Gdce Student Scholarships

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has launched the 2nd annual Game Developers Conference Europe (GDCE) Student Scholarship Program.

Twenty-five college students will be awarded complimentary full access passes to the GDCE August 26-29, 2003, opening the doors to conference seminars, panel discussions and potential job opportunities.

Students can apply online for an IGDA scholarship at www.igda.org/scholarships. The deadline for entry is Monday June 23, 2003.

Recipients will be announced in late July 2003. Applicants are required to be full-time college students (or equivalent) and IGDA student members for consideration. The IGDA’s Education Committee and board members will judge the scholarship applications.

Complete information on the scholarship program can be found at http://www.igda.org/scholarships

Information on the 2003 GDC Europe can be found at http://www.gdc-europe.com

Gdce Student Scholarships – 2

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has launched the 2nd annual Game Developers Conference Europe (GDCE) Student Scholarship Program.

Twenty-five college students will be awarded complimentary full access passes to the GDCE August 26-29, 2003, opening the doors to conference seminars, panel discussions and potential job opportunities.

Students can apply online for an IGDA scholarship at www.igda.org/scholarships. The deadline for entry is Monday June 23, 2003.

Recipients will be announced in late July 2003. Applicants are required to be full-time college students (or equivalent) and IGDA student members for consideration. The IGDA’s Education Committee and board members will judge the scholarship applications.

Complete information on the scholarship program can be found at http://www.igda.org/scholarships

Information on the 2003 GDC Europe can be found at http://www.gdc-europe.com

Gamedevelopers.Ie Shindig

Time: 7pm

Location: Downstairs in Toners pub on Baggot Street, Dublin. Two tables reserved for us.

Feel free to drop in and say hello but bring your own sandwiches!

Us Games Guru In Dublin

Bernard Stolar has been invited by Enterprise Ireland to Dublin and he will present a workshop titled ‘An Insider’s Perspective on the Games Industry – and the Opportunities for Irish companies.’

Bernard Stolar has worked in all the major hardware companies in the US from Atari in the 1980s, where he was president of their Lynx division, to Sony Computer Entertainment of America where he was Executive Vice President. He moved on to Sega of America and Sega Entertainment where he was responsible for Sega’s console and PC gaming businesses in North America before joining Mattel Interactive as President of the company. He is currently a consultant to the interactive entertainment industry.

Enterprise Ireland are inviting Irish game developers to a workshop with Bernard Stolar in EI’s Sandymount office (Dublin) from 9.30-12.00pm on the 27th of June.

This workshop will examine:
1. Where he sees the industry now and where it is going
2. How the business is changing in the different platform segments
3. The role of the game’s publisher
4. How might a new game developmnt company gets its own game published and what lessons might there be for an emerging Irish industry?
5. Where should Irish games companies target their efforts

If interested in receiving an invitation contact Michael Kenna, Digital Media Department of Enterprise Ireland at mailto: michael.kenna@enterprise-ireland.com

Celtic Inspiration At E3

At E3 2003, the West Hall held its own share of surprises. At the foot of the vast Nintendo showcase area, and around the corner from Sony America’s wares, stood the Scottish Games Alliance booth. The size of this Caledonian stronghold rivalled developers Kemco and Tecmo next door but drew more quizzical glances than most other attractions in the Hall. “There’s a games industry in Scotland and they can afford to promote themselves in California? But no other international countries are represented at E3… How did that happen?”

In truth, the Scottish games industry is incredibly healthy and enjoys a situation which its Irish counterpart could turn toward for inspiration and emulation. VIS Games, in full force at the SGA stand, develops content for the three major platforms (PlayStation, Xbox, GameCube). The company was founded in Dundee and employs 200 people in four studios around the UK. Triple A game State of Emergency (published by Grand Theft Auto’s Rockstar team) was produced under the VIS banner, and more are now in store: The Powerpuff Girls; Evil Dead, A Fistful of Broomstick; and Tom and Jerry, War of the Whiskers.

In 1996, Robin Mair of Scottish Enterprise and Chris van der Kuyl of VIS began chatting about game development in Scotland. This lead to an exploratory meeting for game developers from around the country and the SGA was subsequently born.

“The Scottish Games Alliance was formed almost as a subsidiary of Scottish Enterprise, so there is significant funding available,” VIS’s PR guy, Barclay Dakers shouted over E3’s cacophonous multimedia din. “This is one of the reasons we are capable of coming here and setting up in such a prestigious hall. All of us clubbing together like this makes it much more viable for smaller Scottish games companies and developers to attend E3. We’re seeing a phenomenal amount of media attention in the North American market as a result.”

Chatting to Barclay soon revealed two key areas where Ireland might concentrate in order to nurture its game developers: education and funding. Within the next three years, Scottish Enterprise is investing £25m in the country’s creative industries. A new venture capital – Fund4Games – has been specifically designed for game developers, allowing companies to apply for venture capital of between £250,000 to £1m.

“Gordon Brown [UK Finance Minister] visited our studio a couple of weeks ago,” continued Barclay. “One of the topics under discussion was the fact that the games industry is now huge, employing several thousand people and bringing a phenomenal amount of money back into the country. We asked Mr Brown what he was going to do for us and talked about specific tax breaks for games developers. The Minister was supportive and he is going to look into it. You never know… it could be the start of something which will help further promote our industry.”

When it comes to learning the ropes of game development, Scotland is also uniquely blessed. Abertay University in Dundee was the first of its kind in the UK to offer a development course, covering every aspect of gaming and allowing insights into the business. Summer work courses are also available, whereby students are taken through a project’s development process. “It makes students very employable,” said Barclay.

The sheer scale of talent in Scotland is phenomenal, specifically around the Northeast, and this is largely due to the unique model that Scottish Enterprise has created. Some of the developer talent showcased at the SGA E3 stand included Simian Industries (mobile Java games), Denki (Go! Go! Beckham, GBA), Steel Monkeys (Rocky, GameCube), DC Studios (NBA Jam 2002, GBA), middleware and music producers.

Digital media creative industries directly employ around 25,000 people in Scotland and Barclay Dakers was keen to point out that Ireland has the same potential. “I know for a fact that there is enough talent in Ireland to create a viable industry, whether they are in the programming departments, R+D, or the artists. Now it needs a focus in order to generate the business.” Well, that’ll be gamedevelopers.ie, then.

Certainly, E3 was awash with Irish talent but high-profile middleware providers Havok aside, most of it appeared to be ex-patrioted. Dave Perry, CEO of Shiny Entertainment, is currently riding the crest of a wave after collaborating with the Wachowski Brothers to produce the multi-platform Enter the Matrix. With as much hype surrounding the game as the movie sequel itself, Perry has been launched into development big-league but he contends that his career wouldn’t have taken the same trajectory had he not left his native Belfast.

“There’s lots of talent in Ireland and I meet Irish people in the industry over here [in California] all the time,” he said. “But it is easier to be based in America because the games business is progressing at such a rapid rate and there’s so much work available. Ireland is mined for talent but the talent is leaving. It would be great if that could be reversed.”

Peter Donnelly, an Executive Producer at LA’s Climax studios, hails from Dublin’s Northside and attended E3 to promote the Xbox title Sudeki. Peter used to clone databases, then began developing multimedia titles for Microsoft. He spent an increasing amount of time in the U.S. before finally packing his bags and moving to the land of Uncle Sam to develop games full-time. When asked what he would do if a significant industry began in Ireland, he admitted that he would relocate back home in a flash.

“Ireland’s position as an IT leader is there for us to exploit but we’re not doing it and I don’t know why. It’s a risky business, a hit driven industry, but it’s also a million-dollar industry and the battle for the living room is going to get bigger. Opportunities are there. There’s a company in Donegal called Torc Interactive who make very good engines and I hope they are getting the support they need. We have immense talent – look no further than Havok – but without sufficient government backing we’ll never be able to accomplish all we can,” said Peter.

A sad note to end on? Perhaps, but one final glance at the Scottish Games Alliance booth provided reassurance. Scotland is not only exploiting the country’s key strengths in knowledge-based industries, high-level skills, technology and innovation, but it’s also prospering as a result. We have the talent; now it’s time to create an environment within which digital media companies can flourish. Then we can finally prove that long after the Celtic Tiger’s bark has faded, its bite can still make a lasting impression on the world.

Author bio: Pavel Barter is a freelance journalist and member of Dublin-based guitar band the West Seventies (

www.thewestseventies.com). Both activities, he admits, beat working for a living.

Workshop With Bernard Stolar

‘An Insider’s Perspective on the Games Industry – and the Opportunities for Irish Companies’

Enterprise Ireland have invited Bernard Stolar who has worked with Atari, SCEA, Sega of America and Sega Entertainment, Mattel Interactive and BAM! Entertainment, to host an informal workshop with Irish game developers.

Venue: Room 5/6, Enterprise Ireland, Strand Road, Sandymount, D4.
Time: 9.30-12.00

Attendance by invitation only.

Please contact Michael Kenna, Digital Media Department, EI at
mailto:michael.kenna@enterprise-ireland.com

michael.kenna@enterprise-ireland.com

or Linda Coyle at mailto:linda.coyle@enterprise-ireland.com

linda.coyle@enterprise-ireland.com

Us Games Guru In Dublin – 2

Bernard Stolar has been invited by Enterprise Ireland to Dublin and he will present a workshop titled ‘An Insider’s Perspective on the Games Industry – and the Opportunities for Irish companies.’

Bernard Stolar has worked in all the major hardware companies in the US from Atari in the 1980s, where he was president of their Lynx division, to Sony Computer Entertainment of America where he was Executive Vice President. He moved on to Sega of America and Sega Entertainment where he was responsible for Sega’s console and PC gaming businesses in North America before joining Mattel Interactive as President of the company. He is currently a consultant to the interactive entertainment industry.

Enterprise Ireland are inviting Irish game developers to a workshop with Bernard Stolar in EI’s Sandymount office (Dublin) from 9.30-12.00pm on the 27th of June.

This workshop will examine:
1. Where he sees the industry now and where it is going
2. How the business is changing in the different platform segments
3. The role of the game’s publisher
4. How might a new game developmnt company gets its own game published and what lessons might there be for an emerging Irish industry?
5. Where should Irish games companies target their efforts

If interested in receiving an invitation contact Michael Kenna, Digital Media Department of Enterprise Ireland at mailto: michael.kenna@enterprise-ireland.com

Celtic Inspiration At E3 – 2

At E3 2003, the West Hall held its own share of surprises. At the foot of the vast Nintendo showcase area, and around the corner from Sony America’s wares, stood the Scottish Games Alliance booth. The size of this Caledonian stronghold rivalled developers Kemco and Tecmo next door but drew more quizzical glances than most other attractions in the Hall. “There’s a games industry in Scotland and they can afford to promote themselves in California? But no other international countries are represented at E3… How did that happen?”

In truth, the Scottish games industry is incredibly healthy and enjoys a situation which its Irish counterpart could turn toward for inspiration and emulation. VIS Games, in full force at the SGA stand, develops content for the three major platforms (PlayStation, Xbox, GameCube). The company was founded in Dundee and employs 200 people in four studios around the UK. Triple A game State of Emergency (published by Grand Theft Auto’s Rockstar team) was produced under the VIS banner, and more are now in store: The Powerpuff Girls; Evil Dead, A Fistful of Broomstick; and Tom and Jerry, War of the Whiskers.

In 1996, Robin Mair of Scottish Enterprise and Chris van der Kuyl of VIS began chatting about game development in Scotland. This lead to an exploratory meeting for game developers from around the country and the SGA was subsequently born.

“The Scottish Games Alliance was formed almost as a subsidiary of Scottish Enterprise, so there is significant funding available,” VIS’s PR guy, Barclay Dakers shouted over E3’s cacophonous multimedia din. “This is one of the reasons we are capable of coming here and setting up in such a prestigious hall. All of us clubbing together like this makes it much more viable for smaller Scottish games companies and developers to attend E3. We’re seeing a phenomenal amount of media attention in the North American market as a result.”

Chatting to Barclay soon revealed two key areas where Ireland might concentrate in order to nurture its game developers: education and funding. Within the next three years, Scottish Enterprise is investing £25m in the country’s creative industries. A new venture capital – Fund4Games – has been specifically designed for game developers, allowing companies to apply for venture capital of between £250,000 to £1m.

“Gordon Brown [UK Finance Minister] visited our studio a couple of weeks ago,” continued Barclay. “One of the topics under discussion was the fact that the games industry is now huge, employing several thousand people and bringing a phenomenal amount of money back into the country. We asked Mr Brown what he was going to do for us and talked about specific tax breaks for games developers. The Minister was supportive and he is going to look into it. You never know… it could be the start of something which will help further promote our industry.”

When it comes to learning the ropes of game development, Scotland is also uniquely blessed. Abertay University in Dundee was the first of its kind in the UK to offer a development course, covering every aspect of gaming and allowing insights into the business. Summer work courses are also available, whereby students are taken through a project’s development process. “It makes students very employable,” said Barclay.

The sheer scale of talent in Scotland is phenomenal, specifically around the Northeast, and this is largely due to the unique model that Scottish Enterprise has created. Some of the developer talent showcased at the SGA E3 stand included Simian Industries (mobile Java games), Denki (Go! Go! Beckham, GBA), Steel Monkeys (Rocky, GameCube), DC Studios (NBA Jam 2002, GBA), middleware and music producers.

Digital media creative industries directly employ around 25,000 people in Scotland and Barclay Dakers was keen to point out that Ireland has the same potential. “I know for a fact that there is enough talent in Ireland to create a viable industry, whether they are in the programming departments, R+D, or the artists. Now it needs a focus in order to generate the business.” Well, that’ll be gamedevelopers.ie, then.

Certainly, E3 was awash with Irish talent but high-profile middleware providers Havok aside, most of it appeared to be ex-patrioted. Dave Perry, CEO of Shiny Entertainment, is currently riding the crest of a wave after collaborating with the Wachowski Brothers to produce the multi-platform Enter the Matrix. With as much hype surrounding the game as the movie sequel itself, Perry has been launched into development big-league but he contends that his career wouldn’t have taken the same trajectory had he not left his native Belfast.

“There’s lots of talent in Ireland and I meet Irish people in the industry over here [in California] all the time,” he said. “But it is easier to be based in America because the games business is progressing at such a rapid rate and there’s so much work available. Ireland is mined for talent but the talent is leaving. It would be great if that could be reversed.”

Peter Donnelly, an Executive Producer at LA’s Climax studios, hails from Dublin’s Northside and attended E3 to promote the Xbox title Sudeki. Peter used to clone databases, then began developing multimedia titles for Microsoft. He spent an increasing amount of time in the U.S. before finally packing his bags and moving to the land of Uncle Sam to develop games full-time. When asked what he would do if a significant industry began in Ireland, he admitted that he would relocate back home in a flash.

“Ireland’s position as an IT leader is there for us to exploit but we’re not doing it and I don’t know why. It’s a risky business, a hit driven industry, but it’s also a million-dollar industry and the battle for the living room is going to get bigger. Opportunities are there. There’s a company in Donegal called Torc Interactive who make very good engines and I hope they are getting the support they need. We have immense talent – look no further than Havok – but without sufficient government backing we’ll never be able to accomplish all we can,” said Peter.

A sad note to end on? Perhaps, but one final glance at the Scottish Games Alliance booth provided reassurance. Scotland is not only exploiting the country’s key strengths in knowledge-based industries, high-level skills, technology and innovation, but it’s also prospering as a result. We have the talent; now it’s time to create an environment within which digital media companies can flourish. Then we can finally prove that long after the Celtic Tiger’s bark has faded, its bite can still make a lasting impression on the world.

Author bio: Pavel Barter is a freelance journalist and member of Dublin-based guitar band the West Seventies (

www.thewestseventies.com). Both activities, he admits, beat working for a living.

E3 News

Pavel Barter was at E3 and he wrote this summary on the main hardware and software announcements for gamedevelopers.ie

Sony
Sony’s biggest announcement at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3, the videogame industry’s annual bash in Los Angeles) was the development of its smallest games platform to date. PSP, Sony’s first hand-held entertainment system, was dubbed “the Walkman of the 21st Century” by Sony Computer Entertainment’s corporate leadership and was an unexpected move by the company which leads interactive entertainment with its PlayStation brand.

“Just as PlayStation revolutionized in-home computer entertainment, we aim to become a new driving force in the portable platform arena,” Ken Kutaragi, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., told a capacity audience at the company’s Center Studio lot in downtown L.A.

Tentatively scheduled for release in late 2004, the PlayStation Portable will feature a 4.5-inch 480×272 pixel backlit screen, a rechargeable battery source and the Universal Media Disc – a 2.4-inch, 1.8GB format disc.

Nintendo
PSP will compete with Nintendo’s GameBoy Advance console, which has sold 950,000 units since its launch in 2002. At their own conference in Hollywood, Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata denied that he was fazed by Sony’s announcement, saying “We are essentially in control of the handheld market… there isn’t anything to worry about.” But the entrance of a third major competitor to the handheld games market suggests that Nintendo may have a fight on their hands.

Nokia
Nokia has announced October 2003 as international launch date for N-Gage – a mobile deck that allows for online, multiplayer gaming and also features an MP3 player, stereo FM radio, as well as a tri-band GSM mobile phone. Well-known titles such as Tomb Raider and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell were announced for the platform.

Microsoft
Microsoft were eager to reassert their role in the future of digital entertainment. At the Microsoft conference prior to the opening of E3’s doors, Bill Gates’ troops touted Xbox as the cornerstone of “a digital entertainment lifestyle” and called the console’s online abilities “gaming’s next evolution”. All Xbox systems have a built-in Ethernet port and hard drive, allowing owners to plug into a gaming service via broadband providers. By the end of 2003, Ireland along with five other European countries will be able to receive Xbox Live.

This is part of a segmented approach to Live in Europe, according to Michel Cassius, Senior Director of Xbox Marketing. “The level of infrastructure and broadband adoption varies by country, so by phasing the launch we can make absolutely sure that we don’t try to run before we can walk.”

Publishers and Software
The talk of the event was the re-emergence of Atari. Having successfully combined its U.S. acquisitions under one banner, Infogrames has renamed itself after the 1980’s publishing giant (whose name still resonates favourably with gamers). Atari is playing up its comeback with titles such as the multi-platform Enter the Matrix – a EUR20m direct tie-in with the Matrix Reloaded motion picture – and a Terminator spin-off.

Gran Turismo 4, another installment in Sony’s exalted motor racing series, promises upgrades in car physics, a wider variety of vehicles and online play. The game will initially be released for PlayStation2, as will Eidos’ latest Lara Croft adventure, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. With further sequels such as Half-Life 2, Doom III and Deus Ex 2 on prominent display it is evident that the $25-billion global games industry is leaning hard on past successes to create future hits.

Some of the new and improved releases hitting the market include a remake of Konami’s 1998 espionage game, Metal Gear Solid, for GameCube. Xbox is also planning to cash in on its most successful title to date – Halo – with a sequel, updated with online capabilities. Sony is parading PlayStation2 sequels for its family adventures Jak & Daxter and Rachet & Clank.

Mobilise – Talk Digital

Talk Digital is a series of informal discussions aimed at digital media
companies and is linked into a series of exhibitions.

The final ‘Talk Digital’ is associated with the ‘Mobilise’ exhibition and
will feature two artists from a London based design company, SAS, a
weblink with a Canadian artist, JS Beaulieu, as well as content creators
from Media Lab Europe, Trinity College Dublin and a multi-media company
Delicious 9.

Date: Tuesday 10th June 2003

Time: 6.30pm until 8.30pm

Where: The Digital Hub Project Office, 10-13 Thomas Street, Dublin 8

More information go to:
www.thedigitalhub.com

E3 News – 2

Pavel Barter was at E3 and he wrote this summary on the main hardware and software announcements for gamedevelopers.ie

Sony
Sony’s biggest announcement at Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3, the videogame industry’s annual bash in Los Angeles) was the development of its smallest games platform to date. PSP, Sony’s first hand-held entertainment system, was dubbed “the Walkman of the 21st Century” by Sony Computer Entertainment’s corporate leadership and was an unexpected move by the company which leads interactive entertainment with its PlayStation brand.

“Just as PlayStation revolutionized in-home computer entertainment, we aim to become a new driving force in the portable platform arena,” Ken Kutaragi, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., told a capacity audience at the company’s Center Studio lot in downtown L.A.

Tentatively scheduled for release in late 2004, the PlayStation Portable will feature a 4.5-inch 480×272 pixel backlit screen, a rechargeable battery source and the Universal Media Disc – a 2.4-inch, 1.8GB format disc.

Nintendo
PSP will compete with Nintendo’s GameBoy Advance console, which has sold 950,000 units since its launch in 2002. At their own conference in Hollywood, Nintendo’s President Satoru Iwata denied that he was fazed by Sony’s announcement, saying “We are essentially in control of the handheld market… there isn’t anything to worry about.” But the entrance of a third major competitor to the handheld games market suggests that Nintendo may have a fight on their hands.

Nokia
Nokia has announced October 2003 as international launch date for N-Gage – a mobile deck that allows for online, multiplayer gaming and also features an MP3 player, stereo FM radio, as well as a tri-band GSM mobile phone. Well-known titles such as Tomb Raider and Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell were announced for the platform.

Microsoft
Microsoft were eager to reassert their role in the future of digital entertainment. At the Microsoft conference prior to the opening of E3’s doors, Bill Gates’ troops touted Xbox as the cornerstone of “a digital entertainment lifestyle” and called the console’s online abilities “gaming’s next evolution”. All Xbox systems have a built-in Ethernet port and hard drive, allowing owners to plug into a gaming service via broadband providers. By the end of 2003, Ireland along with five other European countries will be able to receive Xbox Live.

This is part of a segmented approach to Live in Europe, according to Michel Cassius, Senior Director of Xbox Marketing. “The level of infrastructure and broadband adoption varies by country, so by phasing the launch we can make absolutely sure that we don’t try to run before we can walk.”

Publishers and Software
The talk of the event was the re-emergence of Atari. Having successfully combined its U.S. acquisitions under one banner, Infogrames has renamed itself after the 1980’s publishing giant (whose name still resonates favourably with gamers). Atari is playing up its comeback with titles such as the multi-platform Enter the Matrix – a EUR20m direct tie-in with the Matrix Reloaded motion picture – and a Terminator spin-off.

Gran Turismo 4, another installment in Sony’s exalted motor racing series, promises upgrades in car physics, a wider variety of vehicles and online play. The game will initially be released for PlayStation2, as will Eidos’ latest Lara Croft adventure, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. With further sequels such as Half-Life 2, Doom III and Deus Ex 2 on prominent display it is evident that the $25-billion global games industry is leaning hard on past successes to create future hits.

Some of the new and improved releases hitting the market include a remake of Konami’s 1998 espionage game, Metal Gear Solid, for GameCube. Xbox is also planning to cash in on its most successful title to date – Halo – with a sequel, updated with online capabilities. Sony is parading PlayStation2 sequels for its family adventures Jak & Daxter and Rachet & Clank.