Thursday, 31 December 2015

Unreal engine 4.11 now released as beta

Epic, a few days ago, made available UE4 4.11 Preview 1; for the big UE4 aficionados this is worth checking out though what needs to be kept in mind is that this is merely a beta (so if you are after stability then 4.10.1 is the one to go for instead).

You can read more about UE4 4.11 Preview 1 here.

VS Games 2016 conference

The next VS Games (2016) conference is to take place in Barcelona, Spain in September of the new year (the conference was organised in Bournemouth in 2013, where I acted as a general chair for it that year).

More information on its official website here, including submission deadlines plus arrangements for a special issue at Springer's Virtual Reality journal.

Game to be shipped with the Oculus Rift announced

It appears that the Oculus Rift VR headset is now to be bundled with a game called Lucky's Tale (on its release). Bundled titles like that (for consoles and gaming hardware in general) has been about showcasing the hardware as much as the game itself so much is expected from the game.

You can read the full news and check out a video of the game on the official Oculus Rift blog here.

Superhot game

It is not often that a first person shooter provides significant innovation to the genre these days; despite the fact that there are many great FPS games released continuously. Superhot, coming out of Steam Greenlight and Kickstarter campaigns, appears to be doing this both visually but also (more importantly) in terms of mechanics.

More about this upcoming, to be released in 2016, game on its official site here.

Raspberry Pi Zero

There is now a new -and smaller, see pic below- version of the well known Raspberry Pi; titled Raspberry Pi Zero. 

It is worth reading more about this here on its official site, however the new version is a more cost-efficient one of the original; intended to provide the same service to a target market where even a modest/basic cost can be an obstruction.

Global Game Jam 2016

The Global Game Jam 2016 competition is set to take place between the 29th and 31st of January; this is a games jam which takes place, under a common theme, at different locations across the entire world.

As with 2015 there is local Bournemouth University organisation for this, more details on this here.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Unreal Match 3

For those interested in developing mobile games with Epic's UE4 a great learning resource that the company has recently added is Unreal Match 3, consisting of a game plus written and video tutorials around it.

If you are interested in developing something for that market specifically (rather than AAA console that UE4 is more often thought of as more compatible with) this is well recommended.

More on this here on the official Epic site.

HTC Vive delayed

The HTC Vive; one of the few headsets set to compete for the crown of VR tech is to be delayed for spring 2016 (bringing it more in line with the other names it is positioned against, regarding release dates at least). Additionally, reports (see the Engadget article here) seem to suggest new additional innovation added to the technology.

While this is not elaborated on we will soon know in 2016 what HTC plans for their Vive device (the CES January exhibition is said to have a demo of the device).

Aardvark Swift's Search for a Star and Rising Star competitions

Aardvark Swift, who recently delivered an excellent guest talk at Bournemouth University, have launched again their annual Search for a Star and Rising Star undergraduate student competitions.

With Autodesk and Microsoft involved in the two different strands more can be found on the official website here.

Nintendo NX's controller?

As MCV recently reported (the full news item can be found here), Nintendo has filed a patent for a new controller. While this could of course turn out to be not the case, there is some speculation this could be the next Nintendo NX console controller.

Pictured above is the controller; one that is different to previous Nintendo efforts. Time will tell if this turns out to be their new approach for their next (and much-awaited) console which succeeds the Wii U.

Steam Link

Valve's Steam Link is the company's answer to approaches such as Apple TV (see previous post); essentially it is envisaged as a box sitting beneath a large screen TV in a living room streaming Steam games from a PC elsewhere in the house. 

With its low cost (shifted admittedly on having a PC with a strong spec available) quite attractive, plus a dedicated controller, the device could be a hit for Valve in hardware and open the door for other future approaches of the like with the Steam platform.

Unity 4 receives its final version release

A much used and pivotal version of the Unity engine is now reportedly on its final release. With Unity moving on to version 5 during 2015 the company has recently released version 4.7 as the last iteration of the previous version.

More information on the official Unity blog here.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Chemistry via Minecraft?

The University of Hull has a very interesting project which uses the Minecraft game for the visualisation of molecular chemistry. 

The project (called MolCraft) has generated a lot of very positive press and can in fact be downloaded from the official University of Hull website here.

Another great example of how Minecraft and similar gaming technologies can be used for educational purposes on "serious" subjects".

Microsoft Hololens update

A much anticipated technology in the area of mixed reality is now closer; it appears now that according to Microsoft developers (who can already apply and potentially get accepted) in the US/Canada will be able to order the $3000 device from January 2016 and then have it delivered to them sometime in the first quarter of the new year.

This is outlined in more detail in the Microsoft official site here and understandably this made the news in a major way as soon as it was announced, which shows the heightened anticipation for this piece of technology.

Game Development Suite

The Game Development Suite (by MaxPlay) is a new game engine soon to be added in the very competitive market place of said technologies; its major selling point appears to be the ease of provision for collaborative work amongst developers (via a cloud approach).

You can read more about the Game Development Suite on its official website here.

More publicity for Rebourne and Rite of Life

Rebourne, a company which consists of a number of Bournemouth University Games Technology students is getting more press after their successful Kickstarter and Greenlight campaigns (for their Rite of Life game).

This includes an interview here, on the Indie Guardians website which also includes some nice concept artwork pictures from the upcoming game.

AIIP IV workshop abstract

I am the co-author for an extended abstract accepted at AIIP IV, which stands for the 4th International Workshop on Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property Law.

This is to take place on the 9th of December in Braga, Portugal (with the extended abstract to be presented titled "Human Aspects in Digital Rights Management: The Perspective of Content Developers").

SIGN Jagex afternoon at Portsmouth

SIGN (the Southern Independent Games Network initiative, that Bournemouth University is a part of) is organising a series of talks by Jagex at Portsmouth University on Wednesday the 2nd of December.

For more information on this event (which starts at 13:00) see here.

Develop magazine interview

Develop magazine published a short interview with me on the Bournemouth University games development courses. This is on the November 2015 issue (#166).

The short interview can be found on page 32.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

SURE conference 2016

I am part of the organising committee for a great initiative called SURE 2016 (Showcasing Undergraduate Research Excellence). It is a conference for Bournemouth University undergraduate students who want to experience submitting a research paper to a dedicated conference.

More information can be found here, this is in fact the second year the event is running.

Unreal 4.10 released

Unreal 4.10 has been released this month from Epic; another update for the popular engine which offers further (new) refinements and additions, including support for Visual Studio 2015, various Android device gamepad support etc.

The full list of updates can be found here and is worth delving into for people working with the engine.

Iron Maiden promo video showing the history of games

The British band Iron Maiden recently released a promo video for a song off their latest album; this focuses on the history of computer games (with the twist of having their mascot character across that).

The song is called Speed of Light and the video is worth a watch for a different take on the history of gaming.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Apple TV and games

Apple has recently made headlines once again (in the game development community) with the Apple TV announcement which included news which directly relate to both games developers and the relevant audience alike (such as a controller which uses touch and also motion sensing, pictured below).

With Apple being Apple this could have significant potential for the future, becoming (potentially) a very credible gaming platform that could be a major contender in the market place.

Epic's Bullet Train

Epic has recently showcased Bullet Train; a VR game using the Oculus Touch controller which is firmly in the area of expertise of the company, i.e. one of first person shooters.

The video above shows what can be achieved with the Oculus Touch in this genre, using also the Unreal engine too. It is quite impressive and hopefully could form the basis on which fuller titles could be built upon in the future.

Playstation VR

Project Morpheus, i.e. Sony's VR headset for the PS4, appears to now have a new name after trading under the old one for while; this is now Playstation VR.

This does sound like a better name though the Morpheus one had been around for a significant amount of time and did have a ring to it too; nevertheless, this appears to be the final name of the headset which is soon to be released and forms Sony's answer to technologies such as the Oculus one.

Angry Birds movie trailer

Angry Birds now has a movie trailer; for those who do not know about this the Rovio game is being turned into a movie to be released next year.

There have been other attempts in the past for games to be turned into movies and with mixed results it is hoped that Angry Birds will built on the incredibly successful game and stand on its own as a movie too.

Time will show if that will be the case but this is nonetheless eagerly anticipated.

Games Funding Forum event

A conference very useful potentially to indie studios is to take place, in half day form, in London on the 15th of October. This is The Games Funding Forum which, as the name suggests, covers, via a number of talks, different ways of obtaining funds for developing and launching a game.

More information about the conference on its official website here.

TIGA awards shortlisting

The upcoming TIGA awards shortlisting is now complete and it is great to see Bournemouth University but also the SIGN (Southern Independent Games Network initiative) in the running for awards.

More about the shortlisted nominations here.

Rite of Like Kickstarter campaign

An indie games dev studio, Rebourne, consisting of Bournemouth University students from the Games Technology course has recently launched their Kickstarter campaign for their game Rite of Life.

You can find more about the game and the campaign (which has exceeded the original goal and remains ongoing) here

Saturday, 19 September 2015


The BBC recently made an original TV movie called Gamechangers which focused on the controversy around the Grand Theft Auto games (this was around the San Andreas era of the series).

For those who have not watched here is the iPlayer link (you need to be UK based), the show is still available to watch and is well worth an hour and a half of watching time.

Epic Games makes UE4 content available for free

On more Unreal related news, Epic has over the last few days a significant amount of free content that one can download and use with UE4 (via their Marketplace). This is a) the Infiltrator tech demo (pictured below) b) Infinity Blade game assets and, finally, c) the Showdown VR demo.

This is a commendable practice and hopefully one that will be kept up as it offers the dedicated UE4 community both insight and content.

New version of the Unreal engine

Version 4.9 of the Unreal engine has recently been released (and is currently on 4.9.1 already). Fascinating to see how far the engine has come along since this version was (first) launched in spring 2014.

You can read the full features update on the official site here.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Oculus Touch

This broke the news a while back however it is still worth reporting; the Oculus Touch, Oculus VR's interaction device, continues to make waves. 

It looks like the controller device will be at the heart of the device's approach when launched in 2016.

Two latest reports on it include the one from IGN which can be found here and is worth checking out if you are not familiar yet with what the device may offer.

HoloLens for research

In case you want to use Microsoft's Hololens for research you should check out Microsoft's competition; they offer two devices and 100,000 USDs (x5) for the winners.

This can be seen in full here (and the deadline is on 05/09). 

Publicity on collaborative project on prey detection

A few weeks ago, a project on prey detection I am also collaborating on with BU colleagues received a mention in quite a bit of publicity material in a variety of sites (listing a few below).

Mendel's farm Greenlit

Mendel's farm, a game created by former Bournemouth University students of the Games Technology course has recently been Greenlit on Valve's and should be making its way onto Steam soon. 

Many congratulations to the Static team again for this fantastic achievement. More info on Steam here.

Shenmue in UE4?

Would you like to know what a Shenmue recreation would like, if done in Epic's UE4? You can check out the clip below for that.

In anticipation of Shenmue 3 it is great to see the original also lives on in different ways.

Sony EngD project

There is now an EngD project open at the Centre of Digital Entertainment at Bournemouth University, in collaboration with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe R&D, on a VR theme.

For more information and applying see here.

gEducation 2015 PC

I am on the Program Committee for gEducation 2015, the 2nd International Workshop on Gamification in Education.

More information about this Barcelona event which takes place in November can be found here.

ACE 2015

I have once again served as the reviewer for this year's ACE conference (Advances In Computer Entertainment 2015) which will take place in Iskandar, Malaysia in November.

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

Stingray engine

A new games engine is doing the rounds; this time by Autodesk. The engine is called Stingray. Not a completely surprising move from the company that brings Maya and 3DS Max to games developers yet one which enters them in a very competitive market.

Time will tell if this new engine will be successful compared to the likes of Unity, Unreal etc. Till then you can access this here (30 day trial).


I have been invited to the PATTERNS 2016 (The Eighth International Conferences on Pervasive Patterns and Applications) International Program Committee. 

The conference is to take place in March in Rome.

More information on the official site here.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

HAISA conference paper

I was the co-author for a recent conference paper at HAISA 2015 (Ninth International Symposium on the Human Aspects of Information Security and Assurance), titled "Digital Rights Management: The Four Perspectives of Developers, Distributors, Users, and Lawyers".

The conference programme can be found here, the conference took place in Lesvos, Greece in July.

Edge magazine article

Edge magazine recently had in its annual Get Into Games supplement an interview with me about the Bournemouth University games courses.

This can be found in full here.

Elsevier Computers and Graphics article published

An article I am the co-author on has recently been published in Elsevier's Computers and Graphics. The article is titled "A Survey on Object Deformation and Decomposition in Computer Graphics".

The article can be found here.


I have been invited to the International Program Committee for ICONS 2016 (The Eleventh International Conference on Systems).

This is to take place in Lisbon, Portugal in February. The official site of the conference can be found here.

Social media sites added

Of late I have added some content to a few social media sites (LinkedIn, YouTube etc.) and intend, time permitting, to do more of this in the coming future.

The list will be (constantly) updated; the current ones live can be seen on the right under the Personal Biography panel (with the rest of the existing URLs).

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Hardware requirements for the Oculus Rift

Continuing in a VR theme, as with the previous blog post; with the commercial release of the Oculus Rift (mooted for 2016) it is interesting to see what hardware one would need to be able to use this. 

MCV lists here the specific requirements and they are certainly worth looking at.

With the competition in VR hardware heating up it will be fascinating to see how developments of the various planned devices turn out over the next few months.

UE4 and SteamVR

The Unreal engine has carried VR support for devices like the Oculus Rift for a while now and now extends this to the SteamVR effort. This is with version 4.8 onwards of the UE4 engine.

You can read the piece of news/press release on the official Unreal engine site here. This of course is good news for any VR developer with the SteamVR hardware lined up to be one of the major competitors in the area in the near future.

Minecraft and Game of Thrones

If you ever wondered what different locations from the TV show Game of Thrones would look like recreated in Minecraft then you might want to check out the video below.

The effort is detailed in full in the official site of the project (imaginatively called WesterosCraft) here.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Angry Birds in VR?

This is making headlines over the web (alongside the screenshot below) and is definitely worth mentioning here too; it appears Rovio is preparing a VR version (on the Samsung Gear) of their hugely successful Angry Birds title. 

While not a lot of information is available on this currently it appears the exciting part of this is the player being placed at a third person viewpoint, this time behind the action.

As this is one of the most iconic games of all time it goes without saying that should this ever be released, it could potentially be a big boost for the medium.

TIGA Budget Submissions document quote

This is a few weeks old now but there is a quote from myself in the recent TIGA Budget Submissions March 2015 document.

This can be read in full here (my quote is on page 17).

Creative England, Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth games jam

Between the 8th and 10th of May we ran, here at Bournemouth University, a games jam competition, over 48 hours, with participating students from two different Universities (Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth). 

Creative England, and their GamesLab programme, provided two cash prizes for this. 

Six teams completed games with three industry judges, who were kind enough to come in for this on a Sunday, providing valuable feedback and the award prizes at the end.

Whilst the competition is finished now you can see more information about this here and find out more about GamesLab here.

Elsevier Entertainment Computing journal special issue guest editing

I am one of the two guest editors for a recently published special issue in the Elsevier journal of Entertainment Computing. 

This is a special issue consisting of five selected expanded and enhanced articles from the 5th International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications (VS Games 2013). 

It is Volume 5, Issue 4 (2014) of the journal.

You can see this special issue, among all other special issues published in this specific journal, here.

International Gamification for Business Conference 2015 IPC

Another conference I have been asked to sit on the International Program Committee for is the International Gamification for Business Conference 2015.

Taking place in Birmingham in September 2015, you can find information on submission for this here.


I have recently been invited to participate as a member to the IEEE GEM 2015 International Program Committee. 

The conference is taking place in Toronto in October, with its full name being the 7th IEEE Consumer Electronics Society Games, Entertainment, Media Conference.

The official website and more information about the conference itself can be found here.