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Game jam winners named

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Following a gruelling 48 hours of game-making, the results of the annual Global Game Jam session, which took place at Vega campuses in Jo’burg and Cape Town from 26-28 January 2018, are finally out.

Vega, a brand of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), congratulates team RGB, made up of Tristan Thompson, Callum Taylor, Tiffany-Jade Hoon and Christie Edwards, whose multi-player top-down shooter game won Best Game Art at this year’s event.

Best Game Sound was awarded to team The HIVE, made up of Ross Adams, Zander Fick, Dewald Du-Toit, Tigran Ohannessian, Aidan Stokes, Joshua Krynauw, Keegan Bagnall and Darron Hardman for their top-down swarm builder game.

Transcoma, a multi-perspective puzzle game developed by Pierre Du Plessis, Verdanth Panchoo, Matthew Brett, Nicholas Brown, Benit Kadima, Wesley Proxenos, and Jialuo Chen, was chosen as this year’s Most Fun Game.

The Vega Game Jam forms part of the local leg of Global Game Jam® (GGJ), the world’s largest event of its kind, which takes place at various locations around the world. Considered a ‘hackathon focused on game development’, the event sees some of the most talented young minds come together to share their creativity and create unique video game experiences – all in no more than two days. The students each contribute a different set of skills and talents to the group from what they’ve learned in their respective courses and qualifications, including animation design and web development.

“It always gives us such great pleasure to watch how the students come into their own during the Game Jam sessions, and the way in which they work together to make magic happen,” says Robert Chrich, Academic Navigator at Vega.

“Participants are responsible for conceptualising, executing and presenting an entire game from scratch. While they do have the support of Vega navigators, the students are in the driving seat making use of their own intelligence, ingenuity and talent throughout the competition,” he continues. “Game jamming gives students first-hand insight into the game-making industry, which is incredibly vital for those trying to enter the job market.”

The Vega Game Jam provides a valuable platform for students to meet and network with other would-be game-makers as well as professional game developers in the industry, offering students the unique opportunity to learn and work alongside experienced developers. Participation in the Vega Game Jam also allows students to beef up their portfolios, which is particularly rewarding for students hoping to find jobs in the game-making industry.

To help the students find their feet, Vega also hosted a series of workshops to provide gaming ‘newbies’ with valuable insight into some of the mechanics of the development process, including helpful how-to tips on creating the various complex components that make up a game.

“This year marks the first time that workshops of this nature, specifically geared at participants who have no gaming experience, have been held in South Africa,” says Chrich. “What makes the GGJ event inclusive and interesting is that the students aren’t limited to creating digital games but can also develop their own board games and card games too, which means that anyone with an interest in gaming of any type can participate, as long as they’re over 18.”

For more information on the Vega Game Jam, photographs from the event and details on each of the games that were developed, go to Vega’s Facebook and Instagram pages. For those interested in making a career out of game-making, check out the IIE Bachelor of Computer and Information Science in Game Design and Development degree available to study at Vega, listed under Courses.

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CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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