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Vega launches games degree

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Vega School has announced that it will introduce a Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences in Game Design and Development into its 2017 academic calendar, making it one of the first degrees of its kind in South Africa.

South Africa is believed to have a gaming industry worth R 2.5 billion with a positive growth projection which is set to reach R 3.3 billion in 2017. Business is increasingly looking to gamification strategies to bring brands to life. On an international scale gamification has become a core principle in business with companies such as Microsoft using gamification to motivate employees to do bug testing and improve language translations in their software. While it is evident that games and interactive applications are coming to the fore, however in South Africa there is a great need for improvement as a major stumbling block to meeting this need has been the lack of formal training and development of existing and incoming developers.

Heeding calls from industry to fulfill this need, Vega School (Vega) a division of The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE), has announced that it will introduce a Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences in Game Design and Development into its 2017 academic calendar, making it one of the first degrees of its kind in South Africa.

Vega’s response to introducing this degree clearly shows their commitment as leaders in the design, brand and business sectors. The degree will provide students with the necessary knowledge and expertise to pursue a career in game design and development, allowing them to create gaming content for everything, from home consoles and computers and other platforms such as mobile phones and other hand held devices. The three year degree is industry focused and on completion graduates will be well prepared and qualified with all the knowledge necessary to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional games. Students will have the ability to be employed in business as a developer for gamification applications, business applications and mobile apps, or to consider an entrepreneurial route in designing and developing their own games.

“Making games is a ‘fun’ science which requires lots of dedication while dealing with complex mathematics, real-time coding, cutting-edge digital art and high fidelity sound,” says Vega National Marketing Manager, Nicky Stanley. “Our programme thus facilitates the development of a well-rounded game designer and developer; with a balance of graphic and visual design for games combined with significant programming and database skills, knowledge and insight that will enable our students to find employment in business enterprises as well as further studies in IT or design.”

This new IIE degree, promises to offer the perfect platform to unleash great talent, which will deliver industry-ready game designers and developers. Its offering is contextualised within brand building by seasoned lecturers, who will provide exercises which afford the students with opportunities to integrate their game development with a brand building slant. Industry professionals are rallying behind the degree, Megan Hughes, Brand Manager at RetroEpic Software says “this is only the second degree I’ve seen being offered in South Africa where the students are being equipped with the range of skills that will prepare them for working in the industry.”

While Edward Dennekamp and Neil Jones from Lighthouse Games believe that the degree offered will be a game changer for future developers. “If only this degree was available when we were students; it has a unique approach providing a balance between the design and development of games, with a strong real-world application ensuring industry ready students. The programme supports the possibility for a student to launch their own game, and make money from it, even before they graduate, which is significant.”

As the electronic games industry continues to be one of the fastest growing industries worldwide with no signs of slowing down and video games becoming a primary form of entertainment, it is reassuring to know that South Africa is well on its way to producing ‘game-changers’ that meet the demand for complex and superior games.

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Opera launches built-in VPN on Android browser

Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, which features a built-in virtual private network service.

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Opera has released a new version of its mobile browser, Opera for Android 51, which features a built-in VPN (virtual private network) service.

A VPN allows users to create a secure connection to a public network, and is particularly useful if users are unsure of the security levels of the public networks that they use often.

The new VPN in Opera for Android 51 is free, unlimited and easy to use. When enabled, it gives users greater control of their online privacy and improves online security, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots such as coffee shops, airports and hotels. The VPN will encrypt Internet traffic into and out of their mobile devices, which reduces the risk of malicious third parties collecting sensitive information.

“There are already more than 650 million people using VPN services globally. With Opera, any Android user can now enjoy a free and no-log service that enhances online privacy and improves security,” said Peter Wallman, SVP Opera Browser for Android.

When users enable the VPN included in Opera for Android 51, they create a private and encrypted connection between their mobile device and a remote VPN server, using strong 256-bit encryption algorithms. When enabled, the VPN hides the user’s physical location, making it difficult to track their activities on the internet.

The browser VPN service is also a no-log service, which means that the VPN servers do not log and retain any activity data, all to protect users privacy.

“Users are exposed to so many security risks when they connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots without a VPN,” said Wallman. “Enabling Opera VPN means that users makes it difficult for third parties to steal information, and users can avoid being tracked. Users no longer need to question if or how they can protect their personal information in these situations.”

According to a report by the Global World Index in 2018, the use of VPNs on mobile devices is rising. More than 42 percent of VPN users on mobile devices use VPN on a daily basis, and 35 percent of VPN users on computers use VPN daily.

The report also shows that South African VPN users said that their main reason for using a VPN service is to remain anonymous while they are online.

“Young people in particular are concerned about their online privacy as they increasingly live their lives online,” said Wallman. “Opera for Android 51 makes it easy to benefit from the security and anonymity of VPN , especially for those may not be aware of how to set these up.”

Setting up the Opera VPN is simple. Users just tap on the browser settings, go to VPN and enable the feature according to their preference. They can also select the region of their choice.

The built-in VPN is free, which means that users don’t need to download additional apps on their smartphones or pay additional fees as they would for other private VPN services. With no sign-in process, users don’t need to log in every time they want to use it.

Opera for Android is available for download in Google Play. The rollout of the new version of Opera for Android 51 will be done gradually per region.

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Future of the car is here

Three new cars, with vastly different price-tags, reveal the arrival of the future of wheels, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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Just a few months ago, it was easy to argue that the car of the future was still a long way off, at least in South Africa. But a series of recent car launches have brought the high-tech vehicle to the fore in startling ways.

The Jaguar i-Pace electric vehicle (EV), BMW 330i and the Datsun Go have little in common, aside from representing an almost complete spectrum of car prices on the local market. Their tags start, respectively, at R1.7-million, R650 000 and R150 000.

Such a widely disparate trio of vehicles do not exactly come together to point to the future. Rather, they represent different futures for different segments of the market. But they also reveal what we can expect to become standard in most vehicles produced in the 2020s.

Jaguar i-Pace

The i-Pace may be out of reach of most South Africans, but it ushers in two advances that will resonate throughout the EV market as it welcomes new and more affordable cars. It is the first electric vehicle in South Africa to beat the bugbear of range anxiety.

Unlike the pioneering “old” Nissan Leaf, which had a range of up to about 150km, and did not lend itself to long distance travel, the i-Pace has a 470km range, bringing it within shouting distance of fuel-powered vehicles. A trip from Johannesburg to Durban, for example, would need just one recharge along the way.

And that brings in the other major advance: the i-Pace is the first EV launched in South Africa together with a rapid public charging network on major routes. It also comes with a home charging kit, which means the end of filling up at petrol stations.

The Jaguar i-Pace dispels one further myth about EVs: that they don’t have much power under the hood. A test drive around Gauteng revealed not only a gutsy engine, but acceleration on a par with anything in its class, and enough horsepower to enhance the safety of almost any overtaking situation.

Specs for the Jaguar i-Pace include:

  • All-wheel drive
  • Twin motors with a combined 294kW and 696Nm
  • 0-100km/h in 4.8s
  • 90kWh Lithium-ion battery, delivering up to 470km range
  • Eight-year/160 000km battery warranty
  • Two-year/34 000km service intervals

Click here to read about BMW’s self-driving technology, and how Datsun makes smart technology affordable.

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