Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Bournemouth University Clearing 2012

Those in the UK will know fully well what the clearing process is for domestic Universities and what it entails; Bournemouth University already has its site for this up and running, it can be found here. This contains instructions and of course all the BU the courses participating in the process.

The Games Technology BSc course which I teach on is also going through clearing with available vacancies. If this is of interest to you then clearing helplines open (as mentioned on the website) on Thursday the 16th of August 2012, which is of course the day that A-Level results are announced in the UK.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Ouya, an Android-powered console

Ouya is a new experiment that has been proposing, via the ever-popular Kickstarter, a console which is powered by the Android OS. The benefits of this of course are obvious and multiple (a mobile app model for the TV, open source mentality etc.). According to the company behind this (Boxer8), the console is alleged to be costing $99 and in terms of specs will carry an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor supporting 1080p HD output (via HDMI), 1GB of RAM plus 8GB on-board flash storage.

The device has attracted both support (OnLive for example has recently announced it will ship with Ouya) and a variety of criticisms (from the limitations of the hardware specification to the business model attached to this) but this still remains a hugely interesting development and one which is worth following over the next few months (especially seeing it has already picked up over $6 million of pledges in Kickstarter).

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Jet Set Radio also for iOS devices

I blogged a few months ago about the remake of one of the most classic cel-shaded games of all time; Sega's inimitable Jet Set Radio. It appears now that apart from the PC et al platforms that the game is to be released on, Jet Set Radio is also to be concurrently released on iOS and Android driven mobile devices too.

This is great news as it is always interesting to see real-time non-photorealistic graphics on mobile devices, particularly if they drive an all-time classic game such as this one.

Lili, another upcoming UE3 iOS game

BitMonster Games, a team comprising of ex Epic Games people, has announced a new iOS game created with the Unreal engine (current version 3 of course) called Lili. Lili appears to be an adventure/RPG title and while the game does not appear to have a release date (yet), the trailer below (seen below) looks very impressive.

More info about the game, which appears to be another string in the bow of AAA titles using UE3 for the Apple mobile devices can be found here.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Bournemouth University student finishes 4th in games programming competition

Ashley Gwinnell, a student of mine from Computing in the School of Design, Engineering and Computing (at Bournemouth University) came fourth out of 150 applicants in the Search for a Star competition. Organised by Aardvark Swift, a UK-based games development recruitment agency, the games programming competition aims to highlight the UK's finest programming talent. It had applicants from 50 Universities from across the country and was decided over three rounds.

The first round was an initial programming test. The top 25 students from the programming test progressed into the second round, which was a week-long demo debug and feature creation round. The top five students from round two were then invited to Aardvark Swift's Head Office to attend an industry panel interview. The interview panel consisted of industry experts from Headstrong Games, Relentless Software, Rockstar Leeds and Aardvark Swift. Ashley had an hour-long interview with the panel and was asked a range of technical and non-technical questions. The aim of the interview was to give the students an experience of the interview process they can expect in the games industry.

More info on the competition here.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Unity 4 released

Earlier last month Unity 4 was released; the latest version of the successful game engine created by Unity Technologies. The main difference appears to be the fact that the engine is now also better suited for AAA, larger studio development other than just indie work which has traditionally been the case.

New features include Mecanim, an in-built animation suite, full support of Microsoft DirectX 11, the first commercial (non-beta) release of the popular Flash export functionality, Linux support and many others. Great to see the popular engine forging ahead in what is now a very tough competitive environment (with UDK and CryEngine for example also making a bid for some of the market Unity originally catered for).

Serious Games for Healthcare book edited chapter contribution

A chapter I have authored appears in the edited "Serious Games for Healthcare: Applications and Implications" book by IGI, edited by Sylvester Arnab (Coventry University, UK), Ian Dunwell (Coventry University, UK) and Kurt Debattista (University of Warwick, UK).

My chapter is titled; "First-Person Shooter Game Engines and Healthcare: An Examination of the Current State of the Art and Future Potential". The abstract is as follows; "First-person shooter (FPS) games have evolved from humble beginnings to what is currently considered the interactive entertainment genre most associated with state-of-the-art developments in gaming, particularly those of a technological and graphical nature. This chapter outlines and discusses past efforts, current usage of contemporary tools, and, finally, the significant suggested potential of first-person shooter gaming engines in the area of health, irrespective of whether these are targeted towards healthcare professional training, patient rehabilitation, or even raising awareness on key issues (to name but a few contemporary and/or suggested remits of the medium)."

More information about this recently released book can be found here.