An Interview with the VFS Grads Behind Pulse

By VFS Web Team, on September 4, 2012


If you've been reading our blog lately, then you are probably familiar with Pulse, a game created by Team Pixel Pi, five Game Design students, during their time at VFS. They have been featured on CBC, in the Globe and Mail, and they recently won "Best Student Project" at the 2012 Unity Awards. Team members Maxwell Hannaman and Richard Harrison took the trip to Amsterdam and brought home the trophy.

We caught up with the recent grads, Larissa (Lala) Fuchs - Project Manager & Artist (and Women in Games scholarship winner),Leanne Roed - Level Scripter & Effects Artist, Maxwell Hannaman - Programmer,Michael Cooper - Environmental Design, and Richard Harrison - Level Design, to learn more about their win in Amsterdam and what they are up to now.

You guys have been receiving a lot of attention and accolades - both before and after graduation - for your game Pulse, which you created while at VFS. Tell us about the game.
Team Pixel Pi: Pulse was our final project in the Game Design program, which we developed over the course of three months of production. Heading into it, we wanted to do something experimental, something you don't see every day. This was the end of our year in Game Design and we had to make it shine.

Pulse is a first-person game which we designed to play with the player's senses. Eva, the main character, is blind and "sees" the world only through sound - like our own spin on echolocation. She must navigate around treacherous terrain and dangerous creatures to find her lost brother.
How does it feel to get so much recognition? Did you have any idea it would blow up like this?
Team Pixel Pi: It's pretty fantastic. We weren't expecting this kind of attention. We went out to the Unity Awards in Amsterdam having no idea who would win; there were a lot of very strong competitors in the six nominations. Pulse has a very strong concept and we demonstrate some of the cool things that can be done with such mechanics. It's something unique that people haven't really seen before, that's the main draw. We put everything we had into it and it's really an honour to be recognized for it at all.

How did it feel to win Best Student Project at the Unity Awards?
Team Pixel Pi: It's kind of ridiculous. Apparently the entire Unity staff votes on the winners of the awards. That so many people in tune with the industry find our game so appealing, especially against the fantastic competition, is kind of mind-blowing.
What's next for Team Pixel Pi and Pulse? What are the five of you doing now that you have all graduated?
Team Pixel Pi: At the moment we're pursuing various different jobs. Leanne is working as a Teaching Assistant back at VFS Game Design, Richard is a Technical Designer at Fathom Interactive, Lala works at DeNA as a Junior Lead Artist, Mike is exploring various opportunities, and Maxwell is working at Relic as an Associate Designer.
As for Team Pixel Pi and Pulse?  We are all working on our separate projects but, given the opportunity, we would love to come together again to continue what we started.
Congratulations to all of you on your incredible success and best of luck with your future projects!