first half of the eight-hour workshop was a practicum related to resume theory, networking techniques, and how to affectively prepare for an interview. Representatives from Hire Heroes USA, Jamie Rimphanli and Walter Serrano, coached veteran students on how to properly format their resumes and discussed, in-depth, the importance of networking and how to prepare for a job interview.

    For the second half of the workshop, industry professionals from Disney Studios, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Legendary Entertainment, and Plan A Locations joined the workshop for a moderated Q&A panel discussion. Panelists discussed how they began their careers in the entertainment industry and how they’ve navigated their careers for success.

    Highlights from the day included an exercise that had all of the participants do a speed networking session. Also, HHUSA brought a photographer who took professional head shots for the veteran students’ LinkedIn pages.

    “We felt that this training and these types of vet student-centric activities are increasingly important because they help prepare our students to meet with HR/Talent Acquisition teams from the major studios,” explained NYFA Director of Veterans Services Department John Powers.  

    Retired Army veteran and MFA cinematography student Bryan Hudson stated, “The Hire Heroes USA workshop was a fantastic forum to introduce veterans with industry insiders and provide the opportunity to learn from them. The event was beneficial to everyone involved about learning the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the interview process and how to break into the entertainment industry. One thing that I learned from the workshop is to establish relationships that will be beneficial to both parties. Thank you to the NYFA Veterans Department for putting on this marvelous event, and I hope that this will be the first of many events with Hire Heroes USA.”

    The NYFA Veteran Services Department is extremely grateful to Hire Heroes USA for partnering with us to bring this wonderful opportunity to NYFA veteran students.

  • More Industry Success for NYFA Games Faculty Scott Rogers: “Rayguns & Rocketships” Is A Hit

    The New York Film Academy Game Design Department is celebrating the success of our faculty member, Scott Rogers’, latest table top game: “Rayguns & Rocket Ships.” It just completed a successful run on Kickstarter and will be in stores in the Fall.

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    Like all NYFA Games faculty Scott is a working developer in the game industry. He was game designer and creative director on more than fifty AAA games for Disney, Sony, Capcom, Namco and THQ. His games have sold over 50 million copies worldwide. Over his career, Scott has partnered with major licensors including Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, MGA and DC Entertainment.

    For the last four years, Scott was an Imagineer at Walt Disney Imagineering’s R&D department where he helped create interactive experiences installed in Disney’s parks including: “Mickey’s Fun Wheel Challenge,” “Legends of Frontierland” and several app-based interactive games. Scott has authored two books on game design: “Level Up! The Guide to Great Video Game Design” and “Swipe This! The Guide to Touchscreen Game Design.” Both books are top sellers and “Level Up!” is the #1 best seller on Amazon.com.

    Here are a few of Scott’s videogame projects:

    God of War (PS2)
    Saint’s Row Drive-by (PSN, XBLA)
    Maximo: Ghost to Glory (PS2)
    Warhammer 40K Kill Team (PSN, XBLA)
    Drawn to Life (DS)
    World of Zoo (Wii, PC, DS)
    Up (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS, PC)
    SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants (PC, GBA)
    Battle of the Bands (Wii)
    Pac-Man World (PS)
    Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness (PS)
    Soul Blade (Soul Edge) (PS)
    Xevious 3D (PS)
    World Stadium Baseball EX (PS)
    Rage Racer (PS)
    Demoliton Man (SNES, Genesis, Sega CD)
    ESPN Baseball Tonight (Sega CD)
    ESPN National Hockey Night (SNES, Genesis, Sega CD)
    ESPN 2 on 2 Basketball (SNES)

    Scott’s latest game, “Rayguns & Rocketships” combines the polish and craftsmanship expected of an Imagineer with the tongue-and-cheek sci-fi aesthetic of the original Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. The game is an inventive miniatures-based board game where players control of a rocketship on one board and its crew on another as they battle friends and avoid a cold death in the vacuum of space. Check it out here.

    May 22, 2017 • Faculty Highlights, Game Design • Views: 1087

  • Virtual Reality School Highlights at New York Film Academy

    Last month the inaugural 8-Week Virtual Reality students showcased their final projects in conclusion with their graduation. Students and faculty were able to experience student work through interactive stories and games, which captured everything from Central Park to a virtual beer pong game.
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    Carlos Cruz, who worked for more than fifteen years in video production in Brazil, came to NYFA to learn about the emerging VR technology. “It was a great opportunity to come to NYFA,” said Cruz. “To study here was like a dream.” Cruz’s project allowed us to explore a blossoming relationship which began as an accidental encounter in Grand Central Station.

    “I find VR absolutely captivating as a medium,” added Catherine Dionne Henry, a NYFA VR student who is a native New Yorker. “We are at the forefront of a technological transition and I feel that this is a very exciting medium to be in.”

    Henry’s final project “Welcome to Harlem USA!” captures the legacy and culture of Harlem, which she says is a neighborhood in a period of transition and change.

    The projects were all impressive, making the 8-Week program a huge success. The Academy looks forward to its next batch of VR pioneers and wishes the best of luck to its recent graduates.

    In VR Faculty news, NYFA VR instructor Caitlin Burns headed a panel discussion on Virtual Reality at the Las Vegas Convention Center on April 23. Burns and other panelists tackled questions as to whether the technologies will be around for the long run and explored how to use and take advantage of the growing technologies, uncover how the experiences will look down the road, and the potential revenue strategies.

    Currently serving as Vice Chair of the Producers’ Guild of America New Media Council, Burns has spent a decade working with narrative intellectual property franchises, independent artists, brands and philanthropic initiatives. Developing content strategies, overseeing multiplatform storyworlds and supervising localization campaigns spanning the globe, she understands what it takes to create a success story.

    Her past work includes: “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Disney Fairies,” “Tron Legacy” and “Disney Descendants” for The Walt Disney Company, James Cameron’s “Avatar” for Fox, “Halo” for Microsoft, “The Happiness Factory” for The Coca-Cola Company, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” for Nickelodeon and “Transformers” for Hasbro.

    She has also worked with Sony, Showtime, Pepperidge Farm, Scholastic, Tribeca New Media Fund, FEMSA, Diageo, Wieden+Kennedy, Odd Division, Tool of North America, Hush, Campfire, Reebok, Stratasys and UNICEF. Her independent feature McCarren Park, a film distributed by geolocated mobile app, premiered at the Tribeca Film Institute’s Interactive Day and screened at New York Film Festival.

    Burns will soon be heading a panel discussion on VR in New Zealand as well as introducing the technology to a group of Maori children.

    May 12, 2017 • Filmmaking, Game Design • Views: 1568

  • NYFA Hosts Veterans for Exclusive Game Design Workshop

    The New York Film Academy College of Visual & Performing Arts (NYFA) facilitated an exclusive, hands on Game Design workshop for service members and veterans that were interested in pursuing an education in the field of game design and game engineering. Veterans from across Southern California, including Los Angeles and San Diego, met at the College’s campus located in Burbank, CA.

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    “Veterans working together to build a game during the workshop”

    Several veteran nonprofits including Veterans in Film & Television (VFT), Team Push (TPU), and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) collaborated with NYFA to support the workshop. The special event focused on how to break into the game design industry. As part of the activity veterans participating worked together to build games.

    Bryan Parent, Founder of Team Push, and a workshop participant, stated, “These types of events are important to our veterans; it is an opportunity to learn how their military skills can be used in a civilian setting, where they can work together as a team with other veterans and co-workers, and to break apart any assumptions we have leaving the military, or what others think we are coming out of the military. NYFA put all of that into an easily digested workshop that left all of Team Push Up’s members asking for more.”

    The College’s Veterans Services Department organized the event; Chris Swain, NYFA’s Game Design Department Chair facilitated the workshop. Swain is a seasoned game designer and game design engineer, who has authored 50+ games for Activision, EA, Sony, Microsoft, Disney and many others.

    “The New York Film Academy has a long history of supporting veterans and while this workshop was geared towards those interested in learning more about the burgeoning game design industry, the occasion also provided an opportunity for veterans to network with each other and be around those with similar life experiences,” said Eric Brown, US Navy Veteran and Veterans Coordinator at NYFA.

    May 5, 2017 • Game Design, Veterans • Views: 1780

  • NYFA Instructor Scott Rogers to Create “Rayguns and Rocketships” Game

    New York Film Academy Game Design Instructor Scott Rogers is bringing his two great loves of classic sci-fi cinema and gaming together for his next project “Rayguns and Rocketships.”

    Described as “an inventive dual-scale miniature board game for 2-4 players that takes place in the golden-ago of Sci-Fi space operas,” the game promises hours of fun for fans of role-playing and strategy games.

    Rogers debuted the game on the New York Film Academy’s Twitch Stream. He demonstrated how to play through the game, premiered characters like the Space Pirates and Astro Rangers.

    Have a look at Rogers’ Kickstarter campaign below, which has already surpassed his goal!

    May 3, 2017 • Faculty Highlights, Game Design • Views: 1387

  • NYFA Game Design Mentor Meetup with Aaron Pulkka

    This past week the New York Film Academy Game Department held a Game Mentor Meetup. The special event focused on the history and development of Virtual Reality. VR pioneer and NYFA Instructor Aaron Pulkka led the discussion.

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    Before the presentation, high school students hoping to attend NYFA, current NYFA students, and instructors from nearly every department gathered outside of the theater. Pizza, soda, and snacks were served. Through mouthfuls of hot cheese, participants buzzed over which VR headset was worth the price tag, which game best utilized its VR feature and whether the future of VR relied on lasers or motion capture and other topics.

    With full bellies and buzzing brains, the students filed into the Riverside theater. Pulkka spoke for over an hour giving first-hand knowledge of the rise of Virtual Reality. Pulkka worked on the “Aladdin’s Carpet Ride” at Walt Disney World in Florida, which first utilized VR in 1998, and many other groundbreaking projects.

    He also broke down the key factors of establishing a VR world. The gamer must move in the space, but space cannot come to the gamer or they will be too disoriented to keep playing. This is known as an explicit camera. Light and sound help establish where in space the gamer is supposed to be.

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    Pulkka then walked the students through the different kinds of headsets. The Play Station 4 has sold three times as many VR headsets as the next leading brands, but there’s an HDMI cable limiting the player’s movements. Google Cardboard costs anywhere from $2 to $30, but you have to have an expensive smartphone and the games are limited.

    A highlight of the night was Pulkka’s demonstration of the Microsoft Hololens augmented reality headset. He created a VR program in Unity and output it to the Hololens. He then walked around the room dropping giant 3D cubes on the audience.

    A great lesson was the difference between VR and 360-degree videos. Pulkka says, “If you can’t interact with the world it’s not VR. 360 videos, like the ones you see on YouTube or Facebook, are not considered VR.”

    After the presentation, the audience spilled into the lobby to converse about all they learned and enjoy cupcakes. A group of students was overheard excitedly chattering about their VR projects. Game students are free to explore VR in any of their Game Studio semester projects. And there is one VR class currently available documentary students with more planned in the future.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank those who participated in this exciting conversation. You can join the conversation by watching the discussion here.

    April 17, 2017 • Game Design • Views: 1878

  • NYFA Game Design Alumnus Creates His Own “Borders”

    One of the more controversial topics in recent months has been immigration and America’s stance on border control. Like other artists, New York Film Academy Game Design School alumnus Genaro Vallejo and his teammates, John DiGiacamo and Gonzalo Alvarez, created a unique gaming experience to express their point of view on the subject.

    The game was recently discussed in The Huffington Post, and the New York Film Academy spoke with alumnus Genaro Vallejo to find out more about creating “Borders.”

    Where are you from, and what brought you to NYFA?

    I was born in Acapulco, a beach town in the south of Mexico, I spent most of my life there until I moved to college to Mexico City. After completing my bachelor’s degree, I decided to pursue my lifetime dream of becoming a game designer. I looked up schools in New York, and I found NYFA was the best option for my needs at the time.

    Did you create “Borders” while at NYFA?

    “Borders” was created shortly after I graduated from the One Year Game Design Program. This project was created for a “Game Jam” event in which a game has to be developed during a weekend. Although the task seemed almost impossible at first, the skills learned at NYFA — alongside the help of my teammates John DiGiacomo and Gonzalo Alvarez — enabled us to create a polished experience in a span of three days.

    Was there a retro game that inspired “Borders”?

    Gonzalo, the main artist, took inspiration from the harsh experiences from Mexican immigrants trying to find a better life. The art-style and moral issues were inspired by games like “Papers, Please” and “Passage” (By Jason Rohrer).

    What do you hope people will get out of this game? Are you making a political statement?

    Personally, I think empathy is the key thing that I want people to take with them when they play “Borders.” If you try to understand and feel the struggle and problems of others, you will be more open and thoughtful of others’ actions and motivations.

    Can you tell us how your job at GameCo came about, and what your role is with the gaming company? 

    At first, I was hired at GameCo to write Game Design documents for upcoming games for their platform. Eventually, I began to get involved with QA, Hardware/Software installation and troubleshooting, and Translations. The skills learned at NYFA were without a doubt valuable assets that helped me to get a job at GameCo and expand my versatility in the company.

    I think one of the most important skills learned at NYFA was the whole process of creating the game. From prototyping, documenting your game idea, working in the game editor, to play-testing and fixing bugs. All of the steps you take are important, and you always have to keep focused on moving forward.

    Are you currently working on another game or project that you’d like to share?

    I’m currently working on Mama Hawk, a mobile game about a Mother Hawk trying to feed her babies. Hopefully you can give it a look!

    We certainly will! If you’re interested, please CLICK HERE to learn more about Mama Hawk!

    March 7, 2017 • Game Design, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1814

  • MFA Game Design Showcase at NYFA LA

    On Tuesday, January 24th, the Master of Fine Arts Game Design students held a showcase of their work at the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles Campus.

    The presentation was part of a fifteen-week course taught by Professor Scott Rogers, entitled Master Thesis Showcase. The goal was to help students learn how to promote the work they’ve created in their other classes.

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    The class consisted of both current students and alumni. Games were designed in teams of four to nine students. Both board game and P.C. games were set up for students to test out.

    Pirates Bay is a board game in which players try to conquer lands and protect their waters from other pirates. Another game, Copper Cage, is a two player PC game. Player A is a human inside a mech suit trying to out run Player B, a battle bot with a hacksaw and a hammer.

    Students, faculty, friends, and family filled the fourth-floor lobby. Chinese food was served buffet style and tournaments began as everyone sampled games. In the center of the floor, NYFA’s Twitch team covered the event live. They played games with the creators and took questions from the at home audience.

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    Peppered throughout the crowd were gaming professionals. Everyone from agents to game designers to producers came to see the NYFA grads. They are invited by faculty and staff to experience the students’ work first hand “We want them (students) to be proud of their achievements. This is a great opportunity for job placement and growth,” Rogers said of the experience.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank the Game Design department for putting on the showcase and the recent graduates for sharing their work. If you’d like to watch the Twitch stream you can click the link here.

    February 1, 2017 • Community Highlights, Game Design • Views: 1307

  • Film and Video Game Writer Patrick Hegarty Speaks to Business of Screenwriting Class

    patrick hegartyRecently, film and video game writer Patrick Hegarty dropped by New York Film Academy’s Business of Screenwriting class to share his remarkable journey of how this one-time professional NFL football player went on to become a professional screenwriter and video game scribe.

    Hailing from Orange County, CA, Hegarty attended the University of Texas at El Paso, where in addition to playing football on a scholarship, he earned himself a Bachelor of Arts in English. However, in 1989, he was recruited by the Denver Broncos and ended up becoming the back-up quarterback to John Elway and Gary Kubiak.

    After 2 years in the NFL, Hegarty attended the University of Colorado Denver and attained his masters in English. The initial plan was to become a novelist, get his PhD, and teach. And for a while that’s what he did, teaching high school English and writing books.

    However, a unique opportunity came for Hegarty when a friend working in the video game sphere needed a writer to generate announcer commentary material for a new football game they were producing called NFL GAMEDAY, and recruited Hegarty to write the play-by-play dialogue.

    Before long, Hegarty immersed himself in video games, writing the scripts for over a dozen titles for Playstation 1 and 2, including, MLB 2002, The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning and Eragon, becoming a Senior Writer for Sony Computer Entertainment. Currently, he is on assignment for Sony and 2K Games on a variety of different titles.

    However, Hegarty also has pursued an active movie writing career, working on projects with a variety of companies. In the feature space, his script “S.T.E.A.L.” made the Hit List and is in development with Total Entertainment based out Brazil. He’s also working on a feature assignment for the production company Constantin Film (“Pompeii,” “The Resident Evil” franchise, etc.).

    Hegarty shared insights into his process, tips and tactics for navigating reps and executives, and staying true to your work. NYFA thanks Mr. Hegarty for being so gracious with his time and advice.

    December 9, 2016 • Game Design, Screenwriting • Views: 1526

  • Game Design Master’s Showcase at NYFA Los Angeles

    This past September 2016, the Game Design Department held their annual Master’s Showcase at the New York Film Academy Los Angeles campus. Students displayed games ranging from virtual reality, tabletop, side scrollers, card games, and PC games.

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    The event also played host to the second Twitch stream for NYFA. Previously, NYFA hosted a Twitch stream for the Pokémon Go Event in July. Students and professors play-tested new games so fans could see the gameplay.

    I asked the team producing the Twitch TV stream, NYFA student Davin Tjen and Nicholas Cunha, about the response they were hoping for from their audience. “We’re very excited for it and we’re very excited to go live. We don’t know (what to expect). Our last stream was a hit, but that’s because it was Pokémon Go.”

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    Guillermo Quesada Paez, Master of Fine Arts student, had several games at the event including Identity, Fetch Through Time, and Samurai V Skeletons.

    Paez said, “Samurai V Skeletons is a tower defense game, but we also made it so you could control the main character. You can play as your tower but you can also play as a guy and help shoot the enemy. We basically mixed two different games together: tower defense and a top down shooter.”

    The hardest part about making the game was creating path finding for the enemy. “We needed an algorithm to find the shortest paths between points,” Paez explained. “The player keeps moving around and the enemy has to keep recalculating their path to get to the player.”

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    Drew Fletcher, Master of Fine Arts student and one of the developers on Fetch Through Time, told us about his game. “In Fetch Through Time, you’re a gelatin dog bouncing through the world trying to collect bones. You have to make sure you don’t run into anything otherwise you’ll pop.”

    The inspiration behind the game was simple, “…we had two ideas. One teammate had an idea for a gelatin game and another teammate had an idea for an endless bouncing ball, so we combined the two.”

    Board games were also on display. Associate of Fine Arts student Jeffery Lay told us about his game, inspired by the game Set. “I used something called the script effect. For example, here we have the word blue written in green. Your left side of the brain is trying to read the word and the right side of your brain is seeing the color. That brings a clash in your brain and it makes the game more challenging. If you do the script affect often it increases your logical brain. ”

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    Lay also showcased his game Capture, a horror game without monsters. “My main focus was environmental designs. I don’t like horror games. Well … it’s not that I don’t like them. I’m scared of them. So, I thought it might be fun as a challenge to create one. I used environmental design to make it look realistic or give it that natural feeling and I wanted something that had a scary vibe without scaring the person directly. In some of the horror games something just pops up in your face. It’s not fair to the player. I try with music and sound to give players that scary feeling.”

    New York Film Academy professor Scott Rogers (History of Video Games) had this to say about the event, “I’m really proud of all our students. They managed to do some pretty amazing things in a very short period of time. I’m always impressed with the work they do.”

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    Rogers then explained how the students learn to develop their games. “One of the things that we like to teach the students here is that paper prototyping is the foundation of good organized game design, whether it’s making maps for their level designs or actually creating a playable version of their game in paper form. We’re trying to teach them to work not only well, but smart. So paper prototyping is this great tool that’s been around since Dungeons & Dragons.”

    “The other side of this is you could just learn to make a board game. In fact, one of our students earlier tonight was talking to a fellow who’s a Creative Director at a board game company. The guy took the students card because he was so impressed with the game.”

    October 19, 2016 • Game Design, Student and Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1955