DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

DMA’s 2011 Summer Camp Kick Off – Stanford, Drexel, Harvard and More

The wait is finally over! Summer has started and that means Digital Media Academy summer camp is in full-swing at two of DMA’s prestigious campus locations. Campers attending DMA’s summer camp at Stanford University arrived in Palo Alto, CA over the weekend. While over on the East Coast, DMA campers started the computer and digital arts camp in Philadelphia, at Drexel University.


Campers at Stanford in the Digital Filmmaking program get personalized instruction.

Creating The Future
Digital Media Academy’s professionally taught programs are in full swing – and that means an explosion of creativity is happening right now. Student campers are learning how to design video games…how to create professionally produced movies…build amazing web sites…how to make an app for iPhone or Android…how to shoot digital photos like a pro…to program a robot or computer, and become skilled at music production or image editing, using Photoshop. These campers are not only having fun, they’re creating the future!

DMA has computer and digital media camps, and academies summer camp locations in the United States and Canada. Locations like Harvard University, UCLA and the University of Chicago. In coming weeks, DMA Summer 2011 programs will also start summer programs at the University of British Columbia (starting July 4th), UC San Diego (July 11th), George Washington University (July 11th), University of Texas at Austin (July 11th), and Swarthmore College (July 25th).


It’s not summer camp without a break to go outside and enjoy some time making friends.

No matter where you’re coming from, with campuses across the United States (in California; Massachusetts; Pennsylvania; Texas; Illinois; Washington, D.C.) and in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Digital Media Academy has the perfect location to and program to accommodate everyone.

With world-class instructors and hands-on training with the latest equipment and software, a DMA summer camp experience is like no other! You not only learn while at camp, but also grow personally and professionally. Making friendships that can last a lifetime are just the icing on the cake! It’s no wonder that Digital Media Academy is the first and only choice of summer camp students and their parents.


From film editing to gaming, DMA covers it all! Here an instructor shows a student one of Final Cut Pro’s great features.

It’s Not Too Late to Register
Camp may have already started but there are still openings for great courses and training sessions.Visit Digital Media Academy for more information about registering. And make your summer count!

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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 DMA Jordan in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

E3 2011: Day 3, Best of Show

Another E3 has come to an end. It was a show that delivered the goods on several levels, with great games and groundbreaking new systems. But who really won the three-day battle? Let’s take a look…

In yesterday’s DMAC post, we saluted a few standout games of E3 2011, but just to see if we were on target, we thought we’d peek in to see which games the top gaming sites and game magazines were honoring in their 2011 E3 awards. Of course, we’re eager to know: Did we call the winners or miss the mark? Well, while we didn’t bat 1000%, we still came out winners.


A younger Lara Croft helms the latest “Tomb Raider.”

Video-game megasite, IGN devoted extensive coverage to its own E3 awards, announcing nominations in 23 gaming categories. While we won’t list all of the nominations here, we would like to share IGN’s nominations for “Best Overall Game.” (Yeah, we picked six out the ten they picked, and not surprisingly, no Kinect games made their list either…)

1. “Tomb Raider” (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
2. “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
3. “Batman: Arkham City”
4. “BioShock Infinite” (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
5. “Hitman: Absolution”
6. “Mass Effect 3”
7. “The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword”
8. “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception” (PlayStation 3)
9. “Battlefield 3” (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

Over at the video-game magazine “GamePro,” a panel of nine critics assembled and were asked to name their “five favorite things from E3″ – a fairly broad category that theoretically could include game systems as well as games and other things from the show.


They all raved about “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” Unfortunately, didn’t get excited about the D&D wanna-be sword-and-sorcery adventure game.

“Rolling Stone’s” “Gear Up” blog featured the analysis of games-industry veteran Scott Steinberg, who cited five of the “most promising” games of E3 2011:

1) “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
2) “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception” (PlayStation 3)
3) “Battlefield 3” (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
4) “BioShock Infinite” (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
5) “Tomb Raider” (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

Finally, one group of critics not yet heard were the actual Game Critics Awards. This group of various game magazines picks the best of E3 each year. Nominations for this year’s “Best of E3″ awards won’t be announced until June 21st, with winners to be announced a week later on June 28th. (IGN will announce its “Best of Show” winners on Friday, June 10th.)


He’s bold, beautiful and blowin’ it up. Drake, in “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception”

With another E3 under our belt, we can now only look forward to next year. And how awesome would it be to see your game being introduced at E3 2012? With the right talent and training, it’s a possible dream. Your path to starting your career in building awesome video games begins this summer at Digital Media Academy. DMA offers summer camps and courses that cover all the bases of video game design and creation – and they’re all tailored to individual skill sets and age levels. DMA’s instructors are industry professional who have already walked the path you want to explore, working for companies like Electronic Arts, Microsoft and Nintendo.


EA’s “Battlefield 3.”

From great introductory courses for kids (like Adventures in 2D & 3D Video Game Creation & Game Modding) to 3D Game Creation in Level Design and Character Design, there’s something for everyone. There are even more advanced programs for teens (like courses that teach you how to develop games for Google Android devices, how to develop games for the Internet and how to develop games for the iPhone). What are you waiting for? Stop playing games and start making them.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog,Video Game Design and have No Comments

E3 2011: Day 1, The Latest Battle in the Console Wars

Tuesday marked the first day of E3 2011 in Los Angeles, one of the largest consumer electronics shows around and an annual showcase for new and impressive digital technology.

Nintendo Takes a Big Tablet
In terms of publicity impact, yesterday belonged to Nintendo, which unveiled its new Wii U controller Monday night. The controller is a fairly hefty accessory, which makes sense, because the middle of the device contains a 6.2-inch-diagonal touch-screen display.


Nintendo was a bit light on certain specifics (such as price and release date), but its new Wii U controller – with a 6.2-inch touch-screen controller screen integrated into its controller – wowed the crowds and silenced critics.

The Wii U controller is also tricked-out with a front-facing camera, microphone, gyroscope and accelerometer. While gaming, the player can play a game either through the handheld device or play the game on the TV that’s hooked up to the console. In terms of size, the Wii U controller resembles a tablet PC, but doesn’t offer (yet) the same type of options as an iPad or other tablets.

Sony: Picking Up the Paces


Sony is still reeling from recent attacks by hackers that took down the PlayStation Network for a month. One of the more impressive announcements the company made: how two PlayStation Vita players could use 3D technology to play games on a single screen, with each seeing a different image.

Sony continues to battle through an extremely difficult year – a year that has included natural, nuclear and economic disasters in its home country of Japan. Nonetheless, Sony always comes ready to play, and this year’s E3 was no exception. During a 5-hour press event, the electronics giant showcased its new PlayStation Vita. During the five-hour pre-show event on Monday, Sony showed off the new handheld – which follows the original PlayStation Portable (PSP) video game system. As with the Wii U controller, the PlayStation Vita has a large-screen (5”) display in the center of the unit, with control buttons on both sides of the screen. The Vita also features an interface similar to the iPhone. No surprise then that the Vita system is also 3G supported and will have service provided by AT&T.

Microsoft Wants You to Kinect


Microsoft is hoping gamers will want to “kinect” with its new interactive system, which adds motion to the mix.

Microsoft’s Kinect system has been doing gangbuster business in retail stores for a while now, yet Microsoft brought it to the front and center of the Xbox gaming experience. The Kinect system projects an infrared pattern around your game room and uses that information to give the CPU a spatial reference for gamers position and movements. Your real-life body and voice are tracked and used to control games. Microsoft’s message? Get “kinected” as they forced everything from a Kinect soccer game to a Kinect game called “Kinect Disneyland Adventures” down gamers’ throats. (We prefer the old-school method of playing games from the comfort of our couches, and we think most hardcore gamers do, too.) The strategy comes from Microsoft’s urge to copy Wii’s success, but only time will tell if that strategy works.

Apple’s Head in the Clouds


Apple doesn’t even have to be in attendance at E3 to make news, as gamers and industry insiders alike were still buzzing from Apple’s announcement about iCloud.

You know Apple has some serious industry clout when it doesn’t even bother to show up at the world’s greatest electronic entertainment show. Opposite of the announcements that came out of Los Angeles on Monday, Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced iCloud in San Francisco. Apple’s latest venture, iCloud is a storage service, much like Amazon’s Cloud drive or Dropbox. How does it work? For a $25 annual subscription fee, you can copy any music from a computer-held music collection and store that music in the iCloud. Once your media is on the cloud, you can access it from any number of iDevices. The whole thing, according to Apple is quick and relatively painless to use, and much easier to navigate than services offered by Google’s Music Beta and Amazon’s Cloud. With those services, users have to slowly load their songs from their computers to cloud servers.

At the end of the day, E3 belonged to Nintendo, who won hands-down…or was it Apple, since it’s interesting to note the Wii U controller was strikingly similar to an Apple device called the iPad. Sony’s Vita wants so bad to be an iPhone, and many attendees snickered at Sony’s attempt to catch up with Apple.

Catching Up with Technological Trends
Keeping up with today’s top technological trends and tomorrow’s game industry reality is just one of the many ways that Digital Media Academy computer & digital arts summer camps is able to offer the ultimate summer camp experience. Our instructors are industry innovators who have worked for some of the biggest players in the game industry, and they are often tuned to coming trends that our students have yet to even imagine.

This summer, DMA will offer a range of courses related to 3D Game Design for various popular game platforms. 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. To learn from the industry’s best, this summer turn to DMA.

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Tron: Legacy and the Greatest Videogame Programmer, Ever

It’s likely you’re too young to remember him or maybe, you haven’t even heard of him. But you should know who he is. Meet Kevin Flynn. The real star of Tron: Legacy and the greatest videogame and computer programmer, ever.

In the world of Tron, bits and bytes make up the virtual landscape.

Who is Kevin Flynn and what makes him so special? Flynn was the video game Steve Jobs of the post-Atari and arcade era. So why haven’t you heard of him? Well, in a story that sounds like it was ripped from today’s headlines, Flynn was just a game or two shy of starting his own video game company (or becoming the CEO of ENCOM, the software company he worked for), when he was side-swiped by a rival co-worker – Ed Dillinger. Dillinger stole Flynn’s brillant programming code and got promoted to CEO, while Flynn was let go by the company he helped build. Shortly after he vanished.

The Golden Age of Video Games

Welcome to 1982. Practically nobody plays video games at home anymore – and believe it or not, this is the golden age of video games. Now, arcades rule and yet-to-be classics like Frogger, Pole Position, Galaga, Ms. Pac-Man, Centipede and Donkey Kong Jr. dominate malls, movie theaters and pizza parlors. And even though it’s less than a year away from being announced to the public, the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is unheard of – the home video game console market having been demolished by the Atari 2600 and shovelware.

It’s a good time to own an arcade and Kevin Flynn decides to do just that. Flynn’s also happens to be one of the most popular. In his make-shift home and office above the arcade, Flynn starts hacking ENCOM’s computer mainframe to dig up the evidence he needs to prove his co-worker wrongdoing. Then the unthinkable happens.

Kevin Flynn, the video game programmer and hacker who designed some of the most cutting edge video games of the day, gets zapped inside his incredible 3D virtual world to battle his own creation. Keep in mind, this was twenty years before massive mulitplayer online worlds like World of Warcraft or other virtual world concepts, like The Matrix, came along. Kevin Flynn, like Steve Jobs would do years later, introduced us to a whole new digital frontier.

Becoming a Game Programmer

Today gamers and future programmers have great options to jump start a career in video game or computer programming. You can start by creating game levels using industry standard tools or creating game characters. Have you already been hacking code on your own and want to learn advanced programming techniques to create 3D worlds? You can.

The next Kevin Flynn is out there, could it be you?

Developing Cyberspaces

It’s the dream of every video game programmer (and for that matter, every video gamer), to actually live, or play in the computer game world they’ve created. And Kevin Flynn did it before anybody.

Computer programmer Kevin Flynn looks in on his creation, the world of Tron and Tron: Legacy.

Played by Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges (The Big Lebowski, Crazy Heart), Kevin Flynn was the young anti-hero for a sci-fi flop called Tron, a movie that became video game and computer programmers Star WarsTron was the first movie to truly visualize what might be possible in future video game worlds.

In the Disney film Tron: Legacy Flynn will once again take moviegoers and video game junkies into a computer generated world unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, courtesy of 3D.

Will you see Tron Legacy? Are you ready to become a video game or computer programmer? Tell us!

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Adventures: Kids Learn Video Game Creation

I’m Ben Jaffe, one of the instructors for Digital Media Academy’s Adventures Program. I teach Game Design and Web Design.

On the surface, the Game Design class may look somewhat straightforward. But it’s much more than simply creating fun games with our students. In our classes, we also teach important programming concepts, which can be the foundation for a future programming career.

Game Building can be frustrating for somebody who has never done it before. As games become more and more complex, the instructors are there to help them understand how to build their games well. Programmers call it “extensibility.” Here’s an example of how students encounter this in DMA’s Adventures Game Design class:

A few days into the week, we usually start working on an RPG game. The player controls a character who interacts with bystanders in the game to get information or collect items. The students quickly discover how frustrating it is to program actions for every single bystander in the game individually. The same goes for other objects in the game, such as allies, enemies, keys, coins, and projectiles. It’s much easier to group them together, and make a rule saying, “Whenever the character talks to any bystander, run this action.”

3d Game Design Making Video Games at DMA

Extensibility is not the only programming concept that we teach to the kids. They learn the importance of game planning, bug testing, and proper pacing to effectively meet deadlines. They also develop an understanding of variables, and an introductory understanding of object-oriented programming. Instead of lecturing to the students, we let them discover and understand the concepts by themselves, with guidance.

Most importantly, we teach the kids programming concepts without them even realizing it! If they pursue a career in computer science or game design, they will already understand the importance of extensibility, testing, planning, and pacing. Though it may seem like just another fun summer course, every student gets much more out of it – skills they can use for the rest of their lives.

See you in the Summer!

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have Comments (3)