Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Book review published for the International Journal of Game-Based Learning

A book review I have done for the IGI-published quarterly International Journal of Game-Based Learning is now published. This is in Volume 2, Issue 1, January - March 2012. The book reviewed is Learning with Digital Games: A Practical Guide to Engaging Students in Higher Education by Nicola Whitton.

Learning with Digital Games: A Practical Guide to Engaging Students in Higher Education is a recent addition to the ever-expanding canon of literature on game-based learning (GBL) and serious games. Unlike many other academic publications (e.g., journals, books, or conference proceedings), this new book focuses on game-based teaching/learning in higher education, an area often neglected in the literature.

You can read the rest of the review (of this very engaging and interesting book) here.

Member of the international conference program committee for CGVCVIP 2012

I have been invited to be a member of the international conference program committee for CGVCVIP 2012, the The IADIS Computer Graphics, Visualization, Computer Vision and Image Processing conference. The conference aims to address the research issues in the closely related areas of Computer Graphics, Visualization, Computer Vision and Image Processing and is taking place in Lisbon, Portugal between the 21st and the 23rd of July 2012.

More information about this conference can be found on the official website here.

Member of the international conference committee for ECGBL 2012

I have been asked to be a member of the conference committee for ECGBL 2012, the 6th European Conference in Game-Based Learning, taking place in Cork, Ireland between the 4th and the 5th of October 2012.

This conference provides a forum for discussion, collaboration and intellectual exchange for all those interested in any of the increasingly important, prolific and popular field of game-based learning research or practice. More information about the conference can be found at the official site here.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

EEG BCI-based adaptive music research project

Brain computer interfaces (BCIs) operating via EEGs are used in a variety of projects and interactions and I have just come across one which is quite different, as it is more music than interaction related. Academics from the Universities of Plymouth and Reading in the UK are collaborating on an EPSRC-funded project which aims to use EEG-driven BCIs to generate music according to the individual state of the user using the prototype. The idea is to eventually attempt to use this as means of therapy for afflictions such as, for example, depression.

The full story of the project (including more details on how the prototype will work) can be found here on The Engineer website.

Layar's Stiktu, a user generated content AR application

The company behind the very popular Layar app (for which I have blogged about in the past a number of times) has now released a new application called Stiktu. The idea with this application is that any user can add an image or text (or indeed anything of the type) to real-world items such as a poster, or a magazine or product packaging (these are shown in the video below as good examples and the Layar press release recommends them as ideal items for the application). Subsequent to that other users scanning these same items around the world will be able to access the newly added AR content.

Stiktu is available for iOS and Android (and is already on the iTunes Store). It is actually a separate application from Layar too and only available to a few countries at the moment. It will take a while to observe whether this works well or could indeed be anything useful but the concept is certainly exciting.

M.U.S.E., another Unity-powered third-person shooter for iOS

Looking at past posts from the last few weeks you will be able to see quite a lot UDK-powered iOS games. There are of course other engines that can achieve similar results to those of Epic Games' Unreal, for indeed the same platform, with the best example being Unity.

To demonstrate this, a while back I covered Shadowgun (see here), which is a third-person shooter. Now, and in a very similiar vein, Lab Rats Studio has developed M.U.S.E. for the usual assorted mobile Apple devices using the popular Unity engine.

Tha game, as can be seen above, is very close to the time-honoured Gears Of War third-person shooter genre and while it has to be said that I did not find it quite as enjoyable as Shadowgun, I must say it still is worth checking out to see just how powerful a development tool Unity is for iOS today and the immense potential it has.

Space Quest 2 remake

For the first post of 2012 I am happy to report that Infamous Adventures has now released (a few days before 2011 lapsed in fact) their finished version of the fan-based remake they have been working on for years of Sierra Online's classic adventure game Space Quest 2.

The game is remade in an early 90s point and click style (and with recorded voiceover and VGA graphics) rather than sticking to the original interface and low res visualisations. For people such as myself who regarded the Space Quest series as one of the seminal adventure game series ever (because of its inimitable subversive sci-fi humour) this is a rare treat and definitely worth downloading, at no cost, from here.