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.
Money talks and electronic gaming evolves
Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.
The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.
The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games.
It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.
MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.
“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”
New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.
“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”
Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.
Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.
This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.
What is blockchain?
A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.
A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.
Each block stores:
– A number of valid records or transactions.
– Information referring to that block.
– A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.
Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.
As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.
How is blockchain so secure?
Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.
Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.
In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.
What else can blockchain be used for?
Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.
Use of blockchain in healthcare
Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.
Use of blockchain for documents
Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.
Other blockchain uses
This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.
Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.
Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.