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  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Game Design Alum Crafts Breathtaking World of ‘CyberNeon’

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) BFA Game Design alum Junliang Zhang has created CyberNeon, an incredibly impressive and visually striking 3D environment that evokes the classic hallmarks of cyberpunk art.

    Cyberpunk has its roots in the musical subculture of punk rock, early computer hacker culture, 80s Japanese culture, and American crime novels and movies; particularly film noir. In 1984, author William Gibson wrote Neuromancer, a novel about high-tech and low-life. The book took the science fiction community by storm and popularized the genre called cyberpunk.

    The genre’s visual style has greatly influenced movies like 1982’s Blade Runner, 1985’s Brazil, and 1988’s Akira. Video games such as Shadowrun, the Metal Gear series, Deus Ex, and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077 are all clearly inspired by cyberpunk’s tropes and visuals.

    With these games and movies serving as inspiration, NYFA BFA Game Design alum Junliang Zhang has perfectly captured the spirit of cyberpunk in CyberNeon, the 3D environment he spent over a year creating. Zhang hails from Shanghai, China, and enrolled in NYFA’s BFA Game Design program in Fall 2014 at our Burbank-based campus.

    Zhang’s Chinese heritage replaces many of the traditional Japanese motifs found in the genre, and giving the world an identity all its own. William Gibson once said that “Japan IS cyberpunk” while Zhang’s work proudly proclaims “China IS cyberpunk.” 

    Junliang Zhang CyberNeon
    Using the Unreal engine, Zhang built a world of perpetual night and neon that could easily be inhabited by cyberpunk notables Rick Deckard or Kanada. Flying cars zoom over through canyons of skyscrapers that are festooned with advertisements for all manner of products. Futuristic displays literally dance, twirl, and flash—making the dark urban landscape come alive with motion and movement. 

    Technology is everywhere; even the darkened alleys have computer screens that flash data faster than the human eye can comprehend. The camera lingers for a few moments on a tricked-out street rod that announces “I See You” on its digital license plate. This “electric city” feels alive and as if it is constantly watching you.

    New York Film Academy congratulates BFA Game Design alum Junliang Zhang on the amazing work he’s done on CyberNeon and looks forward to what the talented game developer has in store next!

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    June 17, 2019 • Game Design, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 567

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Gonzalo Martin Stars in “Life is Strange 2”

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    gonzalo martinNew York Film Academy (NYFA) Alum Gonzalo Martin might agree that “life is strange,” especially since he nabbed the lead role in Square Enix’s highly-anticipated video game, Life is Strange 2. Square Enix is the Japanese developer and publisher of wildly popular games Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and Dragon Quest, among others. 

    The episodic graphic adventure video game, available on nearly all major platforms (including Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC and macOS), is the sequel to the smash hit and critically-acclaimed Life is Strange, originally released in 2015. That title has sold over 3 million copies to date.

    The newest entry released its first episode in September 2018, with the last of five episodes set to come out in 2019. Life is Strange 2 was developed by Dontnod Entertainment (Vampyr, Twin Mirror) and has already been nominated for several gaming awards and won the Special Jury Prize at the 2018 Ping Awards.

    Life is Strange 2 tells the story of young brothers Sean and Daniel Diaz, who are on the run from the police. The game is a third-person story adventure, with dialogue trees and gaming decisions
    affecting the story and future episodes.

    Gonzalo Martin stars as lead protagonist Sean Diaz, who the player controls throughout the game. Martin is an Acting for Film alum from the New York Film Academy, having attended the AFA program in 2015, and has previously been a part of the Academy’s admissions team. At NYFA’s acting school, Martin was given both practical experience and a hands-on education to develop his skills as an actor, with training from a faculty of experienced actors currently working in the industry.

    Previous acting roles of Martin include BuzzFeed Murder Mystery Stories, and the films I’ll Be Next Door for Christmas and When It Rings.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Gonzalo Martin on landing the lead role in Square Enix’s Life is Strange 2! 

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    November 28, 2018 • Acting, Student & Alumni Spotlights • Views: 1471

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) VR Game Design Alum Pilar Aranda Bada Featured in Play NYC’s Graffiti Games Showcase

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    New York Film Academy (NYFA) VR Game Design alum Pilar Aranda Bada debuted a new VR game at Play NYC, New York’s first and largest game convention. Aranda Bada was one of a select few developers invited to create new pieces for Graffiti Games, an installation at the event that invited first-generation immigrants to creatively express their culture and experiences through their work.

    Together with teammate Saúl Peña Gamero under the name Alpaca Games, Aranda Bada created one of the installation’s “standout” entries. The game, The Llama Express, invites players to ride a train through the fictional country of Esperú while feeding fluffy llamas along the way with traditional Hispanic food like sausages and beets. The VR game features a soundtrack of traditional Spanish music, and received praise for being an “endearing” way of honoring the creators’ cultural roots.  

    The installation was brought to life in six opera boxes in Manhattan Center’s historic Hammerstein Ballroom, where they were enjoyed by as many as 10,000 participants. In addition to the showcase in New York, the games were displayed on the event’s Twitch stream for fans around the world.

    Born in Valencia, Spain, Aranda Bada is a Mixed Reality developer at Planeta.cc, a product studio focused on sound and media. In 2016, she graduated from NYFA’s pioneering VR Game Design program, which focuses on concept development, VR design, and production of interactive VR experiences, games and 360-degree films. She holds a B.S. in Industrial Design, an M.A. in Graphic Design, and an M.M. in Communications. She specializes in immersive games and experiences in both virtual and augmented reality environments.

    After the success of the game at the installation, the teammates both expressed interest in continuing to develop The Llama Express for market, though any possible release of the game would likely be far off.

    The New York Film Academy congratulates Pilar Aranda Bada on her success, and looks forward to seeing her future projects!

     

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    October 10, 2018 • Game Design, Virtual Reality • Views: 140

  • New York Film Academy (NYFA) Game Design Camp Students Hold Demo Night

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    Game Design Demo Night Summer 2018
    On July 27, the six graduates of the 1-Week Game Design Camp celebrated a week of hard work and education with their very own Demo Night, showing off the different video games they had worked on putting together. The event was held at the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus.

    The five-day course the campers completed is intensive, especially for students as young as these, and covers every step of the process to design and build an original video game. “During this week,” stated Game Design Instructor Jeb Havens, “we worked on prototyping, coding, creating a story behind the game… and they came up with the games you see here.”

    Along the way, the students learned how the video games they grew up playing really work, and gained an appreciation for both the craft and the art of game design. The course taught them how to use the software Unity so they could each construct their own game.

    The students’ parents and relatives were invited to attend the Demo Night, along with counselors and campers from other courses, including Filmmaking, Photography, and Acting. Six computer stations were set up, each with one of the students’ games. Everyone invited had a chance to play the games.

    Some of the games were quite hard to beat, a testament to the hard work and design that went into their assembling. Parents were thrilled to be challenged by their kids’ skillfully crafted games. Many players kept trying over and over to beat the trickier games. The environment was energetic and fun all throughout the night.

    “I’m very impressed with what these students created in such a short amount of time,” Havens continued. “Building a game takes months and months of work, and what [the students] did here in only five days is impressive!”

    At the end of the night, and week-long course, each student left camp with a copy of their game, so they can have other friends and family members play it back home. The brief but intensive and hands-on Game Design camp can be a stepping stone to longer, more advanced programs in game coding and design. 

    The New York Film Academy congratulates the 1-Week Game Design Camp students on their hard work and well-designed, challenging, fun, new games. 

    Interested in learning game design? Check out more information on New York Film Academy’s programs here!

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    August 1, 2018 • Community Highlights, Game Design • Views: 1068

  • Former NFL Player-Turned-Writer Pat Hegarty Talks Business with NYFA Students

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    patrick hegarty

    Patrick Hegarty

    Recently, movie 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, including the semi-autobiographical tale, “The Dazzle of the Light” (Wexford College Press), about a troubled man coming to terms with the untimely death of his brother. “The problem with books is that they take a lot of time. A lot of time,” Hegarty smirked.

    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. “I guess they thought, given my experience, I could do it. I’m really glad they did. It opened up a lot of doors.”

    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.

    “The great thing about writing video games is they give you the parameters, the plot-points, but you have a lot of freedom within those confines to make it your own,” Hegarty remarked. Hegarty soon became an acclaimed video game writer. He was a finalist at the 13th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards (Best Adapted Story for Ghostbusters video game); and a finalist at the 10th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards (Best Story – Kids’ Title for The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning video game). NFL news used on this page source of nflbetting.us via NFL Betting. More recently, he was the Voice Director and Writer for Battleship, and wrote on Wipeout: The Game, NBA 2K15 and NCAA FOOTBALL 14.

    But writing in the gaming world isn’t all Hegarty has in his satchel of acumens.

    HIs first screenplay, Flower of Fire, won the prestigious Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition and garnered some industry attention. Soon, managers came clamoring, and he signed with Madhouse Entertainment, where he’s still represented.

    Another action feature script S.T.E.A.L. — about an American hiding in Brazil who is blackmailed back into his life of crime to steal back loot from ‘The Sao Paulo Seven’, a multi-national gang of expert thieves — placed on the Hit List in 2010, an industry insider’s list of the best specs screenplays in Hollywood, before selling to Fox International. It is currently in development there, with early 2016 as the scheduled start of filming.

    Hegarty has been writing TV and film projects in addition to video games ever since.

    On writing, Hegarty remarked, “You have to treat it like your day job, even when you have a day job, you have to always keep writing. I know it’s cliche, but I write every day. Maybe it’s from my discipline developed in football, but I make it my daily routine.”

    Hegarty also talked about his process, “I’m not the biggest outliner. I do it, but I don’t like to have my characters pigeon-holed into a pre-existing plot. I like them to take me to unexpected places. To let them surprise me. Sure, I’ll know the general shape of a story I’m working on, but I don’t let an outline rule the screenplay once I start writing it.”

    Hegarty advised the students to find the process that works for them. “Don’t be afraid to try it your own way. Look at Blake Snyder. His unique way of looking at things became a best-seller. And wear different hats. Many hats. Learn editing, copywriting, video game writing, directing — it’s all part of that same creative muscle. But never, ever stop writing.”

    Currently, Hegarty is working on a one hour drama pilot as well as several feature concepts. He is represented by Madhouse Entertainment and yes, he can still throw a mean spiral.

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    August 14, 2015 • Game Design, Guest Speakers, Screenwriting, Sports • Views: 7569

  • Epic Trailer for Adam Sandler’s ‘Pixels’ Is Out

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    sandler pixels

    Summer blockbusters are known for their photorealistic HD and 3-D special effects, but Adam Sandler’s new film, Pixels, is all about the 8-bit. The supervillains conquering the planet in the latest space invasion epic are animated in the blocky style of early video games—because they are video games.

    Adam Sandler says it himself in the trailer: “Pac-Man is a badguy?” It turns out, according the plot of Pixels, that aliens mistook thirty-year old video signals from Earth of period arcade games as a declaration of war. In response, they invade our world with giant, pixelated monsters based on Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and others. It’s up to arcade champ Sandler and President of the United States,  Kevin James to stop them, with some help from Josh Gad, Michelle Monaghan, and Game of Thrones Peter Dinklage.

    Pixels is based on the French animated short film of the same name by Patrick Jean. The feature was adapted by Timothy Dowling and SNL vet Tim Herlihy and was directed by Harry Potter and Home Alone director Chris Columbus. The film releases July 12, but you can watch the trailer now!

     

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    March 18, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3131

  • Nintendo to Enter the Smartphone Gaming Market

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    Nintendo to make mobile smartphone games

    Photo by Sergey Galyonkin

    The smartphone gaming market, traditionally dominated by specialized mobile gaming companies and independent game designers, is about to get some big competition.

    After years of avoiding creating games for smartphones, video game giant Nintendo has announced that they will changing course and will be releasing games for mobile devices. These games will not simply be existing games ported to smartphone systems, rather they will be brand new games designed specifically for phone and mobile devices.

    This bucks the trend of the company retaining as much control as possible. Historically, they have created consoles, sold them, and created games to support their own consoles; a top-down approach that has worked for decades.

    Recently, however, things have not been so bright on the console side of things. The Wii U did not perform up to expectations, and even drew comparisons to the Sega Dreamcast, which prompted the rival Japanese game design giant to abandon creating consoles and focus solely on creating games. Some investors have stated their concerns and prompted Nintendo to go a similar route.

    Not all is doom-and-gloom for their branded consoles, however. Nintendo’s handheld 3DS is a huge hit and happens to be the bestselling portable gaming console on the market, so they are not stranger to mobile gaming. They also seemed to have brushed off the criticisms, as a new home gaming console is rumored to be in the works (code name “NX”).

    They will be partnering with Japanese mobile game company DeNA to create new games focused on Nintendo’s wide range of iconic characters. Between Nintendo’s experience and brand equity, and DeNA’s specialization and existing network, it looks like the landscape of smartphone video games is going to change drastically.

     

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    March 18, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 3128

  • 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: 5007

  • 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: 7117