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Five Best Videogames of Comic-Con 2011

As the movie, videogame and comic book industries invaded the San Diego Convention Center last week, Comic-Con 2011 dominated media coverage. Fans mobbed the Convention Center, too, looking for the  latest in cutting-edge entertainment. This year’s show is now history and for our gamers out there, we’ve rounded up for you the best five videogames of the show:

MASS EFFECT 3 (BioWare/Electronic Arts)
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Release Date: March 6, 2012


BioWare’s Mass Effect 3 is easily one of the most anticipated games of 2012.

The long-awaited sequel to the make-your-own adventure, Mass Effect 3 was playable for gamers at Comic-Con. We saw this game at E3 but Comic-Con gave us a chance to spend more time with it. What did we like best about it? BioWare enhanced the third-person shooter aspect and RPG elements of the game and gave gamers the option to play as a female Shepard.

For the uninitiated, Mass Effect mixes sci-fi themes with elements of action RPG gaming. As the new game begins, Commander Shepard is being put on trial for what happened in ME 2. However during the trial, Earth is besieged by Reapers. Shepard uses the opportunity to make a quick exit and goes off to summon help from other alien civilizations. While Shepard is recruiting help, he encounters resistance from former allies, the Cerberus, and the space opera plays out from there. For players that worked hard on those previous game saves, you’ll be happy to know your progress will pick up where you left off with ME 3.

Expect multiple versions of ME 3 to be available — such as a collector’s edition and a digital deluxe edition. And get this: The special editions are set to include exclusive weapons found in the N7 Arsenal Pack. We’re totally buying that.

SPIDER-MAN: EDGE OF TIME (Beenox/Activision)
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Nintendo Wii, DS & 3DS
Release Date: October 4, 2011


“Excuse me, do you have the time?”  Spider-Man: Edge of Time floats between two time zones — the year 2099 and 2011. 

Spider-Man is everywhere these days — including a new movie and even a Broadway musical. Not to be left out, he makes his latest videogame appearance in Spider-Man: Edge of Time. In a videogame that can be best described as Spider-Man meets Inception, there are actually two Spider-Men – one from the present (whose alter ego is Peter Parker) and one from the future (alias Miguel O’Hara) who rose to fame in the comic series Spider-Man 2099. Gamers play in either time period, but the game’s “Quantum Causality” feature, causes the actions you make in one era to have an effect in the other (like the cause-and-effect logic in Inception). If that isn’t enough to make your head spin, toss in the villainous antics of The Black Cat and Anti-Venom – and it’s really “game on.”

The present and the future link up in Edge of Time, with the 2099 version of Spider-Man working overtime to protect the original web-slinger from harm…and save the future from being devoured by an ultra-greedy corporation called Alchemax.

STREET FIGHTER x TEKKEN (Capcom/Capcom)
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita
Release Date: March 2, 2012


Two of the greatest fighting games franchises in videogame history come together for the ultimate smack-down in Street Fighter x Tekken.

In a grudge match that could only be described as videogame nirvana, Namco and Capcom are pitting their toughest fighters against each other for the first time in the HD era. Fighters from the Tekken and Street Fighter series  face off together for what gamers are hoping will be the fighting game to end all fighting games. Street Fighter x Tekken (which Capcom translates as “Street Fighter cross Tekken”) pulls in all your favorite characters from Street Fighter (Ryu, Guile, Abel, Chun-Li, Poison, Dhalsim and more) and throws them in Tekken greats (such as Kazuya Mishima, King, Steve Fox and Yoshimitsu). And although this isn’t exactly the first time these two powerhouse rival companies have united to do battle (that honor goes to 2005’s Namco vs. Capcom), it’s the first time that gamers outside of Japan will be able to enjoy the mayhem.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD (Nintendo EAD/Nintendo)
Platforms: Nintendo Wii
Release Date: Fall 2011


Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is actually a prequel to Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

In the latest installment of Nintendo’s legendary Legend of Zelda action/adventure series, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, the game FINALLY gets the high-definition treatment and a pick-me-up from the addition of Wii Motion Control Plus technology – which gives Link’s movements (such as shooting an arrow) new precision and power. Swordplay, in particular, is also given special attention, with this game paying attention to details such as how Link’s sword is angled before it cuts something (or somebody).

Nintendo gave additional depth to the environments between dungeons, too. And while the locations may be familiar, Nintendo has slipped in new gameplay surprises. Plus, as we mentioned, this will be the first time Link will be in HD glory.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: SUPER SOLDIER (Next Level Games/Sega)
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS
Release Date: July 19, 2011

Cap’s come a long way — originally debuting in Timely Comics (which evolved into Marvel Comics); Captain America is now starring in his own hit movie.

Captain America is an original superhero; he first appeared in comic books in 1941. But don’t count him out because of his age; his recent live-action feature (Captain America: The First Avenger) had enough muscle to knock the latest “Harry Potter” flick out of the top slot at the Box Office.

Captain America: Super Soldier is almost a companion piece to the movie, and follows the film’s general plot and action. As the Star-Spangled Avenger, Captain America sets out to explore a huge castle that’s been turned into a rogue military installation. Aside from using his own spectacular acrobatics and trusty fists to make his way through this third-person action game, Cap is equipped with his trusty shield, which he can hurl at enemies, protect himself from gunfire, and even scale walls when the need arises. It’s an action game through and through but captures the feeling of the film pretty well.

Get Into Games
Are video games your favorite form of entertainment? Have you ever imagined making your own game? Make your own game ideas come to life by learning video game design or 3D animation. Or explore your passion creating comics. Who knows? In a few years, they could be showcasing your creations at Comic-Con 2020!

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

Guillermo del Toro at Comic-Con 2011: Digital-Age Renaissance Man

He may be the greatest director you’ve never heard of. But you should definitely make note of who he is, because you’re going to be hearing a lot about the “Digital-Age Renaissance man” known as Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro will be appearing this week at Comic-Con in San Diego, and while he may not be as well known as directors J.J. Abrams or Steven Spielberg, he’s just as influential – and is certainly someone to watch in the future.


“Boo!” For the Fantasy/Horror sleeper hit Pan’s Labyrinth, director Guillermo del Toro put his personal touch and imagination into every frame of the film, including the creation and visual design of this character, the Pale Man.

All Eyes on Del Toro
Guillermo del Toro – much like his contemporaries Peter Jackson and Robert Rodriguez - is one of a new breed of filmmakers that can’t be categorized. Del Toro dabbles in all sorts of media, including movies, games and comic books. As a gamer, del Toro reportedly enjoys playing Half-Life and BioShock. As a sketch artist, he keeps huge volumes of drawings; he even used these to help him design the creatures and environments for his 2006 masterpiece, Pan’s Labyrinth.


One-man production crew: del Toro.

This week, this Digital-Age Renaissance man will be addressing crowds of fans at Comic-Con 2011 in San Diego. What will he talk about? No one knows for sure, but he could speak about any of the following projects, since he’s involved with all of them:

    • Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (opening Aug. 26). Del Toro co-wrote and co-produced the film.
    • Peter Jackson’s much-anticipated film version of The Hobbit. Del Toro co-wrote the script .
    • Disney’s The Haunted Mansion 3D remake. Del Toro is co-writing, producing and directing it.
    • He’s the co-author of a trilogy of vampire novels (including the already published The Strain and The Fall).
    • He’s overseeing the creation of a new videogame called Insane, expected for 2013 release.

 

Exploring a Passion for Film
Guillermo del Toro has been seriously making movies since the 1980s (he started by helping out on film sets as an eight-year-old, back in Mexico). You can trace del Toro’s success back to the moment when he discovered his creative passion and then dedicated himself to mastering the craft of film.

When it was released, Pan’s Labyrinth was compared to some of the greatest fantasy films ever made – such as The Wizard of Oz and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Del Toro’s most critically acclaimed film combined fantasy and war into a powerful and unique modern fable. Pan’s Labyrinth topped many critics’ polls as the best film of 2006, and when the film played at the Cannes Film Festival, the crowd saluted it with a standing ovation that lasted 22 minutes. The film captured three Oscars (Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Makeup) and won the Best Picture award from the National Society of Film Critics. In addition to the great critical success of Pan’s Labyrinth, he’s also made a number of great action and horror films, such as Blade II, Hellboy (I & II) and The Devil’s Backbone.


Part fairy tale, part war film. Pan’s Labyrinth took a unique concept and blended it with amazing special effects.

Do you have a passion for filmmaking? Then follow your dream. There are plenty of ways: Take a course in movie making from professional filmmakers. Online courses can be good sources of information too, although the best training occurs when an industry veteran is at your side, passing along their real-world experience.

At Digital Media Academy’s Stanford Filmmaking Summer Camp, students learn how to make digital movies from the pros. The program is taught by professional filmmakers, and daytime activities include real production meetings (just like Hollywood studios have) and shooting a movie. Evening activities can include taking in a movie premiere like real Hollywood filmmakers do (such as the special pre-release screening of the new Harry Potter that DMA’s Stanford campers recently attended). So now, are you ready to make a movie?

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posted by Phill Powell in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

Robin Williams: A Dad Who Loves Zelda

In honor of Father’s Day, how about a story about an actor, comedian and father who named his daughter after a video game? Comedy superstar Robin Williams has been in love with Zelda – and we mean the video game – since 1987. So much so, in fact, that he named his daughter after the Nintendo princess.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTQ9RuIc6m4

Robin Williams stars in a Nintendo commercial that features his daughter – Zelda!

Apparently Williams and his wife played The Legend of Zelda fairly often during his wife’s pregnancy and they fell in love with the character’s name. So Dad did what any self-respecting gamer would do: he named his daughter after his favorite Nintendo game. The story behind his daughter’s name has made rounds on the Internet for a few years now, but was only recently confirmed, with Nintendo’s commercial for the Nintendo 3DS The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.

Zelda Commercials Through the Years
Years ago, the original Zelda commercial for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System featured a wild-eyed spokesperson bouncing around, obsessed with Zelda’s name and fearing for creepy-crawlies that he encountered in the game. When compared to the latest Zelda commercial, it doesn’t quite have the same effect:

“Zelda! Zelda! Zeldaaaa!!!!”

What’s In a Name?
It’s not only great to see Nintendo update the commercial, but update the game as well. The Nintendo 3DS The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D refreshes the classic with sparking new graphics, although the formula and story are the same. The N64 version was one of the highest-rated games of all time, and here at DMAC, we have fond memories of the game. Even Zelda (Robin Williams’ daughter) does, too. Here’s a great video of her playing the game, while Dad talks about how she got her name:

And you thought you were the only one crazy about Zelda and Link’s journey! Video games cut across all cultures and all types of people. Are you crazy about video games? Maybe you have an idea for your own creation? Then why not learn how to design a video game? Your creation could be an adventure game like Zelda or an action game. Using the tools video game designers use, you could create the next Zelda.

You don’t have to be a hardcore gamer to love great video games or create video games. Just ask Robin Williams! Are you looking forward to Zelda for 3DS?


Okay, so minus the pointy ears and big eyes, you might could argue that Zelda Williams does slightly resemble Princess Zelda.

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posted by Vince Matthews in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

Nintendo’s New Game: What’s Cookin’ at Project Cafe? (E3 Preview)

Like some top-secret mission out of a spy movie, it’s so far undercover that it has its own code name. Mysteriously known as “Project Cafe,” Nintendo’s upcoming Wii 2 console may be available at retailers as soon as this October. When delivered to store shelves, the new machine will carry a MSRP between $350 and $400. Both gamers and industry analysts are anxiously awaiting the upcoming E3 2011 conference (June 7-9), when Nintendo will unveil the new game machine to the public.

Wii R the Champions
“Project Cafe” started as an Internet rumor, but a recent announcement from Nintendo (and some convincingly official leaked images) confirmed it. Aside from the fact that this is Nintendo’s very first high-definition, Blu-Ray-disc-enabled game machine, the most striking detail about the Wii 2 (which some speculate could be called “Nintendo Stream”) is its controller. In addition to the usual keypad and operational buttons, the controller also features a high-resolution display that incorporates touch-screen functionality.


Bonus perspective: The new Wii 2 controller will feature a touchscreen display.

That’s right, touch-screen technology, just like the Nintendo DS and 3DS. Although it may be overwhelming the first time you think of the possibilities this controller could provide, the display screen makes perfect sense when you consider the various ways it could be used. (Some reports indicate that the system will enable the streaming of games to each controller.)


Nintendo’s new games machine will support high-definition resolution, a first for the game giant.

Insiders say that the system will be able to deliver more graphics-processing power than the PlayStation 3. In addition, the Wii 2’s computer (a custom-designed triple-core IBM PowerPC) is reported to offer faster processing times than the Xbox 360. Aside from its ability to deliver on these performance claims, the biggest current mystery concerns when the Wii 2 will actually be available at retailers and what the system and the games will cost. Some industry talk holds that Nintendo’s manufacturer will have enough console units ready for an October 2011 roll-out, while other voices suggest that Nintendo will hold to an early 2012 timeline, thereby allowing for one more holiday season to sell the original Wii.


The exact specs of the Wii 2 console will be released at E3. These official-looking devkit specs have been making the rounds on video-game sites and fan forums. Could this be Nintendo’s next machine? We’ll have to find out at E3. (Double-click on the specs to see a higher-resolution image.)

The Game Platform
The world of video games is constantly evolving, with new game systems and platforms being introduced all the time. Get into the games business now by spending a week or two learning game design at video game design summer camp. When selecting a computer summer camp, remember that a technology school’s training is only good if it remains up to date. The instructors at Digital Media Academy Computer and Digital Arts Summer Camps are industry innovators who stay current with the latest technology. They also understand which game systems are going to be tomorrow’s heavy hitters.

From an Introduction to 3D Art, Modeling and Animation for Game Design…to 3D Game Development classes (for developing games for Google Android devices, for the Internet and for iPhones)…to 3D Game Creation classes in Level Design and Character Design. No matter where your video-game interests lay, DMA has a computer summer camp for you. Who knows? With the right training, someday you might create the next video-game machine or million-selling video for the latest and greatest console.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog and have No Comments

Get Government Money to Design Video Games

Video game geeks unite, the U.S. Government has officially recognized video games as a legitimate art form. The Smithsonian Institution (America’s national museum) and the National Endowment for the Arts are introducing programs that honor and even fund the creation of video games – as art!

For its part, the Smithsonian is busy planning a huge exhibition devoted to video games. Meanwhile, the NEA will be offering an avenue for aspiring game designers who are dying to make great video games and ready to get started once they find some working capital.

Video Games as Art?
The whole debate about video games as an art form kicked off in 2006 after movie critic Roger Ebert served on a discussion panel considering the question, “Can video games be art?”


Video games as art? The National Endowment for the Arts thinks so and will soon award funding grants to video game creators. There could $200K waiting for your video game masterpiece.

The famous critic voted “thumbs-down,” prompting a firestorm of reaction from video game fans – most notably Clive Barker, British horror novelist and writer/director of “Hellraiser.” Since then, the question just won’t die. The issue keeps haunting Ebert, who has addressed reader comments repeatedly at his web site, usually defending his original position while being absolutely swamped with responses that disagree with him. Now important new voices have entered the debate, and they side squarely with video gamers.

From March 2012 through September 2012, the Smithsonian Institution will host an exhibition – the first ever Smithsonian event to pay tribute to video games – “The Art of Video Games,” will showcase 80 classic games, including such gems as the NES classics, “The Legend of Zelda” and “Super Mario Bros. 3.”


Mario in Racoon Suit, circa 1988. “Super Mario Bros. 3″

Meanwhile, the NEA has confirmed that would-be video game makers will be eligible to apply for government grants in order to make their art, in the same way a painter or sculptor (or any artist) would apply for an NEA grant. This could be a real breakthrough development for anyone aspiring to become a video game designer. It means that in addition to finding a creative path through the established video game industry, now game-making hopefuls have yet another shot at finding the funding to help them make their dreams come true.

So what kind of money are we talking about here? Grants range from $10,000 all the way up to $200,000, but there are eligibility requirements so be prepared to work for it.

Of course, funding is only one of the factors that go into making a great game. It takes talent and training. Computer and tech summer camps like Digital Media Academy offer professional courses or summer camp options that can help develop your talent. DMA’s 3D Academy for 3D Game Design gives you hands-on experience with software used by industry game creators and one-on-one contact with leading industry innovators – video game designers and developers for companies like Electronic Arts, Midway, Activision and others.

World-class instruction from professionals can help you learn the art of video game development. Are video games your passion today?  Then make them your profession tomorrow and start raising your skills to a whole new level – and turn your video game ideas into art!

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MAY
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posted by Phill Powell in 3D Game Development,News Blog and have No Comments

Game Development: Conquering Whole New Worlds

Course: Game Development

DMA Instructor: James Taylor

Education: The Art Institute of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh, PA (Major: Computer Animation)

Professional Profile: James Taylor is a well-established university instructor of 3D art and design, with heavy ties to the video game industry. After short stints working as a cel animator and a web designer, James joined the industry in 2000. During his decade of experience, his career has touched every aspect of the game-development pipeline. James has created art for  “Mortal Kombat,” and break-out franchises such as “Karaoke Revolution,” “Blitz the League,” and “NBA Ballers,” and directed the creation of projects like “Game Party 2” for the Wii. He’s also an in-demand speaker at industry events such as Microsoft’s XNA Conference and Midway Games Art Director’s Summit. James now instructs students in the Chicago area at both DePaul University and Columbia College – where he focuses on building the next generation of game artists.

DMA Campus Location: University of Chicago

___________________________________________________________________

According to James Taylor, video game development has gotten pretty unreal lately, in more ways than one. “This summer I’m excited to teach four classes that revolve around the game development process with Unreal 3,” says the instructor, who’s looking forward to another incredible summer teaching at Digital Media Academy’s Computer & Digital Arts Summer Camp.

So why is James so jazzed about Unreal 3?


Digital Media Academy’s very own James Taylor worked on the blockbuster video game, “Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe.”

“Epic developed the Unreal 3 technology specifically for use on the Xbox 360,” he explains. “It instantly became the standard for ‘next-generation’ consoles such as the 360 and the PS3. The Unreal 3 look was synonymous with next-gen, and the tools were well built and easy to use. It’s no wonder that companies desperately wanted the game engine, and it was widely adopted for development.”

And why does James think it’s so important for young people who want to learn video game development and get into the game industry to be sure they know how to use Unreal 3?

“Originally, Epic’s Unreal engine was just meant for first-person shooters – but now it’s showing up in fighting games, adventure games, wrestling games and even MMOs. Many of the developers in the industry now require a working knowledge of UE3.”

A required knowledge of UE3? Now, that’s a game-changer…especially when some video game summer camps don’t even offer intensive UE3 training, or can only deliver a watered-down course of study. DMA’s game development classes are taught by highly credentialed professionals, so students not only learn the ropes of the latest software, but also receive the benefit of learning from instructors’ vast industry experience.


Incredible image detail goes head to head with enhanced game play, courtesy of the UE3 game engine. DMA’s 3D Game Creation classes put you on a path to creating your own best-selling video games.

“The 3D Game Creation classes will introduce students to the UE3 tools and professional development practices, giving them hands-on experience in game creation,” says James. “And the brand new Advanced 3D classes expand on that knowledge to take the students even further inside the game development process, preparing students to develop their own indie games, or creating a strong foundation for a job in the game industry itself.”

DMA’s courses concentrate on level design, character design and Advanced 3D Game Production. Students are free to design their own characters, backgrounds and sounds, or use pre-built content from top graphics libraries. Additional topics covered include game planning, path-based movement, collision detection, dialogue, inventory and playability.

Different courses concentrate on certain key aspects of game creation, an approach that James likes. “DMA’s focused study really appeals to me,” he says. “Focusing on a single topic, such as environment creation in Unreal 3, allows the students and myself to really dig deeply into the subject matter. And packing all that learning into a single week means that all the information remains fresh and the pace of the class stays dynamic.”

James’ enthusiasm for the subject of game development is contagious – and helps DMA students become even more passionate about video games and working in the game industry. “The Digital Media Academy programs are exactly the sort of classes I would have jumped at as a teenager!” he says. “It’s exciting to be able to share what I know and to work with teens to create this sort of experience for them.”

DMA offers computer and visual arts summer camps and courses in which students build their own cool 3D and 2D games – including side-scrollers, pinball, and racing games. And there’s a great team spirit to the work, with students helping each other play-test the games they create. Learn more or register for a summer camp by visiting Digital Media Academy.

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posted by Phill Powell in News Blog and have No Comments

E3’s Best Video Games & Characters

Every year video game makers gather in Los Angeles for the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Also known as E3, the video game trade show gives game buyers a chance to take a sneak peek at what’s in development. We visited the show in search of future video game stars for DMAC’s future video game creators.

Ezio & the Brotherhood

In Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, the sequel to the amazing and critically acclaimed single-player game Assassin’s Creed, our hero, Ezio, travels to Rome to take down corrupt leaders. This time though, Ezio is supported in his efforts by the Brotherhood, a shady bunch of characters that help him through the single player and new multiplayer mode.

Players will have access to different weapons and attack techniques when the game releases in November 2010, but it’s the shadowy characters of Ezio and the Brotherhood that players are really excited about stepping into the shoes of.

Ezio’s cloaked hood hides his face, adding to the character’s intrigue, likewise for the other characters in Brotherhood, their animations and character designs give each one unique personality and almost overshadow this incredible game.

Epic Mickey

What do you get when you take an 80-year old mouse and give him a facelift by one of the most respected game designers in the video game business? You get Epic Mickey, a new game from Disney Interactive and the brain of Warren Spector, who is known for such games as Wing Commander and Deus Ex.

Click this image for a larger view of Mickey's strange world.

Epic Mickey has its own unique character and style. Epic Mickey takes classic Mickey and turns him upside down in a platform game world oozing with Disney style and character. Not since Square’s line of Kingdom Hearts games have we seen such an untraditional – and cool – way to represent Disney characters. Speaking of character, the game will also be the first video game to ever feature Disney’s long-lost Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a character that came before Mickey and one that Walt Disney sold the rights to earlier in his career.

The People of Rage

Rage is from id Software (of Doom and Quake fame) and uses the company’s unique id Tech 5 technology. This technology allows programmers to “bring a new level of graphic presentation and artistic expression and graphic fidelity.” All we know is that the game and its world pushes the limits of what we’ve seen in video games. Reactions to the demo and trailer was jaw-dropping awe, even to industry veterans.

Rage was the big winner at E3 and the pick of many video game editors as the best of the show.

The post-apocalyptic Mad-Max-inspired world is incredibly detailed, crafted almost, not just designed. The down and dirty environments and characters are so well made they’re almost human. That includes the zombies challenge players to high-octane battles and racing, in the outskirts of the protected city the action is centered around. Oh yeah, it all plays like a top-notch first-person shooter.

Are there any games or characters you heard about from E3 that you’re eager to get your hands on? What video game character are you creating this summer?

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posted by Vince Matthews in News Blog and have No Comments

Expect the Best With Digital Media Academy Summer Camps

What can you expect from a Digital Media Academy Instructor?

  What are the summer camps like?

By Ben Jaffe, Instructor

As a regular instructor for several companies around the San Francisco Bay Area, I believe it is important to ensure that every class I teach is different from the last. Even if I teach 5 consecutive classes on CSS, each class has a completely different set of students, each with different skill levels and interests. In many training centers, often classes really do end up exactly the same. Many instructors I have worked with simply plod along, following the curriculum word by word, line by line. No deviations, and no excitement. Of course, as a student you can ask questions and take advantage of their expertise in the field. But that experience doesn’t make for an interesting class. You may learn the topic, but it’s not fun.

It is certainly important to have guidelines and curriculum for a class so every class matches or exceeds a certain quality baseline. But what really brings a class to life is enthusiasm and flexibility. The instructor and the students both need to have fun, or it will be monotonous.

Digital Media Academy hires passionate and enthusiastic instructors for their classes. Just as importantly, DMA also allows their instructors quite a bit of flexibility with the course curriculum. Some of the best classes I have ever taught were classes where we went off the beaten path, attacking a project that nobody in the room had ever tried before. Last year, I taught Flash Actionscript Class for Teens at Stanford. After a few days, we voted on a game to work on together. We ended up making a playable version of Connect Four in Flash. Not only was it the first time any of my students had programmed Connect Four, it was the first time I had too!

Because Digital Media Academy hires only the best and most competent staff and instructors, we can go places with our classes that other companies cannot. Having taught with many computer training companies over many years, I truly do feel Digital Media Academy has something very unique. When you take a class with DMA, you don’t leave with a curriculum mindlessly stuffed into your brain. You leave with knowledge, confidence and a fulfilling experience.

I hope to see you this summer at Digital Media Academy!

If you’ve had a fulfilling experience at DMA in previous summers, feel free to join the conversation and leave a comment below!  Read one of our summer camp success stories!

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posted by Instructor in News Blog and have No Comments

Stanford Summer Camp for kids 6-18

Stanford University’s innovation fuels creativity at Summer Camp !

Spring has sprung here in Silicon Valley, and before you know it, the school year will come to a close. We’re thrilled about Digital Media Academy’s summer camp lineup at Stanford and hope your 6-18 year old will join us for a week or two … or more!

Digital Media Academy offers both residential sleepaway and day summer camp options on Stanford’s picturesque campus, just minutes from downtown Palo Alto, in the heart of innovative, dynamic Silicon Valley. Whether you’re local, hosting grandchildren, or bringing the family out for a visit, Stanford University is the ideal location for US summer camps to explore filmmaking, game design, web design, photography and all the creative digital arts.

While the kids are soaking in the Stanford University summer camp experience, and learning to create visual effects for future careers with Avatar 6 or World of Warcraft, you’ll have prime access to all the Bay Area has to offer – San Francisco Giants or Oakland A’s baseball, Wine Tours in Napa Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains, and beaches in Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, and Marin County.

As we’re an Apple Authorized Training Center, you can explore Digital Media Academy’s adult classes at Stanford University, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned pro or avid hobbyist.

One of our Stanford University summer camp instructors, Melanie Levy, is a professional documentary filmmaker and video producer. She recently reflected on the broad diversity of previous Digital Media Academy students, and she’s excited to guide this summer’s aspiring filmmakers through the documentary process.

Simply click here:  Stanford University Summer Camps to see class availability and instructor bios at Stanford. We look forward to meeting you and teaching your child this summer!

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posted by Ben Hess in News Blog and have No Comments

Virtual Teaching in our 2nd Renaissance

By Chris Platz, Lead 3d Game Art and Design Instructor, DMA @ Stanford University

After last week’s Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, I realized that we are indeed in a new Renaissance, and most of us don’t even know it. The current convergence of social networks, virtual worlds, and games is connecting people world wide faster, and in new ways that are mind boggling.

The research going on in the two departments I work in at Stanford has opened my eyes to many of these new paradigm shifts on the Web. The current group I am spending the most time with is the Stanford Humanities Lab shl.stanford.edu

This is where society meets art, meets technology. Our new open source 3D virtual world platform Sirikata is being developed so that anyone can build a networked virtual environment, and use it for what ever they like.

http://www.sirikata.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

The other research going on the the Computer Science Department, Graphics group, is also truly amazing. Tools that allow for anyone to build a great avatar will soon be available. A few Ph.D. students have a rendering system that rendered over 12 BILLION polygons realtime, and with 6 simultaneous users in that networked environment! Incredible advances.

What does all of this mean for me as an instructor? By next year we’ll have a virtual classroom environment in 3D, with people logged in from all over the world. Inside people will be able to upload their 3D models and textures directly from their favorite 3D package, and we’ll build worlds, games, whatever, together and be able to talk with Voip. All of this will happen with dynamic lighting.

This should all trickle down to K-12 education, and allow children to start building virtual environments to express themselves, learn, and communicate in such a manner that they will far surpass us old folks by the time I see them in my DMA students in college classrooms. They already know more than I do in many ways, and I love the collaborative learning that goes on when generations come together around new technologies.

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posted by Instructor in News Blog and have No Comments