game design
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  • Telltale Is Making an Interactive TV-Video Game Hybrid

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    tell tale got

    Telltale Games, a premier video game studio known for its choose-your-own-adventure titles, announced it will be merging its specialty product with a live-action television show. It’s a potentially big step for both media, though a natural one for the company, which has found huge success adapting popular works like The Walking Dead, Fables and Game of Thrones.

    Their games, like the television shows some of them are based on, are structured and released episodically, each costing a small fee and consisting of a few hours of the overall story. Telltale’s The Walking Dead has so far released two seasons of five episodes each, which can also be purchased in bulk with season passes. Their games consist of top-end graphics and numerous cut scenes,–in effect, a TV show you watch but also control, making conversation and action choices for a playable protagonist. Telltale is known for making some of these choices strong moral dilemmas, sucking the player/viewer into a storyline against their will. Likewise these choices typically carry from episode to episode, season to season.

    Telltale’s new project will be both a video game and a live-action television series, with the same characters and storylines. Both will be released an episode at a time and depending on the choices made in the game, the television show may lead down a different path for the viewer. Conversely, watching the show first will affect the storyline of the game.

    Combining two separate media into a single interactive experience could be a groundbreaking event for visual storytelling, and only time will tell how successful it is executed and received. Plot details are unknown, but with Lionsgate producing the project, there’s a good chance it will see the light of day sooner than later. With mainstream Virtual Reality just around the corner, it might not be too long before people are living out entire fictional storylines from the comfort of their couch.

    Now is the time to get into game design. Check out our game design school programs here.

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    February 25, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4870

  • NYFA Basketball Kicks off in NYC

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    nyfa basketball

    photo by Paola Nazario

    Due to the success of our basketball team in Los Angeles, the New York Film Academy in New York City started a league of its own. The league was established to promote healthiness and well-being, as well as growing teamwork that is necessary in filmmaking, and socializing with students from other departments. We thought, why not network on the court as well!

    This past Friday night was the first intramural New York Film Academy NYC basketball game at Dwight School on Central Park West. We kicked off the season with three half-court games and one 15 minute 5-on-5 full court exhibition game.  Thus far, we have four teams from all different departments playing the league. The program is being run by NYFA faculty members, Sarah Choi and Jack Picone.

    The next game is at Dwight School this Friday at 8pm. If you’re late you won’t be guaranteed to play — so be on time!

    Any current students and faculty can sign up with their own team or request to be added to one. If we continue to have a positive response to our games, we will be setting up playoffs or a tournament after the first few weeks. Please email Sarah Choi if you’d like to join as a player or start your own team.

    The Teams and their Rosters:

    basketball game nyc

    photo by Paola Nazario

    Gucci: – Acting for Film
    Deshpyar Jasuja
    Steven Erazo
    Elijah Leighty

    October’s Very Own – Game Design & 3D Animation
    Carlos Lopez
    Tony Pommells
    Joshua Wong
    Matt Plotecher

    Cavs – Acting for Film
    Jay Cailos
    Avi Agarwal
    Marvin Scott III

    Legends – Acting for Film
    Brandon Williams
    Nate Steinburg
    Jonathan Tannehill

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    November 19, 2014 • 3D Animation, Acting, Community Highlights, Filmmaking, Game Design, Sports • Views: 7691

  • Changing with the Times: The Evolution of Wolfenstein

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    Home screen from Wolfenstein 3D

    Tomorrow sees the release of Wolfenstein the New Order, the latest iteration of the legendary Wolfenstein franchise. While many gamers of a certain age will fondly remember the fast-paced kill-or-be-killed style of 1992’s Wolfenstein 3D, a deeper look reveals that Wolfenstein has been a trend-setter since its first incarnation in 1981. While many gamers will remember Wolfenstein 3D as ushering in an era of first-person shooters (FPS) with Doom and Quake being released shortly after, throughout its three-decade history, Wolfenstein has often been at the forefront of game design. Below we look at the major innovations and trends initiated by the series.

    Phase I: Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond

    A screen shot from Castle Wolfenstein

    Created by Silas Warner and released by Muse Software for the Apple II computer in 1981, Castle Wolfenstein stood out from the get-go with its permit to let game players go one-on-one with Nazi guards and SS Stormtroopers as the player traversed the levels of the castle to rescue a secret map and escape. It and its sequel, Beyond Castle Wolfenstein, were top-down action-adventure shooter games that actually placed less importance on shooting—players after all had a limited amount of ammo—and more on stealth, as players were more likely to succeed by outwitting their opponents through evasion and even disguise, presaging the late 90s boom in such stealth games as Metal Gear Solid and Thief: The Dark Project. The original was so successful that it resulted in the creation of the first game trainer, helping players to bend the rules of the game as needed.

    Phase II: Wolfenstein 3D

    Facing off with a Nazi guard in Wolfenstein 3D

    For gamers in the 90s, the release of Wolfenstein 3D in 1992 was a watershed moment, introducing many features of the first-person shooter whose influence is still felt today. As Muse Software had allowed their trademark on Wolfenstein to expire, iD software stepped in to create a wholly new gaming experience paired with an exhilarating (and blood-filled) storyline that helped to popularize the FPS genre for the PC while pioneering the run-and-gun model that would become a hallmark of subsequent FPS games. Compared to its predecessor, Wolfenstein 3D signified a quantum leap in game design as players were thrown into a pseudo-3D environment, playing as the protagonist William “B.J.” Blazkowicz as he makes his way through a series of map-like levels with ample ammunition.

    A decidedly raunchier and more inventive version of its top-down predecessor, players stalked swastika-draped environs while encountering a seemingly endless onslaught of guards, manic guard dogs, Nazi mutants, and eventually Adolf Hitler himself, decked out in a robotic suit and multiple chainguns. Over the next few years, iD continued to pump out additional mission packs and expand to such ports as the SNES, Atari Jaguar, and the Mac OS—anyone remember the opening scene from 1995’s internet-thriller The Net where Sandra Bullock’s character “tests” the game for viruses? Priceless. However, the game lost steam as popular FPS games like Doom and Quake pushed the genre into even darker and bloodier territory, nudging the Wolfenstein franchise into hibernation.

    Phase III: Return to Castle Wolfenstein

    Playing multiplayer mode in Return to Castle Wolfenstein

    Released when WWII FPS games seemed to be coming out faster than they could be played, Activision decided the time was ripe for a new generation of gamers to enter the world of Wolfenstein with 2001’s Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Players could choose between assuming the character of B.J. in a single-player version that featured even more fantastical foes or play together in the exceedingly popular multiplayer mode where players could fight in teams against each other in teams of either of Axis or Allies, which reflected the increasing popularity of historical FPS games that allowed players to assume the role of the enemy. Building on the success of its multiplayer version, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory was released as a free, downloadable multiplayer game that still remains popular over a decade later.

    Phase IV: Wolfenstein and the Future

    A soldier holds a rifle in Wolfenstein 2009

    As military shooters retained their popularity with such franchises as Call of Duty, the 2009 Wolfenstein incarnation took players even deeper into the increasingly bizarre alternative history of the Wolfenstein universe, implementing even more sci-fi and fantasy elements. However, the game came out to mixed reviews and disappointing sales, seemingly putting a death nail in the franchise’s future.

    And yet, developer MachineGames and its owner ZeniMax Media acquired id Software and its many classic franchises in 2009 and decided to start developing Wolfenstein: The New Order in 2010. This latest version takes the player back to the single-player origins of Wolfenstein 3D, placing them in an alternate 1960 where the Nazis have won WWII. While early buzz has been solid regarding the game play and plot, it’s a safe bet to assume that the Wolfenstein franchise could either flourish again or recede into video game history for another decade depending on its success. Either way, this writer will be happy to content himself playing Wolfenstein 3D on his iPhone for the foreseeable future and see how the franchise continues to both change with and influence the current video game landscape.

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    May 19, 2014 • Game Design • Views: 1744

  • VIEW Conference 2014 Contests

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    View Conference 2014 Turin, Italy 14-17 Oct

    Here are some exciting opportunities for our 3D Animation and Game Design students to not only have their projects reach a wider audience, but also win an award! VIEW Conference, an annual international computer graphics conference, has announced a series of contests for 2014 aimed at both students and non-students.

    Firstly, the VIEW Award 2014 is open to any filmmaker who has made an animated short film using 2D/3D animation and VFX in the past two years. Filmmakers can choose to submit in the following categories: Best Short, Best Design, Best Character, and Best Digital Visual Effects. The deadline for submission is August 31, 2014 and the award for first prize is 2,000 Euros.  More information can be found here.

    For those filmmakers interested in using their art to address social issues, this year sees the creation of the VIEW Social contest aimed at artists who have created a 2D/3D or VFX animated feature, short, music video, and piece of advertising with a focus on social themes in 2013 and 2014. Applicants can submit in the categories of Best Gameplay, Best Art Design, Best Architecture, and Best Music by August 31, 2014 to compete for a grand prize of 1,000 Euros. Learn more here.

    Emerging game designers have the chance to submit their original video games by September 15, 2014 in the categories of Best Gameplay, Best Art Design, Best Architecture, and Best Music. View more here.

    For anyone who has a passion for comics, another new addition to this year’s conference is the VIEW Comics Contest in which applicants are encouraged to create an original comic based on a previous edition of the conference. The deadline for entries is August 31, 2014 and entrants will compete for a 500 Euro prize. Discover more here.

    Finally, for those either from Italy or interested in telling stories about Italy, the ITALIANMIX competition welcomes works across genres and visual forms that, if chosen, will be included in the program for VIEWFest 2014.

    So if you’re looking for a platform to showcase your work and win an award, consider submitting today.

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    February 26, 2014 • 3D Animation, Film Festivals, Game Design • Views: 6146

  • Do Video Games Have an Impact on How Movies are Made?

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    The tools that are used to make the 3D worlds of video games are largely the same as the tools used to make 3D effects in feature films. So from a production standpoint, the people making both games and movies are overlapping more and more.

    Also, the aesthetics of both games and movies influence one another more than ever. For example, the camera placement in The Fast and Furious movies evoke racing games, and at the same time the cinematics in the racing game Gran Turismo 5 evoke racing movies.

    The movie Sucker Punch looks like a modern video game and utilizes visual techniques from games throughout. This type of stylization was a design choice by the director, Zack Snyder, and his production designer, Rick Carter.

    Another extreme example is the movie Crank. It borrows from the aesthetics of the Grand Theft Auto series throughout including multiple GTA-like sequences utilizing the same 3rd person camera perspective.

    It goes without saying that film aesthetics are used in video games. Game makers want to make their stories as immersive as possible. In recent years, the processing power of PC and consoles (Xbox and PlayStation) allows game makers to use the same sophisticated cinematic techniques as filmmakers. Great examples of cinematic games are:

    • Grand Theft Auto 5
    • Skyrim
    • Batman: Arkham City
    • Bioshock: Infinite
    • Heavy Rain

    The bottom line is: movies and games continue to influence one another and blend into a modern visual aesthetic.

    If you’re interested in learning more about New York Film Academy‘s Game Design Program, click HERE.

    -Chris Swain, Chair of NYFA‘s Game Design Program

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    December 11, 2013 • Game Design • Views: 10184

  • New York Film Academy Visiting Toronto

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    toronto_night_skyline

    The New York Film Academy will be visiting its neighbor to the north! That’s right, Canada, our admissions team will be in Toronto, holding auditions, portfolio reviews, and information sessions. If you’re interested in studying at the New York Film Academy and are in the area, you do not want to miss this. See details below.

    September 28th – Auditions & Portfolio Reviews

    Time: Please RSVP for a time slot

    Location: Toronto

     

    September 29th – Open House/ Information Session

    Time: 1PM – 3PM

    Location: Toronto

     

    Acting for Film or Musical Theatre Audition

    • Auditions are for partial scholarship and placement for our Musical Theatre or Acting for Film programs
    • *New York Film Academy does not offer full scholarships
    • *Scholarships are only available for long-term programs

    Portfolio Reviews

    • Portfolio reviews are for partial scholarship to our Filmmaking, Cinematography, Photography, Screenwriting, Producing, Documentary, 3D animation, Game Design, and Broadcast Journalism programs.
    • Creative portfolios consist of two pieces of creative work pertaining to your desired field of study.
    • *New York Film Academy does not offer full scholarships
    • *Scholarships are only available for long-term programs

     

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    September 6, 2013 • Academic Programs • Views: 6821

  • New York Film Academy Returns to South Africa

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    cape-town-south-africa

    Once again the New York Film Academy couldn’t resist another trip to South Africa! We are never disappointed and we’re always anxious to get back. Not to mention the overall enthusiasm South Africans have for the arts and the New York Film Academy.

    If you are interested in finding out more about NYFA or would like an audition, check below to see when we’ll be in your area.

     

    JOHANNESBURG

    Auditions for partial Talent Based Scholarship to the Acting and Musical Theatre programs

    AND

    Portfolio reviews for partial scholarship to Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing programs

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

    WHERE: Johannesburg (Kempton Park)

    TIME: 13:00-15:00

    ——————-

    Open House and General Information Session for All New York Film Academy programs

    WHEN: Thursday, September 12th, 2013

    WHERE: Johannesburg (Kempton Park)

    TO RSVP: You must email southafrica@nyfa.edu 

    —————–

    CAPE TOWN

    Auditions for partial Talent Based Scholarship to the Acting and Musical Theatre programs

    AND

    New York Film Academy portfolio reviews for partial scholarship to Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing

    WHEN: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

    WHERE: Cape Town

    TIME: 13:00-15:00
    —————–

    Open House and General Information Session for All New York Film programs

    WHEN: Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

    WHERE: Cape Town

    TO RSVP for this or any event, please email southafrica@nyfa.edu

     

    READ CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU RSVP

    1. Portfolio Reviews consist of a panel review of two pieces of creative work pertaining to your desired field of study. Reviews are for partial scholarship to our *full time Filmmaking, Photography, Cinematography, Documentary, Game Design, 3D Animation, Broadcast Journalism, Screenwriting, and Producing programs.
    2. Auditions are for partial scholarship to our *full time Acting or Musical Theatre programs.
    3. MUSICAL THEATRE AUDITION: Consists of a 60-90 second monologue from a published contemporary American play or screenplay, and two contrasting musical theatre songs with music backing.
    4. ACTING AUDITION: Consists of 2 contemporary, contrasting monologues of approximately 60- 90 seconds per monologue.
    5. Information session/Open House: A detailed overview of all the programs NYFA has to offer.
    6. *Full Time = 1 Year or longer
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    August 13, 2013 • Academic Programs, Road Show • Views: 15166

  • Classic Art in Video Games

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    Chris Solarski in New York Film Academy

    This Thursday the New York Film Academy‘s Game Design and 3D Animation program welcomed guest lecturer, Chris Solarski. Chris is an artist game designer and author of Drawing Basics and Video Game Art: Classic to Cutting Edge Art Techniques for Winning Video Game Design. With a Bachelor’s in computer animation, Chris began working as a 3D character and environment artist for Sony Computer Entertainment in London. Later, he enrolled in art classes at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, where his interest in applying classical art techniques to video games began. It was after a lecture by visual artist, Andrew Jones, that Chris found his true calling. “I was so impressed with his ability to create something out of nothing,” recalled Chris. “I knew I needed more training. I had catching up to do.”

    The students were treated to an hour lecture that was truly fascinating and well thought out. Chris’ lecture focused on the connection between classic art and modern video games. Yes, that’s correct. While it may not be obvious at first glance, Chris was able to dissect classic works of art to validate his points. Using comparisons from the work of artists like Degas and Boticelli, Chris was able to show the influences these artists have on modern gaming. Much like an intricate painting or drawing, a crucial element in game design is emotion. Emotion can be conveyed through composition, contrast, and the structure of images. These elements are essential in the development of any art, and Game Design and 3D Animation are no different. “The composition and contrasting elements have a very strong impact on emotion.”

    One of Chris’ most recent games that he enjoys the most is Journey, mainly due to the composition and emotion of the experience. “It is important to know the emotional experience from the outset and use composition to create the player experience.”

    Chris currently develops his own video games under Solarski Studio, with the aim of exploring new forms of player interaction and creating more expressive and varied emotional experiences in games. “My job is to validate video games.”

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    October 5, 2012 • 3D Animation, Acting, Game Design, Guest Speakers • Views: 5899

  • New York Film Academy Instructor Writes DiRT 3 Video Game for Xbox and Playstation

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    NYFA Instructor Adam Moore

    NYFA Instructor Adam Moore 

    New York Film Academy instructor Adam Moore recently wrote video game DiRT 3, an auto racing game released last month for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The game has been receiving great reviews for gameplay and presentation, including a 9.2 from GameTrailers and an Editor’s Choice award from IGN. Adam comments, “If you’re into off-road, this game will really blow your hair back.” Adam was responsible for creating the NPC’s (non-player characters), which help the story arc and create a narrative for the game. Adam discusses the transition from writing screenplays to video games and how a future gamer can get started in New York Film Academy’s programs in Game Design and Screenwriting:

    Dirt 3

    Adam, how did you first get involved in production of a video game?

    The developer of the game is a London-based company called Codemasters.  For the third installment of their hit off-road racing franchise (DiRT), they wanted to bring an authentic American voice to the game.  They called my game writing agent and asked for a writing sample.  I think my writing partner (Kevin Abrams) and I were the ones selected because we had previously developed an off-road racing reality series, and so we knew the lingo and the world really well.  As for my role in the game’s creation, it was up to me to create the NPCs (non-player characters), define their voices and their relationship with the player character.

    How did your background in screenwriting translate to writing a video game?

    I’ve actually answered this question for my students many times.  ”Writing is writing.”  The craft you learn in your screenwriting workshops translates to any medium you want to work in — movies, tv, comics, video games, you name it.

    What is the biggest challenge in writing for video games?

    The biggest challenge in writing for video games is the fact that you are usually the only writer in company full of gamers and programmers.  Oftentimes, the higher-ups are very good at giving notes on code, but not so much at giving notes on story.  Buggy code has a finite solution.  What the higher-ups at a game developer don’t always understand is that storytelling issues don’t always have such finite, simple solutions.

    dirt3

    When writing oDiRT 3, the challenge given to me was to create three life-like Non-Player Characters, who had emotional depth and were compelling, but would only be heard and never seen.  How do you solve this problem?  Well, I’ll go back to the idea that “writing is writing.”  I fell back on my craft to find the solution and it ended up being extremely simple.  DiRT 3 covers four seasons in the career of a rookie driver.  The NPCs are the rookie’s business manager, chief mechanic, and fan consultant.  The arc we selected was four strangers who come together to do something great.  So, in the beginning of the game, the dialogue is a little more formal.  By the time you get to the end of the game, you’ve been through four seasons of racing with these people, and therefore the dialogue is much more casual — you’ve become best friends.  It was a fun challenge.

    How could a gamer get their start at New York Film Academy?

    What’s great about our screenwriting department is that the entire faculty is working writers.  Very good screenwriters trained me, but some of them hadn’t been actively working in the industry for years.  In our program, the students are learning from screenwriters who are in the business.  For example, in my class, Business of Screenwriting, one of the most important things I teach is how to pitch.  Would you rather learn that skill from someone who hasn’t pitched in a decade or someone who was at a studio or a TV network that morning pitching an idea?  As for our game design program, our mantra is “every student is a storyteller.”  Video games are the mass entertainment medium of the 21st century.  They will surpass movies and television, and maybe already have.  Whereas other programs focus on the nuts and bolts of game design, our focus is creating great, narrative driven games.  We believe that the best games are made when design and story are working hand in hand, rather than a handful of cinematics thrown in every now and then.  Like our web site says, “Anyone can teach you how to make a game.  We’ll teach you how to make a great game!”

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    June 27, 2011 • Acting • Views: 4110