Train2Game News Oculus Rift researched with Children

Oculus RiftGood news for Oculus VR and Facebook as new research from Dubit shows kids not only love to use Oculus Rift but they want to see it used in schools and other areas outside of gaming.

They are some of the findings from research recently carried out by youth research and digital entertainment agency, Dubit, and virtual reality consultancy KZero into children’s experiences of, and expectations for Oculus Rift – the virtual reality headset created by Oculus VR, which was acquired by Facebook for $2bn in March this year.

Dubit’s work was carried out with 12 children aged between seven and 12 years-of-age. All 12 played a variety of games using the headset (first development kit version) before working together in pairs to explain their feelings and reactions towards the technology.

Dubit’s head of research, Peter Robinson led the groups. Commenting on the children’s experiences he said: “The overarching message from our sessions is that children love using Oculus Rift and felt immersed in the games in ways they’ve never felt before! Comments along the lines of it being the best way to play games were common. Oculus VR may not see children as their core market but there’s no doubting the device’s potential popularity with kids.”

Robinson continued: “We were glad to see that none of the children in our groups felt dizzy or ill after using the headset; the only usability issues occurred when the children had to move their heads to look down and found the headset heavy. A couple of the younger children also reported fitting issues with the head-straps. With lighter headsets on the way we don’t see Oculus Rift causing many usability issues for young wearers.”

Since Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR there has been much discussion around the technology’s application outside of gaming. This was also covered in the research with Robinson saying: “Without prompting all children said they thought virtual reality would be great in their schools. They thought it would make lessons more interesting and allow them to take ‘virtual field tips’. But they wanted to do more than just visit new places; they wanted to go back in time and interact with people, like the Captain of the Titanic or people living in Tudor England and get their views on history. They were more interested about exploring history than changing it through gaming.

“We also found that children placed great emphasis on exploration – a trait they wanted to see in all games, not just educational experiences.”

Bearing in mind the age of the children Robinson didn’t find it surprising to hear them suggest that Minecraft would be great on Oculus Rift: ”It’s striking how much of an impact Minecraft has had on children’s gaming expectations. While most of the children wanted to see Oculus Rift used in first-person-shooter games like Call of Duty – yes, even the young ones – it was games that allowed them to explore, like Skyrim, or create their own content, Minecraft, that came up time and time again as being great fits for virtual reality. We didn’t have the heart to tell them that Notch had refused to bring his game to the system due to the Facebook acquisition – maybe now he’ll reconsider.”

During Dubit’s tests the children controlled the games using either head movements, an Xbox control pad or keyboard and mouse. Robinson said: “Xbox pads were the most familiar to the children and the preferred control method, unless the games were meant to be passive, like the rollercoaster simulator, in these cases they were happy to have no control. In most cases the children wanted even greater immersion and suggested peripherals such as steering wheels would make the experience feel even more realistic. Kinect was suggested so the game could track the player’s movements. The consensus was that an innovative device like the Oculus Rift needed an innovative method of control.

“While we understand that it won’t be children buying this technology with their pocket money it’s still interesting to see how much they think it will cost. It can also help us understand whether they see it as better or worse than current technology.
“While there was quite a swing between estimates the average price suggested by the children was £430, quite a lot higher than we expected. To gauge their ability to estimate such costs we asked them to guess the price of existing technology like games consoles, mobile devices and TVs. In all cases, except for the TV, their average estimates were within £50 of the correct price, showing they have a good idea of tech costs.”

These focus groups are the first in a number of internal research projects being carried out by Dubit on the new technology. The company also comprises of a games development studio, creating virtual worlds for the likes of BBC Worldwide, Cartoon Network and PBS KIDS. Their work in virtual reality began with their first virtual world for Oculus Rift, Fairy Forest. Over the next six months the agency is will publish further work, this time with the University of Sheffield, that looks to provide understanding of how children engage with entertainment across devices and platforms.

Train2Game News Meet the Students

Train2GameWhilst at the 2014 Train2Game Game Jam there were several students who got interviewed about their time with Train2Game.

You can now view the students opinions in the document below! Enjoy what the Train2Game students had to say.

Train2Game News Humble Bundle supporting SpecialEffect

SpecialEffectThis weeks Humble Bundle sale is supporting the great team at SpecialEffect to help advance the great work they do.

This sale is brought to you by Devolver Digital, purveyors of fine digital entertainment wares such as Broforce and Hotline Miami! Each title has been hand selected by the Devolver team as games outside of their roster, save for Dungeon Hearts and Foul Play, that they enjoy playing and want other folks to check out! Pay what you want to enjoy the fast-paced, strategic action-puzzler, Dungeon Hearts, the quirky Western action adventure game, The Real Texas, and a retro-inspired album of games, Cryptic Sea EP.

If you’re feeling generous, pay $6 or more to also receive side-scrolling brawler, Foul Play, get in on the randomly-generated, action RPG beat-‘em-up, Legend of Dungeon, and the claustrophobic quick-reflex game, KRUNCH Digital Collector’s Edition. Paying $10 or more will get you all of the titles above plus fast-paced, “rogue-lite,” bullet-hell Tower of Guns.

These games seperately would cost you just under $100 but with the humble bundle paying $10 will get you the lot.

You can purchase the bundle by visiting https://www.humblebundle.com/weekly

The money raised will go to SpecialEffect to helping them with cases like Rob who you can view in the heart warming video below.

Train2Game News Stand Up For GamesAid success

Imran YusufFor the second year running, Stand Up for GamesAid has played host to a completely sold out house at London’s Comedy Store.

GamesAid Patron and emcee for the Monday night event, Imran Yusuf, pulled together a stellar line up of comic talent, all of whom donated their time and talent for free. Although the evening is all about laughs, Stand Up for GamesAid has now become a serious event on the GamesAid calendar  – selling out for two years running, and raising over £9000 this year.

“On behalf of GamesAid and all the charities we support I’d like to offer our heartfelt thanks the amazing performers who made the night so successful” said Imran. “To Susan Calman, Kev Orkian, Ola, Paul Thorne, Holly Walsh, Jarred Christmas, Paul Tonkinson I take my hat off to you all for a top evening’s entertainment!” He went on to add: “Kudos should go to Ellie Gibson, Eurogamer’s Associate Features Editor, who made her debut at the Comedy Store to a fantastic reception from the packed crowd.”

Fundraising efforts were greatly supported by the event’s sponsors – PlayStation UK who signed up to take the role of Premium Event and Exclusive Bar Partner and Bossa Studios who were Event Partner.

Imran Yusuf, thanked both sponsors and added “it’s important to remember that GamesAid is manned wholly by volunteers with all monies raised ploughed back into the charities for the benefit of the kids and young people that they support. As a result, sponsorship is a serious matter on a night of comedy, as it hugely helps GamesAid’s ability to raise more funds.”

GamesAid is a UK-based video games charity which acts as an umbrella to support a number of smaller charities who help disadvantaged and disabled children and young people. It is wholly run by volunteers.

Imran Yusuf and the GamesAid volunteers are now planning a similar event in Manchester’s Comedy Store this autumn, taking the Stand Up tour to a brand new audience.  Further details and line-up will be confirmed closer to the time.

Train2Game News the BBC reports UK games developers get cash boost

Great news for Train2Game students and studios as the UK’s game industry could get a £188m boost as the European Commission approves tax relief measures for developers.

The price tag was drawn up by games industry body TIGA, one of the awarding bodies of Train2Game, which has helped lobby for the relief scheme.

Under the policy, games makers will be able to claim discounts on up to 25% of a game’s production costs.

The full story as published by the BBC via:

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26768790

 

Train2Game News Stand Up For Games Aid 2014

Imran YusufStand Up For Games Aid, the live comedy night attended by games industry professionals and fans, will return to London this April following a successful launch last year.

The show, hosted by comedian and former Eidos man Imran Yusuf, features a string of established acts and rising talent including Eurogamer journalist Ellie Gibson. The debut event last year mixed games humour with routine acts in front of a packed crowd of about 400 people.

Tickets cost £12.50 and proceeds go to GamesAid – a charity that helps disadvantaged and disabled children in numerous ways, often by creating more accessible game technologies for those who cannot use conventional control inputs.

Stand Up For Games Aid takes place on Monday, April 14. Additional acts include Paul Tonkinson, Jarred Christmas, Holly Walsh, Paul Thorne, Ola, Susan Calman and Kev Orkian.

Tickets can be bought on The Comedy Story Store website.

Train2Game News SpecialEffect nominated for awards

SpecialEffectThe games charity, SpecialEffect, are up for a couple of awards at the GamesIndustry International Innovation Awards.

The awards are being held by GamesIndustry.biz and there are numerous categories to vote in. SpecialEffect are up for the award in Innovation in Technology for their work constantly breaking new technological ground with one-off machines to bring the joy of gaming back into their lives.

They are also up for the award of Innovation in Social Responsibility. This prize celebrates those companies who choose to give something back to their communities and society at large. SpecialEffect is a prime example of giving back to the gaming community as they are always working on new ways of helping those in need.

Those who win will be presented with a trophy at an award ceremony at GameHorizon in Newcastle, England on May 7, 2014.

To see a full list of the nominations and to cast your vote visit http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2015-03-10-gamesindustry-innovation-awards-vote-now

Train2Game News Game to help cope with ADHD

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The holy grail of educational gaming is to make a game that educates yet also is as fun as an entertainment game. AdapTac Games believes they have achieved the holy grail of educational gaming with their Intergalactic Aetherial Hurtle: ADHD Skills Booster Game.

This action/strategy single player racing game iPad app is based on standard executive skills function and behavioral therapy strategies built into a game designed like an entertainment game, surpassing basic mind puzzles or mini-math challenges.  In the game, players study specs on available car parts and characters, plan which parts and characters to select, compete for car parts, build and race their car (players control acceleration and braking). Players compete against 3 NPC teams while sticking to their time limit and avoiding distractors like the Trickster. Skill in key areas like attention and strategy is shown on the dashboard, which displays both per game scores and overall averages so players can see how they are improving.

Why though is this game needed? CEO and Founder, Candice M. Hughes, PhD, MBA, neuroscientist, mom and serial entrepreneur struggled to find ways to help her family cope with ADHD. Shockingly, she discovered that while medications are available for the condition, up to 64% of kids with ADHD either discontinued or would not take them due to high cost, side effects and other concerns. (AdapTac does not endorse changing medications without consulting a physician.) After surveying other families living with ADHD and finding that all wanted a different solution, she developed her own non-medical solution by founding AdapTac Games, which has already completed nearly half of the first game to improve attention and planning through skills training in teens with ADHD. An Indiegogo campaign, which has consistently been in the “Most Popular” under gaming since launch continues through April 4 to build remaining portion of the game as well as to improve the graphics and gameplay on the initial portion of the game at http://igg.me/at/adaptacgames.

AdapTac Games takes pride in working with women programmers through a collaboration with Mount Holyoke College, Dr. Hughes’ alma mater. The firm is also proud to be part of the growing games for good movement, which encourages social improvement through games. In 2013, AdapTac Games was named a 2013 Tech Company to Watch by Connecticut Innovations, received and Entrepreneur Innovation Award in 2014 and Dr. Hughes is a Women of Innovation Entrepreneur finalist.

For more information and campaign updates visit AdapTac’s website

Train2Game News Future T Gaming looking for staff

Train2GameTrain2Game student, Ed Turrall, is looking for other Train2Game students to join his student studio, Future T Gaming, to work on an interesting idea.

Ed is looking for voluntary Students who have a year or two experience on the course in their respective field. He has a big idea and wants students who would be committed and skilled enough to bring the idea to fruition.

The main objective of the game is to conquer and occupy a new and uninhabited planet in a solar system far away from Earth. The plan once you reach this planet is to make sure you have the necessary resources for your crew and passengers. You start by building Greenhouse buildings where you can then plant food and start working on the atmosphere of the planet.

The way you build and plant objects will depend on what level you are which basically means you can do as much as you want as things will be cheap and sell for a lot. For example, you plant and harvest Oranges or Apples, these will cost you around 5cc (colony coins) to plant but will sell for 20cc and also give you 50exp.

Ed said, “The game idea I have is to make a game like all of these farming games, which are nice, but seem too boring after a certain level is reached. What I want to do is change this way of gaming and bring a new kick into the era of farming games.”

There are a number of positions available for all areas of games development.

If you are interested in joining Ed and Future T Gaming, visit http://beta.train2game-online.com/teams/team.php?id=106&fb_source=message to find out more about the game and to get in touch with him.

You can email Ed with your CV and Portfolio at mail@edwardturrall.co.uk

Train2Game News: Student taking part in GameBlast

Ritchie DemicolSpecialEffect’s GameBlast charity event launches tomorrow and Train2Game student, Ritchie Demicol is taking part.

Ritchie, who has been a Train2Game student since February last year, will be playing the infamously difficult Dark Souls for 24 hours straight. This will be no easy task with the games frustrating difficulty level.

When asked why Ritchie decided to take part in the event he said “I decided to take part because I know it’s going to a great cause who design games and hardware for young children and adults who struggle to play video games due to certain disabilities. It will be a great help to those who can’t use move their body and have to use their eyes to control the game”

Ritchie begins his 24 hour marathon tomorrow and if you would like to support him and SpecialEffect you can donate by visiting http://www.justgiving.com/Ritchie-Demicol

Good luck Ritchie, you are supporting a fantastic charity!