Spec Ops 3 – Post Mortem

Written by Rocco Briganti

The Spec Ops 3 – Video Game Development program is the capstone program at Every1Games. Creative neurodivergent students from different walks of life finally have a place where they can come and learn about and how to create, one of the leading forms of art and entertainment – video games.

Spec Ops Team

Some of the SpecOps Team: Daniel, Devonttaie, John Yau, Crystal Fernandez, Rocco Briganti and Joshua

An Upgraded Direction

Spec Ops 3 took the best of the previous programs and learned from past programs. During this program we continued along the path of keeping the class operating as a team would in a studio. We had a clear idea and focus about how the program would run. The Spec Ops 3 team was better equipped now with four facilitators ranging in talents including, but not limited to: animation, programming, modelling and game design. We also had two goals…

  1. Developing a game and if not, at the very least a portfolio piece for every student.
  2. Expanding and advancing student’s social skills.

We continued along the familiar path of brainstorming a game first with the class and then dividing everyone up into roles that each student wanted to work on. This time we had some new students with fresh talent. Roles ranged from sound engineers to modellers and animators.

Early Game Design

In our first week we brainstormed with the class on what some of their favourite genres were for video games. After a lot of talking and some back and forth debates we ended up with a Steampunk Robot Escape style game. One of our facilitators, Daniel Mozarowski took the class through Game Design principals and theory as we brainstormed how the game would be played. It was wonderful to watch students who normally appeared to be shy, open up in passionate discussion, conversation and the odd friendly debate about mechanics, story and what makes a game fun.

Once we had everything laid out another one of our Facilitators, John Yau, took the stage creating some concept art for our game. This concept art was created by tasking students with finding images and references that they pictured for the game we had brainstormed and its genre. Throughout the course of the 8 weeks the students used the created piece for inspiration and reference when creating content for the game.

Production Phase

At the very beginning of the program, myself and the rest of the facilitators had made a decision that if creating a market ready game was not achievable during the programs length then we would work on helping students achieve a portfolio piece. During our fourth week we had a discussion about this. Myself and the rest of the team decided that given the varying range of talent and experience, it was best to change our focus. From this point on, we continued the course by focusing on helping each student grow both socially and technically.

Spec Ops Support Package

Spec Ops 3 was not only host to a pool of creative and talented neurodiverse individuals but for this first time ever, host to the parents, friends and family who continuously help drive our students forward beyond the classroom. This was our first time having a parent’s open house style gathering where parents, friends and family could come in and see what everyone had been working on. For the facilitators, this provided the perfect opportunity for some one on one time with student’s family members which might have not otherwise happened.

Overall, this was an overwhelming success. Facilitators got to witness our student’s showing off their creativity to their family members and in turn family members saw what their children were capable of producing. Parents were ecstatic to hear the progress their children have made and taken aback by the work that they had created. Some family members were seeing for the first time all the work that gets put into creating even the most basic of games.

Conclusion

This has been our best Spec Ops program yet at Every1Games with the help of George Brown College facilities. We’ve pushed students farther in honing their skills and prepping for the game development world with the latest industry standard software. Students have shown growth in not only technical skills but social skills as well. Our students continue to inspire and teach us as well with every Spec Ops program outdoing the last. With this mind, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Spec Ops in the fall.

 

Registration for the next Spec Ops: Video Game Development program opens soon. Make an account to register!

Rocco Briganti