Thursday, 18 June 2015
I recently got a Nexus 6 phone. Set aside my very low end Windows 8 Phone and decided to give Google a Whirl. Well the Nexus 6 is more of a tablet than a phone. Now Google is king of the web to be sure with the most dominant search engine they rule data and revenue. But they do not do appear to do Mobile well.
My impression after week 1 is that Windows 8 Phones for me are better integrated with the functionality of the phone and business functionality of apps also.
Also I notice a lot of negative reviews on the apps that I want to use especially those that manage contacts and groups in particular. Contacts should be should be managed as contacts on the phone itself rather in the Google or Outlook contacts stored in the cloud.
Bluetooth is proving particularly problematic both in terms of management of in car hands free functionality and connectivity.
All this maybe attributable to the hardware or software incompatibility but I have tried the Nexus with a Nokia built in Bluetooth hands free kit and a Parrot plug and go product and it needs constant attention which is not desirable when you are driving. So you never know how it is going to behave. The “Ok Google” function does not recognise half of what I say either which adds to my in car frustration.
Added to that you would think that Google to Google devices would play nice. There are considerable lag and crash issues with the Nexus and the Google Chrome Cast.
I suppose it’s what your used to and having spent the money we’ll have to plug away for a bit more. But I’m tempted to slip the SIM back into the Windows 8 Phone everyday. I’m also tempted to write an Android App to manage Groups and Group Texts on the Phone without having to get all my contacts to signup and download an app. It’s got to be easier than that. SMS is the lowest common denominator for Mobile communication especially in Ireland and it should be handled effectively with the phone’s eco system by default as part of the operating system. That’s the way it used to be before phones got too fancy for their own good.
Friday, 29 November 2013
Game Maker studio Standard edition is free for a limited time at yoyo games hen click on the first download button
Then click on the next download button.
Then during the install You will be asked to register. You specify your email address and then yoyo games email you a license key. NOTE: You need to do this carefully as it is very difficult to register after the install. Wait for the email and then cut and paste the registration key in the box provided and then continue with the installation. The standard edition is full featured without the restrictions of the free version. GET IT while you can.
Friday, 16 August 2013
I attended an event organised by Enterprise Ireland and Games Ireland last Wednesday.
I had a bit of an experience getting from the overflow car park to EI HQ. Suffice to say I am a grown man and I would not walk down that tumble weeded lane way at any time of day. We are where we are. I presume everyone else was from Dublin and got public transport directly to the building or walked. The idea was that a few successful Canadian’s from a thriving Quebec Games scene would talk about their experiences growing a gaming industry and give their insights into how Ireland might replicate their success. Also some interested parties from the local games scene. Those Present were
- Gary Leyden - Director at NDRC LaunchPad
- Serge Landry - CEO Canadian Interactive Alliance, CEO Miralupa, Gen Sec Alliance Numerique
- Emmanuel Wall - Director at Strategy First - Indie Publisher
- Jean-Francois Arseneau - Business Development - Hibernum Creations
- Richard Barnwell - CEO Digit Game Studio
- Moderator: Paul Hayes - Games Ireland
Pity about Serge I like what they are doing in augmented reality games at Miralupa
Topics for discussion ranged from
How and when to show your game to a publisher?
Consensus was sooner rather than later. But read the small print and don’t marry the first one that comes along just cause they asked.
Which should you do free to play or one of the pay first models?
Richard Barnwell was of the opinion that free to play was the only way with the larger games companies adopting the model and relying on DLC for revenue. Emmanuel leaned towards the other side of the fence but if he pays for it it had better be good. But opinions and developments in the crowd were 50/50. Personally I think that Games are a unique software artefact. What makes them unique is that they are entertainment, art and stimulation rolled into one and you can either chase the buck or produce something interesting and see if “they will come”. What makes games development interesting to me is that it is a visual embodiment of the interaction of code. The ultimate UX experience. The matrix. Free to play or not lead to a discussion of advantages and disadvantages of the free versus the paid model and in the wider context of software. There is a saturation of the market with free stuff, so much so that if you create anything of note, how would anyone find it free or otherwise. Gary Leyden interjected that this why from the outset young games companies need to have their business processes in place. Being in the software business myself I’d have to say I agree but it such a “suit” thing to say Gary
I asked has the educational landscape adapted in the Canada to the new industry? This lead onto a brief discussion, well more like a lecture from Richard Barnwell, on what is wrong with education.
It would seem not as quickly as the games companies would like. Richard Barnwell of Digit thought that those teaching games were not really qualified to do so. He may have a point but I would counter that and maybe say that those who work in games are not necessarily the best to teach or preach for that matter. It’s one thing lecturing to a room full of top quality people who are hanging on your every word. It’s another to take an aspirational 17 year old adolescent and produce the “Final Product” from him or her. Now Richard only wants the best and he wants it now. Which is fair enough and Digit’s (nice website by the way) ideal’s are highly ambitious. I would like to take a moment to reply to Richards brash attitude to education. It’s a typical opinion held by those who don’t understand where education fits into the picture with respect to the needs of the software and by extension the games industry. I have over 23 years of experience in producing graduates most of which have gone on to have great careers in software development of all facets (games being one of them). It takes a while to produce the “final product” that Richard and others want to employ and it depends on the raw materials you have to work with. Some get it straight off the bat others as I like to say are “slow burners”. But patients and effort gets them there in the end. I suggested that maybe some project work instigated by a company would be beneficial. Not enough for Richard. I think the Canadians, quite on this point, might support the same view. The Canadians also expressed the view that educational institutes in Canada are struggling to keep up.
Industry wants education to produce graduates to meet their (usual immediate and changing )needs. Every company has different needs. How can education cater for every need? Technology moves fast, and yes it is true that a lot of educators don’t move with it, some are lazy, some are not. There are many reasons why educators may be slow to move with a technology. The process of changing a syllabus is slow and resistant to rapid change. It takes a lot of time to explore new technologies and then package it in a way that can be clearly understood by a wide audience. Education is for everybody not just the gifted and elite.
I personally spend a lot of time researching and exploring new technologies. The educational system imposes restrictions on what I can change and I cannot change mid stream. You can respond rapidly to change if you have complete control of your business process. There are quality criteria to be met when making changes in syllabi. It’s hard to keep up when you are teaching several technologies to learners with different needs and abilities. But we do try. In summary if education was driven by the latest technology needed by the various software companies then it would be in a constant state of flux and that would not be maintainable for educators or learners.
OK. Well here are some suggestions as to how we might Improve matters.
- We write our computing courses to technology agnostic. We do this at the moment, but the underlying principles change also. Let me give an example. I teach 2D games programming. I teach it to year 2 games students. They have one year of Game design and introductory programming behind them. They barely know what an object or a class is. There is a shift from single platform to multi-platform. So I’m looking at mono this summer for multiple platform deployment. We’ll still develop a 2D theme and concepts in c# (our language of choice for all our programming – rationale being that more than one language can confuse weaker students) but we’ll want to cover more than one platform with the same code base. Not everyone writes their modules technology agnostic. Resistance to change is everywhere.
- If (the games) Industry want specialisation that suites their needs then they need to have a stronger real input in terms of time, imparting skills back into education and even possibly finance. Especially when education is under such financial strain with increased numbers of students and less resources. The model for funding education is also changing towards bums on seats. This impacts on quality. I know the likes of the Khan academy, UDK, Unity video libraries are out there. But these tools are for highly motivated, intelligent and experienced learners. So as well as chasing the buck lets spend some time to build and sustain.
- Industry needs to lobby the government more effectively. The government do not respond to educational lobbies in the same way. The Canadians made it clear that the Quebec government made a conscious decision to court and attract development companies. These are the manufacturing sector of the Games industry. The government here are hiding behind the term “Knowledge Economy”, when really large multi-national games and software companies are only moving their support services jobs here to Ireland. The numbers and name dropping announcements look great for the press, but these services jobs will not grow a games manufacturing industry.
Gary Leyden announced that as part of their new Launchpad (if I’m reading the announcement right?) initiative, 5 of the companies will be game based.
Applause. This is a small attempt by some dedicated individuals who can see benefit of as they say in Australia, “giving someone a go”. The only problem I have is that as usual it’s based in Dublin. Surely in this digital connective age we can see an even bigger picture. There should be incubation initiatives supported by government funding springing up all over the country. We provide this option to work placement for those games people who want to follow their dream in year 3 of the Games Development Degree. It would be nice if they could get paid while doing it. Actually they probably can but Social Welfare rules are unbelievably complex at a glance
So what did the Canadians bring to the discussion and how will their advice affect those in the room? Jet lagged as they were.
Emmanuel Wall will publish your game. JF won’t. They have been successful, but no clear indications as to how or why really. As with a lot of things, hard work, fail early, get lucky, don’t be despondent, follow your dream, adaptability, be careful of ruthless business people (publishers, VCs, other suits) seem to be the themes. Oh yes and get the Government on board. Adaptability is very important for me. In Games development at IT Sligo we try to ensure that every graduate can program business applications as well as pursue their dream of being in the games industry. The dream isn’t facilitated by the industry yet. The Canadians indicated that they were making a living but not getting rich quick. JF of Hibernum Creations mentioned that they do a combination of in-house developed games and work for others, but mainly people that they have worked with previously. Emmanuel Wall of Strategy First seemed to be approachable and have a love for the creative nature of Game Development. JF of Hibernum Creations came from a more artistic animation background (I hope I’m not doing a disservice there) and his company is more in the social games, casual games, animation and digital art arena. But I think everyone is advocating cross/multi platform development.
What was refreshing was to see the young Irish gaming entrepreneurs in the room. Would be nice to hear successful stories from them in a few years time. I envy them their youth and I wish them well.