Speakers Confirmed For 8Th April

Companies confirmed are DC Studios, Bit Rabbit and Torc Interactive who have all agreed to speak about their current and forthcoming plans at the gd.ie birthday bash.

Speakers on the night will include Paul Middleton, who will be heading up the Irish DC studio, Michael el Baki (aka Bomberman) head and founder of Bit Rabbit and Tony Kelly (aka Idora) from Torc, who will be giving us some hints as to their studio development plans.

It promises to be a very interesting night.

Attendance is free but please let us know you are coming by sending your name, forum nickname and affilitation to events@gamedevelopers.ie

Robocode Rolls Into Town

Unlike the real-life destruction machines, RoboCode is a game where teams use Java, a programming language, to control robot tanks that battle with each other. The little graphical tanks need to be cleverly programmed to avoid being hit and smart enough to move around an arena without any kind of manual control. All of their intelligence is part of a single Java file, designed by the students. The arena is a large computer monitor that is projected onto a wall. Everyone can see the ruthless robots at work, including information about the energy level and radar scanning capability of each robot.

During the past three months, third level colleges and university students have made perfect “battle bots” with on-board intelligence to maneuver and fire on screen. The RoboCode competition “ is intended as an opportunity for fresher years to demonstrate their programming abilities,” said James Greenslade, Director of ICT Department at Tipperary Institute. The best Robot Tanks from colleges and universities will battle to the finish in Thurles in an event sponsored by the Dell, Sun, the Irish Computer Society, PC Realm, Gamestop, Micromail and Stakelum’s Office Supplies.

This year’s event will feature a display from the Irish “Robot of Destruction” team, who will be exhibiting both full size and miniature robots. It will also feature “Pit Tanks” developed by special guests Patrick Collison, ESAT Young Scientist 2005 and Peter Benilov’s "Robocode Targeting" project. Both Patrick and Peter attended Robocode 2004 as part of a school trip organised by their Castletroy College teacher Lisa Kiely.

Secondary level schools are welcome to attend as part of the audience at this years event and should pre-book by contacting Rita Clohessy, in the ICT Department, on 0504 28250 or email mailto: robocode2005@tippinst.ie robocode2005@tippinst.ie as places are limited.

Full details for the event can be found on the Robocode website located atwww.robocode.ie. Schools attending on the day will be included in a number of the competitions and draws taking place during the event.

About Tipperary Institute

Tipperary Institute first opened its doors to full-time students in 1999. It is a dual campus Institute with campuses located in Clonmel and Thurles. Three departments form the backbone of the Institute’s academic programmes: Business, Information & Communications Technology (ICT) and Rural Development. All programmes are HETAC accredited and a work placement module forms an integral part of each programme.

Speakers Confirmed For 8Th April – 2

Companies confirmed are DC Studios, Bit Rabbit and Torc Interactive who have all agreed to speak about their current and forthcoming plans at the gd.ie birthday bash.

Speakers on the night will include Paul Middleton, who will be heading up the Irish DC studio, Michael el Baki (aka Bomberman) head and founder of Bit Rabbit and Tony Kelly (aka Idora) from Torc, who will be giving us some hints as to their studio development plans.

It promises to be a very interesting night.

Attendance is free but please let us know you are coming by sending your name, forum nickname and affilitation to events@gamedevelopers.ie

Robocode Rolls Into Town – 2

Unlike the real-life destruction machines, RoboCode is a game where teams use Java, a programming language, to control robot tanks that battle with each other. The little graphical tanks need to be cleverly programmed to avoid being hit and smart enough to move around an arena without any kind of manual control. All of their intelligence is part of a single Java file, designed by the students. The arena is a large computer monitor that is projected onto a wall. Everyone can see the ruthless robots at work, including information about the energy level and radar scanning capability of each robot.

During the past three months, third level colleges and university students have made perfect “battle bots” with on-board intelligence to maneuver and fire on screen. The RoboCode competition “ is intended as an opportunity for fresher years to demonstrate their programming abilities,” said James Greenslade, Director of ICT Department at Tipperary Institute. The best Robot Tanks from colleges and universities will battle to the finish in Thurles in an event sponsored by the Dell, Sun, the Irish Computer Society, PC Realm, Gamestop, Micromail and Stakelum’s Office Supplies.

This year’s event will feature a display from the Irish “Robot of Destruction” team, who will be exhibiting both full size and miniature robots. It will also feature “Pit Tanks” developed by special guests Patrick Collison, ESAT Young Scientist 2005 and Peter Benilov’s "Robocode Targeting" project. Both Patrick and Peter attended Robocode 2004 as part of a school trip organised by their Castletroy College teacher Lisa Kiely.

Secondary level schools are welcome to attend as part of the audience at this years event and should pre-book by contacting Rita Clohessy, in the ICT Department, on 0504 28250 or email mailto: robocode2005@tippinst.ie robocode2005@tippinst.ie as places are limited.

Full details for the event can be found on the Robocode website located atwww.robocode.ie. Schools attending on the day will be included in a number of the competitions and draws taking place during the event.

About Tipperary Institute

Tipperary Institute first opened its doors to full-time students in 1999. It is a dual campus Institute with campuses located in Clonmel and Thurles. Three departments form the backbone of the Institute’s academic programmes: Business, Information & Communications Technology (ICT) and Rural Development. All programmes are HETAC accredited and a work placement module forms an integral part of each programme.

Phd Projects In Games

Darryl has two particular projects in mind at the moment.

The first is called ‘Adaptive digital games: Player profiling and modeling for adaptive artificial intelligence in computer and video games’ and a full description can be found http://www.infc.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/infdb/resprojview?projid=565here

The second project title is ‘Dynamic Learning Techniques for Digital Game AI ‘ and again a full description can be found http://www.infc.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/infdb/resprojview?projid=422here

Deadline is the 15th of April 05 for applications. There are a number of grants available to fund the PhDs but applicants normally need to have a 1st class Hons degree to get one (or equivalent).

Further more information from Darryl Charles at mailto: dk.charles@ulster.ac.ukdk.charles@ulster.ac.uk.

Phd Projects In Games – 2

Darryl has two particular projects in mind at the moment.

The first is called ‘Adaptive digital games: Player profiling and modeling for adaptive artificial intelligence in computer and video games’ and a full description can be found http://www.infc.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/infdb/resprojview?projid=565here

The second project title is ‘Dynamic Learning Techniques for Digital Game AI ‘ and again a full description can be found http://www.infc.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/infdb/resprojview?projid=422here

Deadline is the 15th of April 05 for applications. There are a number of grants available to fund the PhDs but applicants normally need to have a 1st class Hons degree to get one (or equivalent).

Further more information from Darryl Charles at mailto: dk.charles@ulster.ac.ukdk.charles@ulster.ac.uk.

Clevercelt Visits Imagina 05

Imagina 2005 or ‘hymn a gene a’ as French females provocatively pronounce it, is a conference, trade show, exhibition and four day festival of French frolics between the beautiful Mediterranean borders of Italy & France. Imagina2005’s trade show floor mixed American and German interactive virtual research projects with oriental drawer pulling ecosystem students (it’s true) and a smattering of French educational & media training institutions alongside 3d apps, telcos, ISP, vendors, support agencies, 3D TV systems and a man from Dubai – apparently the only country at the centre of creativity in the world – according to the glossiest brochure I have ever binned.

The conference featured panels discussing Games, Animation, HD, FX, Digital Animated and Feature Films, Architecture and some super mega techie number crunching algorithm server type complexity stuff that I obviously understood!

The management of creativity in games development discussion between EA’s Rory Armes and Shinji Hashimotoe of Square Enix suggested that EA’s current development methodologies (much maligned recently) are set to move towards Square’s hierarchal pyramid model, whereby the ‘creative vision’ holder of a large team delegates from it’s zenith.

I was wide awake and busily scribbling right through all those hour and a half sessions – although I honestly confess to catching 40 winks waiting for the ‘cut & a shave’ plug-in guy to get his laptop to perform in real time, it looked productive and intuitive but when the ‘bring my own laptop’ gremlins showed up, he just kept diggin’ & diggin’ while the audience & I entered R.E.M.
image2
Some highlights were the discussions around the implications for broadcasters in the context of HD roll out. The Virtual Actors forum proved interesting and illuminating. The Sony pictures Imageworks’ President Tim Sarnoff explained how across the Spiderman franchise they had evolved their ‘pipeline systems’ and environment creation from low poly environments with high levels of texture detail to Spiderman 3 where they’ll practically model all the rivets on the gutters.

The ‘alternative business models for Games Companies’ session didn’t throw up any surprises, there was a degree of waffle around legally bonding games but good general info around ‘serious’ games from Noah Falstien, for me Jon Jordan from Develop Magazine made the most sense on the day. I did really enjoy the IBM multiplayer server solution’s plug and the on-line member numbers/stats of 17.5 million on one network in Korea used as part of a sponsored evening special event.

The toughest question of the conference “So can you tell me how you solved the gait problem?” (Audience member to Stephane Donikian developer of an interactive real time character animation system) – was so apparently complex and confidential that uttering the answer would have the same effect as the funniest joke in the world and would therefore instantly kill every single member of the audience if heard. At least that’s what I think the translator intimated the professor had said. Now – headsets, translations and the quality of translators – something Peter, Mark and myself had cause to discuss more than once, having attended mostly English speaking gigs like E3, GDC/ECTS, Xfest, etc., I had been accustomed to silently chuckling internally as foreign visitors scrambled for the headphones at the door. Fully engaging, understanding the speaker and topic, depends on the quality of translators & the old native tongue principle. However I had the misfortune of turning up at one Adobe and Matrox seminar, where headsets weren’t actually supplied. The first 10 minutes were grrrrrrreat, then the adobe presenter just said, “I’m really terrible at English am I not yes, so I’m going to do from here the rest of this in French.” L’eau avec gas Clevercelt ? Oui, au revoir Imagina2005!

Author’s Bio: Clevercelt is usually to be found somewhere near Dundalk where he is the manager of the MIDAS initiative, a project which aims to develop a cluster of small to medium sized digital media companies in the east border region. Previously he worked at Microsoft in Dublin.

MIDAS has recently developed a dry-hire high definition post production facility called the ‘Bright Room’ at Dundalk Institute of Technology. MIDAS will be launching its own website very soon…

Clevercelt Visits Imagina 05 – 2

Imagina 2005 or ‘hymn a gene a’ as French females provocatively pronounce it, is a conference, trade show, exhibition and four day festival of French frolics between the beautiful Mediterranean borders of Italy & France. Imagina2005’s trade show floor mixed American and German interactive virtual research projects with oriental drawer pulling ecosystem students (it’s true) and a smattering of French educational & media training institutions alongside 3d apps, telcos, ISP, vendors, support agencies, 3D TV systems and a man from Dubai – apparently the only country at the centre of creativity in the world – according to the glossiest brochure I have ever binned.

The conference featured panels discussing Games, Animation, HD, FX, Digital Animated and Feature Films, Architecture and some super mega techie number crunching algorithm server type complexity stuff that I obviously understood!

The management of creativity in games development discussion between EA’s Rory Armes and Shinji Hashimotoe of Square Enix suggested that EA’s current development methodologies (much maligned recently) are set to move towards Square’s hierarchal pyramid model, whereby the ‘creative vision’ holder of a large team delegates from it’s zenith.

I was wide awake and busily scribbling right through all those hour and a half sessions – although I honestly confess to catching 40 winks waiting for the ‘cut & a shave’ plug-in guy to get his laptop to perform in real time, it looked productive and intuitive but when the ‘bring my own laptop’ gremlins showed up, he just kept diggin’ & diggin’ while the audience & I entered R.E.M.
image2
Some highlights were the discussions around the implications for broadcasters in the context of HD roll out. The Virtual Actors forum proved interesting and illuminating. The Sony pictures Imageworks’ President Tim Sarnoff explained how across the Spiderman franchise they had evolved their ‘pipeline systems’ and environment creation from low poly environments with high levels of texture detail to Spiderman 3 where they’ll practically model all the rivets on the gutters.

The ‘alternative business models for Games Companies’ session didn’t throw up any surprises, there was a degree of waffle around legally bonding games but good general info around ‘serious’ games from Noah Falstien, for me Jon Jordan from Develop Magazine made the most sense on the day. I did really enjoy the IBM multiplayer server solution’s plug and the on-line member numbers/stats of 17.5 million on one network in Korea used as part of a sponsored evening special event.

The toughest question of the conference “So can you tell me how you solved the gait problem?” (Audience member to Stephane Donikian developer of an interactive real time character animation system) – was so apparently complex and confidential that uttering the answer would have the same effect as the funniest joke in the world and would therefore instantly kill every single member of the audience if heard. At least that’s what I think the translator intimated the professor had said. Now – headsets, translations and the quality of translators – something Peter, Mark and myself had cause to discuss more than once, having attended mostly English speaking gigs like E3, GDC/ECTS, Xfest, etc., I had been accustomed to silently chuckling internally as foreign visitors scrambled for the headphones at the door. Fully engaging, understanding the speaker and topic, depends on the quality of translators & the old native tongue principle. However I had the misfortune of turning up at one Adobe and Matrox seminar, where headsets weren’t actually supplied. The first 10 minutes were grrrrrrreat, then the adobe presenter just said, “I’m really terrible at English am I not yes, so I’m going to do from here the rest of this in French.” L’eau avec gas Clevercelt ? Oui, au revoir Imagina2005!

Author’s Bio: Clevercelt is usually to be found somewhere near Dundalk where he is the manager of the MIDAS initiative, a project which aims to develop a cluster of small to medium sized digital media companies in the east border region. Previously he worked at Microsoft in Dublin.

MIDAS has recently developed a dry-hire high definition post production facility called the ‘Bright Room’ at Dundalk Institute of Technology. MIDAS will be launching its own website very soon…

New Fas Skills Report & Games

This report looks at general developments in the digital content industry in Ireland and both education and training provision for the section before it moves on to examine games, e-learning and wireless and mobile communications. This is a follow up report to the Price Waterhouse Coopers report of 2002 and was conducted on behalf of the Expert Group on Future Skills.

The overall general finding is that the availability of staff for the digital content industry is not of ‘major concern’ although there are some areas where ‘skill gaps’ occur.

There are over 200 courses in universities and ITs who produce graduates suitable for the digital content industry, over half of which are degrees. The report does note however that there is a need for a mixture of technical, creative and business skills and that many companies which are set up by technical or creative experts often lack business and management skills. The implication is that university and IT courses need to pay attention to this mixture of skills too.

Games are again seen as a key ‘growth area’ for Ireland although mobile is seen as the key growth area. It mentions the launch of gamedevelopers.ie and the establishment of an Irish chapter of the IGDA and Awakenings as key events but notes that project management skills are lacking.

The report recommends that universities rebrand some of their computer courses as games courses, that new courses need to include soft skills (e.g. business, teamworking, project management, communication) and that short courses in Maya be made available. In the short to medium term mobile games programming skills will also be required including newer versions of Java. The report also recommends that the Digital Hub and IGDA Ireland act as intermediaries between companies and training establishments to ensure that ongoing training needs are met.

This report was scheduled to be published over a year ago. As a result some of its recommendations have been overtaken by curricular developments, particularly in the ITs. At the same time the recommendations with regard to continuous training provision are welcome and the section on the games industry draws upon policy recommendations originally gathered by gd.ie through the forums and submitted to Forfas.

Of course I may be biased because I conducted the interviews on which the games section draws and the data on the Irish games industry draws upon my own research. It will be interesting to see what others think.

Copies of the report can be obtained from the:

Skills and Labour Market Research Unit,
Planning and Research Dept.,
FAS,
25 Clyde Road,
Dublin 4.
tel: 00353.1.607.7435

Gd.Ie Award Nominations Open

The categories this year 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 informative posts.

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 04 – april 05. Can be a person or group..

To make a nomination please post go to the forums on this site and under general discussions you will find a gd.ie awards nomination thread. Please list the award title, the name of the nominee and the reason for their nomination.

A neutral panel will decide on the winners! Nominations will close on Monday the 4th of April.

Gd.Ie Award Nominations Open – 2

The categories this year 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 informative posts.

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 04 – april 05. Can be a person or group..

To make a nomination please post go to the forums on this site and under general discussions you will find a gd.ie awards nomination thread. Please list the award title, the name of the nominee and the reason for their nomination.

A neutral panel will decide on the winners! Nominations will close on Monday the 4th of April.

New Fas Skills Report & Games – 2

This report looks at general developments in the digital content industry in Ireland and both education and training provision for the section before it moves on to examine games, e-learning and wireless and mobile communications. This is a follow up report to the Price Waterhouse Coopers report of 2002 and was conducted on behalf of the Expert Group on Future Skills.

The overall general finding is that the availability of staff for the digital content industry is not of ‘major concern’ although there are some areas where ‘skill gaps’ occur.

There are over 200 courses in universities and ITs who produce graduates suitable for the digital content industry, over half of which are degrees. The report does note however that there is a need for a mixture of technical, creative and business skills and that many companies which are set up by technical or creative experts often lack business and management skills. The implication is that university and IT courses need to pay attention to this mixture of skills too.

Games are again seen as a key ‘growth area’ for Ireland although mobile is seen as the key growth area. It mentions the launch of gamedevelopers.ie and the establishment of an Irish chapter of the IGDA and Awakenings as key events but notes that project management skills are lacking.

The report recommends that universities rebrand some of their computer courses as games courses, that new courses need to include soft skills (e.g. business, teamworking, project management, communication) and that short courses in Maya be made available. In the short to medium term mobile games programming skills will also be required including newer versions of Java. The report also recommends that the Digital Hub and IGDA Ireland act as intermediaries between companies and training establishments to ensure that ongoing training needs are met.

This report was scheduled to be published over a year ago. As a result some of its recommendations have been overtaken by curricular developments, particularly in the ITs. At the same time the recommendations with regard to continuous training provision are welcome and the section on the games industry draws upon policy recommendations originally gathered by gd.ie through the forums and submitted to Forfas.

Of course I may be biased because I conducted the interviews on which the games section draws and the data on the Irish games industry draws upon my own research. It will be interesting to see what others think.

Copies of the report can be obtained from the:

Skills and Labour Market Research Unit,
Planning and Research Dept.,
FAS,
25 Clyde Road,
Dublin 4.
tel: 00353.1.607.7435

Gd.Ie Second Birthday Event

This year the format of the evening will be somewhat different.

The event will start around 6.30 and people will have a chance to chat over a glass of wine, tea/coffee etc..

Following an introduction, Eddie Dowse, from 02 will talk briefly about how 02 is working with Irish developers.

Next three new Irish games companies will have an opportunity to introduce their company and their plans to the gd.ie crowd. Full details of speakers have yet to be confirmed but they will cover different game sectors from mobile to console.

This will be followed by an ‘unveiling’ of the new gd.ie design – an initiative which has been undertaken by a team of volunteers over the past six months.

Finally, there will be the presentation of awards which will recognize the outstanding contribution made by individuals to building both the Irish games industry and the wider community. The award categories are currently being discussed on the forums on gd.ie and voting will also take place through the forums.

All are welcome and especially our contributors from overseas.

E-mail invitations will be sent out in the next week. Registration is free but people are encouraged to e-mail the address given on the invitations in advance so we know how many to expect.

Note:

For newcomers it might be interesting to note the award winners and categories from last year. Forum nickname and full name are given.

1. Stamina award
The person who signed up to the forums near the launch and just stayed posting…
Winner: Pete/ Peter McNally – artistic lead working for Torc Interactive in Muff, Co. Donegal.

2. Sprint award
The person who has most recently registered but is furiously posting and rapidly moving up the posting ladder –
Winner: Kyotokid/ Ivan McCloskey – level designer in Visual Science, Dundee, Scotland.

3. Humour award
The funniest post on the boards…
Winner: Ian Hannigan – interaction designer working for eSpatial in Dublin and a finalist in the N-Gage Challenge.

4. Salmon of knowledge..
The most informative/useful post ..
Winner: Mike/Michael Griffin – CEO of Kapooki Games in Dublin City.

5. ‘GD’ of the year….
The most significant, useful, funny presence on the boards and at the shindigs over the past year
Winner: Idora/Tony Kelly – senior producer, elearning research & innovation group, Intel, Co. Kildare.

More detail on the 2004 gds LINK>community/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=219&highlight=game+developers+first+birthdayhere

Gd.Ie Second Birthday Event – 2

This year the format of the evening will be somewhat different.

The event will start around 6.30 and people will have a chance to chat over a glass of wine, tea/coffee etc..

Following an introduction, Eddie Dowse, from 02 will talk briefly about how 02 is working with Irish developers.

Next three new Irish games companies will have an opportunity to introduce their company and their plans to the gd.ie crowd. Full details of speakers have yet to be confirmed but they will cover different game sectors from mobile to console.

This will be followed by an ‘unveiling’ of the new gd.ie design – an initiative which has been undertaken by a team of volunteers over the past six months.

Finally, there will be the presentation of awards which will recognize the outstanding contribution made by individuals to building both the Irish games industry and the wider community. The award categories are currently being discussed on the forums on gd.ie and voting will also take place through the forums.

All are welcome and especially our contributors from overseas.

E-mail invitations will be sent out in the next week. Registration is free but people are encouraged to e-mail the address given on the invitations in advance so we know how many to expect.

Note:

For newcomers it might be interesting to note the award winners and categories from last year. Forum nickname and full name are given.

1. Stamina award
The person who signed up to the forums near the launch and just stayed posting…
Winner: Pete/ Peter McNally – artistic lead working for Torc Interactive in Muff, Co. Donegal.

2. Sprint award
The person who has most recently registered but is furiously posting and rapidly moving up the posting ladder –
Winner: Kyotokid/ Ivan McCloskey – level designer in Visual Science, Dundee, Scotland.

3. Humour award
The funniest post on the boards…
Winner: Ian Hannigan – interaction designer working for eSpatial in Dublin and a finalist in the N-Gage Challenge.

4. Salmon of knowledge..
The most informative/useful post ..
Winner: Mike/Michael Griffin – CEO of Kapooki Games in Dublin City.

5. ‘GD’ of the year….
The most significant, useful, funny presence on the boards and at the shindigs over the past year
Winner: Idora/Tony Kelly – senior producer, elearning research & innovation group, Intel, Co. Kildare.

More detail on the 2004 gds LINK>community/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=219&highlight=game+developers+first+birthdayhere