A legend of the computer games industry, who helped to create the Microsoft Xbox, is to speak at Abertay University next Tuesday (8 July).
The event has been organised by IGDA Scotland, the Scottish chapter of the International Game Developers Association.
Ed Fries has worked in the computer games industry for over 30 years and helped to change gaming worldwide with the launch of the Xbox. As Vice President for Games Publishing he also managed the games released for Microsoft’s console.
In 2004 Ed left Microsoft to pursue other opportunities, and today he advises a number of studios and companies as well as running FigurePrints, a service providing 3D prints of player avatars from World of Warcraft.
Luke Dicken, Chair of IGDA Scotland, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the nation's game developers and I'm thrilled that IGDA Scotland has been able to arrange such an incredible guest.
“Ed's wisdom and insight have been one of the personal highlights of my time serving with him on the IGDA's Board of Directors and it is an absolute privilege to be able to share that with our community during this event."
The event will see Ed discussing his career, achievements and advice in conversation with Luke Dicken, and responding to audience questions.
Professor Louis Natanson, Head of the School of Arts, Media and Computer Games at Abertay University, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming a true legend of the games industry to Abertay University, to share his phenomenal experience of leading games publishing at Microsoft.
“Ed is a very inspirational figure to the aspiring game developers and entrepreneurs coming through Abertay University and working nearby in Dundee. There’s a great deal of excitement here ahead of his visit.”
Tickets for this event are free, but booking is required at http://igdascotland.org/edfries
A legend of the computer games industry, who helped to create the Microsoft Xbox, is to speak at Abertay University next Tuesday (8 July).

The event has been organised by IGDA Scotland, the Scottish chapter of the International Game Developers Association.

Ed Fries has worked in the computer games industry for over 30 years and helped to change gaming worldwide with the launch of the Xbox. As Vice President for Games Publishing he also managed the games released for Microsoft’s console.

In 2004 Ed left Microsoft to pursue other opportunities, and today he advises a number of studios and companies as well as running FigurePrints, a service providing 3D prints of player avatars from World of Warcraft.

Luke Dicken, Chair of IGDA Scotland, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the nation's game developers and I'm thrilled that IGDA Scotland has been able to arrange such an incredible guest.

“Ed's wisdom and insight have been one of the personal highlights of my time serving with him on the IGDA's Board of Directors and it is an absolute privilege to be able to share that with our community during this event."

The event will see Ed discussing his career, achievements and advice in conversation with Luke Dicken, and responding to audience questions.

Professor Louis Natanson, Head of the School of Arts, Media and Computer Games at Abertay University, said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming a true legend of the games industry to Abertay University, to share his phenomenal experience of leading games publishing at Microsoft.

“Ed is a very inspirational figure to the aspiring game developers and entrepreneurs coming through Abertay University and working nearby in Dundee. There’s a great deal of excitement here ahead of his visit.”

Tickets for this event are free, but booking is required at http://igdascotland.org/edfries

Posted on: Wednesday, 2 July, 2014 - 11:48
Posted on: Tuesday, 24 June, 2014 - 10:19

The revolution in digital technology which many of us take for granted, including access to devices such as smartphones and iPads, has largely excluded many people with conditions like aphasia, which is a difficulty understanding and using language.
Now a pioneering collaboration between the aphasia support group Speakability, NHS Tayside and the University of Dundee is working with patients to provide better access to this vital digital world.
The `It’s Not One Thing’ project will see people with aphasia working with therapists, educators, designers and rehabilitation engineers to design an accessible iPad workbook. The project has been made possible by funding from the charity Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS). Aphasia can affect people who have suffered a stroke, and the charity works with speech and language therapists throughout Scotland.
“People with aphasia, which is a difficulty understanding and using language and a common consequence of stroke or head injury, are often excluded from using digital technologies,” said Helen Gowland, Chair of Speakeasy, the Tayside Speakability.
Laorag Hunter, Speech and Language Therapist working for NHS Tayside, added, “This means missing out on major benefits that have transformed the lives of able communicators in recent years. Our pilot work shows that through learning to use an iPad, people with aphasia had increased independence and effectiveness. They gained a sense of satisfaction with the acquisition of new skills, had increased communication and greater social capital. The aim of this collaboration is to make both the learning materials and the workshop model widely available to benefit people living with aphasia.”
Existing manuals that explain how to access technology often do not match the communication support needs of people with aphasia, making it impossible for them to acquire the skills to use it. During the workshops all participants will work together to co-create resources that make the use of iPads within reach for people with communication and cognitive impairments following stroke.
Rolf Black, an expert in accessible computing from the University of Dundee, said, “Learning to use digital technology offers multiple benefits and needs more than one approach to teaching, hence the name of our project `It’s not one thing’.
“Research has shown that this technology has the potential to enable people with aphasia to compensate for difficulties in understanding, recalling of words, reading and writing, enabling them to communicate with greater independence.”
CHSS Chief Executive David Clark said, “CHSS has worked with speech and language therapists throughout Scotland to help provide digital aids to communication for people with speech and language difficulties (aphasia) after stroke.  These can make a huge difference not just to their ability to communicate, but to their self-confidence, independence and whole quality of life.  We were very pleased to provide financial support for this project and look forward to helping translate the results into improved services for people affected by stroke.”
Laorag Hunter adds about origin of the project, “The Scottish Government’s ‘Right to Speak’ programme has been a trigger to our partnership project. Right to Speak is a £4million, three-year project to improve the provision and care for individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in Scotland. Our work will make resources available to more people with aphasia so they can learn to use digital technology to aid their communication and enjoy the many benefits that come with such proficiency.”
The project group, including people with aphasia, will be at the School of Computing at the University of Dundee on Thursday June 12th.
The revolution in digital technology which many of us take for granted, including access to devices such as smartphones and iPads, has largely excluded many people with conditions like aphasia, which is a difficulty understanding and using language.

Now a pioneering collaboration between the aphasia support group Speakability, NHS Tayside and the University of Dundee is working with patients to provide better access to this vital digital world.

The `It’s Not One Thing’ project will see people with aphasia working with therapists, educators, designers and rehabilitation engineers to design an accessible iPad workbook. The project has been made possible by funding from the charity Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland (CHSS). Aphasia can affect people who have suffered a stroke, and the charity works with speech and language therapists throughout Scotland.

“People with aphasia, which is a difficulty understanding and using language and a common consequence of stroke or head injury, are often excluded from using digital technologies,” said Helen Gowland, Chair of Speakeasy, the Tayside Speakability.

Laorag Hunter, Speech and Language Therapist working for NHS Tayside, added, “This means missing out on major benefits that have transformed the lives of able communicators in recent years. Our pilot work shows that through learning to use an iPad, people with aphasia had increased independence and effectiveness. They gained a sense of satisfaction with the acquisition of new skills, had increased communication and greater social capital. The aim of this collaboration is to make both the learning materials and the workshop model widely available to benefit people living with aphasia.”

Existing manuals that explain how to access technology often do not match the communication support needs of people with aphasia, making it impossible for them to acquire the skills to use it. During the workshops all participants will work together to co-create resources that make the use of iPads within reach for people with communication and cognitive impairments following stroke.

Rolf Black, an expert in accessible computing from the University of Dundee, said, “Learning to use digital technology offers multiple benefits and needs more than one approach to teaching, hence the name of our project `It’s not one thing’.

“Research has shown that this technology has the potential to enable people with aphasia to compensate for difficulties in understanding, recalling of words, reading and writing, enabling them to communicate with greater independence.”

CHSS Chief Executive David Clark said, “CHSS has worked with speech and language therapists throughout Scotland to help provide digital aids to communication for people with speech and language difficulties (aphasia) after stroke.  These can make a huge difference not just to their ability to communicate, but to their self-confidence, independence and whole quality of life.  We were very pleased to provide financial support for this project and look forward to helping translate the results into improved services for people affected by stroke.”

Laorag Hunter adds about origin of the project, “The Scottish Government’s ‘Right to Speak’ programme has been a trigger to our partnership project. Right to Speak is a £4million, three-year project to improve the provision and care for individuals who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in Scotland. Our work will make resources available to more people with aphasia so they can learn to use digital technology to aid their communication and enjoy the many benefits that come with such proficiency.”

The project group, including people with aphasia, will be at the School of Computing at the University of Dundee on Thursday June 12th.

Posted on: Thursday, 12 June, 2014 - 10:30

A new, safe social network – designed by and for young adult carers – will be launched today (Tuesday 10 June) by Dundee Carers Centre and Abertay University.
The project has run for almost a year, with staff, volunteers and carers involved with Dundee Carers Centre working with the university’s computing experts.
The UPBEET social media site is thought to be the first of its kind – developing a private, safe version of sites like Facebook, specifically for young adult carers aged 16 to 30.
The site is being launched during the UK-wide Carers Week, which runs from 9-15 June.
Lucinda Godfrey, Manager, Dundee Carers Centre, said: “The past 12 months has been an excellent example of collaboration between the Centre, Abertay University and young adult carers to ensure that our services are delivered in ways that are relevant and accessible.
“Young adult carers are demonstrating a significant contribution to our communities day in day out and this platform will be an additional way that they can be supported in that vital role.”
Dawn Carmichael, project leader from Abertay University, said: “It has been a fantastic project, using technology to help young adult carers address very real problems of isolation and feeling vulnerable.
“Social networks can help connect you to lots of different people, but because they’re so open and have very confusing privacy settings there’s a risk of people’s isolation and vulnerability being made worse.
“By building a safe social network, which is controlled by Dundee Carers Centre, we were able to take the positive aspects of social media bringing people together in a completely safe, supportive way.”
Dundee Carers Centre identified a gap between the support available for young carers and adult carers, and developed a project specifically for this group called UPBEET. UPBEET provides emotional support, group support and breaks from caring.
Following research it was identified that despite being active on social networks young adult carers felt isolated and lacked peer support.
The organisation approached computing experts at Abertay University, who suggested that they could build a private social network where young adult carers could safely interact with each other online – and access crucial support services.
The new social network is completely secure and private, with Dundee Carers Centre having full control of all personal data, unlike the publicly available social network sites.
UPBEET is funded and supported by the Big Lottery Fund.
A new, safe social network – designed by and for young adult carers – will be launched today (Tuesday 10 June) by Dundee Carers Centre and Abertay University.

The project has run for almost a year, with staff, volunteers and carers involved with Dundee Carers Centre working with the university’s computing experts.

The UPBEET social media site is thought to be the first of its kind – developing a private, safe version of sites like Facebook, specifically for young adult carers aged 16 to 30.

The site is being launched during the UK-wide Carers Week, which runs from 9-15 June.

Lucinda Godfrey, Manager, Dundee Carers Centre, said: “The past 12 months has been an excellent example of collaboration between the Centre, Abertay University and young adult carers to ensure that our services are delivered in ways that are relevant and accessible.

“Young adult carers are demonstrating a significant contribution to our communities day in day out and this platform will be an additional way that they can be supported in that vital role.”

Dawn Carmichael, project leader from Abertay University, said: “It has been a fantastic project, using technology to help young adult carers address very real problems of isolation and feeling vulnerable.

“Social networks can help connect you to lots of different people, but because they’re so open and have very confusing privacy settings there’s a risk of people’s isolation and vulnerability being made worse.

“By building a safe social network, which is controlled by Dundee Carers Centre, we were able to take the positive aspects of social media bringing people together in a completely safe, supportive way.”

Dundee Carers Centre identified a gap between the support available for young carers and adult carers, and developed a project specifically for this group called UPBEET. UPBEET provides emotional support, group support and breaks from caring.

Following research it was identified that despite being active on social networks young adult carers felt isolated and lacked peer support.

The organisation approached computing experts at Abertay University, who suggested that they could build a private social network where young adult carers could safely interact with each other online – and access crucial support services.

The new social network is completely secure and private, with Dundee Carers Centre having full control of all personal data, unlike the publicly available social network sites.

UPBEET is funded and supported by the Big Lottery Fund.

Posted on: Wednesday, 11 June, 2014 - 09:41

V&A Game Designer Sophia George will launch the world-leading game design competition for students, Dare to be Digital, next Monday 16 June.
Hosted and run by Abertay University, hundreds of students every year apply to Dare to be Digital to build a working game prototype in just eight weeks.
The games go on show to the public and to industry experts in Dundee in August, with three winning teams picked to compete for the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.
Sophia started her career on Dare to be Digital, winning in 2011 with her game Tick Tock Toys. Her team then took the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in 2012.
Sophia and students will be available for photos and interviews.
All media are welcome to attend.
V&A Game Designer Sophia George will launch the world-leading game design competition for students, Dare to be Digital, next Monday 16 June.
Hosted and run by Abertay University, hundreds of students every year apply to Dare to be Digital to build a working game prototype in just eight weeks.

The games go on show to the public and to industry experts in Dundee in August, with three winning teams picked to compete for the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.

Sophia started her career on Dare to be Digital, winning in 2011 with her game Tick Tock Toys. Her team then took the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in 2012.

Sophia and students will be available for photos and interviews.

All media are welcome to attend.

Posted on: Wednesday, 11 June, 2014 - 09:07

Game developers of the future have just one week to apply for Dare to be Digital, the world’s leading computer game design competition for students.
Entries should be made online at http://www.daretobedigital.com/ by 9am on Monday 21 April.
Hosted and run by Abertay University, hundreds of students every year apply to Dare to be Digital to build a working game prototype in just eight weeks. An expert panel picks 15 teams of five students to take part in the contest.
The games then go on show to the public and to industry experts in Dundee in August, with three winning teams picked to compete for the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.
Previous Dare to be Digital winners include Sophia George, who is currently the V&A’s first ever Game Designer in Residence and presented this year’s BAFTA Ones to Watch Award to Studio DOS.
Sophia George, V&A Game Designer in Residence, said: “Any student who wants to be a professional game developer should apply for Dare to be Digital.
“It was a life-changing opportunity for me, giving me the space to learn an incredible amount during the competition at Abertay University, even before I went on to win the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.
“The opportunity to spend eight weeks building your own game, being mentored by industry professionals, then getting feedback from thousands of members of the public simply can’t be missed.”
Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “Dare to be Digital is a very exciting opportunity for students of game art, audio, design and programming. To spend eight weeks building your own game, working with professional mentors, is a huge learning curve.
“Every year we see Dare to be Digital students being hired by major companies during the contest, or pulling together plans to launch their own companies. It’s a very exciting competition and we look forward to receiving many more applications.”
To apply for Dare to be Digital, please visit http://www.daretobedigital.com/
Individuals wanting to apply – and teams needing extra members – can contact other applicants through the Dare to be Digital website.
Applications close at 9am on Monday 21 April.
Game developers of the future have just one week to apply for Dare to be Digital, the world’s leading computer game design competition for students.

Entries should be made online at http://www.daretobedigital.com/ by 9am on Monday 21 April.

Hosted and run by Abertay University, hundreds of students every year apply to Dare to be Digital to build a working game prototype in just eight weeks. An expert panel picks 15 teams of five students to take part in the contest.

The games then go on show to the public and to industry experts in Dundee in August, with three winning teams picked to compete for the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.

Previous Dare to be Digital winners include Sophia George, who is currently the V&A’s first ever Game Designer in Residence and presented this year’s BAFTA Ones to Watch Award to Studio DOS.

Sophia George, V&A Game Designer in Residence, said: “Any student who wants to be a professional game developer should apply for Dare to be Digital.

“It was a life-changing opportunity for me, giving me the space to learn an incredible amount during the competition at Abertay University, even before I went on to win the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.

“The opportunity to spend eight weeks building your own game, being mentored by industry professionals, then getting feedback from thousands of members of the public simply can’t be missed.”

Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “Dare to be Digital is a very exciting opportunity for students of game art, audio, design and programming. To spend eight weeks building your own game, working with professional mentors, is a huge learning curve.

“Every year we see Dare to be Digital students being hired by major companies during the contest, or pulling together plans to launch their own companies. It’s a very exciting competition and we look forward to receiving many more applications.”

To apply for Dare to be Digital, please visit http://www.daretobedigital.com/

Individuals wanting to apply – and teams needing extra members – can contact other applicants through the Dare to be Digital website.

Applications close at 9am on Monday 21 April.

Posted on: Monday, 14 April, 2014 - 10:13

A University of Dundee student has turned successful teacher by providing computing tuition to people around the world.
Jose Salvatierra (19), from Spain, is only in his second year studying Applied Computing at Dundee but he has already produced an entire computing course for beginners and made it available online, with hundreds of customers taking it within the first six weeks.
Jose’s `Computer Science for Everyone’ course is an introduction to all the important concepts of Computer Science in under 10 hours. Hosted on the Udemy platform, it features videos for easy instruction and a series of quizzes and assignments.
“I did some tutoring of first-year students last semester and that really gave me the confidence to go on and develop this course,” said Jose. “I actually used my own course for some of the work with the students and their reaction to it was really positive.
“Since I put the course on udemy I’ve had around 400 people sign up to it, mostly from the USA and India, which is fantastic.”
Among the early reviews from those who have taken the course it has been described as `a great introduction to computers’ and `covers Computing Science in a high quality way’.
Jose started programming at the age of 10, encouraged by his father. He also plays and teaches music, an interest that he is developing into another online course which will use a similar format to teach grades 1 and 2 of music theory.
“I’ve got a strong interest in teaching and the technology is there that allows you to deliver good quality courses very easily,” said Jose.
Dr Karen Petrie, Head of Undergraduate Studies in Computing at the University, said, “This is a fantastic piece of work by Jose and all the more impressive for the fact he has managed to put this together and manage it while maintaining excellence in his own studies.
“We encourage our students to think about entrepreneurship and how they can develop their own ideas for market, and Jose is a great example of how you can do that.”
For more information on Jose’s course see:
https://www.udemy.com/computer-science-for-everyone/.

Posted on: Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 - 10:30

Pixel Pushers  March 28 - May 9

4J Studios

Ken Fee

Chris Goodswen

Gareth Hector

Ian McQue

Alex Ronald

March 28 - May 9

The artistic and creative qualities of digital artists can be overlooked by spectators, the popular misperception being that it is a purely technical or process driven art form and that somehow the, ‘computer does it all for you’. Pixel Pushers shows that concept artists draw inspiration from a tremendously diverse range of sources.

This exhibition collects artwork from 5 renowned and practicing artists – all of whom have strong ties with Dundee - to demonstrate that be it for illustration, modelling, games or books, it is the artists’ unique vision and style that is the driving force behind their art, with technology simply another brush in their palette.

Posted on: Wednesday, 26 March, 2014 - 10:10

The Universities of Abertay, Dundee, Glasgow, Heriot-Watt, Edinburgh Napier, Strathclyde, and Robert Gordon are pleased to announce that they will recommend Higher Computing Science for entry to the first year of undergraduate Computing programmes.
This follows on from a successful meeting organised by the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA), which brought together school teachers, academics and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) to discuss the new curriculum.
SICSA Director of Education Dr Karen Petrie (University of Dundee) commented, “This is further evidence of the strong partnership between Scotland’s universities, schools and Government in ensuring that Scottish pupils receive world class computing education.”
Computing At School, the grassroots organisation for computing education and subject association for Computer Science in the UK, has welcomed the decision. Kate Farrell, co-Chair of Computing At School Scotland, explained, “This is an important step towards school leaders, parents and pupils recognising Computing Science as a rigorous academic subject.”
Dr Quintin Cutts (University of Glasgow), also co-Chair of CAS Scotland and National Project Officer for the Scottish Government-funded CPD project Professional Learning and Networking for Computing (PLAN C), pointed out that the new SQA qualifications had enabled the universities to make this commitment to schools Computing Science.
He noted, “Teachers across the country are putting in a huge amount of effort to ensure that pupils reach the raised outcomes set by the new qualifications. We hope that the PLAN C CPD programme will further help teachers nationwide meet this goal.”

Posted on: Monday, 24 March, 2014 - 14:09

City-based Allthings said a string of well-known local backers had supported its corporate organiser and task-listing tool after it called for more development capital.

But that £200,000 investment has now been followed by match-funding from the Scottish Investment Bank through national business agency Scottish Enterprise.

The boost comes just months after the cloud-based software was launched last summer, and ahead of the release of a new ‘team’ edition targeted for use by larger organisations on a user licence basis.

Founders David Hay, Dee Ward and Ralph Hasselgren first worked together at city software developer HoundDog Technology, ahead of its acquisition by American firm GFI Software in 2009.

Mr Hay said he and his colleagues’ productivity and collaboration software was born after the trio railed against “an enormous amount of wasted time” in list-keeping and business administration.

“We had already worked as a team, but weren’t used to what was a different way of working,” he told The Courier. “We’d get copied into hundreds of round-robin emails and you’d spend your life digging your way out of your inbox every morning.

“The other thing that really bugged us when we sat down at the end of 2012 — what really riled us — was that everyone’s jobs and tasks were recorded in spreadsheets. It was so inefficient.”

The trio came up with a “really easy to use”, cloud-based and constantly-updated system, useable on mobiles, tablets, laptops and desktops.

Allthings allows tasks to be classified, updated in real time and shared among workers without the need to trawl through a packed inbox, hard-to-follow email chain or needlessly complex spreadsheet.

Revenues are based on a subscription model, with users able to upgrade from a free, entry-level product to the pro edition — and, from next month, team licences.

The service has already picked up 3,500 users since it made its debut around 10 months ago, and has also seen the launch of Android and iOS phone apps.

Nine new private investors have now come on board, taking a total equity stake of around 10%. The funding, combined with input from the Scottish Investment Bank, will support Allthings’ growth through to 2016, by which time the company expects to be turning a profit.

Its team of developers is to double to four this year, and is anticipated to reach 15 in two years’ time.

Scottish Investment Bank head Kerry Sharp said the organisation was pleased to support Allthings: “a forward-thinking company with an international mindset”.

She said: “The funds will assist the company to realise its ambitious growth strategies and deliver long-term results for both the local Tayside economy and the Scottish economy as a whole.”

James Williamson - Courier

Posted on: Friday, 14 March, 2014 - 14:43
Posted on: Thursday, 13 March, 2014 - 13:15

The Future Internet Games Contest is being launched today by Disney and the Future Internet Consortium partners (10 March) in association with Abertay University, looking for experimental pervasive games that enable large groups of people to play together in the real world.
Ideas for games in the areas of augmented reality, blending real and virtual worlds, and city-wide play will be assessed by a panel of experts from the Europe-wide Future Internet (FI) Content initiative.
This Disney-led project comprises major European and global companies and research centres, who have joined their skills to drive innovation at the crossroads of content, media, networks and creativity.
Entries can be made at http://www.daretobedigital.com/220_Future-Internet-Games-Contest-.html until 10 June, with a £2000 prize for the winning web or mobile game – and potential opportunities to work with the Disney-led consortium.
Professor Kenny Mitchell, Research Lead at Disney Research, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for budding game developers and veterans alike across Europe to show their skills on a highly visible and important stage as part of our Future Internet Content project.”
The partnership between Abertay University and FI Content is to focus on the Pervasive Games platform (http://mediafi.org/open-platforms/), where the real world and internet experiences are playfully mixed together.
The platform focuses on multiplayer mobile gaming, using cutting-edge internet technology to enable large groups of people to play together, and moving games beyond playing on a console at home or remotely interacting with friends through social games.
Game developers are invited to think about how a mobile game can be an augmented version of the real world, offering play between real people that creates something more exciting and interactive for everyone.
Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “Abertay University is delighted to work with Disney on the Future Internet Games Contest, and we look forward to seeing how game developers address this challenge.
“Games have incredible power to bring people together, to entertain and to change how we perceive the world around us.
“Future internet technologies, and the hugely powerful smartphones everyone carries with them, offer an unprecedented opportunity for designers and programmers to build entirely new ways for large groups of people to play together in the real world.”
The Future Internet Games Contest is led by Disney and associated partners in association with Abertay University.
This initiative aims at developing and experimenting across Europe cutting-edge ICT platforms devoted to applications and services in the emerging area of pervasive games for virtual and augmented reality.
For more information, and to apply, please visit http://www.daretobedigital.com/220_Future-Internet-Games-Contest.html
(Ends)
For media enquiries, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Manager) – T: 01382 308522 M: 07837 250284 E: chris.wilson@abertay.ac.uk
The Future Internet Games Contest is being launched today by Disney and the Future Internet Consortium partners (10 March) in association with Abertay University, looking for experimental pervasive games that enable large groups of people to play together in the real world.

Ideas for games in the areas of augmented reality, blending real and virtual worlds, and city-wide play will be assessed by a panel of experts from the Europe-wide Future Internet (FI) Content initiative.

This Disney-led project comprises major European and global companies and research centres, who have joined their skills to drive innovation at the crossroads of content, media, networks and creativity.

Entries can be made at http://www.daretobedigital.com/220_Future-Internet-Games-Contest-.html until 10 June, with a £2000 prize for the winning web or mobile game – and potential opportunities to work with the Disney-led consortium.

Professor Kenny Mitchell, Research Lead at Disney Research, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for budding game developers and veterans alike across Europe to show their skills on a highly visible and important stage as part of our Future Internet Content project.”

The partnership between Abertay University and FI Content is to focus on the Pervasive Games platform (http://mediafi.org/open-platforms/), where the real world and internet experiences are playfully mixed together.

The platform focuses on multiplayer mobile gaming, using cutting-edge internet technology to enable large groups of people to play together, and moving games beyond playing on a console at home or remotely interacting with friends through social games.

Game developers are invited to think about how a mobile game can be an augmented version of the real world, offering play between real people that creates something more exciting and interactive for everyone.

Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “Abertay University is delighted to work with Disney on the Future Internet Games Contest, and we look forward to seeing how game developers address this challenge.

“Games have incredible power to bring people together, to entertain and to change how we perceive the world around us.

“Future internet technologies, and the hugely powerful smartphones everyone carries with them, offer an unprecedented opportunity for designers and programmers to build entirely new ways for large groups of people to play together in the real world.”

The Future Internet Games Contest is led by Disney and associated partners in association with Abertay University.

This initiative aims at developing and experimenting across Europe cutting-edge ICT platforms devoted to applications and services in the emerging area of pervasive games for virtual and augmented reality.

For more information, and to apply, please visit http://www.daretobedigital.com/220_Future-Internet-Games-Contest.html

(Ends)

For media enquiries, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Manager) – T: 01382 308522 M: 07837 250284 E: chris.wilson@abertay.ac.uk

Posted on: Monday, 10 March, 2014 - 14:24

Dundee's ongoing transformation has led to a recent surge in tourists to the city. New figures released today report a 6.8 percent rise in visitor numbers, highlighting it's fast becoming a ‘go-to' destination.* To celebrate this tourism boost a new interactive guide to the city - The Dundee App - has been launched with the help of Dundee band Model Aeroplanes.

Dundee's thriving tourism sector is now worth £143m to the city, and this is only set to rise as the Waterfront development continues, with experts forecasting that three million people will visit the city between 2012 and 2025.** The free smartphone app contains all the information you need for planning a stay in Dundee and gives visitors and locals alike the chance to explore the city like never before.

Dundee, the city that brought you Grand Theft Auto, is renowned for its technological innovations. Developed by digital gurus, Waracle, the app allows users to search activities by category. It also has an innovative ‘shoogle' function - with a quick shake of the handset, the app generates a completely random event happening that day making it a unique and exciting way to try different activities and ‘shoogle' your way around the city.

Will Dawson, convener of Dundee City Council's city development committee, said: "The changes taking place in Dundee are really starting to take shape so it's great to see that we're already seeing a significant rise in the number of people visiting. As one of Scotland's key cities, Dundee has so much to offer and this new app will give people the chance to discover all there is to see and do with just the touch of a button."It's a handy up-to-the-minute guide and we hope it will become an invaluable resource for people planning a stay in the city as well as a source of inspiration for local people looking to discover new things, from first class restaurants and exciting club nights to live music and family days out.

"Jim Clarkson, VisitScotland's Regional Director for Dundee and Angus, said: "Dundee has always been renowned for its innovation and this new app is a terrific way for visitors to keep up to date with what's happening in the city. We are delighted to see an increase in the number of visitors, something that is surely set to continue with the exciting developments taking place in Dundee over the coming years."

The most comprehensive listings guide to the city by far, the app channels listings from the What's On Dundee website, which is staffed by a full-time team meaning the app stream is continually updated with exciting and up-to-the-minute events and activities. It is also the only app to include complete listings for all of the city's three cinemas.The app is free to download on Apple or Android now.

*Statistics taken from STEAM, reporting a 6.8 percent year on year increase in tourism to the city between October 2012 and October 2013**Statistics taken from www.dundeewaterfront.com

Posted on: Monday, 3 March, 2014 - 15:53

Jim McGovern MP raises games tax relief delay during Prime Minister’s Questions
Following contact from TIGA CEO, Dr. Richard Wilson, Dundee West MP Jim McGovern today raised the delay in seeing computer games relief implemented during Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons.
Addressing the Prime Minister Mr McGovern explained that the policy to implement tax relief for the computer games was announced in the 20102 Budget and passed to the European Commission in April 2013 in order to ensure that it does not infringe upon EU law. The Commission announced it would be subject to a detailed review. Since that time nothing has been heard about the progress of that review or when it would be completed.
Jim McGovern lead a two a year campaign to convince the government to implement tax relief for the industry, which is an important component of Dundee’s economy. The Labour government pledged in their 2010 manifesto to introduce this policy; however this was scrapped on the election of the Tory-led coalition government.
Trade body TIGA, who represent the industry, recently raised their concerns with Mr McGovern about the delay and the impact this was having on the UK industry. Investment continues to decline in the sector nationally which is seeing studios close and jobs lost to overseas competitors. The body estimates that tax reliefs would reverse this trend creating 4,661 direct and indirect jobs, create £188 million in investment expenditure by studios, increase the games development sector’s contribution to UK GDP by £283 million and generate £172 million in new and protected tax receipts to the Treasury over five years.
In reply the Prime Minister told the MP that he shared his frustrations over the long delay and confirmed the government’s commitment to implementing the policy. The Prime Minister went on to announce that he was “hopeful” of good news shortly.
Jim McGovern said;
“The delay in implementing this policy has hit the industry hard. Like many sectors of the economy computer games studios have struggled in recent years. If Dundee and the UK are to see economic growth we need a proactive stance in supporting vital industries.  We must ensure that our industries are internationally competitive. Labour proposed this before the 2010 election, but sadly due to the decisions of this government and the EU Commission we are still waiting to see it happen four years later.”
“The slow response of the European Commission has been disappointing, especially when you consider that France already operates a similar tax incentive system for the industry.”
“I am encouraged that the Prime Minister is hopeful of hearing of good news from the Commission shortly. The industry, Dundee and the UK cannot continue to wait indefinitely to see that its industries are properly supported. Dundee needs economic growth and job creation now, there is no good reason for further delays.”

Posted on: Wednesday, 5 February, 2014 - 15:46

4G mobile broadband will be available in Dundee from the end of 2013.

People in the city will see an improved, faster experience when using the internet on their mobile phones, laptops or tablets — with speeds five times faster than 3G technology.

Digital Dundee businesses said the move will be a real boost for the local economy and “position us as a smart, intelligent, tech savvy city”.

The new 4G will be delivered by mobile network EE, which is investing £150 million in rolling out superfast broadband in Scotland.

Olaf Swantee, Chief Executive Officer, EE, said:

“With every new town and city we switch on, the 4G revolution picks up pace. From Bath to Bournemouth, Northampton to Newastle-under-Lyme, today’s towns and cities are the latest in a long line to get 4G from EE. By Christmas, 160 places across the UK will have 4G access, meaning that people and businesses can do more, trade more and connect more. That’s the fastest rollout of 4G in Europe, and with well over one million people already using the service, one of the most successful too. With the competition lagging behind and barely reaching double figures for 4G cities, it means there’s only one real choice for 4G this Christmas.”

Derek Smith, regional manager for east Scotland, EE, said: “The arrival of 4G here is great news for our customers.

“4G from EE is like having fibre broadband to your mobile phone, and allows customers to access the content they care about without the frustration of pages being slow to load, or apps not connecting.”

Deputy first minister and cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities, Nicola Sturgeon, said the advancement would help Scotland become a world leading digital nation by 2020. She said: “The launch of EE’s 4G service opens up new opportunities for people and businesses in Dundee to access next generation mobile technology.

“4G’s increased speeds and coverage make it easier and more attractive to access online digital services.”

Posted on: Wednesday, 5 February, 2014 - 10:59

Take-Two Interactive, the firm behind Scottish Rockstar Games, has revealed Grand Theft Auto V was the best-selling video game of 2013, citing NPD research data.

Rockstar Games sold a whopping 32.5 million copies of Grand Theft Auto V during the year, boosting Take-Two Interactive to record earnings and making it NPD's top video game publisher of 2013.

"Take-Two's business continued to outperform expectations significantly during the fiscal third quarter," said Strauss Zelnick, chairman and CEO of Take-Two.

It's expected Grand Theft Auto V sales will continue to be massive in 2014, as the title still hasn't landed for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or PC. A rumoured launch date for all three platforms is 13 June, but it has yet to be confirmed by Rockstar Games.

Take-Two Interactive's stock fell slightly in extended trading on Monday, even though the company posted $767 million in revenue, up from $405 million in the same ago quarter of the previous year.

Posted on: Wednesday, 5 February, 2014 - 10:51

Dare to be Digital, the world’s leading computer game design competition for students, opens today for entries – a unique opportunity for aspiring game developers to win their very own BAFTA.

Entries should be made online at http://www.daretobedigital.com/

Hosted and run by Abertay University, hundreds of students every year apply to Dare to be Digital to build a working game prototype in just eight weeks. An expert panel picks 15 teams of five students to take part in the contest.

The games then go on show to the public and to industry experts in Dundee in August, with three winning teams picked to compete for the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.

Previous Dare to be Digital winners include Sophia George, who is currently the V&A’s first ever Game Designer in Residence.

Sophia George, V&A Game Designer in Residence, said: “Dare to be Digital was a life-changing opportunity for me. Being able to work solidly on our game Tick Tock Toys and then show it to thousands of members of the public was an incredible learning experience, and one which really helped me when it came to applying to the V&A.

“I don’t think it’s possible to learn more about entering the games industry in eight weeks than by taking part in Dare to be Digital – the challenge and the support you receive is incredible, as is the mentoring from industry professionals.

“It’s intense, exciting and exhausting, but if you want to make games for a living you’d be crazy not to apply to take part in Dare to be Digital.”

Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “Dare to be Digital really encapsulates Abertay University’s approach to teaching games artists, audio engineers, designers and programmers. Real-life experience and direct access to industry professionals is essential if you want to enter this exciting, competitive industry.

“In eight weeks we see students absolutely transformed by Dare to be Digital. There’s no question that it’s a really tough challenge, but building a completely new game as part of a small team then showcasing it to thousands of people is a unique experience – and one that can massively help you prepare to be a professional game developer.”

All of the games from Dare to be Digital are shown at the Dare ProtoPlay festival in Dundee’s Caird Hall and City Square on 7th-10th August. Last year’s event attracted 13,000 visitors over four days.

Competitors from Dare to be Digital 2013 will compete in March for the next BAFTA Ones to Watch Award, with Project Heera: Diamond Heist, Size DOS Matter and The Unknown nominated for the prize.

To apply for Dare to be Digital, please visit http://www.daretobedigital.com/

Individuals wanting to apply – and teams needing extra members – can contact other applicants through the Dare to be Digital website.

Applications close at 9am on Monday 21 April.

Posted on: Monday, 27 January, 2014 - 09:54
Posted on: Thursday, 28 November, 2013 - 12:33

TIGA Awards success for Abertay University

Abertay University won the Best Educational Institute at the glittering TIGA Games Industry Awards last night, held at Pinewood Studios.

 Abertay students also took the Best Student Game award for Wee Paper Planes (by Pixel Blimp), while Mr Shingu’s Paper Zoo (by Stormcloud Games) – a game supported by the Abertay University Prototype Fund – won Best Casual Game (Small Studio).

The sold-out ceremony celebrated excellence in the UK games industry, with categories covering design, originality and the business of games.

The public category of TIGA Game of The Year Award saw 10,500 votes cast, with Hungry Shark Evolution by Future Games of London taking the award.

Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said:

“Winning the TIGA Award for Best Educational Institute is a huge honour for Abertay University, and one that recognises the hard work of all of my teaching and research colleagues.

“Abertay is very focused on the delivery of excellence in industry-relevant education for our students, so they can step into a games company and be a productive, creative member of staff from day one.

“Increasingly, we see these students starting their own businesses, many right here in Dundee, and that is a major sign that our focus, and their hard work, is paying off. Young companies like Pixel Blimp and Stormcloud Games are creating incredible games, and both richly deserve their TIGA Awards.

“I’d like to thank TIGA and the award judges for their support, and once again congratulate all the games staff at Abertay who share this award.”

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, commented:

“This year has seen the best TIGA Games Industry Awards yet, which is particularly encouraging given the TIGA Awards are especially designed to celebrate the best in creativity, technological innovation and games business at all levels and in all sectors of the UK games industry.

“We wanted to reward the achievements of everyone that contributes to the UK’s games business. Given the incredibly high standards of all this year’s entries, especially the finalists, meant picking winners was harder than ever for our judges.”

Abertay University created the world’s first Computer Games Technology degree in 1997 and today holds the most Creative Skillset accreditation for computer games courses in the UK, a major industry recognition of our educational approach.

Posted on: Thursday, 7 November, 2013 - 12:28

Dundee’s last arts festival before the winner of UK City of Culture 2017 is announced launches this weekend.

NEoN Digital Arts Festival is in its fifth year and brings together the city’s art and digital technology communities – a unique interaction that is one of the strengths of Dundee’s City of Culture bid.

The festival features audio art in a swimming pool, live dancers interacting with digital projections, and an art exhibition based on reclaimed demolition materials from the £1 billion Dundee Waterfront regeneration project.

NEoN Digital Arts Festival runs 3 - 9 November in various locations around Dundee.

The winner of UK City of Culture will be announced on Wednesday 20 November.

Clare Brennan, NEoN Festival organiser and Abertay University lecturer, said: “With the winner of UK City of Culture 2017 being announced so soon, we’re delighted to be putting on such a strong and distinctive programme for the NEoN Digital Arts Festival.

“Dundee is a really unique city, and the interactions between our creative communities have helped create this festival – and give us a glimpse of what we can all achieve, across our entire city, if we win City of Culture status.”

She added: “NEoN will be bringing members of the community together to create audio which is then played underwater in our Olympia swimming pool, discussing digital museums with the V&A at Dundee team and V&A Game Designer in Residence Sophia George, and showcasing the city-wide film project Wha’s Dundee.

“And for our finale, Forever Falling Nowhere, we’re taking inspiration from the Scottish invention of the kaleidoscope and reclaiming an industrial space to mix live dancers from Smallpetitklein, digital animation, projection mapping and audio-reactive visuals.

“It’s going to be a very special week of new art and performance.”

Stewart Murdoch, Director of Dundee’s City of Culture bid and Director of Leisure and Communities at Dundee City Council, said: “Dundee has put forward an extremely strong bid to be named UK City of Culture 2017, and superb festivals like NEoN demonstrate how our city successfully brings together different artistic communities to create new, exciting performances and workshops that are open to everyone.

“That focus on benefiting all of our residents is absolutely central to our bid for 2017. Dundee is genuinely at a tipping point where being named UK City of Culture can hugely accelerate our engagement right across the city, opening up new opportunities for many people not yet reached by the arts and culture, improving their lives and raising their aspirations.

“NEoN Digital Arts Festival showcases a lot of what is special and unique about Dundee and I’m delighted to see it growing from strength to strength.”

The key festival themes for 2013 include:

- Technology meets the arts: Forever Falling Nowhere incorporates live dance, digital animation and projection mapping in an industrial space, inspired by the Scottish invention of the kaleidoscope by Sir David Brewster in 1816

- Dundee’s regeneration: Liminal Cities is a new exhibition from up-and-coming artist Francesca Perona, using reclaimed demolition materials from the £1 billion Dundee Waterfront regeneration project, and the Liminal City Lights workshop involves building tiny origami light sculptures, then placing them in the changing urban environment

- Digital meets museums: V&A at Dundee Digital Mash, led by the V&A’s first-ever Game Designer in Residence Sophia George, looking at digital interpretation in the museum world – online, on-site and off-site

- Underwater audio: the Sound Narratives Creative Workshop will create the audio to be played underwater in the Olympia swimming pool at the Wet Sounds performance night

All events are free, but some require advance booking.

For full details please see http://www.northeastofnorth.com/

Posted on: Friday, 1 November, 2013 - 10:23