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

Pitfall Planet up for top video game prize

Pitfall Planet
Pitfall Planet screenshot
Pitfall Planet screenshot

A game designed by a team of OCAD U Digital Futures students has made it to the finals at the 2016 Independent Games Festival in San Francisco. Pitfall Planet is a puzzle-solving game where players help two robot astronauts return to their home planet.

The OCAD U team comprises Emma Burkeitt, David Czarnowski and Guy Torsher. They’re working with U of T alum Alexander Biggs, Daphne Ippolito and Adam Robinson-Yu.

Pitfall Planet is one of five games vying for the $3000 prize for Best Student Game, which will be awarded during the festival in March. It was named Best Overall Game at last year’s Level Up showcase.

The game’s still in development, but the team plans to release it soon on Steam and possibly consoles.

Learn more about studying video game development in OCAD U’s Digital Futures program.

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Get lost inside these drawings

Matthew Chapman is a fourth-year drawing and painting student at OCAD University.

Among Matthew’s creations is a murder mystery game inspired by the popular board game Clue.

“The Black Manor is a plan for an ultimate dollhouse murder mystery game. It’s based on the board game Clue, which I've been an immense fan of since childhood. This game, as you can see, is intended to have a multi-roomed mansion.”

Ink Drawing of the Interior of stacked houses

 

There was a deleted chapter from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that was first published last year, and Matthew has illustrated a scene.

“There were extra children in the deleted chapter, including Miranda Mary Piker, a bratty teacher’s pet with a school headmaster as a father. I decided to illustrate in pen and Photoshop the cut chapter detailing Miranda and her father falling into the Spotty Powder Mixer; a machine that grinds powder to make children sick to evade exams. The Oompa Loompas' sing: 

Oh Miranda Mary Piker,

who could ever, ever like her,

such a nasty, disobedient kid. 

So we said, we shall fix her, 

inside the Spotty Powder Mixer

and we'll like her even more than we did. 

 

 

Family looking down spooky stair well with giant spider at the bottom

 

Matthew doesn’t just focus on ink drawings — check out the incredible detail in this Titanic image.

“This is an accurate cross section is of the RMS Titanic back when I did a theme exhibition on the ship in 2012. Made this entirely on SnagIt 8.0.” 

 

Drawing of the Titanic

Get lost inside incredibly detailed drawings by Matthew Chapman this #Inktober

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 - 4:00am

 

Matthew Chapman is a fourth year drawing and painting student at OCAD U.

Among Matthew’s creations is a murder mystery game inspired by the popular board game Clue.

“The Black Manor is a plan for an ultimate dollhouse murder mystery game. It’s based on the board game Clue, which I've been an immense fan of since childhood. This game, as you can see, is intended to have a multi-roomed mansion.”

Ink Drawing of the Interior of stacked houses

 

There was a deleted chapter from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that was first published last year and Matthew has illustrated a scene.

“There were extra children in the deleted chapter, including Miranda Mary Piker, a bratty teacher’s pet with a school head-master as a father. I decided to illustrate in pen and Photoshop the cut chapter detailing Miranda and her father falling into the Spotty Powder Mixer; a machine that grinds powder to make children sick to evade exams. The Oompa Loompas' sing: 

 

Oh Miranda Mary Piker,

who could ever, ever like her,

such a nasty, disobedient kid. 

So we said, we shall fix her, 

inside the Spotty Powder Mixer

and we'll like her even more than we did. 

 

 

Family looking down spooky stair well with giant spider at the bottom

 

Matthew doesn’t just focus on ink drawings – check out the incredible detail in this Titanic image.

“This is an accurate cross section is of the RMS Titanic back when I did a theme exhibition on the ship in 2012. Made this entirely on SnagIt 8.0.” 

 

Drawing of the Titanic

 

Level Up Showcase puts Ontario's top student game designers in the spotlight

Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 4:00am

Fifth annual event is an interactive gaming playground

Over 2,000 gamers, developers and industry recruiters are expected at the fifth annual Level Up Showcase. Held at the Design Exchange, 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.

Last year, OCAD U teams won the Artistic Achievement and People’s Choice awards.

The showcase 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.

Level Up was founded in 2011 by Emma Westecott, assistant professor, Game Design, at OCAD U, together with Steve Engels, senior lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Toronto.

Level Up Showcase

Thursday, April 2, 2015  

5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Media preview: 4 p.m.)

Design Exchange, 234 Bay St., Toronto

This year’s event is sponsored by Autodesk, Microsoft, Unity, Big Blue Bubble, Uken Games, Seneca College, Niagara College and Humber College.

Level Up Showcase

Based in Toronto, Ontario, Level Up Showcase provides a one-stop shop for industry, institutions, and students to network, recruit, and learn about new techniques and technologies in the video game industry. Canada boasts the third largest video game industry in the world, with Ontario boasting the second highest number of video companies in the country (Essential Facts, 2013, The Entertainment Software Association of Canada).

For more information:

www.levelupshowcase.com

Twitter: @levelupTO

RSVP via Level Up Showcase on Facebook

Design With Dialogue

Speech bubble with black text
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 - 10:00pm to Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 1:00am

The Experience of Climate Change at the Intersection of Art & Neuroscience

How do we experience climate change? How does the nature of our experience influence our ability to take action? How might insights from art & neuroscience inform our leadership on the issue? 

Join us for March's DwD  with hosts Ross Curtner and Scott Baker of Adjacent Possibilities. Set to the back drop of international climate negotiations, we will explore the physiological and civic experiences of climate change. From here, we deploy insights at the intersection of art and neuroscience to imagine alternatives. Drawing inspiration from systems thinking and game design methodology, the session will provide participants the opportunity to prototype the mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics of renewed relationship with this complex issue.

Insights generated from this workshop will be used to inform the design of Adjacent Possibilities' next exhibition at the Cop21 climate negotiations in Paris, November 2015.

About The Hosts
At heart, Ross Curtner is a facilitator, curator and purveyor of purposeful play. Putting these passions to work he’s lead strategic planning retreats for cleantech investment and business development groups, designed leadership experiences for arts foundations, consulted for government and recently, co-founded Adjacent Possibilities, an agency which connects artists and entrepreneurs to enable new approaches to complex challenges. An alumni of MaRS’ Studio Y Fellowship, he previously worked at The Stop and Community Food Centres Canada. When he’s not scheming of creative ways to address big issues, you can find Ross exploring Toronto’s forests with the PINE Project. @RossCurtner

Scott Baker was raised on wind-licked west-coast of Vancouver Island and has since been working at the intersection of climate policy and civic engagement with the Canadian and European Green Parties, Leadnow, and Tides Canada. Currently Scott is a StudioY Fellow at MaRS Discovery District and the co-founder of Adjacent Possibilities. 

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University 100 McCaul St. Lambert Lounge, Room 187
Website: 
http://Register on Eventbrite

STUDENTS SHOW GAMES AT LEVEL UP 2014

Gameplay at last year's Level Up event. Image courtesy University of Toronto.

Students from 17 different post-secondary institutions from across Ontario, including OCAD U, demonstrated more than 60 games at the fourth annual Level Up Showcase on Friday, April 4. Held at the Design Exchange, the popular event continues to grow, with more institutions, partners, sponsors and gamers participating than ever before.

Level Up was first initiated in 2011 by Emma Westecott, Assistant Professor, Game Design and Director, game:play Lab at OCAD U, together with Steve Engels, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Toronto, as a collaborative teaching event bringing together art, design and computer science students to make games.

As the event evolved Westecott and Engels began inviting more members of the closely-knit Toronto gaming community to participate, along with students from other post-secondary institutions. The event is garnering international interest — the Level Up team presented at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), the world’s largest industry event, in San Francisco in March, and was also featured in the GDC 2014 Education Summit.

“We are proud of how we have grown in the past four years,” said Westecott. “I think it’s important. Showcases like Level Up enable students to see how their work fits to the wider context of other student games and motivates everyone to excel—showing your work to an audience of 800 people is very different than a regular end-of-term critique.”

Connecting with industry and community

With a wide range of gaming companies and industry organizations participating, the event also provides students with the opportunity to interact with future potential employers. “More than one game company has picked up new employees at the event,” said Westecott.

It’s also a good way for students to connect with Toronto’s thriving independent gaming community in Toronto, including organizations such as Bento Misothe Hand Eye Society and Dames Making Games.

“Toronto is home to a wealth of independent game makers, not to mention the plethora of individuals whose ongoing generosity remains an inspiration, and resource, for all our students,” said Westecott. “Connecting to and supporting this community is central to my work at OCAD U. I believe that we can build virtuous circles to benefit all and help us reach beyond our boundaries.”

 

Learn more:

Level Up Showcase 2014

Level Up on Facebook 

Attend Level Up

OCAD U’s game:play lab

Level Up 2013. Image courtesy University of Toronto.

OCAD University students win two awards at the 2014 Level Up Showcase

Students play a round of Office Joust at Level Up 2014
Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 4:15pm

The trading floor of the former Toronto Stock Exchange was packed with video game designers and enthusiasts for the 2014 Level Up Showcase, an opportunity for game designers to connect with Toronto’s gaming community and potential industry employers.

Held Friday, April 4 at the Design Exchange, the event drew more participants than ever in its four-year history. Students from 17 post-secondary institutions from across Ontario presented more than 60 games; 600 people attended.

The award winners are:

  • Best Technical Achievement (presented by Autodesk): Retroid from UOIT
  • Artistic Achievement (presented by Sheridan College): Lava Leaper from OCAD U and U of T
  • Best Game Design (presented by Ubisoft Toronto): Runbow from George Brown College
  • People's Choice Award: Office Joust from OCAD U and U of T

Lava Leaper takes players into a child’s imagination. The mission is to get out of bed, get to the desk, pick up a backpack and go to school. However, the floor is flowing with hot lava and the player must toss in objects to jump on to get to the desk without falling in.

Office Joust involves dodging cubicles while rolling around on a desk chair in an office. Players are armed with mops as they engage in a contemporary version of medieval jousting.

Level Up was founded in 2011 by Emma Westecott, Assistant Professor, Game Design and Director, game:play Lab at OCAD U, together with Steve Engels, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Toronto.

 

New Digital Futures undergraduate major launches next fall at OCAD University

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 5:15pm

(Toronto—October 25, 2011) A new digital media undergraduate program allowing students to specialize in areas such as business innovation, data visualization, health and wellness and gaming is coming to OCAD University next fall.

The Digital Futures: Technology/Innovation/Design/Art (DF:TIDA) undergraduate program links digital technology and innovation with Design and Art studio practice. Students will graduate with either a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or a Bachelor of Design (BDes), with a specialization in digital media and related technologies. Prospective students can apply for the program now through the Ontario Universities Application Centre for the 2012/13 academic year.

"The Digital Futures undergraduate program links multiple studio-based digital media concentrations in the Faculty of Art and Faculty of Design, augmenting our existing curriculum with new courses that reflect the expertise and skills of the university's new faculty engaged in research and digital practice," explained OCAD University President, Dr. Sara Diamond. "With the launch of our Digital Futures Masters program in September 2011, and our Digital Futures research program, this new undergraduate major represents the full realization of the Digital Futures Initiative at OCAD University."

DF:TIDA students are able to specialize in one of five areas:

  • Physical Computing
  • Games
  • Data Visualisation
  • Inclusive Design
  • Business

Students in the DF:TIDA program will acquire skills in computation, physical computing, data visualization, screen-based media, gaming, and business, and will be well-positioned to work across the digital media sector from either art, design or critical perspectives.

BACKGROUND:

Digital Futures: Technology/Innovation/Design/Art (DF:TIDA)
A compete program overview and course guide is available on the OCAD University website.

The Digital Futures Initiative at OCAD University
The launch of OCAD University's Digital Futures Initiative in May of 2007 was made possible through a transformative $2 million annual investment by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities that OCAD University leveraged with support from industrial partners and other provincial and federal ministries.

The Digital Futures Initiative supports student learners to become entrepreneurial and research leaders in a future world of ubiquitous digital technology and communication, as well as enabling them to master contemporary digital skills. Drawing on faculty from across the university and working in collaboration with a broad range of Canadian and international private and public sector partners, the Digital Futures Initiative (DFI) is a set of new cross-disciplinary programs, research, and innovation activities. Minors, a major, a suite of graduate programs and continuing education offerings are providing learning opportunities in digital art, media and design, and ICT, linking this knowledge to emerging technologies with applications in fields such as art/design and science, sustainability, health and wellness, accessibility, diversity, and global innovation and business development.

Key milestones have included:

  • Enhancement and modernization of OCAD University's curriculum: minors, a major and a suite of graduate programs are now offered:
    Digital Futures: Technology/Innovation/Design/Art (DF:TIDA) - BFA, BDes;
    Master's in Inclusive Design (MDes); and
    Digital Futures Graduate program (MA, MDes, MFA, Graduate Diploma);
  • Hiring of six new faculty who are digital leaders and additional hiring of digital experts in other program areas;
  • OCAD University has established has launched successful research and commercialization partnerships, leveraging funding from MTCU (including an additional 7.5 in capital funding) and MRI (9 million) to create the Institute for Digital Media Research and Innovation;
  • Roll-out of Digital Infrastructure across the campus and integration of Digital Tools and teaching methods into all aspects of curriculum;
  • Launch of the Centre for Innovation in Arts & Design Education (CIADE);
  • The multi-institutional/multi-industry Inclusive Design Institute led by OCAD U's Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) of 25 researchers;
  • Launch of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC), a public-private not-for-profit consortium that brings together students and faculty from OCAD U and other universities and colleges with industry leaders in the quest for groundbreaking digital mobile applications.
  • Acquisition of digital resources for teaching and learning
  • Acceleration of online and blended learning.

 

OCAD University (OCAD U): 135 Years of Imagination
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

- 30 -

Download this release as a PDF file.

For more information contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327) 

New Digital Futures undergraduate major launches next fall at OCAD University

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - 4:00am

(Toronto—October 25, 2011) A new digital media undergraduate program allowing students to specialize in areas such as business innovation, data visualization, health and wellness and gaming is coming to OCAD University next fall.

The Digital Futures: Technology/Innovation/Design/Art (DF:TIDA) undergraduate program links digital technology and innovation with Design and Art studio practice. Students will graduate with either a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) or a Bachelor of Design (BDes), with a specialization in digital media and related technologies. Prospective students can apply for the program now through the Ontario Universities Application Centre for the 2012/13 academic year.

"The Digital Futures undergraduate program links multiple studio-based digital media concentrations in the Faculty of Art and Faculty of Design, augmenting our existing curriculum with new courses that reflect the expertise and skills of the university's new faculty engaged in research and digital practice," explained OCAD University President, Dr. Sara Diamond. "With the launch of our Digital Futures Masters program in September 2011, and our Digital Futures research program, this new undergraduate major represents the full realization of the Digital Futures Initiative at OCAD University."

DF:TIDA students are able to specialize in one of five areas:

  • Physical Computing
  • Games
  • Data Visualisation
  • Inclusive Design
  • Business

Students in the DF:TIDA program will acquire skills in computation, physical computing, data visualization, screen-based media, gaming, and business, and will be well-positioned to work across the digital media sector from either art, design or critical perspectives.

BACKGROUND:

Digital Futures: Technology/Innovation/Design/Art (DF:TIDA)
A compete program overview and course guide is available on the OCAD University website.

The Digital Futures Initiative at OCAD University
The launch of OCAD University's Digital Futures Initiative in May of 2007 was made possible through a transformative $2 million annual investment by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities that OCAD University leveraged with support from industrial partners and other provincial and federal ministries.

The Digital Futures Initiative supports student learners to become entrepreneurial and research leaders in a future world of ubiquitous digital technology and communication, as well as enabling them to master contemporary digital skills. Drawing on faculty from across the university and working in collaboration with a broad range of Canadian and international private and public sector partners, the Digital Futures Initiative (DFI) is a set of new cross-disciplinary programs, research, and innovation activities. Minors, a major, a suite of graduate programs and continuing education offerings are providing learning opportunities in digital art, media and design, and ICT, linking this knowledge to emerging technologies with applications in fields such as art/design and science, sustainability, health and wellness, accessibility, diversity, and global innovation and business development.

Key milestones have included:

  • Enhancement and modernization of OCAD University's curriculum: minors, a major and a suite of graduate programs are now offered:
    Digital Futures: Technology/Innovation/Design/Art (DF:TIDA) - BFA, BDes;
    Master's in Inclusive Design (MDes); and
    Digital Futures Graduate program (MA, MDes, MFA, Graduate Diploma);
  • Hiring of six new faculty who are digital leaders and additional hiring of digital experts in other program areas;
  • OCAD University has established has launched successful research and commercialization partnerships, leveraging funding from MTCU (including an additional 7.5 in capital funding) and MRI (9 million) to create the Institute for Digital Media Research and Innovation;
  • Roll-out of Digital Infrastructure across the campus and integration of Digital Tools and teaching methods into all aspects of curriculum;
  • Launch of the Centre for Innovation in Arts & Design Education (CIADE);
  • The multi-institutional/multi-industry Inclusive Design Institute led by OCAD U's Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) of 25 researchers;
  • Launch of the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC), a public-private not-for-profit consortium that brings together students and faculty from OCAD U and other universities and colleges with industry leaders in the quest for groundbreaking digital mobile applications.
  • Acquisition of digital resources for teaching and learning
  • Acceleration of online and blended learning.

 

OCAD University (OCAD U): 135 Years of Imagination
OCAD University (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “University of the Imagination.” The University, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

- 30 -

Download this release as a PDF file.

For more information contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer
416-977-6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327) 

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