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/
===================================================================
F O C U S
———
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
—————
* 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
——————-
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
——————-
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

Gd.Ie Birthday Update

We are pleased to announce that the Digital Hub, GameStop, Upstart Games and Multiplay will be sponsoring the gd.ie third birthday event this coming Friday in the Digital Exchange, Crane Street, Dublin from 6.45pm.

Confirmed speakers on the night include Will Golby from PopCap, Tony Kelly from Nephin, Sarah Guiney from Upstart Games and Patrick Molloy from Ballyfermot Senior College and the Digital Hub.

Our annual awards are sponsored by GameStop this year and a full list of nominees is available at http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2491&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=20

Please try to be at the venue on time as we must vacate by 9pm so we will have to start promptly. I trust people will move on, weather permitting, to the beer garden in McGruders pub on Thomas Street after.

See you then.

Nephin Games

What was your background prior to setting up Nephin?
I was in mobile for enterprises. It was mostly centered around CRM, customer relationship management. Generally speaking we are talking pre-mobiles, they wouldn’t even be smart phones, they would be PDAs, or custom built devices.

…and what was your job?
I was on the tech side, a propeller head, through and through.

How did you get into that?
Electronic engineering. I graduated out of GMIT first with a diploma and then I went to Limerick. There was a computer science course and I specialized in computer engineering. Through the first few years working I became more of an applications orientated person.

How did you move from that to Nephin or was there something else in between?
In 2000 I went out on my own and basically doing the same kind of stuff I was doing before. And while doing this I was keeping an eye on what was happening in the mobile entertainment side of things. There was a company from Scandinavia who had a number of games based around Lord of the Rings which were horrid stuff, and that just made me think. It was early school, SMS stuff and WAP games, even with the limitations of the technology their imaginative use of it was terrible. And from then on I was plotting my exit from enterprise. I had been doing it for so long, same problems, same solutions. My initial focus was multiplayer.

Why did that change?
I found out fairly quickly that there are some very significant barriers with multiplayer, some technical, like latency. Probably a bigger issue is billing. So for a number of reasons I decided that multiplayer was not where I wanted to focus. Which is not to say we won’t ever do multiplayer.

So what happened then?
What happened was I went back to basics. A phone is not a gaming device, it is a communication device first. So if you take this as the premise for why people want to have a phone why not carry that through to their entertainment and have games that include interaction with other people. So that is why I started to focus more on interaction rather than forcing it from a gaming perspective into multiplayer. That is what led us to community. For us community is, at the most basic level providing things like a buddy list, providing chat with your buddies, rankings and a means in-game to interact with people in the context of the game.

Not necessarily in real time?
As part of the play of the game, but not necessarily head to head. At its most simple, there is our kick boxing game – that has all of the basics. It has the buddy system, it has the rankings, it has the messaging. It has in game community play in that I can challenge you but what that means in terms of the game is that the game downloads your profile from the server, I play against your profile on the phone, if I win it uploads it to the server and you get a message in game saying I whipped your ass. Which gives you the incentive to challenge me back and you can do that within the message.

I think GD.ie readers would have first heard about you in relation to the kickboxing game? Was that your first game?
No there was one prior to that, which I was using basically to build the platform, which was called Ant World. It never saw the light of day for a number of reasons, including the fact that I am not a game designer!

When was this?
That would have been 2002 through to 2003. 2004 was WKN.

If I remember correctly you approached the kick boxing federation about the WKN game?
As we were building the idea of a community, the thought then occurred to us that there is an opportunity to have that community used for a purpose. With my CRM hat on I approached it as a way for a brand to connect with people in the context of a fun experience and for them to be able to not just to have statistics on the people but to communicate with the people. Rather than people just being consumers then they would become customers that you can actually connect with.

How does that go down with players?
It depends on how you do it. The WKN game is quite obvious it is a kick boxing game. If you are playing that game the WKN logo comes up at the beginning, it is behind on the menus, it is on the mat when you are fighting. But it is not like in game ads that pop up and are annoying, it is just used as a setting for the game, and the game is appropriate for the setting.

…and they went for it?
They loved it, and the reason they loved it is because they saw it as a means to get their name in front of the next generation of kick boxers, a younger demographic.

…and you got the DMI award for that in 2005?
Yes.

How are you distributing the game and how has it done commercially?
Well we are not a publisher, we are a developer, so we need distributors. We are constantly upgrading, from our point of view, our distribution network, making connections with bigger distributors/publishers. We are currently working with Mobile Media and through them we have launched the kick boxing game in Italy. It launched in Italy last November, mid November and to date there are 13,500 players and 4,000 of them are regular players, and it has generated over 50,000 euros in revenue for the operator.

…and do you receive any of that?
It is on a per dominal basis.

So you get a percentage?
Exactly.

Why Italy for the kick boxing game?
Because that is where Mobile Media were strongest as a partner.

Are they an Italian company?
No Oslo. With Lampoon we have established a relationship with Disney and we are now also talking to a number of players in the US including Blaze, Mforma, Infusio and others with a global reach. But equally we are looking at China and Asia with companies such as Dadango, out of the US. We are also working with Vimio, an Irish company in the Middle East who also have operations in China.

So the second game is the National Lampoon game?
We have got to the point where we have a number of engines and we look to develop concepts around those engines that would be applicable to certain types of brands and then look to attach an appropriate brand to an appropriate engine. So the one we are doing for National Lampoon is a kind of tongue in cheek mini games engine. That will be finished in the next month or so. Initially that will be aimed at the US and that has been very favourably received.

image1

…and the third one is Turf Wars?
Yes – in hindsight we should have pushed that game out the door last year. That said we now have a very very good partner for Turf Wars.

Can you say who that is?
We will be making that announcement soon. But they will be launching the game into Europe first and then following it up in the US.

What is the timeframe for that?
End of Q2 is probably realistic for it. But that one takes community to a whole new level.

Can you explain how?
Basically, Turf Wars is about two factions fighting for control over a city. So when you join the game you join one side or the other. So it is all about turf and you have to take as much turf as you can. The way it works is you have a map to find your way around the city and when you find a piece of turf you want to take you attack it. And when you attack it you play a level. And if that turf is occupied it is defended. But you literally take that level by clearing the bosses and taking the goons and you have to avoid traps and obstacles and stuff. But when you take it and own it you then become responsible for its defense. And each time you take a piece of turf you are in credit and you can use those credits to upgrade the defenses of your turf. What it means then is if I try to take your turf the level that I play is not a level that Nephin games has designed, it is a level that you the player has designed. When the game ships, there are 875,000 pieces of turf, so out of the box the game will support 1 million plus players. But thereafter the game takes on a life of its own and the content that you will be playing will be player created.

image2

So those are your three main game projects at the moment. But you also have a patent pending on your community metrics platform? Can you tell me more that?
From a gaming perspective the patent shows itself as how you interact with other people in game. At its simplest level that is the rankings, the buddy system and the messaging. At its most advanced level that is stuff like player created content, that we are introducing with Turf Wars. The metrics (really) come in when we are dealing with a brand from a more marketing perspective. Right now most of our business is based on games that are more licensing orientated than marketing orientated. So while they are branded games, the focus is on generating licensing revenue rather than generating promotion. If you focus instead on the promotional side of it then the metrics become more important.

How do you mean?
For example, if you take WKN, there are 13,000 players, 4,000 regular, we can cut that by saying an average player plays the game for 20 minutes a day, they play typically between 7 o’clock and 9 o’clock. All of this getting towards what on a newspaper would be their ABC numbers. That is sort of the ambient metrics, what players are doing and the activity they are generating. There is also the capability of opting players in. So to provide them with value you ask them to opt in and that gives the brand the possibility of connecting directly to the players. You give us a piece of information that lets you enter into the tournament and at the end you win a prize. So then it becomes more of a promotional tool than a licensing tool.

Will you be managing all that community information here?
We will be managing out of this office but the hosting of it will be elsewhere, for example, for WKN the hosting is out of Amsterdam.

How do you deal with all the different handsets?
Porting is a headache, yes.

Do you do that in-house or do you sub-contract?
We do both. Right now with WKN we are doing the porting in-house. For the US market, for Lampoons we are outsourcing. But we are also evaluating other avenues. Porting is a laborious process and it doesn’t really involve a lot of creativity. Affectionately it would be referred to as grunt work, and as with any grunt work like any grunt work in any industry is best done where costs are low.

Going on your ads on GD.ie you have been hiring a lot lately. How many people do you employ now?
There are 17 of us right now.

Are they all here in Galway?
Mostly here, but we have a guy based out of Switzerland, a guy based out of Berlin and a guy based out of Cavan. And we are using contractors too. I haven’t included them in the headcount but there are people in the UK and in the US on a contract basis as we need them.

Have you had any problems hiring people?
Yes, absolutely.

Any particular areas?
Producers. Obviously Tony has filled a big gap there. Game designers are another. We have been very lucky with Ian, not just because he has a good head for game design, but also because he understands the media so well. I think that is another issue, because we are mobile specific, and even within mobile we are community specific. We are not just looking for mobile designers, we are looking for community based or connected mobile designers, which is a tough task. Artists are probably the least troublesome area at the moment. But even still most of the interest is coming from abroad. Most of the local people we have seen have not been mobile specific. Mobile is a little bit like GBA in the sense that of you have a lot of limitations to deal with and knowing how to deal with them is a big part of the job. You have a lot of issues that arise out of the physical constraints.

Is that just because the industry is so young in Ireland?
You need a person who sees those constraints as challenges, rather than shackles. Especially in the artistic side what we have seen are people whose concept art would be fantastic, but not suitable when it comes to a constrained device.

Is that an education failing because people haven’t been trained in this area?
I don’t know. Partly, maybe. Partly too it would be depending on people’s makeup. Like it is possible to do some really stunning stuff on mobile but you really have to design specifically for the device and you have to do your art for the device.

What about programming?
Basically what we are finding that anyone with any experience is outside the country.

How many non nationals do you have?
We have a real confederation. We have a Dane, a Greek, a Russian and soon also a Dutchman.

…and you are still hiring?
We are aggressively hiring. We have 15 people in-house and by year-end we want to be close to 30.

That is fairly rapid growth. When did you start hiring?
I have been at it for a while but the bang really started last March because that is when I pulled in funding and started hiring. Our first hire was last March and that was Nollaig. To deal with the opportunity that we see in front of us we have to continue that.

So in terms of locale, operating out of Galway, does that have advantages and disadvantages?
To be honest it doesn’t make that big of a difference.

People don’t go “an Irish company from where?”
Actually no. The big thing really is that we are an Irish company. It is seen as positive and particularly in the US, it is seen as a huge positive. I mean there is still a great affinity for Irish people in the US and we use that card like everybody else does. In Europe it is a non-issue. It is really about the work.

You said you are going one year now, how have you funded the company?
Our first round was purely private, and we are now in a second round and EI are involved.

Did you find getting a games company in Ireland funded difficult?’
Yea, funding is difficult. Funding is difficult anyway.

Not just because you are a games company?
Well it is more difficult because it is a games company. People will tell you that the venture capital market is buoyant but it is very tough to get funding. It took me two and a half years to get off the ground. The only reason that could happen is because I had been doing consultancy work. I had built up a fairly reasonable business prior so I could sustain a certain period. I don’t think that would be the case for most people. I am no different from most entrepreneurs, I had to do the same things that most people have to do: beg, borrow…

…not the last one?
No, I didn’t steal. You do what you can, you are looking to family, you are looking to your own resources if you have them, cannibalizing your assets. It is a very very tough stage and doesn’t get nearly enough support from the government.

Do you think there is more that could be done?
Well for games companies the biggest issue is risk. I would say there is a big difference between the US and Ireland, and we would want to be more like the US in terms of venture capital, in terms of entrepreneurialism. The biggest issue I see is that if you fail in the US it is embraced and it is actually a positive. It is not as positive as if you succeed, but you have tried, you have failed but you have learned. And the next time you do it there are a whole load of avenues that you now know are the wrong ones, and it will mean that your potential for success next time is much higher. In Ireland failure is still a red rag that is tied around your head.

But there is failure after a good attempt and failure because of complete naiveté.
But even that is ok. Part of the process is to take away the naiveté. And if by providing someone with a small amount of money to go out there and get a smack across the face I think it is money well spent. But right now the only option you have as a starting out company is a feasibility study from the likes of EI or you can go to the county enterprise boards. From EI it is basically 19,500 euros, from the enterprise boards it is half that. 19,500 euros is a very small amount of money. I think for that amount of money there should be a lot more people doing it. Not everyone gets to do one. You have to have a very strong case right now to get one. Now that is not a bad thing in itself but there needs to be something prior. The course I did in NUIG was an enterprise platform programme which took in 8-10 entrepreneurs and brought them through (the start-up process).

Is that an EI thing or an NUIG thing?
It is an EI/NUIG thing. Most of the colleges have them. I know DCU has one, there is one in Cork, GMIT has one as well. You get some funding and you get education. You have typically one day a month where someone comes in and talks about their experiences of starting a company or they talk about something specific whether it is the legalities of starting a company or it is how to approach sales and marketing. It stokes you in terms of thinking about all the different things you need to do to start a company. There should be a lot more of them.

Ok so you think there should be more support for early stage, what about the stage you guys are at?
You were asking specifically about games companies. Games companies in Ireland have the additional problem that there aren’t many people in Ireland that understand them and for that reason most people don’t want to be involved because in their mind the risk is higher.

Do you mean both public sector like EI and private sector like the banks and VCs?
Yes. EI actually are now becoming much more proactive in terms of their support for media orientated companies but going back three years talking to EI even then talking about a games company was a tough sell. But expertise is a problem, not just for EI, expertise for companies in general is a problem and that I guess is limiting for them as well. But for the VCs as well they don’t have the experience of dealing with games companies and because of that wouldn’t understand the space.

Have you had to go outside Ireland then for funding?
No, but we have not done VC funding yet, it has all been private. People describe Ireland as being awash with millionaires, I don’t know if that is strictly true but there is a lot of money out there at the moment but accessing it is haphazard.

Is it networks and who you know?
It is. And even if you have a strong proposition, and have a very good chance of succeeding it is still tough to gain access to the right people requires that you know the right people.

So in the next 3-5 years where do you see Nephin going?
I think that in terms of the company we will continue to grow, inside and outside of ourselves, but we will also grow, not just organically, but more than likely by acquisition and it will be growing not just in Ireland, but growing abroad as well. Already a US operation and a European operation are already in sight. In terms of what we are offering, I don’t think the licensing stuff we are doing will go away, that will still remain a large part of what we do. I do see the marketing side developing much more. Marketing right now is text oriented marketing but people are starting to move towards the idea that entertainment is funded through promotion. But again it is all down to the value proposition. If we are offering gamers a fun experience that they get for less than they would have to pay for it with minimal intrusion then that makes sense for everyone involved.

Bio: Alan Duggan is CEO of Nephin Games.

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

Nephin Games are located in the Galway Technology Centre, Mervue Business Park,
Galway, Ireland.

Digra Goes To Japan

The next Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) conference will be held in Tokyo during September
2007.

DiGRA Japan is a newly formed national association bringing together games researchers in Japan. The exact dates and the schedule for the submission of papers will be announced shortly.

‘The theme of this conference is “Situated Play.” The organisers welcome panel proposals and papers that describe various facets regarding the situatedness of digital games and attempt to combine a range of approaches in innovative ways. The dates of the conference will be set close to the Tokyo Game Show so that participants can take advantage of both events. The selection of papers will be based on full papers instead of abstracts, and the deadline will be in February 2007.’

Please follow DiGRA-Announce and Gamesnetwork mailing lists and information at the www.digra.org website.

Previous conferences took place in the University of Utrecht, in the Netherlands in 2003 and in Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada in 2005.

Lk Shields Solicitors

If you are part of the games industry then you deal in intellectual property rights. In addition to servicing our clients’ general legal needs we, at LK Shields Solicitors, provide expert, clear, solution-based advice to our clients that operate in the technology, media and entertainment industries. We facilitate them to maximise the benefits of their intellectual property rights, assist them in developing suitable licensing models and other commercialisation methods, and help them to take appropriate action to protect their proprietary rights, when the need arises.

Our clients tell us their business objectives, and we help them achieve their goals quickly and efficiently. Below we set out a brief summary of areas where we have provided legal advice and value to our technology clients:

Software

  • software licensing, including in relation to various sub-licensing and end-user models
  • software support and maintenance agreements
  • software development agreements and R&D
  • software distribution and reseller arrangements

    Hardware agreements

  • hardware supply and maintenance agreements
  • network sharing agreements
  • disaster Recovery Agreements

    Other technology agreements and arrangements

  • technology transfer agreements, including related competition law advice
  • outsourcing technology needs and other services
  • website terms and conditions and privacy policies
  • IT consultancy agreements
  • the formation and enforcement of contracts on the internet, via SMS text and other forms of mobile technology
  • telecommunications services arrangements, including ISP agreements
  • technology export restrictions
  • electronic payment systems agreements

    Protecting intellectual property

  • registering and protecting trade marks and designs
  • trade mark infringement and passing off
  • copyright matters, unregistered design rights and database rights
  • counterfeit and parallel imports matters
  • protection of domain names and related infringement issues
  • patent licensing, infringement and revocations
  • advertising complaints (including ASAI)
  • liability issues in connection with websites, including ISP liability

    General legal issues for technology companies

  • employee issues (internet and email policies, IP ownership etc)
  • employment contracts, options and incentives
  • confidentiality/know how agreements
  • consumer protection legislation, including the application of the distance selling regulations
  • data protection
  • advertising, marketing, sponsorship and promotions, including gaming and lotteries issues
  • distribution and franchising arrangements
  • agency arrangements
  • private equity/venture capital arrangements
  • shareholder structures
  • financing arrangements
  • property transactions

    Our website, www.lkshields.ie, sets out more information about our lawyers and the work that we can do for you. Alternatively, you could email Deirdre Kilroy, a technology law specialist, who would be happy to have an initial chat with you about your business needs. Deirdre can be contacted at dkilroy@lkshields.ie.

    LK Shields Solicitors
    Deirdre Kilroy
    +353 1 661 0866
    LK Shields Solicitors, 39/40 Upper Mount Street, Dublin 2

  • Couchmonkey Sound Design And Music Production

    Couchmonkey has worked on a variety of projects spanning Video Game/ Theatre/ Film/ TV and Web based productions. We have extensive audio experience including an exellent knowledge of stage production. All styles of music are catered for including voice talent and field recording.

    Patrick Hanlon
    +353 87 9620622
    info@couchmonkey.net
    www.couchmonkey.net

    Kelly Goes Mobile

    Gamedevelopers.ie has learnt that in the past month Tony Kelly, Chair of the IGDA Ireland chapter, has moved to take up a position at Nephin Games in Galway. Tony had previously worked as a producer with Torc Interactive in Co.Donegal.

    Commenting on the move, Alan Duggan, CEO of Nephin Games commented that they were “proud to announce the appointment of Tony Kelly as Senior Producer to our Galway studio. Tony, whom you all know well from gd.ie, IGDA, and Awakenings will focus his wealth of experience and knowledge on producing top quality games and maintaining our professional service to our growing list of international clients”.

    Meanwhile Tony told us that he was “delighted to be working in Galway with the good folks at Nephin. A combination of a great team, innovative mobile community technology, and some high profile properties, all add up to an amazing opportunity”.

    We wish him well in his new position.

    Another Place To Play In Dublin

    Wed 5th April saw the official opening of the first Xbox Live Gaming Centre in Europe. It happens to be located on Dublin’s South William Street, not far from the Stephen’s Green shopping centre or for fans of late night coffee, Café Mocha.

    A few gd.ie faces were to be seen on the night not least the inimitable Jamie McCormick official community manager of the centre and on the night powered only by Lucozade (apparently) he was rallying the pizzas, keeping the lights turned on and giving lots of tips to Xbox non-aficionados like myself.

    It turns out that the centre is run by Multiplay Ltd., a business founded by Frank O’Grady and Dylan Collins. Frank O’Grady founded the online DVD rental service Screenclick.com. Dylan Collins, well I think a few of you know him. Yes it is Dylan of Demonware, serial entrepreneur with the midas touch. Later his partner in crime in Demonware, Sean B, turned up and of course Pavel B. was there doing QA on the cocktails.

    The building itself is an old Georgian building spread over three levels, with a VIP four screen area at the back of one level and some pretty cool flat screen TVs, both Xbox 360 and Xbox 1 consoles, plush chairs and backlight screenies around the walls – all clearly designed to draw you in and keep you there for many many hours.

    Unlike lots of areas in the country the Xbox play centre managed to pull a few strings with Eircom and get broadband installed so there is no excuse for us broadband starved game players not to go in and see what all the fuss is about!

    There are loads of competitions coming up to win stuff and in case you didn’t have all the latest gadgets and Xbox games they sell them at the front of the centre. Apparently they may even start to stock high quality game related books!!

    Other info:
    Xbox Live Gaming Centre is situated on 51 South William Street, Dublin 2.

    Opening Hours:
    Monday – Thursday – 10am – midnight
    Friday & Saturday – 10am – 2am
    Sunday – noon – midnight

    Hourly Rates
    Off Peak Rate – 5.00 per hour
    Regular Rate – 6.50 per hour
    Peak Rate – 7.50 per hour

    Dare To Be Digital Dates

    Dare to be Digital in the Rep. of Ireland has now been confirmed and the full list of dates released. The key dates are:

    * Closing date is April 30th for Ireland

    * Interviews Thursday 18th May in Dublin

    * Winning Team Announced in The Digital Hub on May 18th

    * Monday June 12th: Dare starts

    Apply online at:

    http://www.daretobedigital.com/applications/form.php

    Best of luck…

    Nephin Sign Up With Vimio

    Today at CTIA WIRELESS 2006, Las Vegas, Nephin Games announced a global agreement with Vimio Ltd., a leading provider of media distribution solutions and content to Mobile Network Operators.

    Vimio will distribute WKN Kickboxing for mobile phones world-wide. WKN will be launched initially in the Middle East with further roll-outs in Asia to follow.

    For more see http://www.nephingames.com/ under news.

    gd.ie readers will remember that Nephin won a Digital Media award for their WKN game in 2005. See http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/viewnews.php?article=186

    Dare To Be Digital Submission Deadline

    Sunday April 30th: Closing date for applications from Algoma University College, Canada and from the Republic of Ireland.

    See http://www.daretobedigital.com/about/importantdates.php

    Dare To Be Digital Back On

    gd.ie has established that funding is now in place for a Dare to be Digital heat in the Rep. of Ireland.

    While the official announcement has yet to be made indications are that the closing date for applications will be Apr 17th, with judging in Dublin on May 18th.

    This is a very tight deadline so it is worth spreading the word and seeing if it is possible to reestablish teams and projects as soon as possible.

    More discussion on this http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?p=24356#24356 and no doubt dull details will be available soon on http://www.thedigitalhub.com/news.php

    And as Nifty pointed out on the forums

    ‘The deadline for the online submission for the republic of Ireland, that is the submission that determines whether or not you make the shortlist for the interview in May, is April 30th.

    The site still says 17th on the submission form, but that is for other regions, namely scotland and Northern Ireland. The deadline for each region can be found on the important dates page of the site.’

    http://www.daretobedigital.com/about/importantdates.php

    Book Out

    I am pleased to announce that after much time and effort ‘The Business and Culture of Digital Games: Gamework/Gameplay’ is printed and now available for sale.

    Many of you on the boards will know that this website developed out of the first year of a project I was working on in DCU on the games industry in 2000/01. Well I guess you could say the second thing to develop out of that project which went on for three years in the end is this book.

    The book looks at games as an industry, as cultural texts and as social and cultural activities. It summarises recent theories and case studies and tries to include as far as possible work from the UK, the US and Asia. I put in references to Irish companies too where possible.

    People on the boards helped me come up with the title ‘gamework/gameplay’ and although the marketing department in Sage weren’t too keen it stayed there and is how I refer to the book. Others helped proof and develop tables and figures for it.

    So this is a thank you to all for the assistance and if you think it would be use to you or your students I guess I should encourage you to buy it!

    For more info see http://www.sagepub.co.uk/author.aspx?aid=301313

    and http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1412900476/202-1901942-7027060

    And we might have to have another party to launch this properly!

    Demonware & Ubisoft

    DemonWare, the Irish multiplayer technology company, have announced a multi-title agreement with leading publisher Ubisoft to power multiplayer functionality across all platforms for the publisher’s titles.

    For more see http://gamesindustry.biz/press_release.php?aid=15828

    Well done!

    Iia On Blogs, Podcasts Etc.

    When: 12 April 2006

    Where: Engineers Ireland Headquarters, 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge.

    The IIA and Engineers Ireland have teamed up to provide a thought provoking ½ day event investigating the commercial applications of Blogging, Podcasting and RSS feeds. The event will feature presentations, live demos and extensive Q&A. Places are limited so early booking is advisable.

    Running Order:
    9.30am – 1pm

    SESSION 1
    – Introduction to Event – Colm Lyon Chairman of the – IIA

    SESSION 2
    – Blogging and RSS feeds -all you need to know – Michele Neylon – Blacknight Solutions

    COFFEE BREAK

    SESSION 3
    – Podcasting and all that Jazz – Brian Greene – Doop Design

    SESSION 4
    – Real examples of Podcasting – Stephen Mc Cormack – Wildwave

    QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

    The event will be held in the purpose built state of the art Engineers Ireland auditorium at Engineers Ireland Headquarters, 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge.

    Fee is €50 for IEI/IIA members and €65 for non-members.

    If you have any questions click the link below:

    mailto:events@iia.ie

    You can book online here:
    http://iia.chtah.com/a/tBEMoVHAbbNMLAdswcEAbc-ci8T/events

    Book Out – 2

    I am pleased to announce that after much time and effort ‘The Business and Culture of Digital Games: Gamework/Gameplay’ is printed and now available for sale.

    Many of you on the boards will know that this website developed out of the first year of a project I was working on in DCU on the games industry in 2000/01. Well I guess you could say the second thing to develop out of that project which went on for three years in the end is this book.

    The book looks at games as an industry, as cultural texts and as social and cultural activities. It summarises recent theories and case studies and tries to include as far as possible work from the UK, the US and Asia. I put in references to Irish companies too where possible.

    People on the boards helped me come up with the title ‘gamework/gameplay’ and although the marketing department in Sage weren’t too keen it stayed there and is how I refer to the book. Others helped proof and develop tables and figures for it.

    So this is a thank you to all for the assistance and if you think it would be use to you or your students I guess I should encourage you to buy it!

    For more info see http://www.sagepub.co.uk/author.aspx?aid=301313

    and http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1412900476/202-1901942-7027060

    And we might have to have another party to launch this properly!

    Demonware & Ubisoft – 2

    DemonWare, the Irish multiplayer technology company, have announced a multi-title agreement with leading publisher Ubisoft to power multiplayer functionality across all platforms for the publisher’s titles.

    For more see http://gamesindustry.biz/press_release.php?aid=15828

    Well done!

    Women In Games Deadline Extended

    Women in Games Conference 2006
    Location: University of Teesside, UK.
    Date: 10th and 11th July 2006

    Deadline for call for papers extended until the 14th April. The call for papers can be accessed at www.womeningames.com.

    Games Seminar, Nuim.

    School of Sociology Seminar Series – Spring 2006/

    Monday 10th April, 2006.

    Dr. Aphra Kerr, (Department of Sociology, NUI Maynooth).

    Globalisation and Digital Games: gamework/gameplay.

    Seminars are held on Mondays, 2.30-4pm in Room 1.10, St. Anne’s Building, North campus.

    For further details please contact Brian.Conway@nuim.ie. All welcome.

    See also http://sociology.nuim.ie/Seminars.shtml

    Women In Games Deadline Extended – 2

    Women in Games Conference 2006
    Location: University of Teesside, UK.
    Date: 10th and 11th July 2006

    Deadline for call for papers extended until the 14th April. The call for papers can be accessed at www.womeningames.com.

    Fun N Games Cfp

    FUN ‘N GAMES 2006 – 2ND CALL FOR PARTICIPATION – www.fng2006.org
    ———————————————-

    >>>Short Papers, User Experiences & Work Groups<<< Work that addresses any aspect of Fun and Games will be considered, but we particularly welcome contributions that address the following themes: Designing (and implementing) for fun and games (theories applied to the design of fun and games, storyboarding, prototyping, approaches to game evaluation; case studies and exemplars of successful fun and games design processes, in different settings) Innovative fun and game interfaces (novel consoles, peripherals and input devices: e.g., haptics and multi-modal interfaces). Collaborative fun and games (new forms of socially-organised fun and games). Distributed and mobile fun and gaming (concepts and tools that exploit the affordances of computational/technological mobility to facilitate non-co- located play). Conceptual approaches to fun and games (theoretical constructs and frameworks for understanding fun and games: engagement and motivation, narrative theory, optimal experience, flow). Fun and games culture (the social ramifications of gaming on society, on education and business; implications for social access and inclusion; gaming sub-cultures; historical perspectives on fun and games). Reflective studies of how fun can be packaged, evaluated and valued. Design guidelines and heuristics for fun. Important Dates =============== 7th April booking opens 10th April notification to authors of papers 17th April deadline for posters, user experiences and not for profit work groups. 2nd May notification to authors of posters, experiences and NFP work groups 8th May - early booking deadline Paper Format and Length ======================= Short Papers (Talks and Posters) -------------------------------- Short papers can represent early work and late breaking work and are particularly well suited to students; submission in this category will require a three to four page abstract of the work presented in the conference format as detailed at FNG2006 Guidelines for Authors (Microsoft Word .Doc). Papers should be anonymised and should be submitted in two parts, as a pdf of their anonymised paper and an accompanying file that details the authors names and affiliations and indicates the preferred method of delivery, as a poster or as a spoken (15 minute) talk. See the Submissions page for further details. Interactive User Experiences ---------------------------- User experiences are for demonstrations of, and participation in, fun activities or gaming experiences. Submissions in this category will comprise a one page synopsis of the experience on offer as well as a single page abstract for the conference proceedings. The single page abstract should be presented in the conference format as detailed at FNG2006 Guidelines for Authors (Microsoft Word .Doc). The one page synopsis of the experience on offer should include: A 50 word description of the experience (this will be used by delegates to inform them whether or not the experience is for them!) A 50 word summary of what the purpose of the experience is (e.g. Is it to demonstrate a new product, to do a research study on participants, to gather feedback, or just for fun!) An indication of how the session will be run detailing the time needed per experience and the maximum number of participants. For example; this session will take approximately 20 minutes. A maximum of six participants will be able to attend at any one time; they will be given a 5 minute introduction to the technology and then will interact for 15 minutes in pairs. Please note that we expect that any intro to the experience will normally take only around 5 minutes the intention is for the delegates to be active. This synopsis is essential as it will assist us in determining how well suited the interactive experience is. It is expected tha roviding interactive experiences will present the experience at least three and possibly many more times during the conference so that as many delegates as possible can participate. For further information, if unsure about this track contact, emazzone@uclan.ac.uk. Work Groups ----------- To encourage academic and practitioner debate, we offer a chance for delegates to organise work groups co-located with the conference. These will not clash with other conference events. Whether you are a lone individual looking for some interested others, or whether you have a group already in place, you can apply for space in the programme. Workgroup organisers are expected to register for the conference, in the event that the workgroup attracts more than ten attendees, the organiser will be entitled to a conference discount. Attendees at workgroups may register for the conference (in which case the workgroup is free) or can pay a small fee for the workgroup. The conference committee will help to advertise workgroups. If your workgroup is accepted, you agree to run the event and may not cancel it without the explicit permission of the conference chairs. To propose a workgroup submit a single page description of the event by 24th April (no particular format required), this should include: a short biography of the organisers, an indication of the preferred duration (we can facilitate anything between 2 hours and 6 hours), and a description of likely participants, an outline of the anticipated activities, and the expected outcomes. A description of the workgroup of about 50 words (this will be used to advertise the event) An indication of how the workgroup will be run detailing the time needed and the maximum (and minimum) number of participants. Contact sjmacfarlane@uclan.ac.uk (Workshop chair). www.fng2006.org Fun 'n Games 2006 26 - 28 June 2006, Preston, England http://www.fng2006.org

    Gd.Ie Third Birthday

    Hard to believe I know – but this month gd.ie will be officially three years old. To celebrate we will having a slightly more upmarket shindig that usual in the heart of the Digital Hub, the Digital Exchange building (old Media Lab Europe building) on Crane Street, off Thomas Street, in Dublin on Friday the 28th of April from 6.45pm.

    Since gd.ie is all about building community we are pleased to announce that confirmed speakers for the night include Will Golby, PopCap Games, Dublin; Tony Kelly, Nephin Games, Galway; Sarah Guiney, Upstart Games and John Molloy talking about the Digital Hub’s clubhouse and eSTreet projects.

    As if that wasn’t enough entertainment for one night we will also have the annual gd.ie annual awards. Please go to the forums on gd.ie to nominate your newbie of the year, elect someone to the gd.ie hall of fame for the stamina award, reward someone for their gems of knowledge, their humour and finally nominate a person or group for the gd.ie overall award of the year. Go to http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?p=24100#24100

    As last year there will be refreshments on the night and there is always the possibility that things will continue afterwards in a local establishment.

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

    Note:
    Maps showing the Digital Exchange building can be found at http://www.thedigitalhub.com/locate/maps.php# (just for Kyotokid!)

    Former winners of gd.ie awards (with forum handles in brackets) are:

    2005 winners were:
    1. Newbie – Stéphane Ambrosini (steph)
    2. Stamina – Damian Furlong (Omen) who registerd on the forums on 7th of April, 2003 with a special runners up award to Ronny Southwood (ronny)
    3. Salmon of Knowledge – Tony Kelly (Idora)
    4. Humour – Peter McNally (Pete) or his Hoffness..
    5. Gd.ie group of the year 05 – IGDA Ireland committee.

    For more see http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/viewnews.php?article=200

    2004 winners were:
    1. Stamina: Peter McNally (pete) who registered on the forums on the 1st of April 2003,
    2. Newbie: Ivan McCloskey (Kyotokid): i
    3. Humour: Ian Hannigan (Ian_hannigan)
    4. Salmon of Knowledge: Michael Griffin (grifmike)
    5. GD.ie person of the Year – Tony Kelly (Idora).

    For more see http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/viewnews.php?article=98

    Fun N Games Cfp – 2

    FUN ‘N GAMES 2006 – 2ND CALL FOR PARTICIPATION – www.fng2006.org
    ———————————————-

    >>>Short Papers, User Experiences & Work Groups<<< Work that addresses any aspect of Fun and Games will be considered, but we particularly welcome contributions that address the following themes: Designing (and implementing) for fun and games (theories applied to the design of fun and games, storyboarding, prototyping, approaches to game evaluation; case studies and exemplars of successful fun and games design processes, in different settings) Innovative fun and game interfaces (novel consoles, peripherals and input devices: e.g., haptics and multi-modal interfaces). Collaborative fun and games (new forms of socially-organised fun and games). Distributed and mobile fun and gaming (concepts and tools that exploit the affordances of computational/technological mobility to facilitate non-co- located play). Conceptual approaches to fun and games (theoretical constructs and frameworks for understanding fun and games: engagement and motivation, narrative theory, optimal experience, flow). Fun and games culture (the social ramifications of gaming on society, on education and business; implications for social access and inclusion; gaming sub-cultures; historical perspectives on fun and games). Reflective studies of how fun can be packaged, evaluated and valued. Design guidelines and heuristics for fun. Important Dates =============== 7th April booking opens 10th April notification to authors of papers 17th April deadline for posters, user experiences and not for profit work groups. 2nd May notification to authors of posters, experiences and NFP work groups 8th May - early booking deadline Paper Format and Length ======================= Short Papers (Talks and Posters) -------------------------------- Short papers can represent early work and late breaking work and are particularly well suited to students; submission in this category will require a three to four page abstract of the work presented in the conference format as detailed at FNG2006 Guidelines for Authors (Microsoft Word .Doc). Papers should be anonymised and should be submitted in two parts, as a pdf of their anonymised paper and an accompanying file that details the authors names and affiliations and indicates the preferred method of delivery, as a poster or as a spoken (15 minute) talk. See the Submissions page for further details. Interactive User Experiences ---------------------------- User experiences are for demonstrations of, and participation in, fun activities or gaming experiences. Submissions in this category will comprise a one page synopsis of the experience on offer as well as a single page abstract for the conference proceedings. The single page abstract should be presented in the conference format as detailed at FNG2006 Guidelines for Authors (Microsoft Word .Doc). The one page synopsis of the experience on offer should include: A 50 word description of the experience (this will be used by delegates to inform them whether or not the experience is for them!) A 50 word summary of what the purpose of the experience is (e.g. Is it to demonstrate a new product, to do a research study on participants, to gather feedback, or just for fun!) An indication of how the session will be run detailing the time needed per experience and the maximum number of participants. For example; this session will take approximately 20 minutes. A maximum of six participants will be able to attend at any one time; they will be given a 5 minute introduction to the technology and then will interact for 15 minutes in pairs. Please note that we expect that any intro to the experience will normally take only around 5 minutes the intention is for the delegates to be active. This synopsis is essential as it will assist us in determining how well suited the interactive experience is. It is expected tha roviding interactive experiences will present the experience at least three and possibly many more times during the conference so that as many delegates as possible can participate. For further information, if unsure about this track contact, emazzone@uclan.ac.uk. Work Groups ----------- To encourage academic and practitioner debate, we offer a chance for delegates to organise work groups co-located with the conference. These will not clash with other conference events. Whether you are a lone individual looking for some interested others, or whether you have a group already in place, you can apply for space in the programme. Workgroup organisers are expected to register for the conference, in the event that the workgroup attracts more than ten attendees, the organiser will be entitled to a conference discount. Attendees at workgroups may register for the conference (in which case the workgroup is free) or can pay a small fee for the workgroup. The conference committee will help to advertise workgroups. If your workgroup is accepted, you agree to run the event and may not cancel it without the explicit permission of the conference chairs. To propose a workgroup submit a single page description of the event by 24th April (no particular format required), this should include: a short biography of the organisers, an indication of the preferred duration (we can facilitate anything between 2 hours and 6 hours), and a description of likely participants, an outline of the anticipated activities, and the expected outcomes. A description of the workgroup of about 50 words (this will be used to advertise the event) An indication of how the workgroup will be run detailing the time needed and the maximum (and minimum) number of participants. Contact sjmacfarlane@uclan.ac.uk (Workshop chair). www.fng2006.org Fun 'n Games 2006 26 - 28 June 2006, Preston, England http://www.fng2006.org

    Gd.Ie Third Birthday – 2

    Hard to believe I know – but this month gd.ie will be officially three years old. To celebrate we will having a slightly more upmarket shindig that usual in the heart of the Digital Hub, the Digital Exchange building (old Media Lab Europe building) on Crane Street, off Thomas Street, in Dublin on Friday the 28th of April from 6.45pm.

    Since gd.ie is all about building community we are pleased to announce that confirmed speakers for the night include Will Golby, PopCap Games, Dublin; Tony Kelly, Nephin Games, Galway; Sarah Guiney, Upstart Games and John Molloy talking about the Digital Hub’s clubhouse and eSTreet projects.

    As if that wasn’t enough entertainment for one night we will also have the annual gd.ie annual awards. Please go to the forums on gd.ie to nominate your newbie of the year, elect someone to the gd.ie hall of fame for the stamina award, reward someone for their gems of knowledge, their humour and finally nominate a person or group for the gd.ie overall award of the year. Go to http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?p=24100#24100

    As last year there will be refreshments on the night and there is always the possibility that things will continue afterwards in a local establishment.

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

    Note:
    Maps showing the Digital Exchange building can be found at http://www.thedigitalhub.com/locate/maps.php# (just for Kyotokid!)

    Former winners of gd.ie awards (with forum handles in brackets) are:

    2005 winners were:
    1. Newbie – Stéphane Ambrosini (steph)
    2. Stamina – Damian Furlong (Omen) who registerd on the forums on 7th of April, 2003 with a special runners up award to Ronny Southwood (ronny)
    3. Salmon of Knowledge – Tony Kelly (Idora)
    4. Humour – Peter McNally (Pete) or his Hoffness..
    5. Gd.ie group of the year 05 – IGDA Ireland committee.

    For more see http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/viewnews.php?article=200

    2004 winners were:
    1. Stamina: Peter McNally (pete) who registered on the forums on the 1st of April 2003,
    2. Newbie: Ivan McCloskey (Kyotokid): i
    3. Humour: Ian Hannigan (Ian_hannigan)
    4. Salmon of Knowledge: Michael Griffin (grifmike)
    5. GD.ie person of the Year – Tony Kelly (Idora).

    For more see http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/viewnews.php?article=98

    Gd.Ie Birthday & Shindig

    Hard to believe I know – but this month gd.ie will be officially three years old.

    To celebrate we will having a slightly more upmarket shindig that usual in the heart of the Digital Hub, the Digital Exchange building (old Media Lab Europe building) on Crane Street, off Thomas Street, in Dublin on Friday the 28th of April at 6.45pm. Speakers, awards, refreshments…

    See news and forums for more details.

    Maps of the location can be found at http://www.thedigitalhub.com/locate/maps.php#

    Robocode Ireland National Final

    On March 23rd 2006, Robocode tanks roll into Tipperary Institute for the Robocode Ireland Programming competition, sponsored by Lenovo. Students from third level colleges around the country will battle for the ICS Robocode Challenge Trophy.

    Previous Robocode Ireland finals have featured Tank displays from the Irish Military and the event has also been supported by Air Corps Irish “Robot of Destruction” team. 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 appeals to first year programming students. “It 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 Lenovo, ICS, PCRealm, Micromail, Sun, Stakelums Office Supplies, Pearson Education, Powerballs and the Digital Hub.

    This year’s exciting competition will again feature “Pit Tanks” developed by special guests from the BT Young Scientist Competition. This years pit tanks are developed by Emmet Kilberd and Andrew Lionie, John Scottus Secondary School, with their project on optimisation of code, Patrick Collison, BT Young Scientist 2005, Peter Benilov’s “Robocode Targeting” project, Castletroy College. There will also be a number of exhibits from BT Young Scientists. Secondary level schools are welcome to attend and should pre-book by contacting Rita Clohessy, in the ICT Department, on 0504 28250 or email robocode_team@tippinst.ie as places are limited. Attending schools can get involved in the gaming and brain teaser competitions thought the day. Full details for the event can be found on the Robocode website located at http://www.robocode.ie. Schools attending will also be included in a number of the competitions and draws taking place during the event.

    When the RoboCode final is played out in front of a cheering audience on 23rd March, it will provide the National Showcase for Irish third level programming students, with the smarts to qualify for the finals. So “Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!” in Tipperary Institute at the Robocode 2006 Programming Competition.

    About Tipperary Institute
    Tipperary Institute, one of Ireland’s newest and most innovative third level colleges 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.

    About Robocode
    RoboCode is an annual 1st year Full Time Undergraduate 3rd level Programming Competition. Robot tanks, written in Java, battle each other for the title of RoboMarshall. Students from Colleges and Universities throughout Ireland will take part in a National Robocode Final in Tipperary Institute on March 23rd 2006.

    Robocode Ireland National Final – 2

    On March 23rd 2006, Robocode tanks roll into Tipperary Institute for the Robocode Ireland Programming competition, sponsored by Lenovo. Students from third level colleges around the country will battle for the ICS Robocode Challenge Trophy.

    Previous Robocode Ireland finals have featured Tank displays from the Irish Military and the event has also been supported by Air Corps Irish “Robot of Destruction” team. 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 appeals to first year programming students. “It 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 Lenovo, ICS, PCRealm, Micromail, Sun, Stakelums Office Supplies, Pearson Education, Powerballs and the Digital Hub.

    This year’s exciting competition will again feature “Pit Tanks” developed by special guests from the BT Young Scientist Competition. This years pit tanks are developed by Emmet Kilberd and Andrew Lionie, John Scottus Secondary School, with their project on optimisation of code, Patrick Collison, BT Young Scientist 2005, Peter Benilov’s “Robocode Targeting” project, Castletroy College. There will also be a number of exhibits from BT Young Scientists. Secondary level schools are welcome to attend and should pre-book by contacting Rita Clohessy, in the ICT Department, on 0504 28250 or email robocode_team@tippinst.ie as places are limited. Attending schools can get involved in the gaming and brain teaser competitions thought the day. Full details for the event can be found on the Robocode website located at http://www.robocode.ie. Schools attending will also be included in a number of the competitions and draws taking place during the event.

    When the RoboCode final is played out in front of a cheering audience on 23rd March, it will provide the National Showcase for Irish third level programming students, with the smarts to qualify for the finals. So “Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!” in Tipperary Institute at the Robocode 2006 Programming Competition.

    About Tipperary Institute
    Tipperary Institute, one of Ireland’s newest and most innovative third level colleges 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.

    About Robocode
    RoboCode is an annual 1st year Full Time Undergraduate 3rd level Programming Competition. Robot tanks, written in Java, battle each other for the title of RoboMarshall. Students from Colleges and Universities throughout Ireland will take part in a National Robocode Final in Tipperary Institute on March 23rd 2006.

    Games In Education: Bett 2006

    Getting the most out of BETT is a task in itself; the venue is packed wall to wall for all 4 days. When you walk in the front door you are have the choice of 4 route planners, but these only cover the most popular areas (English, maths, science and special needs). I attended seeking information on behalf of primary, secondary and third level educators, community groups and lastly to get a better idea of the scale and direction of games technology in education.

    Firstly, teachers have a different idea of what constitutes a game. Here if it’s on a computer and it uses pictures and sound it’s a game. Most of the exhibitors at BETT have spent some time as teachers themselves, so this loose definition of a game is something you have to get used to. However, certain subdivisions can be made, namely into multimedia educational aids, edutainment (games created specifically for educational purposes) and commercial videogames (games built for entertainment purposes but from which an educational use is being made). For special needs purposes many of these products are made compatible with peripherals that ease their use, and there are other products again that are based exclusively on the use of a proprietary device (such as a robot).

    The multimedia educational aid area is the most developed by a large margin. For an idea of the software on offer take a look at Pearson education (BETT award winner) and Crick Software Ltd. (BETT award shortlist). Products in this area are based upon presenting the subject in a bright and interactive way. Stories such as those on an English course or historical events can be represented as an animated book, or interactive movie. Maths and science subjects can be as simple as moving brightly coloured blocks into stacks or navigating a spaceship on a mission to mars.

    Many of the multimedia educational aids are developed using Macromedia Flash, and so across developers you will encounter a similar look and feel. Amazingly enough there were next to no products tied to other intellectual properties (IP), in fact I saw only one program that claimed it was, and I didn’t even recognise the characters involved. I would have expected to see collaborations with children’s shows or even to popular books, but no. The recurring style that emerges from using Macromedia Flash is causing difficulties outside intended audiences, particularly in the area of adult education where students are being turned off because of their overtly childish appearance.

    Edutainment is pretty thin on the ground at the moment, especially next to the abundance of multimedia software available. The difficulty here is that to appeal to the market, usually children with little interest in standard learning, the software needs to look, feel and reward like a game, but also have a worthwhile and quantifiable educational value. The one product that stuck in my mind was Altered Learning’s “The Neverwinter Nights Project”. Atari is giving support to this company to develop their software, which uses the videogame Neverwinter nights as a platform for teaching key skills. To look at it you wouldn’t think it was anything other than the standard videogame release, the content however is heavily customised, and the student’s use is recorded discretely. The saved information can be presented in a form that meets curriculum requirements and the student can be graded.

    image2

    Another key group in the edutainment area is Nesta Futurelab. Nesta is an organisation dedicated to transforming education through innovation and technology, and Futurelab is their initiative concerned with innovation in education through technology. Futurelab produces an impressive volume of work, a lot of which has to do with videogame technology. The edutainment products that they had on display leaned more towards simulation; but they are worth a look for the immense range of work that they do in all areas of educational technology. They don’t limit themselves to the classroom, as projects like ‘mudlarking’ demonstrate. Mudlarking used mobile technology to create a series of nodes around a town called Deptford, each of which the students associated with data about the area. Nesta conduct an annual submission process for innovative ideas in their area, although you must apply from within the UK. Successful ideas benefit from working with Futurelab’s core development team, limited funding and Nesta’s further help as a partnership broker with under industry groups.

    Finally, there are those video games, commercially released, that teachers try to use for pedagogical purposes. Futurelab are in the thick of it once again, and are conducting research, funded by EA, using 3 different games: Knights of Honour (historically based RTS), Rollercoaster Tycoon (amusement park administration simulation) and The Sims 2 (simulation game based around social interaction). They aim to identify the educational elements of these games and discover how best to introduce them into the classroom. As part of this project Nesta have some very interesting data to share; 59% of teachers in the UK would consider using mainstream games in the classroom for educational purposes, 53% would do so because of their role as interactive motivational tool for students. 91% believe computer games improve motor cognitive skills, and over 60% thought students would improve higher order thinking skills and topic specific knowledge.

    Exploring BETT for several days I came away, as someone interested in games development, with the realisation that the education sector hasn’t yet recognised the value and capability of games technology. But they have seen the potential and the resources are coming in now to really take advantage. Most of these companies have teachers at their core; they design by looking at the curriculum material and figuring out new ways to present old material. While this probably best suits immediate needs, it results in software that looks like a game but doesn’t really feel like one. A precious few are looking at the tools available to them and figuring out what a vast and diverse range of material they could be presenting. What you get in these cases are games that provide an educational value, and as games the students more readily receive them. It’s not a matter of interest either, on the part of developers; each time I mentioned my skill base as videogames I was asked a flurry of questions. On two occasions I was asked if I would be willing to look over material and pitch a product in a few months.

    The interest is there, the money is certainly there, the question is why aren’t we there?

    Author Bio:
    John Molloy is a final year Games Design & Development student at the Ballyfermot College of Further Education. In what free time he has, John works as a mentor at the SWICN (South West Inner City Network) computer clubhouse. John has been involved in IT for education since the early 90’s when he was part of Educational Computer Resources (ECR), an educational computer supply and support company. Contact him via the forums where his nickname is ‘nifty’.


    If you wish to be directed to any information mentioned, but not covered, in this piece feel free to contact the author.
    http://www.pearsoned.co.uk
    http://www.cricksoft.com
    Several companies were exhibiting at BETT whose sole service is the evaluation of an institution’s educational ICT resources,
    http://www.alteredlearning.com
    Key skills are skills, which are not usually taught directly during school but are considered vital to adult life anyway. They are: Communication, Application of Number, Information and Communication Technology, Problem Solving, Improving Own Learning and Performance, Working with Others.
    http://www.nestafuturelab.org, the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts
    Similar research has been conducted by a group in the US and you can find out more about this at http://www.educationarcade.org/
    All images courtesy of Futurelab and may not be reused without permission.

    London Games Festival

    2nd – 5th October

    Central London.

    The London Games Festival is a week of events aspiring to become the “Cannes” of the games industry. Well situated in London, as the UK has long been regarded as the gateway
    to the European games market in both business and consumer terms. In its first year, the festival will be predominantly trade focused, but cultural, artistic, educational and consumer
    elements will evolve as part of the activities too. The core events will be:

  • TIGA Content Market (3rd and 4th October) – a market where developers can meet publishers and service providers to the industry. Following previous highly successful content markets in London by TIGA (The Independent Games Developers Association), this year’s event is set to be bigger and better
  • London Games Summit (4th and 5th October) – a fascinating conference looking at key issues of interest to publishers and developers, held by TIGA and ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association)
  • BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Awards for artistic and creative innovation in video games with the makers credited rather than the marketers.

    Ian Baverstock, Chair of TIGA said,

    “The combinbation of Londons economic development agency, BAFTA, plus both TIGA and ELSPA champing at the bit to work towards creating a new international event has been a while coming but this is the beginning of something built on solid foundations and we expect many important organisations to announce complimentary activities in the near future”

    Rob Cooper, MD Northern Europe and Export, Ubisoft UK said,

    “With publishers, retailers and developers staging their own events throughout the year, it is clear that our industry needs an event that brings all aspects of it together in a forum that really shows video games at their best and that the UK is still a world leader in this market. The London Games Festival will allow new ideas and opportunities to flourish, and will also allow the industry, in conjunction with BAFTA, to show its recognition and respect to those who have achieved great results over the year.”

    Paul Jackson, VP and MD Northern Europe, Electronic Arts said,
    “We’re incredibly excited by London Games Festival. It is something that is grabbing the industry’s imagination. The hope is that it captures for games what an event like Cannes captures for film. We’ll be looking to see how we can be involved in the London Games Festival in ways that best reflect the EA brand and our games.”

    Adam Roberts, EVP Europe and UK MD, Vivendi said,

    “London Games Festival is a remarkable way of carrying the message that games are central to modern culture and entertainment. And from an industry perspective, it’s fantastic to see ELSPA, TIGA, BAFTA and the London Development Agency working together.”

  • Games In Education: Bett 2006 – 2

    Getting the most out of BETT is a task in itself; the venue is packed wall to wall for all 4 days. When you walk in the front door you are have the choice of 4 route planners, but these only cover the most popular areas (English, maths, science and special needs). I attended seeking information on behalf of primary, secondary and third level educators, community groups and lastly to get a better idea of the scale and direction of games technology in education.

    Firstly, teachers have a different idea of what constitutes a game. Here if it’s on a computer and it uses pictures and sound it’s a game. Most of the exhibitors at BETT have spent some time as teachers themselves, so this loose definition of a game is something you have to get used to. However, certain subdivisions can be made, namely into multimedia educational aids, edutainment (games created specifically for educational purposes) and commercial videogames (games built for entertainment purposes but from which an educational use is being made). For special needs purposes many of these products are made compatible with peripherals that ease their use, and there are other products again that are based exclusively on the use of a proprietary device (such as a robot).

    The multimedia educational aid area is the most developed by a large margin. For an idea of the software on offer take a look at Pearson education (BETT award winner) and Crick Software Ltd. (BETT award shortlist). Products in this area are based upon presenting the subject in a bright and interactive way. Stories such as those on an English course or historical events can be represented as an animated book, or interactive movie. Maths and science subjects can be as simple as moving brightly coloured blocks into stacks or navigating a spaceship on a mission to mars.

    Many of the multimedia educational aids are developed using Macromedia Flash, and so across developers you will encounter a similar look and feel. Amazingly enough there were next to no products tied to other intellectual properties (IP), in fact I saw only one program that claimed it was, and I didn’t even recognise the characters involved. I would have expected to see collaborations with children’s shows or even to popular books, but no. The recurring style that emerges from using Macromedia Flash is causing difficulties outside intended audiences, particularly in the area of adult education where students are being turned off because of their overtly childish appearance.

    Edutainment is pretty thin on the ground at the moment, especially next to the abundance of multimedia software available. The difficulty here is that to appeal to the market, usually children with little interest in standard learning, the software needs to look, feel and reward like a game, but also have a worthwhile and quantifiable educational value. The one product that stuck in my mind was Altered Learning’s “The Neverwinter Nights Project”. Atari is giving support to this company to develop their software, which uses the videogame Neverwinter nights as a platform for teaching key skills. To look at it you wouldn’t think it was anything other than the standard videogame release, the content however is heavily customised, and the student’s use is recorded discretely. The saved information can be presented in a form that meets curriculum requirements and the student can be graded.

    image2

    Another key group in the edutainment area is Nesta Futurelab. Nesta is an organisation dedicated to transforming education through innovation and technology, and Futurelab is their initiative concerned with innovation in education through technology. Futurelab produces an impressive volume of work, a lot of which has to do with videogame technology. The edutainment products that they had on display leaned more towards simulation; but they are worth a look for the immense range of work that they do in all areas of educational technology. They don’t limit themselves to the classroom, as projects like ‘mudlarking’ demonstrate. Mudlarking used mobile technology to create a series of nodes around a town called Deptford, each of which the students associated with data about the area. Nesta conduct an annual submission process for innovative ideas in their area, although you must apply from within the UK. Successful ideas benefit from working with Futurelab’s core development team, limited funding and Nesta’s further help as a partnership broker with under industry groups.

    Finally, there are those video games, commercially released, that teachers try to use for pedagogical purposes. Futurelab are in the thick of it once again, and are conducting research, funded by EA, using 3 different games: Knights of Honour (historically based RTS), Rollercoaster Tycoon (amusement park administration simulation) and The Sims 2 (simulation game based around social interaction). They aim to identify the educational elements of these games and discover how best to introduce them into the classroom. As part of this project Nesta have some very interesting data to share; 59% of teachers in the UK would consider using mainstream games in the classroom for educational purposes, 53% would do so because of their role as interactive motivational tool for students. 91% believe computer games improve motor cognitive skills, and over 60% thought students would improve higher order thinking skills and topic specific knowledge.

    Exploring BETT for several days I came away, as someone interested in games development, with the realisation that the education sector hasn’t yet recognised the value and capability of games technology. But they have seen the potential and the resources are coming in now to really take advantage. Most of these companies have teachers at their core; they design by looking at the curriculum material and figuring out new ways to present old material. While this probably best suits immediate needs, it results in software that looks like a game but doesn’t really feel like one. A precious few are looking at the tools available to them and figuring out what a vast and diverse range of material they could be presenting. What you get in these cases are games that provide an educational value, and as games the students more readily receive them. It’s not a matter of interest either, on the part of developers; each time I mentioned my skill base as videogames I was asked a flurry of questions. On two occasions I was asked if I would be willing to look over material and pitch a product in a few months.

    The interest is there, the money is certainly there, the question is why aren’t we there?

    Author Bio:
    John Molloy is a final year Games Design & Development student at the Ballyfermot College of Further Education. In what free time he has, John works as a mentor at the SWICN (South West Inner City Network) computer clubhouse. John has been involved in IT for education since the early 90’s when he was part of Educational Computer Resources (ECR), an educational computer supply and support company. Contact him via the forums where his nickname is ‘nifty’.


    If you wish to be directed to any information mentioned, but not covered, in this piece feel free to contact the author.
    http://www.pearsoned.co.uk
    http://www.cricksoft.com
    Several companies were exhibiting at BETT whose sole service is the evaluation of an institution’s educational ICT resources,
    http://www.alteredlearning.com
    Key skills are skills, which are not usually taught directly during school but are considered vital to adult life anyway. They are: Communication, Application of Number, Information and Communication Technology, Problem Solving, Improving Own Learning and Performance, Working with Others.
    http://www.nestafuturelab.org, the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts
    Similar research has been conducted by a group in the US and you can find out more about this at http://www.educationarcade.org/
    All images courtesy of Futurelab and may not be reused without permission.

    Autodesk And Alias In Dublin

    3D for Games development and broadcast Visual FX
    Autodesk Media and Entertainment Bring complete 3D solutions to Dublin

    Following Autodesk’s Acquisition of the Alias product line, Autodesk have begun to showcase their new 3D product portfolio across Europe in the “realize your dreams tour”

    The tour arrives in Dublin on the 28th of March where Autodesk will demonstrate the power of their complete 3d product portfolio.

    The tour will be focusing on two core areas of expertise

    Games development and post production/ visual effects

    11 AM – introduction to 3D S Max for Games development.
    Demonstration of 3d s max in the field of game development for devices such as the Playstation 2

    2 PM – introduction to 3D S Max for post production/ visual effects.
    Demonstration on how to Integrate 3d s max into your post production/ VFX pipeline

    Later than evening Autodesk will hold an evening event showcasing Alias Motion builder

    The event is free of charge

    To book a place on this event, please email
    Lee.Griffin@eurotek.ie

    Autodesk And Alias In Dublin – 2

    Following Autodesk’s Acquisition of the Alias product line, Autodesk have begun to showcase their new 3D product portfolio across Europe in the “realize your dreams tour”.

    The event is free of charge. For more information see:

    http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/news/viewnews.php?article=251

    Autodesk And Alias In Dublin – 3

    3D for Games development and broadcast Visual FX
    Autodesk Media and Entertainment Bring complete 3D solutions to Dublin

    Following Autodesk’s Acquisition of the Alias product line, Autodesk have begun to showcase their new 3D product portfolio across Europe in the “realize your dreams tour”

    The tour arrives in Dublin on the 28th of March where Autodesk will demonstrate the power of their complete 3d product portfolio.

    The tour will be focusing on two core areas of expertise

    Games development and post production/ visual effects

    11 AM – introduction to 3D S Max for Games development.
    Demonstration of 3d s max in the field of game development for devices such as the Playstation 2

    2 PM – introduction to 3D S Max for post production/ visual effects.
    Demonstration on how to Integrate 3d s max into your post production/ VFX pipeline

    Later than evening Autodesk will hold an evening event showcasing Alias Motion builder

    The event is free of charge

    To book a place on this event, please email
    Lee.Griffin@eurotek.ie

    Instinct Technology

    For more information on Torc Interactive, see:

    http://www.instinct-tech.com/

    Popcap Games International Limited

    Developer and publisher of casual games.

    For more information on Popcap games, see
    http://www.popcap.com/aboutus.php

    Contact:
    Will Golby
    +353 1 480 6280
    The Digital Exchange, Crane Street, Dublin 8, Ireland

    Adaptivity And Games Cfp

    Call for papers for a conference on adaptive approaches to player satisfaction and games. And yes our friends in Coleraine are involved.

    **** CALL FOR PAPERS

    We would like to invite paper submissions for the Workshop on “Adaptive Approaches for Optimizing Player Satisfaction in Computer and Physical Games” in conjunction with SAB’06: From Animals to Animats 9,(http://www.sab06.org), October 1st, Rome, Italy.

    For further details, please visit the workshop’s web-page at:

    http://www.mip.sdu.dk/~georgios/gamesWorkshop

    Submitted papers will follow the SAB conference formatting guidelines and will not exceed 10 pages. Paper submission deadline: 1
    May 2006.

    We would also appreciate if you could distribute this message to other
    interested parties.

    Description:

    The current state-of-the-art in intelligent game design using AI techniques is mainly focused on generating human-like and intelligent characters. Even though complex behaviours emerge through various adaptive learning techniques, there is generally little further analysis of whether these behaviours contribute to the satisfaction of the player. The implicit hypothesis motivating this research is that intelligent opponent behaviours enable the player to gain more satisfaction from the game. This hypothesis may well be true; however, since no notion of entertainment or enjoyment is explicitly defined, there is therefore few evidence that a specific opponent behaviour generates enjoyable games.

    The focus of this workshop is on adaptive methodologies based on richer forms of human-machine interaction for augmenting gameplay experiences for the player. We want to encourage dialog among researchers in AI, human-computer interaction and psychology disciplines who investigate dissimilar methodologies for improving gameplay experiences. This workshop should yield an understanding of state-of-the-art approaches for capturing and augmenting player satisfaction in computer and physical (interactive) games.

    Topics relevant to this workshop include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

    – Adaptive learning for entertainment augmentation.
    – Empirical approaches to entertainment modeling in games.
    – Psychological approaches to entertainment capture.
    – Player Modeling approaches for optimizing entertainment.
    – Player-Game Interaction through biofeedback signals.

    Important Dates
    1 May 2006: Paper submissions
    15 June 2005: Accept/reject decisions on submitted papers
    1 August 2005: Submission of camera-ready papers
    1 October 2006: Workshop date (Rome, Italy)

    Organizing Committee
    David W. Aha, Naval Research Laboratory (USA)
    Bobby Bryant, The University of Texas at Austin (USA)
    Darryl Charles, University of Ulster (UK)
    Ian Lane Davis Mad Doc Software (USA)
    John Hallam, University of Southern Denmark (Denmark) (Co-Chair) Daniel J. Livingstone, University of Paisley (UK) Alexander Nareyek, AI Center (Germany) Nilanjan Sarkar, Vanderbilt University (USA) Pieter Spronck, Universiteit Maastricht (Netherlands) Georgios N. Yannakakis, University of Southern Denmark (Denmark) (Co-Chair)

    Adaptivity Conference

    “Adaptive Approaches for Optimizing Player Satisfaction in Computer and Physical Games” in conjunction with SAB’06: From Animals to Animats 9,
    (http://www.sab06.org), October 1st, Rome, Italy.

    For further details, please visit the workshop’s web-page at:

    http://www.mip.sdu.dk/~georgios/gamesWorkshop

    Submitted papers will follow the SAB conference formatting guidelines and will not exceed 10 pages. Paper submission deadline: 1
    May 2006.

    Adaptivity And Games Cfp – 2

    Call for papers for a conference on adaptive approaches to player satisfaction and games. And yes our friends in Coleraine are involved.

    **** CALL FOR PAPERS

    We would like to invite paper submissions for the Workshop on “Adaptive Approaches for Optimizing Player Satisfaction in Computer and Physical Games” in conjunction with SAB’06: From Animals to Animats 9,(http://www.sab06.org), October 1st, Rome, Italy.

    For further details, please visit the workshop’s web-page at:

    http://www.mip.sdu.dk/~georgios/gamesWorkshop

    Submitted papers will follow the SAB conference formatting guidelines and will not exceed 10 pages. Paper submission deadline: 1
    May 2006.

    We would also appreciate if you could distribute this message to other
    interested parties.

    Description:

    The current state-of-the-art in intelligent game design using AI techniques is mainly focused on generating human-like and intelligent characters. Even though complex behaviours emerge through various adaptive learning techniques, there is generally little further analysis of whether these behaviours contribute to the satisfaction of the player. The implicit hypothesis motivating this research is that intelligent opponent behaviours enable the player to gain more satisfaction from the game. This hypothesis may well be true; however, since no notion of entertainment or enjoyment is explicitly defined, there is therefore few evidence that a specific opponent behaviour generates enjoyable games.

    The focus of this workshop is on adaptive methodologies based on richer forms of human-machine interaction for augmenting gameplay experiences for the player. We want to encourage dialog among researchers in AI, human-computer interaction and psychology disciplines who investigate dissimilar methodologies for improving gameplay experiences. This workshop should yield an understanding of state-of-the-art approaches for capturing and augmenting player satisfaction in computer and physical (interactive) games.

    Topics relevant to this workshop include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

    – Adaptive learning for entertainment augmentation.
    – Empirical approaches to entertainment modeling in games.
    – Psychological approaches to entertainment capture.
    – Player Modeling approaches for optimizing entertainment.
    – Player-Game Interaction through biofeedback signals.

    Important Dates
    1 May 2006: Paper submissions
    15 June 2005: Accept/reject decisions on submitted papers
    1 August 2005: Submission of camera-ready papers
    1 October 2006: Workshop date (Rome, Italy)

    Organizing Committee
    David W. Aha, Naval Research Laboratory (USA)
    Bobby Bryant, The University of Texas at Austin (USA)
    Darryl Charles, University of Ulster (UK)
    Ian Lane Davis Mad Doc Software (USA)
    John Hallam, University of Southern Denmark (Denmark) (Co-Chair) Daniel J. Livingstone, University of Paisley (UK) Alexander Nareyek, AI Center (Germany) Nilanjan Sarkar, Vanderbilt University (USA) Pieter Spronck, Universiteit Maastricht (Netherlands) Georgios N. Yannakakis, University of Southern Denmark (Denmark) (Co-Chair)

    Media Education & Tech Cfp

    Just received a call for papers for a special issue of ‘Learning, Media and Technology’ on Media Education goes Digital which will be edited by David Buckingham (Institute of Education, London) and Sara Bragg (Open University).

    *******

    Digital technology has potentially far-reaching implications for media
    educators.

    For this special issue of Learning, Media and Technology incorporating Education, Communication and Information, we are seeking papers on the uses and potential of digital technologies for media education, at all levels from primary schools to universities.

    Among other topics, we are interested in:
    * teaching about computer games and the internet;
    * the use of mobile technologies in media education;
    * creative production in digital media;
    * critical theories of digital technology and their implications for the
    media curriculum;
    * the relationship between media education and ICT as a school subject;
    * informal learning and digital technology;
    * new media, cultural capital and ‘digital divides’ in the classroom;
    * youth, subjectivity and digital media.

    The guest editors will consider abstracts received by 30th April 2006; and
    the date for final submissions is 31st August 2006. Papers will be published in a Special Issue in mid-2007.

    Please send abstracts to Trish Gladdis, clearly indicating that your submission is for the Special Issue. Email: lmteci@mmu.ac.uk

    Dit Game Developments

    Following the development of game related modules in the final year of the computer science degree last year (see under courses on gd.ie) DIT is hoping to offer a full games stream to third and fourth year students of their computer science degree from this Autumn, subject to validation. If this goes ahead it will be the first computer science degree with a specialisation in games in the Dublin area.

    In addition DIT are hoping to host the cgames conference in early November 06. For more details on this conference, which has a strong focus on artificial intelligence, have a look at the conference website from last year at http://www.scit.wlv.ac.uk/~cm1822/cgames05.htm

    Hope they involve some web designers in the organisation of the conference!!

    More as soon as things are confirmed.

    Media Education & Tech Cfp – 2

    Just received a call for papers for a special issue of ‘Learning, Media and Technology’ on Media Education goes Digital which will be edited by David Buckingham (Institute of Education, London) and Sara Bragg (Open University).

    *******

    Digital technology has potentially far-reaching implications for media
    educators.

    For this special issue of Learning, Media and Technology incorporating Education, Communication and Information, we are seeking papers on the uses and potential of digital technologies for media education, at all levels from primary schools to universities.

    Among other topics, we are interested in:
    * teaching about computer games and the internet;
    * the use of mobile technologies in media education;
    * creative production in digital media;
    * critical theories of digital technology and their implications for the
    media curriculum;
    * the relationship between media education and ICT as a school subject;
    * informal learning and digital technology;
    * new media, cultural capital and ‘digital divides’ in the classroom;
    * youth, subjectivity and digital media.

    The guest editors will consider abstracts received by 30th April 2006; and
    the date for final submissions is 31st August 2006. Papers will be published in a Special Issue in mid-2007.

    Please send abstracts to Trish Gladdis, clearly indicating that your submission is for the Special Issue. Email: lmteci@mmu.ac.uk

    Dit Game Developments – 2

    Following the development of game related modules in the final year of the computer science degree last year (see under courses on gd.ie) DIT is hoping to offer a full games stream to third and fourth year students of their computer science degree from this Autumn, subject to validation. If this goes ahead it will be the first computer science degree with a specialisation in games in the Dublin area.

    In addition DIT are hoping to host the cgames conference in early November 06. For more details on this conference, which has a strong focus on artificial intelligence, have a look at the conference website from last year at http://www.scit.wlv.ac.uk/~cm1822/cgames05.htm

    Hope they involve some web designers in the organisation of the conference!!

    More as soon as things are confirmed.

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