SteamOS and A Free Digital Society

Richard Stallman, the founder and president of the Free Software Foundation, will be speaking at the University of Lincoln on the 29th November on the topic of “A Free Digital Society”.

“There are many threats to freedom in the digital society. They include massive surveillance, censorship, digital handcuffs, nonfree software that controls users, and the War on Sharing. Other threats come from use of web services. Finally, we have no positive right to do anything in the Internet; every activity is precarious, and can continue only as long as companies are willing to cooperate with it.”

2013 has been a year of great expansion and success for the Linux gaming community. One only needs to look at the torrent of posts entitled “<game> released for Linux” on the popular Linux gaming websites to get a sense of the quickening pace of adoption by game developers. To add further flame to the ever increasingly boiling pot, Valve announced in August 2012 that they were releasing their Steam client on Linux, largely prompted by the impending arrival of Windows 8. Much to Linux users’ delight, Left 4 Dead 2 actually ran faster using OpenGL than it did with DirectX, albeit by a small margin. This news was followed a year later with SteamOS, a Linux based operating system would be used with Valve’s entry into the games console market, the Steam Machine.

With the games industry at it’s current juncture, it is only natural for gamers and game developers to become more interested with Linux, or GNU/Linux as it should be properly called. Along with the operating system, there is also a culture which pervades software development on the platform, commonly known as Free Software and Open Source Software, often abbreviated to FOSS. The general premise of FOSS is that the source code should be accessible by the user, allowing them to modify and/or distribute as they see fit. However this does not mean money cannot be exchanged in return for a product, but more that users should have the freedom to do as they please with the product they are using.

Understandably there will be a culture clash as games developers move from their predominantly proprietary software led environment to an environment built around sharing and openness, and actively opposed to DRM. An example of a notable open source game which many will know is OpenTTD, having been under continuous development since 2004.

With the highlighted issues above, this talk and subsequent discussion will be highly relevant to current games students and will give an interesting perspective on the future of the internet, software and the way in which we interact with our digital world.

The talk will take place in the Jackson Lecture Theatre at 6pm, 29th November 2013. If you’d like to attend Richard’s talk, please register here.


The Scary October Jam #Scarejam

The votes are in and the jam has begun! The mechanics are:
Loss and Important Sounds.

It’s time to get your games development costume on and make some awesome games in a weekend! We’re putting on this jam to give everyone a chance to experiment with their chosen software: be you a first year looking to challenge yourself with GameMaker or a second or third year looking for a taster in Unity this is your chance. You can use whatever software you want as long as you’re prepared to make game in it! (You could even make a console text adventure if you want, that’d be pretty cool actually…)

Since it’s October, it makes sense to think about spooky games. Games like Amnesia, Silent Hill and Limbo that get our skin crawling and our senses startled. Games that just don’t sit well with you. Games that give you an adrenaline rush. Games that make you scream.

This jam will require you to vote for a core mechanic that must be somewhere in your game! You can vote for a potential mechanic here. It is our hope that these mechanics will make you think outside the box and become better games designers!

The jam isn’t just for games students. All students from the school of computer science are welcome! In fact if you happen to have someone from one of the more artistically gifted courses (animation, graphic design, etc.) who’d like to join in with the fun then feel free to invite them along!

If you’re interested in participating then come to Complab B on the Third Floor of the MHT Building at 5:00PM on Friday 18th October. This will be the official start of the jam where we shall reveal the mechanics that you must include in your game. The jam will then last 72 hours and we’ll be judging on Monday at 5:00PM in the same place!

Games Computing Degree Receives Commendation in Lincoln Student Union Awards

The BSc/MComp in Games Computing at the Lincoln School of Computer Science was commended in the Lincoln Student Union Awards 2013, under the “Best Course Award” category.

The recent upgrade of  facilities for this course has been greatly appreciated by students. The exemplary use of blackboard as a timely communication tool particularly stood out to the panel as a leading example of how virtual learning spaces can be used effectively.

Well done to everyone involved in delivering this programme!

Sir, you are being developed! (2/2)

“The Seven Day Gentlemanly Game Challenge”, as organised by Sean Oxspringhas officially started today. It is a week-long Game Developing Challenge for any students and staff in the Lincoln School Of Computer Science to take part in! As the name suggests, The Seven Day Gentlemanly Game Challenge will require you and a team of up to four others to make a game based around the general theme of gentlemanliness and well-to-do things (e.g. top hats, monocles, steampunk etc.) in seven day’s time! Ladies are also very welcome and highly encouraged to partake in this challenge, of course.

We announced that mechanics from a voting poll will be used for the challenge. The mechanics are:

[Survival], either [Rock, Paper, Scissor] or [Round-Based]

We are hoping that you will be able to come up with innovative and creative ideas based on the themes we are giving you. If you are finding it difficult to come up with an idea – do not panic. You have a whole week and plenty of time to develop your game! Please recall that both themes must be used in your game to be eligible to enter the competition.

Feel free to chat about your game development towards the game challenge on Facebook, Blogs and Twitter! We even got our own hashtag: #7DGC .

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Sean Oxspring for any enquiries!

Sir, you are being developed! (1/2)

Voting is now closed!

It is time once again to spend a week doing what everyone loves – developing awesome video-games! Based on the success of The Seven Day Game Challenge, Sean Oxspring has decided to put on another game-jam to celebrate the end of the year and the founding of his new games company Top Notch StudiosThe Seven Day Gentlemanly Game Challenge!

As the name suggests, The Seven Day Gentlemanly Game Challenge will require you and a team of up to four others to make a game based around the general theme of gentlemanliness and well-to-do things (e.g. top hats, monocles, steampunk etc.) in seven day’s time! Ladies are also very welcome and highly encouraged to partake in this challenge, of course.

Similar to last year, there is a voting process involved, this time around, partakers are requested to vote on the game mechanics the games that are being developed should include! Click here to vote! Choose up to three mechanics to vote for. You can vote once every six hours. Please recall that you can win up to £100 of gentlemanly prizes!

If you are interested in participating in The Seven Day Gentlemanly Game Challenge, then come along to Complab B, 3rd floot MHT Building, at 5:00PM on Friday 24th May 2013. Bring your team of designers, programmers and artists. In this session we will be going over the rules of the game jam and revealing the extra mechanics that you game must include!

We’ll see you there, and let’s make some jolly spiffing games! Ho, ho, fabulous!