Train2Game News: A visit to Special Effect

Kirsty Payne from SpecialEffectI had the great pleasure of going to visit SpecialEffect at its headquarters in Oxford on Wednesday. The charity held a get together to thank supporters for their work during the Art Charity Auction back in December.

As I arrived at the building I was struck by how incredible it looked. I drove up a long road, flanked by trees all the way up to a Manor building where SpecialEffect is housed. I parked around the back and entered the easily accessible building where I was met by Hannah Whittaker, who works at SpeciaEffect.

As I entered the office I was greeted by Gavin Tan, who is a developer for the charity. I chatted with Gavin for a bit about games, that is the reason we are in this industry, and he then showed me some of the controllers they use to help disabled people to be able to play games.

The first controller I tried was the “EyeGaze”. This is a device which tracks your eye movements and lets you do all the things you want on a computer using nothing but your eye movement. Following a quick calibration I got to play racing game, Dirt. To control the vehicle you moved your eyes to the top of the screen to go faster, to the bottom of the screen to brake and reverse and direct your eyes left or right to turn. I am normally terrible at racing games but using the EyeGaze I managed an average time which pleased me!

Following on from the EyeGaze I got to experience voice activated controls in Street Fighter. A control was set up which is used for movement and can be controlled by your chin with a sensitive microphone for the voice commands. The commands were simple like “Punch” for an uppercut, “Kick” for a spinning kick and “Move” to do a Hadouken.

Seeing and experiencing these controllers for myself really showed me how helpful these can be for people trying to get back in to gaming and back playing games on a level playing field. It truly is an amazing thing that the people at SpecialEffect do.

Over the next half an hour several games industry people turned up to the office for the event. There were people there from Sega, Warner Bros, and Take-two. Once everyone had arrived it was time for the main event.

Everyone was welcomed to the event by Kirsty Payne, a Vice President of SpecialEffect, who can be seen in the picture above. She gave a quick run down of the event in December. The art auction featured games art from across the industry and was held at the London City Hall and was visited by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The auction managed to raise over £30,000!

The floor was then given over to Dr Mick Donegan, founder of SpecialEffect, who showed where the money will be going and who is being helped.

After the presentation SpecialEffect offered us drink and food. It was lovely just being able to talk with some of the games industry people who do so much for our industry and hearing their opinions on the games industry at the moment.

It was an incredible day and I will continue to do what I can for this amazing Charity! I will leave you with this amazing video of a young man called Alex who has been able to play games again and has used Special Effects help to be able to become a Train2Game student!

Enjoy!

Train2Game News: Train2Game Student running for SpecialEffect

Wahib Yousaf meets Miles Jacobson

Wahib on the right and Miles Jacobson in the middle

Train2Game student, Wahib Yousaf, is going to run for SpecialEffect in the British 10k in London this year. There is still time for you to sign up and join Wahib!

Wahib has been a Train2Game QA student since February 2012. Since joining the course Wahib has made sure to put himself out there and network as much as possible. He has a desire to make a real impact on the games industry and has decided the best way to start is to network with some of the games industry big hitters.

He also contributed to the ‘From Bedrooms To Billions’ IndieGogo campaign last year and one of the perks was an invitation by Creative Director of the ‘Football Manager’ series, Miles Jacobson, to come down to the S.I Games developers’ studio, meet their team and take part in a Q&A session. It was during this conversation that Miles Jacobson informed Wahib that he was a SpecialEffect ambassador.

On hearing about SpecialEffect, Wahib researched the charity and was moved by what he saw. Last December he made a sizeable donation and after reading about the SpecialEffect run on the Train2Game blog he saw another way in which he could help.

When asked why Wahib decided to run for the charity he said “It’s a Gaming Charity and I get to wear a costume! So, I have started doing 10K Training at my local Virgin-Active gym and endurance training every week for 30 minutes”

The costume that Wahib is so excited to be wearing during the run is his Assassin’s Creed 3 Connor Kenway CosPlay he wore previously to Excels’ Comic Con Expo last year. During the run Wahib will be running with the Flintock Musket and Tomahawk replicas that the character uses through the game.

If you want to run with Wahib and the SpecialEffect team you can still sign up by going to https://www.eventelephant.com/ee/events/pages/summary.htm?siteurl=specialeffect2013

You can watch a quick promotional video on the event below:

If you would like to sponsor Wahib and help him get to his goal of £200 you can do so by going to http://www.justgiving.com/wahib-yousaf

Train2Game wishes Wahib all the luck in running for SpecialEffect and hope he has a great time in doing it!