Students to wow again this year at Level Up Gaming Showcase

Poster of Level Up Showcase with date listed as April 6 from 5 to 10 p.m.
Tuesday, April 5, 2016 - 8:45pm

More than 2,000 gamers, developers and industry recruiters are expected at the sixth annual Level Up Showcase on Wednesday, April 6. Held at the Design Exchange in Toronto, it features 80 projects from 16 different institutions across Ontario, including students from OCAD University’s Digital Futures program. The event spotlights the most talented students in design, animation and computer science programs from colleges and universities across Ontario. The games incorporate the latest technology and gaming platforms, from motion sensors to virtual reality devices and beyond.

Level Up has become the biggest event in Toronto for gamers, recruiters and media to get the inside scoop on emerging talent in game development. The evening is cohosted and organized by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), University of Toronto, OCAD University and Algonquin College in partnership with AMD, George Brown College, Sheridan College and Ubisoft Toronto. The OCAD U community typically fares very well at Level Up, with Pitfall Planet, a game designed by Digital Futures students, named Best Overall Game at last year’s showcase.

Wednesday: LEVEL UP 2017 Showcase

Detail from poster
Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 5:00pm to 10:00pm

The 7th annual Level Up Showcase puts the spotlight on Ontario's most talented post-secondary students in game development, using the latest platforms and tech, including VR, motion sensing and more.

This year featuring over 14 institutions, the Level Up Showcase is the biggest Toronto event for players, developers and recruiters, to get the inside scoop on the future leaders of the game industry. 

Participating schools:

  • Algonquin College
  • Brock University
  • Centennial College
  • George Brown College
  • Humber 
  • Laurentian University
  • Niagara College Canada
  • OCAD University
  • UOIT
  • University of Toronto
  • York University
Venue & Address: 
Design Exchange 234 Bay St., Toronto
Cost: 
FREE

Faculty of Design Speaker Series: Rafael Fajardo: Reflective Play

Rafael Fajardo
Wednesday, February 6, 2008 - 11:30pm

The Faculty of Design is pleased to present a free public talk by Rafael Fajardo, founder of SWEAT, as part of its annual speaker series.

Rafael Fajardo: 'Reflective Play: Exploring the Creation of Games and Toys to Raise Consciousness and Stimulate Thinking'

Rafael Fajardo is the founder of SWEAT, a loose collaborative that makes socially conscious video games. SWEAT has published two video games, Crosser and La Migra, that comment on the game-like nature of (il)legal human traffic at the US/Mexico border. SWEAT is currently working on a game, set in Colombia, which explores the effects of the culture of drug agriculture. This game, Juan & the Beanstalk, has been released as playable fragments. SWEAT's games have been exhibited internationally. Fajardo also teaches at the University of Denver where he is an associate professor of Electronic Media Arts Design and the Director of Digital Media Studies. With his colleague Scott Leutenegger he has overseen the creation of Squeezed, a videogame, co-sponsored by mtvU that comments on the lives of (im)migrant farm workers in the US. With Dr. Leutenegger and with Dr. Debra Austin he has received a multi-year grant from the National Science Foundation to explore the teaching of videogames as a holistic pedagogy in high schools.

Presented with the generous support of M.C. McCain.

On February 27, the Faculty of Design Speaker Series presents Tali Krakowsky, Director of Experience Design for Imaginary Forces.

All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Presentations take place in the OCAD Auditorium at 100 McCaul Street, Toronto. Limited seating available; guests are advised to arrive early.

Venue & Address: 
Auditorium 100 McCaul St., Toronto, Ontario
Email: 
general@ocad.ca
Cost: 
Free

PSXXYBORG

STUDIOInteractive is dedicated to creating groundbreaking interactive properties in the convergent media space and is expanding to work with the game sector. With the help of OCADU's expertise in game design in partnership with visionary game designer Hannah Epstein the project leverages team expertise in innovative design to deliver a 'made-for-the-media' game experience.

This game design research project will design and develop a duo-screen innovative game experience that is mindful of upcoming technological advances such as the Wii-U and Sony's Playbook. The project will address issues of diversity in both game making and opportunities provided by developments in the convergent media industry. Much game design lags behind technology and this project prioritizes game design for a new generation of play interfaces. Playing across multiple screens affords significant new design and business opportunities that this project will actualize via a game delivered on both PC/Mac and iPad. As a feminist project this applied research engages with feminist themes in both content and structure.

Resources

Materials and publications reviewed and created over the course of this project will be collected in the library of a group on the academic social bookmarking service zotero.

Reflections on research will be gathered on Tumblr for easy access, populated with links of interest and lengthier reflections on the design of compelling information interfaces.

Project Deliverable Downloads:

In development.

Keywords: 
Sponsor(s): 
PsXXYborg banner
Monday, August 20, 2012 - 7:15pm

Math Game Prototyping Project

Digital game forms are increasingly used in educational contexts, and the potential of digital games to create significant learning impact is a huge growth area internationally. This project seeks to broker relationships in building game-driven learning tools to support math curricula in a network of interest across academic and private sector partners. As an approach for design research the design and development of games is recognized as offering a constructionist approach to creating new models for learning.

The objectives of this project are to formalize an existing relationship into a more closely framed collaboration and grant submission between project partners. The Math Games Project supports the start of an ongoing and larger research project. In interdisciplinary design teams, the students from OCAD U’s Game Design class were presented with the challenge of conceiving and developing a complete growth plan for virtual math games. The games would be built for mobile consoles (iPhone, Java-based phones) and for young students. The games considered the growing presence of technology in the educational environment and the potential to foster young students’ positive reception of math.

Project partners have committed resources in kind to this project e.g. JumpMath to provide subject expertise, content and context and pedagogic and cognitive expertise coming from The Hospital for Sick Kids (see below).

Goals

  • Build on existing expertise at OCAD for development of games and of mobile applications (iPhone, Java-based phones) through the collaboration between GamePlay Lab (Westecott)and Mobile Lab (Davila) at OCAD
  • Collaborate with University of Waterloo in researching user interaction with various game platforms, game play, and/or theming.
  • Engage broader base of partners in detailed scoping exercise.
  • The creation of an online resource of both relevant research and design material to seed future projects

Vision

  • Prototypes developed will be introduced to various elementary school classes.
  • Foster a working relationship with industry partners.
  • Feedback from the classes will be tracked by the Human Factors researchers at University of Waterloo.
  • Engage existing OCAD students in design process.

Background & Context

This funding will help the OCAD team collaborate and contribute to an interactive math pedagogy research initiative being developed with JumpMath (John Mighton).

This initiative seeks to find ways of creating engaging courses for students struggling with math in elementary school, high school and college as well as users outside of an educational context who wish to improve math skills. It involves a two-pronged approach that will translate existing curriculum, exercises, and workbooks developed by JumpMath as well as create new game modules that further a student's math learning outside of class time.

The project received early funding from the Corus Seed Grant, and will seek for continued funding from a variety of sources including SSHRC, NSERC and OCE.

Prototype Math Games

Keywords: 
Images from OCAD U’s Game Design class
Image from OCAD U’s Game Design class
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 8:15pm

Extend

EXTEND is a research study that examined Marblemedia's internal structure and recommended strategic action to develop original game IP. The team has studied design processes and team structure within the company and facilitated the development of original IP through a series of workshops. The emphasis here has been to build on existing in-house skills to create new market opportunities for the company. 

With the help of OCADU’s expertise in game design thinking and independent game development this study looked at the internal environment at Marblemedia, both structural and behavioral. This facilitated the creation of a detailed blueprint for changes to strengthen Marblemedia’s position as a creative industries market leader. The team has developed a series of findings, recommendations and tools to help Marblemedia put systems in place to support this evolution. These have been delivered via a final report and a series of workshops.

Research Approaches and Methods

This Fed Dev funded research afforded an opportunity to "live with" the project over a period of time. Accordingly the project was phased in line with de Bono's (1982) framework of Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and Verification. Each phase of the project was linked to these phases of creative thought. Broadly the phases were planned to gather intelligence on internal processes, external possibilities and business pragmatics. Knowledge gathered from the first two phases fed into subsequent stages of the project informing workshop design and final report recommendations. 

The workshop developed two concepts collaboratively that remain ready for future development. The final stage presented the synthesized opportunities with specific recommendations to the management team. Each of these project phases demanded different approaches that ranged from formal research processes of interview and subsequent analysis to action-research techniques in which participants actively engage with specific creativity exercises. 

More traditional business techniques were then used to synthesize knowledge generated in the earlier stages of the project into a series of recommendations.

This project adopted a multiple method approach, leveraging techniques from business ethnography, creative elicitation and design research. We used both primary and secondary sources to conduct our research. Our primary research included interviews, evaluations and workshops. Our secondary research included academic sources including books & journals, industry reports, creative methods books & websites. 

The project drew on several research paradigms, including:

  1. Ethnographic methods, used to understand the interaction between management, creative and work-for-hire cultures at Marblemedia.
  2. Participatory action research, used to involve stakeholders (specifically, the employees of Marblemedia) in the broader effort to develop the company’s creative culture.
  3. Design research, used to evaluate and refine the models for creative participation and design that may inform the development of Marblemedia’s creative culture.

Resources available on request.

Sponsor(s): 
Image of post it notes scattered on a table.
Image of post it notes scattered on a table.
Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 7:15pm

Pokémon Go - a game changer for augmented reality

Screenshot from Pokemon GO

Everybody’s talking about Pokémon Go! The augmented reality game isn’t even (officially) available in Canada yet but it’s taking the country by storm. In the US, the game already has more users than Tinder and Twitter.

Augmented reality is a real-world view that is supplemented (augmented) by computer-generated elements such as sound, images, graphics or video.

OCAD U faculty member Emma Westecott is a world leader in gaming and game design. She was a programmer and then producer for the best-selling Starship Titanic game.

“Pokémon Go is a game changer as it marks the evolution of a classic gaming brand on to new platforms using new technologies,” Westecott says. “To become mainstream, any new technology needs widespread adoption, and the fan base brought to augmented reality by passionate Pokémon players provides that.”

Games have always been used to introduce new technology to markets, Westecott says. “I think it has taken a while to get the technologies working together reliably. GPS is a fairly mature technology, whilst augmented reality is much newer. Getting them working together reliably enough to handle the amount of Pokémon users Go has is non-trivial.”

“The popularity of Pokémon Go will trigger an explosion of augmented reality collecting games. Perhaps more interestingly, it will bring an exploration of different genres of games in augmented reality and the mixed reality game sector.”

Discover three Pokestops at OCAD U and battle it out at a Pokémon gym, located by the mural on the outside of our Student Gallery. You can also learn more about augmented reality and game design in our undergraduate and graduate Digital Futures programs. 

Admissions Segment: 

OCAD U team wins People’s Choice Award at Level Up Showcase

Player using 3-D goggles to play game
Three people looking at video game monitor
Crowd of people at Level Up Showcase
Friday, April 8, 2016 - 4:00am

Students from OCAD U’s Digital Futures program joined 17 other Ontario colleges and universities taking part in the sixth annual Level Up Student Games Showcase on April 6. Close to 2,000 people filled the main floor of the Design Exchange as student teams demonstrated their games and met with industry representatives and talent scouts.

Three awards were given out:

  • People’s Choice Award – Plunder! OCAD University/University of Toronto
  • Technical Innovation Award – Ominous Games from UOIT
  • Best Overall Game Award and Best Artistic Achievement – Arrow Heads from Sheridan

Level Up began when OCAD U Assistant Professor Emma Westecott teamed up with the University of Toronto’s Steve Engels to collaborate on a small student project. Now it’s the biggest event of its kind in Ontario.

The evening was organized and co-hosted by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), University of Toronto, OCAD University and Algonquin College, in partnership with AMD, George Brown College, Sheridan College and Ubisoft Toronto.

To find out more, see media coverage in the Toronto Star, CBC News and the Financial Post. Ryan Mason, third-year Digital Futures student, was interviewed on CBC’s Metro Morning.

 

 

Are games art?

“The first question I asked myself is are games art?,” says OCAD U Digital Futures student Saffron Bolduc-Chiong. “How can we make games a more artful experience?”
 

Saffron and her fellow Digital Futures student Emma Burkeitt, are exploring this question with their thesis project Sunken – an immersive game space installation in which players can navigate, interact and play with both physical and digital elements.
 

Sunken explores how gameplay can be combined with theme park design, lighting and environmental narrative to create an artful and engaging mixed-reality experience. They’re also incorporating interactive digital elements including a motion-activated Leap controller, water-activated switches, light-up objects and an augmented reality app. Players can hover over objects with the app to reveal hidden information.


Sunken’s room is set up to look like the underwater lab of a late-1800s scientist, revisited with 1950s technology and experienced in 2016. The aesthetic is inspired by Jules Verne and more modern works such as the video game Bioshock and the immersive theatre experience Sleep No More.

 

 

 

Digital Futures students Emma Burkeitt and Saffron Bolduc-Chiong

Digital Futures students Emma Burkeitt and Saffron Bolduc-Chiong

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