Wednesday, 31 October 2012

VS Games 2013 conference Call For Papers

As I am one of the General chairs for this, here is the Call for Papers for VS Games 2013 conference;
"VS-Games 2013, the fifth outing of the International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications will be hosted at Bournemouth University, UK between the 11th and the 13th of September 2013. With the conference organized in previous years at locations such as Coventry (UK), Braga (Portugal), Athens (Greece) and Genoa (Italy), it will take place, for 2013, at the state of the art Kimmeridge House building of Bournemouth University, situated at the main Talbot campus of the institution.

The development and deployment of games with a purpose beyond entertainment and with considerable connotations with more serious aims is an exciting area with immense academic but also commercial potential. This potential presents both immediate opportunities but also numerous significant challenges to the interested parties involved, as a result of the relatively recent emergence and popularity of the medium. The VS Games 2013 conference aims to address this variety of relevant contemporary challenges that the increasingly cross-disciplinary communities involved in serious games are currently facing. This will be achieved by, amongst other ways, the comprehensive dissemination of successful case studies and development practices, the sharing of theories, conceptual frameworks and methodologies and, finally, the discussion of evaluation approaches and their resulting studies.
For VS Games 2013 we are therefore seeking contributions from researchers, developers from the industry, practitioners and decision-makers which aim to advance the state of the art in all of the technologies related to serious games. The following listed topics are particularly encouraged, though it should be mentioned that they are not the only ones of interest to VS Games 2013 and that the list below is not exhaustive by any means:
• Game design
• Virtual environments
• Game-based learning methodologies
• Mixed and augmented reality
• Computer graphics
• Gamification
• Case studies/user studies for serious games and virtual worlds
• Mobile gaming
• Interactive storytelling
• Application areas
• AI for serious games
• Educational/learning theories and their application
• Visualization
• Pervasive gaming
• Human-computer interaction
• User modeling
• Alternate reality
• Simulation
• Platforms and tools
The following are the dates of submission for the different tracks of the VS Games 2013 conference:
• Full Papers (8 pages): 25th March 2013
• Short Papers (4 pages): 25th March 2013
• Poster Papers (2 pages): 25th March 2013
• Call for Workshops: 25th March 2013
Proceedings and journal special issues for the VS Games 2013 publications will be announced as soon as possible."
More info on the official conference website at

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

TIGA shortlists Bournemouth University/Games Technology course for award

TIGA, the trade association body for the UK games industry and its developers has its 2012 awards night at Bath on the 1st of November and, under its University category of those, Bournemouth University and the Games Technology course we run here at the School of Design, Engineering and Computing have been shortlisted.
I'll be there on the night (the awards ceremony is in fact part of the bigger Extended Play Festival event taking place in Bath over those few days) since it is a great celebration of the achievements of the domestic games industry over the last year.
More information and all the shortlists of nominees can be found on the official awards site here.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Digits, a device for hand motion recognition

A research project from Microsoft Research, Newcastle University and the University of Crete has been recently making headlines; it is a device called Digits which is basically a bracelet with infrared sensors and a ring of LEDs used to detect and then reconstruct the hand motions of the user wearing it in 3D.
The device isn't perfect (crossed fingers for example seem to be an issue) but seems to work overall really well and could not only complement some of Microsoft's own Kinect limitations but also used as a stand-alone contraption for a number of application areas requiring different types of hand interaction.

Hopefully this will make it to retail at some point as there is definitely plenty of potential in it.

Interview in Edge magazine

I was recently interviewed by Edge magazine and the story is now on their website. The story focuses predominantly on the Games Technology (and upcoming Games Programming we are preparing for validation early in the new year) degrees as well the recent Gamify Your PhD Wellcome Trust success of a student of mine (which I have already blogged about recently).

It's an interesting piece and can be found in full here.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

ENTER 2013 conference paper accepted

A paper for which I am the co-author for has been accepted for publication at the ENTER 2013 conference. The paper is titled "Engineering Augmented Tourism Experiences" and will be presented at the conference between the 22nd and 25th of January 2013 (which for this year takes place at Innsbruck, Austria).
The ENTER conference focuses on applying information and communication technologies to the areas of travel and tourism. According to the conference the proceedings are to be published by Springer, Wien - New York.

More information about it can be found here.

Kinect-controlled concept car

Toyota recently showcased a Kinect-controlled concept car in a Japanese trade show. The car is called Smart Insect and is equipped with two Kinects placed on its roof, facing forwards and backwards respectively.
These are there to enable recognition of the car owner and to facilitate keyless entry as well as analyse movemements to open the gull-wing doors when he/she approach the vehicle. An interesting idea which shows the many application areas cost-effective gaming technology can be easily integrated with.

Make Something Unreal Live 2013

Make Something Unreal Live, a student development competition Epic Games is behind is making another appearance next year. This time Epic is partnering up with Wellcome Trust to provide the theme for the competition, which should "cleverly play on the theme of Mendelian inheritance, which spans concepts such as variation, mutation and other behaviours of the human genome" according to the press release.
The pitch deadline is for the 2nd of November and I am already encouraging students of mine here at Bournemouth University to participate (shortlisted teams will then work on a game, all of this leading up to the winning group receiving an Unreal Engine 4 license), especially seeing a past student of mine was a member of the winning team for the Gamify Your PhD Wellcome Trust competition (see older blogpost on this here). For entering the contest see official website here.

Reviewer for new CryEngine book

A few months ago I reviewed chapters for a CryENGINE instructional handbook, which I can report is now published by Packt Publishing. The book, authored by Sean Tracy and Paul Reindell and titled CryENGINE 3 Game Development; Beginners Guide, offers great tuition in Crytek's game engine and is worth having if you're looking for a comprehensive resource on this very powerful engine.
With the authors being actual Crytek employees (and with this being Sean Tracy's second Packt CryENGINE book) I can only but recommend this one, more information about it on its official Packt site here

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Beneath A Steel Sky sequel greenlit

I blogged about this a few days ago; the promised Beneath A Steel Sky sequel has been greenlit, despite the Broken Sword Kickstarter campaign falling short of the $1 million threshold (see here for more details) Revolution Software originally asked for.
The game is to be produced for PC, iOS and Android platforms though console ports are also mooted. Very importantly Dave Gibbons, the comic book artist responsible for the graphics on the original game, is also said to be onboard with this which surely makes this an even more anticipated release.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Sony patents biometrics idea

It has come to light that Sony patented, in recent months, an idea/invention with which they would be able to identify users using biometrics data. This is said to be based on a contraption which can include biometric "fingerprint sensors, hand sensors, face recognition systems, iris scanners retinal scanners, voice pattern analyzers and DNA analyzers", at least according to Sony. More can be read about this here on the patent filed.
Use of identification for gaming profiling can of course be quite a breakthrough as it would remove many limitations and introduce a number of new possibilities indeed, though to be honest this does sound very sci-fi (in a bad way) and quite significantly intrusive (for obvious reasons). Also, the legalities and security issues of Sony collecting and storing information such as this are other issues for consideration.

Still, despite all these major reservations, this is just a patent on development at this stage and it remains interesting nonetheless to see big players like Sony actively exploring the introduction of biometrics to their systems in the near future.