Friday, 19 December 2014

New academic posts with the Creative Technology Department of Bournemouth University

There are several, 5 in total, new academic posts advertised within the Creative Technology Department of Bournemouth University (Faculty of Science and Technology), all of these related to games development subject expertise.

More information here, the deadline of applying is 21/01/15.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Ralph Baer has passed away

One of the most important figures in the early days of video games, Ralph Baer, passed away a few days ago. Renowned for the Magnavox Odyssey (the first game console of all time), Baer was 92 this year.

A great obituary of the man, with references to his achievements can be found in the Guardian UK newspaper here.  

Monday, 8 December 2014

UE4 WebGL game running in Mozilla Firefox browser

Unreal engine version 4 has recently been seen in a demo game running on a Mozilla Firefox browser, via WebGL. 

The game is a simple strategy one but, nonetheless, it demonstrates the significant potential that the new version of the engine has.

It is very exciting to see Epic Games showcasing capabilities in UE4 which can rival competitors such as Unity, which has, for the last few years, been the choice of many developers opting for browser-based games.

You can see a video of this demo game here.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Mobile Frostbite?

My previous blog post is about mobile VR; this one, in a parallel theme, is about a high-tech game engine running on mobile platforms. 

According to this official blog post here, efforts are already underway (and yielding early results) of porting Battlefield 4 (arguably the most famous title the DICE Frostbite engine has powered) on iOS.

There is no video of this (yet) but the premise certainly sounds very promising and shows how far mobile platforms have come (and what we might be able to see in 2015).

Oculus mobile SDK available

As of recently a mobile version of the Oculus SDK is available for developers (through the Oculus VR Developer Center). This is titled "Oculus Mobile SDK for Samsung Note 4 (Samsung Gear VR)" on the site so it is fairly obvious what platform this is for.

Exciting news for developers and, possibly, one of the first few tentative steps towards getting mobile VR? The future will show. In the mean time here is where this can be found on the Oculus site.

First batch of UK games using the tax credits announced

I have before posted about the tax break for the UK video games industry; recently the first few games which qualified for this have been announced by the British Film Institute (BFI) -as it is this body that administers the cultural test required by the scheme-.

The full list of the games successful can be found in a piece by Develop magazine here.

Thimbleweed Park, an adventure from the creators of Maniac Mansion

The creators of Maniac Mansion (Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick), one of the most famous adventure games of all time and pioneer of the point and click user interface for the genre, are using crowd-funding to develop a game they call the "spiritual successor" of the aforementioned classic title. 

The new adventure game is called Thimbleweed Park and of course looks very much like MM did back in 1987 (see image below).

For more information visit the Kickstarter site of the game here. The game has already exceeded its funding goal.

A new ZX Spectrum?

One of the most iconic home computers of all time is to soon be reborn; Sir Clive Sinclair's ZX Spectrum is now on a crowdfunding campaign, which will lead to the new version of this much loved machine, the Vega (pictured below).

You can read more about this here, the target incidentally has already been met so the project seems to be going ahead.

UE4 version 4.6 now out

Version 4.6 of the Unreal engine is now released; and it's great to see the engine quickly developing since being first released to the wider public in March 2014. 

Some of the new features include static lighting from emissive materials, static lighting on foliage and being able to have the mobile preview within the editor viewport.

More information on the new version of the engine and all its added features can be found here.


I have been invited to be a member of the international program committee for the Computer Graphics, Visualization, Computer Vision and Image Processing (CGVCVIP) 2015 conference. 

This is to take place in July 2015 in  Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.

More information about the conference can be found here.


I am a member of the international program committee for the ECGBL 2015 conference (the 9th European Conference on Games Based Learning), taking place in Steinkjer, Norway in October 2015.

More information about the conference can be found here.

KTP Associate post at Bournemouth University

I am seeking to fill the role of a computer graphics/games programmer working on a KTP (knowledge transfer partnership) project at Bournemouth University, UK. This is for a 30-month fixed term contract and involves collaboration with an external company (Nautilus International Risk Consultants Limited).

The role will involve the researching of all types of 3D terrain generation applications and then the development of proprietary prototype software that will allow for rapid, automatic/semi-automatic 3D terrain content generation for use within the Virtual Battle Space (VBS) 3 game engine.

In addition to this, the role will involve embedding the capability within the company to enable further development and exploitation of the software. This is a challenging yet potentially very rewarding opportunity to apply creative and innovative thinking, as well as strong technical skills, that will result in an innovative and exploitable capability. 

More information here. The deadline for applications is 06/01.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 poster paper accepted for publication

A poster paper I am included as a co-author in has now been accepted for publication at SIGGRAPH Asia 2014. The poster paper is titled "Object Weathering Simulation Avoiding Texture Space Stretching and Discontinuities".

The event this year takes place in early December in Shenzhen, China.

More information about SIGGRAPH Asia 2014 on the official conference site here.

EU Erasmus+ bid successful

It's been confirmed that an EU Erasmus+ bid I am involved with as a co-investigator (led by Viden Djurs in Denmark and involving a number of other European partners from countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and Malta, 7 in total including Bournemouth University and the Danish PI) has been successful.

The project is called GameBiz and will be running from October 2014 onwards for 2 years. It has been funded under Key Action "Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices", Action "Strategic Partnerships" and Field "Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training" of the Erasmus+ scheme. 

The funding received is approximately 300,000 Euros in total.

I will post more about this next month once the project gets underway. More about Erasmus+ and Strategic Partnerships here.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Great Britain geology recreated in Minecraft

Around this time last year I did a blog post, found here, about Ordnance Survey recreating Great Britain using Minecraft. 

The British Geological Survey has now done something similar to this (and inspired by the original Ordnance Survey attempt), with the added distinction however that this also has geological information too below ground surface.

You can read more about the effort (and download it) here.

Samsung VR headset announced

Another contender enters the race of VR headsets, joining high-profile efforts like the one from Sony (Project Morpheus), clearly showing the potency and potential of this area. 

This time it is developed by Samsung and called Gear VR, with the device powered by the tech behind the Oculus Rift. There seems to be a strong mobile focus to this too, which is not surprising given Samsung's position in that marketplace.

More information about this, including a statement by Oculus' own John Carmack, here.

Unreal 4 Marketplace news

With the Unreal 4 community now growing (see previous blog post on the license fee waiver for academic use) Epic Games has also made a very recent announcement on the Marketplace functionality offered for the popular engine, which now includes the opportunity to buy and sell content for use within the tool.

You can read more about this here.

Unreal 4 now free for academic use

Unreal engine version 4 since its release this past spring has carried a small monthly price tag; this was waived the other day for the purposes of academic use.

 Taken directly from an official Epic Games blog the company mentions; "Unreal Engine 4 is now free for academic use, including personal copies for students enrolled in accredited video game development, computer science, art, architecture, simulation, and visualization programs! All educators can now have unrestricted access to the engine simply by contacting us at"

You can read more about this here, this is indeed a very welcome move and bound to give the popular engine an even bigger boost and bigger user base.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Microsoft's DeLorean research

A recent technical report paper published by Microsoft has been making headlines in the relevant press; the work described in the paper is called -rather imaginatively- DeLorean and focuses on the production of a speculative cloud solution with the aim being that of reducing the impact of latency in games.

The full paper is very interesting can be found -and downloaded- here.

TIGA 2014 games industry awards

TIGA, the trade association for game developers in the UK, it has been announced is organising its annual awards do in London on November the 6th.

For more details on the event please check out the official website of the event here.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Minecraft used in STEM eduation

The great potential of the incredibly popular Minecraft game for education can be seen in the work of ThoughtSTEM who are in October releasing a programming mod call LearnToMod.

You can read a detailed Guardian article on this here whereas the company's site can be found here.

BFX Festival at Bournemouth University in September

Bournemouth University is running the second BFX festival this September; a festival lasting from the 22nd to the 28th of September dedicated to games, visual effects and animation.

More information and a full programme can be found on the official site of the event here.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Mendel's Farm downloadable beta

Static Games, a company set up by a number of Bournemouth University's Games Technology degree students whilst on their placement, has recently released a downloadable beta (version 2.0) of their game Mendel's Farm. They're very keen for people to report on bugs and issues and provide any feedback.

A lot of work has gone into the beta (a very early version of the game competed in Epic Games' Make Something Unreal 2013 competition) and it's a very impressive effort, it can be downloaded from here

New version of UE4

Unreal Engine version 4 is powering ahead with a new version released only a few days ago. This is now reaching version 4.4 (as of 14/08). This has, amongst others, a preview release of Unreal Motion Graphics, improvements to the Persona Animation Editor and Paper 2D and new Marketplace releases.

For a full list of updates, changes and improvements see the official Epic Games blog post here.

Sierra brand revived by Activision and new King's Quest game

Rumblings of the iconic Sierra brand revived by Activision started reaching a number of sites and recently it's been officially confirmed that indeed the name that arguably brought the adventure game genre to the mainstream is returning. Activision plans to use the brand for indie projects it appears.

Interestingly, one of the first titles planned is a King's Quest reboot (the classic adventure game that Sierra became known for in the 80s) though not much is known about it now other than it will indeed be an adventure game. Here's to hoping some more of the classic Sierra franchises also make an eventual return with quality reboots (such as Space Quest, Quest for Glory and many others).

Epic Games in the UK

Epic Games has recently announced a very important excursion towards expanding in the UK; Pitbull Studios in Sunderland has now been acquired by them and will now be leading the Epic Games UK initiative with more offices in Leamington Spa and also Guildford. 

This is great news for the UK industry indeed and a very exciting development combined with UE4 also being a (relatively) new offering too.

More detailed information can be found here on a relevant Develop magazine article from early August.

Springer acquires games development related academic journal

Springer, one of the largest academic publishers, has recently acquired an academic journal publication titled The Computer Games Journal. This is to come into effect in 2015 and is notably the first games development related academic journal that this particular publisher will be adding to its portfolio.

The original journal started running in 2012 and can be found here

PATTERNS 2015 member of TPC

I have been invited to be on the Technical Program Committee for the PATTERNS 2015 conference which is to take place in Nice, France in March 2015. 

The conference's full name is The Seventh International Conferences on Pervasive Patterns and Applications and its official site can be found here.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Reviewer for ACE 2014

I have been invited to review papers for ACE 2014. This is the 11th conference in Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology and is to take place in Funchal, Madeira in mid-November 2014.

More information on the official site of the conference which can be found here.

VS Games 2015 Technical Program Committee

I have been invited to be a part of the Technical Program Committee for VS Games 2015 (the Seventh International Conference on Virtual Worlds and Games for Serious Applications). 

This is to take place in Skövde, Sweden in mid-September 2015.

The offical site of the conference can be found here.


I have been invited to be a member of the Program Committee for IEEE GEM 2014, the IEEE Games, Entertainment, & Media conference. This is to take place in Toronto in late October 2014. 

More information about the conference here.

Grim Fandango to be remastered

Amongst the many announcements at the recent E3 this one stood out for me personally; the legendary Grim Fandango adventure game (from 1998) is to be remastered for the Sony PS4 and Vita platforms.

This is great news and it seems other platforms may also follow later on; the title came towards the end of the adventure game genre mainstream popularity but is still hailed as one of its best examples.

PhD post at Bournemouth University

I will be involved with the supervision of this fully funded doctorate (see here).  

Titled "Investigating the enhanced rehabilitation of the upper limb following stroke by the combined use of virtual reality and FES" this PhD post would be very suitable for a candidate interested in VR and gaming technologies.

The closing deadline for applications is 30/07/2014.

TIGA Games Tax Relief event at Bournemouth University on 27/06

There is a TIGA event on Games Tax Relief hosted at Bournemouth University, at the Executive Business Centre on the 27th of June at 18:00. 

We are hosting this in our capacity as members of TIGA; the event's purpose is to inform local developers on the ins and outs of the scheme recently announced in George Osborne's budget.

The event is free and you can read more about this (and also register) here.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Altergaze, an alternative to the Rift?

With the Oculus Rift making headlines almost every day I thought it would be interesting to also look at other VR alternatives. One of these is Altergaze, which has already managed a successful Kickstarter campaign. What is very interesting about this (amongst many other things), as opposed to something like the Oculus Rift, is that it is 3D printed and not a headset per se as you can move it next and away from the eyes very easily, thus going in and out of VR in a quick fashion.

More on the official site here.

Unreal 4.1 released

The new version of the Unreal engine has now received a substantial update bringing it up to version 4.1. Notable changes include the support of XBox One, PS4, SteamOS and Linux.

You can read the full list of the many other changes/upgrades here

Atari's E.T. cartridges now unearthed

The legendary story of Atari's 1982 E.T. game comes to a close (almost), as the urban myth of the disastrous game's cartridges (today considered widely as one of the worst games of all time) being buried in the desert is now proven true. As part of a documentary, a team has now unearthed a number of cartridges in the New Mexico desert and provided pictures of the event as proof.

The pictures show a number of cartridges but noone really knows how many cartridges were buried, with rumours still ranging all the way up to millions. 

Read more about this here

The story of the UK games tax breaks

As I blogged before the games tax break for UK devs is now a reality; recently I came across a very interesting article in Develop magazine which details, from TIGA founder's Fred Hasson's point of view, how this came about, all the obstacles faced and the journey of the idea/campaign through the last ~15 years. 

This is a very interesting read and can be found here.

New Unreal Tournament game in the works

Epic Games has announced they will be working on a brand new Unreal Tournament game, using the new, 4th version of their Unreal engine. This will be the first Unreal Tournament game since 2007 (when Unreal 3 Tournament 3 was released) and is as such very eagerly awaited.

More information about this can be found here.

Springer book chapter publication

A Springer book chapter publication I co-authored is now available, as is the book containing it, "Virtual, Augmented Reality and Serious Games for Healthcare 1". This has the chapter I have worked on with another two Bournemouth University colleagues titled "A State of the Art Survey in the Use of Video Games for Upper Limb Stroke Rehabilitation".

For accessing both the book and chapter see the official Springer site here.

NET 2014 publication accepted

A conference paper I have co-authored with colleagues from Bournemouth University has been accepted for the NET 2014 (Networking for Education in Healthcare) conference. The paper is titled "An approach in teaching dementia care in higher education via the use of gaming technology". The conference is to take place in September 2014, at Cambridge, UK.

You can see the preliminary programme here.


I have been added on the Program Committee for the GALA 2014 (the Games and Learning Alliance) conference, a conference with a strong focus on serious games. This is taking place in Bucharest, Romania between the 2nd and the 4th of July 2014.

More information here on the official site of the conference.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Lecturer job at Bournemouth University in Games Technology

The Department of Creative Technologies, within the Faculty of Science & Technology, at Bournemouth University where I am also based is seeking to appoint a talented, enthusiastic and motivated lecturer in the area of games programming/technology.

You will be qualified to Doctoral level or be able to demonstrate equivalent industrial experience in games programming/technology. You will be expected to have a strong understanding of C++ and C# programming (plus related paradigms such as object oriented programming) and also APIs such as OpenGL or DirectX. In addition, you will be expected to have familiarity with contemporary game engines such as Unreal, Unity or CryEngine. Industry experience in the form of published game titles would be advantageous.

More information here.

ICGIP 2014 Program Committee

I have been invited to be on the Program Committee of ICGIP 2014 (the 6th International Conference on Graphic and Image Processing), which is to take place in Beijing, China, between the 24th and the 26th of October this year.

You can find out more about the conference on its official site here.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Updates from the world of VR

I thought I would summarise some of the more recent updates from the seemingly revived VR area which seems to be all the rage in 2014. 

First of all, the biggest headline must be Facebook acquiring Oculus Rift, a piece of news which was everywhere (including mainstream press). This is certainly a very strong indication that contemporary VR hardware and its potential holds a significant amount of interest even for non-gaming tech companies.

During the recent GDC Sony launched its long-awaited answer to Oculus Rift, a headset called Project Morpheus. An interesting review of this can be found here.

Finally, Microsoft is reportedly and seemingly working behind the scenes with acquisitions and patents towards (partially at least) a potential VR solution. A Develop article outlines some of their more recent movements in this area (found here).

Gamification World Congress event and PC for gEducation

The Gamification World Congress event is to take place from the 22nd to the 24th of May 2014 in Barcelona and consists of a variety of talks and workshops aimed towards the discipline. 

I have been invited to be on the PC for the gEducation workshop.

For more detailed information on the event see here.

UK games industry tax break

A tax break which has been a long time in the works for the UK games development industry is now going ahead, this is after the final hurdle of the scheme being overcome via green lighting by the European Commission.

More details (and a quick history run through of the events leading to this) can be found in this short Develop magazine article here. 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

CryEngine's change of business model

See previous blog post; Crytek has announced that from May this year (2014), indie developers will be able to use all of CryEngine's many features for a subscription costing 9.90 USD or EUR per user (and this is royalty free). The aforementioned cost is on a monthly basis.

This is a move which clearly rivals in cost the Epic Games announcement for UE4 and an interesting development for all game developers who are using a third-party engine. See here for more details. 

UE4 now available

The recent GDC conference which has now wrapped out had many interesting announcements which are worth highlighting. One of these is the release of Unreal engine version 4, UE4, which is now available. I will come back to this in a few days (after I have explored it in more detail) but the new version of the engine is now finally available to anybody who wants to use it for $19 subscription (unlike the free version of UE3, UDK). There are additional costs on top of that for commercial products created with the engine. Full C++ source code is also available. 

More information and the abilitity to purchase this here.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Valve's Steam Dev Days talks in video

Back in late December I blogged about the Valve Steam Dev Days conference. With the conference now completed it appears Valve has made available, in video, all 28 talks. I have embedded one by Michael Abrash below (which is definitely worth watching if you have any interest in virtual reality whatsover).

For videos of all the other conference talks please see here.

Unity and PS Vita

As of last month Unity (version 4.3) can deploy games to the latest portable Sony game console, the PS Vita. This means that that components such as the motion sensors, the cameras and the dual analog sticks that come with the device will also be accessible for development.

You will need to be a SCE licensed developer for this, you can read more about this here on the Unity site. 

Saturday, 15 February 2014


I have been invited to sit on the Technical Program Committee for INTETAIN 2014, the 6th International Conference on Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment. This takes place in Chicago, US in July 2014. 

For more information about the conference see its official website here.