Train2Game News VR World Congress in Bristol

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The UK’s largest VR event VR World Congress will be held in Bristol, UK, on 12th April 2016.

This year, the UK is set to stage its largest ever VR event as organisers Opposable VR announce the VR World Congress – http://vrworldcongress.com/.

Featuring two talk tracks and a diverse expo, the VR World Congress will host 600 leading developers, innovators, exhibitors, and speakers. Supported by headline sponsor AMD, attendees can expect to meet high profile experts in the industry alongside intriguing up-and-coming names for the future.

VR World Congress organiser Dan Page from Opposable VR said: “It’s great to finally announce our new conference. The overwhelming success of our South West VR conference (SWVR) last year inspired us to think bigger and better for 2016. We’re proud to be bringing some seriously awesome key names and brands in VR from around the globe to Bristol, the hub of VR development in the UK.”

There will be two talk tracks; a Main Track focusing on key players in the VR industry, and a Tech Track designed for developers and hardcore VR enthusiasts. Speakers already confirmed include James Valls from Rebellion, David Fernádez Huerta from ‘Land’s End’ and ‘Monument Valley’ developer ustwo, Paul Deane from the BBC, and AMD’s Roy Taylor, The Third Floor, and Lloyd Digital, with more to be announced soon – for the full list of speakers, visit the VR World Congress website – http://vrworldcongress.com/speakers/speakers/

The VR World Congress will have a dedicated expo space, with exhibitors including nDreams with ‘The Assembly’, Frontier Developments exhibiting ‘Elite: Dangerous’, Block Interval who will be showing the first 7 minutes of their forthcoming adventure game ‘Life of Lon’ on the Oculus Rift DK2, and StarShip who will be showcasing vTime; the VR sociable network that allows anyone, anywhere to socialise with family and friends in virtual reality. See the full VRWC expo line up here -> http://vrworldcongress.com/expo/exhibitors/

Tickets are on sale NOW (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/vr-world-congress-tickets-19277355088 ). The VR World Congress will take place on Tuesday, 12 April 2016 from 09:00 to 17:00 at the Bristol Marriott City Centre, UK.

Train2Game News Rumpus Animation hit Kickstarter goal

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Studio with working Train2Game student get last minute surge of investment to reach target

Train2Game student Leah Panigada and her team successfully raise funding for comedy point-and-click sequel Bertram Fiddle. Rumpus Animation is based in Bristol and Leah is a full time employee at the company alongside studying with Train2Game. The Kickstarter went down to the wire, achieving its £25,000 target with one day to spare, the total now sits at over £28,000.

Train2Game spoke to Leah to find out more about her studies, Rumpus Animation and what’s next now the Kickstarter is complete.

Leah Panigada, Rumpus Animation and Train2Game: ‘I am currently a Train2Game student. I have been for a year and a half. It can be quite difficult as I am currently on the design course. I’m a 2D digital artist so find the 3D things quite different to what I’m used to! I most defiantly feel my experience with Train2Game has been positive. Although it’s a struggle to learn a new art form I feel like it’s all worth knowing. The Train2Game courses are very thorough and are very good at keeping you up to date on the latest changes to the industry. I’m the only person on my team at work that is studying Train2Game although my best friend is also taking a Train2Game course. She is taking the coding side and we hope to make some small app games in the future.’

‘Rumpus animation is owned by Joe Wood and Seb Burnett. They founded it in 2011 and have been creating animation for the BBC, CBBC, GOOGLE JAPAN, AARDMAN, as well as plenty of one off projects from loads of different clients. About two years ago Seb and Joe decided to pitch Bertram Fiddle as a point and click adventure game. Safe to say that the whole studio is VERY excited to make the turn from an animation company to a game and animation company!’

‘The Bristol development scene is thriving! The Bristol Games Hub is a community of gamers, game developers and game publishers all under one roof! They really support each other and have regular meet ups for other game developers in the area. It’s refreshing to see so many unique and interesting new games and ideas being made. Link to their site is here: http://bristolgameshub.com/

‘Our team is actually very young. Our producer, Elise Townsend  – Who is newest on our team is the youngest at 22. Dan Emmerson and I are 23 to 24. Seb and Joe are in their 30s. I was only just starting work experience with Rumpus when Bertram Fiddle one was starting up but they still accepted me as part of the team. I was still learning loads about animation and how to set animation up for games. Now I’m a full time member of the studio and the second game is going to start soon! So yes I have been here while the first game was released. Let’s hope it’s the same for the second!

‘Bertram Fiddle 2: A Bleaker Predicklement is the sequel to our first game. In this new adventure Bertram Finds himself framed for a murdering he did not commit. We plan to make this game Puzzlier, Punnier and more perplexing than ever! It’s a story-based comedy point and click adventure game set in Victorian London. We are planning to put a lot of weird new characters in this one inspired by Victorian Novels, HammerHorror and Lovecraft. Episode 1 was featured on the app store and received ‘The Best Narrative’ award from Tokyo indie fest, 2015.’

‘There’s some great humour in there. Seb is the creator and writer of all the jokes and story in the game. The bizarreness of it really makes it fun to work on everyday! You never know if you’ll be designing a werewolf or animating a Fish-man! I think it’s a great game for kids but also brilliant for the more mature audience. In a sense we have drawn inspiration from many different places! Like Gavin the Cyclops from Mythology, – Count Fulchmuckle – who has red eyes and a taste for ‘exotic’ things. We also have Lady Ravisham from Charles Dickens – Great expectations, and Geoff the murderer from any old school murder Mystery!’

‘I feel that the first games was received really well. Nearly all the feedback we got was positive and complimented the humour and look of the game. Some people felt that the puzzles weren’t difficult enough which is something we really want to work on with the second game. Other than that, it’s great to see that people can understand what Bertram Fiddle is about and that his character is pretty human. Although I feel like people warmed up to Gavin more than Bertram. ‘

‘We’ve been working a lot on our Kickstarter and trying to catch as much attention as possible. Our short videos and gifs have been a blast for us and the fans! As for the sequel, it’s got a storyline, a bunch of awesome new characters, Concept-art, Fan-art, puzzle ideas and backgrounds ready to go! We also have a production blog for Kickstarter backers were you’ll be able to keep up to date with our processes. I really can’t wait to start on it! Dan and I have been given a lot more freedom when it comes to creating the puzzles, designing/ animating characters and story.’

‘The support for the second game has been overwhelming! Seb acting even weirder than normal and has had very little sleep. The Kickstarter was incredible, there were some really cool prizes up for grabs. Some of my faves were the ‘MEMBERSHIP TO THE ADVENTURER’S CLUB reward you will get this fantastic 8 inch, book-shaped tin, printed to look like a, er, book, so you can hide all your secret Adventuring bits and bobs away. There’s a really cool art book coming out that will have some awesome work from many a talented artist’s such as Warwick Johnson Cadwell and Violaine Briat. If you’ve been keeping up with twitter you’ll know who! We’ve also given backers the opportunity to be a character in the game! I’m very Jealous of that one!’

‘It feels great and exciting that we successfully completed our Kickstarter but also a bit strange because the constant hype from 30 days is now over. Although now we are all running around and finishing all of our other projects so that we can fully concentrate on the game. It’s going to be really REALLY busy! We are such a small team that there is never not something to do! To all the people who supported us, it’s just been so overwhelming, exciting, nerve wrecking and stressful, haha, – don’t think we’ll be making another Kickstarter for a while! – but just the biggest of Thankyou’s to those who supported us and I hope that you enjoy playing our game as much as we will enjoy making it.’

The Kickstarter has now successfully finished. It’s a superb game and with a Train2Game student involved, it would be great if the community could continue to support Leah. If you are interested in learning more, find all the information you need at the links below.

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/763843992/bertram-fiddle-a-victorian-animated-adventure-game?ref=nav_search
Bertram Website: http://www.bertramfiddle.com/

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Train2Game News Big Data VR Challenge winner

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The winner of the Big Data VR challenge has been announced after they aided thousands in Bristol using virtual reality technology.

Epic Games, in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust, a biomedical research charity based in London, has concluded the Big Data VR Challenge, awarding $20,000 to LumaPie.

This international team created a VR visualization of study results of environmental and genetic factors that have shaped the development the lives of more than 14,000 residents of the city of Bristol. The Big Data VR Challenge brought together five teams over four months, resulting in an amazing combination of science and 3D design in virtual space, powered by Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.

“We thank all of the developers and researchers who dedicated their time and expertise to this competition,” said Epic Games Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. “This combination of hard science with the type of 3D development normally seen in the video game world will hopefully inspire new ways for visualization of data to evolve as VR becomes a part of our everyday life”

The Big Data VR Challenge brought together a large group of international developers and researchers for an incredible competition, using Unreal Engine 4 to unlock new ways to manipulate and interrogate the huge data sets that are now generated by many scientific studies. The goal was to give researchers the unique ability to manage, manipulate and effectively present huge amounts of data in real time, a problem that has been confounding the science community for years. While the Big Data VR Challenge has concluded, this effort marks the beginning of scientific advances that will continue with collaborations between Unreal Engine developers and leading-edge researchers.

“All the teams created solutions that address the hurdles of analyzing large data sets in new and ingenious ways,” said Mike Gamble, European Territory Manager, Epic Games. “LumaPie in particular have built a brilliant VR application that solves the challenge. They kicked it into the goal.”

LumaPie is made up of the creative studio Masters of Pie and 3D software development consultancy Lumacode. For ALSPAC Children of the 90s data, the team successfully created a fully functional, scalable VR visualization for the world-leading study, exploiting the advantages of both Unreal Engine 4 and VR to create an immersive environment built from the data itself. Within their end-to-end solution, users have full control with the VR space, intuitively interacting with and manipulating the data to aid research, whether working alone or with several others via multi-user support.

“LumaPie has delivered an interactive simulation with tangible outputs that can be applied and adapted to other studies as well. The results of this challenge are what we were hoping for and so much more,” said Iain Dodgeon, Creative Partnerships Manager at Wellcome Trust.

Additional research initiatives addressed by the four-month competition include the Casebooks Project, which examined 80,000 medical records taken four centuries ago, and genome browsers, by way of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. The other teams and projects included:

·         HammerheadVR on genome browsers — Hammerhead’s project compared fruit fly and human DNA, overlaying genomes in VR to show how the same genes across the two species can be mapped to discover which genetic markers potentially cause cancer

·         Skip the Intro on the Casebooks Project — Skip the Intro created a calming and colourful solution for the Casebooks Project, guiding the user through interactive tunnels of light that illuminate connections and patterns.

·         Pi and Power on genome browsers — Pi and Power presented an intuitive way to interrogate genomics data through the use of head tracking, using motion to produce colourful patterns that correspond to variations of genetic parameters.

·         Opaque Multimedia on ALSPAC Children of the 90s — Opaque Multimedia built a shared, collaborative environment utilising virtual librarians (or “data buddies”) to analyze data from the Children of the 90s genetics study.

Train2Game News Urbanimals in Bristol

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Watershed is delighted to announce the winner of the 2015 international Playable City Award,  Urbanimals, created by the  Laboratory for Architectural Experiments, LAX, based in Poland.

This September and October, a playful pack of wild beasts will appear in unexpected places across the city of Bristol, waiting for people to play with them. Take up the dolphin’s challenge to leap together, chase a shy rabbit down the pavement or skip with a cheeky kangaroo. Lurking behind city walls and hiding in dark corners, Urbanimals are eager to brighten the day. Triggered by people passing or stopping, this magically interactive project will be created using projectors and sensors and will stretch across the whole city.

Richard Roberts, one of the Judging panel, from Jason Bruges Studio said, “It was the fresh response to the brief, and the positive impact that these pieces could make to everyday city journeys that won me over.”

Urbanimals  by LAX was selected from 197 applications received from 60 countries around the world, and the installation will be unveiled in Bristol in September 2015. LAX are an experimental design team based in Poland, who describe themselves as practicing ‘at the edge of architecture’, testing the boundaries of urban planning, design, psychology and computation. They will now work with Watershed producers across the summer in Bristol to explore their ideas, developing the technology to bring their vision to life.

“Bringing people together through play in forgotten areas of the city lies at the heart of what we do”, say Ania and Sebastian from LAX, “with  Urbanimals we want to highlight the city’s hidden value and treasures inspiring residents to consider their environment in new and unexpected ways, we want to stimulate their senses and inject a sense of excitement and wonder into the everyday urban landscape.”

Clare Reddington, Executive Producer of the Award says, “ We are very much looking forward to working with Ania and Sebastian to bring  Urbanimals to life in unexpected and hidden corners of Bristol. We love the combination of imagination and sophistication that the idea offers and were impressed with their ambitious and playful response to the playable city theme.”

Miguel Sicart, play scholar and author of Play Matters (MIT Press)

“Urbanimals helps us rediscover the magic in the city; it gives us a fresh perspective on spaces we might ignore, we might forget, we might despise. Playable cities are instruments to give us back the sense of wonder and situate it in our daily lives.  Urbanimals is a great example of this appropriation of the urban space to remind us of its beauties and mysteries”.

Richard Roberts from Jason Bruges Studio continues,  “Urbanimals is a great piece because it proposes a series of unexpected installations which are delightfully fun and engaging. Its flexibility allows it to be deployed in areas of the city that would benefit from something startling, fresh and new. This proposal allows many levels of interaction from brief encounters by passive observers to active engagement over longer timeframes, and is open to be enjoyed by everyone.”

Follow the project as it develops at
http://www.playablecity.com  |  http://twitter.com/playablecity

Train2Game News Playable City Award 2015

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Watershed is delighted to announce the call for submissions for the £30,000 Playable City Award 2015 is now open.

Creatives from around the world are invited to propose distinctive ideas that put people and play at the heart of the Future City.

All over the world governments and tech companies are investing in smart systems for cities, using communication networks and sensors to join up services, collect data and make efficiencies. The Playable City Award asks us to imagine how we might use these same technologies to make our cities more livable, hopeful and collaborative. The winning proposal will be installed in Bristol, UK for the public to play in autumn 2015.

The Playable City Award, which has captured significant global attention, is open to artists and creatives from all disciplines, from any country. As well as a £30,000 award, the commission offers practical support and generous access to facilities to enable the creators to realize their ideas. Whilst making their project, they will also become part of a vibrant community of artists and creative technologists at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol – providing extensive opportunities for collaboration. The winners will also travel to Japan in Autumn 2015, to share their project as part of Watershed and British Council’s Playable City Tokyo programme.  The call for applications will remain open until 17:00 GMT on 7 April 2015 and a shortlist will be announced on 5 May 2015.

The Playable City Award was established by Watershed in 2013, and has so far received applications from countries including USA, Japan, China, Uganda, Iraq, Italy, New Zealand, Brazil and Denmark. The first recipients of the award was design and research studio PAN, Tom Armitage and Gyorgyi Galik for their project Hello Lamp Post which received huge global attention and is currently installed in Austin, Texas as part of SXSW. Last year’s winner, Shadowing, created by Jonathan Chomko and Matthew Rosier has also gone on to secure international acclaim and is nominated in the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award.

The award winner will be judged by a panel of industry experts including Tom Uglow, Director of Google Creative Labs, Sydney, Copenhagen-based play researcher Miguel Sicart, Claire Doherty, Director of Situations, with more judges to be announced in the coming weeks. 

Clare Reddington, Creative Director of Watershed and Executive Producer of the Playable City Award, says, “The international interest in Playable City has been phenomenal, both in terms of applications and requests to host the work. The award celebrates and reflects everything that is interesting, innovative and collaborative about Bristol – and I can’t wait to select a new project to share with the city and the world.”

www.watershed.co.uk/playablecity