UNversity Update 05/09/2014

Only 17 days until classes start back at University of the West of Scotland and people are starting to tie up their summer projects. Here’s a look into everyone’s progress:

 

  • Aleksander Ciesielski has managed to finish his game and got it onto Greenlight. You can check out his game here: Exowar  The game is generating a lot of interest and has got 120 comments and counting already. You can help Aleksander out and give the game a ‘yes’ vote via the link. This will help the game reach its goal of being available to purchase on ‘Steam’.
  • Tinu Toader has finished his summer project of modeling his home football stadium. He learned a lot from this objective with programming, modeling and time management to name several. Through learning all these different aspects on the way, he also came out with an amazing product which is a real achievement. Tinu Toaders Blog
  • Jonathan Livingstone is close to finishing his project with about 90% of it complete. The game is looking great with some help from an artist named Lauren Martin. Jonathan is looking to fix a few bugs which are persisting at the moment and add a few more levels to the game. Jonathan’s Blog
  • Kenneth Mason has added more to his character controller with a push/pull, ladder climb and ragdoll mechanic. Getting all these mechanics to work together in one level with multiple instances of each has proved to be the biggest challenge but one which has been solved.

 

As Tinu said in his blog, the main thing about these projects is to learn and I think most of us have learned a lot over the summer which will stand us in good stead for the coming year.

UNversity Update 9/8/2014

It’s been a while since the last update, but there is a few interesting things to read about that has happened since then!

  • Danny Boyle has impressively met his Kickstarter target for his game, Those Who Play. Danny received £1046 pledged to his project, more than his target of £900! He has also been accepted into the UWS Creative Media/E-Spark partnership which will help him push is project forward, receiving mentoring and office space and has started looking at businesses to start stocking his game. Fantastic success here, we look forward to seeing more updates from Danny. The site for Those Who Play can be found here: www.thosewhoplaygame.com
  • Martin Grant wrote a blog post on working as a programmer over summer with Tick Tock Games and coming back to continue working on a group project with other UWS students: http://www.midnightpacific.com/2014/08/unversity-update/
  • Kenneth Mason produced a great resource management game named Luna, submitted to a game jam held by the website Newgrounds. Give it a play here: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/641044
  • Jonathan Livingstone has been writing a game using C++ with SFML with blog updates and screenshots that can be seen at his website: http://jonathanlivingstoneunversity2014.wordpress.com/
  • Aleksander Ciesielski has been working on a 2D top-down shooter game using Java, libgdx which should be paired with a level editor for the game! You can check out the screenshots of his work here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/uws.creative.tech/permalink/769111826479738/
  • Tinu Toader’s blog is packed full of screenshots of his 3D modelling where he is modelling his home town stadium http://iasistadium.blogspot.co.uk/ looking great, keep it up!
  • Ian Young has managed to get himself a full time programming position with Stainless Games. Congratulations and good luck Ian, great to see students picking up employment in the industry.
  • Andrew Devlin has had code accepted into an ongoing Virtual Reality project, JanusVR. Great points to mention on a CV or in an interview. You can see the results of Andrew’s work in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NhBjM8YLGM
  • Stephen Mcgroarty has produced a software rasterizer in his spare time whilst he is working as an intern with Codeplay Software. A video of his work is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3CGQpGn0Q4&feature=youtu.be
  • A special mention to recent CGT graduates Tom Beattie and Barney Randall who are competing in this year’s Dare To Be Digital competition who have been interviewed by Develop: http://www.develop-online.net/interview/dare-blogs-good-day-games-endless-runner/0196282 Good luck guys, we hope you go far in the competition!

If anyone has posted an update that has been missed in this post, please let us know, you can contact Martin Grant or Kenneth Mason.

A great set of updates have been shown here, it is fantastic to see people getting busy with their time over the summer months! We hope to see more frequent updates and from more people as the end of summer gets closer. If you haven’t posted an update and have been working on something no matter how big or how small you should definitely share it with the group! :)

UNversity Update 23/06/14

Here is the most recent activity for UNversity. It looks like everyone is making good progress but remember to update us on Facebook.

  • Kenneth Mason is going to be working with Unity to make a full 2D character controller in preparation for a 2D game. He is going to try and include behaviours for walking, running, crouching, hanging, climbing, rope climbing, rope swinging, jump, fall, death, push and pull. He will also be making some games using Construct 2 and releasing them onto Windows 8, Android and ipad.
  • Danny Boyle is making a tabletop RPG which he is trying to crowd fund through Kickstarter and release through his own website. Danny has shown good initiative by talking to other game publishers who have made similar games to get their advice. He has also been working with a couple of artists to help him get a book for the game finished. His main aim this summer is to have this book finished. Danny has already gathered £372 on Kickstarter so he is already over a third of the way to his £900 goal. As a side project Danny will be getting to grips with Unreal Engine 4 and trying to make something for the Oculus Rift. Good luck in meeting your aim in Kickstarter Danny!

You can visit Danny’s Kickstarter page here:

Danny’s Kickstarter Page

  • Jonathan Livingstone is going to be making a 2D side scrolling shooter with C++ and SFML. The game will be similar to R-Type which is a classic space shooter from 1987. Jonathan has already got his work underway and is trying to get the basic mechanics working early on in development. He also plans on including his own level editor which would be a very nice touch.
  • Tinu Toader shared a link with us which shows off some of his amazing 3-D modelling skills. He is modelling a 3-D version of his home town football stadium. The level of detail which Tinu goes into is very impressive. This ranges from the exact measurements of the depth of steps to the refreshments stall with the Coca Cola advertisements. Tinu has been adding some small details to the stadium at the moment until his new PC arrives. The new PC should be able to cope better with the large number of vertices which are needed for a project like this. We look forward to seeing Tinu’s project when he can add it to Cry Engine where he can add more realistic materials in.

You can have a look at Tinu’s progress here:

http://iasistadium.blogspot.co.uk/

UNversity Back For 2014

The UNversity event is back for the summer of 2014 courtesy of Martin Grant and Kenneth Mason as newly selected Windows Game Ambassadors.

The format will run the same as it has done before, students of the University of the West of Scotland should be working on summer projects to further their knowledge, skills and add to their portfolio to show themselves off when looking for career opportunities after university.

So as simple as it sounds, pick a project and work on it! The catch is that you need to update us with your progress regularly, once a week would be a great frequency. You could either post about your progress on UWS Creative Tech or UWS Games Dev Society or post on your blog and share your posts on Facebook for us to see. If you do not have a blog yet this would be a great opportunity to start one to show off your work.

There are a number of different types of projects you could work on, there may be others not listed here, it is up to you what you want to do:

  • Revisiting your coursework and improving it further
  • Create a game or some technical demo
  • Create an app/game to be published on an App Store
  • Work with a group of other students on a project
  • Blog about your experience with a summer placement/internship
  • Work with a member of staff on a research project

So far we have a handful of students who have proposed their project aims:

  • Victoria Russell is revisiting her C++ programming and will be working on creating a portfolio for her work. Victoria also organised a game jam to run at her local primary school which went well, giving pupils a chance to look at game development with Scratch. Well done, Victoria this is a great achievement!
  • Andrew Devlin will be continuing work on a coursework project – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3oe4o7KSyQ – where he will be integrating Oculus Rift functionality into the game.
  • Some third years are working together in a group, working on a game engine where they are hoping to base a sci-fi shooter on. The group consists of Martin Grant, Andrew Gozillon, Liam Mcvie, Steven Gordon and Ryan Cook.
  • Tinu Toader is looking to pick up 3D modelling skills and create a model of his hometown stadium. We look forward to seeing it!
  • William Taylor published a game he started in January on Google Play for Android devices – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.planetDefense – a fantastic effort here, published games are a fantastic feature for CVs/portfolios.

We hope that more students will be joining UNversity soon. We look forward to posting the progress! Good luck to all who will be taking part.

 

And the winners are…

OK, so almost as overdue as a letter lost in the Alps for 50 years… but time to announce the winners of UNversity 2013 and give a final summary and thanks.

Honourable mentions first…

No longer students, and no longer eligible for prizes, but thanks for taking part and sharing their progress on various projects, or just for dropping in and saying hi:

  • Kieran Nelson
  • Derek Stobbs
  • Mazen Sukkar
  • Christoffer Pettersson
  • Keith Grant
  • James Moore

Other valiant efforts from current students who didn’t quite manage to complete their projects but shared their ongoing progress with us:

  • Stephen Mcgroarty
  • Ian Young
  • Stephen Wilson
  • Liam McVie
  • Kevin Murphy

Good to see the progress being made on a range of projects – and even if the project isn’t finished or doesn’t result in a clear deliverable, it was very clear that a lot of great experience and knowledge was gained by folk along the way.

A current student eliminated from the prizes because he was paid for his summer work was Martin Grant – again, some great experience gained, but no prizes for Martin. The money earned should help drown sorrows though.

This leaves the winners!!!

  • Jonathan Livingstone created a 2D top down shooter game. More details on his blog.
    He forgot to post a video, and no link to let folk play the game, but Jonathan wins a couple of games from my Library of Games to Give out as Prizes! Whoop!
  • Daniel Taylor helped Jonathan with art, and also released a game on the Android app store. This has been updated since, you can download Cops and Robbers from both the Google Play store and the Amazon Kindle Store. More details on Daniel’s blog.
    For helping someone else and also managing to get his game out there and published for download, Daniel wins a ‘genuinely as previously used by Microsoft’ Kinect!
  • William Taylor didn’t create a blog for his project, but did post a video of his OpenGL game framework on YouTube. Simple but effective, a framework is a good place to start coding, and the one William did includes a good range of features – including scripting! Well done.
    A great effort, winning William a Kinect.
  • Kenneth Mason posted a link to his playable game ‘The Space Ace‘, developed with Construct.  Nice game design, a I like the combination of story and simple gameplay. Have to say I found the controls mind-bending: In a 2D top-down game I expect the up key to move me forward, not up screen. But I’ll forgive Kenneth.
    Published and playable on a 3rd party web-site, Kenneth also wins a Kinect.
  • Cristi Szabo updated a game he’d already created using Construct (Monster Cards), and then made another (Nine Rat). Both of these games, plus a variety of programming tutorials and other demos are online at http://www.videogamelab.co.uk/
    I believe he’s a fan of racing games, Cristi wins a copy of Nascar the Game: Inside Line and a matching T-shirt.
  • Ryan Mc Donagh did something different. Not a game or demo, but a game review site. Critical Indie Gamer is still ongoing, and now up to 30,000 monthly views – not bad for a wee summer project! Get some subtle ads on there Ryan, and you should be able to earn a few pennies to keep yourself in Steam credit :-)
    Ryan also wins a Kinect.

All we need to do now is arrange to hand out the prizes – folk can get in touch with me via Facebook. If based in Ayr or Hamilton I’ll pass prizes to Jim/Gerry and they should make their way to you eventually. If Paisley based we can arrange something more easily.

Well done everyone, and thanks to everyone who took part, even if only for a fleeting moment.

I’ll catch up honest…

This is kind of not-an-update… The event on Facebook now has 35 folk ‘attending’, and a whole bunch of project updates since my last post. It’ll take me a while to work through them all.

But good to see project announcements from folk in every year of the games courses – from first years to folk just graduating and a few projects from some of our esteemed alumni.

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