Gamecraft 2015 @ University of Ulster | 9th May

Farset friends, Gamecraft, will be back in Belfast on 9th May, holding a day-long game-jam at University of Ulster Belfast on York Street.

There are 15 complimentary Gamecraft tickets available to Farset members. For more information and to claim your ticket, check out the member Discourse group.

You can also sign-up for a public Gamecraft ticket here, for only £3:

PhD Opportunities at the University of Ulster

Our friends over at the University of Ulster have forwarded us some information regarding their PhD opportunities for the coming academic year. To apply you must complete an application before the 28th Febuary 2014 at Interviews would be in March and PhDs start in Sept/Oct.
Here are a selection of proposals:

Computer-based Simulations for Medical Training
Dr RB Bond, Dr PJ McCullagh, Dr Pauline Black (Faculty of Life & Health Sciences)

Crowdsourcing systems and algorithms for medical diagnostics
Dr RB Bond, Dr DD Finlay, Dr DH Glass

User Interaction Modeling for Adaptive Human-Computer Interaction
Dr L Galway, Dr RB Bond, Prof H Wang

Algorithms and methods for processing, visualizing and interpreting the ECG on mobile devices
Dr RB Bond, Dr DD Finlay

User-Centric Evaluation of Recommender Systems
Dr DH Glass, Dr J Moody, Dr RB Bond

Prevention of childhood obesity : Information and communication technology to support healthy lifestyle for preventing childhood obesity
Dr H Zheng, Dr RB Bond

Global Game Jam Roundup

It’s over, and it’s a new world record. Farset Labs has contributed to the Worlds Largest Game Jam, and everyone involved should be very proud of what they’ve accomplished in just 48 hours.

With 30 registered Jammers, 11 registered games (6 made it to submission, but that’s ok!), no-one can say that Northern Ireland doesn’t have the making of a solid creative industries foundation.

With people coming from all walks of life, experience, platforms, and passions, self-organized teams came together to work on what are major accomplishments, with a tight timescale and a vague theme (a heartbeat).

The games themselves ranged from platformers where your heart-rate is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the level, to location based assassination, built purely around the sound of a heartbeat (Murmur In The Park), or the brilliant game that had the theme slightly shoe-horned in, but a kinda 4-player bastardisation of QWOP (CardiRow) for rowers where two players team up to drive the two oars of a boat, against another two player in their own boat, where cooperation, communication, and coordination is required to beat the other team without blowing your heart out! There was also Heart Wars where two players competed to collect pieces of virus or cure to kill or save a patient, and Cardiac Castle which used an iPhone Camera to monitor the players heartrate, making the zombies chasing their avatar move faster as the player got more panicked!

It’s been an amazing experience, not just because of the attendees; we had the awesome Brendan Drain from Brain and Nerd call in over Skype to chat to the jammers, and discuss their game mechanics, future marketing possibilities, and generally having the craic, and we’ve had the wonderfully patient Niall Bole from our friends at QUB Dragonslayers in working on configuring the Ultimaker perfectly. (After we recover from this weekend, we’ll be getting peoples rewards out as soon as possible!

Lessons to the reader; sell tickets, don’t give them away. We had to turn away people asking for tickets towards the end because we had already over-allocated the space. In the end we only had a 68% turnout on the first night, dropping to the 30 / 50 that we ended up with on the second night. This mis-calculating effected our budgeting, scheduling, catering, and lots of other -ings, and while we try to be as inclusive as possible, in future events we will be adding a nominal fee for non-members, just to gauge a certain level of commitment so we can more efficiently spend ours and event sponsors money on the people who really want to be involved in what we’re doing here at Farset. Members will still be free though.

I’m getting fairly close to collapsing so I’m going to leave you with some snaps from the weekend, including our lovely 3D Printed Logo. I’ll close with a special thanks to the University of Ulster for kindly sponsoring this amazing event, and to Tibus for giving us more bandwidth than you could shake a stick at, and Davy Sims for the lend of more chairs, because we were still very slightly over subscribed….

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Farset Labs to Host Global Game Jam for New World Record-Breaking Event

The University of Ulster are kindly sponsoring refreshmets for the weekend to fuel the starving Jammers!
The University of Ulster are kindly sponsoring refreshments for the weekend to fuel the starving Jammers!

Here’s another first for the local tech community: Farset Labs is proud to announce becoming Belfast’s first and only official site for Global Game Jam, set this year for 25-27 January. This is the biggest event of its kind in the world and brings some big name sponsors like Microsoft, Facebook and GitHub. Farset will be open for the full 48-hour period, as each participant team competes to build a game in a weekend. The event is being hosted in conjunction with the University of Ulster Office of Innovation, who will be providing refreshments so entry will be free. Belfast’s hackerspace is calling out to all kinds of creative and technical people to take part, as game development brings together the likes of writers, artists, coders, character designers, production managers and many more roles.

Global Game Jam
Global Game Jam

Global Game Jam is essentially a hackathon, focused on games of all sorts, from full-scale console productions to mobile, web-based and embedded games, as well as non-digital productions like board and card games. Some will be frivolous, others developed for solid causes, such as social impact in the case of the Games For Change movement.  We expect some exciting announcements on the day from the sponsors and organisers as to what data and platforms they’re going to let us play with, and we have plans to put some mileage on our new 3D printer.

The first Global Game Jam was run in 2009. Last January, 242 locations in 47 countries created over 2,000 games in one weekend to become a Guinness World Record. But sites for this year’s event have already been registered in around 300 locations in over 60 countries, so your involvement will be part of a new world record. Farset’s Andrew Bolster is the official organiser for the event in Belfast and has been collaborating with other organisations to make it a special occasion.

As part of the Jam, participants (or ‘Jammers’) will have access to a range of materials provided by corporate sponsors. The details are on the GGJ page, but there are a few that deserve highlighting:

  • $100 credit on the Joyent high performance cloud, a perfect place to host your online games,
  • Corona Labs are giving away 3 months of it’s full Indie SDK, perfect for building and hosting mobile games and social applications,
  • Mixamo, the film-grade character animation suite with simple import and export to a range of applications including Blendr and Unity, are opening up loads of toolkits for Jammers,
  • YoYo Games are also giving away licenses to their GameMaker:Studio software for developing cross-platform mobile games, and finally
  • GitHub, the heart and soul of so many developers, are giving $70 credit to each location, and we’ll be putting it up as a ‘Peoples Choice’ prize on Sunday Evening

A few key considerations:

  • You don’t need any specific skills to participate, although having a coder in your team may prove useful.
  • You don’t need a team. In fact, the organisers discourage the formation of teams in advance, and suggest working that out at the time.
  • A secret theme will be announced at the start, by which all the games will be influenced.
  • Kick-off will be at 17:00 on 25 January. There will be video presentations from some big industry players to get everyone going.

So… maybe you’ll head down to Farset Labs to play your hand in a world event that is set to be a real game-changer.

Eventbrite - Flacknite - GlobalGameJam 2013