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.

KTP position at Bournemouth University (Nautilus International Risk Consultants Limited)

I am seeking to fill the role of a computer graphics/games programmer working on a KTP (knowledge transfer partnership) project at Bournemouth University, UK. This is for a 30-month fixed term contract and involves collaboration with an external company (Nautilus International Risk Consultants Limited).


The role will involve the researching of all types of 3D terrain generation applications and then the development of proprietary prototype software that will allow for rapid, automatic/semi-automatic 3D terrain content generation for use within the Virtual Battle Space (VBS) 3 game engine.

In addition to this, the role will involve embedding the capability within the company to enable further development and exploitation of the software. This is a challenging yet potentially very rewarding opportunity to apply creative and innovative thinking, as well as strong technical skills, that will result in an innovative and exploitable capability.

More information about the post can be found here. The deadline for applications is 23/03.

Friday, 19 December 2014

New academic posts with the Creative Technology Department of Bournemouth University

There are several, 5 in total, new academic posts advertised within the Creative Technology Department of Bournemouth University (Faculty of Science and Technology), all of these related to games development subject expertise.


More information here, the deadline of applying is 21/01/15.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Ralph Baer has passed away

One of the most important figures in the early days of video games, Ralph Baer, passed away a few days ago. Renowned for the Magnavox Odyssey (the first game console of all time), Baer was 92 this year.


A great obituary of the man, with references to his achievements can be found in the Guardian UK newspaper here.  

Monday, 8 December 2014

UE4 WebGL game running in Mozilla Firefox browser

Unreal engine version 4 has recently been seen in a demo game running on a Mozilla Firefox browser, via WebGL. 

The game is a simple strategy one but, nonetheless, it demonstrates the significant potential that the new version of the engine has.


It is very exciting to see Epic Games showcasing capabilities in UE4 which can rival competitors such as Unity, which has, for the last few years, been the choice of many developers opting for browser-based games.

You can see a video of this demo game here.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Mobile Frostbite?

My previous blog post is about mobile VR; this one, in a parallel theme, is about a high-tech game engine running on mobile platforms. 

According to this official blog post here, efforts are already underway (and yielding early results) of porting Battlefield 4 (arguably the most famous title the DICE Frostbite engine has powered) on iOS.


There is no video of this (yet) but the premise certainly sounds very promising and shows how far mobile platforms have come (and what we might be able to see in 2015).

Oculus mobile SDK available

As of recently a mobile version of the Oculus SDK is available for developers (through the Oculus VR Developer Center). This is titled "Oculus Mobile SDK for Samsung Note 4 (Samsung Gear VR)" on the site so it is fairly obvious what platform this is for.


Exciting news for developers and, possibly, one of the first few tentative steps towards getting mobile VR? The future will show. In the mean time here is where this can be found on the Oculus site.

First batch of UK games using the tax credits announced

I have before posted about the tax break for the UK video games industry; recently the first few games which qualified for this have been announced by the British Film Institute (BFI) -as it is this body that administers the cultural test required by the scheme-.


The full list of the games successful can be found in a piece by Develop magazine here.

Thimbleweed Park, an adventure from the creators of Maniac Mansion

The creators of Maniac Mansion (Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick), one of the most famous adventure games of all time and pioneer of the point and click user interface for the genre, are using crowd-funding to develop a game they call the "spiritual successor" of the aforementioned classic title. 

The new adventure game is called Thimbleweed Park and of course looks very much like MM did back in 1987 (see image below).


For more information visit the Kickstarter site of the game here. The game has already exceeded its funding goal.

A new ZX Spectrum?

One of the most iconic home computers of all time is to soon be reborn; Sir Clive Sinclair's ZX Spectrum is now on a crowdfunding campaign, which will lead to the new version of this much loved machine, the Vega (pictured below).


You can read more about this here, the target incidentally has already been met so the project seems to be going ahead.

UE4 version 4.6 now out

Version 4.6 of the Unreal engine is now released; and it's great to see the engine quickly developing since being first released to the wider public in March 2014. 

Some of the new features include static lighting from emissive materials, static lighting on foliage and being able to have the mobile preview within the editor viewport.


More information on the new version of the engine and all its added features can be found here.

CGVCVIP 2015 IPC

I have been invited to be a member of the international program committee for the Computer Graphics, Visualization, Computer Vision and Image Processing (CGVCVIP) 2015 conference. 

This is to take place in July 2015 in  Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.


More information about the conference can be found here.

ECGBL 2015 IPC

I am a member of the international program committee for the ECGBL 2015 conference (the 9th European Conference on Games Based Learning), taking place in Steinkjer, Norway in October 2015.


More information about the conference can be found here.

KTP Associate post at Bournemouth University

I am seeking to fill the role of a computer graphics/games programmer working on a KTP (knowledge transfer partnership) project at Bournemouth University, UK. This is for a 30-month fixed term contract and involves collaboration with an external company (Nautilus International Risk Consultants Limited).


The role will involve the researching of all types of 3D terrain generation applications and then the development of proprietary prototype software that will allow for rapid, automatic/semi-automatic 3D terrain content generation for use within the Virtual Battle Space (VBS) 3 game engine.

In addition to this, the role will involve embedding the capability within the company to enable further development and exploitation of the software. This is a challenging yet potentially very rewarding opportunity to apply creative and innovative thinking, as well as strong technical skills, that will result in an innovative and exploitable capability. 

More information here. The deadline for applications is 06/01.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 poster paper accepted for publication

A poster paper I am included as a co-author in has now been accepted for publication at SIGGRAPH Asia 2014. The poster paper is titled "Object Weathering Simulation Avoiding Texture Space Stretching and Discontinuities".

The event this year takes place in early December in Shenzhen, China.


More information about SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 on the official conference site here.

EU Erasmus+ bid successful

It's been confirmed that an EU Erasmus+ bid I am involved with as a co-investigator (led by Viden Djurs in Denmark and involving a number of other European partners from countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and Malta, 7 in total including Bournemouth University and the Danish PI) has been successful.


The project is called GameBiz and will be running from October 2014 onwards for 2 years. It has been funded under Key Action "Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices", Action "Strategic Partnerships" and Field "Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training" of the Erasmus+ scheme. 

The funding received is approximately 300,000 Euros in total.

I will post more about this next month once the project gets underway. More about Erasmus+ and Strategic Partnerships here.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Great Britain geology recreated in Minecraft

Around this time last year I did a blog post, found here, about Ordnance Survey recreating Great Britain using Minecraft. 

The British Geological Survey has now done something similar to this (and inspired by the original Ordnance Survey attempt), with the added distinction however that this also has geological information too below ground surface.


You can read more about the effort (and download it) here.