Epic Games Educational Spotlight shines on Vancouver Film School

Jan 22, 2018 at 02:02 pm by -gToon

Institution: Vancouver Film School

School: School of Creative Technology

Department: Game Design Department, Programming for Games, Web + Mobile Department


Program Description

Founded in 2005, the game design program at Vancouver Film School has a rich history of producing success stories for students. Your first day at VFS is your first day on the job. VFS is entirely portfolio based; students build games to enter the creative world.

Students' first two terms at VFS cover the foundations of games and technology. This ranges from board game creation, game theory, and art production techniques to advanced game engines like Unreal Engine 4.


The next two terms focus on students creating a variety of game projects to learn the art of making games. Making games is a craft and only by making playable games can students grow the skills they need to enter the game industry after graduation. During this time, students stream into their chosen disciplines like level design, programming or art. This allows students to dive deep into their chosen field.


The focus of the final two terms at VFS Game Design and Programming for Games, Web and Mobile is the pitch and play event. This invite-only industry event held inside a 32,000 square foot motion capture studio brings over a hundred working game developers and recruiters from thirty to forty companies to see VFS student final projects. This phenomenal networking opportunity is the launching pad for many student careers.


To see the results of one classes final projects, click here.

Instructor Spotlight

Featured Educator - Peter Walsh, Head of the School of Creative Technologies


Peter is a game industry software development veteran with over 12 years' expertise as a technical director, senior software engineer and consultant for large projects. During his professional career, Peter worked with companies like Microsoft, Sony, Activision and Realtime Worlds, developing many different titles from Crackdown to Harry Potter. Additionally Peter has written nine books on software development and founded the Programming for Games, Web + Mobile department at Vancouver Film School.

Featured Educator - Christopher Mitchell, Senior Instructor - Game Design Program

09_StaffPhotos_GD_PG_ChrisMitchell_0004_E1.jpgChristopher is an educator and game industry veteran with over 15 years' experience as an award-winning writer and game designer on games like the Crash Bandicoot series and The Simpsons: Hit & Run. He is one of the first people in the game industry to receive a nomination from the Writers Guild of America, speaker at CES 2017 in Las Vegas and other international game design conventions. Christopher currently works as Senior Instructor at Vancouver Film School, leading hundreds of students to success in the game industry in both emerging and established technologies and consults for a variety of game companies internationally.

Featured Educator - Scott Henshaw, Senior Instructor - Programming for Games, Web and Mobile

010StaffPhotos_PG_ScottHenshaw_0006_E1.jpgScott is a 25 year veteran software developer and spent 12 years at Electronic Arts developing 9 AAA titles and 7 new intellectual properties. During Scott's time in the industry, he managed teams from 25 to 150+ staff members and project budgets from $20-$90 million dollars. The results of that effort were franchise success stories like SSX, Skate, DefJam and Need For Speed that together generated over $1 billion in revenue for EA. Since coming to VFS, Scott has developed and delivered the core of the programming curriculum and is a key part of the student success stories.

Alumni Spotlight

Armando Troisi - Since graduating the VFS Game Design Program in 2006, Armando has taken his career as a storyteller to unbelievable heights. Upon graduation, Armando landed his first job in the game industry at BioWare as a cinematic designer on Mass Effect and then became lead cinematic designer on Mass Effect 2. Since then he has been a narrative director for both Halo and Gears of War and is now narrative director at DICE in Sweden. Armando is now on the VFS advisory board and generously lends his experience back to the school and the next generation of game designers.


Hugo Moraleida - A graduate of the VFS Programming for Games, Web and Mobile department in 2015, Hugo secured his dream job in industry with indie game company Klei Entertaiment. Hugo works as a programmer on the beloved, critically acclaimed Don't Starve Franchise and is still at Klei making fantastic games.


These are just two of the literally thousands of success stories that VFS has produced. We want to tell your story next.


Group Student Work:


Be all that stands between true space luxury and filthy economy as you play a high-tech, trap-wielding robot, holding back an alien infestation that seeks to sully a star liner.


Created by a team of five Vancouver Film School students over four months, Pest-Ex is their final project and the culmination of their year at VFS. From the outset, the team knew they wanted to create something different and exciting in a non-traditional genre. Eschewing traditional shooter or melee mechanics, Pest-Ex is a sci-fi trapping game with the bulky but agile robot POE, trying to capture and teleport the invading vermin from the ship.


To create Pest-Ex, the team chose Unreal Engine 4 to deliver the sharp visuals and emergent gameplay they knew they wanted to build. Early in preproduction, the team made strong visual targets and gameplay examples to serve as landmarks for production. While producing the game, the team made agile changes to the design to reinforce fun discoveries made along the way and let players fight back the infestation the way the player wanted to.


Pest-Ex was created via the Unreal Blueprint system, extended with custom C++ classes and delivered via Unreal's support for advanced art production tools like Substance Designer and Painter mixed with iteration and sweat. The result is an astounding game that is gorgeous to look at and fun to play.


Pest-Ex Core Team Members:

Luis Urena - Gameplay Scripter

Tom Francis - Character/Environmental/FX Artist

Hoi-Fung Ma - Project Manager/Level Designer

Faith Chow - UI/UX Designer, Prop Artist

Enrique Camacho - Technical Artist/Game Designer

Vancouver Film School's Game Design and Programming for Games Web and Mobile departments pride themselves on their ongoing relationship with the game industry, both in Vancouver and internationally. Our graduates populate the game industry and create a web of industry connections unlike any other. The best people in the videogame industry advise our project-based curriculum and mentor student projects from inception to completion.

To see more information about the VFS School of Creative Technologies, please visit the official website.

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