Announcement: ULCS Game Jam, 24th-25th March 2012

The University Of Lincoln Computing Society is organising a weekend of Game Jam on the 24th and 25th March 2012. Everyone is welcome, regardless of background, knowledge, experience or ability; as long as they are willing to get hands dirty on making games, either on their own, or in small teams. A theme will be announced at the start of the weekend, and competitions entries will be judged by a panel, and many prices will be given out for all sorts of game achievement. The Game Jam is kindly hosted by the Lincoln School of Computing, and the whole event will be held in the Media Humanities and Technology building, which is located on the Univerity of Lincoln campus. More in-depth directions can be found on this map. If you have any further questions or wish to enter the event, read on, or contact directly . Alternatively, if you are a University of Lincoln Student, head to the SOAP Center to enter this event. An entry cost of £5 will be required to cover refreshment costs.

What is the ULCS Game Jam?
The goal of the ULCS Game-Jam is to come together and to quickly develop video-games. Participants have got to develop a game that explores the ideas of a shared theme, within a given time limit, while being surrounded by other participants, who are coming from different backgrounds, each with different abilities. The short time-span encourages participants to generate and develop innovative experimental game-play mechanism and to share and present them to other people. The games do not have to be full games, but the core of them should be fun.

The first ULCS Game Jam a two day event at the University of Lincoln’s Games Development Lab. Participants are welcomed to work either on their own, or in small teams. Teams can range from artists, coders, designers, or people that are met on the day. As the event is open for everyone, it is also a great place to meet and socialise with people alike.

There is no development platform limitation at the ULCS Game Jam. It is allowed to use any software or hardware available at the event and the use of external peripherals (i.e. home-made controllers) are highly welcome.

Who is organising the ULCS Game Jam?
ULCS Games Jam is organised by the University of Lincoln Computing Society. The society is receiving additional help and funding from the Lincoln School of Computer Science and the Students’ Union.

Who can come to the ULCS Game Jam?
Initially, the event has been restricted to participants who study at the University of Lincoln. However, depending on the number of registered participants, we welcome universities and individuals to come along to the Game Jam. However, we hope to open future ULCS Game Jam to all participants who desire to come. If you are not a UL student, feel free to contact with ‘Game Jam’ in the subject, to arrange attendance.

Where and when will the ULCS Game Jam be held?
The ULCS Game Jam will be held at the University of Lincoln. The Lincoln School of Computer Science (SoCS) has allowed us to use their computing labs for the duration of the event. It will run over the weekend of the 24th and 25th March 2012, starting from Saturday 9am until Sunday 7pm.

What do I need to bring to the ULCS Game Jam?
With giving us access to their labs, the SoCS have been kind enough to supply us with 60 XPS 630i computers, all up and running ready for development. These computers are free to use for all attendees of the ULCS Game Jam. Feel free though to bring your own equipment, keep in mind though that there is limited available space, so don’t bring too much. As it is anticipated that people will require sleep at some point, a quiet room will be available for people to crash-out. Remember though to bring your own sleeping bag. Other than that, you just need to bring yourself and a love for video-games.

So who will be judging?
Judging the event will be done by industry professionals. We are looking at having 3-4 judges for the ULCS Game Jam, who will be looking to find the best, most innovative, and the most fun games. To start with, we will have members of the Lincoln Social Computing (LiSC)/Lincoln Games Research Group. Additionally, we are currently in the process of filling in the remaining positions with representatives from Rockstar Lincoln and Crytek Nottingham.

This Game-Jam sounds interesting! How do I enter?
Simply send an email directly to with your contact details. If you are a University of Lincoln student, head towards the SOAP centre and ask to enter the ULCS GameJam.

We hope to see you soon at the ULCS Game Jam!

Call for Papers – Simulating History: The Representation of History through Video Games

In a 2005 article discussing the simulation of history through video games, William Uricchio observes that the opportunities for mediation through play pose new and difficult questions about narrative authority and representation. “What happens”, he asks, “if we push the notion of mediation beyond language, to the domain of game, enactment, or simulation? Does this allow us to slip out of the well-critiqued trap of representation? And if so, where does it land us?” As of 2011, his questions remain unanswered.

Amid a world of SIMs, first-person warfare games, strategy, MMO and MMORPs in which players can influence the outcome of battles, campaigns, and even entire civilisations, such questions about the means by which history is delivered to new generations gain increasing importance. When history can be simulated, recreated, subverted and rewritten on a variety of levels, new questions arise about the relationship between video games and the history they purport to represent, questions which traditional historical approaches cannot properly address.

The proposed edited collection thus seeks to examine representations of history through video and computer games from a multidisciplinary perspective. Our aim is to avoid criticisms of inaccuracy and betrayal or descriptions of games which purportedly ‘get things wrong’, but to look instead at the ways in which contemporary players actually can and do engage with the past, and what effect this has on the period depicted. Suggested topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • The representation of historical battles, wars and campaigns (e.g. Medal of Honor, Call of Duty, Command & Conquer, Battlefield
  • The role of play in the recreation, retelling and representation of key events in history (e.g. Anno 1404, Anno 1701, Sid Meier’s Colonization)
  • The representation of historical personages (Caesar, Napoleon, Victoria, Sun Tzu)
  •  The ways in which non-western histories are depicted (e.g. Seven States, Pharaoh, Age of Empires: Asian Dynasties, East India Company, Total War: Shogun, Assassin’s Creed)
  • The role of the player and designer in subverting the “master narratives of history” (Sim City, Sim Earth, Populous, Age of Empires, Deus Ex)
  • Games which rewrite histories across eras (e.g. Civilization, Empire Earth, Europa Universalis, Pride of Nations )
  • Instances of alternative history or future history (e.g. Alpha Centauri, Masters of Orion, World of Warcraft, Galactic Civilizations, Homeworld)

While we welcome proposals which adopt unusual approaches to representations of the past, we hope to focus on games with a wide fan base in order to appeal to a wide readership of both non-gamer historians and non-historian gamers alike. Likewise, we would encourage essays which address a single topic or theory (such as World War I or the Great Man theory of history) across a number of games. Proposals are sought from both experienced researchers and doctoral students alike, and co-authored submissions which seek to cross traditional disciplinary boundaries are especially welcome.

Abstracts of 300 words, along with a brief CV or publication list, should be sent to the editors at by January 16th 2012. At this stage we are expecting to receive draft essays of 5-6,000 words by late May 2012. For informal enquiries, please contact either Matthew Kapell or Andrew Elliott at

DIGRA Board Game Panel and Keynote Online

The organisers have put the videos from the board game events at DiGRA online. As fun and interesting as I remember.

Dr. Reiner Knizia is one of the world’s most successful and prolific game designers. He has had more than 500 games and books published in many countries and languages worldwide with sales totalling over 15 million games. He has won numerous international awards.

Reiner Knizia: Maximum Impact Game Design from Utrecht School of the Arts on Vimeo.

The panel brings together academics and practitioners from both sides of the digital gaming divide. They will attempt to explore what makes the modern board game interesting, and discuss the opportunities and challenges this evolving form of play presents and the impact that board games, and their study, should be having on game studies as a whole

Panelists are:
Reiner Knizia (​english.htm)
Chris Bateman (​about.html)
Andrew Sheerin (
James Wallis (​spaaace-people)
Douglas Wilson (​index.php/​Douglas_Wilson)
Armand Servaes (

Panel on Modern Board Games from Utrecht School of the Arts on Vimeo.

GameMaker Challenge #1: One Button Games

“My best advice for students hoping to break in: Make games. Make a lot of games. Don’t stop making games. Learn from every game, good or bad” – John Siegel (Twitter, 2011)

As part of their studies of becoming successful game-scholars, 1st year Games Computing students at the LSoC (CGP1001M) have to use and learn existing tools to rapidly develop and extend original game design ideas into fully fledged playable games. One of our favourite approaches to the introductory of game studies is the use of game developing challenges. The rules of challenges: Make a game based on a given theme, within the available time scale. Volunteering students present and discuss their game in front of a playful crowd made out of their colleagues and university staff members.

Challenge #1: Make a ‘One-Button’ game in GameMaker. Use a single button as your player(s) input. Inspirational games: CanabaltB.U.T.T.O.N, Poto and Cabenga or Super Action RPG.

This year’s student outcomes were astonishing. We had plenty of submissions, and students who presented their games heftily discussed their design and implementation process. Ben recorded the presentation sessions and created a short show reel video. The video is available on Youtube and gives a good glimpse of what is happening during the challenge sessions!

Additionally, we have hand-picked the following submissions (now with download links!)

Dungeons of NariekKieran Hicks
Play as a brave unnamed knight as he delves into the treacherous Dungeons of Nariek. The evil Nariek has put a deadly curse on the knight and he can only perform actions in certain directions. Jump & Fight your way to victory!
Controls: Spacebar – Jump & Fight.
Fly, Square, FlyJames Brown
Circle was Square’s only love until she was kidnapped by the evil, moncole wearing, Dr Triangle who took her to his underground mountain base. You must rescue her!
Controls: Spacebar – fly up.
Lunar DescentJ McDonagh
Can you master gravity?Bring the lunar 1 module to a safe landing on the moon by controlling your fuel and avoiding all the asteroids. Lunar descent consists of 10 levels of addictive one-button game play.
Controls: Space bar – thrust.
StarcatcherM Northover
In Starcatcher, players have to catch stars and avoid meteors as they jump between two buildings. Get as many stars as possible and to challenge your friends to see if they can do better!
Controls: Spacebar – jump.
GoldrushT Pendle
Avoid fire, Collect as many gold coins, diamonds and rubies as possible.
Controls: SpaceBar – move!

Great work guys! Challenge #2 is around the corner and will be unveiled in the next weeks!

Presentation: Playful Misconduct and the Value of Mischief in Games

Yesterday I was asked to do a 20 minute presentation for our regular research seminars. I thought I’ve have a bit of fun with it, so I modernified a presentation I gave at FROG 2009 in Vienna about the value of mischief in games.

I think context is important, so you have to remember that this was given in the Vienna City Hall, in a wood panelled ballroom with chandeliers and giant tapestries of eagles. Mine was the first presentation after one given by the Austrian minister of culture at the very beginning of the conference.

The details of the paper are here:
Ben Kirman, Conor Linehan and Shaun Lawson (2010) On the Edge of Good Taste: Playful Misconduct and Mischief in Online Games, chapter in “Exploring the Edges of Gaming” Editors: Konstantin Mitgutsch, Christoph Klimmt, Herbert Rosenstingl. Vienna, Austria (ISBN 978-3-7003-1758-6, book here, Author’s PDF version download here)