Saturday, 30 August 2014

Microsoft's DeLorean research

A recent technical report paper published by Microsoft has been making headlines in the relevant press; the work described in the paper is called -rather imaginatively- DeLorean and focuses on the production of a speculative cloud solution with the aim being that of reducing the impact of latency in games.

The full paper is very interesting can be found -and downloaded- here.

TIGA 2014 games industry awards

TIGA, the trade association for game developers in the UK, it has been announced is organising its annual awards do in London on November the 6th.

For more details on the event please check out the official website of the event here.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Minecraft used in STEM eduation

The great potential of the incredibly popular Minecraft game for education can be seen in the work of ThoughtSTEM who are in October releasing a programming mod call LearnToMod.

You can read a detailed Guardian article on this here whereas the company's site can be found here.

BFX Festival at Bournemouth University in September

Bournemouth University is running the second BFX festival this September; a festival lasting from the 22nd to the 28th of September dedicated to games, visual effects and animation.

More information and a full programme can be found on the official site of the event here.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Mendel's Farm downloadable beta

Static Games, a company set up by a number of Bournemouth University's Games Technology degree students whilst on their placement, has recently released a downloadable beta (version 2.0) of their game Mendel's Farm. They're very keen for people to report on bugs and issues and provide any feedback.

A lot of work has gone into the beta (a very early version of the game competed in Epic Games' Make Something Unreal 2013 competition) and it's a very impressive effort, it can be downloaded from here

New version of UE4

Unreal Engine version 4 is powering ahead with a new version released only a few days ago. This is now reaching version 4.4 (as of 14/08). This has, amongst others, a preview release of Unreal Motion Graphics, improvements to the Persona Animation Editor and Paper 2D and new Marketplace releases.

For a full list of updates, changes and improvements see the official Epic Games blog post here.

Sierra brand revived by Activision and new King's Quest game

Rumblings of the iconic Sierra brand revived by Activision started reaching a number of sites and recently it's been officially confirmed that indeed the name that arguably brought the adventure game genre to the mainstream is returning. Activision plans to use the brand for indie projects it appears.

Interestingly, one of the first titles planned is a King's Quest reboot (the classic adventure game that Sierra became known for in the 80s) though not much is known about it now other than it will indeed be an adventure game. Here's to hoping some more of the classic Sierra franchises also make an eventual return with quality reboots (such as Space Quest, Quest for Glory and many others).

Epic Games in the UK

Epic Games has recently announced a very important excursion towards expanding in the UK; Pitbull Studios in Sunderland has now been acquired by them and will now be leading the Epic Games UK initiative with more offices in Leamington Spa and also Guildford. 

This is great news for the UK industry indeed and a very exciting development combined with UE4 also being a (relatively) new offering too.

More detailed information can be found here on a relevant Develop magazine article from early August.

Springer acquires games development related academic journal

Springer, one of the largest academic publishers, has recently acquired an academic journal publication titled The Computer Games Journal. This is to come into effect in 2015 and is notably the first games development related academic journal that this particular publisher will be adding to its portfolio.

The original journal started running in 2012 and can be found here

PATTERNS 2015 member of TPC

I have been invited to be on the Technical Program Committee for the PATTERNS 2015 conference which is to take place in Nice, France in March 2015. 

The conference's full name is The Seventh International Conferences on Pervasive Patterns and Applications and its official site can be found here.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Reviewer for ACE 2014

I have been invited to review papers for ACE 2014. This is the 11th conference in Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology and is to take place in Funchal, Madeira in mid-November 2014.

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

VS Games 2015 Technical Program Committee

I have been invited to be a part of the Technical Program Committee for VS Games 2015 (the Seventh International Conference on Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications). 

This is to take place in Skövde, Sweden in mid-September 2015.

The offical site of the conference can be found here.


I have been invited to be a member of the Program Committee for IEEE GEM 2014, the IEEE Games, Entertainment, & Media conference. This is to take place in Toronto in late October 2014. 

More information about the conference here.

Grim Fandango to be remastered

Amongst the many announcements at the recent E3 this one stood out for me personally; the legendary Grim Fandango adventure game (from 1998) is to be remastered for the Sony PS4 and Vita platforms.

This is great news and it seems other platforms may also follow later on; the title came towards the end of the adventure game genre mainstream popularity but is still hailed as one of its best examples.

PhD post at Bournemouth University

I will be involved with the supervision of this fully funded doctorate (see here).  

Titled "Investigating the enhanced rehabilitation of the upper limb following stroke by the combined use of virtual reality and FES" this PhD post would be very suitable for a candidate interested in VR and gaming technologies.

The closing deadline for applications is 30/07/2014.

TIGA Games Tax Relief event at Bournemouth University on 27/06

There is a TIGA event on Games Tax Relief hosted at Bournemouth University, at the Executive Business Centre on the 27th of June at 18:00. 

We are hosting this in our capacity as members of TIGA; the event's purpose is to inform local developers on the ins and outs of the scheme recently announced in George Osborne's budget.

The event is free and you can read more about this (and also register) here.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Altergaze, an alternative to the Rift?

With the Oculus Rift making headlines almost every day I thought it would be interesting to also look at other VR alternatives. One of these is Altergaze, which has already managed a successful Kickstarter campaign. What is very interesting about this (amongst many other things), as opposed to something like the Oculus Rift, is that it is 3D printed and not a headset per se as you can move it next and away from the eyes very easily, thus going in and out of VR in a quick fashion.

More on the official site here.

Unreal 4.1 released

The new version of the Unreal engine has now received a substantial update bringing it up to version 4.1. Notable changes include the support of XBox One, PS4, SteamOS and Linux.

You can read the full list of the many other changes/upgrades here

Atari's E.T. cartridges now unearthed

The legendary story of Atari's 1982 E.T. game comes to a close (almost), as the urban myth of the disastrous game's cartridges (today considered widely as one of the worst games of all time) being buried in the desert is now proven true. As part of a documentary, a team has now unearthed a number of cartridges in the New Mexico desert and provided pictures of the event as proof.

The pictures show a number of cartridges but noone really knows how many cartridges were buried, with rumours still ranging all the way up to millions. 

Read more about this here

The story of the UK games tax breaks

As I blogged before the games tax break for UK devs is now a reality; recently I came across a very interesting article in Develop magazine which details, from TIGA founder's Fred Hasson's point of view, how this came about, all the obstacles faced and the journey of the idea/campaign through the last ~15 years. 

This is a very interesting read and can be found here.