Sunday, 26 August 2012

Reviewer for ACE 2012 conference

I have recently acted as a paper reviewer for the ACE 2012 international conference (Advances In Computer Entertainment). The conference takes place between the 3rd and the 5th of November 2012 in Nepal and is one of the leading scientific and academic forums for the dissemination of state-of-the-art research, namely in the field of entertainment computing. This is the first year the conference has Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) proceedings (and there are also special issues in two journals planned).
For more information about ACE 2012 you can check out the official website here.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Wikipad, an Android gaming tablet

Wikipad is a new upcoming Android gaming tablet with a Tegra 3 T30 1.4 GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 1280x800 resolution plus two cameras thrown into the mix (pictured below). Obviously, as can be seen in the picture, the 10.1" tablet differentiates itself from other hardware by having a console-quality controller attached (so the intended target audience for this is quite obvious).
Whether this really is a genuine gap in the market that needs to be filled is another question of course, still, the Wikipad remains a very intriguing proposition (and who else thinks this looks like a giant Sega Game Gear?). 

TIGA press release on GCSE results

Since GCSE grade results came out yesterday in the UK (amidst the usual annual fanfare and newspaper headlines and coverage), TIGA (the trade association body for UK game developers) has released a press release on this, with another quote from myself in my capacity as a Bournemouth University academic and educator (similarly to the previously blogged one about A-level results). The press release focuses specifically on how the results (and of course current/future GCSE trends in general) relate to the domestic games development industry and presents TIGA's position on these matters.
The press release can be found in full here is well worth reading.

Broken Sword 5 on Kickstarter

I've blogged about an upcoming Broken Sword announcement before and here it is; in a surprise move Broken Sword 5 (titled a Serpent's Curse) will be a Kickstarter-funded project. The game will be an all new original adventure by Charles Cecil, the original creator of the series and more importantly (particularly for one of the best hand-drawn games of all times) will have 2D graphics, thus going back to its roots.
A great announcement for all adventure game fans but also people with an interest in and appreciation of quality hand-drawn, non-photorealistic, real-time graphics. The Kickstarter campaign has already managed to collect more than a quarter of the amount needed (with almost a month to go) so hopefully this will soon hit our screens.

More information on its official Kickstarter page here.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

TIGA student service

I have recently received word that TIGA, the trade association body for game developers in the UK which Bournemouth University is also a part of as an institution on the back of the BSc Games Technology degree offered at the School of Design, Engineering and Computing, will offer individual student memberships for the first time at some point during the next month.

This will include an email address for life,  magazine discounts, the facility to add plus update a portfolio and CV on the TIGA website, access to a TIGA careers guide and TIGA reports and fortnightly web chats with a TIGA member or studio. I would suggest checking back at the official TIGA site here next month; this is definitely a service I will recommend to my students when the next academic year begins and anybody else currently studying in HE for a related subject should definitely consider this as well.

Crytek's new CryEngine showcase

In preparation for the Crysis 3 release, Crytek has released a tech trailer (show in the video below) which demonstrates in-game footage showcasing new techniques used. The setting, as can be seen from the video, is urban ruins overrun by vegetation (one could say a mix of themes from the first two Crysis games).

The new techniques mentioned above are; real-time volumetric cloud shadows, pixel accurate displacement mapping, tessellated vegetation, composite 3D lens flares and FX, procedural HDR flares and shapes, 3rd generation real-time global illumination, dynamic water volume caustics, real-time volumetric fog shadows, real-time area lights, unlimited particle FX lighting, integrated cloth and vegetation simulation, plus the piece de resistance ... "top secret" tessellated toad tech! The vid is worth checking out as it is very impressive indeed and can only but heighten anticipation for the new Crysis game (and corresponding engine tech).

Unity to support Windows Phone 8

A piece of news emerging from the Unite 12 conference, a Unity specific conference, is the fact that the popular game engine (currently numbering version 4) will now offer support for Windows Phone 8, amongst all the other platforms currently supported.

While no date for this is reported yet it is a welcome piece of news for mobile developers but also for Unity users too; the engine has always touted itself as particularly multi-platform and this is yet more evidence of that statement.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Competition for UDK iOS book

I am pleased to announce I can offer three free eBooks of the upcoming book on UDK iOS development (see image below) I have co-authored for Packt Publishing (see my recent post about this here) to readers of this blog who can answer the following Unreal-related question; what is the name of the tech demo which showcased the Unreal engine for the iOS platform for the first time?

The deadline for emailing this in is the 31st of August and I will then be picking the first three emails (please send your emails at, the senders of which will receive an electronic copy of the book. You should find this book very useful if you're interested in the Unreal engine and iOS games development so here's a chance to have a copy of it for free.

You can see more details about the book here.

TIGA press release on A-level results

TIGA, the trade association body for game developers in the UK, released a press release yesterday on the 2012 A-level results (a UK University entry qualification) which can be found here. This is a worthwhile read as it highlights the increase of people undertaking maths and physics for these (an essential part of your skillset if you plan on doing a games programming degree for example).

The press release also includes numerous quotes from a number of academics from UK Universities (including myself).

Monday, 13 August 2012

UDK iOS Game Development Beginner's Guide book

An instructional textbook I have co-authored (which I have blogged about before) is now set for a late August release by Packt Publishing. The book is titled UDK iOS Game Development Beginner's Guide book and focuses on the use of Epic Games' Unreal Development Kit for the creation of games on Apple's mobile devices. An image of the cover can be seen below.

As mentioned on the official website of the book (which can be found here and where pre-orders can also be made) the book's contents can be best summarised (albeit very briefly) as; "You will begin learning the fundamentals of the Unreal Engine before creating a third-person shooter game in UDK. After the game is created you will learn what can be done with any project to optimize your game for the iOS platform and discover special considerations that need to be made. Finally, you’ll publish your game on the App Store for the world to see and play along, with details on different costs associated with publishing."

The book will be available as a print book, an e-book or a bundle which will include both of the aforementioned versions (pricing details are available on the official Packt website listed above).

Sunday, 12 August 2012

EU Leonardo GameWise project

An EU-funded Leonardo Transfer of Innovation application I have been involved with has been successful, with the project to begin in September 2012 and finish in September 2014. The project is called GameWise and has received an EU funding (as part of the Lifelong Learning programme) of 250,000 Euros in total.

Led by CV2 in Denmark and with a variety of partners involved (one being Bournemouth University of course) from other countries such as Spain, Norway and the Netherlands, the project is set to focus on the creation of new jobs in Europe by the transfer and adaptation of a model for closer cooperation between VET institutions and the surrounding world of work. As soon as there is an official website for the project (which will be in the next few weeks) I will post another update for this.

Two Wiley CAVW journal articles shared as open access

I have the last few weeks blogged about two recently published Wiley Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds journal articles which I have co-authored. These two articles have now been made open access via the OnlineOpen feature offered by this publisher. It essentially means that these articles are now permanently accessible (for free) to the wider public.

One is titled "Feature-based probabilistic texture blending with feature variations for terrains" (part of the CASA 2012 special issue) and can be found here and the other is called "Painterly rendering techniques: a state-of-the-art review of current approaches" (a survey article) and can be found here.

Games Programming degree at Bournemouth University

In addition to the Games Technology BSc that we have been running since 2009 at the School of Design, Engineering and Computing, it is expected that as of October 2013 we will also be running, in addition to the aforementioned programme, another games development degree titled Games Programming.

As the name suggests this is a more specialist programming degree than Games Technology (which covers all parts of the games development pipeline) and we are currently going through the process of designing the degree. As initial approval for this has been granted by the University more information (such as the specific units that will be taught) can be found here.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Source 2 a fast-approaching reality?

It appears that Valve's Source engine (version 2) is a fast-approaching reality. The company's movie making tool called Source Filmmaker has numerous references to the new version of the engine, albeit in its script files. For a company with a masterful grasp of marketing (see for example how Portal 2 was plugged in the first game of the series by updating it) this is (probably!) no mere coincidence at all.

It is alleged that Filmmaker and Source 2 were developed at the same time which means the release of the latter is closer than we think. As this is one of the main contenders in the game engine arena, this release is definitely very much anticipated.

Oculus Rift now a reality

As described in a previous blogpost covering John Carmack's display of a VR headset with Doom 3: BFG running for it, the prototype device now has a name and more importantly a Kickstarter campaign behind it. Oculus Rift has, at the time of me writing this, well over 5 times the original amount asked for pledged and also the considerable backing of industry giants such as Carmack, Cliff Bleszinski, Mike Abrash and others.

Key points of the device include affordability and also plans of integration with both the Unreal engine and Unity. It's great to see this almost a reality after the very recent Carmack prototype display and hopefully it can be a success in the near future as it could usher in many new great possibilities for gaming (see for example an article in Edge magazine about possible games with the device here).