Train2Game News AppGameKit Education Bundle

The Game Creators today launched the AppGameKit Education Bundle. The special pack, specifically developed for the Education market, includes AppGameKit, Giant Asset Packs 1 & 2, Games Pack1 and a 3D Asset Pack.The free Educational Materials Pack, which compliments the Education Bundle, includes an ‘Instructors Guide’, written specifically for teachers and tutors, and enables them to develop AppGameKit courses and classes to teach programming and app development. The simple guide includes code exercises with commands, loops, variables, images and sprites.

Lee Bamber, CEO of The Game Creators, said, “Educational establishments considering which engine to use should give serious consideration to this specialist education pack. Whilst products like Unity and Unreal are free, they arrive with almost no game assets, requiring the schools, colleges and universities to purchase additional graphics and sound for their class. The AppGameKit Education Pack includes everything a teacher or lecturer could need with a discounted pricing structure to match the size of class being taught.”

AppGameKit’s Education Bundle is available at https://www.appgamekit.com/education.php and on steam on http://store.steampowered.com/sub/116032/

The Game Creators used AppGameKit to develop Driving Test Success Theory, Hazard Perception and Highway Code apps for UK publisher Focus Multimedia, deploying them onto the App Store, Google Play, Amazon, Mac Store and Blackberry World – all from AppGameKit’s executable code. These Driving Test Success apps are now one of the UK’s #1 ‘Learning to Drive’ apps.

Train2Game News Student in BAFTA programme

image

Indie Developer taught by Train2Game selected for BAFTA programme

Nicola Valcasara amongst the elite of the UK games industry accepted to join BAFTA Crew Games 2014

Professional video games creator who learnt his craft with Train2Game, joins experienced UK games developers in exclusive BAFTA scheme. Nicola Valcasara has taken one of 100 places available for Game Practitioners requiring at least two years professional experience in the games industry in the UK. The programme provides exclusive access to: Games Industry mentors, live QAs and podcasts, networking opportunities and scientific research in Game Design. 

Nicola has an outstanding reputation in the Train2Game community, having won a previous design competition with Rapid2D. He now works with another previous TrainGame student, Darroch McNaught, at Indie studio DeuXality Games. He’s set to learn a tremendous amount from  the course, masterclasses and online livestreams cover; Story & Narrative, Games Design, Music & Sound Design, and Game Art. BAFTA Crew Games 2014 is an interactive programme – working with selected participants to tailor the content to their interests and needs.

Working with partners Creative Skillset and Wellcome Trust, BAFTA Crew Games 2014 will shine the spotlight on the collaboration between the games industry and research in medical humanities. Masterclasses will offer the opportunity to access insight from Scientists and researchers from the Wellcome Trust with a specific focus on how research in Biomedical Science can inform Game Design.

Nicola Valcasara, “I applied at the BAFTA Crew games 2014 in September, thanks to a research on the net about funding and game developing events. Now I have been accepted, this is a very nice way to show my face around and I hope it will move me one step further inside the Games Industry. This is a great opportunity to be involved in an interactive programme focused on making wonderful products and allowing me to meet important people in the game industry. I’ll also get to meet the other 99 people like me and share ideas and future projects.”

Train2Game News 12 Year Old launches successful game

image

Spacepants, the hit iPhone and iPad game developed by 12-year-old Sam Smith, is now available for Android devices on the Google Play store.

Spacepants was named one of the “Best Apps of the Week” in  The Guardian on its original release, and was featured by Apple on the front page of the UK App Store. Since then, it has received acclaim from players and critics across the world for its “Easy to play, hard to master”, “just-one-more-go” gameplay.

“Spacepants are the future of trousers,” explained Sam. “In the game they give our hero, Guy, the ability to walk up walls and along ceilings. But when his Spacepants malfunction and cannot be stopped, Guy’s survival skills will be tested to the limit. And beyond. And, incredibly, beyond even that.”

The objective is to survive for as long as possible against hordes of deadly aliens, and to compete against other players for the highest score possible.

Its young creator has been delighted by the game’s success. Despite his age, Sam has been making games for some time, having been taken out of school and home educated from the age of nine.

“School just didn’t work for me,” he said. “I’ve learned much more through game development than I ever could in the classroom. I couldn’t be happier to see so many people play and enjoy Spacepants, and I’m thrilled to bring it to Android devices.”

Sam has received tremendous support from the game development community. Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell helped Sam to launch his Twitter presence @boxfacegames, and gave Spacepants breakthrough coverage. Gaming radio show One Life Left and the Indie Haven podcast had Sam as a guest – and Spacepants has been used as an outstanding example of British creativity in presentations to teachers, students and even to government.

Sam is now hard at work on his next game. At this stage, he will only reveal that “it’s about a robot”.

Spacpants costs 99p from the App Store or Google Play Store.

Train2Game News Game to help cope with ADHD

image

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: MIT makes educational engine open source

MITGameLabMIT Game Lab has released the source code for an engine it hopes will inspire developers to create educational games exploring special relativity.

The OpenRelativity toolset was used to create A Slower Speed of Light which MIT News reports was based around the question, “what would it be like if relativity was part of your everyday life?”.

Special relativity is a complex topic that lends itself to visual representation, and the tools allow developers to simulate the visual effects of travelling at near-light speeds.

“Education can be assisted through the use of games and other interactive media, especially for topics that frequently are hard to understand and visualise,” said MIT Game Lab’s Rik Eberhardt.

Educational gaming is a growing field and as more developers take an interest in using the medium as a teaching tool they need tools that support their efforts.

“The MIT Game Lab is built around this idea that play is extremely powerful, and one thing games are good at is giving people an intuitive grasp of complex scientific ideas,” said MIT Game lab creative director Philip Tan.

The effects of near-light speed travel is recreated by effectively slowing everything down to about walking speeds, allowing the events to be experienced at a scale closer to normal reality.

The source code for the OpenRelativity engine and toolset is available on Github and runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

A story such as this one is a perfect example of how the games industry influences and helps the rest of the world.

Train2Game News: Cheap(er) Raspberry Pi now available

Raspberry Pi Model B

Raspberry Pi Model B

The Train2Game News team is a big fan of the Raspberry Pi computer and now the cheapest computer on the market has an even cheaper version.

A new lite version has released and will cost £16. The Model A is a stripped-down version of the Model B Raspberry Pi, which launched late last year. The lite version has no Ethernet, one USB port and 256MB RAM.

As well as being cheaper than the Model B, the Model A consumes roughly a third of the power of the B, which is useful for those wanting to run projects from a battery or solar power, such as robots, sensor platforms, Wi-Fi repeaters and so on. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is already working on software to get its power consumption even lower.

The microcomputer is getting its general roll out this year, following a well-received reception from early adaptors.

The Model A will only be available in Europe for now, and can be purchase from suppliers RS Components and Farnell. This restriction is due to be lift soon so the rest of the world can order it as well.

RS customers outside Europe can order a Model A now, but there will be a short delay in processing orders, while paperwork is sorted before the devices can be shipped. Farnell customers outside Europe will see the Model A appear on their local sites when this paperwork has been filled.

The Raspberry Pi can be purchased here.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up – 30.01.13

It’s time for another Train2Game mid-week round up!

As the Kickstarter draws to a close for the Gamestick console, images of the android gaming machine have been released. You can visit the Kickstarter site to view the console and add to the cause if it takes your interest. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/872297630/gamestick-the-most-portable-tv-games-console-ever

In previous Bioshock games, the moral decisions have been to choose whether the Little Sisters lived or died. In Bioshock Infinite, the decisions you have to make are more powerful and less commonplace. BioShock Infinite will still present plenty of moral quandaries, but these are not tied to a specific system that in turn determines what ending you’ll get.

Google is to provide UK schools with 15,000 free Raspberry Pi Model B computers. Qualifications awarding body OCR will also create free teaching and learning packs to go with each Raspberry Pi. Responding to the news, games industry veteran Ian Livingstone said: “Putting Raspberry Pis into the hands of children on this scale is potentially the most positive initiative to spur digital creativity since the advent of the BBC Micro in the 1980s.”

Lifetime Xbox 360 sales look certain to overtake those of current-gen leader Nintendo Wii in the UK. Microsoft’s console was less than 200,000 sales behind Wii at the end of December, having sold over four times more units than Wii in 2012. Nintendo UK confirmed before Christmas that around 8 million Wii consoles had been sold in the UK. Despite a reported 33% decline in video game console sales last year, Xbox 360 is said to have outsold its current-gen rivals by a “significant margin” in Britain during 2012. Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2 remain the UK’s first and second best selling games consoles respectively, with Wii and Xbox 360 currently in third and fourth spots.

Temple Run 2 has been released for iOS and now Android. The sequel to the hit game has hit 20,000 downloads on iOS alone. Developed by Imangi Studios, the app rushed to the top of the free App charts on iOS in just eight hours, and also hit number three in the Top Grossing chart. In its first week on sale, Temple Run 2 racked up 210 million sessions and 1,775 years of gameplay.

Train2Game News: Adorable TED talk

This is an incredibly cute talk taken from TED. The video was brought to my attention by a member of the Train2Game forum.

It is a talk by a Dad and his young daughter about the game they made together at a weekend game jam.

They make some very excellent points together in a heart melting way.

You can enjoy the video below:

Train2Game News: Valve teaching with portals in education initiative for schools

Valve will be giving away Portal 2 for free in its Teach with Portals initiative to help the teaching of physics and critical thinking in schools.

“The buzz surrounding the new role video games are playing in education, we had to throw our hat in the ring. Today, innovative educators are finding ways to incorporate Portal™ and Portal 2 into their classrooms—helping teach physics and critical-thinking skills. It’s eye-opening to see how video games can be used in amazing and unexpected ways to help educate our next generation.” reads a statement from Valve on www.learnwithportals.com/

“Using interactive tools like the Puzzle Maker to draw students in makes physics, math, logic, spatial reasoning, probability, and problem-solving interesting, cool and fun, which gets us one step closer to our goal – engaged, thoughtful kids!” add Valve

Students will also be able to design their own levels using the Portal 2 perpetual testing initiative level creator.

Watch the learn with portals education initiative in action in the video below, with Valve demonstrating Portal 2 to high school students.

There’s more Portal 2 news here on The Train2Game Blog, while you can keep reading for the latest from Valve.

What are your thoughts on the learn with portals iniative? How else can games be an educational tool?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.