Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Unreal 4 news

More and more information surfaces on Epic Games' latest and long-awaited iteration of the Unreal engine, Unreal 4. The engine is now slated to go public at E3 in early June but even prior to that a number of images are now online with some fairly impressive results (though it is very hard to gauge the actual quality of the visuals just yet). The image below is one example.

No concrete detail is really available though after E3 there will be far more news on this. It is expected to see the engine really used for next-gen consoles rather than current technology but that too is unconfirmed. As someone who uses and teaches Unreal I am very interested to see what the next iteration of the famous engine  is capable of and will report on this again after E3.

Poster accepted at NPAR 2012

A poster I have co-authored with a PhD student here at Bournemouth University under my supervision is to be presented at the NPAR (the Tenth Symposium on Non-Photorealistic Animation and Rendering) 2012 conference next week. The poster is titled "Generating 3D Painterly Animations" and presents work in progress results. 

This takes place at Annecy, France between the 4th and 6th of June and is (this year at least) part of a bigger co-located event called Expressive 2012 which brings together 3 different non-photorealistic/aesthetics-in-graphics conferences (NPAR, CAe and SBIM).

More information can be found here.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

John Carmack anniversary commentary for Wolfenstein 3D

Wolfenstein 3D celebrates its 20th anniversary and it is great to see the legendary John Carmack of id Software do an audio commentary of the iconic game which put his company on the map really and led to titles such as Doom and Quake. The video of this is below and is great going over for fans of the game or indeed FPS fans in general.

To add to the celebrations of this anniversary a browser-based version of the game has also been uploaded online and can be found here. What's even better is that this is free to play and relive memories (or show the roots for the newcomers!) of one of the first 3D first person shooters which completely pioneered the genre.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Jacked, a book on Grand Theft Auto

The other day I got round to finishing reading the recently released Jacked book by Dave Kushner. This is the unauthorised story behind the conception and creation of the Grand Theft Auto series and I can recommend it highly to anybody who liked the author's previous book (Masters of Doom, which focused on the id Software story of course and the development of their seminal games such as Doom and Quake).

The book does have the tendency to be a bit sensationalistic in its narrative and descriptions (a bit like Masters of Doom in fact) which can be seen as a criticism considering this is not a fictional tale but, as mentioned above, remains a hugely interesting read for Grand Theft Auto fans or indeed anyone who wants to learn about how a modern gaming title franchise was built over a period of time and stories about the people behind it.

Sony's Net Yaroze feature in Gamasutra

A very nice historic Net Yaroze feature can be found on the Gamasutra website which is well worth reading for those who either used this or want to find out more about Sony's embryonic efforts to bring console development, for the first time, to the hobbyist programmer (for the original Playstation at the time). This (Net Yaroze) is considered by many the pre-cursor to things such as Microsoft's XNA and includes quotes and recollections from academics who at the time used it to teach games programming.

The article ("titled 15 Years Later: How Sony's Net Yaroze Kickstarted Indie Console Development") can be found here.

Publication in the e-Review of Tourism Research journal

A paper where I am the co-author is now published in the e-Review of Tourism Research journal. The paper is titled "Smartphone Augmented Reality Applications for Tourism" and forms part of a special issue in this journal which came out of the recent ENTER 2012 conference in Helsingborg, Sweden (and in specific the Idea Exchange sessions).

The abstract for the paper is as follows: "Invisible, attentive and adaptive technologies that provide tourists with relevant services and information anytime and anywhere may no longer be a vision from the future. The new display paradigm, stemming from the synergy of new mobile devices, context-awareness and AR, has the potential to enhance tourists’ experiences and make them exceptional. However, effective and usable design is still in its infancy. In this publication we present an overview of current smartphone AR applications outlining tourism-related domain-specific design challenges. This study is part of an ongoing research project aiming at developing a better understanding of the design space for smartphone context-aware AR applications for tourists."

The paper can be found in Volume 10, No 2 of the journal (which is itself located here).

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

VS Games 2013 conference organisation

I will post more details about this in due time but I have recently had a confirmation that the VS Games 2013 conference, i.e. the 5th International Conference on Games and Virtual worlds, which typically has had IEEE technical cooperation in previous outings, will be taking place in Bournemouth in September 2013 (with myself as the General Chair).

I will post more details about this soon once the official conference website is up but meanwhile please check out the current outing of the conference which has a deadline for papers soon and is taking place in Genoa, Italy in late October 2012 here

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

I have just noticed that the classic adventure game iOS The 7th Guest is available for free as a May Day offer on the iTunes store. While here in the UK the 1st of May is about to expire it might not be too late for other parts of the world.

This is one of the truly defining adventure games of the early 1990s and well worth checking out if you have an Apple device and want a classic slab of retrogaming on it or if you remember the game itself and just want to have another go at some of its puzzles.