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.

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.