Digital Media Forum Event

In partnership with the Media Cube at IADT, the Digital Media Forum are organising a national Mini-conference, networking event for digital media companies focusing on those who have come through the many incubation centres around the country.

When: Wednesday the 17th of December commencing at 8.30 a.m. There is no attendance fee and breakfast will be provided.

Where: The Media Cube, IADT, Dun Laoghaire.

The event is designed to provide a way for digital media related companies around the country to network, so if you’re involved in Web, mobile, games, animation or content creation and delivery here’s a chance to network and meet other people in early stage digital media companies.

Our intention is that the event generates real business for the companies who attend and that those attending will have the opportunity to hear about startup programs and benefits from the likes of Microsoft, EI, Intertrade Ireland, and business angels focused on the sector will also be there.

A full schedule will be available shortly.

Expo: A limited number of presentation podiums are available to companies if they want to to demo their products and services. Please register above if you wish to attend. Thanks and we’ll see you there.

see http://digitalmediaisland.com/on-tour/innovate-media/

Irish Games Award

The 2009 Digital Media awards has a ‘best in gaming’ category this year.

This category is open to all involved in the gaming industry.

Entries will be judged on the following criteria

1. Content – creativity and innovation 20%
2. Technology – creativity and innovation 30%
3. Graphics and design 20%
4. Educational and entertainment value 30%

Supporting material required: Up to 500 words in application form

You can find further information about the Digital Media Awards 2009 at www.digitalmedia.ie.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact Hannah on 01 4322205

Design A Logo


Women in Games logo competition

Women in Games are looking for a new logo. The competition is open to all students and the closing date is the 1st of April 2009.

Apart from the winning logo being used on thw website, at the annual conference and on numerous publications, the winner will also receive an additional prize which is currently in negotiation wiht a top UK games developer.

More details will be announced on the website http://www.womeningames.com/ shortly.

Full press release below.

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We need a new logo, something both modern and timeless (our current one is looking a little too retro).

The winner will be rewarded with their own web page on the Women in Games website to promote themselves, with a link to this from the Women in Games site home page.

This competition is open to all students.

The completed logo must be on a white square of 1500 x 1500 pixels.

Send a 300×300 pixel version of your completed logo as a .gif or .jpg to logo@womeningames.com

Closing date 1st April 2009

About Women in Games

Highlighting the most recent, groundbreaking work in computer game research and development to both academic and industrial worlds.

Empowerment and professional development for women working in and researching into games and the games industry.

Aims of Women in Games

1. Give a voice to women in the games industry.
2. Analyse and monitor the role of women in the games industry.
3. Provide networking opportunities, especially for women developing and researching games.
4. Support and encourage students, researchers and developers to explore and redress the game industry’s gender imbalance.
5. Disseminate research into games (past, present and future), especially (but not exclusively) with reference to the experience of women playing, developing and responding to games and game culture.
6. Disseminate information on the latest technologies and the best design and development practices.

Small print – competition rules

By entering this competition the winner assigns all copyright and ownership of the logo they have produced to Women in Games and agrees that the prize offered in this competition is fair and reasonable recompense for the work they have put into creating the logo.

The winner will be required to supply a signed copy of these competition rules.

The winner may supply copy and artwork for the promotion page, which will be created by the Women in Games webmaster. All assets supplied are subject to approval by the Women in Games committee. The promotion page will remain up for a minimum of three years (provided the Women in Games website remains live).

The winner will be notified by 1st May 2009 and will then have two weeks to supply the full size 1500×1500 artwork in .gif or .jpg format and also to supply a signed copy of these rules.

The winner will be announced on the Women in Games website on the 17th May 2009.

Igda Scholarships Announced

The International Game Developers Association has just launched the Student Scholarship Program for the 2009 Game Developers Conference.

Twenty-five university students will be awarded complimentary “Main Conference” passes to the 2009 GDC.

The deadline to enter is Thursday, January 15th, 2009. Recipients will be announced mid February.

Applicants are required to be full-time university students (or equivalent) and IGDA student members for consideration. Scholarship applications will be judged by a panel of professional game developers.

Students can now apply online:
http://www.igda.org/scholarships/

Ifb Funding Animated Shorts

Sorry this is maybe a bit late for this year but it looks like an annual scheme so it might be worth keeping an eye on.
Aphra.

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The deadline for the Irish Film Board’s Virtual Cinema scheme is approaching.

Applications for the scheme should be submitted online at http://wildwave.com/virtualcinema/onlineform on or before Friday 21 November.

Virtual Cinema is a film scheme created by the Irish Film Board for the making of high-quality short films that are suited to the new forms of digital video consumption. Films made under the scheme can be live-action or can use any kind of animation technique.

The scheme aims to encourage exploration of fresh film-making ground, with no creative holds barred and films may be made in Irish or English.

The IFB fund up to 10 films per annum, with a maximum duration of 2 minutes and a maximum budget of €2,000.

Further information available…
http://www.irishfilmboard.ie/news/Virtual_Cinema_Short_Film_Applications_Wanted/817

Play And Agency Roundtable

Alas, Are We Still Bad Players? On Play and Agency in Contemporary Culture

fifth speaking matters event: wednesday 3/12/08 17:30 – 20:30

This round-table event taking place at the National College of Art and Design on the early evening of Wednesday December 3rd provides an opportunity to reflect on the question of play in contemporary culture.

Speakers:

Louise Hojer, art theorist and curator
Aphra Kerr, sociologist of digital culture
Jonathan Mosley, architect and artist
Neil Mulholland, art critic and curator

Chair: Tim Stott, NCAD Research Scholar at the Graduate School of Creative Arts & Media, Dublin

To book your place email: speaking_matters@gradcam.ie

See also http://www.gradcam.ie/speaking_matters/bad_players.php

There is no charge for attendance, however, places are restricted to 40 approx.

Atari And Ireland

The Irish computer and video games industry has always been an interesting one as anyone trying to make a career in it will be able to tell you. With very little content produced on our shores, it has not stopped the country making an impact in a broad range of other areas. While the obvious successes of Havok and Demonware in the middleware space highlight Irish entrepreneurial spirit and talents, we’ve also had a brief stint as a Playstation content producer with Norwegian company Funcom developing Speed Freaks during their time in Dublin’s Sandyford Industrial Estate during the 1990’s. We also have our fair share of quality assurance with a number of companies doing games localisation for the European market and many Xbox 360 disks “Made in Ireland”. More recently, customer support for online games like World of Warcraft have located in Ireland.

The country has a longer history in the video games industry than most believe, and this feature highlights one of the country’s biggest success stories. It does not take place in Dublin, but in 1970’s rural Tipperary. The company? Atari. Why were they there? To manufacture tens of thousands of Atari arcade machines for export to the European market and beyond.

This story has only come about thanks to a number of interviews with Kevin Hayes, former Managing Director of Atari Ireland from 1979 to 1984, a period called by some, the Golden Age of Video Games. His invaluable interviews allow the story of why Tipperary was chosen as a manufacturing base for one of the oldest and most recognisable brands in the industry to be told and highlight Ireland’s long-established presence in the global games industry.

Atari’s early days
Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney incorporated Atari Inc. in California with $250 on June 27th 1972. Within a decade, the company would go on to become the fastest growing company in US history (at the time) with revenues of up to $2 billion a year.

It all began with Pong, a tennis-for-two game that was prototyped in Andy Capp’s Tavern close to Atari’s building in September 1972. Within a fortnight, a service call on the broken machine found that the fault boiled down to one thing: it was jammed with coins. The company knew it was on to something and ultimately decided against licensing the game for manufacture by established players in the entertainment industry. They decided to go it alone and in 1973 the company established its international division to sell Atari products outside of the United States.

Magnavox, creators of the first home games console, the Odyssey, brought Atari to court over a number of patent infringements including playing games on a television set, as well as an electronic ping-pong game. This was eventually settled out of court in June 1976 with very favourable terms for Atari.

For a once-off licensing fee of $700,000 and rights to any game the company produced for the next 365 days, Magnavox essentially gave Atari a distinct competitive advantage: every other manufacturer would have to pay Magnavox royalties for their patents while Atari did not. Atari also sat on their new games for the next year to keep them from reverting to Magnavox under the terms of the agreement.

The same year, Warner Communications (now Time Warner) was looking to expand its reach into areas outside its traditional entertainment remit. After four months of negotiations they purchased Atari outright for $28 million and over the next number of years would plough around $100 million into the company to allow it to grow into a $2 billion a year entertainment giant it would become. A huge part of this growth occurred because it had the finances to grow outside its main market in the United States.

The Irish connection
Around this time the company began looking at a number of locations in Europe where they could locate a manufacturing base to help with speed-to-market issues. A number of locations around Ireland were considered. Ireland, before the Celtic Tiger, had a few things going for it . Ireland was a member of the EEC (now EU) and that allowed for easy export within the European Community. The tax regime was advantageous, especially for manufacturing companies and the IDA were marketing Ireland well. While a number of locations were considered, the IDA had an advance factory ready in Tipperary town that was close to one of the main Atari subcontractors based in Ardfinnan, 30km to the southeast.

As Atari was in a hurry to get set up, it took less than a year for Ireland to be chosen, the factory fitted out and the first Atari arcade cabinets to roll off the assembly line. Cabinets were manufactured in Youghal, Co. Cork by Murray Kitchens in Ardfinnan, which Atari would later purchase outright. Wiring and components were supplied by Waterford based Kromberg & Schubert as well as other suppliers. The final product was assembled in the Tipperary town factory and shipped for export via Bell in Waterford in 40-foot containers.

Once up and running, Gil Williams, a Welsh-American mechanical engineer who had been with Atari since the early days, as well as Tommy Martinez and Phillip Stewart, both American employees of Atari, managed the company. The rest of the staff were all locals, and after the purchase of the Ardfinnan plant from Murray Kitchens, Atari Ireland employed just over 200 people.

The company’s third Irish employee was a Donegal man called Kevin Hayes. A graduate of Commerce in UCC, he joined the company as financial controller in August 1978 after an interview over pints in the Royal Hotel Tipperary. Previously he had worked for PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Dublin and Kildare based Leaf bubblegum manufacturers. Kevin reported to Gil whose last official Atari role after the takeover by Warner was to establish Atari’s coin-op manufacturing plant in Ireland. He remained until September 1979 before returning to California and Kevin took over as Managing Director.

His memories of his time in Tipp in the late 1970’s paint a picture of rural Ireland. The company joined the other main manufacturers in the town, Tampax, The Creamery and Kiely’s bottling plant. Knockagow and Kiely’s on Main Street were the local Atari pubs, while the Aherlow House Hotel and Glen Hotels provided the main facilities for travelling Atari employees.

The not-so-laid back Californian attitude fitted in perfectly in the town, where they were casual decades before it was fashionable across other areas of industry. The Californians loved the late Irish sunsets, and the Irish employees loved going to California, and over the time the factory operated it was regarded as a great success by both Atari and Warner Communications generating very good profits for the company.

While there was obviously plenty of banter occurring at the same time, one of the few stories Kevin divulged involved a goat. One of the American employees had a particular issue with a traveller’s goat that frequently would come into the complex. He took it upon himself to sort out the problem and Kevin had to negotiate a price for the dead goat. Once this had been settled, the staff enjoyed goat burgers for the next few weeks.

Aside from this minor issue, Atari also introduced one of the first fax machines into the country, at a time when Tipperary town did not have international direct dialling. This quickly improved. While these and other issues were there, the company worked through them. Exporting from Waterford had few problems, and Kevin has pointed out that while there was bureaucracy, the Irish powers that be were flexible to deal with.

The IDA provided Atari with the building in the town, which the company eventually purchased off them, as well as providing training grants to train their employees. Kevin also credits them as being very helpful in allowing the company to set up and begin manufacturing quickly.

Once the assembly line began rolling, the company was producing up to 2,000 cabinets a month. Tens of thousands of Atari hits including Centipede, Missile Command and Asteroids passed through the town for lucrative markets abroad. This continued unabated until the market slowed globally, but would pick up again in the mid 1980’s when games such as Marble Madness, Gauntlet and Temple of Doom were released.

After being established by Atari/Warner Communications from 1978 – 1984, the Tipperary factory was run as a joint venture between Namco and Warner from 1985 – 1990. Ownership reverted back to Warner from 1990 – 1995 until Chicago based Midway Games purchased the plant in 1995. The plant was purchased the following year by Namco Europe and would close after 20 years in 1998.

Following Kevin’s departure in 1984, Mike Nevin, a native of Mitchelstown, Co. Cork ran operations from 1984 – 1994. Mike Nevin is now MD of Namco Operations Europe in London. After Mike, Tipperary town local Pat Pickham ran the plant from 1994 until it closed in 1998.

Advice for Irish developers
Kevin has some words of advice for Irish people looking at working in the arcade or coin-op sector of the games industry. The business is not about marketing: games either make money or not, you know by the cashbox. The golden rule of coin-op is that the game is “easy to learn, hard to master”. A me-too game won’t cut it, and a there isn’t a business proposition unless the game has an innovation leap. Games also need to differentiate themselves from the in-home experience. If you can’t achieve this, there is no point in attempting to create games for this sector.

While tens of thousands of arcade games were sold during the golden era, now a manufacturing run numbers around 2,000 to 5,000 cabinets as the business has shifted from arcade games to prize-mechanical games.

So is it worth developing for this space? Not really unless you’ve got something that checks all the boxes, and you have a well thought out game that needs to be more than a concept. He also says that Namco are always interested in working with independent studios on coin-op projects at the blueprint stage, but that as players vote with their wallets it’s a tough sector to be in.

Those who want to persevere should contact the business development people at coin-op manufacturers in the UK, and those that want to grow quickly should hook up with a partner with a worldwide presence, although slower growth is sometimes better.

About this article
Key sources for this article were the Irish Company Registration Office and Steven L. Kent’s book “The Ultimate History of Video Games”, where I found a single note about Atari’s presence in Ireland which led me to research this story. I would also like to thank Kevin Hayes for his time.

Kevin Hayes Bio
Kevin Hayes joined Atari in August 1978 in the role of Financial Controller, and would go on to become Managing Director of Atari Ireland from September 1979 until June 1984. A Donegal man (born in Derry, lived in Donegal, Clare, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Tipperary and Limerick) who graduated from Commerce in UCC, he qualified as a chartered accountant while working in Dublin with PriceWaterhouseCoopers for 3 ½ years. He is currently President/CEO of Namco Cybertainment, the largest operator of diversified coin-operated amusement games in the United States and Caribbean.

Author Bio
Jamie McCormick graduated from Management & Marketing in DIT. Formerly editor of IrishPlayer.com, he has also worked with Gamesworld (now GameStop), Demonware and most recently as Operations Manager of the Xbox Live Gaming Centre in Dublin. He is currently Marketing Director with private advertising company transAD. PM him on the gd.ie boards at ‘jamiemc’.

Related links
Dail debate on closure – http://www.irlgov.ie/debates-99/25may99/sect8.htm
Replay Magazine feature and interview – http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2007/06/column_replay_atari_talks_gaun.php
Marble Madness site – http://arcade.svatopluk.com/atari/marble_madness/
Gauntlet – http://www.2atoms.com/game/arcade/arcade10.htm
And for an emulator – http://www.neillcorlett.com/mge/
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – http://www.arcade-history.com/?n=indiana-jones-and-the-temple-of-doom&page=detail&id=1185

Irish Internat Assoc Event

USER EXPERIENCE CONFERENCE:
Brand Building, Profitability and Customer Loyalty Through Better User Experience

The IIA User Experience Working Group present their annual conference on the theme of “Brand building, profitability and customer loyalty through better User Experience”.

Hear from speakers including Martha Rother, Microsoft, Donal Rice, Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, AMAS, iQ Content, Frontend, NCBI CFIT, Pocket Kings and Daft.ie.

Date: Tuesday, 25th November 2008
Time: 9am – 3.30pm
Venue: The Burlington Hotel, Dublin
Cost: €75 Members / €145 Non-Members
(10% Discount for groups of 3 and more)

Places sell out for this conference every year, so book early.

View the full agenda and speaker details at http://www.iia.ie/events/event/171/user-experience-conference/

Conference Calls

The following game conferences have open calls for papers, panels and other work by academics and industry.

SIGGRAPH 2009 – ACM Sandbox Symposium

The ACM Sandbox Symposium has explored the expressive nature of videogames since SIGGRAPH 2006. The relationships among game-design practices, technologies, player experiences, and the intellectual challenges that face game designers, developers, researchers, and players are highlighted in the Sandbox Symposium. Starting in 2009, the Sandbox Symposium is no longer a separate event but is integrated into the main SIGGRAPH conference, living on through The Sandbox, Game Papers, and more.

http://www.siggraph.org/s2009/submissions/focus/games/index.php

NORDES ´09 Engaging Artefacts
Oslo, Norway, 30 August -1 September 2009

Design research aims to provide new insights to the ways in which we understand – and do – design. The conference invites contributions from researchers in universities, design schools and industry who share an interest in understanding and developing design as a trans-disciplinary practice that is always in the making. The scope of the conference reaches beyond the traditional design disciplines and includes other research areas with mutual interest in design research and engaging
artefacts. NORDES ‘09 directs its interest towards the diversity,
challenges and emerging practices and understandings of design. The conference theme reflects a range of issues that characterize design and design research today.

see www.nordes.org

The 2009 Develop Conference will take place in Brighton in the UK from from July 14th to 16th, 2009.

Keep an eye on this following website for more news – http://www.develop-conference.com/holding.html

Goa Announce 400 Jobs

In a significant announcement that made prime time television news on Irish terrestrial television Goa has announced it is to create 400 jobs in Dublin wih the support of the IDA.

Goa Games Services Ltd. is the online games division of French telecommunications company Orange and is owned by France Telecom. Their Dublin office is based in the Digital Hub and is already involved in localisation. This expansion will see the company moving into ‘customer and operations support for European countries in five different languages.’

Goa was mentioned in our ‘local heroes’ feature here on gd.ie back in 2007 when we noted that they were involved in localising titles such as Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, from Dublin.

Other products include Dark Age of Camelot and a new portal http://www.goa.com/

We wish them well with this expansion and hopefully other good things will come from this development.

If you are interested in the jobs there is a link on one of their websites already so you know where to go to keep an eye on developments – http://www.war-europe.com/#/job/?lang=en

Digra 09 Call For Papers

Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

(edit) This time it is only across the pond so to speak so no excuse! (edit)

Brunel University, West London, United Kingdom, Tuesday 1st September — Friday 4th September 2009

The South of Britain Consortium are pleased to announce the first Call for Papers for the Digital Games Research Association 2009.

DiGRA is an organisation that embraces all aspects of game studies, and the conference aims to provide a diverse platform for discussion, and a lively forum for debate. We therefore welcome papers from any discipline focused on any aspect of games, play, game culture and the games industry.

The conference will be the fourth DiGRA conference, following Utrecht, Vancouver and Tokyo, and welcomes contributions from scholars working in any area of interest to the association.

The Conference invites the following proposals for consideration:

Individual or Collaborative Papers

Panels

Workshops

Posters

Graduate Student Roundtable Papers

Initial selection will be through the peer review of abstracts of 500-700 words in all categories. Panel and Workshop proposals should include abstracts for the contributions of all participants.

Individual or collaborative papers – addressing topics relevant to the wide remit of DiGRA (including therefore industry, education, political, social, theoretical concerns appropriate to the association). Presentations should be limited to 15-20 mins.

Panel proposals – 3 – 4 papers which address a common theme, a common research method, a shared conceptual issue etc.

Workshops – proposals are invited for 2 – 3 hour workshops that address a range of themes relevant to the aims of the association. Workshops that are particularly targeted at a wide audience are most welcome.

Poster sessions – presentations of work in progress in the format are most welcome and will be showcased throughout the event.

The conference committee are also interested in including featured symposia/colloquia to address particular ‘late-breaking’ research projects or issue-based topics (an example might be a colloquia based around Wii research or a symposium based around Women in Games). Please contact a member of the conference organising committee with any expressions of interest.

Graduate student participation

In order to support graduate students and early career researchers the conference will focus on graduate student issues on its opening day, 1st September 2009. We therefore ask for volunteers for mentoring sessions from established academics. For those graduate students whose research is at an early stage, and who wish to work with mentors, we invite work in progress proposals for presentations at mentor roundtables. Such roundtable participation, however, should in no way be seen as preventing graduate students putting in abstracts for other forms of participation.

Strands

Please also indicate your preference for consideration in one of the following broad strands:

Games Culture

Games and Commerce

Games Aesthetics

Games Technology

Games Education

Games Design

Games and Public Policy

Games and Theory

Key Dates

Deadline for all abstracts and workshop/panel/symposia proposals: Friday 17 April 5pm GMT

Deadline for full papers for inclusion in digital proceedings: Friday 26 June 2009 5pm GMT

Notification of abstract acceptance: June 1 2009

Conference Dates: 1-4th September 2009

Abstracts should be of 500-700 words and include an additional indicative bibliography. Full paper submissions may be of up to 6,000 words. Full details of the submissions procedure, including the method of electronic submission, will be published here and on other forums as soon as possible.

All contributions must be original, unpublished work. The conference language is English, and papers, abstracts and other proposals should be written in English.

Delegates are also advised that individuals will be limited to one paper presentation and one other form of presentation to allow space and time for the largest number of participants.

About the Conference Location

Brunel University is located conveniently near Heathrow Airport and is on the London Tube system. A range of affordable accommodation is available on campus, including 1500 en suite rooms all on one campus, 400 standard bedrooms, 8 holiday flats (5-7 persons per flat), 51 specially adapted rooms for people with disabilities, plus hotel standard rooms in the Lancaster Suite.

There are also a range of restaurants, cinemas and shopping in Uxbridge town.

The Conference Organisers

The conference is being hosted by a consortium consisting of Brunel University, University of the West of England, and the University of Wales, Newport.

Tanya Krzywinska, Professor of Screen Media, Brunel University. Tanya.Krzywinska@brunel.ac.uk

Helen Kennedy, Chair of the Play Research Group, University of the West of England. helen.kennedy@uwe.ac.uk

Barry Atkins, University of Wales Reader in Computer Games Design, University of Wales, Newport. barry.atkins@newport.ac.uk

Third Annual Game Design Workshops

Ernest is back!

The School of Computing in DIT has announced that the third annual one day workshops on computer game design for second level students will take place on Saturday 22th November and Saturday 6th December.

The workshops which are sponsored by the DIT, The Irish Computer Society and Microsoft Ireland is hosted by games industry guru Ernest Adams.

Ernest Adams is a veteran 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. Ernest is also the founder and first chairman of the International Game Developers’ Association. These workshops are free but space is limited.

For more information and online booking see:

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

Win Access Keys For Cod Beta

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Xbox360 Multipayer Beta of Call of Duty: World at War today.

Demonware, who are based in Dublin, Ireland, worked closely with Treyarch throughout the development of Call of Duty: World at War, extensively overhauling the COD 4 networking layer and developing dozens of new features for the online portion of the game. Demonware also worked on the PS3, PC & Wii versions of the game.

Since we have some links with the folks in Demonware and we want you to experience the latest multiplayer networking technology we have ten access keys to the closed beta on Xbox 360 to give away free to the first ten people to e-mail aphra at gamedevelopers dot ie and provide me with your real and forum name and your age. (These are in addition to the five we gave away earlier in the week!)

See the forums for terms and conditions at http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?t=5196

Demonware have been busy working on other titles too. Keep an eye out for their influence on Guitar Hero: World Tour (PS3, X360, Wii, PC & Mac) as well as the new Bond game, Quantum of Solace (PS3 & Wii).

Thanks to the guys in Demonware for this great prize.

Games Fleadh 09 Update

Phil Bourke is busy planning another year of events for secondary school and third level students. He has provided the following information to update us on planning for 09 events in Tipperary Institute.

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Key dates are as follows;

11th March 2009; Games Fleadh – GamesPro presentations in games design, audio, art and programming presented by games industry specialists. Games music performance followed by a traditional music night. Games tournaments.

12th March 2009; XNA Ireland Challenge, Robocode Ireland, SchoolBots Challenge and Xbox Live Games tournament.

If you missed Games Fleadh 2008, have a look at the following YouTube videos and photos.

TV3 : http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=2-MytS2Uzg0

Opening ceremony 2008
http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=1s2Es5VWQOg

Sample event photos
www.flickr.com/photos/23796858@N03/page2/

Dr. Liam Noonan will be the coordinator of the Robocode Ireland Challenge and SchoolBots Challenge 09. Please contact Dr. Noonan if you would like to assist on the Robocode Ireland committee.

Phil Bourke will be focusing on the XNA Ireland Challenge, and Games Fleadh events. The starter kit is almost ready and the theme will be announced shortly. We’re seeking permission to distribute, subject to licence, this years winning XNA Ireland Challenge game on XNA Community. If your interested in becoming involved in the XNA Ireland Challenge committee contact him at pbourke at tippsoc dot ie

Please visit www.gamesfleadh.ie (under construction), www.robocode.ie, www.schoolbots.ie and www.xna.ie for details of fleadh events.

London Games Fest

If you are considering entering the games industry, wondering what games students are up to, want to see the Christmas releases and want to find out more about future business models and governance and legislation there is probably something for you at the London Games Festival which this year takes place at a number of venues from the 24-28th of Oct.

see esp http://www.londongamesfestival.co.uk for more details.

Dare Teams Update

The winners of the 2008 Dare to be Digital computer games design competition were announced at an awards ceremony in Edinburgh in August. Two teams from Ireland competed this year. While they did not win any prizes it looks like it was a fantastic experience for them.

Organised and promoted by the University of Abertay, Dundee, in association with Channel 4, Dare to be Digital this year saw 17 teams of five students spending 10 weeks in host centres across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Six teams were based at Abertay University (including teams from India and China), four were based at Brighton, three at London, two in Birmingham, and two in Dublin. In ten weeks the teams worked to develop fully-functioning prototypes of their game ideas.

A panel of seventeen judges, made up of representatives from fifteen different companies including Sony, Babel Media, Channel 4 and Sport Interactive, picked the three winners based on creativity and innovation, use of technology and market potential.

The Irish Connection

The Republic of Ireland’s team came from Dundalk Institute of Technology and was called ‘Infection Vector’ and the game they entered into the competition was called ‘The Manhattan Strain’. The game was compared by Eoghan Carpenter, one of the team members to ‘something like SimCity, but with an element of crisis management. The player acts as the Director of F.E.M.A. and must try to contain the outbreak of a deadly virus in the middle of Manhattan, using the NYPD to control the civilian population and CDC Biologists to treat those afflicted.’ This game used Microsoft’s XNA framework for C# in the production. See www.manhattanstrain.com for sreenshots, movies and pictures of the team.

The Northern Irish team this year was made up of students from the University of Ulster, including Elijah Blyth and Michael Sheridan from the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems and Mark Quinn and Niall Carlin from the School of Creative Arts, all based at Magee. They were joined by a fifth team member, Alan Monaghan, from Belfast Metropolitan College. Their game was called ‘The Creeping Dark’ and used the Emergent Technologies Gamebryo, engine.

For 10 weeks the two Irish teams were in the Interactive Entertainment Technology lab in Trinity College, Dublin. Trinity provided the team with accommodation in Trinity Halls on Dartry road, and the team worked alongside the IET Masters students, who by all accounts were extremely helpful. Key mentors in Ireland were Brendan Dillon and Tony Kelly of Demonware who helped with Project Management and Marketing, and Pete McNally, of Havok, who helped with 3D modeling, texturing and animation.

The Edinburgh Experience

After that the teams flew to Edinburgh and were put up in the Edinburgh International Convention Centre with the other teams. Each team had 4 PCs and any additional peripherals required to demonstrate the games. Over the next 3 days (sun – tues), the public were invited in to play the games and vote for their favourites. At the same time, people from various parts of the games industry could also try out the games and talk to the team members about how they got on with the development / how they achieved certain things / what they would do differently the next time etc.

According to Eoghan ‘The feedback from professionals was great to hear and being congratulated by professional developers for what we had accomplished gave a great feeling of satisfaction. At the same time, the competition judges were free to try the game with us, or privately in a separate judging area.’

All in all, Eoghan felt ‘the experience was simply fantastic, as we have been told time and again, it is as close as you can get to professional development without actually being professional, and so will be of huge benefit when we go looking for employment ourselves…. Of course, it was also great (if stressful) fun.’

And what now?

Well apparently while working for the Dare to be Digital competition the team came up with another idea for a game and they are now working on it in conjunction with members from the Northern Ireland team (Eoghan Carpenter, Chris Duffy and David Reilly from the Southern team, Alan Monaghan and Mark Quinn from the Northern team, together with Alan Feekery and Anthony Keogh from the games course at Dundalk Institute of Technology).

And what is this game like? ‘Its a completely different style of game from what we were both working on before, so comes as a nice break for us from The Manhattan Strain though we have every intention of continuing work on (that game) in the future.’

Dare Protoplay

The three day public showcase of the Dare games was called Dare ProtoPlay and was staged as part of the Edinburgh Interactive Festival. Over three days around 3000 visitors attended the event, trying out the new games and voting for their favourite.

Contrived (Edinburgh University) were the team to receive the most public votes, for their game Grav, they won the Audience Award sponsored by Microsoft and a prize of £1500. Grav is set in a ‘retro-futuristic’ environment where robots are your enemies and your surroundings are your best friend.

Dare to Grow

For those who wish to go on to bigger and better things this year NESTA and the University of Abertay Dundee have launched Dare to Grow, a pilot project which will allow past participants of Dare to work with an independent games developer for a period of six months.

Eligible Dare participants (ie those who have completed their studies, have no significant prior employment experience and are available for work) will put themselves forward to be considered for the project. Independent games developers will identify and describe an innovation project in their company. The Dare to Grow Project Co-ordinator will work with the potential interns and the companies to try and broker up to six projects to run from October 2008 for up to six months.

See http://www.daretobedigital.com/dare-to-grow/ for more details.

Tweak Festival Limerick

Tweak is an interactive digital art festival happening in Limerick from the 22nd to the 27th of September (next week).

The University of Limerick) are hosting a number of free workshops (topics include hacking, circuit bending, digital art, prototyping, and robotics) and there are still some spaces left.

The workshops are taking place in the Limerick School of Art and Design Monday to Friday 9-5. They feature workshops by speakers such as France Cadet,Digital Slaves, Area10Media Lab and John Bowers to name a few.

There is also a digital art exhibition taking place in Istrabraq Hall in the Limerick City Hall from Tuesday to Friday. This exhibit features work by artists such as Dan Miller (USA), Gregory Shakar (USA) Nigel Power (UK) and Peggy Sylopp (Berlin).

In addition there are a number of live electronic performances including a live circuit bending night and a performance by renowned digital composer Trevor Wishart

Additional information is available on the website at www.tweak.ie

New Company On The Block – Bsi Entertainment Ltd.

I was contacted recently by someone who was interested in getting to know more about the games industry in Ireland. The person in question was Russell Murphy and the company, BSI Entertainment Ltd. Why were they contacting gd.ie? Well, their business is matchmaking rights owners and sponsors to entertainment producers. I went along to find out more.

BSI Entertainment Ltd (BSI) is an international sports marketing and entertainment company founded in London in 1997. In the last 10 years BSI has represented a wide range of international rights holders, sponsors and licensors in sports premier echelons; Formula 1, MotoGP, World Rally Championship, Rugby, Football and Golf for whom they have developed sponsorship and licensing campaigns. They opened an Irish office in January 2008.

Over the past 6 years, BSI has developed a successful licensing division that leverages a global network and contact base in the sport and entertainment arena. They have worked with some of the largest video game publishers and developers (e.g. EA, THQ, Eidos, Acclaim and Disney) and built a reputation for negotiating licenses with rights owners, Federations, regulatory bodies and multinational companies in the sporting and entertainment categories.

BSI works with all the leading car manufacturers, Motorsport, Rugby, Football, Golf and Tennis federations to licence their Intellectual Property (IP) for inclusion in video games. Key titles they have worked on include Juiced Racing, EA, F1 Racing Series, Eidos, Football Championship Manager series, Acclaim, World Championship Rugby.

Interestingly from our perspective BSI also assists in the development of new game content and the creation of exclusive intellectual property for leading publishers. BSI is always seeking to work with owners of new IP that has been broadcast and would be suitable for the gaming sector.

BSI is located in the House of Enterprise building at 20 Fitzwilliam Street Upper, Dublin 2. You can call them on +353 (1) 6432313 or email Russell; russellml@bsientertainment.com

Eu Funding For Game Dev

If you are a games company with a successful game project under your belt you may be interested in the latest call from the EU’s Media programme which will part fund interactive works for console, PC and mobile platforms.

The call for projects was made this month in the European Journal and will close in April 09. There are two deadlines within this time period.

Minimum funding is €10,000 and up to €1.5 million is available in total to fund projects.

See http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/media/producer/develop/interactive/index_en.htm

In Ireland the local liason to answer questions on this programme will be via the Media Antenna office in Galway.

See http://www.media-antenna.com/

or contact

Md. Eibhlín Ní Mhunghaile
Cluain Mhuire Monivea Road
IRL-GALWAY
Tel.: 353 91 77 07 28
Fax: 353 91 77 07 46

Serious Games Call For Entries

This should be of interest to some.

****************************

The Third Annual I/ITSEC Serious Games Showcase & Challenge

Call for Serious Games Entries

Dec 1-4, 2008, Orlando, Florida, USA

Due to an overwhelming number of requests, the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge is pleased to announce that the deadline for submission of serious games to the challenge has been extended to Sept 30, 2008.

Serious Game developers are invited to submit their original serious game to the Second Annual I/ITSEC Serious Games Showcase & Challenge. The goal of the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge is to identify innovative game-based solutions to training problems that could affect personnel and systems today and in the future.

Finalists in the Serious Game Showcase & Challenge will be selected by a panel of leaders in the gaming, industry and academic fields, and will be invited to showcase their serious game at I/ITSEC 2008, where over 16,000 attendees will view and vote on each of the finalists. Awards will be presented to the top finishers.

The Challenge is open to a wide range of contestants, potential categories include student, government, individual / small business, and businesses larger than 500 employees.

Check www.sgschallenge.com for important details.

or http://www.iitsec.org/;

Women In Games (Europe)

Registration is open for the annual Women in Games conference which this year will take place in Warwick in the UK in a joint initiative between Warwick University and Rare.

For info on speakers etc see http://www.womeningames.com/

Notes

Aims of Women in Games

1. Give a voice to women in the games industry.
2. Analyse and monitor the role of women in the games industry.
3. Provide networking opportunities, especially for women developing and researching games.
4. Support and encourage students, researchers and developers to explore and redress the game industry’s
gender imbalance.
5. Disseminate research into games (past, present and future), especially (but not exclusively) with reference to the experience of women playing, developing and responding to games and game culture.
6. Disseminate information on the latest technologies and the best design and development practices.

Havok And Intel Competition

As mentioned on the boards, Havok and Intel are sponsoring a game physics competition to see what you can do with their tech in a game demo.

There are two categories and two deadlines; one in November and one in January 08.

In category one, one of the prizes has been ring fenced for an Irish entry — so get coding!!

‘The fourth prize is dedicated to a participant from the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. Havok just celebrated the 10th anniversary of Havok’s founding in Dublin, Ireland. For that reason we want to encourage entries from current Irish university students with a special prize of US$5,000. Entrants must be currently attending a third level institution within the island of Ireland, and must register using an email address with their school’s domain to qualify.’

See below for further details.

**********

HavokTM and the Intel(R) Software Network welcome you to the pinnacle of game physics competition. What can you do with the Intel-sponsored versions of Havok Physics and Animation for the PC? We’ve put the world’s best simulation tools in the hands of developers and we’re looking for its most innovative use in a game. Your game demo could earn you cash, a gaming PC and great exposure. $40,000 in cash and prizes are up for grabs!

Give it your Best Shot in two categories:

Category 1: Most Innovative Use of Physics in a Game. Your entry must be a playable PC game demo that includes new or unique uses of Havok technology. We’re looking for new ways for the player to interact with the game through physics, showing different uses of physics than what can be found in PC games today. This can be a FPS, sports game, casual game, or any other type of game.

Category 2: Best Physics Knowledge Base Entry. We’re looking for the best contributions that can benefit the game developer community. This can be a code sample, optimization tip, technical whitepaper, a technical abstract of your demo, or any other technical content that shares your knowledge of game physics with the community.

The PC version of Havoks physics and animation software products is available for download at no charge. See http://tryhavok.intel.com.

Submit your demo / application concepts by November 15, 2008 to be eligible for the finalist round of competition.

Submit your entries to the Best Physics Knowledge Base category by January 16, 2009 to be eligible for the top prizes in this category.

Check out our Official Rules for more details about this contest at http://softwarecommunity.intel.com/articles/eng/3938.htm.

Edinburgh Int Festival 08

EIF 2008 will take place from Sunday 10th to Tuesday 12th August, and will this year move to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The Dare finalists will be presenting their work as part of this festival so best of luck to them all, esp. the Irish teams.

****************

2008 will feature a major two-day conference programme, an array of networking events, an expansion of the EIF Games Screenings programme covering three cinema rooms, a major public area with gaming features, retail and recruitment sites. Dare ProtoPlay, the public showcase event of Dare to be Digital and Games Screenings.

Chris Deering, Chairman of Edinburgh Interactive Festival, said:
“Of course, we are delighted that we have been able to mix this year’s developments with a partnership with the Dare to be Digital programme, originated by Abertay University. It’s a wonderful project and we are a natural fit for each other under the EIF banner.”

“EIF’s focus on the creative culture of games makes it the perfect partner for Dare ProtoPlay and our proximity will create a real win / win for industry delegates and public visitors alike, creating a real festival atmosphere,” said Paul Durrant, Director of Dare to be Digital project.

New to Interactive Festival 2008 will be Features, Exhibition and Recruitment areas specifically tailored to cater for the public – allowing them access to the latest games and job opportunities in games.

As ever, the three-day Interactive Festival wouldn’t be complete without the cornerstones of conferences, keynotes, panel sessions, debates, games screenings and even more people than ever jostling to get through the doors.

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

Postgrad Games Conf, Brunel.

The 2nd Brunel University Annual Postgraduate Games Conference, 16th September 2008

Keynote Speakers: Peter Molyneux, Lionhead Studios and Barry Atkins, Univesrity of Wales.

See http://www.geekademic.co.uk/

The Digital Games : Theory & Design postgraduate conference will be held at at Brunel University in Uxbridge, London on 16/09/2008. The aim of the conference is to provide a forum for postgraduate games studies students to present work or work-in-progress to their peers and more experienced games researchers. T

All students or other interested parties are welcome to attend the conferences.

The theme of the conference is “Theory & Design”, and some sample areas of interest are listed below: history of games, game theory, combat systems, socio-cultural issues, community, gaming culture, game genre, design possibilities for the next generation, ethnicity, sound, character, immersion, play, widening markets, sex, casual games, agency, time & space, education, economic and industrial analysis, narrative, game auteurs, graphical styles, empirical analysis, gender, intermediality & transmediality, localisation, violence, political/serious games

Ndrc Call For Proposals

The National Digital Research Centre at the Digital Exchange has issued a call for expressions of interest from both commercial companies and academics for applied research and development projects in the digital media area.

Further information is available at http://www.ndrc.ie/eoi

Deadline for expressions is the 15th of August 2008.

The National Digital Research Centre, Digital Exchange
Crane Street, The Digital Hub
Dublin 8.

http://www.ndrc.ie/>www.ndrc.ie
+353 1 480 6252

Edinburgh Interactive Fest – Register Now

This year’s Edinburgh Interactive Festive and finals of the Dare to be Digital competition will take place in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Sunday 10th August – Tuesday 12th August 2008.

This year’s event includes:
* Two days of conference, including addresss from 19 Entertainment and Codemasters
* Partnership with Dare Protoplay brings the EIF under one roof in 2008
* VIP Networking Events
* An expanded three-day Games Screening Programme covering three cinema rooms
* Consumer feature area for sampling key titles from 10th-12th August, including games from
Nintendo, Sony and Codemasters
* The Edge Awards
* In-festival, retail site with Gamestation
* Recruitment Area
* Digital Interactive Symposium

To register visit www.edinburghinteractivefestival.co.uk

Player Experiences And Location Based Games – Cfp

*** WORKSHOP ***Evaluating Player Experiences in Location Aware Games

HCI 2008: Culture, Creativity, Interaction
1-5 Sept. 2008, Liverpool, John Moores University, UK
http://www.hci2008.org

Submission Deadline: July 14th, 2008

UPDATE:
The authors of the best abstracts may be invited to submit
a full paper for inclusion in a special edition of a leading journal.
———————————————————————

Location aware technologies such as widespread mobile computers and varying location sensors open up a massive range of possibilities for extending game playing into streets, buildings and even the rural landscape. New and extended forms of location-aware games including mobile or pervasive phone games, smart toys, role-playing games as well as Mixed Reality (MR) games all demonstrate promising new forms of game play. Substantial work has also gone into new game concepts, sophisticated technology and viable business models.

However, research on the methodological issues of studying mobile player experiences, pervasive game activity and ubiquitous interaction has become necessary. Furthermore, there is also a need to explore the methodological issues in the evaluation of the intertwined, mutually dependent dimensions related to the usability and playability of location-based games.

This workshop will bring together researchers, practitioners, and students with the objective of sharing knowledge, experience and ideas so that the many user experience issues of location aware games can be more thoroughly addressed.

We would like to invite papers to be submitted to this workshop that focus on one or several issues of measuring player experience in location-aware games including but not limited to:
* User interface design issues on multiple device types: from ideas to guidelines and principals
* Devices and modalities, including tangible computing
* Appropriateness of existing HCI work to game interfaces e.g. task analysis, heuristics, interviews and other methods
* Social dimensions of location gaming technologies, from non-player participation to between player communication
* Theoretical issues related space, place and presence
* Contextual issues when designing and evaluating location aware games
* Using participatory design and probes in design and evaluation
* Game design patterns

*** SUBMISSIONS ***

Authors are invited to submit position or research papers of not more than 4 pages, including tables, figures and references. Submissions will be accepted to be presented in a talk or as a poster. Papers should present original research or summarize experiences related to the above mentioned workshop topics. All submissions should be made via the online workshop paper submission system.

Paper submissions should adhere to the HCI 2008 style guidelines. The respective templates may be found at:
http://www.cms.livjm.ac.uk/hci2008/documents/HCI_2008_Paper_Template.doc
Please include all author and contact information in your submission.

Unless clearly indicated otherwise, submission of a workshop contribution implies permission for a publication on the workshop website.

*** IMPORTANT DEADLINES ***

Paper Submission: July 14th, 2008
Notification of Acceptance: End of July

*** POST WORKSHOP ***

We are currently in advanced stages of negotiation with a leading journal and have provisional acceptance for a special issue. We anticipate being able to make a further announcement shortly. If you require more information please contact us.

*** Organising and Programme Committee ***

Rod McCall, Fraunhofer FIT, Germany (co-chair)
Barbara Grüter, Hochschule Bremen, University of Applied Sciences, Germany (co-chair)
Anne-Kathrin Braun, Fraunhofer FIT, Germany (co-chair)
Lynne Baillie, Glasgow Caledonian University (UK) and FTW, Austria
Andrew Wilson, Blink, UK
Richard Wetzel, Fraunhofer FIT, Germany
Zachary O’Toups, Texas A&M University, USA
Joerg Niesenhaus, University of Duisberg-Essen, Germany

** Further Information ****
For more information contact Rod McCall (rod.mccall@fit.fraunhofer.de) or visit www.ipcity.eu

The workshop is being held in association with the EC funded IPCity and PEACH projects.

Bit Rabbit News

Michael El Baki, CEO of Bit Rabbit, and winner of the overall gd.ie person/company of the year award 2008, has informed us that he is moving back to France with his family. While we are sorry to hear he will be a less frequent attendee at our gd.ie events apparently Bit Rabbit, his company will remain in Ireland.

In other news, Bit Rabbit has signed at deal with DotEmu, a Paris based mobile games developer. DotEmu will use Bit Rabbit’s RabbitFactory middleware to port their classic arcade games to mobiles.

Romain Tisserand, CTO of DotEmu said “While looking for a mobile OS porting solution, RabbitFactory appeared to be the most flexible, professional and easy to use middleware. It really enables us fast track porting of classic games, and to focus on our core business”.

Michael El Baki, CEO of BitRabbit said “Emulation of retro games is one of the most intensive and difficult process, and porting such technology to Smartphones is a real challenge. Our multiplatform and highly optimized APIs offer DotEmu the robustness and performance needed for that task. By combining our two technologies, mobile gamers will be able to enjoy lots of classic games”.

For more see http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/dotemu-rabbitfactory-deal-deal-struck-to-bring-retro-games-to-mobiles-and-pc

Women In Games 08 – Cfp

Women in Games Conference
University of Warwick, UK
10-12th September 2008

Keynotes announced and Speaker Submission Deadline Extended

The Women In Games conference encourages research and seeks to promote careers for women within the games industry. If games are to become a true sibling medium to music and cinema, the industry needs greater balance in its audience and its workforce. The Women In Games conference welcomes participants from both industry and academia, providing a forum for presentation and discussion of issues relating to all aspects of women’s involvement in games, including game development, game playing and women as portrayed within games.

Although this conference is concerned with women and games please note that men are also very welcome to participate! The industry needs a meaningful dialogue between the sexes as it moves forward.

This year’s conference is co-organised by games company Rare Ltd (www.rare.co.uk) and the Computer Science Department at the University of Warwick (www.dcs.warwick.ac.uk)

Further details of the conference and this year’s themes are available at the conference website: www.womeningames.com

The Speaker Submission deadline has moved to Monday 23rd June 2008.

Thinking of submitting a talk, or offering to participate in a panel, but thought you were too late? Think again! We have extended the deadline to Monday 23rd June to allow you some more time.

We are keen to have more offers on the themes, “Dressing up Programming” and “Technology in Schools” in particular, but submissions on any of the themes still welcome.

For more details on how to submit, please check out www.womeningames.com

Keynotes Announced

I am pleased to announce our Keynote speakers for this year’s Women In Games conference:-

Karen Brennan (Scratch, MIT)

Sara de Freitus (Serious Games)

Eileen Brown (Microsoft)

Karen Clark (Bioware)

Paulina Bozek (Sony)

I invite you to check out www.womeningames.com for more details on these excellent speakers.

Conference Dinner at Warwick Castle

We have a fabulous conference dinner, a medieval feast arranged at Warwick Castle, sponsored by Blitz Games Studios (www.blitzgames.com). It is included in the conference price, and is sure to be an excellent night!

Sign up Now

Registration for the conference is open, sign up now to ensure your place. Conference-standard accommodation is available on campus – no need to drive during the conference, parking is free, and evening meals and entertainment all included!

For further details see www.womeningames.com or contact nicola@womeningames.com

Why not join us on Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10962393678) and LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/88533/664DC534A4E4)

I-Hci 2008 Conf – Cork

I-HCI 2008: “Cultures of Interaction”
The Second Conference of the Irish HCI Community

19 and 20th September 2008
University College Cork
http://ihci.ucc.ie/

*** Deadline for submissions June 13th 2008 ***

HCI researchers, students and practitioners are invited to participate in I-HCI 2008, a two-day conference to be held at University College Cork in September.

The conference will include long and short papers from practitioners and researchers, a postgraduate and apprentice practitioner consortium, and a space for demos and posters.

Broadly HCI is interested in augmenting human activity and enriching experience. The theme for I-HCI 2008, “Cultures of Interaction”, reflects the continued growth of HCI, which now engages with many aspects of human life, in work, leisure, the home, public spaces. It also reflects HCI’s openness to and appropriation of a wide range of influences in this engagement. While retaining its grounding in the sciences of usability and interaction, HCI now also draws its insights, influences, and challenges from creative, critical discourses in the social sciences, arts and humanities. The theme for the conference reflects the creative brew being concocted by Irish researchers, practitioners, and students engaged with HCI today.

Long and Short Papers from Practitioners and Researchers

Deadline for abstracts: 13th June 2008

Papers in any area of HCI are welcome. An attempt to relate to the conference theme is desirable but not essential. Submissions should report original work that has not been previously published. Contributions that advance the theory or practice of any aspect of HCI are welcome. This includes theoretical papers, practice case studies, empirical evaluation, methodological work, etc.

Both Full and Short Papers will be considered for presentation at the conference. For example, if you want to report work in progress or an interesting idea that is not yet fully developed, you may prefer to submit a Short Paper. When published in the proceedings, Full Papers will be 8 pages long and Short Papers will be four pages long. The conference proceedings will contain all papers, Full and Short, and will be published with ISBN.

If you would like to present a paper at the conference, please submit a 1,000 word abstract for review. When making your submission, you should clearly indicate whether you would prefer it to be reviewed as a Full or Short paper.

Abstracts should be prepared (using the template provided on the conference website) and submitted using the form on the website by 13th June 2008.

Postgraduate and Apprentice Practitioner Consortium

Deadline for submissions: 13th June 2008

The future of HCI depends on the enthusiastic engagement of future generations of researchers and practitioners. The Apprentice Practitioner Consortium is designed to nurture and develop the interest of students working in HCI or a related field. It is open to students at any stage of their study. It allows participants to discuss their work with established researchers and other students. Each participant will give a short presentation of their research and will join in discussion of their own and others work.

Applicants should submit a four-page paper, prepared using the template provided on the conference website, describing: the problem(s) that the research is addressing; the main contribution(s) of the research to the HCI field; the proposed solution(s), a brief description of the methodology adopted, the current status of the work, any interim conclusions of the research, and a tentative plan for future work. Accepted applications will be published in the proceedings.

Demos and Posters

Space will be available, on a first-come-first-served basis, for demos and posters at the conference venue. Please inform the Conference Committee of your intention and any special requirements you may have by 31st July 2008. We will do our best to accommodate you. Please note that demos and posters will not be included in the proceedings.

Important Dates

Abstracts due: 13th June 2008
Author notification: 27th June 2008
Camera-ready papers due: 22nd August 2008
Conference starts: 19th September 2008

Organisers

Jurek Kirakowski, Department of Applied Psychology (jzk@ucc.ie)
John McCarthy, Department of Applied Psychology (john.mccarthy@ucc.ie)
Ian Pitt, Department of Computer Science (i.pitt@cs.ucc.ie)

University College Cork,
Cork,
Ireland

Intro Game Dev Courses At The Digital Hub

The Digital Hub, located on Thomas Street in Dublin, will run a number of introductory digital media courses for youths during June, July & August 2008.

The courses include workshops on games and animation, further details on these are below.

All courses are held in Digital Exchange, Crane Street, The Digital Hub, Dublin 8. For further information email learning@thedigitalhub.com or telephone 00 353 1 4806200.

Summer course for youths include:

Games Workshop – Mission Maker Summer Camp
Date: 17th – 19th June
Class time: 11am – 3pm
Cost: €75

Your world – your rules! Teenagers can create and play your own 3D game with speaking characters, interactive environments and cyber challenges. Suitable for 12 – 18 year olds.

This course will cover;
1. Gaming culture
2. Using Missionmaker Software to build and play games you create

I Can Animate – €50
Date: 2nd – 3rd July
Class time: 11am – 3pm
Cost: €50

Ever thought Onion Skinning could be fun? Find out how animation techniques with crazy names will bring to life all kinds of weird and wonderful characters in worlds of your design. Suitable for 8 – 18 year olds.

The course will cover;
1. Clayanimation design
2. Animation techniques
3. Animated movie production with a Mac

Games Workshop – Mission Maker Summer Camp
Date: 5th – 7th August
Class time: 11am – 3pm
Cost: €75

Your world – your rules! Teenagers can create and play your own 3D game with speaking characters, interactive environments and cyber challenges. Suitable for 12 – 18 year olds.

This course will cover;
1. Gaming culture
2. Using Missionmaker Software to build and play games you create

Further information please contact:
e: learning@thedigitalhub.com
t: 014806200
w: www.thedigitalhub.com

Birthday Event Review

Thanks to everyone for turning out in great numbers to the annual birthday event for gamedevelopers.ie. Over sixty people turned up last Thurs evening to DIT on Kevin Street where we were hosted this year by the School of Computing and in particular a big thank you to Bryan Duggan and his head of school for organising the venue and supplying the food and drink for the crowd.

The event began with a few words of welcome from Bryan and then Aphra Kerr from gd.ie and NUI Maynooth gave a potted history of gd.ie. She then introduced the panel of speakers which included Peter Lynch from Eirplay Games, Steve Collins from TCD, Claire Fitch from fitch sounds and Tony Kelly from Demonware. Each speaker gave a brief presentation on their experience of the Irish games industry for the past five years and where they think it is going. We then opened it up to questions from the floor.

There was quite some discussion about the need to be more positive, the fact that companies come and go in all industries and the fact that we have had successes as well as failures on the past five years. New platforms like the iTouch were discussed and the potential for small companies with seed funding to release really innovative games. Finally, there was a discussion about the skills needed to enter the games industry and people seemed to agree that a good degree in computer science and some specialist training or experience were required for the more technical roles in a computer games or middleware company. For mobile games and other areas an ability to draw combined with training was important. All agreed that qualifications were increasingly important.

The discussion was followed by the gd.ie annual awards. This year four awards were given out by gd.ie to members of the community who have contributed both to gd.ie and the wider Irish games community over the past year.

The nominees for newbie 08 were:

Martin Collins – a student on the CGHND in Ballyfermot who is interested in character and level design and concept art – joined Oct 07.

Matthew – studying Media (which includes some games development) at Fermanagh College in Enniskillen and who hopes to get into the industry as a level designer – joined March 07.

Jediboy – lecturer in Auckland, New Zealand – joined April 2005.

We made a decision that new sign ups are not eligible for the newbie award. The winner this year was Matthew, who because of exams could not be with us. An award will be in the post to him soon.

The nominees for stamina were Peter B, Demonware who joined in April 2004, Kyotokid, Bizarre, Liverpool who joined in February 2004, Ian Hannigan, Derby who joined in June 2003 and Feral who jointed in December 2003. The first three nominees are now working in the UK in the games industry, although Peter B is moving to Demonware in a couple of weeks.

The stamina award goes to someone who has been around for a long time, is maintaining a high level of posts and is contributing to the Irish games scene. This year it went to Peter B who has posted and contributed to the boards continuously since he joined in April 2004, returned to Ireland regularly to attend shindigs and this year was involved in the judging panel for the XNA challenge in Tipperary Institute. He is currently moving from Sega in the UK to work with Demonware and will I believe be working between Vancouver and Dublin.

The stamina award can only be won once so Peter now joins our prestigious hall of fame along with Peter McNally (Havok), Damian Furlong (Rebellion), Dave Kearney (IVT) and David McGovern (PopCap).

The salmon of knowledge award goes to someone who contributes highly informative posts to the forums and frequently answers questions posted on the boards. They give of their knowledge freely to help younger members of the boards and those starting out in the industry.

This year the nominees were stevec64, jediboy and Ronan Hayes. The winner this year was stevec64 who is actually Steve Collins, lecturer in games from TCD and founding member of Havok. Anyone who knows Steve will know of his enthusiasm for the games industry but also his willingness to share this knowledge and experience with others. A deserving winner.

Finally, the overall person/group of the year award goes to a person or group, who has contributed to the development of the Irish games scene during 2008. This year the nominees were Microsoft Ireland for their role in the development of the TCD games course, running XNA events and sponsoring the XNA games competition in Tipperary Institute, Phil Bourke, lecturer in Tipperary Institute for his work on Robocode and the XNA games competition and encouraging students to study games and finally Michael El Baki, from the mobile and middleware games company Bit Rabbit.

The winner with the most nominations on the forums was Michael el Baki. Michael has been busy developing his company this year and they released a middleware product RabbitFactory and of course new games like Platypus. Michael’s company is relatively new but it is great to see him go from strength to strength but still also continue to contribute to gd.ie and various games courses through talks and seminars. Unfortunately Michael could not be there to pick up his award but he will no doubt be on the forums where people can congratulate him and his award is in the post.

Everyone then moved to The Bleeding Horse where people continued to chat and network until the small hours.

Thanks again to DIT, to Jamie McCormick for helping with the press contacts and organization, and to all those behind the scenes at gd.ie – Dave, Tony, Damian, Simon, Ronny – for moderating on the forums and sorting out the technical side of things – it wouldn’t happen without their willingness to volunteer time and expertise.

See full set of pictures at http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/skooter500/GamedevelopersIeBirthday

Discuss the event on the forums at http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4886

Gamedevelopers.Ie Is Five!

Thurs the 8th of May at 6.30pm will see the annual birthday event to celebrate 5 years of gamedevelopers.ie.

This year we are being hosted by the School of Computing at DIT, Kevin Street in Dublin, room K007.

To find the venue please search on http://maps.google.com/. Signs on the ground floor of the building will lead you to the room.

The event will kick off with a reception at 6.30pm, kindly sponsored by the School of Computing at DIT. Finger food and refreshments will be provided.

The formal proceedings will start at 7pm with an introduction by Bryan Duggan, lecturer in games at DIT. This will be followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Dr. Aphra Kerr of NUI Maynooth, looking at how the Irish games industry has developed over the past five years and where it is going.

The panel members have all been selected as they have been involved in the games industry since the beginning of gamedevelopers.ie. They are also involved in different areas of the games industry and games education. So they have a lot of experience and expertise to share.

Confirmed speakers so far include:
Tony Kelly, Chief Operations Officer with Demonware, the leading Irish network middleware company that was recently acquired by Activision.

Dr. Steve Collins, co-founder of leading Irish middleware company Havok, and Director of the Interactive Entertainment Technology Masters Degree in Trinity College Dublin

Peter Lynch, Managing Director of web and wireless games studio Eirplaygames which is located in the Digital Hub

Claire Fitch, freelance audio designer with Fitch Sounds Audio.

The panel discussion will be followed by the annual gd.ie awards. Any member of the gd.ie forums can vote. Even if you cannot attend on the evening you can still vote. To vote please visit http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4886

Socialising will continue afterwards in the Bleeding Horse, on Camden Street in Dublin. see http://www.living-dublin-pubs.com/reviews/bleeding-horse.htm

Who can attend?
Attendance is free but please send an e-mail to events@gamedevelopers.ie so we can organize seating and refreshments.

Parking
There is limited parking at DIT Kevin Street after 6.30pm and parking on the street is free after 7pm. Otherwise St. Stephen’s Green and RCSI car parks are probably the closest.

DIT, Kevin Street, Dublin.
For more on DIT’s Department of Computing see http://www.comp.dit.ie/website07/

For more on their BSc in Computer Science which has a games stream see http://www.comp.dit.ie/dt228/structure.html and
http://seriousgames.ie/mediawiki-1.6.10/index.php/Courses

Bit Rabbit Releases New Game

Michael el Baki (aka Bomberman) has just brought our attention to two major pieces of news from his company BitRabbit.

Firstly, his company has just released the game Platypus on smartphones and PDAs for Astraware/Handmark. All the porting process from PC was done at BitRabbit, using their own middleware.

You can find the game at http://www.astraware.com/platypus/ and reviews of the game are also available at http://www.pda-247.com/forum/showthread.php?threadid=22261 and http://palmaddict.typepad.com/palmaddicts/2008/04/platybus—poss.html

The second major piece of news is the launch of version 2.0 of their RabbitFactory middleware for all native smartphone and PDA platforms.

The RabbitFactory is a full-featured, cross-platform, highly-optimized set of C++ APIs which provide a complete abstraction of native mobile platforms, offering extremely fast development and deployment processes. They have just signed a major client for the middleware so watch this space for more BitRabbit news.

Background on the company

Based in Dublin, Ireland, BitRabbit is a successful and innovative studio involved in middleware development, mobile games design and development. The company focuses on native technologies and games for smartphones & PDAs. BitRabbit was amongst the first developers to get OTA distribution of native mobile games with tier-1 carriers like Orange UK and Korea Telecom, and works with some of the most prestigious publishers in the smartphone and PDA space.

For more information see www.bitrabbit.net.

see the thread on this and comment at http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?p=37405#37405

A Perfect Pitch

Gaelic games sell. Not only in ticket stubs, but also in the world of interactive entertainment. Despite receiving a critical bashing, Sony Ireland’s GAA games were the biggest indigenous selling games on the PS2, and with legions of fans of the sport around the country it was only a matter of time before a GAA management sim followed in their wake. But this story is not one of massive development teams and marketing spend. Instead, like every great sports story, it is one where the underdog wins – where passion and commitment are the conduits to victory.

Bainisteoir – Hurling, created by Tailteann Games, received critical plaudits across the country when it was released in 2007 – and it largely lives up to the hype. Unlike Sony’s productions, Bainisteoir features real-life player names: 1,000 real-life hurling stars in total, including D.J Carey, Sean Og O’hAilpin, Henry Shefflin and Eugene Cloonan. The game features the 32 Irish Inter-County, New York and London Senior Hurling panels. As in the Championship Manager series, players devise team strategies, watch the matches unfold on the pitch, plan player and team tactics, read statistics and listen to commentary. Between the muddy-kneed bouts, they interact with their team’s fans, sponsors and media, as well as opposing managers and players.

When Fergal McDonnell, Tailteann’s Technical Director, talks about Bainisteoir in terms of “intellectual merit”, he is not joking. “We produced what we believed to be a sports game of considerable subtlety and depth. [We wanted] to exercise the public’s cognitive skills and their intuition – it was for others to treat sport with a batter and bruise approach.” Fergal conceptualised Tailteann, and the Bainisteoir project, with his brother Padraig when the pair were studying at the University of Limerick (UL): Fergal, Masters of Technology; his sibling, Masters in Entrepreneurship. Between them, they had working experience in companies like Ericsson, the Ashling group, and the Irish Dairy Board. Bainisteoir, however, is largely a work of passion.

Fergal served as a Burgess GAA club board member and has represented North Tipperary at juvenile hurling levels – he is the current manager of his club’s under-16 hurling team and coach to the North Tipperary under 15-elite squad. Padraig, meanwhile, represented North and County Tipperary at under-age level and has captained Burgess GAA club to glory. Also involved in underage coaching, he has a firm understanding of the role of a hurling manager. “The project commenced to ensure Tipperary would be capable of winning an All-Ireland Senior hurling title,” says Fergal. “All joking aside, like many a hurler, we realised that we would never be able to play like Eoin Kelly or Henry Shefflin but, like many a hurler on the ditch, we felt we could do a better job than the current inter-county managers.”

By their own admission, the McDonnells were heavily influenced by 2003’s Championship Manager 4 (Eidos), famed for its groundbreaking 2D match pitch. “When CM4 was in its prime, we thought how great it would be if there was a hurling equivalent,” says Fergal. “And so the Bainisteoir – Hurling project commenced.” The chosen platform was PC “as we felt that sports management games in other genres were most at home on the PC and didn’t always cross over fantastically well to consoles.”

The decision to develop for PC also gave the start-up company an opportunity to maintain full creative control over the project. “With the Irish games industry still very much in its infancy and with no distinct game publisher based here, we were opposed to pitching Bainisteoir – Hurling to a foreign publisher, who would be likely to have little grasp or appreciation of the sport,” says Fergal. “Wanting to control our own destiny, we developed an indigenous path to the market. Although it was a riskier path to take, we were also aware that financial rewards, arising from taking such an approach, are considerably greater than receiving development costs, plus royalties, from a publisher.”

The brothers put almost as much work into research as they did into development. They read work by leading authors in sports management (including that of American football coaching legend, Vince Lombardi), as well as books such as Ger Loughnane’s Raising the Banner, Seamus J. King’s Clash of the Ash. In order to rate different counties abilities and devise individual player profiles, they consumed articles by top GAA journalists such as Enda McEvoy, Tom Humphries and Vincent Hogan. They examined websites, attaining information about current trends and company policies, and analysed GAA coaching manuals. In addition, Fergal completed his Level 1 Coaching Badge “to further comprehend the psychological elements of modern day GAA management”.

As is the case in most management sports games, Bainisteoir’s development process required a surplus of artistic skills, although Tailteann also had their share of technical challenges. “Working on a development budget which pales in comparison to the big boys of the industry was another factor which kept us on our toes,” says Fergal. “It constantly challenged our creativity and innovation levels.”

But the true strength behind Tailteann – which the McDonnell brothers set up in Nenagh, County Tipperary – is in its balance of skilled personnel. Padraig’s non-technical background challenged Fergal to overcome technical problems, providing essential elements for the good of the game. At the same time, Fergal’s technical background allowed him to recognise opportunities that arose during the programming phase. This led, explains Fergal, to a game that “contains both technical excellence and artistic flair”.
image1
Padraig and Fergal McDonnell

The brothers also employed programmers, artists and designers – Fergal name checks MacDara Butler and Oisin Lavery – and formed strategic alliances with interactive design firm Tricycle Interactive Systems. A1 Games Distribution were brought on board to ensure that the game reached the masses, while John Tynan was employed in a Business Development role. Fergal continues: “Play-testers and quality assurance testers, focus group respondents and research assistants, were continually employed throughout the development process. [We also used an] external team of prime professional advisors and assistants, including top multimedia, graphic design, website design, publishing (including print, replication and distribution experts), PR, advertising, financial, legal, insurance, hurling and business consultants.”

Through the McDonnell’s close ties to the sport, numerous individuals within the GAA were called upon to lend a helping hand. Fergal mentions the National Director of Hurling, Paudie Butler, and GAA Director of Games Pat Daly (who also assisted with player development and coaching frameworks). Official endorsement from the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) allowed Tailteann to use the names of real-life hurling stars within the game. The GPA also helped in the terms of research, play testing, quality assurance and PR.

Although the game was made for a fraction of the price of a Championship Manager, its success in the Irish market is testament to the commitment of the McDonnell brothers and the team around them. “We have been genuinely thrilled with the reaction the game has received from both the hurling/GAA public and the media to date,” says Fergal, adding that by post-Christmas 2007 the company had met their sales targets, although “sales-wise it could always be better”. He continues: “Pre-launch I think there were quite a few people who were more than a little sceptical of us. They wondered if a small, unknown independent games studio could really pull off a high quality simulation. From a personal point of view, our biggest worry was whether the game would have a large enough commercial appeal.” And how about plans for a sequel? “We’re in the preliminary stages of the research for an update to the game but we haven’t anything set in stone yet.”

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is that indie game developers, even small Irish set-ups, can be successful when armed with a good idea. But it is never easy, Fergal contends. “Most within the games industry agree that the industry is in rapid expansion and that we in Ireland should be positioning ourselves to take advantage of this… However, an Irish games design firm really does need to produce something quite unique to stand out from slick, mega-bucks international competitors.”

For more information on Bainisteoir – Hurling and Tailteann Games: www.tailteanngames.com

Gd.Ie Is 5 – Time To Vote

It is hard to believe we are five years live here on gd.ie but to celebrate we are currently organising the annual gd.ie birthday.

This event will take place on a Friday at the end of April and this year will move to Dublin Institute of Technology. Final details to be confirmed.

The event will involve some high profile speakers from the games industry and the annual gd.ie awards ceremony.

While we are busy sourcing speakers and sponsorships for the annual gd.ie awards you have a role to play too. We would like you to go to the birthday shindig thread on the forums – http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?p=37235#37235 – and make your nominations. Please also tell us why you want to nominate someone.

The main categories are:

1. The Newbie award
a person who joined the boards in the past twelve months but who has already made a significant contribution to the life and info on the website…not necessarily the most frequent number of posts…

2. The Stamina gd/ie Hall of Fame award
a person who signed up to the forums near the launch date in April 03 and has just kept posting…can only be won once.

3. The Salmon of knowledge award
For the selfless posting of gems of experience and information.

4. The Humour award
self-explanatory really – for the funniest post/posts to gd.ie

5. Gd person/group of the year
For their contribution to the growth of the industry and the wider games community as well as gd.ie – from April 06 – april 07. Can be a person or group.

A neutral panel will decide on the winners!

Nominations will close on Monday the 21st of April.

Previous Winners:

1. Newbie –
2007 – Paul Murphy (eDen) – student in Ballyfermot Senior College
2006 – John Molloy (nifty) student in Ballyfermot Senior College
2005 – Stéphane Ambrosini (steph)
2004 – Ivan McCloskey (kyotokid)

2. Stamina –
2007 – David McGovern (Nooptical), PopCap Games, joined Feb. ’04.
2006 – Dave Kearney (skyclad)
2005 – Damian Furlong (Omen) with a special runners up award to Ronny Southwood (ronny)
2004 – Peter McNally (pete)

3. Salmon of Knowledge –
2007 – Simon, (Gizmo) student, computing, DCU.
2006 – Malachy Duffin (Mal) CanDo
2005 – Tony Kelly (Idora) (Torc Interactive/Nephin)
2004 – Michael Griffin (Kapooki)

4. Humour –
2007 – no award – no-one funny enough!
2006 – Ivan McCloskey (Kyotokid)
2005 – Peter McNally (Pete) or his Hoffness..(Torc Interactive/Instinct Technology )
2004 – Ian Hannigan (e-Spatial/Nephin)

5. Gd.ie Person/ group of the year
2007 – Demonware
2006 – Demonware
2005 – IGDA Ireland committee.
2004 – Tony Kelly

Reports of previous events and winners can be found here:
2003 – the launch – http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/viewnews.php?article=13
2004 – http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/viewnews.php?article=98
2005 – http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/viewnews.php?article=200
2006 – http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/viewnews.php?article=266
2007 – http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/viewnews.php?article=322

Women In Games 08 Call For Papers

Women.createGames();// Women in games design and development

University of Warwick, UK.
10th-12th September 2008

Women In Games 2008 will provide a platform for academy and public sector to join with industry figures in a discussion about the current gender in-balance within the games industry. This will be an opportunity to share ideas on what can be done to encourage more women to become active participants in a flourishing creative enterprise.

Themes for this year’s conference include:

————————– */
/* 0001 Dressing up programming – is this the way to go?

Initiatives have been launched to encourage people (read girls) to do programming without realising that they are doing anything ‘hard’, and then they perhaps appreciate that it wasn’t as hard as they thought. What initiatives are out there? Do these work? Do they have credence? Do they hide the realities of what programming is?
*/
/* —————————————————————————————- */
/* 0010 Perception of Games Industry – what is it like to work in games?

/*
Working in the games industry is more mature than many people might imagine, and does involve a lot of hard work. It requires people to work together as a team and communicate effectively. How does this compare with the outside world’s perception? How does it compare to other creative industries of film or music? How can we change that perception if it is wrong?
*/
/* —————————————————————————————- */
/* 0011 Technology in schools – why do girls get turned off? –

Encouraging girls to study technology is fundamental to increasing the number of women in the games industry. What is happening in schools to result in very few girls coming out of school with Computer Science, fewer still studying at degree level, before finally only a trickle of women are attracted to working in the games industry? How does this compare with other countries?
*/
/* —————————————————————————————- */
/* 0100 Development and Play – do women do it differently?
/*
/*
What are the different perspectives that women bring to both playing and the design and development of games? How much is it just more of the same; what are the differences in how they play, what they produce and how they go about it?
*/
/* —————————————————————————————- */
/* 0101 Education for Games, Games for Education
/* */
/*
What skills are needed to work in the games industry? Are they provided by higher education, and are they options taken up by women? How are games used in education? What is the current state of play? Is this approach (and the types of games used) equally attractive and educationally beneficial to men and women?
*/
/* —————————————————————————————- */
/* 0110 Seriously applying games for fun and profit
*/
/*
How is the growth of the serious games sector impacting industry and research? What does the future hold for game powered applications and will they still be fun? How are women expressing themselves in this space? In what ways are games pervading our culture and what implications does this have for the future?
*/

—————————————————————————————

We will be very happy to receive proposals on any of these themes in a wide range of formats – talks, workshops, panel discussions, etc. Send us a 250 word (max) outline of how you would like to participate.

Important dates:
31/05/08 Submission Deadline in all categories
15/07/08 Notification of Acceptance sent to all participants
15/08/08 Speakers/Contributors Registration Deadline
05/09/09 Deadline for Open Registration
10-12/09/08 Women in Games 2008

For more information please contact Nicola Bhalerao at nicola@womeningames.com .

You can also contact aphra@gamedevelopers.ie

Iia Annual Conference 08

The annual IIA conference should be of interest to some.

*********

BEYOND WEBSITES: BUSINESS USES OF SOCIAL NETWORKING AND NEW MEDIA

The IIA national Congress will be held on Thursday, 15 May this year in Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin 3. The theme of Congress 2008 is “Beyond Websites: Business Uses of Social Networking and New Media”.

Congress 2008 will show the impact that social networking has had on business, successful integration of social networking into organisations’ business models and why it takes its rightful place as part of any company’s business tools.

Speakers will include leading industry professionals from Bebo, Dell, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Microsoft, IGOpeople.com and Worldwide Cycles.

View the full programme at http://www.iia.ie/events/iia-congress/programme/

Early Bird Tickets

Book before 11 April to get the Early Bird rate of €195 for Members and €245 for Non-Members.

Your ticket covers access to all the plenary and breakout sessions, web strategy clinics, exhibition and networking areas, and all breaks, lunch and post-conference drinks reception.

Media Call For Projects

Those of us in the general media area will know of the EUs MEDIA programme which aims to support the development and circulation of European media works. This includes interactive works.

A call for project ideas has been made and may be worth checking out as a source of funding.

For financial year 2008 the deadline is 15/04/2008 which is close but if you had a project idea ready to go it would be worth checking out.

There is a MEDIA desk in Ireland which provides support and can answer questions about participating in such projects.

See www.irishfilmboard.ie/financing/MEDIA_Desk_Ireland/27 for more info.

***************

The MEDIA 2007 programme has the global objectives:

– to preserve and promote European cultural and linguistic diversity and its cinematographic and audiovisual heritage, to guarantee its access to the public and to promote dialogue between cultures;

– to increase the circulation and audience of European audiovisual works within and

outside of the Union;

– to reinforce the competitiveness of the European audiovisual sector within the

framework of an open and competitive European market.

The current Call for Proposals has the specific objective of promoting, by providing

financial support, the development of production projects intended for European and

international markets presented by independent European production companies in

the following categories: on and off-line interactive works, including works

developed for computers, consoles, handheld consoles and mobile handsets.

Info here, for those that are interested:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/media/producer/develop/interactive/index_en.htm

Ddd Ireland Event

The Developer Developer Developer Ireland event is a general IT developer event being held in GMIT in Galway on the 3rd of May. The event is free.

Sessions being given by industry experts from the .NET developer community and include ‘WCF in Depth’ and sessions on ADO.NET, programming in C#, Visual Studio and object orientated programming.

For more see http://dddireland.com

Online registration at http://www.snipurl.com/DDDIreland

Sandbox 08 Cfp

Sandbox Symposium 08

Call for Participation

The third annual ACM SIGGRAPH Sandbox Symposium on videogames calls for papers, panel proposals, and presentations. We are looking for work that describes or illustrates innovative research in videogame theory, practice, and criticism.

Video games are a singular technological medium, comparable in cultural impact to the telephone, television or the Internet. What are the creative, technological, and commercial challenges facing this medium in the future? How do we relate great stories that leverage advances in technology? What is the continuing impact of this medium on individuals and society?

We seek original papers from the creative and technical communities that develop videogames and from academic researchers who study videogames and relevant technologies and disciplines. We also invite proposals for panel discussions. Selected papers will be those judged to have the greatest potential for impact on the practice of videogame development. All papers should meet the standards of their respective disciplines and will be peer-reviewed. For an indication of the conference’s breadth, please visit sandbox.siggraph.org for a look at last year’s program.

Suggested Topics

Real-time animation and computer graphics for video games
Distributed simulation and communication in multi-player games
Game console hardware, software, tools, and middleware
Psychophysics and user interfaces
Artificial intelligence in games
Interactive physics
Uses of GPU for non-graphical algorithms in games
Multi-processor techniques for games
Speech and vision processing as user input techniques
Development tools and techniques
Procedural art
Sound Design and music in games
Mathematical Game Theory applied to video games
Cinematography in games
Game design and game genres
Story structure (setting, plot, character, theme) in games and interactive fiction
Games (e.g., Casual, Serious, Mobile, Networked, Alternative Reality, Pervasive)
Legal, political, and societal impacts
Women and diversity in games
Gamer culture and community (e.g., modding communities, LAN parties, creative gamer content and machinima)
Independent game developers
Economics and business models in the game industry
Game production and labor
Papers

Please submit full papers (maximum 8 pages). All papers will be reviewed by an independent review committee, which will provide written feedback on each paper.

Panel Proposals

Proposals for panel discussions should include a statement of purpose (1 page) and 3-5 participants. Each participant should provide a biography and a brief discussion (2-4 paragraphs) of the topic under discussion.

Presentations

In addition we seek demonstrations of innovative projects and/or previews of unreleased videogame titles. Presentations should be two minutes in length and must show gameplay. Use Quicktime format, either NTSC (480p) or HDTV (720p).

Submissions

The web site for submissions is sandbox.siggraph.org. The deadline for paper and panel submissions is March 24, 2008. The deadline for presentations (see above) submissions is June 30, 2008.

All submissions should be PDF or DOC format and follow the SIGGRAPH style rules and Instructions for Authors (www.siggraph.org/publications/instructions).

Location

Sandbox 08 will be co-located with SIGGRAPH 08 and will start August 9, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. More details about location, times, and dates will be posted on the conference website.

Organization

If you have questions, please contact the conference chair, Dave Schwartz (585-475-5521, dis at it dot rit dot edu).

Cando Game Design

CanDo interactive are running a training course on game design this coming summer. It is part of a range of short courses in different digital media and other activities.

Students will learn the Blender package (www.blender.org) which will be used to create a complex 3D environment, and an interactive game within that environment.

– Basic level design skills
– Level design and factors affecting it (time limits, pickups, obstacles)
– Higher level concepts such as theming and storylines
– How to get into the industry

Students will team up and create a fully working game prototype by the end of the week.

Tickets for the 2008 Urban Arts Academy go on sale at 9am on Mon 18th February.

All courses will take place at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast between the 14th July and 8th August.

The cost of courses will be £50. However there will be a price freeze for early birds. From now until 31st March the cost of all 2008 courses have been held at £40.

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

Perry Gets Recognition

Dave Perry, formerly of Shiny Entertainment, will be awarded a DSc, (Eng) for distinction in computer game development and design by Queens University Belfast (QUB) next summer.

David is originally from Belfast, although he resides on the West coast in the US now. He is probably best know for his ‘Earthworm Jim’ and ‘Enter the Matrix’ games. He has been back to Belfast on a number of occasions recently to give talks and workshops on games.

Dave will be in good company at the ceremony with Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair as well as a long list of other people from across various fields receiving a range of honours. See http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/TheUniversity/GeneralServices/News/PressReleases/#d.en.90949

QUB established a course in computer game design and development in 2007. See http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/courses/viewcourse.php?article=28

Steve Collins Speaks About Havok And Tcd Course

Steve Collins was interviewed on the Sunday Business Show last Sunday the 10th of Feb.

To hear the clip see the Today FM site: http://www.radioireland.ie/lastword/business.html

Go to the second link on the page: Business Show Part 2 Sunday: 10/2/2008 and the interview is at about 20 minutes in.

thanks to Paul C for pointing it out.

Bsc/Beng/Meng Computer Games Design And Development, Qub

BSc/BEng/MEng Computer Games Design and Development Degrees

MEng Single Honours
MEng Single Honours (Sandwich)

Overview
Introduced in September 2007, the Computer Games Design and Development BSc/BEng/MEng programme (including an optional placement year) provides students with the necessary programming, content management and architectural design skills in preparation for a development-oriented career within the industry. This is an undergraduate degree with an optional additional year to earn an MEng.

Entrance Requirements
For students from the Republic of Ireland: At least 6 Bs at Higher Level to include either Mathematics or Physics. If Mathematics is not offered at Higher Level then at least grade B must be offered at Ordinary Level.

For students from Northern Ireland: BBB/ABB to include either Mathematics or Physics.

Applications should be made via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (i.e. UCAS). See
http://www.qub.ac.uk/directorates/sgc/admissions/

Contact
For any specific queries about the suitability of your qualifications or potential qualifications to apply for this degree please e-mail: admissions@qub.ac.uk (Tel: 028 9097 5081)
For general academic advice please e-mail comp.sci@qub.ac.uk

(Tel: 028 9097 4669 (9am–1pm & 2pm–5pm)
http://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/eeecs/

Course Content
The course is modular, with core modules defined in each year and pathways that allow an increasing degree of specialism as students’ progress from Stage 1 to Stage 4. Modules are combined across the stages to reflect the various themes within the degree.

Stage 1
This Stage is concerned with the development of core programming skills and the exploration of issues surrounding the design and development of computer and video games. A number of fundamental Computer Science topics are also explored.

Modules within this stage will include:
Principles behind game theory and game creation (including team-based game development)
Fundamentals of programming and algorithmic development
Theory and development of multimedia systems
Principles of computer architecture

Stage 2
Within this Stage students refine their core programming competencies through taking a range of modules that explore issues of relevance to game programming and Computer Science. Team-working and professional skills are also developed through team-based game development.

Modules within this stage will explore:
Games programming (using XNA)
Internet and network-based communications
Data structures and algorithm analysis
Sound and signal processing techniques
Principles of software engineering explored through team-based game development
Extended principles behind game theory and game creation
Professional development

Stage 3
This Stage is concerned with building specific games programming skills. Students will be offered a range of modules that cover core areas of games programming, for example, audio programming, AI programming, game engine programming, etc.

Modules within this stage will explore:
3D Game engine design and development
3D Graphics programming
Audio programming
Concurrent (multi-core) programming
Real-time physics programming
Live performance systems and interaction design
Sound recording / engineering
Artificial Intelligence
Agile and Component-based software development

Year of Professional Experience
Between Stage 3 and Stage 4 students undertake an optional full year’s paid industrial placement, the Year of Professional Experience. The placement year is an opportunity both to put into practice the principles learned to date in the course and gain practical experience in games design and development with an appropriate games development studio where possible. Students will receive assistance in obtaining a suitable placement.

Stage 4
In Stage 4 students develop specialism in games programming through the selection of research based modules and the completion of a games development research project. A number of these modules are closely linked to the research and consultancy expertise of staff and evolve and change rapidly to reflect some of the current, emerging, novel and exciting advances in computer and video game development.

Based on current research strengths this would include:
Adaptive and self-learning
Artificial Intelligence
Reasoning under uncertainty
Advanced audio techniques for computer gaming
Sound/music interfaces and interaction
Advanced algorithmic analysis
Embedded software systems
Advanced computer vision techniques
Distributed/parallel programming

Special Features
Major new research centres have been established in Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology, eScience and in Sonic Arts. A number of modules on the course are closely linked to the research expertise of these centres and evolve and change rapidly to reflect some of the current, emerging and exciting developments in the field.

Opportunities for Careers and Further Study
On graduating with an MEng degree (and a year’s experience), students will be able to take jobs in the computer games industry or other computer-based creative industries. Graduates may also choose from a range of positions in the computing and IT sector or jobs involving the design and development of computer-based systems. In addition, the course will equip graduates to pursue research/further study in Computer Science and related disciplines.

Games: Edu 08 Events

For those interested in games and education these two events in the UK may be of interest.

This year GAMES:EDU: is running on two days, in two separate locations.

Tuesday 29th April in Manchester alongside GamesGrads and Tuesday 21st July in Brighton preceding the Develop Conference.

The content of the two days will be distinct, and there are discounts to attend both days.

See http://www.gamesedu.co.uk

Serious Games Challenge

The Third I/ITSEC Serious Games Showcase & Challenge

Call for Serious Games Entries

December 1-4, 2008, Orlando, Florida, USA

Serious Game developers are invited to submit their original serious game to the Third Annual I/ITSEC Serious Games Showcase & Challenge. Thegoal of the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge is to identify innovative game-based solutions to training problems that could affect personnel and
systems today and in the future.

Finalists in the Serious Game Showcase & Challenge will be selected by a panel of leaders in the gaming, industry and
academic fields, and will be invited to showcase their serious game at I/ITSEC 2008, where over 16,000 attendees will view and vote on each of the finalists. Awards will be presented to the top finishers.

The Challenge is open to a wide range of contestants, potential categories include student, government, individual / small business, and businesses larger than 500 employees.

Check www.sgschallenge.com for important details and information about last years outstanding contest.

http://www.iitsec.org/; http://www.sgschallenge.com

Cfp – Iadis Gaming Conf 2008

CALL FOR PAPERS – Deadline for submissions: 25 February 2008

IADIS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE GAMING 2008: DESIGN FOR ENGAGING EXPERIENCE AND SOCIAL INTERACTION

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 25 to 27 July 2008
(http://www.gaming-conf.org/) part of the IADIS Multi Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems
(MCCSIS 2008) Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22 to 27 July 2008 (http://www.mccsis.org)

* Keynote Speaker
Constance Steinkuehler, University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA

* Conference background and goals
As gaming becomes more pervasive we are challenged in our job, learning and personal life by the growing access to virtual spaces and communities that offer opportunities for everyday needs and aesthetic experiences. ‘Creative Industries’ have a need for design measures that reveal new interaction methods, scenario metaphors and in-depth co-creation. This conference bring together research and best practices in creative
media design for this new challenging field.

* Format of the Conference
The conference will comprise of invited talks and oral presentations. The proceedings of the conference will be published in the form of a book and CD-ROM
with ISBN, and will be available also in the IADIS Digital Library (accessible on-line). The best paper authors will be invited to publish extended versions of their papers in the IADIS Journal on Computer Science and Information Systems.

* Types of submissions
Full and Short Papers, Reflection Papers, Posters/Demonstrations, Tutorials, Panels
and Doctoral Consortium. All submissions are subject to a blind refereeing process.

* Topics related to Gaming: Design for Engaging Experience and Social Interaction are of interest. These include, but are not limited to the following areas and topics:

– Creativity and Resonant Interaction
– Multi-modal communication
– Immersiveness
– Experience design
– Perception and performance metaphors
– Alternate and mixed realities
– Creative industries
– Research methodologies in creative practice
– Assessment of exploratory technologies
– (Social and Audiovisual) Usability and playability
– Adaptivity
– Cognition, representation, communication
– User/player centered design
– Game interpretation for design
– Psychological, social, and cultural differences in perception and participation
– Communities, networks, social interaction and social capital
– Cross-cultural and intercultural approaches
– Mechanisms of exclusion
– Game criticism
– Applications in Serious Gaming
– Assessment of exploratory learning approaches
– Emerging practices

* Important Dates:
– Submission Deadline: 25 February 2008
– Notification to Authors: Until 31 March 2008
– Final Camera-Ready Submission and Early Registration: Until 21 April 2008
– Late Registration: After 21 April 2008
– Conference: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 25 to 27 July 2008

* Conference Location
The conference will be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

* Secretariat
IADIS Secretariat – IADIS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE GAMING 2008 : DESIGN FOR ENGAGING EXPERIENCE AND SOCIAL INTERACTION

Rua Sao Sebastiao da Pedreira, 100, 3
1050-209 Lisbon, Portugal

E-mail: secretariat@gaming-conf.org
Web site: http://www.gaming-conf.org/

O’neill Moves To Namco Bandai

Following on from the current feature on gd.ie we have found out that Barry O’Neill has become President / COO at Namco Bandai Networks Europe. He will be based in London. More details on this move soon.

Barry O’Neill has previously worked as COO at Sun 3C Media, CEO at Upstart Games (Dublin) and head of New Media at Eircom.

see http://www.namcomobile.com/

Xna Challenge And Robocode Deadlines

Deadlines for entry

If you haven’t done so already please ensure your college or university has registered for the XNA Ireland Challenge 2008 by Monday 4th February. This years event honours the 30th Anniversary of SPACE INVADERS (c) Taito Corporation. Visiting games studio judges will be scouting for students interested in work placement positions.

To register for the XNA Ireland Challenge 2008 send an email to xna@tippsoc.ie with a stipulation in the subject line; “[institution name] would like to register for XNA Ireland Challenge 2008”

Please see http://xnaireland.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!F98783C054F60D82!142.entry
for details OR http://www.xna.ie

Registration for Robocode will also close on Monday 4th February. To register for Robocode Ireland 2008 send an email to robocode@tippsoc.ie with a stipulation in
the subject line; “[institution name] would like to register for Robocode Ireland 2008”

Please see http://www.robocode.ie

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