Train2Game News Esports not a sport

“Esports is not a sport, but a credible activity in its own right,” the British Esports Association has said.
Following last week’s reporting by the BBC – The State of Sport week – many listeners and readers have debated whether esports (electronic sports) is an actual sport or not.

Some have argued that esports should be classified as a sport partly because recognising it officially would grant it access to sports funding. However, esports is competitive video gaming: it is currently classified in the UK as a game (like chess and bridge) and not a sport.

The British Esports Association is also keen to emphasise that when done in moderation, esports can have positive cognitive, social and communicative benefits.

It can help to increase perceptual skills, decision making, reaction times and multitasking, and help stimulate brain growth. Playing and watching esports is very engaging to younger audiences, and esports is also a beneficial alternative to watching passive media like television.

Attempts have been made in the past to classify certain games, such as bridge, as a sport in the UK, and having learned from these experiences, the British Esports Association feels that the time is not right for such action for esports. Instead, we want to focus on educating the Government, media and general public on making sure esports gains the credibility it deserves and move away from the ‘esports isn’t a sport’ debate.

British Esports founder and CEO Chester King said: “I can see why there is a bit of confusion as millions of people play and watch esports; there are many professional teams, managers, coaches and tournaments. There is no international standard classification either as in some countries such as Poland, esports, chess and bridge are classified as sports.

“The ‘sport’ in esports may be misleading, but like traditional sports, competitive video gaming involves training, long-term dedication, determination, exceptional skills and reaction times, teamwork and coordination, and fun for all the spectators, casters, commentators and fans involved.”

In the UK, the British Esports Association positions esports as a modern mind game, celebrated at all levels of play which should not rival or replace traditional sports.

King added: “It’s time to get away from the ‘esports isn’t a sport’ debate and start realising esports’ true benefits and potential.

“Whether or not esports is or is not a sport does not change the fact that the esports industry has enormous creative potential. We must educate audiences to realise its benefits, such as gaining cyber skills and the many career paths it offers, like becoming a professional player, commentator, journalist, manager, or coach.”

Train2Game News BBC Three showing eSports in Wembley

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For the first time, BBC Three will be offering live coverage of the League of Legends World Championships live from Wembley. Beginning on Thursday 15 October, action from all four days of the quarter finals will be available online.

Coverage will be hosted by Radio 1 DJ and avid gamer Dev Griffin. Julia Hardy will be interviewing players and fans in the arena with gaming casters Leigh ‘Deman’ Smith and James ‘Stress’ O’Leary offering their expert commentary.

BBC Three and BBC Sport are teaming up to deliver all the action using the platform previously used for live sporting events and Glastonbury coverage, where live video, pre-recorded video, text, audio and social commentary can sit side by side.

Damian Kavanagh, Controller of BBC Three, says: “We jumped at the chance to collaborate with BBC Sport and bring this massive UK event to a wider audience. BBC Three will always experiment with new ways to deliver content that young people want, in ways they want. I think this is an exciting way to cover something millions of young Brits love, in a BBC Three way.”

Leigh ‘Deman’ Smith, commentator, says: “I’m delighted to be part of the BBC’s coverage at Wembley Arena. Worlds has been amazing so far and it’s great to see the BBC getting involved and raising awareness of esports in the UK.”

League Of Legends has over 27 million gamers playing the game every day, with over 70 million hours of last year’s championships watched by fans across the globe.

Train2Game News BBC micro:bit

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The BBC and partners today unveiled the BBC micro:bit – a pocket-sized, codeable computer that allows children to get creative with technology. In the BBC’s most ambitious education initiative for 30 years, up to 1 million devices will be given to every 11 or 12 year old child in year 7 or equivalent across the UK, for free.

In the 1980s, the BBC Micro introduced many children to computing for the first time. Part of the BBC’s 2015 Make it Digital initiative, the BBC micro:bit builds on the legacy of the Micro for the digital age, and aims to inspire young people to get creative with digital; develop core skills in science, technology and engineering; and unleash a new generation of digital makers, inventors and pioneers.

The UK currently faces a critical skills shortage in the technology sector, and the BBC and our partners aim to help change that.

Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC says: “Channelling the spirit of the Micro for the digital age, the BBC micro:bit will inspire a new generation in a defining moment for digital creativity here in the UK. All you need is your curiosity, creativity and imagination – we’ll provide the tools. This has the power to be transformative for the UK. The BBC is one of the few organisations in the world that could convene something on this scale, with such an unprecedented partnership at its core.”

The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer that you can code, customise and control to bring your digital ideas, games and apps to life. It measures 4cm by 5cm, will be available in a range of colours, and is designed to be fun and easy to use. Something simple can be coded in seconds – like lighting up its LEDs or displaying a pattern – with no prior knowledge of computing. All that’s needed is imagination and creativity.

The BBC micro:bit also connects to other devices, sensors, kits and objects, and is a great companion to Arduino, Galileo, Kano, littleBits and Raspberry Pi, acting as a spring-board to more complex learning.

Key features include:

    25 red LEDs to light up, flash messages, create games and invent digital stories

    Two programmable buttons activated when pressed. Use the micro:bit as a games controller. Pause or skip songs on a playlist.

    On-board motion detector or ‘accelerometer’ that can detect movement and tell other devices you’re on the go. Featured actions include shake, tilt and freefall. Turn the micro:bit into a spirit level. Light it up when something is moved. Use it for motion-activated games.

    A built-in compass or ‘magnetometer’ to sense which direction you’re facing, your movement in degrees, and where you are. Includes an in-built magnet, and can sense certain types of metal.

    Bluetooth Smart Technology to connect to the internet and interact with the world around you. Connect the micro:bit to other micro:bits, devices, kits, phones, tablets, cameras and everyday objects all around. Share creations or join forces to create multi-micro:bit masterpieces. Take a selfie. Pause a DVD or control your playlist. 

    Five Input and Output (I/O) rings to connect the micro:bit to devices or sensors using crocodile clips or 4mm banana plugs. Use the micro:bit to send commands to and from the rings, to power devices like robots and motors.

Each element of the BBC micro:bit is completely programmable via easy-to-use software on a dedicated website (available later in the summer at microbit.co.uk) that can be accessed from a PC, tablet or mobile. Your personal area on the website will allow you to save and test your creations in a simulator before they are transferred to your micro:bit, and the available tools scale to be as complex as your ideas, imagination and skills require.

Sinead Rocks, Head of BBC Learning, says: “We happily give children paint brushes when they’re young, with no experience – it should be exactly the same with technology. The BBC micro:bit is all about young people learning to express themselves digitally, and it’s their device to own. It’s our most ambitious education initiative for 30 years. And as the micro:bit is able to connect to everything from mobile phones to plant pots and Raspberry Pis, this could be for the internet-of-things what the BBC Micro was to the British gaming industry.”

The micro:bit was first conceived by BBC Learning in 2012, and initially developed together with the BBC’s award-winning R&D department. The scale and scope of this unique initiative has only been made possible by an unprecedented collaboration between 29 international organisations, pioneering start-ups and transformative education organisations.

The BBC is the overall editorial and project lead for the micro:bit, coordinating the partnership, micro:bit development and delivery, learning resources and on-air and online inspiration for teachers, schools and makers across the UK.

Product partners include:

    ARM – providing mbed hardware, software development kits and compiler services
    Barclays – supporting overall product delivery and outreach activities
    element14 – sourcing components and managing the manufacturing
    Freescale – supplying the sensors and USB controllers
    Lancaster University – creating and writing the micro:bit runtime
    Microsoft – providing the TouchDevelop web-based programming tools and hosting service as well as teacher-training materials
    Nordic Semiconductor – supplying the main processor and enabled Bluetooth Smart
    Samsung – connecting the BBC micro:bit to phones and tablets, and developing the Android app
    ScienceScope – distributing to schools and developing the iOS app
    Technology Will Save Us – designing the shape, look and feel of the device
    The Wellcome Trust – providing learning opportunities for teachers and schools

Fundamental to the success of the BBC micro:bit, the BBC and partners will be working closely with teachers, educators and schools over the summer to ensure that resources, information and support are available in advance of micro:bit distribution this autumn, supporting the curriculum. BBC Learning will also provide resources including Live Lessons, getting started videos, projects and tutorials.

The BBC micro:bit will start to arrive in schools in late October, giving children a chance to settle into new schools, and teachers the opportunity to build this into lesson plans for the rest of the academic year.

The BBC micro:bit initiative aims to make a huge impact in 2015 with the BBC and its partners committed providing up to 1 million micro:bits before the end of the year. And it won’t stop there. The technical specifications for the device will be open-sourced, and the partnership plans to collectively develop a not-for-profit company to oversee and drive the micro:bit legacy. This will enable additional micro:bits to be made commercially available in the UK and internationally through various outlets in late 2015.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/microbit

Train2Game News Train2Game launch new online radio channel

Train2GameA new radio channel created by Train2Game is best described as: Inspirational, Informative and Advisory. Train2Game Radio brings you voices from both the Games Industry and it Students.

The new radio station has been created to guide those already on the course and tell others more about the company. The channel hosts material created by the Train2Game team but also other programmes featuring Train2Game from commercial and public radio.

It features radio programmes from many renowned individuals and organisations, shows include: City and Guilds say Train2Game are doing it PROPERLY, CNS Group coaching Train2Game Students LIVE, JuiceFM Mike Gamble from Epic on Train2Game, Microsoft’s Andy McCartney Future of Gaming and shows from the BBC.

Hear more at the newly launched channel at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/train2game-radio

You can view the programmes in the file below

Train2Game News: Train2Game interviews Rancon

RanconHarry Cole and some Train2Game students were joined by Rancon studios this morning in an informative interview.

They were joined by Matt – Technical Lead, James – Gaming Technical Lead and Dan Cook – Creative Director who discussed: How to get paid clients, working with ITV and The BBC, types of clients, the team’s project management techniques and advise to becoming a professional developer.

The Train2Game students who were involved in the interview had the following to say:

Muir: “Good advice. I’ve really enjoyed this interview. Lots of good advice, information, ideas. This is the third interview I’ve been part of I think. It’s my favourite one so far. Thank you.”

Richard: “Excellent advice. Was insightful being part of the interview. The student questions and response to them were enlightening. An hour of the day very well spent. Hosted well and Rancon were most informative.”

Lee Sainsbury: “Indeed the information was invaluable.”

You can listen to the interview in the link below:

http://www.spreaker.com/user/train2gamestudentradio/rancon-coaching-train2game-students

The board that is mentioned in the interview can be viewed below:
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You can find out more about Rancon by visiting www.rancon.co.uk

Train2Game News: Cyber psychologist talks about game addiction

gamerA cyber psychologist has called on the developers of massively multiplayer online role-playing games to help prevent addiction by tweaking their design.

Dr Zaheer Hussain, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Derby, called on MMORPG designers to look into the structure of their games, and suggested shortening long quests. The recommendation was made in “Social responsibility in online videogaming: What should the videogame industry do?”, a new study authored by Dr Hussain, Dr Shumaila Yousafzai from the Cardiff Business School and Professor Mark Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University and director of the International Gaming Research Unit.

The study said some gamers play up to 90 hours a session, developing a “pathological” addiction. A distinction was made between video games with an ending and MMORPGs, which do not. The researchers said around seven to 11 per cent of players were considered “pathological” gamers.

Dr Hussain said: “As a first step online game developers and publishers need to look into the structural features of the game design, for example the character development, rapid absorption rate, and multiplayer features which could make them addictive and or problematic for some gamers.

“One idea could be to shorten long quests to minimise the time spent in the game obtaining a certain prized item.”

In a BBC report, UKIE boss Dr Jo Twist responded to the study, saying: “There is no medical diagnosis of game addiction but like anything enjoyable in life, some people play games excessively.”

This is not the first time Video Game addicition has been in the news but it is the same as anything enjoyable. People will use it to escape their own lives.

I, personally, don’t believe any blame can be placed on the developers as the majority don’t spend 90+ hours playing these games non stop. It is down to the individual to control themselves and have a healthy balance in their life.

Train2Game News: Fiona Stewart radio transcript

Fiona Stewart spoke to BBC Radio Leeds recently. You can listen to the interview in the link below or read the following transcript.

http://audioboo.fm/boos/1049459-train2game-student-fee-stewart-on-bbc-radio-leeds-8-november

So what to do then if you are a talented budding artist but you hate the smell of paint? Well our next guest has just the answer you decide to start drawing art work for computer games and use a PC as your easel and brush. Fiona Stewart from Holmfirth has become so successful at this that the biggest company in the world has given her financial backing. Hi Fiona

Hello

What happened was it a sudden hatred of paint or had you always had it?

No, after I had the children it became more difficult obviously, with three kids running around the house and the paint drying and things like that, the smell and everything became more and more difficult as the kids were starting to grow up.

And it’s not a natural move then for someone who creates with a canvas say, to someone who designs games. How did that transition happen?

Well a friend of mine made 3D models and she asked if I could texture for her because that’s more sort of drawing and I started doing that then decided I actually wanted to make the 3D models as well and do the whole process.

How fascinating. What sort of things do you actually design now then, what do you work on?

Well I work on video games now, so we make apps, console games, games for 3DS and Android phones things like that.

So does it feel like art in the way it did perhaps pre-kids, when you were doing what most people listening to us would consider conventional art?

I actually think its more artistic. If you look at video games and things, the amount of art work thats in it is a good proportion of the actual game its self. I feel more that I’m contributing in an artistic way perhaps more than I did when I was doing it on canvas.

Of course, probably our best known Bradford artist, David Hockney he does so much of his work on the iPad now, doesn’t he?

Yes he does, yeah.

What about this backing from Microsoft then, how did that come about?

Well I met with Microsoft and showed them the game we have been making from the beginning of January. We did a Game Jam up in Scotland and won various awards and got BAFTA nominated for the New Challenge Award. So I showed him the game and he was very interested in it and it would make a very nice game on the Windows 8 mobile platform. He thought we would do very well, so he has been helping us

That’s rather nice and probably rather different from what most struggling artists experience in terms of funding supplies.

Yes, we have been very lucky really in so much that Microsoft have given us BitSpark programme, which is £30,000 worth of software that we can use and integrate throughout the whole of the team so that we are all using the same platform and various talks with other start ups which is very helpful as a start up.

Well good luck, it’s not the easiest of climates to be heading into any sort of start up business. Can I just ask you finally, do you miss the traditional art stuff or do you ever dabble occasionally?

It’s becoming more and more rare that I do because doing it digitally it’s there instantly, I don’t have to wait for any paints to dry. I am still being incredibly artistic but not having to wait around for things to dry.

Fascinating Fiona, really good to speak to you thanks for your time this afternoon. Fiona Stewart from Holmfirth on BBC Radio Leeds.

 

Fiona was also featured in develop magazine and you can read that in the link below.

Develop Magazine

Very well done Fiona! Good luck with everything.

Train2Game News: Dan Gent on BBC Radio

A teenager from Alferton who is paralysed from the shoulders down after a car accident is now fulfilling his dream to be a games designer. 17 year old Daniel Gent has been Tetraplegic for nearly 3 years but with a lot of determination and the help of voice recognition technology he is following a distance learning programme through Train2Game and is already making his own games.

BBC Radio Derby’s Emma Wotts went to meet Daniel and he told her how difficult life was after the accident.

Daniel: My thoughts in my head for the first 6 months weren’t that great. I wasn’t myself, I didn’t know what my future was. It was hard to decide after my accident. I could feel more now than I could before but at the time I didn’t really see a future. Breaking my neck in three places made me think it would be impossible. Meeting people with similar injuries and how they carried on and how they were getting on with their life made me want to push towards something and carry on with my family. Not living off the Government but supply, supporting and giving my family what they need.

 

Emma: What do you think that turning point was? What was that moment when you thought, I need to do something?

Daniel: It was more when I was first introduced to my daughter at the time when my partner was pregnant I didn’t really see a future, I couldn’t see myself as being a father. I didn’t really want her to have a Dad that was, as I am paralysed from the neck down. When I first met her it kinda changed everything, I wanted to be the dad that every dad wants to be.

 

Emma: And hopefully now you will be able to earn money or be able to provide for your family. How important is this to you?

Daniel: It’s going to change a lot of things, I get quite a lot of depression and feeling down but when these things happen such as the game jam when I went to that it changes a lot of your perspectives on life and it just made me want to carry on doing what I am doing. I just see it as a dream working with certain people such as Microsoft and meeting the people I did. It never would of happened without Train2Game.

 

Emma: How do you feel now about the future?

Daniel: Now I see it being a lot brighter and a lot more doors are opening from all wider areas, it’s going to change a lot of things. I can see my future well worth staying around for. I can just say it has given me a reason to carry on.

 

Emma: What would you say to anyone else who has been through what you have who thought they wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything in the future. Someone who’s really down about their life as you did just 3 years ago. What would you say to them?

Daniel: Whether you are disabled or if you suffer from depression you are going to go through a lot of doors and sometimes it isn’t going to be what you want but you will find that right door and everything is going to open up and you’ll see the future is a lot different. It’s not going to come to you naturally. You aren’t going to wake up in the morning and it’s going to be there. You’ve got to go out there and grab it as you can. I would say volunteering for anything you can just to get yourself motivated and take your mind off things. I found that a lot more useful, being active and going out more. If you are inside then that is where it is mostly going to depress you. Life is not going to be easy but you can make it easy.

Broadcast on BBC Radio Derby 18 October 2012 – audio available via http://audioboo.fm/train2game

www.train2game.com

 

Train2Game News: Steam, Amazon, Google, BBC and more added to Develop line-up

Steam, Amazon, Google and the BBC have been added to at next week’s Develop Conference line-up.

Lionhead Studios and SCEE are also among the final speakers confirmed for the packed schedule of events which take place in Brighton from Tuesday 10th to Thursday 12th July.

“We’re very excited to announce speakers from Amazon, Google and BBC Worldwide, which further display both the increasing convergence between games and TV and the rise of digital distribution,” said managing director, Tandem Events managing director Andy Lane.

“The fact that the Develop Conference draws names from global entertainment giants such as these is also testament to the investment we have made over the last seven years to continually evolve this conference to ensure it always meets the knowledge, networking and business requirements of today’s games developers in Europe.” he added.

Other keynote sessions at Develop include talks from games industry veterans David Perry, Ian Livingstone, Philip Oliver and David Braben who’ll all speak as part of the conference’s Visionaries track.

The Train2Game Blog will be at Develop in Brighton bringing you as much news as possible! There’s more about Develop Conference here on The Train2Game Blog.

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game feature: Why Baroness Susan Greenfield’s views on video games are ill-informed

Train2Game students may have seen this BBC debate last week, based around Neuroscientist Baroness Greenfield’s theory that people who play a lot of video games can have an increase in “aggression and recklessness”

Appearing on the BBC’s Daily Politics show, Greenfield was given a platform to air her views, which she herself admitted could be construed as biased…not a good way to start the basis of an argument.

“There’s an increase in aggression, increase in recklessness, high levels of arousal, decreases in pro-social behaviour. Of course this paper itself has been critiqued as biased, but that is the nature of scientific evidence, it’s very rarely the killer paper, the conclusive paper.” said the Baroness.

“As a neuroscientist, it is a given that the brain adapts to the environment, the human brain is exquisitely evolved, more than any other species, to adapt to wherever it is placed.” she continued.

“It is a given that if the environment shifts to a two dimension world, with only hearing and vision being accessed, it is a given that the brain will change. Most people accept this. The big question is it good or bad? What do we want to do about it? Lets try and unpack the important issues that come from that. But no one will dispute the plastivity of the brain.”

It’s certainly a strange point the Baroness makes. Her argument is that people change when left in a ‘two dimensional world,’ which despite here being applied to playing video games, could count towards anything: watching TV, watching a film, or even reading a book. The implication is that people who spend all their time alone playing video games will have their brains altered. If this did indeed turn out to be the case, then why isn’t Greenfield focusing the same attention on other entertainment mediums?

It was at this point in the debate that The Telegraph’s Tom Chivers attempted to add balance to the debate, but he was, arguably unfairly, cut off before Baroness Greenfield went back to speaking.

“Let’s think of two separate things. One is the anecdotal evidence, and frankly, I’ve yet to meet a parent that says ‘Do you know, it’s great that my kid spends so much time on the computer’ that’s the first thing.” she said on the BBC.  

Firstly, the use of anecdotes is hardly the sort of evidence a scientist should be using to draw conclusions, and secondly, it’s a real shame that Greenfield appears to use the debate to jump on the ‘video games are no good for children’ bandwagon.

As previously reported by the Train2Game blog, there’s evidence out there that games do help children with learning.  In this video presentation, Gabe Zichermann discusses how the use of video games and game mechanics can improve everyday life, be it learning in schools, or training in the work place.  Indeed, just lack week the Train2Game blog examined games as a learning tool in this post about the Serious Games Expo.  One particular game, Ludomedic, is an educational game for children in hospital. It’s unlikely that it’s going to cause children to become aggressive.

Of course, Ludomedic is hardly Call of Duty, but if game ratings were properly adhered to my parents, children wouldn’t be playing the 18 rated Modern Warfare 3.

Moving on from anecdotal ‘evidence’, Greenfield goes onto state that children are spending more time in front of screens. This doesn’t just include video games, but also watching TV, surfing the internet and so on.

“Second, are the statistics that are coming out. For example, a recent study in the states showed that between a child’s thirteenth and seventeenth birthdays, over half of them were spending 30 plus hours in front of a screen outside of school.” said the Baroness.

“That’s at least five hours a day not giving someone a hug, not looking someone in the eye, not talking to friends, not walking along a beach, not feeling the sun on your face. That’s the first thing.”

For starters, spending time playing games is far from the old stereotype of someone locked away in a darkened room not talking to anyone. People speak to each other online, be it talking to friends over a Call of Duty session on Xbox Live, chatting with a World of Warcraft guild, or even Train2Game students communicating with each other on the Train2Game forum.

Secondly, Greenfield’s argument that it’s time not doing other things doesn’t make much sense. No matter what a person does, it’ll be taking time away from doing something else. Going to the cinema? Well, you won’t have the sun on your face then. Are you driving somewhere? Well, you’re not giving anyone a hug.  Coming from a scientist, who we already know has an agenda against video games, it just doesn’t make sense.

Chivers once again tried to stick up for video games and the people who played them before once again being cut off by Greenfield, shortly before the debate finished. If you can call it a debate, because it hardly seemed balanced with Baroness Greenfield getting plenty of time to talk about her views while Mr. Chivers seemingly was a second thought throughout the debate.

The piece generally perceives video games and the people who play them in a negative light, something that Train2Game students and those in the wider games industry will surely object to because despite her scientific background, Baroness Greenfield doesn’t actually offer any conclusive evidence here. She doesn’t cite sources, she uses anecdotes and makes crass generalisations about the lives of people who play games.

As evident on the Train2Game forum, and throughout the Train2Game blog, the games industry is full of dynamic, creative, social people, none of whom appear to be made reckless or aggressive by the games they help produce.

Perhaps one day there will be a debate on the BBC about the benefits of playing computer games, but so long as people like Baroness Greenfield are producing reports with an anti-games agenda, it seems it won’t happen.

Stick to the Train2Game blog for more positive news about video games.

What are your thoughts? Leave them here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.