Sunday, 31 May 2015

Hardware requirements for the Oculus Rift

Continuing in a VR theme, as with the previous blog post; with the commercial release of the Oculus Rift (mooted for 2016) it is interesting to see what hardware one would need to be able to use this. 

MCV lists here the specific requirements and they are certainly worth looking at.

With the competition in VR hardware heating up it will be fascinating to see how developments of the various planned devices turn out over the next few months.

UE4 and SteamVR

The Unreal engine has carried VR support for devices like the Oculus Rift for a while now and now extends this to the SteamVR effort. This is with version 4.8 onwards of the UE4 engine.

You can read the piece of news/press release on the official Unreal engine site here. This of course is good news for any VR developer with the SteamVR hardware lined up to be one of the major competitors in the area in the near future.

Minecraft and Game of Thrones

If you ever wondered what different locations from the TV show Game of Thrones would look like recreated in Minecraft then you might want to check out the video below.

The effort is detailed in full in the official site of the project (imaginatively called WesterosCraft) here.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Angry Birds in VR?

This is making headlines over the web (alongside the screenshot below) and is definitely worth mentioning here too; it appears Rovio is preparing a VR version (on the Samsung Gear) of their hugely successful Angry Birds title. 

While not a lot of information is available on this currently it appears the exciting part of this is the player being placed at a third person viewpoint, this time behind the action.

As this is one of the most iconic games of all time it goes without saying that should this ever be released, it could potentially be a big boost for the medium.

TIGA Budget Submissions document quote

This is a few weeks old now but there is a quote from myself in the recent TIGA Budget Submissions March 2015 document.

This can be read in full here (my quote is on page 17).

Creative England, Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth games jam

Between the 8th and 10th of May we ran, here at Bournemouth University, a games jam competition, over 48 hours, with participating students from two different Universities (Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth). 

Creative England, and their GamesLab programme, provided two cash prizes for this. 

Six teams completed games with three industry judges, who were kind enough to come in for this on a Sunday, providing valuable feedback and the award prizes at the end.

Whilst the competition is finished now you can see more information about this here and find out more about GamesLab here.

Elsevier Entertainment Computing journal special issue guest editing

I am one of the two guest editors for a recently published special issue in the Elsevier journal of Entertainment Computing. 

This is a special issue consisting of five selected expanded and enhanced articles from the 5th International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS Games 2013). 

It is Volume 5, Issue 4 (2014) of the journal.

You can see this special issue, among all other special issues published in this specific journal, here.

International Gamification for Business Conference 2015 IPC

Another conference I have been asked to sit on the International Program Committee for is the International Gamification for Business Conference 2015.

Taking place in Birmingham in September 2015, you can find information on submission for this here.


I have recently been invited to participate as a member to the IEEE GEM 2015 International Program Committee. 

The conference is taking place in Toronto in October, with its full name being the 7th IEEE Consumer Electronics Society Games, Entertainment, Media Conference.

The official website and more information about the conference itself can be found here.


I have been invited to sit on the International Program Committee for ICGIP 2015 (the 7th International Conference on Graphic and Image Processing). 

This event is taking place in Singapore in October.

More information can be found here at the official site of the conference.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

CryEngine at GDC 2015

Crytek was also there at GDC 2015, see the showcase video of their engine they decided to go with for the event below. 

Other than this Crytek also decided to, for now, stick with their subscription model ($9.90 per month) despite recent announcements such as the Epic one (see previous blog post on UE4 going free for developers), at least according to statements made.

Crytek, as part of GDC 2015, also had a CryEngine VR demo available (called Back to Dinosaur Island) using Oculus Rift technology.

Source 2 engine

GDC is a great platform for all companies to discuss and release plans for new/updated game engines. Valve is certainly no exception to that; with them recently discussing Source 2 at GDC 2015. 

It appears, at this very early stage where nothing is released as of yet, that the engine will be free to use (though games it seems will have to be available through Valve's Steam) and will be offering a Vulkan version (see previous blog post about Vulkan).

With the original Source engine powering evergreens such as Half-Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 there is a lot of interest in what Valve has to announce next for Source 2 in the coming months.

Information about Khronos' Vulkan graphics API released

Khronos, the consortium group behind the long-standing staple OpenGL 3D graphics API has now released some information about Vulkan, the next graphics API they will be offering. 

This was done as part of the GDC proceedings and while it is early days for this yet (and more details are to come later in 2015 reportedly) excitement about this is, understandably, significant amongst developers and the industry.

More information about Vulkan on Khronos' official site here.

Unreal 4 now free

There have been many, many news of interest from the recent GDC 2015 conference, one that stands out is that Unreal engine 4 is now free to download for all developers (previously you had to pay a small monthly subscription free, unless you were a student). 

There is of course still a royalty model for work created with the engine but this remains a move which will put the engine in the hands of more developers and, as such, it has been very welcome.


I am on the International Program Committee for GALA 2015; this is the Games and Learning Alliance conference which is to take place in December this year in Rome, Italy. The conference has a heavy emphasis on serious games and this year the proceedings will be published in Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science.

More information about the conference on its official site here.

SIGN event at Bournemouth University on 11/03

SIGN (the Southern Independent Games Network initiative) is having an event at Bournemouth University, with Mike Hawkyard the Managing Director from Amuzo as the guest speaker. 

This is to take place on Wednesday the 11th of March at the Executive Business Centre of Bournemouth University starting at 18:00.

For a full schedule of this please see here, you do need to register via Eventbrite so please make sure you do so on the aforementioned link.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Unreal Dev Grants by Epic Games

If you are working with Unreal engine 4 Epic Games has recently announced a programme to fund developer community projects. These can now bid for from $5,000 to $50,000, with Epic supporting the projects they feel showcase (in the best possible light) or further the engine most it appears.

More information about the Unreal Dev Grants programme can be found here.

UE4 4.7 now released

Epic has recently released another update for the Unreal engine version 4 (which incidentally gets its first birthday later this month). This is now at version 4.7 and includes, notably, a revision of the Blueprint Editor interface and HTML5/WebGL deployment support (amongst many other enhancements).

You can find a full break down of updates and additions here (worth exploring in detail as there are quite a few of them, this is a very significant update of the engine it seems).

Guest editor for IGI IJGBL special issue

A special issue I am the guest editor for (with five selected articles deriving from VS Games 2013 that I was the general chair for, significantly extended and enhanced) is now published in the IGI International Journal of Game Based Learning.

You can find the foreword here

It is Issue 4, Volume 4 of the journal and published in December 2014.

TIGA accreditation for BSc in Games Technology at Bournemouth University

The BSc Games Technology degree at Bournemouth University that I am the Programme Coordinator for, is, as of early January 2015, accredited by TIGA (it is in fact one of the few courses in the country to be so).

Read more here in the official TIGA press release which also includes a quote from myself.