Ludo Is Ten Years Old

Hard to believe but the LUDO course in Ballyfermot College of Further Education is ten years old and this year students on the course will showcase their final work experience project as part of the wider Ballyfermot College of Further Education open day which will take place on the 1st of June between 2 and 8 pm in the Irish Film Institute (IFI).

This year there were 31 LUDO students who have just been through a ten day intensive work experience programme which saw them assigned team roles and set to work on developing assets, scripting and modelling a third person shooter demo using FPS Creator, by the Games Creators, the team responsible for Dark Basic, and 3D Studio Max.

The game itself is set in the Ballyfermot campus so X-students should get a laugh running around the realistically modelled corridors and the canteen chasing flying robots! It is all pretty good considering the course is only one year and students with good enough grades can go on to do another two years to get a Higher National Diploma in Computer Game Design – the course some of the team members on this year’s Irish Dare team have followed.

On the open day itself a short animated introduction to the game will be projected alongside the other Ballyfermot work on the main screen in the IFI at 2, 4 and 6.30 pm and then people will be invited to go upstairs and try out the game for themselves. Students and staff will be on hand to discuss their work.

Find the IFI – http://www.irishfilm.ie/location.asp

Ballyfermot College of Further Education – http://www.scb.ie/

Ghostly Crime Thriller Game Wins

Well it is hard to keep up with rumours on the forums but here are more details on the Dare to be Digital Ireland winners. Doesn’t gd.ie pick its newbies well! Yes this year’s newbie, John Molloy, better known as nifty, is involved in the winning team. Well done to all!!

Another interesting thing to note in the press release is that the Digital Hub have even bigger plans for next year. Read on.

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A team made up from students of Ballyfermot Senior College and Trinity were selected yesterday (18.05.06) to represent Ireland at the ‘Dare to be Digital’ games development competition that will be hosted in Scotland over the summer months. Dare to be Digital is run by the University of Abertay in Dundee to encourage students from around the globe to develop new gaming prototypes.

Announcing the details of the successful team, Michael Hallissy, who heads up the learning initiatives at The Digital Hub, said he was confident that the Irish entry to the Dare to be Digital finals would feature very strongly this year. “Since The Digital Hub began facilitating the Irish ‘heats’ of this competition three years ago, the standard and quality of the entrants has radically improved. The winners of today’s heat presented a fantastic and innovative prototype ‘The Eventful After Life of Inspector Browning’ which is a supernatural crime thriller where the player is the ghost of a dead detective.”

[this year] four teams – made up of students from six different colleges and universities from around the county – presented their prototype game to a panel of judges.

The winning game is based on the story of the Ghost of Inspector Browning. The ghost, who is the player, must guide a young detective through investigations in the streets of 1900’s London. Each case under investigation has its own story, with clues towards the mystery of the main character’s death. The game is unique in that it features episodic content that is very much along the lines of investigative TV programmes viewed by millions each week.

The winning team will now travel to the University of Abertay in Scotland for ten weeks, where they will be given the support and facilities to enable them to build their prototype. At the end of the ten weeks, the game will be judged in a final alongside six others including ones from entries from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Canada.

According to Michael Hallissy, “As an expression of our commitment to promoting gaming as a career option among students, we are pleased to announced that we will be playing an even more active role in the delivery of Dare to be Digital in Ireland next year. “Rather than just sending one team to Scottish finals, we will be selecting six teams from the whole island of Ireland to be represented. Furthermore, the six teams will take part in a mentoring and support programme in Dublin during which they will build their game. Support will be provided by Irish and UK games companies. At the end of a nine-week support programme, they will then travel to the University of Abertay for the grand final.

More info: http://www.daretobedigital.com/ and http://www.thedigitalhub.com/article.php?id=52

Dime

Dime develop innovative path finding digital media products for the global marketplace based on original i.p. and/or patentable technological innovations. Dime engages in Commercial Digital Content Research, Prototyping and Development across several established and emerging enterprise sectors including: Games, Mobile, On-line, Animation, Graphics, Interactive Narratives, Multicasting and others for the multi-channel / multiplatform global media marketplace.

Mick Maguire (Clevercelt)
353 42 9330488
Unit 8 Brookville Business Park, Ardee Road, Dundalk.

Games & Learning Workshop

This call for participants has just come through and may be of interest to some in the gd.ie community. It takes place across the pond in June.

Aphra.

D e s i g n i n g A n d D e p l o y i n g G a m e s F o r L e a r n i n g

a workshop at the 1st World Conference for Fun ‘n Games, June 26, 2006, 10am-5pm, Preston, England

http://lp.noe-kaleidoscope.org/outcomes/fng/
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F O C U S
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This workshop is intended as an interactive forum in which to discuss the important issues and challenges that arise when attempting to capture the knowledge sharing process involved in the design and development of game environments for learning. It will offer new perspectives on the range of expertise required for undertaking this process, based primarily
on the work of the ongoing Learning patterns for the design and deployment of mathematical games project.

The workshop will focus on motivating the use of a design pattern approach, drawing on the project’s literature review, typologies, and evolving sets of case studies and patterns. To this end participants will engage in the hands-on development of design patterns, facilitated by experts in the field. The aim is to disseminate the use of patterns
as an enabling tool for sharing good practice through pattern-specific communication and knowledge sharing.

This workshop will run for six hours and is expected to attract between twenty to thirty participants. We will initiate the discussions by short presentations from participants and organisers. After that, we will split into small groups of participants from mixed backgrounds.

O U T C O M E S
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* Gain both a theoretical perspective and a pragmatic understanding of how to apply design patterns in your work.
* Network with colleagues with common interests
* An edited video of the workshop highlights will be made available from http://www.lkl.ac.uk/video and from the learning patterns site.
* The patterns developed throughout the day will be made available and continuously refined through the learning patterns site.

S U B M I S S I O N
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Submission Deadline
17h00 GMT, 22 May 2006
Notification of Acceptance
24 May 2006
Early Registration Deadline
25 May 2006 (Free for conference attendees, £60 for workshop only)

Please send a one page position paper to Yishay Mor by 22 May 2006.

You will then be provided with a code for registration on the conference web site. Note that early bird registration
ends 25 May 2006.

O R G A N I Z E R S
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Yishay Mor, http://www.lkl.ac.uk/people/mor.html

Niall Winters, http://www.lkl.ac.uk/people/winters.html 

Digital Media Database

Many have tried, few succeeded. Back in the early 1990s there was the Irish Interactive Multimedia Association run out of DIT and they had an online directory. Funding ran out and it lapsed.

Then we got the print based Digital Media Directory from the people who host the Digital Media Awards, not sure if that is still going. Last year Athena Media published with Gill and Macmillan the Irish Media Directory and Guide 2006 in paper format.

Just in case you haven’t got one of these guides, the Digital Media Forum is creating an online listing for digital media companies involved in the content and technology sectors.

They have asked us to let you know and there is a specific section for games companies, eLearning and mobile/wireless content providers. You can log on at www.digitalmediaforum.net

First year is free…so I guess after that you pay. Membership includes other benefits like training etc.

Gd.Ie Is Three!

It was probably not the best weekend in hindsight to hold the birthday shindig. The May bank holiday weekend is usually the first one with a bit of decent sun and most students head for home for the last pre-exam rest. Still about 40 people turned up to help to celebrate the third birthday of gamedevelopers.ie in the Digital Exchange building in Dublin.

My previous trips to the Digital Exchange building were all to hear about blue sky research which might one day come to fruition. How different it was to attend an event about commercial projects that Irish game companies are participating in. In fact there was a sense at this event that Irish game companies are starting to make waves in the mobile and casual games space as well as in middleware. Even before we had kicked off Bomberman from Bit Rabbit announced that he was about to leave his job to work full time on mobile games.

I opened the event with some photographs from the launch of the ‘Loading please wait’ working paper in 2002 from which the idea for gamedevelopers.ie developed. The website was launched in the Guinness Storehouse in April 2003 followed by a birthday event in 2004 in Toners pub and in 2005 in the Learning Studio in the Digital Hub. The Learning Studio was not available this year and so we moved to the auditorium where we had podiums, double screens, sound, lights and least I forget champagne! The Digital Hub kindly sponsored the venue for the birthday event although UpStart Games kindly sponsored the champagne!

The up tempo feel was only reinforced by Will Golby’s talk about casual gaming and the success of games like Bejeweled. PopCap games international have offices in Seattle and San Francisco but they are involved in both localisation and original content creation in the Digital Hub in Dublin and they are growing their numbers rapidly. Will gave us some tips on how to design for the casual gamer and some insight into what has worked and what has not worked for PopCap in this space.

Will was followed by Sarah Guiney from UpStart Games who announced they were officially three years old also! UpStart may have come to people’s attention in Ireland with the N-Gage challenge but they are making waves with their connections to Japanese mobile companies and the development of 3D games for advanced mobile handsets. Sarah talked about the games the company are working on, original game development and the development of their Cork office to supplement their Dublin headquarters.

The final industry speaker was Tony Kelly from Nephin Games. This month’s feature explores the origins of Nephin and their rapid expansion over the past year. Tony talked about the different games they are working on, about the importance of original IP and the different skills required by employees of mobile companies. He finished with some comments about the IGDA.

Following a brief break to top up the glasses we then moved onto the major business of the evening, the gamedevelopers.ie awards, sponsored by GameStop. The awards are our way of recognising the input of a number of people to the website, the games community in Ireland and the profile of the Irish games industry abroad. As has become custom, members of the forums nominate people and the winner is chosen by a complicated process of totting up votes. Where there is a close call we call upon some neutral person from outside the boards to help make the decision.

This year’s newbie award went to John Molloy (nifty) a student in Ballyfermot Senior College. John has been a regular at shindigs, a constant poster on the forums and has written a feature for us on games and education. The stamina award went to Dave Kearney (skyclad) whose input to gamedevelopers.ie in terms of posting, the site redesign in 2005 and behind the scenes technical support has been immense. The Salmon of Knowledge award went to Malachy Duffin (mal) from Cando games who knowledge of 3D shockwave interactive design and enthusiasm is regularly shared on the boards. The humour award this year went to again one of our overseas posters who has become a constant presence on the boards and who managed to make his way to the venue in time for the event! It went to none other than Ivan McCloskey (kyotokid).

Finally our gd.ie group of the year award went to a company who has been consistently making headlines in 2005/6 with the announcement of major deals with international publishing companies. They not only produce great software but they also offer much sought after internships, even more sought after t-shirts, and on top of all that they tend to regularly attend shindigs and interact with the gd.ie community. For their impact both internationally and at home this year’s gd.ie group of the year award went to Demonware. I was only sorry I didn’t have a nice piece of carved glass for the recipients this year, but hopefully they will buy some classy game for the team which they can’t get for free from all those publishers they work with!

The final award of the night went to the audience who had given up the Friday of their bank holiday to be with us. Jamie McCormick from Multiplay Ltd., did a Gay Bryne on it and gave everyone in the audience a free pass for the new Xbox play centre on St. William Street. Jamie is the community manager for the new centre and again a regular on the boards. We wish him and Multiplay well with the new venture which I am sure will be well supported by gd.ie regulars.

When the bubbles were drained from the bottles everyone headed to the quiet and cold confines of McGruders pub to be followed, I have heard, by all sorts of shenanigans. But you will have to ask everyone else about that – I was off duty by then.

A big thank you to John Hurley, Melissa Meehan and Laura Kiely from the Digital Hub for helping to organise the event, to Alain from French Wines Direct for having such great taste in wine and to Tansy Cowley, a student of photography, for taking photos for us on the night. And of course a final word of thanks to our industry speakers for generously giving of their time.

Leipzig In August?

The forthcoming forthcoming GC Developer Conference (GCDC) which will take place from August 21-23, 2006 in Leipzig have announced a call for speakers and topic proposals for the event. If you are interested in speaking you can submit your submission via www.gcdc-germany.com

They are also looking for student assistants and you can apply for these positions by also visiting the GCDC homepage.

Games:Edu 06

GAMES:EDU 06, an International conference for games education.

The conference, which takes place as part of the Games Develop Conference week in Brighton, UK on Friday 14th July, will feature representatives from Microsoft, EA, Codemasters, Activision, SCI/Eidios, Blitz Games and Climax [Ian Livingstone, Mark Johnstone, Fred Gill, Orla Byrne, Jolyon Webb and key directors from Climax).

GAMES:EDU 06 features a series of 3 interactive workshops entitled: ³The Skillset Sessions² these focus on disciplines that are currently being taught (Art, Game Design, & Programming) and how with industry involvement these disciplines can be better suited to industry needs, the overall aim being to develop the UK as the world¹s source of creative and innovative talent in the future for all forms of computer gaming.

For more information see www.gamesedu.co.uk

Games:Edu Day Pass £95 before 31st of May, After 1st June £110

Cgames

Will be held in DIT, Dublin this year.

Full details and dates to be announced.

Date likely to be mid term semester two.

Last year’s conf website was http://www.scit.wlv.ac.uk/~cm1822/cgames05.htm