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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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AppDate: DStv taps Xbox, Hisense

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DStv Now for Xbox and Hisense

Usage of DStv Now, the online DStv service available free to DStv customers, is increasing rapidly with more than two million plays of live and Catch Up content per week. In addition to using DStv Now to watch TV on tablets and smartphones, an increasing number of DStv customers are also opting to use it as their primary method of getting DStv on additional TVs in the house. This is set to increase with the release of two new big-screen TV apps, one for Xbox gaming consoles (Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X) and another for Hisense smart TVs (2018 and newer models).

Expect to pay: A free download.

Platform: Any of the Xbox One range of gaming consoles and 2018 or later Hisense smart TVs.

Stockists: Visit the store linked to your Xbox console or HiSense smart TV.

Santam Safety Ideas

Start-up businesses that have a FinTech or InsurTech business venture brewing are called to enter the third annual Santam Safety Ideas competition. Safety solutions or InsurTech ventures that are ready for piloting could win up to  R150 000 worth of incubation support and R200 000 in seed funding. 

The Safety Ideas competition was launched two years ago in partnership with LaunchLab,  Stellenbosch University’s startup incubator that facilitates valuable connections for corporates and startups sourced from the startup ecosystem and partner universities in South Africa. The previous winners are Herman Bester and Anton Swanevelder, co-founders of MyLifeLine – a wearable panic device that won the competition last year; and Ntsako Mgiba and Ntandoyenkosi Shezi, co-founders of Jonga – a cost-effective security system for low income families, which won the competition in 2017.

Entries close on 28 February 2019. For more information on how to enter, visit: www.santam.co.za/safetyideas/

Click here to read about the FNB Snapchat lens, Spotify Free with data saver, and 00:37.

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Fortnite fixes hackers’ hole

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Epic Games has repaired a vulnerability that exposed Fortnite, the world’s most popular game of the moment, to hackers. The hole, which was left in Epic’s web infrastructure,  allowed hackers to target players with email that appeared to come from Epic Games, but would have led them to a phishing site, where their log-in details would have been stolen.

Researchers at cyber security solutions provider Check Point Software alerted Epic to vulnerabilities that could have affected any player of the hugely popular online battle game.

Fortnite has nearly 80 million players worldwide. The game is popular on all gaming platforms, including Android, iOS, PC via Microsoft Windows and consoles such as Xbox One and PlayStation 4.  In addition to casual players, Fortnite is used by professional gamers who stream their sessions online, and is popular with e-sports enthusiasts.

If exploited, the vulnerability would have given an attacker full access to a user’s account and their personal information as well as enabling them to purchase virtual in-game currency using the victim’s payment card details. The vulnerability would also have allowed for a massive invasion of privacy, as an attacker could listen to in-game chatter as well as surrounding sounds and conversations within the victim’s home or other location of play. 

While Fortnite players had previously been targeted by scams that deceived them into logging into fake websites that promised to generate Fortnite’s ‘V-Buck’ in-game currency, these new vulnerabilities could have been exploited without the player handing over any login details.

Click here to read how the Fortnite hack would have worked.

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