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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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Huawei Mate 20 Pro matches camera benchmark record

A benchmark by DxOMark sees the triple-cam handset tie with the P20 Pro for best smartphone camera on the market.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has come out top in a camera benchmark test that assesses all aspects of smartphone camera performance.

DxOMark, which conducts rigorous hardware testing and is trusted as an industry standard for image quality measurements, has just released the results of its in-depth analysis of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone camera. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end device. Building on the P20 Pro’s camera technology, the Mate 20 Pro comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, but swaps its stable-mate’s monochrome camera for a super-wide-angle module, offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm—the widest of all current smartphone cameras.

The handset is in direct competition with the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, among other. How does it fare?

“With a total photo score of 114, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ties the record-setting score of its cousin, the P20 Pro,” says DxOMark. “The overall Photo score is calculated from sub-scores in tests that examine different aspects of its performance under different lighting conditions.”

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro achieves a photo score of 114 points. In stills mode, the Mate 20 Pro’s triple camera captures images with good target exposure and a wide dynamic range, recording both good highlight and shadow detail even in difficult high-contrast situations. Noise levels are well under control down to low light levels, and the camera’s white balance system and colour rendering settings produce a pleasant colour response in almost all circumstances.

At 97 points, the Mate 20 Pro is very close to the best for video as well, thanks to a fast and smooth autofocus system with good tracking performance, accurate white balance as well as pleasant colour rendering, and low levels of noise, especially in bright shooting conditions. Our testers also liked the exposure system’s ability to adapt quickly and smoothly to changes in illumination.

It was not all good news. DxOMark also had some criticism for the device.

Click here to read about the drawbacks of the Mate 20 Pro camera, and other positives.

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SA car wins
Dakar Rally

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The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, Peru, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory. Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.

The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43 years old on Thursday, 17 January, received a great birthday present, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation. The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish.

The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. “This victory was long overdue,” he finally managed, before being swamped in a sea of well-wishers.

The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.

“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were skeptical,” said Hall after regaining composure. “But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade.”

Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DakarRally.

Click here to read Glyn Hall’s comment on winning the Dakar Rally, as well as the rankings.

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