Spring is here and sadly, March Break has ended. We played with Google Cardboard to experience virtual reality, learned life lessons with Chappie, and hung out on the set of Much Music. We also met with an awesome leading game development team in their Toronto studio, and more!
If it sounds like we are gloating, its because we are. The staff worked hard to put together an awesome week to explore a variety of media. Though the original plan was to work on computers, something wonderful happened, a mistake was made and we lost the classrooms we booked. Why is that wonderful??? Because it forced us to think outside the box and the result was an unforgettable week filled with new and exciting experiences, friendships and memories!
Day 1 – Making Board Games to Understand Environmental Story Telling
The first day we really spent a lot of our time getting to know each other. That is necessary to work well together, because who wants to work with strangers anyway? We also started making some board games after learning about all forms of media, themes, stories and narratives. Follow us if you are interested because next month we will be hosting a social night at Toronto’s Board Game Cafe, Snakes and Lattes!
Day 2 – Exploring Film and Tech with Google Cardboard Virtual Reality and Chappie at Rainbow Cinemas!
There is an awesome way to experience Virtual Reality on your mobile phone and its called Google Cardboard. Our game developer friends at Game Pill Inc. write more about how it works and what the toy company Mattel has planned for this technology, check out What is Google Cardboard?
If you’ve never been to Rainbow Cinemas, it was a treat. The murals on the wall, the art gallery in the lobby and the friendly staff made our trip to see Chappie more awesome than we imagined. This movie was gangster. No, really. Be warned that the 14A really means a ton of swearing, guns, and adult content. After seeing the movie we had an opportunity to reflect on what we learned about literary themes. Our reflection brought forward the themes of authority, weapons and political power, betrayal, family, religion and technology. Chappie is not just a movie about a robot with a conscience and artificial intelligence, but a reflection on many past and current events happening today. Thank goodness Every1Games is a place for mature teens and young adults – this is not for kids!
The awesomeness continues…
Day 3 – Experiencing Arts and Craft Galleries at the Harbourfront Center
Visual art, glass blowing and metalworks are just a few of the creative arts we explored at the Harbourfront Centre. We also learned next week Disabled Theatre is premiering in Canada! You can read more about it –> here!
Day 4 – Meeting Video Game Developers Get Set Games! Exploring Game Development!
Meeting with local successful teams in the game industry is one of the ways we create low-anxiety networking experiences. Industry Allies like Get Set Games support Every1Games and help bring opportunities to neurodivergent and autistic youth interested in a career in games! (Yes, that is the office dog [below]!).
The awesome team at Get Set Games took the time to answer all our questions about mobile game development and hung out with us playing games and talking industry. Truth be told everyone was more interested in taking turns playing Storm Casters and Mega Run than asking questions, but we certainly learned a lot about the video game industry. Did you know that this development team is made up of friends from George Brown College?
Check out Storm Casters and download it! You won’t regret this game in your library.
And if you are not sick of awesome yet…
Day 5 – Bell Media Building! Exploring Music, Entertainment News and much more
We had the amazing opportunity to have a tour around the Bell Media Building at 299 Queen St W that houses many different live and recorded shows. We had the opportunity to see the set of CP24, BNN, ETalk, The Marilyn Dennis Show and many more. This building makes it easy for celebrities to come to one building and have the opportunity to be on several different shows without leaving , especially if it’s cold outside like it was this winter. We even had a special tour of the control panel room that controls what is on the screens of CP24 at all times. It was an outstanding experience and a great way to wrap up our week!
Thank you to everyone who helped make this March Break amazing, the participants, staff, and our industry allies Get Set Games, George Brown College School of Design, and the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University!
Any ideas how to top this next year!?
We are proud to present the following highlights from March Break 2014.
1. Industry Guests Galore
This March Break the Toronto team had a chance to meet professional game developer Jordy Koski, founder and CEO of TapFun Inc. who was visiting Every1Games to teach us the fundamentals of Game Salad creating a Flappy Bird style game in one afternoon. Check out why Jordy decided he wanted to share his skills with our team on his blog. Jordy came back to Every1Games later in the week to sit down with our leads and work with the team through design challenges. Thanks Jordy!
Dara and Jamie Gold are a dynamic duo and 2/3rds of the What This Games? developmennt team. They presented an awesome slide show sharing the games they’ve made and what they are working on now (picture below). It was amazing to see their workflow process for their new rhythm game, Project Simon, that was appealing to many of the musicians in the groups. We also loved their game Autocorrect Text Adventure game. Check out their work and subscribe to their e-news to stay up to date with What’s This Games releases.
Although the third person on the What This Games? team, Byron Wolfman, was unable to attend, we are lucky that he took the time to write this informative blogpost about challenges and tips, an introduction to Visual Basic and more! Thanks Byron!
The Every1Games team in St.Catharines worked with the fourth year class at Brock University beta-testing their practicum development project DLNR as part of the Interactive Arts and Science Program. “DLNR is a cyber punk action-adventure game with a focus on the high concept of “The Prisoner’s Dilemma”. It is a multiplayer experience where players have the choice of co-operative or competitive play while racing to reach the end of each level. It is being developed by IASC 4F00 class with Jean Bridge and Michael Winter.”
2. Soothe Interactive Presents The Pony Game
The Pony Game created by the E1G team in Toronto is the result of an idea to create an interactive sensory room that was originally going to include 4 mini-games.
We learned a valuable lesson about time management as we tried to apply a formula to the distance of our platforms to calculate the furthest possible jump with our avatar, a familiar pink pony jumping around the levels collecting all the cupcakes, rainbows and butterflies before time runs out.
Alas, 5 days goes by fast when we are having fun and doing other activities, so we had to make some changes to our plan.
The St. Catharines crew is equally as ambitious. The folks in St.Catharines spent their time trying their hand at Autodesk Maya, learning more about sprite sheets, animation and character modelling led by Every1Games facilitator Simon Warwick, former Senior Technical Animator at Rocksteady in London, England.
3. E1G Music Moment
Music was an unplanned theme this week at Every1Games. During a conversation about the way game design choices change the aesthetic experience, which result in the different emotional experiences, we decided to make a game that would be soothing, and calming for a player.
New team member Joel Ashton-Fogle performed beyond expectations by composing, writing and singing a song called Turquoise, Purple, Pink and Blue featured in the video above. We wish we had a real recording studio because there is noise on the track, but a teammate with exceptional technical skills was able to clean it up enough to share it with the world.
Thank you to our friends and allies at Autism Ontario Toronto Chapter and the Potential Programme for supporting the Every1Games program as a Social Learning Opportunity helping us spread the word and share the experience.