All posts in All Posts

HIRING NOW: Unity3D FX/VFX Artist (Full-Time Contract)

We are a mobile gaming studio located in Montreal, looking to hire a contract (for 4-6 weeks) Unity3D FX/VFX Artist to join our team. You must be based in Montreal to apply for this position.

Your job would be to create and implement the assets for our in-game spell visuals. You must be able to produce VFX in Unity3D and be able to implement them in Unity3D. We have a total of 16 spells that need to be created and implemented in our game.

TO APPLY: Email your resume to the following address: careers@wreckostudios.com

ABOUT WRECKO STUDIOS

Wrecko Studios is currently working on launching an iPad game set in a magical world at war. If you’re into fantasy worlds, magic, dragons, magical beasts, epic cities and castles, you should apply for this job.

Here are some example concept art & characters from our game:

JOB DESCRIPTION & REQUIREMENTS

You will be creating and implementing magic spell effects in our iPad game. Our game relies heavily on magic spells and we need someone who can create fantastic magical effects in Unity3D.

Job Responsibilities

  • Create and work with programmers to integrate VFX assets into Unity3D engine, primarily for magic and spell effects in a fantasy game
  • Create and implement real-time particle effects and animated shaders
  • Model, texture, animate, light and optimize VFX assets under direction of Lead Artist
  • Maintain a consistent art style under the direction of the Lead Artist
  • Be willing to learn (and teach) new tools and techniques
  • Collaborate with Designers, Programmers and other members of the art team and work closely with the tools and engine departments
  • Be meticulous and organized in the approach to tasks, adhering to pipeline workflow

Job Application Requirements

  • Proficiency with Unity’s FX system
  • Good knowledge of Photoshop
  • Able to conceptualize and animate natural and fantastical effects (water, smoke, foliage, dust, fabric, spells, and explosions)
  • Experienced with 3D studio Max and/or Maya
  • Developed artistic sense
  • Positive attitude and desire to work on a team
  • Good knowledge of scripting languages is considered a plus
  • Passion for video games.

Interested? Email your resume to the following address: careers@wreckostudios.com

Thank you! Good luck!
Thomas

POSITION FILLED (CLOSED): Unity3D Mobile Game Developer (in Montreal)

We are a mobile gaming studio located in Montreal, looking to hire a full-time Unity3D Mobile Game Developer / Programmer to join our team. You must be based in Montreal to apply for this position. The job is open to both those looking for a full-time salaried position OR those looking for short-term (4-6 months) contract work that can work at least 30 hours per week with our team.

TO APPLY

Email your resume to the following address: careers@wreckostudios.com

ABOUT WRECKO STUDIOS

Wrecko Studios is currently working on launching an iPad game set in a magical world at war. If you’re into fantasy worlds, magic, dragons, magical beasts, epic cities and castles, you should apply for this job. Here is a sample of the kind of work we’re doing:

JOB DESCRIPTION & REQUIREMENTS

We are looking to hire someone who can start working with us ASAP. The position is a FULL-TIME salaried position or a short-term CONTRACT position (you pick). Our offices are located in Old Montreal, with easy subway access.

Job Responsibilities

  • Programming in C# for the Unity3D engine
  • Building selective game modules (artificial intelligence, map editor tools, procedural map generation, etc.)
  • Collaborating closely with the game designer and artists to determine game constraints

Job Application Requirements

  • Experience with C# programming
  • Experience with Unity3D
  • Experience with making 2D/isometric games (considered a plus, but not mandatory)
  • Experience with making mobile games (considered a plus, but not mandatory)
  • Self-driven and comfortable working under little supervision
  • Comfortable working in a dynamic team environment
  • Attention to detail and dedicated to creating quality products
  • Able to work in a fast paced environment with tight deadlines

INTERESTED?

Email your resume to the following address: careers@wreckostudios.com

Thank you! Good luck!

Thomas

POSITION FILLED (CLOSED): 3D Animator Needed @ Wrecko Studios (Full or Part Time Contract in Montreal)

We are hiring a professional 3D Animator in Montreal. This is a short-term full-time *OR* part-time contract position (roughly 2 months), with possibility of extension or continued work afterwards. You can start working with us immediately; this position needs to be filled ASAP.

Please email in your portfolio & submissions to the following address: careers@wreckostudios.com

We are working on an iPad game set in a magical world at war. If you’re into fantasy worlds, magic, dragons, magical beasts, epic cities and castles, you should apply for this job.

The position will require you to (mostly) work from home. Ideally, you would have your own computer and drawing gear, but it’s not mandatory.

You will be rigging & animating environment, structure and character assets for our iPad game. Below are some samples of structures and characters you will be working with:

excavator mahru ipad game wrecko shields mahru ipad game wrecko wizard hero ipad game wrecko

You should have the following skill set:

  • Previous animation experience in the games industry.
  • Experience in rigging environment assets, structures and characters.
  • Experience in creating stylish and creative animations.
  • Good understanding of game animation principles, styles and tools.
  • Mobile game animation experience is preferred, but not mandatory.

When applying, please provide the following:

  • Why you think you’re the right person for the job in your application email.
  • A link to your online portfolio or samples of your work in PDF.

Please email in your portfolio & submissions to the following address: careers@wreckostudios.com

Thank you! Good luck!
Thomas

Easy Short Gig: iPad Game Play Testers Wanted June 23 or 24!

We are looking for 5 new people to help us test our iPad game. We are a Montreal-based game studio, launching our first game. We need a few people to play our game so we can figure out how to make it better.

THE GIG: BASIC INFORMATION

This is a temporary one-time gig. All we ask you to do is come into our office for ~30-40 minutes one time. We will have you play our game for about 10-15 minutes, and ask you a few questions afterwards for about 15-20 minutes.

You will be compensated 50$ for your time, which will be paid after we’re done.

ABOUT YOU: WHO WE ARE LOOKING FOR

You should be between the ages of 18-35. You should know how to use an iPad. You do ***NOT*** need to own an iPad. You do ***NOT*** need to be a hardcore gamer to apply. If you play some mobile games, great – if not, no big deal.

THE GIG: DETAILED INFORMATION

In order to apply for this, you need to live in Montreal and be wiling to come to our offices downtown in-person. We are located near the Square-Victoria metro.

You must commit to showing up at our office for 45 minutes. You can choose to show up for one of these two time slots.

  • June 23 between 9:00 and 13:00
  • June 24 between 13:00 and 16:00

JOB APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

In order to apply for this job, please fill in the form below.

iPad Game Testing Application Form

Please fill in the form below in order to apply for the testing work described in this post. We will contact you to schedule your test session within a maximum of 48 hours of reception.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Phone Number (required)

Your Age (required)

I am years old.

Subject

Your Availability

Please tell us why you think you would be good for this work and indicate your preferred availability date for each of the 4 test session (one date per week).

The test sessions dates are (you must submit one date per session):

  • TEST SESSION #1: Choose between May 26 or 27
  • TEST SESSION #2: Choose between June 2 or 3
  • TEST SESSION #3: Choose between June 9 or 10
  • TEST SESSION #4: Choose between June 16 or 17

POSITION FILLED (CLOSED): Concept Artist Needed @ Wrecko (Short-Term Contract)

We are looking to hire a CONCEPT ARTIST on a contract basis to help produce environment concept art for a video game we are building. We are looking to hire someone on a contract basis for roughly 8 weeks (maybe more), that can work 25-30 hours / week for us.

Please email in your submissions to the following address: careers@wreckostudios.com

We (Wrecko Studios) are a Montreal-based game studio, launching our first game. We are building a game that is set in a magical world at war. We need to take some key points of our story and create art that captures the essence of this world.

If you’re into fantasy worlds, magic, dragons, magical beasts, epic cities and castles, you should apply for this job. Here are some images that show roughly the type of drawings we’re expecting:

4-Concept

2-Concept

3-Concept

1-Concept

As a concept artist, you would:

  • Work with our story writer to understand the world.
  • Produce multiple concept drawings (in Photoshop) of important people and places of this world.

To apply, you should:

  • Have your own gear (drawing tablet, computer, Photoshop).
  • Have some previous experience in drawing concept art, preferably fantasy art.
  • Be available to meet with us at our offices in downtown Montreal at least twice a week for review meetings.

When applying, please provide the following:

  • Why you think you’re the right person for the job in your application email.
  • A link to your online portfolio or samples of your work in PDF.
  • Your salary expectations.

Please email in your submissions to the following address: careers@wreckostudios.com

Thank you! Good luck!

Thomas

McGame Jam 2016

What is it?

McGameJamLogoThis year Wrecko decided to sponsor and assist in the organization of McGill’s budding game jam, McGame Jam. While at school, I launched the first iteration of this event, and I am very excited to see its growth continuing after my graduation. For those who don’t know, a game jam is essentially a game development marathon – this one ran 48 hours. This year’s event was a massive success, doubling in size and arguably doubling in quality to boot.

The Happening

Developers play testing their games.

Above: Developers play testing their games.

From the beginning McGame Jam was created with the intent to bolster McGill’s game development community, and be as accessible as possible for those that have little or no game development experience. Students from all schools were welcomed at the event – there was even a team of high school students. We feel we achieved this this year; approximately a third of the attendees had never made a game before! Speakers, tutorials, judges, and a open repository for participants to learn from each others games, were all ways that the focus on learning was instilled at the event.

The theme of the jam was Interference. This resulted in some very interesting game concepts. I was glad to see many teams focusing on multiplayer games – this is often not the case at game jams. One team even managed to build their own simple engine for their game in the short time we had, very impressive. All in all, the quality of games put out at the jam was very impressive, especially for the first timers learning it all on the fly.

McGame Jam 2016 Team Working

Above: Participants working hard at McGame Jam 2016

Submission (in every sense of the word)

After a long and intense 40 hour development period, broken up by bouts of coffee, pizza, and falafels (so many falafels), things came to a close. To wind down the event, judges were brought in from various studios around Montreal. Industry veterans from all fields within the games industry spent a couple hours walking from team to team and giving constructive feedback. It was really great seeing everyone take a step back from the projects, take a breath, and play.

McGame Jam Judging

Above: McGame Jam judges make the rounds reviewing the games we made.

McGame Jam 2016 hit every mark it aimed for, and I look forward to seeing its growth in years going forward. It has been a huge amount of fun putting it together, and rewarding to see the interest in game development coming out of McGill. Thanks to the great team, sponsors, and attendees that made this event possible!

McGame Jam 2016 Closing Ceremony

Above: The closing ceremony @ McGame Jam 2016!

GDC 2016 Game Design Workshop Review: From Video Game to Board Game

gdc 2016 conference logoThis year at GDC I decided to try out one of the more hands on workshops offered in the days before the main conference. The game design workshop caught my attention.

Not knowing what the workshop would hold, I was intrigued by the bare bones setup at each table – 2 die, and a deck of multicolored cards. My session was hosted by Andrew Leker (@AndrewLeker), who proved to be an invaluable guide throughout the workshop; he has an impressive and lengthy history as a game designer and is currently CEO at 20XR, a company focused on creating new and expressive mobile experiences. After an intentionally brief introduction to the workshop, we dove into the hands on part of the workshop.

The workshop itself focused on developing paper prototyping skills, with an emphasis on rapid failures to bring you to success. Each table was to pick a video game (any video game), distill its core emotional experience, and then create a boardgame that captures both the spirit of the game as well as the identified emotional experience. Furthermore, we were urged to come up with a playable prototype within 15 minutes, play it, and suss out the problems in our game this way.

Trials and Tribulations

fallout 4 cover artMy table picked Fallout 4 as our subject. After a bit of deliberation, our table settled on the hallmarks of the franchise being exploration of the wasteland, experiencing its brutality, and mastering it in the way you choose. The emotional experiences we felt were important to emulate were pride, growth, and discovery. Thus began the quest for failure (and hopefully success).

Andrew Leker has an uncanny ability to design on the fly; throughout the workshop he scurried from table to table, assessing people’s design problems and firing out insightful feedback, whether it be for the Counter Strike or the Super Smash Bros table. Within 20 minutes our table had come up with a simple prototype for a game – one that focused on the loop of going out into the wasteland, gathering supplies, and returning to settlements to build them up. We were urged not to worry about fleshing out rules of the game in their entirety, but rather play as soon as possible and apply rules that felt right on the spot. This process is very effective. Playing soon and playing frequently quickly brings light to many issues that analysis will not easily reveal. More than exposing holes in the systems of the game though, the direction to the fun becomes clearer with every iteration of play.

Fallout 4: The Card Game

After a couple large scale reworks of our paper prototyping, a bit of gentle nudging from mentors, and a lunch break, our table found something that was “actually kind of fun”. Our final game featured a deck of cards that represented the quest to find your child in Fallout 4, each card being a hazard, foe, boon, or save point. A single player would progress through the deck, until death by radiation, or discovery of their child. We felt that we had begun to capture the brutal uncertainty of the wasteland, as well as the emotional experiences we set out to emulate. All in all this was an incredibly enlightening exercise.

wrecko games magic game paper play testing

Me & TK playtesting our initial game on paper, trying to “find the fun”. The Grapefruit was the evil boss.


This workshop served as a powerful example of the power of paper prototyping. At Wrecko Studios we have used paper prototypes from the start to test our games’ systems. However this workshop showed the ability of paper prototypes to go beyond simply simulating a game’s systems. Going forward I will most definitely use these techniques in my analysis of games, as an aid to find the core of what makes the fun in those games tick. Not to mention, distilling a video game to a boardgame is just plain fun. Perhaps I’ll try this on Hearthstone next…

I extend my thanks to Andrew Leker and all the rest of the staff at the workshop for giving me this intriguing experience. I certainly intend to see what future years’ incarnations of this workshop have to offer.

GDC 2016 Session Review: Storytelling Fundamentals in a Day by Evan Skolnick

Just wrapped up GDC 2016 in San Francisco. A nice break from our Montreal winter. Last year, I spent most my time here exploring GDC on the short sessions schedule. This year, I wanted to try out a longer Tutorial session on my first day. And man, am I glad I did.

I had the opportunity of attending “Storytelling Fundamentals in a Day” by Evan Skolnick (@evanskolnick). The tutorial focuses on helping game devs understand the basics of storytelling. It was a fantastic experience; I highly recommend it to anyone that wants to better understand the basics of game storytelling.

Skolnick boasts an impressive resume as a writer in both the gaming and non-gaming worlds. Before writing for video games, he was an editor at Marvel Comics, working on titles such as Dr. Strange and New Warriors. He’s currently a video game writer and narrative designer. You can see his work for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 in this clip:

video game storytelling book image

Video Game Storytelling by Evan Skolnick

He is also the author of “Video Game Storytelling: What Every Developer Needs to Know about Narrative Techniques“, the book that much of this workshop is rooted in. The book is a great read and covers everything presented in the workshop in even greater detail.

 

THE WORKSHOP: WHAT IT’S ABOUT

Story is conflict. That’s the core premise with which the workshop starts. In order for a story to be appealing it should present and resolve some form of conflict for the hero. Everything that’s discussed during the workshop feeds into this lens of “Our hero wants or needs something, but is blocked from getting it by someone / something else”.

From this core premise, Skolnick walks the group through the basics of creating captivating stories. Time is spent on defining inciting incidents, plot points, story structures (such as the 3-Act Structure and the Hero’s Journey structure), character archetypes, and some rules and tools for how to expose your world to players and (perhaps most important of all) how to make that world feel believable. All of this is done with the purpose of creating a story where your audience can comfortably suspend their disbelief and “buy into” what you’re trying to sell them story-wise.

In the end, you realize that the Lion King and Terminator aren’t so different after all. Their stories have more in common than one initially suspect. Great movies all share some aspects of great story telling; the same is true for great video games.

There are 3 things I particularly loved about the workshop:

  • An Example Rich Experience: We spent a lot of time watching movies and video game reels as examples. Vizualizing the theory was very helpful. Skolnick didn’t focus only on “good” examples. There were plenty of examples of video game trailers that were terrible to watch and made us cringe.
  • It’s Hands On & Practical: We did little exercises in small teams as the workshop progresses. You spend time identifying the character archetypes of various “geek classics” movies. You re-build the opening scene from “Metal Gear Solid 2” (watch it here), largely seen as one of the longer, more convoluted video game openings ever made. This was contrasted with the great work done of the Left 4 Dead trailer (watch it here).
  • It’s Video Game Centric: While many examples of great stories can be found in movies, Skolnick spends a lot time drawing parallels to specific storytelling cases in the video game industry. Storytelling does differ when you’re working with a fully interactive medium such as a game. A game’s story should be additive to the player experience, where gameplay is king.

IMPACT ON OUR GAME

For the last 3 months, our team @WreckoStudios been working hard and iterating on our game’s world, characters and story. We are on our 5th iteration. Attending this workshop has definitely put me at ease that we are working in the right direction. So that’s a good thing.

I also found that there are many areas of our story that can be improved.

First, we’ve spent a lot of time (so far) defining what our villain’s story was going to be. However, I’ve found that not enough attention as part of our story process has been given to clearly defining other character archetypes. So far, we have well-defined story points for our Hero, Mentor, Villain and Henchmen. However, we still need to work towards filling the roles of Herald (the character that announces the conflict to our hero), Shape Shifters (characters whose purpose is to sow suspicion and doubt) and Trickster (character that adds comic relief).

A Trickster, in particular is urgently needed in our story. We are writing out a story set in a magical world plunged into a cruel war, where the current established government is far from perfect. At times, during our story meetings it feels like the world has gotten so dark that … well … it’s just black clouds everywhere. Injecting some comic relief into this world is needed, pronto Tonto.

Second, because our world is so rich and detailed, I’ve been struggling with how much of this we expose to our players. The workshop definitely helped me understand that as far as content goes, it must be sliced into one of three categories:

  • Need-to-know: What the player needs to know to get through the current challenge.
  • Could / Should Wait: Content that can be presented to the player, further down the line.
  • Incidental: The stuff that can be omitted and / or completely cut.

Assigning weights to our content based on these categories clarified how we need to expose our world to our player. Because our game is a magical military fantasy, one possible way of properly presenting relevant need-to-know information to the player is in the form of short communications from headquarters.

Finally, doing several more reads focused on identifying coincidences in our main plot definitely needs to happen. While small coincidences can happen from time to time, big coincidences break the overall believability of the story. Retrofitting some parts of our story to fix these points is something we will go about doing in the next 2 weeks.

IN CLOSING …

If you are struggling with understanding story basics, this workshop will certainly de-mystify the core concepts. Whether you’re an independent developer, heading up an indie studio (like good ‘ol me) or part of a larger AAA team, this workshop is worth attending. It was a truly fantastic experience. I’ve found it to be time well spent 🙂