2Paperdolls Hires Paddy Murphy

So finally we can talk about the gossip.

We have received official news to say that 2PaperDolls, a mobile games studio in Dublin, has hired Paddy Murphy (of the red hat) to its development team as a Community Manager.

Murphy, former CEO of Open Emotion Studios, is well known here on gd.ie, was instrumental in the production and launch of games released globally across PC, iOS and console platforms and picked up a number of awards in the inaugural Irish game awards at the 2012 Games Fleadh.

Happy to have “his infectious enthusiasm and creativity behind our upcoming launch of Mind of Man,” 2PaperDolls founder Louis Ravenet cites Murphy’s experience in games production, development and community relations as an opportunity too good to pass on.

2PaperDolls is a game development studio currently blurring the boundaries between real life and your online persona. Their latest project, www.mindofman.com, plays with crowdsourcing and sentiment analysis, gaming your life on Twitter.

To find out more, visit www.2paperdolls.com

(Early adopter? Mind of Man now available on the iTunes Store, pre-released in UK and Ireland. See http://bit.ly/GM47EF)

Indie Bundle Logo

A group of indies are putting together an Irish indie bundle for the PC. It is envisaged that up to six games will be included in the first bundle and those to be included will be selected by some well known developers.

Currenctly the group are looking for a logo. Please take part in the conversation at http://bit.ly/JCPh6V and vote on the logos already submitted at http://on.fb.me/IGIPLF

For more check out #irishgamedev

Gdc2012

The conference took place slightly earlier this year which was great as it usually falls on the same week as the Games Fleadh in Thurles. It also meant my colleague Bryan Duggan could also make the trip (see his report below). With over 400 sessions and networking events, having two of us there was great. I arrived just in time for a small earthquake which shook me awake on day 1. It was the main topic of conversation on Day 1 of GDC.

The Irish were once again well represented at GDC this year with Havok, Swrve, Demonware etc. But recent addition to the Irish Indie scene ‘Bitsmith games’ were also in attendance and their perspective on the whole thing is also included below.

The format
The format for this year’s conference didn’t change all that much, but one noticeable item missing was the ‘Serious Games’ Summit, which I found the most inspirational in 2011. I remember seeing a call for papers last year but obviously there wasn’t either enough interest or quality. This was disappointing and one wonders if perhaps Serious Games has lost some momentum?
Another noticeable difference was the lack of a conference keynote which was interesting, although I must admit, the keynotes have been pretty poor in recent years. No-one has come close to matching Hideo Kojima’s excellent journey through Metal Gear Solid in 2009 (http://www.g4tv.com/videos/37448/gdc-2009-keynote-hideo-kojima/). Indeed there have been growing complaints about conference keynotes in recent years ever since Cliff Bleszinski chainsawed his way through a paper door at the end of a Microsoft keynote to announce Gears of War 2.

What the organisers DID do this year was ‘GDC Flash Forward’ on Wednesday morning. This was a speed session (60 seconds per speaker) that focused on what was coming up during the conference. It was a great idea, it set the scene for the week and had me frantically updating my online scheduler.

Game Design Sessions
I have found myself gravitating more towards philosophical, game design and educational sessions rather than technical ones in recent years. While interesting, technical presentations can get repetitive and are often difficult to get your head around in 60 mins.

The game design sessions are often playful ones with lots of crowd interaction and this year was no different. Top of the list was the Eric Zimmerman hosted session on Upgrade Humanity in 60 Seconds Flat: The Game Design Challenge 2012 (http://bit.ly/wSxd5H) More than just a design exercise, the Game Design Challenge asked expert game designers to think on their feet as they addressed important game design dilemmas, offering a sneak peek into their game design process. This year they had the reigning champion Jason Rohrer (Independent) competing against Noah Falstein (The Inspiracy) and Richard Lemarchand (Naughty Dog).

Each speaker presented their game and either played it on stage or got the audience to play it. In the end it was a battle between Jason and Richard.

Jason set about creating a card game that disproved the theory that we live in a world with indefinite inflation. It was a good start and a benchmark for the others (even though he got beaten at his own game and thus didn’t prove his thesis).
Richard Lemarchand however (a conference and industry hero of mine) blew everyone away with his ‘shame game’ which was a massively multiplayer (the audience) RPG that aimed to reduce how we feel shame as human beings. By the end of the game he had over 1000 people staring into complete stranger’s eyes and singing, unashamedly, songs they didn’t know. He proved his thesis and won this year’s prize.

Another great session was Mind Games: Brain Training for Game Developers by Scott Crabtree (www.happybrainscience.com). He had everyone engaged in active brain training by repeatedly asking questions and getting us to stand up while answering. By playing his active session he showed how to learn specific actionable techniques that can be applied in the office to rewire brains to be more effective. These included practices to increase the brain’s ability to focus, create, and stay smart under stressful conditions.

Bryan Duggan at GDC 2012

This was my second trip to GDC having previously attended in 2009. I had my mind blown in 2009, so I was pretty excited considering all that was happening in the indie scene in Ireland and around the world. The first two days of GDC are all about “summits” – specialist tracks on topics such as mobile dev, social gaming, AI, audio, academic and so on. I signed up for the AI Summit and the Academic Summit sessions.

The AI summit talks consisted of port-mortems of game AI from various games I had never heard of and a few interesting discussions about the role of game AI. For the most part however, the content was pretty much the same as my previous GDC – behaviour trees, A*, steering behaviours. It seems there has been nothing really new in game AI since FEAR and Nintendogs several years ago. My takeaway from the AI summit? Game AI programmers need to do more people watching.

The academic track was much more inspiring however – in particular the academic rants where we watched Jesse Schell burning a $50 bill to the surprise of the audience. Schell responded: “Why are you so surprised? You guys do this every day!” It was interesting to discover that other academics were coming to the same conclusions as me – you should treat students like adults: no more spoon feeding, demand the best and facilitate open ended coursework that encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning. Also that other academics were using competitions such as the Imagine Cup to motivate students through self-directed learning.

Main Conference
The “main conference” took place over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Some lowlights and highlights:

Least exciting were the talks about AAA games such as Uncharted 3, Batman Arkham City and even Portal 2. I resisted the urge to ask about Half Life 3. Also I found the “monetization” and “social gaming” talks to be kind of seedy and exploitative. These guys came across as drug pushers.

However at the Indie Soapbox session, it was heartening to learn that there is a market for smaller-scale artistic games such as Braid, Fez, Limbo, Amnesia, Bastion and Proteus. I came away determined to play a lot more indie games in 2012.
Jane McGonagle from Social Chocolate chaired a session entitled “Games for change – Designing for Love can Change the World” which was full of memorable quotes:

“Make love games not war games”
“Love is a game that 2 can play and both win”

Also check out The End of Us a 4 minute Flash game about love that might just make you cry (http://the-end-of-us.com/).
I was totally blown away by Zhe Wang’s demos of the Cocos2d-x cross platform game development framework in which he took a game written for Samsung’s Bada OS and in 15 minutes, had the game running on iOS and Android. I’ve already shown this to my students and a team of them are making use of it in an assignment (check out Glass Robot Studios – http://www.glassrobotstudios.com/grs/).

Cross platform is the way to go and there are mature tools such as cocos2d-x, Corona, Unity, MonoGame even HTML 5 that allow you to take the same game and deploy to multiple platforms with minimal porting effort.

In conclusion, GDC was a superb opportunity to re-familiarise myself with the breadth of the games industry. I am quite tempted to quit DIT and do a games start-up but it’s probably not going to happen ?. I will content myself with making games over the summer, trying to bring the technologies I learned about at the GDC into more of my courses and supporting all the gaming start-ups that are coming out of DIT.

Back to Hugh – Heroes, Conference Assistants and Bitsmith Games at GDC2012
The great thing about GDC is you get an opportunity to listen to and then meet your industry icons or heroes. Owen from ‘bitSmith Games’ found this out when he met long time hero Tim Shafer. I asked Owen what he had learned from his GDC experience:


Tim Shafer and Owen Harris

‘I have wanted to go to GDC for many years now, since I first heard about it back in 2005 in fact. Since then I have built it up quite a bit in my mind and I had very high expectations going in. Despite this, GDC still managed to completely blow me away. It was a really amazing experience and has had a tremendous impact on me as a game developer already.

One of the most helpful things was meeting other indie developers. Learning about how they organised their time, communicated with each other and about the tools that they use was incredibly helpful. I was really surprised to meet several teams that had built their game completely remotely, meeting for the first time at the conference. It was fascinating to find out how they had co-ordinated [over] great distances in different time zones.

We also got a great chance to showcase our own game. Hundreds of developers from aspiring to indie to AAA played Kú and we got a lot of really great feedback. We are working really hard at the moment to integrate some of the great ideas that came out of that.

I should also mention the talks. I was exposed to a staggering amount of new ideas. Cappy games’ talk about Marketing Indie Games’ and SuperGiant’s talk about ‘Atmosphere in Games’ are both having measurable impact on the work we have been doing since we got back.

Finally there are the contacts we made. Since going to GDC, it feels like bitSmith is part of a global community in addition to the local one here. I am in continued contact with game developers on every continent and no doubt some interesting collaboration will grow out of that.’

Basil Lim, Lead Artist with bitSmith was also there but he managed to blag his way onto the GDC volunteer programme which I talked about a few reports back. I asked Basil what that was like.

‘Being a volunteer, or CA as they’re known in GDC, is an entirely different proposition from the usual “stand here and hand out leaflets” job that most other events relegate their volunteers to. This was made clear to us on our first day of induction. We were told that we were the bosses of GDC, with our only superiors being the thousands of GDC attendees due to flock through the doors on the week March 5-9th. Our main job at the conference was very clear: to ensure the attendees had a good time.
The organisation behind the CA network was staggering, with multi-tiered levels of responsibility seamlessly meshing together to provide the inner workings of GDC. It’s an eye-opening experience seeing how the organisation for such a large conference can be entrusted to a group of volunteers, a large number of whom have never done it before, and have the event run so smoothly. This was largely due to the efforts of Tim and Ian, who run the CA network and are two of the founders of GDC.

The volunteers are unpaid in the traditional sense, but what they do receive is more than enough compensation. In return for a small amount of work, most of which simply amounts to guarding doors and scanning badges, CAs receive an all-access pass, lunches, breakfasts, and the opportunity to network with a huge base of talented individuals, some of whom are extremely well placed within the industry. In the course of my five days, I met CAs that included a senior concept and environmental artist for Blizzard, heads of QA from ArenaNet, professors of game design, and numerous talented freelance individuals. The work that is assigned to a CA is also tailored to include their preferences for viewing sessions, so they may very well work at – and thus be able to attend – all the sessions that they asked for! The very fact that the CAs are assigned all over the conference means that they pick up all sorts of news, which gets relayed to the other CAs through chats or announcements.

Being a CA is an extremely rewarding experience. The selection process is individually monitored, so you can be assured of being surrounded by industry vets as well as promising young talent. It’s a great view of a slice of the Game Industry itself!’

Expo 2012
There are two expos. The main industry expo and the careers expo and both are getting bigger and better. Unity were very noticeable with a huge stand towering above everyone. There were even more (than last year) monetization companies located around the fringes and the IGDA games festival demonstration area was packed to the rafters as usual. The standard is getting really good. The student entries to the competition were impressive and the standard to aim for.


The expo floor from the Unity stairs.

The career expo was bigger than ever with the floor littered with Human Resource assistants from all the big publishers. Queues of students / enthusiasts waited in turn to get a chance to show off their portfolio of art, design or to just have a chat and see what steps they need to access the range of jobs in the industry from QA, to Programming to Level Design.

There were even mini programming competitions happening right throughout the area with crowds of people gathering around to watch. Who would have ever thought that speed coding could be spectator friendly?


Code a game in 9 mins. Fair enough!!!

The Serious Stuff ‘n’ Stuff
The IDA and EI had a super joint event this year at GDC in a genuine speakeasy called Bourbon and Branch. It was great to see the mix of Irish startups and multinationals swapping numbers and making plans. When you see Mark Lambe from Thurles startup Nevermind enthralling Colm O’Rian of Zynga you just know that new possibilities have opened up and all barriers are down. The confidence of the Irish startup scene was palpable as the likes of Tribal Cities, Ideal Binary and Bitsmith mingled with developers and execs from EA, Zynga, Bigpoint and Microsoft.
Simone Boswell of EI and Gareth Coen of IDA deployed just the right mix for some alchemy to ensue and it would be great to see more of this from a Games Ireland point of view as the lines of demarcation break down between inward FDI and indigenous companies. Many Irish execs based on the west coast expressed an interest in coming home to start up and were impressed with the industry growth and supports. The IDA hinted at some interesting game developments on the existing brands already operating in Ireland. Maybe it was the cocktails taking effect but it felt like the start of something big.

My two DAU’s
The most important takeaway for me, I’ve realised, from GDC is that it gives me a reality check on where the industry is. This is a good thing; however I can’t help feeling a little deflated leaving for home. Every year the standard gets higher and higher, every year I go out thinking we’ve made progress to come back feeling that we are falling further and further behind (in some ways).
The approach to education in the games industry is taken far more seriously in the US. They don’t just have top up courses/certificates in game design, add on streams in games programming as part of computer science courses. They have whole schools dedicated to it. There is a lot more joined up thinking.


I want one of these

This is a multibillion dollar industry that encompasses computer science, animation and design NOT the other way around. Students enrol on a game design undergraduate programme from day one on either a programming, animation or design major but are building games in interdisciplinary teams in simulated industry environments for 4 years.

We are way behind in this area. I could argue that we don’t have an indigenous games design industry and that we have to start somewhere. I could also argue that resources don’t exist to create whole schools of game design and all of those are valid points. So what can we do?
I would like to point to one item in the recent Irish government action plan on games;

‘7.7.3 Support industry in working with third level institutions to introduce a pilot game development/publishing ‘hothouse’ initiative for undergraduate and Post Leaving Certificate courses.
The initiative will bring together, in multi?disciplinary teams, students from games, multimedia and animation courses (from a range of participating PLC and third level colleges) to work together on a game development project for a defined period. Each of the teams will receive mentor support from industry practitioners. (Clustering Development Team with industry)’

This action plan is a good idea, if we pool our resources and talents we should be able to setup what I would call a ‘national academy of game design’. In order to capitalize on the momentum gained over the last number of years we need to get going on this and the government needs to put its money where its mouth is.

Acknowledgements
Thanks to Owen Harris, Basil Lim, Bryan Duggan and Paul Hayes for contributing to this and to Aphra as always for editing.
Hugh McAtamney is a lecturer and researcher in the domains of digital media and computer science. He is course chair in the Masters in Digital Games and Creative Digital Media at Dublin Institute of Technology. His GameDeveloper.ie handle is Hatch.

Dr Bryan Duggan is a lecturer in the School of Computing at the Dublin Institute of Technology teaching various subjects including first and second year programming and game engine programming in final year. For more see http://www.comp.dit.ie/bduggan
youtube: http://youtube.com/skooter500 and twitter: @ditcomputing

Hack The City Call

The Science Gallery in Dublin has issued an open call for submissions to IDEA LAB, a specific programme strand within HACK THE CITY.

IDEA LAB is a ten day workshop in partnership with Dublin City Council and IBM that will take place in a vacant city space from the 14 – 23 June. IDEA LAB will focus on rapidly developing products and services that address current and future city needs.

For more details on the lab and the application process please see the below if you have any questions or require further information please contact Teresa Dillon at teresa.dillon@sciencegallery.com

——————————————

HACK THE CITY – IDEA LAB OPEN CALL

Call Opens: Wednesday 11th April

Call Closes: Tuesday 8th May

As part of Science Gallery’s HACK THE CITY exhibition and festival we will be running a 10-day: IDEA LAB between 14-23 June 2012 in partnership with Dublin City Council and IBM

HACK THE CITY: IDEA LAB will focus on rapidly developing products and services that address current and future city needs.

ABOUT HACK THE CITY

HACK THE CITY is Science Gallery’s 2012 flagship exhibition and festival. The goal of the programme is to rethink our cities from the ground up through the spirit and philosophy of the hacker ethos – to bend, mash-up, tweak and cannibalise our city systems, to create possibilities, illustrate visionary thinking and demonstrate real-world examples for sustainable urban futures. HACK THE CITY draws on Dublin city’s history of innovation by transforming the city itself into a nimble “playground” and live urban hack lab.

The exhibition and programme focuses on hacking for good. Through the modification and repurposing of existing resources, our aim is to explore alternatives, which purposefully challenge existing hierarchies and consider tools for public good and social wellbeing.

IDEA LAB OPEN CALL

Calling all programme designers, hackers, makers, doers, data nerds, content experts, artists, citizen scientists, tech geeks, activists, edgy engineers and DIY urban planners…

Have you got the beginnings of idea that could benefit your city?
Are you interested in setting up your own social or commercial enterprise?
Do you think you have the solution to improving how our city infrastructures flow?

As part of the HACK THE CITY exhibition and festival we will be running a 10-day: IDEA LAB between 14-23 June 2012.

The HACK THE CITY: IDEA LAB will focus on rapidly developing products and services that address current and future city needs.

Specifically we are calling for proposals for solutions that address:

Dereliction
Crowd Sourcing Public Data
Safety & Wellbeing
Open Data Transport Services

WHO CAN APPLY?

National and international teams who have emerging ideas and solutions, which address the above sector areas – dereliction, crowd sourcing public data, safety and wellbeing and open data transport services can apply. Ideas can be at incubation and prototype stage but they must still require further development and benefit from involvement in the lab.

We encourage small teams of 2-3 people with a mixed skill set (e.g., programmer, designer, content expert) to apply.

Travel to Dublin and accommodation during the Idea Lab will be provided. Teams will be hosted in Dublin and provided with a team stipend of max €1500 to work on their ideas. This stipend will cover fees; day-to-day living expenses and core materials needed while developing the idea in Dublin.

HACK THE CITY curator Teresa Dillon in partnership with the workshop group Platoniq, will direct the lab.

HOW DO I APPLY?

Follow the link http://www.sciencegallery.com/idea-lab-open-call. Please note to apply you need to register with Science Gallery, you will find instructions on how to do this on the above page.

Please feel free to forward this e-mail and link to other forums and individuals and do please contact us at teresa.dillon@sciencegallery.com.

info@sciencegallery.com
www.sciencegallery.com

Ifi Animation Day

This day-long event will focus on Irish animation and is comprised of screenings, panel discussions, meeting the animators and new work.

11.00: A Special Programme of Shorts curated by animator Steve Woods for the Annecy International Animated Film Festival 2012 and presented in association with the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland. It will include work from Brown Bag, Kavaleer and Cartoon Saloon.

12.45pm – 1.45pm: Panel Discussion on Animation in Ireland
Chair: Gareth Lee, BCFE Programme Leader in Animation.
Panel includes: Steve Woods, Sheila De Courcy, Dan Spencer, Nora Twomey, Gerard O’Rourke, Emma Scott (IFB) and special guest Seamus Malone, graduate BCFE and supervising animator, Aardman Animation.

2.30pm – 3.30pm: New voices in Irish Animation showcasing their work. Presentations from Giant Creative, Adrien Merigeau, Damien O’Connor (Brown Bag).

4pm: Putting Irish animation in a broader international context, David Sproxton, producer and co-founder of Aardman Animations will introduce the studio’s latest feature, The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists (2D).

Please note this is a free screening open to all. Booking essential – please contact the Box Office on 01 679 3477.

See also http://www.ifi.ie/film/drawing-pictures-irish-animation-day/

Icwsm Conf, Dublin.

The world’s premier social media research conference, ICWSM, will be held at TCD in Dublin, Ireland from 4-7 June 2012.

ICWSM-12, the 6th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media brings together researchers from the disciplines of computer science, linguistics, communication, and the social sciences.

It will start with a day of workshops and tutorials, followed by three days of keynote speakers, full paper presentations, posters and demos.

Highlights of the conference include:

Keynote conference talk from Andrew Tomkins, Engineering Director at Google+

Keynote conference talk from Dr. Lada Adamic, Expert in Information Diffusion and Dynamics in Networks

Keynote conference talk from Prof. Robin Dunbar, Anthropologist at Oxford and Originator of “Dunbar’s Number”

Invited workshop talk from Prof. Ben Shneiderman, HCI Authority and Professor from Maryland

Invited workshop talk from Dr. Jimmy Lin, Twitter

Invited workshop talk from George MacKerron, Creator of Mappiness

Tutorials on analysing massive social networks; charting connections in social media; evidence-based design of online communities; sentiment mining; and information extraction from social media

ICWSM-12 is supported by sponsors: SFI, Google, Bing, Yahoo, IBM, Fáilte Ireland, Knoesis, CADGI.

More information from www.icwsm.org or @icwsm on Twitter/Facebook

Jolt Ceases Trading

Jolt Online games ceased trading this week in a further blow to employment in the industry, following the layoffs at Blizzard in Cork in the last few weeks. Jolt Online did game development in Dublin.

Jolt Online Gaming was bought by OMAC industries in 2008 and from mid 2009 became a subsidiary of US retailer GameStop, (NYSE: GME).

They developed casual online games targeted at the “core” gaming audience including Legends of Zork, Utopia Kingdoms and Playboy Manager. Their games were available on a variety of platforms including Facebook, Kongregate and directly through the browser.

Visitors to the Jolt website yesterday were greeted with the following message ‘As of March 2012, Jolt Online Gaming has ceased trading. We thank all of our players for their support over the years.’ See http://joltonline.com/

Source + Lit Games

The Source Arts Centre, Thurles, Tipperary is collaborating with LIT-Tipperary to host Games Fleadh:Evolved. This gives the visitor the chance to play-test games created by LIT-Tipperary students and independent in-house game studio NeverMind Games.

Games Fleadh Evolved juxtaposes student created games developed for Global Game Jam and Games Fleadh 2012, against AAA title tournaments.

Event details
http://www.gamesfleadh.ie/evolved/

TippSoc Volunteers (free ticket to movie) please signup via
http://tinyurl.com/GamesFleadhEvolved

Windows 8 Code Camp

At the Fleadh in Tipperary we heard that Microsoft, in conjunction with the Dublin ALT.NET, are holding a Windows 8 Camp in Sandyford in Dublin on March 24th, 2012.

Attendance is free but sign up via
http://win8camp.eventbrite.co.uk/

**********

Do you have an idea for a great app that you’d like to build on Windows 8?

Do you have an app on another platform and want to expand your platforms?

Are you lacking ideas but still want some experience on Windows 8?

Are you a developer who’s excited about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, this camp is for you.

We will have a short lecture on Windows 8 and some getting started advice going on but the goal is to give you as much time to sling code as possible with experts on hand to help you through issues.

The scheduled lectures are going to be:

9:00 – Welcome to the Windows 8 Camp and introductions
9:15 – Getting started with Windows 8
– Introduction to Metro Design
– Monitizing your app…
10:15 – 4:00 – Coding and ad hoc lectures based on specific questions from the attendees
4:00 – 4:30 – How to submit to the marketplace
5:00 – 5:30 – Conclusion and show and tell

We will have a lunch (probably pizza or something) and drinks after.

Interested?

#wpcamp

Crafting Games

Andrea Magnorsky, of BatCat games, was pretty happy with the turn out for Gamecraft in DIT Kevin Street last Sat, the 25th of February. A few weeks of frantic twittering and facebooking and the event had registered over 200 interested attendees.

On the day about 120 turned up with computers in tow to face the challenge of programming ‘dinosaur angst’ in one day. Some arrived in teams, some arrived with half their equipment but by the time I arrived at midday there was a hum of machines and tap taping on keyboards, runs for coffee and serious computer screen staring.

The event started with coffee and muffins and then the theme was announced. Not everyone could fit in the main room so they were spread out over three rooms with another room for lunch. DIT Kevin street were happy to accommodate the event and indeed Bryan Duggan of the Computer Science department was busy coding when I arrived. Sponsorship for refreshments and prizes was provided by Open Emotion, Demonware, Microsoft and Swerve.

I spotted some familiar faces of local indies like BitSmith, groups of students from different colleges and kids like Sean Reidy and Niall Fitzpatrick, aged 10 and 14 respectively who were having problems with Java and were going to switch to Python! Sean told me his uncle worked in a games company on the west coast of the States and he hoped he would be able to work experience over there in transition year…in a few years time. Representatives of Coder DoJo where there too.

Watch out for links to the work done on utube and for some more events like this in the near future.

For my pics of the event see http://bit.ly/wsO2y3

For interview in Irish Times last Friday with Andrea see http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/theticket/2012/0224/1224312275501.html

Action Plan For Jobs In Games 2012

The government’s action plan for jobs 2012 was released yesterday, the 13th of February.

One section of the report deals specifically with digital games (pgs 94-96). While the first part of this repeats some of the details from the recent Forfas report, the following are some specific actions to be taken this year.

‘The following actions will be undertaken in 2012 in respect of Digital Games. We will:

7.7.1 Establish a Clustering Development Team to support the implementation of actions called for in the Forfás Games Strategy including those below. (Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

7.7.2 Convene an R&D supports workshop to promote awareness about available R&D supports and issue an enterprise friendly guide on R&D tax credits to include examples of relevance to games companies. (Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland)

7.7.3 Support industry in working with third level institutions to introduce a pilot game development/publishing ‘hothouse’ initiative for undergraduate and Post Leaving Certificate courses. The initiative will bring together, in multi‐disciplinary teams, students from games, multimedia and animation courses (from a range of participating PLC and third level colleges) to work together on a game development project for a defined period. Each of the teams will receive mentor support from industry practitioners. (Clustering Development Team with industry)

7.7.4 Undertake a feasibility study to examine what structures and policies could be developed to make Ireland a world centre for managing and trading in intellectual property. Complete the report of the Copyright Review Committee on barriers to innovation. (DJEI, DJE)

7.7.5 Assess the case for a new financial instrument/relief to incentivise creative content development. (Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

7.7.6 Progress measures in relation to Next Generation Broadband set out in earlier section.
(DCENR)’

To see related press releases see http://www.djei.ie/press/2012/20120213.htm

To download the report see http://www.djei.ie/publications/2012APJ.pdf

Ei Call For Innovation Vochures

Enterprise Ireland have announced a new call for the Innovation Voucher Programme which is open for applications from 12th March to 28th March 2012.

The Innovation Voucher Programme was developed by EI to build links between Ireland’s small businesses and the public knowledge providers (i.e. higher education institutes).

Innovation Vouchers worth €5,000 are available to assist a company to explore a business opportunity or problem in partnership with a registered knowledge provider.

The Innovation Vouchers Programme is open to all small (limited registered) companies (less than 50 employees) in Ireland.

Note: the companies are responsible for the VAT element on the voucher.

To check out the elibibility criteria and to apply for an Innovation Voucher see https://innovationvouchers.ie/

Animation & Stories Event

The Irish School of Animation, IADT, IFB and JDIFF have joined forces to organise a free animation event called ‘Stories Worth Telling’ as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012 programme.

More information on the event is available here: http://jdiff.ticketsolve.com/shows/126522919/events

Or from the JDIFF catalogue (page 127 of the printed version, page 64 of the PDF).

The PDF of the catalogue can be downloaded here: http://www.jdiff.com/images/uploads/DIFFCAT2012.pdf

You can mail info@jdiff.com to reserve a place.

Ei Games Master Class

Enterprise Ireland – Games Master Class Series

Game Design led by Phil Campbell

To coincide with Games Irelands gathering on February 15th Enterprise Ireland is pleased to host a Games Master Class
–Game Design led by Phil Campbell – Creative Director on major licensed franchises ‘The Godfather’, ‘James Bond’ and ‘Tomb Raider’.

The Master Class is open to Enterprise Ireland clients and is being held in the Gibson Hotel from 8am to 3pm

Date & Time:
February 15th 2012……..8.00am – 3.00pm

Venue:
The Gibson Hotel

Background of Facilitator:
As Creative Director for Electronic Arts (ERTS) from 2001 to 2006, Phil led the design for the James Bond franchise, with two successful projects – Agent Under Fire and Everything or Nothing – shipping worldwide on multiple platforms.

He was Creative Director on EA’s blockbuster title The Godfather and was responsible for creating the interactive script and story, mission designs, world maps, ‘playground’ building designs, the racket system, new characters and the in-game cinematic sequences. Phil wrote the dialogue for the game, and worked with Marlon Brando, James Caan and Robert Duvall to bring their famous roles to life once more.

Cost:
€200 per company (Max 2 participants from each company)
Lunch included

For further information please contact Anna-Marie Turley on 01-727 2183 or Sarah Buckley on 01-727 2527

Games Ireland Gathering – Gig 2012

On the 15th of February, the IGAI are organizing a games industry event at the Gibson hotel (opposite the 02) in Dublin.

The event will build upon a high level global game executives and politicians meeting held in Dublin last Sept. and provide more details on the development of an incentive package for the games industry in Ireland following the launch of the Forfás action plan for the Games Sector in Ireland (2011).

Speakers from the main game companies operating in Ireland will join government officials, agencies and affiliate partners as decisions are made on the final format of the package. There will also be over 350 jobs on offer from the existing startups and incumbent game development companies.

Keynote speakers on the day include Phil Campbell (Phil Campbell Design, San Francisco, CA). As Creative Director for Electronic Arts (ERTS) from 2001 to 2006, Phil led the design for the James Bond franchise, with two successful projects – ‘Agent Under Fire’ and ‘Everything or Nothing’ – shipping worldwide on multiple platforms. He was also Creative Director on EA’s ‘The Godfather ‘.

Also keynoting on the day is Dylan Collins – MD ‘Fight my Monster’ and formerly of Jolt and Demonware, who needs no introduction to an Irish games audience!.

There will be a panel on “The Future of Games Development in Ireland” involving Paschal Donohoe T.D., Hugh MacAtamney, Dublin Institute of Technology, Jessica Sachs, Director of Developer Relations, BigFish Games, Aphra Kerr, NUI Maynooth and Barry O’Neill, Chairman, Games Ireland.

The day will also have a panel on cloud computing and on social/mobile/locational games involving Steve Collins, MD, SWRVE, Ian Hurlock-Jones CTO BigFish Games, Greg Ward, Microsoft, Paul Breslin, MD Europe, PopCap, Barry Kehoe, Director, Activision Blizzard.

“Ireland already is an online hub for European games development but we need to get that message out around the world and deliver a single statement about all that is happening here and what is on offer”, said David Sweeney, CEO Games Ireland.

The IGAI event is aimed at those currently working in the games industry in Ireland, at all levels. Attendance at the event is free.

Please register in advance at http://gig2012.eventbrite.co.uk/

Format

2.30 pm Panel 1 – “The Future of Games Development in Ireland”
Paschal Donohoe, T.D.
Hugh Mac Atamney, Dublin Institute of Technology
Aphra Kerr, NUI Maynooth and gd.ie
Jessica Sachs, Director of Developer Relations, BigFish Games
Barry O’Neill, Chairman, Games Ireland

3pm Keynote 1
Dylan Collins MD ‘Fight my Monster’ – User Acquisition Strategies

3.30 – Panel 2 – ‘The Cloud’
Speaker from EMC
Steve Collins, MD, SWRVE
Ian Hurlock-Jones CTO BigFish Games
Greg Ward, Microsoft

4.15 pm Panel 3 – The opportunities in SOLOMO – social, locational and mobile
Paul Breslin, MD Europe, PopCap,
Barry Kehoe, Director, Activision Blizzard

Break

4.45 Keynote 2
Phil Campbell – Creative Director on major licensed franchises ‘The Godfather’, ‘James Bond’ and ‘Tomb Raider’. Game Design lessons

5.30pm – Irish Games showcase/surprise speaker

6-7.30pm – Drinks reception and networking (band)

About Games Ireland
Games Ireland (the Interactive Games Association of Ireland) represents companies involved in the creation, development, publishing and distribution of computer games on the island of Ireland.

It is an advocacy group which seeks to drive sustainable growth in the industry at a crucial time for this country. Members include international stakeholders such as Activision, X-Box, BigFish and Popcap and local pioneers Havok and Demonware.

See http://gamesireland.ie/

Further information:
For more on this event and on the IGAI contact Paul Hayes
paul@gamesireland.ie

Isa Con 2012

News just in of the ISA Animation and Games Convention 2012 which takes place from 6-10pm on Friday 3rd February in Dublin at the Printworks @ The Morrison Hotel, Ormond Quay, Dublin 1.

6-7pm: Patrick Redmond – ‘Lighting and Compositing for Broadcast’.

7-8pm: Nanette Kaulig – ‘Game Animation – Creating Believable Characters for Games’.

8-9pm: Chris Landreth – ‘A Walk Through The Valley: Short Films by Chris Landreth’.

9-10pm: Panel Discussion chaired by Andrew Kavanagh with panel guests Patrick Redmond, Nanette Kaulig and Chris Landreth.

Tickets €10 waged, €5 unwaged. Available on the door.

More information here: http://isa-bcfe.ie/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/ISA-CON-2012.pdf

For more info contact: Gareth Lee
Programme Leader BA (Hons) Animation
Programme Director ISA CON
Irish School of Animation
Ballyfermot College of Further Education
Ballyfermot Road
Dublin 10

http://www.isa-bcfe.ie/
http://www.bcfe.ie/

Dare To Be Digital Launch

The Digital Hub Development Agency, with support from the Department of Education and Skills and in association with the University of Abertay, Dundee, Scotland are inviting students from the island of Ireland to enter Dare to Be Digital 2012.

Dare to be Digital is an international games development competition for computer science and art students to develop a prototype video game. Teams of 5 students, usually a mix of artists, programmers and audio, assemble in a development hothouse in Scotland for 9 weeks during June to August 2012.

Here they receive daily support and weekly training sessions from industry specialists to create their games. Teams applying from the island of Ireland will need to have a mix of students from both Northern Ireland and the Republic. Each team will need to have at least 1 members from each jurisdiction.

This competition is open to students enrolled in further education and 3rd Level colleges on the island of Ireland who are interested in developing a new innovative product in the games sector.

The Dare to be Digital 2012 Info Session & Partnering Event will take place on Monday, 13th February 2012, 2pm – 4pm at the Clock Tower, Department of Education & Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1.

Minister Ruairí Quinn, T.D., Minister for Education & Skills will speak at the event which is aimed at College Lecturers, Students and Industry Reps.

For further information and to register your attendance please email elevate@thedigitalhub.com

To Apply: www.daretobedigital.com

Dublin Unity 3D Meet

The Dublin Unity3D Development Discussion takes place on the 26th of January, 2012.

It came about due to two events: Mark Aherne had reached a milestone in his UNION game development with the creation of a networked physics system, and discussions with other game developers at the BitSmith Games Christmas drinks.

As with many things, it was after the pub discussions that Mark realised he had a lot to share with other developers and in turn they had a lot to share with him, in terms of techniques and methods for developing games. By sharing knowledge and experience, he says, everyone benefits, which benefits the Irish game development industry as a whole.

The focus on Unity is due to the fact that it is extremely popular with Irish developers, but there’s a lack of knowledge and experience with it – especially in regards to programming in it. There is a lot of information out there on the basics, but the deeper you go the more fractured the information is.

To finish it off, it’ll be a great chance to meet with other developers and talk shop.

Just announced: The event will take place at tog in Dublin – see http://www.tog.ie/

For more information on the format of the event visit the forums at http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6579

For booking see Eventbrite, booking is free:
http://dublinunity.eventbrite.com/

Science Gallery Coding

SAT 07.01.12 12:30-17:30

CODER DOJO – FREE CODING CLUB

Coder Dojo – where Ireland’s smartest young tech-nerds learn coding from each other!

Each week, this youth coding club will have a hands-on session with technologies like HTML5, PHP or Python. Admission: FREE.

BOOK ONLINE AT
http://www.sciencegallery.com/events/2012/01/coder-dojo-free-coding-club

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