Xmas Shindig

this is always a tough one – places are busy, people have lots of other parties too…

then again people are home from the UK and elsewhere so it is a good opportunity to catch up with gd.ie folk working abroad.

venue is solas (used to be the modern green bar) on wexford street from 7.30 pm. Just up from the cornerstone which is where we were last month.

Please PM people and get a mobile no for people attending in case the bar is packed.

see http://www.dublinks.com/index.cfm/loc/11/pt/28/spid/14903601-ED42-449D-9A60421264F6980A.htm

Digital Media Awards 08

Shortlist now available at

http://www.digitalmedia.ie/flash/index.html

I see there is no games category any more!

event will be in the crowne plaza in Dublin.

Mobile Games Forum 2008

23rd – 24th Jan

http://www.mobilegamesforum.co.uk/

Sofitel St James London
6 Waterloo Place
London SW1Y 4AN

Riverplay Games Releases Game

Kieth Killilea has been in touch to say he is back with a new company, Riverplay Games, and they have released a new game called ‘Spike Dash’. You can see and buy the game at www.riverplaygames.com

Kieth is CEO of Riverplay Games which is a new Indie games developer & online publisher based out of Galway.

People on gd.ie will remember that Kieth was CEO of Starcave games previously based in Galway. They released ‘Camelot Galway -City of Tribes’ in January 2006 via Garage Games.

Igda Education Sig Summit Cfp

This just came through and may be of interest to those involved in games education.

Aphra.

IGDA EDUCATION SIG SUMMIT
February 18 & 19, 2008
=========================

The IGDA Education SIG Summit is held in co-location with the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, California. This two-day summit will focus on nuts and bolts practices in curriculum and teaching methods for game development education. There will be two tracks, one aimed at novice educators just entering the game education genre, the second for experienced educators looking for additional tools teaching game design and development.

There will be lectures, model curricula, case blasts, postmortems, interactive hands-on sessions as well as great opportunities for networking and discussion throughout the workshop. Attendees will leave with useful examples and ideas on how to best develop and/or reinvigorate game development curricula in their institution.

The goal of this summit is to address educational issues by sharing examples of best practices in teaching and curricula. It is our hope that participants will collaborate and help create guidelines for the growing community of educators teaching video game design and development. Attendees will leave with useful examples and ideas on how to best develop and/or reinvigorate video game curricula in their institutions.

Call for Posters
================
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
•The design and execution of game design and development classes.
•The use of game design and development projects in traditional classes.
•Game design and development as capstone projects.
•Interdisciplinary collaboration in game programs (for students and faculty).
•Teaching and curriculum development in game programs.
•Game development concentrations and majors.
•Laboratory and infrastructure requirements for game classes.
•The effect of game design and development classes on the student.
•Learning theories and pedagogy and their application to games education.
•Tools and methods for supporting games education.
•Novel and experimental games.

Additionally, we welcome posters detailing research results relevant to the themes of the summit as well as posters highlighting or showcasing student experiences in games education programs. Student experiences can be showcased in the context of their capstone or class projects.

Guidelines
==========
Poster submissions must present original, unpublished research or experiences. Late-breaking advances and work-in-progress reports from ongoing research are also encouraged to be submitted. Posters under review elsewhere should not be submitted.

To submit to the poster session, please write an abstract of the research or experiences that you wish to present during the poster session (800 words maximum.) Abstracts must be submitted electronically to submit_EdSIGposter@igda.org.

Important dates in the paper submission process include the following:

Submission deadline: January 15, 2008 (12:00 midnight, US Eastern time)

Notification: January 24, 2008

Questions on poster sessions can be directed to the poster session chair José Zagal at jp@cc.gatech.edu

If the poster is accepted you will be expected to comply with the following guidelines:

1.All posters will be presented on a tri-fold presentation board 36″ by 48″.
2.Provide 100 copies of the Abstract of the poster.
•Include title, Author(s)
•Single spaced
•Limit to one page in length
3.Authors of accepted posters are required to be present at their posters for discussion at the specified time during the summit.
4.Authors are responsible for the transportation of their presentations.
5.Use large enough fonts for subtitles and text so that the poster can be read from approximately 2-3 feet away. Avoid the use of script fonts that are difficult to read.

Further Information
===================

IGDA Information: http://www.igda.org/
Education Summit Information: http://gdconf.com/conference/edusig.htm
Game Developer’s Conference 2008: http://www.gdconf.com/

Robocode Ireland And The Xna Ireland Challenge

The by now annual Robocode Ireland competition for first year undergraduate students will be joined this year by the XNA Ireland challenge in 2008.

The XNA Ireland Challenge will honor the 30th anniversary of SPACE INVADERS and Taito Corporation have granted permission to run this celebratory event.

Both competitions are being run by Philip Bourke at Tipp Institute in Thurles and Lenovo are sponsoring the Robocode event. Last year a team from DIT won the Robocode competition.

The event will take place on thursday March the 13th 2008 and will be preceded by a “Traditional Music Night” and social event.

For more information on the events see http://www.robocode.ie and http://www.xna.ie

Please spread the word about this competition and if you have questions or queries contact Phil Bourke through the respective websites.

For competition posters see http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/images/xna_poster.pdf

Igda Education Sig Summit

IGDA EDUCATION SIG SUMMIT
February 18 & 19, 2008
=========================

The IGDA Education SIG Summit is held in co-location with the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, California. This two-day summit will focus on nuts and bolts practices in curriculum and teaching methods for game development education. There will be two tracks, one aimed at novice educators just entering the game education genre, the second for experienced educators looking for additional tools teaching game design and development.

Further Information
===================

IGDA Information: http://www.igda.org/
Education Summit Information: http://gdconf.com/conference/edusig.htm
Game Developer’s Conference 2008: http://www.gdconf.com/

Gdc – San Fran – 08

GDC is extra early this year – February 18-22 – and back in San Fransisco.

As usual there will be the choice AWards, the Indepepdent Games Festial, a mobile summit, a serious games summit etc.

For more see http://www.gdconf.com/

Robocode Ireland And Xna Ireland Challenge

It is the time of year again for this highly anticipated annual third level programming competition.

This year the Robocode will run alongside the XNA Ireland challenge which will honour the 30th anniversary of SPACE Invaders.

For more see http://www.robocode.ie/

Gd.Ie Shindig

There will be an informal pub meet of forum members and friends this coming Friday night in the Cornerstone Pub, corner of Kevin Street and Wexford Street in Dublin from 7pm.

There is an up and downstairs so have a good look for us and if you need a contact number PM aphra before Friday evening.

for a map see http://www.softguides.com/dublin/maps/l52o54.html

On Sat Ernest Adams is hosting a workshop with secondary school children on game design in DIT and next Monday Microsoft and Trinity College are hosting an XNA development day. More news on these elsewhere in news and on the forums under events.

see http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewforum.php?f=18

Xna Game Dev Workshop

The Trinity College IET MSc programme in collaboration with Microsoft is hosting an XNA Game Development workshop on Monday 26th November in the Lloyd Institute, TCD.

If you are interested in attending this event you must register in advance here:

http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/EventDetail.aspx?EventID=1032358370&Culture=en-IE

Speakers include Liam Cronin, MS academic liaison in Ireland, and Dave Mitchell, Director, Microsoft XNA, Microsoft Corporation who will talk about ‘ The Ongoing Democratization of Game Development. Steve Collins will also speak.

More details of the event and the schedule are available at the above website.

For map of Trinity see http://www.tcd.ie/Maps/tcd_east.html

Review Of Serious Games Conf. ‘07

Friday 26th September 2007 saw a Serious Games Awakenings (SGA) conference hosted in the North West Regional College (NWRC) in Derry in Northern Ireland. James Burke from the University of Ulster at Coleraine wrote a review of the event for gd.ie

The event was organised by the Northern Ireland Business and Innovation Centre (NORIBIC) and involved speakers from the Serious Games industry, from academia as well as exhibitions from local companies involved with serious games. The event was also host to the launch of “Recall”, a 3D serious game made in Derry to promote peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland’s schools.

Prior to the event’s commencement, local companies and schools had a chance to set up and showcase their work in the centre’s foyer. Exhibitors included ICECUBE, SilverTongue Software, DoodleDawg Entertainment, Nerve Centre, Instinct Technology, Invest Northern Ireland, and University of Ulster. I was contributing as part of the C3 research group at UUC and the conference provided a great opportunity to display information about our work on rehabilitation and educational serious games, as well as our work on game based e-learning systems.

The conference kicked off with a foreword from NORIBIC, and the entire conference was being broadcast live through Second Life, which was shown on screens at either side of the main stage.

Professor Paul Fullwood – Abertay University, Dundee

The first talk of the day was from Professor Paul Fullwood of Abertay University, Dundee. Prof. Fullwood’s talk began by giving a brief overview of the games industry, now an industry bigger than the movie industry, having overtaken DVD as well as movie sales. He also mentioned the statistic that 31% of males play games, whilst only 14% of females play games, which is something he believes needs to be taken into account in the design of educational games.

He discussed the premise of play being a natural technique: just like young animals play to learn and improve skills, so do we as humans, and this is just as viable a learning technique when we are older. He also recalled how his son could learn a very long cheat code off by heart for a game, and suggested how great it would be if we could educate children with such a memorable impact through game content. Games will educate if they are fairly paced, well balanced in terms of difficulty (skill versus balance), well designed, and of course, if people want to play the game.

The importance of packaging educational content in the form of a fun inviting game for also stressed, and he used an example that kids would not desire to play a game entitled “Long Division” (you’re right there!). Based on his experience from his California based serious games company ‘LightSpan’, Professor Fullwood proposed that there are 3 main conditions that will make a serious game successful:

*Dilution
*Dispersion
*Demographics

These conditions are based upon the theory that in order for a serious game to be successful, it is important to dilute the educational objective and disperse it over many sections of a game, rather than cramming it all into one section. This means that the game’s playability will not be hampered by the educational messages which need to be portrayed. He also advised that games must be designed with the player demographics in mind, for example a game designed and produced by Americans will not necessarily suit children in Scotland.

Professor Fullwood closed by talking about his current project, Add Knowledge, utilising Fullwood’s years of experience gained from LightSpan. The project, which has backing from the Scottish government, aims to provide every child in Scotland, aged between 5 and 12 yrs old, with a free games console. Games will then be provided which cover all aspects of the education curriculum, with the objective of children playing these games outside of school hours to increase their learning time. Consoles were chosen as the key platform over personal computers as consoles are generally cheaper than high powered PC’s, are easy to setup, have a high availability, and are a lot more stable and universally compatible than PC’s. “Learning is child’s play” is the fitting motto to end Professor Fullwood’s presentation.

Roo Reynolds – Metaverse Evangelist, IBM

Next up was Andrew “Roo” Reynolds of IBM’s Hursleys Park Laboratory, who describes himself as a “metaverse evangelist”, and is part of a team which facilitates the use of virtual worlds. He has a very active online presence, blogging with his work partner on eightbar.co.uk, wandering the world of Second Life, representing his music taste on Last.fm, keeping his bookmarks on del.icio.us, uploading his photos to Flickr, tracking his location on Plazes, and telling what he’s currently doing on Twitter. He also showed a product developed for IBM’ers called ‘IBM Rock’ which aggregates data from Last.fm as well as the user’s location on a Google Earth type interface, showing where users are and what they’re listening to.

Roo believes these social sites allow people to keep in touch, as well as learning more about each other, perhaps leading to discussion about mutual interests you never knew you had, as well as extending our social networks. The content of these sites is user-driven and highly personalised. The technology also allows people to collaborate at times when it might not otherwise be possible.

He also spoke of how virtual worlds allow us to be whoever we want, be it a representation of our true selves, or something completely different. As an example he talked about a friend of his who uses a cloud as his avatar in Second Life! They can also be used for work purposes, as Roo showed screenshots of meetings which IBM held within Second Life, with the employees’ avatars gathered around a table. “Work doesn’t have to be boring”, he says. Other virtual worlds were mentioned, such as the online space game “EVE Online” which Roo plays occasionally, and the upcoming “Playstation Home” virtual world, which will be for use on the Playstation 3 console. Finally, he showed Metaverse, a virtual world being developed internally for IBM employees, based on the Torque engine.

You can read Roo’s personal blog at http://rooreynolds.com/

Professor Lizbeth Goodman –
SMARTlab Digital Media Institute, and Magic Gamelab

Dr Lizbeth Goodman is Professor of Creative Technology Innovation, and founder/director of the SMARTlab Digital Media Institute, and Magic Gamelab, based at the University of East London and at international sister sites globally. She is the director of a team of professional new media artists, technologists, urban planners and engineers conducting collaborative research into the transdisciplinary fields of technology development and art, e-health, e-inclusion, haptics and ‘art-sci’. Her fields of speciality are gender representation in the digital media (performance, film, moving image and games/virtual environments) and the creation of learning games developed for, and also with, people with disabilities and non-standard gamers. She believes that games should not be needlessly challenging, and should be somewhat relaxing.

Professor Goodman’s presentation consisted of a DVD video which showcased the institute’s areas of work:

InterFACES – the human face of assistive technologies. This project tests the effectiveness of available tools for using eye movement as a control mechanism for communications by people with little or no other voluntary muscle movement. The video showed an event called Music Jam, where the user, James Brosnan, who has cerebral palsy, was able to play along with musicians using an eye tracking system involving an on-screen grid, where different positions represented different notes and chords.

MINDtouch – Embodiment Theory & User Interface Design (BBC project): To work with biofeedback sensor technologies on the bodies of Tai Chi practitioners and Mediators’ in tandem with mobile phone technology to find unique and meaningful ways to work with and visualize the mind/body activity in various states of movement, stillness and meditation.

Lost & Found – A game utilising cutting edge and future technology tools to help track missing children and adults, and running a GPS-enabled system with live and online objectives to track sightings.

Other projects listed on the SMARTlab website include:

MAGIC and PLAYroom – The PLAYroom provides SPACE for free play: projects based in the PLAYroom will focus exclusively on gaming and play, whilst emphasising knowledge transfer, partnership with the private and public sectors, commercial development, and virtual and real world community projects.

MAGICBOX – Accessible Tech Personal & Community Fabrication: The MAGICBOX workshop enables fabrication of computer generated design models. Our goal is to develop accessible systems for desktop manufacturing, peer production and digital materialization. We are interested in the application of this technology to disadvantaged population groups.

TRUST – The Butterfly Factory: A storytelling game with human movement interaction triggered by a haptic chair.

HOPE – Gives chronically ill children the opportunity to escape stresses inherent in their conditions by providing distraction through gaming and comfort via peer contact.

To conclude, Lizbeth stated that SMART Labs are actively looking for new communities or universities to start new partnerships. You can check the team’s website at www.smartlab.uk.com for more details.

David Wortley – Director, Serious Games Institute

David Wortley is Director of the Serious Games Institute (SGI) at Coventry University. He is responsible for the development of the Institute as a self-financing initiative to establish a centre of excellence for the serious games application area.

“Virtual worlds are a new frontier. We as developers are its pioneers”, David proudly announces.

David spoke of his experiences with virtual worlds such as Second Life, and talked of the increasing use of augmented reality and geographic information systems driving us increasingly closer to technology where we will be able to zoom into an area of the world, and drill right down inside a building, which will allow us to socialise with other people within that building. He presented an example of this, where the institute were having a meeting which was also simultaneously represented in Second Life, with each person represented as an avatar.

Another example of augmented reality which David spoke of was the virtual doll house – a doll house which could be explored and controlled in a virtual world, but where each action in the virtual world was mirrored on a linked doll house in real life. For example, opening a door in the virtual doll house would cause the represented door to be opened in the real doll house. The concept of this made me realise that perhaps voodoo dolls may be a frightening reality very soon!

Finally, David talked about what he called a “speed dating” system which their institute had trialled, whereby teams of people would ‘island hop’ in a virtual world to meet and converse with other teams of people, socialising and sharing ideas.

Eric Zimmerman – GameLab Keynote Address

Eric Zimmerman is a game designer, artist and academic, and is one of the co-founders of the computer game development company called Gamelab. Unfortunately he was unable to be at the conference in person, but delivered his keynote address via a webcam. There were some issues, webcam communication technology being what it is, such as a very slow frame rate and some intermittent pauses in the audio feed. However, none of these issues hindered the conveyance of the presentation.

Eric began his talk by saying how he was worried about the fact that he didn’t know what our responses would be to his jokes, since he could not hear nor see us. Lucky for him, people laughed at this.

He then continued by suggesting the idea that game design can be used as a model for literacy in the 21st Century. He proposed that there is a new emerging form of media literacy, which he called ‘game literacy’. Zimmerman describes gaming literacy as designing, creating and managing digital information, and being able to understand and utilise complex systems and social networks using digital technology.

Increasingly, this new form of literacy will be crucial in the workplace and in our social lives. Zimmerman believes that the process of game design, which combines logic, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and storytelling among other elements, is one of the best ways of engaging with this new form of media literacy. He outlined how gaming literacy is centered on systems, play and design. He went on to describe how games are systems which are defined by rules and play is rules set into motion.

Following this talk, he gave the audience a sneak preview of his latest project called “Gamestar Mechanic”, a game designed to teach people about game design. It’s emphasis is on game design rather than programming, and requires the designer to successfully put together a rich array of knowledge and skills in order to create a game that people will interact with and play. The purpose of the game is to get young people to think like a game designer. The system reminded me somewhat of YoYo Games’ ‘Gamemaker’, but with a more plug and play approach whereby you can design a part of the game, and jump right into it immediately, as well as a more friendly interface for those who are not programmers.

Zimmermann concluded by stating that games and play present a wonderful challenge to us all and that although games may not be wonderful bearers of information they are a primary form of play and through play we learn. He considers that we have moved from the information age into the entertainment era, and that in fact the 21st Century is the century of play. It is no longer about just having information; it is about designing for ourselves and taking control.

Eric has co-authored two books: Rules of Play, and The Game Design Reader. Both are available from MIT Press.

Conclusion

Personally, as a student involved in Serious Games research at UUC, I found this conference to be of great interest. It was valuable having the opportunity to hear from people within the industry, as well as being able to network with people between talks. The event was very well organised, with each attendee getting a free goody bag containing a copy of the ‘Recall’ game, as well as an Awakenings t-shirt, and a great hot lunch was provided for all attendees, including dessert! At this point I would like to thank NORIBIC and all others involved for a most enjoyable conference, and hope to see more conferences in Ireland for Serious Games in the future.

[sorry to James for stripping out his links etc…ed.]

Author: James Burke
With contributions from Therese McGinnis
University of Ulster, Coleraine

If you were at the day comment on this article and on the day on our forums at http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3976

for other comments see
http://creativecomputingcoleraine.blogspot.com/2007/10/awakenings-serious-games-conference.html

For pics of the event see http://flickr.com/photos/rooreynolds/sets/72157602740336337/

Writing For Games

The Digital Media Forum presents this workshop which will examine how increasingly important narrative is to the success of computer and console games and looks at what skills are required for writing for games.

Guest speaker Guy Miller is an artist, writer and game designer.

Date: Wednesday 28th November
Venue: Filmbase, Curved Street,
Templebar, Dublin 2
Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm
Admission: FREE – Registration is required as space is limited

To Register: email info@digitalmediaforum.net

Tea & Coffee will be served

http://www.digitalmediaforum.net/documents/news/games_flyer.pdf

Writing For Games Workshop

The Digital Media Forum presents this workshop which will examine how increasingly important narrative is to the success of computer and console games and looks at what skills are required for writing for games.

Guest speaker Guy Miller is an artist, writer and game designer. Credited with writing the storyline for the original Tomb Raider game (his miniscule footnote in gaming history is coming up with the name ‘Lara’), he has become renowned in the gaming industry. He also co-designed and directed the notorious Shadow Man games, and was Creative Director for EA’s Harry Potter series.

Date: Wednesday 28th November
Venue: Filmbase, Curved Street,
Templebar, Dublin 2
Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm
Admission: FREE – Registration is required as space is limited

To Register: email info@digitalmediaforum.net

Tea & Coffee will be served

http://www.digitalmediaforum.net/documents/news/games_flyer.pdf

Presented in association with Skillnets and Eircom

The Digital Media Forum,
The Digital Depot,
Thomas Street,
Dublin 8

ph: 01-4893604
e: info@digitalmediaforum.net
w: www.digitalmediaforum.net

Digital Media Show

10 artists have been selected to showcase their work in this, the inaugural ‘Best in Show’ exhibition in The Digital Hub, Dublin.

Launch Date: Thursday 8th November 2007
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Digital Exchange, Crane Street, The Digital Hub, Dublin 8
RSVP: exhibit@thedigitalhub.com or 01 4806200

This exhibition will run until 16th of November from 10am to 5.30pm daily excluding Saturday and Sunday.

Digital Media Student Project Exhib

This looks like a useful opportunity to see some new emerging talent. Launch is this Thurs but the exhibition will run until the 16th of November.

***********

In 2007, The Digital Hub called for submissions for ‘Best in Show’, an exhibition to showcase work from Digital Media students. 10 artists have been selected to showcase their work in this, the inaugural ‘Best in Show’ exhibition in The Digital Hub.

For the first time under one roof @ The Digital Hub, this exhibition showcases a selection of work from graduate exhibitions from a cross section of colleges. Pieces shown are from many different disciplines including Visual Communications, Fine Art, Interactive Media, Virtual Realities, Film, Gaming, Animation, Model Making and Multimedia courses. Best in Show is the 10th exhibition in the “Exhibit @ The Digital Hub” series.

The artists selected are Joanna Hopkins (LSAD), Cormac Kelly (IADT), Clare Shanahan (IADT), Conor McGarrigle (NCAD), Katy Judge (DIT), Stephen McCarthy (DIT), Jennifer Kidd (DIT) Faith Denham (Goldsmiths College, University of London) and two groups from Dundalk IT, the Tactical Control Force group and the Seven Deadly Sins group.

Launch Date: Thursday 8th November 2007
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Digital Exchange, Crane Street, The Digital Hub, Dublin 8
RSVP: exhibit@thedigitalhub.com or 01 4806200

This exhibition will run until 16th of November from 10am to 5.30pm daily excluding Saturday and Sunday.

Eurographics 07 Ucd

The 8th Irish Workshop on Computer Graphics will take place at the School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin on the 17th of December 2007.

See: http://www.ucd.ie/diagnosticimaging/html/eg07/

Local Heroes

A lot of videogame history is lost in translation. Due to dubious localisation, some of the greatest games were afforded lines like “This guy are sick”, or asked questions such as “But do you really are?” Who can forget Resident Evil’s pièce de résistance: “Jill, you the master of lock-picking”. Meanwhile, “All your base are belong to us”, a moment of surreal nonsense in an English translation of Japanese game Zero Wing (1989), became an Internet phenomenon, spawning a catchphrase and even merchandise. In the past, incomprehensible dialogue in games – hand grenades described as “throwing-stick exploding bombs”, etc – was excusable. In 2007, when international markets command around 40% of total videogame sales, publishers and developers know that car-boot translations will simply not cut the mustard.

Localisation has become priority for all major releases, affording gamers in Prague the same enjoyment from a title as those in Philadelphia, and Ireland is renowned as an ideal base for this business. In 1995, Vivendi Publishing Games (Warcraft, Diablo, Spyro, etc.) established its worldwide localisation centre in Dublin. Vivendi Games Ireland is involved in the organisation and adaptation of content, translation, graphics, audio recording, engineering, and Quality Assurance (QA). Activision recently established its localisation division in Ireland, GALA networks have a European base in Dublin’s Digital Hub, while Goa Games Services (a subsidiary of France Telecom) is involved in localisation of titles such as Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, from its Dublin office. Game Localization Network (gamelocalisation.net) also works from Dublin, providing services such as voice-over recording and graphics localisation.

Microsoft Game Studios (Ireland) – based in Microsoft’s European Development Centre Sandyford, Dublin – undertakes localisation services for Xbox 360 and PC titles across the EU countries, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. The division also provides support for various Microsoft teams around Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and (to a lesser degree) Asia. Peter Fitzpatrick, Senior Programme Manager, recognises the prevalence of localisation companies in Ireland and the advantages to an Irish base. “When Microsoft executives – from the Visual Vice President right up to Steve Ballmer or Bill Gates – visit Ireland they cite our time zone and the calibre of our employees. We have a strong workforce with good IT skills – historically that has always been the case. Also, the Irish workforce has the ability to work within the EU. We are no strangers to negotiating and partnering with bodies – whether government or businesses – in any EU state. We are familiar with the work required to be successful in the EU.”

Economics also nurture a localisation-friendly environment in Ireland, says Peter. “There is a very encouraging tax regime for multinationals in this country. On more than one occasion, people like Steve Ballmer have said that doing business with the Irish state is very easy because the state goes out of its way to accommodate companies like Microsoft. We Irish can be very cynical, but it is fascinating to hear this.”

Peter has worked with the Bungie franchise and their blockbuster Halo series over the last few years. Firstly in an audio capacity for Halo 1, then as project manager for Halo 2’s localisation. His role further expanded for Halo 3. As part of his job, Peter manages an internal team and a number of outside partners. In-house, the work consists of liasing with software engineers, packaging managers and documentation managers; externally, he deals with vendor companies that provide localisation services and audio production. “We use an outsource model for a lot of our work,” he explains. “Our policy is to only use experienced game localisers in-country. A professional translator can translate a contract but you need a localiser to adapt, as well as translate, a game. A flat translation of a game like Halo would not work.”

Halo 3 is a case in point for the importance of localisation. In early 2007, the game’s Global Marketing Manager informed Microsoft Game Studios (Ireland) that Bungie wanted to include cameos from local celebrities for each region. Thus, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Mexico, all featured indigenous stars helping out on voiceover duties. For the English version, which shipped to Ireland and beyond, the Dublin division secured the services of TV and radio celeb Jonathan Ross.

Why Jonathan Ross? “I knew that he was a gadget freak and he has a profile that is not inconsistent with a Halo gamer. A Halo gamer will stay up watching TV at night, then play some games – they know who he is. Jonathan is into culture. He’s a big fan of Japanese gaming in particular, so it was a bit of a no-brainer.” In June 2007, the team travelled to London to supervise Ross’s recording session. What exactly did Ross do for Halo 3? “He ad-libbed and brought a character and humour to the game. He voice-acts in a couple of cut scenes – for example, he’s a pilot in a craft that crashes – and he also appears in a couple of Easter Eggs. He plays a couple of marines, so if you stall and do nothing for a while, he will start talking to you.” The localisation team recorded Ross for around three hours and their audio lead, who worked in Bungie’s studio in Washington for two months on audio mixes of the game, used around 80% of Ross’s content.

image2
Team Halo Dublin. From left-to-right: Jamie O’Connell [Packaging
Manager], Mick Ivory [Software Development Engineer], Master Chief
[Hero], Michel Buch-Andersen [Group Manager MGS Ireland], Jason Shirley
[Audio Lead], Peter Fitzpatrick [Senior Program Manager], Not pictured :
Niamh Marsh [Documentation Manager]

Other Dublin-based game multinationals cater toward the needs of individual territories. Gala Networks Europe (GNE), part of the Gala Group, publishes online games such as Flyff, Space Cowboy Online, Rappelz, Corum Online and Upshift StrikeRacer. Gala’s group company is headquartered in Tokyo; it has a development company in Korea and a publisher in the United States. GNE is a subsidiary of the U.S. publisher. “We set up our company via IDA Ireland,” explains Gus Hur, Chief Operating Officer at GNE, at his office in Dublin’s Digital Hub. “Our mother company in the U.S. publishes games for English language speakers, but there are many European users, so we decided to set up a European service.”

What localisation duties does GNE undertake? “We translate from English to German. We customise the game for European people. Sometimes we sell special items for users – European people love soccer, so we sell soccer-related items with big games. We don’t spend much time on translation – our main job is customer support. We employ 11 people here. Around half of them work in customer support.”

Localisation is often a necessity. In the past, strict censoring laws in countries like Germany meant that Quake, Soldier of Fortune, Carmageddon, Grand Theft Auto, and other such games, removed blood in favour of greenish gunk. In Germany’s version of Command & Conquer, enemy soldiers were turned into robotic ‘droids’. In this respect, localisation often involves the manipulation of graphical content. Microsoft’s Peter Fitzpatrick explains: “We’ll only do this if it is required. A practical example would be Project Gotham 4. Let’s say you are driving through a city that has road signs. Logically, the signs would be in the language of that city so we would not change them. However, in a game like Fable, we make sure that signs are localised otherwise it impacts the user’s ability to play the game.”

This process requires close partnership with the game’s developers. The history of localisation features horror stories of text scattered throughout a game’s code, or unorganised voiceover files, making the localiser’s task a nightmare. These days, most developers create games with localisation in mind. So, when a developer introduces text to a game, they either separately resource the text or embed it in the graphics. In the latter case, a developer must ensure that the files are layered so the localiser may replace them. The developer must also ensure that the code and content is structured in such a way that the localisation of the game does not require compiling. Thereby, a localiser can drop assets for, say, an Italian version of the game, straight into a flat-build structure and immediately execute that version. The game’s memory and runtime must also support non-Western or accented characters, ensuring that players in various regions may use their Xbox Live Gamertags.

A localiser must also create regional manuals and packaging, continues Peter. “We released 42 different product variations of Halo 3. There is the Legendary Edition with the helmet, the Limited Edition with the tin, and the regular package of the game. To cover all the different markets, the promotional copies and bundle copies, each variation required a slightly different mix. We provide a fully localised manual so that the experience for the end user in Germany is as good as in France, Germany, the UK, Ireland, the U.S., etc. Our documentation people are faced with a real challenge when dealing with areas like Central and Eastern Europe. We give them a manual containing multiple languages. The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Russia, receive the same basic package with all the languages on the packaging, then a manual with each of the languages inside it. This is a logistical challenge because you are limited as to how many pages you can put in a box. We try to balance the expense of catering for these markets, versus making sure that the gamers get what they need.”

Localisers are constantly recruiting and they offer plenty of opportunity. Peter Fitzpatrick initially worked for Music Pen, a game developer in the U.S., before he came to Microsoft Game Studios (Ireland) as an audio manager some 13 years ago. Since then, he has progressed through a series of different jobs. “You can come into this company as a tester and end up a software engineer,” he says. By way of example, a graduate from the Waterford Institute of Technology started in the division as a game tester; he is now one of the Senior Engineers, and worked closely with Bungie on Halo 3. There are opportunities for game testers, although anyone with an easy ride in mind need not apply, notes Peter. “Great testers must understand the process of development and bug fixing; they need the discipline to work within a schedule and a team. We do some testing in-house, but we also have external vendors.” GNE recruit around three or four staff every month, adds Gus Hur. For the most part, these are customer support staff, but game producers are also taken on board.

The Irish localisation industry has already experienced a degree of cross-pollination, with employees skipping from one company to another, but having so many people in one vicinity, engaged in a single goal, can only be beneficial for Ireland’s development community and its college graduates. Hopefully, the industry is also helping to assign shoddy game localisation to history. “Developers are acknowledging and delivering on local content to help drive interest in games,” concludes Peter. “Localisation used to have a very bad reputation, but now teams like ours are demonstrating that it is a great job with real results. From a game’s point of view, localisation in Ireland has never been more exciting or had more potential.”

More info:

Microsoft Ireland – http://www.microsoft.com/ireland/

Gala Networks Europe – http://www.thedigitalhub.com/enterprise_research/company_directory.php?action=view&id=106 and http://flyffde.gpotato.eu/ (in German)

Eurographics 2007, Ucd

This event has previously taken place in TCD and included a lot of talks of interest to game developers. This year it moves to UCD and the following information was sent in to us.

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The 8th Irish Workshop on Computer Graphics will take place at the School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College Dublin on the 17th of December 2007.

Previous Eurographics Irish workshops have been very successful with many top international speakers and researchers in attendance. In recent times, the importance of graphics, visualisation and related technologies in all sectors of Irish society has increased rapidly. These technologies are not only relevant in the games and film industries, but also the biomedical sector.

This year is the first year a non-computer science institute is hosting the conference, re-inforcing the multi-disciplinary nature of this field of research.

The special theme will be “Humans: from the Inside Out “, but we hope to bring together a diverse group of people interested in the theory and applications of Computer Graphics and its intersection with other areas, such as perception, Games, Physics, Artificial Intelligence, audio and haptics.

Please join us in Dublin and help to promote the exciting field of Graphics in Ireland.

See: http://www.ucd.ie/diagnosticimaging/html/eg07/

Msc In Mm Showcase Dcu

Looking for some new emerging talent or to see the types of projects MSc in MM students can create?

DCU students of the 2006/2007 M.Sc in Multimedia degree will showcase their end of year projects on Thursday the 1st of November, 2007 from 12 to 8pm. This will include a grand opening at 5 pm.

The showcase will be held in the Mezzanine Cafe, located above DCU’s main restaurant, and will offer a chance to meet with the creators.

For further info please log onto:
www.dcumultimedia2007.com

Multimedia Showcase Dcu

Looking for some new emerging talent or to see the types of projects MSc in MM students can create?

DCU students of the 2006/2007 M.Sc in Multimedia degree will showcase their end of year projects on Thursday the 1st of November, 2007 from 12 to 8pm. This will include a grand opening at 5 pm.

The showcase will be held in the Mezzanine Cafe, located above DCU’s main restaurant, and will offer a chance to meet with the creators.

For further info please log onto:
www.dcumultimedia2007.com

Vr Workshop – Tcd

On the 9th of November TCD is hosting a workshop of high level research papers in the domains of dynamic simulation and physical interaction in virtual reality environments.

see http://www.vriphys.org/workshops/vriphys07/ for more details.

Tcd Workshop On Vr And Sim

On the 9th of November TCD is hosting a workshop of high level research papers in the domains of dynamic simulation and physical interaction in virtual reality environments.

VRIPHYS2007 is the 4th workshop on VR Interaction and Physicals Simulations dealing with research on dynamic simulation for games, medical simulation and virtual environments.

While the closing date for papers is past you might be interested in attending the event. It is organised in association with the GV2 research group in Trinity and SFI.

see http://www.vriphys.org/workshops/vriphys07/ for more details.

Game Design Workshop – Dit

The school of computing at DIT will be running a one day workshop on computer game design for second level students and it will take place on Saturday 24th November. Ernest Adams will once again be in town to run the workshop.

see http://www.comp.dit.ie

Documentary Film Conf – Iadt

DOCUMENTARY FILM in the 21st Century 01-02.NOV.2007

International Conference 2007 at the National Film School, IADT Dun Laoghaire

DOCUMENTARY FILM in the 21st Century

Bringing academics, practitioners and policy-makers together in a series of panel discussions and key-note addresses, alongside documentary screenings, this conference provides a forum for an interactive debate from diverse perspectives on documentary in the 21st century.

The conference will focus on three challenges to the documentary form: the increasing dominance of the reality television format, the current impact of documentary in the public sphere and the changing nature of the form in the digital age.

ORGANISERS: IADT, Dun Laoghaire, D O’Connell and H Doherty.

see http://www.mediaconference.ie/?p=22

Ernest Adams Game Design Workshop – Dit

The school of computing at DIT will be running a one day workshop on computer game design for second level students and it will take place on Saturday 24th November. Ernest Adams will once again be in town to run the workshop.

Aphra.

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Last years workshop was attended by over 100 students from more than 11 secondary schools.

The workshop which is sponsored by the DIT, The Irish Computer Society and Microsoft Ireland is hosted by games industry guru Ernest Adams. Ernest Adams is a freelance game designer, writer, and teacher, working with the International Hobo Design Group. He has been in the game industry since 1989, and is the author of three books, including the university-level textbook “Fundamentals of Game Design” with Andrew Rollings. Ernest was most recently employed as a lead designer at Bullfrog Productions on the Dungeon Keeper series, and for several years before that was the audio/video producer on the Madden NFL Football line for Electronic Arts. Ernest is also the founder and first chairman of the International Game Developers’ Association.

This is a day-long exploration of the basics of the craft of game design, covering core mechanics, gameplay, user interface design, concept art, level design, and even a small story. It begins with a lecture, then challenges you to apply what you’ve learned to flesh out a new game design concept. The classes will then be divided the into teams and each team will work on a different game idea. At the end of the day, you’ll present your results to the group and we’ll discuss how they came out. Everything is supplied and there are no pre-requisites, all you need is a love of games!

Participation in the the day is FREE (but space is limited so apply early) and all participations will receive lunch and a DIT tee-shirt. We will also be raffeling 3 XBOX 360’s and loads of XBOX 360 games!

To reserve a place for you or your class, please contact Hugh McAtamney: hmcatamney@comp.dit.ie

Phone: + 353 1 4023282

For more information see http://www.comp.dit.ie

De Pong Game

The Dublin Electronic Arts Festival is taking place this year from
THURSDAY 25th to MONDAY 29th October 2007 at various sites around Dublin.

While the festival has a focus on experimental and digital arts this year its focus is also on Asian culture – defined fairly broadly.

there are loads of gigs around town and Asian DJs and visual arts around but I have to say the de Pong Game projection and public interactive installation caught my eye.

For more see www.deafireland.com

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de PONG Game™ – Projection & Public Interactive Installation

Artists: Benjamin Gaulon aka Recyclism www.recyclism.com

Date: Friday 26th, Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th October

Venue: The Globe & Georges Street architecture

Address: Georges Street, Dublin 2

Admission: Free

Time: 7pm – 10pm

Women In Games 2008.

WIG 2008 will take place in Warwick in the UK in association with the University of Warwick and Rare next Sept. See first announcement below.

Aphra.

The Women In Games conference encourages research and seeks to promote careers for women within the games industry. Making this career path attractive from a female perspective doesn’t just make good business sense, it’s vital both commercially and artistically.

Modern gaming is a cutting-edge industry on the forefront of technology and interactive storytelling. But for it to become a true sister medium to music and cinema, it needs greater balance in its audience and its workforce.

Even in the industry’s traditional areas of interest to women, such as art and animation, female representation is low – lower still in more scientific disciplines, such as programming. Without women taking on a greater role in the creative process, how can the end result – the games themselves – ever consistently appeal to female tastes? More broadly, what is the industry missing out on through the domination of male perspectives in the creation of games?

Women In Games was established to address such issues. A major theme of Women in Games 2008 is exploring ways of encouraging more women to enter games and increase their prominence across the industry, ultimately demonstrating how the female perspective can provide a rich new angle on the gaming experience. Other themes will focus on the latest game research with a particular emphasis on areas that affect, or are affected by, women.

Women In Games 2008 will be organised by the Department of Computer Science at Warwick University and Rare Ltd, a leading games development studio based in the UK and responsible for such classics as Banjo-Kazooie, GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark and Viva Piñata.

• Location: Warwick University

• Date: 10th – 12th September 2008

See http://www.womeningames.com/

Igda Scholarship Deadline

The call for students to apply for 25 IGDA scholarships to GDC is now open with a closing date of Dec. 7th.

for application forms see http://www.igda.org/scholarships/

Dublin Electronic Arts Festival 07

The Dublin Electronic Arts Festival is taking place this year from
THURSDAY 25th to MONDAY 29th October 2007 at various sites around Dublin.

While the festival has a focus on experimental and digital arts this year its focus is also on Asian culture – defined fairly broadly.

there are loads of gigs around town and Asian DJs and visual arts around but I have to say the de Pong Game projection and public interactive installation caught my eye.

‘This project explores the concept of Augmented Reality by using and interacting with urban architecture. The game is projected on a building and the limits of that building become the limits of the game area.’ Catch it at the Globe on Georges Street from 7-10 om on the 26th, 27th and 28th.

For more see www.deafireland.com

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de PONG Game™ – Projection & Public Interactive Installation

Artists: Benjamin Gaulon aka Recyclism www.recyclism.com

Date: Friday 26th, Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th October

Venue: The Globe & Georges Street architecture

Address: Georges Street, Dublin 2

Admission: Free

Time: 7pm – 10pm

Igda Scholarships To Gdc

The call for students to apply for 25 IGDA scholarships to GDC is now open with a closing date of Dec. 7th. We know people who got them before so we encourage you to apply so you can attend GDC for free!!! You pay your own travel though!

Aphra…

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The IGDA will award 25 scholarships to send qualified students to the 2008 Game Developers Conference. GDC is where game development professionals gather to share ideas and build the skills that the industry needs. Located in San Francisco, California, this year’s GDC will be held February 18-22, 2007.

Qualifications & Scholarship Details

* Scholarship applications must be submitted on or before Friday, December 7th, 2007.
* Only full-time university (or similar) students are eligible, and must be 18 years of age or older as of February 18, 2008.
* Applicant must be an IGDA Student Member in good standing. If you are not currently a Student Member, you must join the IGDA before applying for the scholarship. All applications will be verified.
* Past scholarship recipients are not eligible.
* Recipients will be awarded one Main Conference Pass, with access to all sessions, roundtables, and keynotes. Breakfast and lunch included.
* Students are responsible for all travel arrangements and costs.
* Scholarship applications will be judged by a panel of professional game developers.
* Each scholarship recipient will be paired with an industry mentor.
* Scholarship recipients will participate in a local studio visit and orientation session on February 19th.
* Recipients will be announced before January 16th, 2008 (the early rate pricing deadline).

Judging Criteria

To help students hone their applications and to better understand what the judges are looking for, here’s the basic criteria that judges will use to rate applicants:

1. Relevance – Will attending GDC help the student achieve his or her specific educational and/or career goals?
2. Initiative – Has the student demonstrated continued dedication to game development and effort to educate themselves?
3. Special Circumstances – Has the student overcome any unusual challenges or obstacles?
4. Communication – Are the ideas expressed in the essays communicated effectively and efficiently?
5. Tilt Factor – Overall, does it seem like this student would be fun and interesting to have around at GDC?

see http://www.igda.org/scholarships/ for the application forms

Speakers For Serious Games 07

Speakers for forthcoming Serious games event in Derry have been announced.

See http://www.noribic.com/sga/default.asp?sec_id=6 for more

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Professor. Paul E. Fullwood

Paul Fullwood has been appointed Professor and First Chair of Computer Games Technology at the University of Abertay – Dundee. He is the Director of IC-CAVE (the International Center for Computer Arts and Virtual Entertainment) an EU-funded video games research center. Paul is one of the founders of LoudWolf Holdings Ltd. He is also President and COO Digital Animation Inc. A founding partner of Edison Research Labs and chairman of The First Fruits Charities Inc. Formerly, Paul was Vice President, Head of World-Wide Studios for Hasbro Interactive also Vice President, Product Development for Lightspan Inc., and Founder and President of Accent Media Productions Inc.

Paul is a board member of various other companies. He is also a member of Senate for the University of Abertay.

David Wortley, Director, Serious Games Institute

David Wortley is Director of the Serious Games Institute (SGI) at Coventry University. He is responsible for the development of the Institute as a brand new self-financing initiative to establish a centre of excellence for the emerging serious games application area. Working with academics, regional development agencies and leading computer games companies, David aims to make the SGI a thought leader and focal point for games based learning, simulation and immersive 3D virtual environments.

David`s career began with a university scholarship from British Telecom to study electronic and electrical engineering at Birmingham University. After graduation, his commercial career has been spent in the converging technologies of telecommunications (British Telecom – where he also spent time as a Management Tutor at the BT Management Training College), computing (IBM – corporate sales), and digital media (Mass Mitec) with a focus on technology for competitive advantage, education and business communications.

Claus Nehmzow – PA Consulting

Claus heads up PA Consulting`s thinking in business applications of participatory media and virtual world like Second Life. He has almost twenty-five years experience in technology and strategy consulting as well as operational management experience.

Claus has broad international experience in global business development and consulting as well as from having lived for many years each in Germany, Switzerland, USA, and the UK. Claus was COO/ International Business Development director at mobile startup Shazam, Managing Director of Viant Germany, an Internet consultancy, Partner and Vice President at Booz-Allen Hamilton in London and New York, Senior Manager at accenture/Andersen Consulting. In Zurich, New York, London

Professor Lizbeth Goodman, SMARTlab Digital Media Institute, and Magic Gamelab

Dr Lizbeth Goodman is Professor of Creative Technology Innovation, and Founder/Director of the SMARTlab Digital Media Institute, and Magic Gamelab, based at the University of East London and at international sister sites globally. She is the Director of Studies for a large cohort of UEL`s practice-based PhD students Digital Media Performance Technologies: a team of professional new media artists, technologists, urban planners, and engineers conducting collaborative research into the transdisciplinary fields of technology development and art, e-health, e-inclusion, haptics and art-sci`. Her main fields of speciality are gender representation in the digital media (performance, film, moving image and games/virtual environments) and the creation of learning games developed WITH, not only for, people with disabilities and non-standard gamers`.

Lizbeth was previously founder and Director of the SMARTlab Centre at Central Saint Martins College of Art andamp; Design (2001-5). In an earlier incarnation, she founded and led the INMPR (Institute for New Media Performance Research) at the University of Surrey, following on from eight years leading the BBC Open University`s multimedia research teams in Shakespeare, Drama, Gender Studies and Literature. She has worked extensively for the BBC as a researcher, writer and presenter of Learning and Arts/Media: some of her pioneering work in multimedia perspective-driven drama and theatre games won awards and sold as bestsellers` through Routledge and BBC Worldwide in the 1990s. She is also a regular reviewer/validator for many independent courses, publishers and broadcasters, and for major funding bodies and award panels internationally. Professor Goodman won the Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteer service to women and children in 2003, and has just been named Microsoft Community Affairs Senior Research Fellow on Creative Technology Innovation.

Roo Reynolds, Metaverse Evangelist, IBM

Andrew (Roo) Reynolds is a Metaverse Evangelist based at IBM`s Hursley Park laboratory in the UK. He is part of a team which facilitates the use of Virtual Worlds within IBM. All of this work is made all the more enjoyable thanks to a large world-wide community who are learning to collaborate and get things done in totally new ways.

He was previously an Emerging Technologies Specialist in which his role included attempting to keep on the early-adopter curve. While acknowledging there are not enough hours in the day to claim to be an expert in everything, Roo still reads and writes far too many blogs and tries to keep his eyes open.andnbsp; He enjoys exploring and building in the metaverse that is Second Life, uploading his photos to Flickr, keeping his bookmarks on del.icio.us, updating his playlist on Last.fm tracking his location on Plazes and what he is doing on Twitter, as well as indulging in any number of other bleeding-edge alpha geek social software type activities. Roo is married to an artist, who tries her hardest to keep him balanced.

Max And Maya Seminar – Dublin

Autodesk and Eurotek announce a new 3D seminar to showcase the first Irish public showing of the new features of both Max and Maya 2008. Max will begin shipping towards the end of October and animators will be given a sneek peak of the new features of 2008 at the show. Maya users will also see the new features of Maya 2008 which began shipping in September.

The event takes place on the 30th of October 2007

The Morgan Hotel
Temple Bar
Dublin 2

Registration: 3D@eurotek.ie

More information at www.eurotek.ie

Net Visionary Awards 07

The IIA and Enterprise Ireland Net Visionary Awards 2007 will be held on 15 November in Dublin’s Mansion House featuring the band Jungle Boogie.

All the nominee details are online so get voting before the closing date of 19th October. The final three shortlisted in each category will be posted on 26th October.

see http://www.netvisionary.ie/vote2007.html

Cinemagic 16Th Nov-2Nd Dec.

16th Nov
Festival Opening Night, with special preview film in Storm Cinemas, Belfast

16th-18th Nov
Cinemagic Stars Acting Masterclasses

23rd-25th Nov
Cinemagic Young Filmmaker in association with First
Light Movies: Competition showcase and masterclasses.

29th- 30th Nov:
Talent Lab masterclasses, and awards ceremony on 30 Nov.

2nd Dec:
Festival Closing Night.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON ANY OF THE ABOVE EVENTS PLEASE TELEPHONE CINEMAGIC ON (from RoI +0044) 028 90 311 900

see also http://www.cinemagic.org.uk/festival07.asp

Dscape Animation Night Brighton

dSCAPE/07 Animation Night

Date: Wednesday 14 November
Time: 6.30 – 10.30pm
Venue: Salis Benny Theatre, Brighton
Cost: £10, register here

The dSCAPE/07 Animation Night will bring together Irish and English animators to showcase their work and discuss the socio-political influences that have informed its inception and development. This will include reflection on current economic prosperity in both the UK and more dramatically in Ireland, cultural issues such as religious conflict, immigration as well as the historic context in the British and Irish cultures of animation as artistic expression. The format will include screenings and facilitated panel discussion. Presenter details to follow soon!

Buy tickets for the event here

Brighton Digital Festival

A month of events in Brighton…including some with an irish flavour…for more see

http://www.brightondigitalfestival.co.uk/events.php

Bsc (Hons) In Computing (Game Design & Dev), Tipp Institute

Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computing (Games Design and Development)

Course Code: TI018
Academic Year: 2008/2009
Location: Thurles
Number of Places: 20
Duration: 4
NQF Level of Programme: 8
Accrediting Body: HETAC
Entry Requirements: The minimum entry requirements for standard entrance are a Pass in 6 subjects with two higher C3 grades and four ordinary D3

Programme Coordinator: Philip Bourke
Telephone: 0504 28258
Email: pbourke@tippinst.ie

Objectives:

This programme is designed to produce graduates with an in-depth knowledge of the critical aspects of game design and development. They will acquire the necessary knowledge to cope with the changing nature of the games industry throughout their careers. Students will be taught techniques for analysis, design and development of games for platforms such as mobiles, handheld consoles, PC’s, games consoles, interactive TV and online games in a variety of computer languages. Students will develop problem specifications and their respective solutions related to games design and development. In addition participants will be required to complete a substantial project under the guidance of an ICT Specialist. Graduates can expect to take up employment in industries ranging from small or medium-sized entertainment media enterprises to large multinationals.

Outcomes:

Graduates of the programme will understand the theory, concepts, methods, practices and principals pertaining games design and development. They will also be exposed to software development methodologies and will have an appreciation for the professional, social and ethical issues within the games development industry. The programme will provide the theoretical and practical knowledge of gaming devices. Technological and programming skills will be developed for standalone and networked platforms & operating systems. Graduates will be exposed to, team based and individual games portfolio development opportunities.

Further Study:

Graduates will be able to gain employment in different areas of entertainment media enterprises such as Mobile Application Design and Development, Design, Games Development, Interactive TV, e-Learning and Online entertainment applications. Specific jobs appropriate for graduates to consider include:

• Entertainment Media Tester
• Entertainment Media Designer
• Level Designer
• Games Developer
• Entertainment Media Project Manager
• Software Developer
• Software Designer
• Software Analyst

Tipperary Institute is a partner of the IGDA

Semester 1
Intro. to Computer Programming
Intro. to Systems Analysis & Design
Computer Architecture
Mathematical Fundamentals
Operating System Fundamentals
Fundamental Accounting

Semester 2
Introduction to OO Programming
Introduction to OO Design
Computer Organization
Mathematical Methods
Data Communications
Developing Your Potential

Semester 3
Procedural Programming
Electronics
Statistical Data Analysis
Operating Systems Management
Professional Development
Database Planning and Design

Semester 4
Data Structures
Human Computer Interface Design
Computer Systems Hardware
Internetworking
Database Systems Implementation

Work placement

Semester 5
Enterprise Client Server Programming
Computer Graphics
Software Security & Testing
Algorithms
Network Services & Applications

Semester 6
Advanced OO Programming
Introduction to Embedded Systems
Artificial Intelligence
Team & Self Management
Management and Control
Project (10 credits)

Semester 7
Programming Games Engines
Concurrent Programming
Advanced Methods in Systems Design
Graphics and Audio
Game Physics

Semester 8
Platform Games Development
Games Design
Games Artificial Intelligence
Networked Games Games and Modern Culture
Games Project (10 credits)
Graduate Profile

Graduate Profile
Pieter Vos
J2ME Developer
Nephin Games

I always wanted to be a games developer and on graduating from Tipperary Institute I was hired by Nephin Games. Tipperary Institute helped me secure a work placement in a games company, which is what, helped me to fulfil my dream of becoming a games developer. During my time in college at Tipperary Institute I got involved in events such as Robocode and got to show second level kids how to develop their own games. Tipperary Institute has an ICT Society and when I’m not programming or playing computer games I get involved in events like paintball or adventure treks organised by the college. When I left second level I looked at going to a number of colleges, after seeing what goes on in Tipperary Institute, I put their degree on my CAO. I am really glad I made that choice as the staff there helped me to achieve my dream.

For more see http://www.tippinst.ie/courses/course_details.aspx?id=31

Festival Fever Across The Water

November must be games fes time across the water as Brighton have a month of digital media and game related events following on from London Games Festival. Part of the Brighton festival includes an animation night for Irish and English animators.

Might be worth checking out cheap flights to Gatwick or heading down if you are over there….

see dSCAPE/07 Animation Night

Date: Wednesday 14 November
Time: 6.30 – 10.30pm
Venue: Salis Benny Theatre, Brighton
Cost: £10,

The dSCAPE/07 Animation Night will bring together Irish and English animators to showcase their work and discuss the socio-political influences that have informed its inception and development. This will include reflection on current economic prosperity in both the UK and more dramatically in Ireland, cultural issues such as religious conflict, immigration as well as the historic context in the British and Irish cultures of animation as artistic expression. The format will include screenings and facilitated panel discussion. Presenter details to follow soon!

for more on the event see http://www.brightondigitalfestival.co.uk/programme/dSCAPE_animation.php

Or you can head early and catch the London games festival from the 22nd of Oct until early November and then head down to Brighton. See http://www.londongamesfestival.co.uk/Home.aspx

Event includes a Women in Games mixer event i.e. a social night out!

Games And Film Event, London

This might be of interest to some. It is also in a nice central location which is easy to get to.

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Computer Game Analysis, Film Theory and the Future of Screen Studies
November 9th 2007
10 am – 4 pm Elvin Hall
Institute Of Education,
University of London
London WC1H 0AL, UK

At this one-day seminar speakers will address the relationship between computer games, film and film theory for a post-graduate Film Studies/Media Studies/Game Studies audience.

Programme

Introduction: David Buckingham

Session 1: Games, Play and Players
Diane Carr, Helen Kennedy, David Surman
Chair: Esther MacCallum Stewart

Session 2: The Horror Session
Ewan Kirkland, Natasha Whiteman, Tanya Krzywinska
Chair: Greg Singh

Session 3: The Question of Adaptation
Barry Atkins, Alex Sulman
Chair: Andrew Burn

To book a place and register for this event please go to:
http://igrs.sas.ac.uk/events/conference/conf_vidgames1.htm

£10.00 full fare, £0.00 students. Places are limited.

For more information, abstracts and presenter details please go to:
http://playhouse.wordpress.com/gamefilm-event-9112007/

This is a London University Screen Studies Group event hosted by the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media, IOE, University of London, convened by Diane Carr.

The University of London Screen Studies Group is composed of film and media scholars from various institutions within the University of London, including Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, Institute of Education, King’s College, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, School of Oriental and African Studies, University College, and the School of Advanced Study.

Blizzard For Cork

Announced already on the boards and also in today’s Digital Ireland supplement of the Irish independent here is the full press release on the news that Blizzard Entertainment is setting up a customer support centre in Cork.

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Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin TD today (19th September 2007) announced that Blizzard Entertainment, Inc., with the support of IDA Ireland, will establish a European customer support centre in Cork City. An initial 50 positions will be created by this investment, rising to over 100 within three years.

Blizzard Entertainment®, headquartered in Irvine, California, is a world-renowned developer and publisher of entertainment software, including digital titles such as World of Warcraft®, Diablo® and StarCraft®. The company’s industry leading subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game[1]World of Warcraft allows thousands of people to play and interact simultaneously in a shared online environment. More than 9 million players worldwide subscribe to World of Warcraft.

Blizzard is establishing the European customer support centre in Cork City in order to meet the demands of its expanding player base and substantially increase the level of support it can offer European players. The Cork facility will complement and strengthen Blizzard’s existing primary European offices, located near Paris, and also work closely with the company’s global teams to provide high-quality customer service and online infrastructure maintenance.

Commenting on the announcement, Minister Martin said: “Blizzard Entertainment is a global leader in the entertainment software industry, setting the standard for online gaming on the personal computer. This decision by Blizzard to establish a new European customer support centre in Cork is further evidence of how Ireland is viewed internationally as a leading location for cutting edge investment in the exciting world of digital content.”

“Interactive entertainment is one of the fastest-growing and most popular recreational sectors globally, and this demand is creating new opportunities for Ireland as a platform for this highly innovative industry,” added Minister Martin. “It is a strategic target for IDA Ireland and we are fast becoming a location of choice for many of the world’s most advanced Internet and digital content companies, as Blizzard has shown today.”

Mike Morhaime, President and Co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, expressed confidence in the ability of the Cork office to strengthen the company’s support offerings throughout the continent. “We are fully committed to increasing the scale of our services as demand for ‘World of Warcraft’ and other Blizzard games continues to grow in Europe,” he said. “With this new office in Ireland, we’ll be able to continue providing our European players with a high level of support for many years to come.”

Ends/ETE1787

See http://www.entemp.ie/press/2007/20070919a.htm

Notes to Editor

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft and the Warcraft®, StarCraft, and Diablo series, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard-europe.com), a division of Vivendi Games, is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard’s track record includes ten #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company’s online-gaming service, Battle.net®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active users.

For further information:

Blizzard Entertainment SAS –
Julia Gastaldi, Director of Communication and Community, Europe

Contact at jgastaldi@blizzard.com

Hnd In Classical And Computer Animation, Bcfe

Ballyfermot College of Further Education (BCFE) offers a range of courses in Film, Animation, Multimedia and TV production.

For the aspiring animator BCFE provides a course focusing solely on animated computer generated images. The Higher National Diploma in Classical and Computer Animation is firmly rooted in the skills of classical drawing and the course applies these skills to development of images in modern imaging packages including 3DSMAX and Photoshop. The course lasts 2 years and has no part-time option.

Mark Byrne, who teaches on the course, emphasizes that the art skills, particularly life-drawing, are integral in the philosophy and subject matter of the course which was built with games development in mind. Students learn to incorporate these traditional art skills in 3-D images through production practices including the scripting and storyboarding stages. The course has healthy industry links with a lot of production companies in the U.K. Graduates have been hired by Rare, Lionhead and Codemasters the latter of these hired 20 new employees in 2001, 12 of whom were BCFE graduates. However, the course is not to be confused with a game development course – there is no programming content nor theory of game development covered.

Pre-requisites for the course include a portfolio presentation and some art qualification; a higher C3 in Leaving Certificate Art or FETAC level 2 award (obtainable through BCFE’s Animation Studies course) will suffice. Mature students are welcome to apply and details of application procedure, fees etc. are all available from the college website. There are 36 places on the HND course every year. The course holds an open day in May each year which those interested in applying should attend.

Essentials:
Location: Ballyfermot College of Further Education, Ballyfermot Road, Dublin 10.

Course: Higher National Diploma (HND) in 3-D Computer Modeling and Animation.

Duration: 2 Years

Course Strengths: 3DSMAX, Life Drawing Skills, Photoshop – the course produces fully qualified computer animators.

Course Weaknesses:
There is no programming or game development theory covered.

More info: http://216.240.136.7/bcfe/courseinfo.php?course=23

Contact: Main Office 01 626 9421 or info@bcfe.cdvec.ie

Hnd In Computer Games Design, Bcfe

This two-year diploma course in computer games design commenced in 2003.

Running in Ballyfermot alongside LUDO, the now well-established 1-year games development course, the emphasis of the diploma is firmly upon the development, by students, of a game or end product before their completion of the course.

3D modelling using 3DSMAX, C++ programming, sound design, game analysis and business theory are all included on the proposed syllabus. There is no plan to provide options in the course but Diarmuid O’Brien, Vice Principal of BCFE, told us that a streaming system for those who might prefer 3D, audio or programming as electives may be implemented.

It is intended that a lot of “cross-fertilisation” between courses at Ballyfermot will occur, with animators and games designers in particular being encouraged to work together on final projects.

The entry requirements state 2 honours in the Leaving Certificate. There is an interview requirement and it is recommended that applicants have a good command of mathematics in order that they can cope with the programming modules. The course includes small business development modules in order to encourage graduates to start games development businesses of their own in the future.

Essentials:
Location: Ballyfermot College of Further Education, Ballyfermot Road, Dublin 10.

Course: Higher National Diploma in Computer Games Design

Duration: 2 Years

Course Strengths:
3D, Audio, C++ programming, business, games theory and analysis. Access to a state of the art graphics engine for all students.

Course Weaknesses:
The short 2-year duration.

More info: http://216.240.136.7/bcfe/courseinfo.php?course=31

Main Office: 01 626 9421 or info@bcfe.cdvec.ie

Computer Games And Interactive Entertainment Dev., Bcfe

The LUDO course at Ballyfermot College of Further Education pre-empted the demand for third level training in computer-games design and development.

LUDO was initially intended for those who would like to enter the industry from leaving certificate but who failed to achieve the standards at second level demanded of other relevant third level courses. However, increased demand and the growing complexity of games development has required that entry requirements be increased.

The course, which has a duration of one year, covers the basics of C++ programming, 3D modelling and animation and analysis and design of games. There is a final project requirement, which takes the form of a partially implemented example of a game concept and design presented as a kind of “pitch” for an idea. There are no options during the course. On successful completion students receive the FETAC Level 2 Award in Information Technology.

We spoke to Diarmuid O’Brien, the vice principal of Ballyfermot College and he underlined that the course is intended as a solid foundation for anyone with the intention of working in games development. The course, he said, introduces the techniques and concepts behind audio, video and programming with application to interactive entertainment solely in mind.

In 2002 the intake was expanded and the course now takes in 40 students each year. Entry to the course is based on a basic leaving certificate or equivalent, an interview and a portfolio. The portfolio can include animations, artwork, multimedia – it is important that candidates display, above all, an interest and enthusiasm for games development.

Essentials:
Location:Ballyfermot College of Further Education, Ballyfermot Road, Dublin 10.

Course: LUDO – Training in Computer Games and Interactive Entertainment Development (FETAC level 2 Award in Information Technology)

Duration: 1 Year

Course Strengths:
3D, Audio and C++ programming.

Course Weaknesses:
The course is short and provides only a foundation in computer games design.

More information: http://216.240.136.7/bcfe/courseinfo.php?course=31

Contact: Main Office: 01 626 9421 or info@bcfe.cdvec.ie

Msc In Computer Interactive Entertainment, Tcd

The course is located within the School of Computer Science & Statistics in Trinity College Dublin and was launched in 2007.

This one year MSc builds upon existing undergraduate and MSc level courses offered by the School and it interfaces directly with research groups within the School including the Graphics, Vision and Visualisation group which is the primary contributor to the course.

The course has been designed in collaboration with leading academics and industry and is focused exclusively on the technology driving the future of entertainment, media and communications.

There is a specific focus on interactive and real-time systems and this is reflected in the course syllabus.

For full details, see:
http://isg.cs.tcd.ie/IET/

Bsc. (Honours) In Computing In Games Development, Dkit

Dundalk Institute of Technology offer a B.Sc. (Honours) in Computing in Games Development.

For more information on this course see http://ww2.dkit.ie/schools_and_departments/informatics_music_and_creative_media/computing_mathematics/dk820

Serious Games 07

The conference itself will take place from 9am – 6pm in the North West Regional College (NWRC) in Derry, Northern Ireland on Friday 26th October 2007.

The format will be that of a conference with a series of Speakers from the Serious Games industry, followed by a round table panel discussion to end.

Contact NORIBIC via www.noribic.com/sga for further details.

Havok Deal With Intel

This isn’t news as such given the links etc. on the forums but the contracts have been signed and as of the end of last week Havok is now an ‘Intel company.’

For those who don’t know Havok is one of the most successful Irish game companies. Established in 1998 in Dublin it now has offices in San Francisco, San Antonio, Stockholm, Calcutta, Munich, and Tokyo. It is focused on developing middleware and for more on the numerous game titles which use Havok see http://www.havok.com/content/blogcategory/20/37/

For more on the actual deal you won’t find it on the Havok website but instead on the Intel one in the press room where the notice to acquire has moved down the list of press releases. Their website notes ‘SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept. 14, 2007 – Intel Corporation today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Havok Inc., the leading provider of interactive software and services used by digital media creators in the game and movie industries. Havok will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel.’

Later in the piece Havok CEO David O’Meara says “This is a great fit for Havok products, customers and employees. Intel’s scale of technology investment and customer reach enable Havok with opportunities to grow more quickly into new market segments with new products than we could have done organically. We believe the winning combination is Havok’s technology and customer know-how with Intel’s scale. I am excited to be part of this next phase of Havok’s growth.”

Havok HQ is currently located in the Digital Hub in the centre of Dublin. Intel have a significant presence in Ireland just on the outskirts of Dublin where it employs 5,000 people. It recently announced 200 redundancies at its Dublin plant.

see http://www.idaireland.com/home/case_study.aspx?id=244&content_id=13

http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2007/0919/breaking63.htm

http://lz1.intel.com/appzone/pressroom/PressReleases.asp

Game Design And Machinima Workshops

For those going to the London Games Festival these workshops may be of interest.

London Games Festival on 25th October.

In the morning Ernest Adams (ex Electronic Arts and co-founder of IGDA) is running an exclusive workshop on Designing Compelling Emotive Games for the special festival price of £99 + vat per delegate (much less than the usual delegate fee of around £200). – Places are limited – you will be joining a small group of your design colleagues at this workshop.

In the afternoon, a very special festival seminar is running on Machinima, keynoted by leading director Ricard Gras of LA Interactiva, with a panel of industry luminaries giving you advice on how to become a successful director – opening the doors to making your name in film-making. A tutorial on MovieStorm and discussion on what the consequences are for you as games engine providers start to limit use for machinima close the seminar – (with a planned and yet to be announced screening of leading machinima films following in the evening).

More at www.londongamesfestival.com or book through www.applygroup.com/LGF07.htm

Serious Games 07 In Derry

Word has been drifting in re a forthcoming event about serious games’ on the 26th of Oct. in Northern Ireland and the launch of Recall, described as ‘an adventure game with a message’ funded partially by NORIBIC and developed by former students of NWIFE in Derry and now in Phooka.

Contact NORIBIC via www.noribic.com/sga for further details.

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Serious Games Awakening ‘07

The Northern Ireland Business and Innovation Centre (NORIBIC) in conjunction with Serious Games developers throughout Ireland, have come together to organise a conference to announce the Awakening of the Serious Games Industry within Ireland –The Serious Games Awakenings Conference (SGA).

To mark the event, Serious Games Industry veterans will provide a series of talks sharing their expertise in all areas of the Serious Games industry from both business and technical perspectives.

The theme of the event is industry inception. The key messages will be to announce the presence of the Serious Games industry in Ireland and to discuss…

* the challenges facing independent Serious Games & Middleware Developers
* the changing & sometimes volatile nature of the Serious Games Business
* the advent of next generation Serious Games platforms & technologies
* comparison of a typical entertainment games technology-based experience with a typical learning technology-based experience and the contrasts that arise

Finally, we will Showcase the ICECUBE project and launch “Recall”, Ireland ’s first full 3D Serious game made here in Derry to promote peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland’s schools.

Event Format
The conference itself will take place from 9am – 6pm in the North West Regional College (NWRC) in Derry, Northern Ireland on Friday 26th October 2007. The format will be that of a conference with a series of Speakers from the Serious Games industry, followed by a round table panel discussion to end- an event not to be missed, so put the date in your diary. More detail of the programme of the day to follow.

Exhibits
During coffee and lunch breaks, an exhibition of Irish Serious Games Development and Middleware Companies will be available for attendee perusal. This will also be a chance to network for all attending the conference. The Educational exhibition will allow Educational Institutions to promote their games design and development courses and attract interested students. If you would like to exhibit at the conference, please mail us at sga@noribic.com. There is no charge to exhibit, and if we can accommodate you, equipment (e.g. tables, PCs, peripherals, etc.) will be provided.

Registration
Entrance to SGA’07 is free to all. However, as there are a limited number of places, registration is required through the Registration page on the website in order to secure your place. To take up your place, please visit the Registration page on www.noribic.com/sga before Sunday 14th October 2007.

Other
This event has been organized in association with The Northern Ireland Business Innovation Centre (NORIBIC), Digital Media Works Programme part financed by the European Union through the INTERREG IIIA Programme, administered by the North West Region Cross Border Group (NWRCBG). It is sponsored by NORIBIC, NWRC, a number of local and International companies and supported by the local enterprise agencies.

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See also http://test.channel4.com/4talent/feature.jsp?id=210

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