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uadAs some of you know I have been contracting for Abertay University for the last couple months this is mainly helping out on the BBC Prototype project which is a project that gets groups of students to rapidly prototype ideas for the BBC which will maybe be presented to the BBC commission. The project gives the students academic credit as well as a chance to work along side the BBC staff.

I was ask if wanted to get involved the idea being that we could provide code support for one of the code deficient teams as well as professional advice and assistance to any of the other teams on the project. It’s been quite interesting to say the least as like any professional organisation I can’t talk about the individual prototypes that the students are working on but it is a little like doing R&D all the time.

Being part of Abertay has lead to a couple of interesting things one was a few days brain storming with the BBC and the other was a chance to get involved with some of last years graduates which have just gone to do internships at companies around the uk.

BBC and the Big Brain
bbc1So what was the brain storming like well the basic idea was to get industry professionals students and BBC staff to get together for a few days and try to come up with interesting projects. The initial briefs came from the BBC the group was then broken up into small teams to discuss each brief and try and come up with some interesting ideas (one or two liners) these simple ideas where then all presented to the group which permeated the rest of the group to comment or being inspired. Once all the initial ideas had been presented and discussed the teams where then sent away once more to try and flesh out one single idea (this could be based on one or more of the briefs be simple or complex really up to the team ). At the end of the day each team had pitch there idea to a small panel which where not involved in any of the small team sessions. It was an interesting couple days and hopefully some of the ideas will make there way back into the Prototype project in the future ( it was also really nice to seen in side the BBC offices in Glasgow ).


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Interns with a PS3 Cluster
One of the other things I got involved in this year was a two day project funded by NESTA ( public funding ) which is put just over half a dozen graduates into companies around the uk. All the participants had been part of Dare to be Digital last year and the idea is to give struggling graduates a step up by providing a way to get industry experience. So where dose a PS3 cluster come into this Well just before the interns where due to start they where invited up to Dundee to innovate the idea was to get the group to collaborate on a project of there own creation and try to have it implemented ( or in other words have some fun ). So one day was to come up with a good project idea and the second was to try and implement it oh and there was a PS3 cluster hanging around to use as well. On our part we spent most of the first day working out what we could do with the cluster with young graduates that had never touched a Linux machine before. With admin access and a host of Linux (yellowdog) packages at our finger tips we got mono on the box’s which would let the two developers on the project develop in a familiarize environment as well as permit us to run at least something on the cluster. So by the close of the first day we had a simple network application running between the windows development box’s and one of the PS3’s (whooh to mono). Yea ok so were not push the boundary of the PS3 but what do you expect in a few hours (nothing is ever setup the way you need it). On day two it was the graduates turns the idea was to try and create a multi player snake game spread over multiple machines. Where each PS3 hosted a world and handed over the snake to the next machine when it hit the edge of the screen complex enough but also simple enough to do in a short space of time ( a grand total of 6 hours ). On this day we where there to advice and help rather than implement the program to say that the graduates didn’t try hard would be a lie. They struggled with the project though at the end of the day of coding they had a single player network snake game running (hosted on a Linux machine and a terminal on a windows client). I defiantly need to get my hands on the cluster again to see what I really can do with it but I very doubt it will happen.


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Ah well just thought I’d fill you in on the other things the game is getting there as well as all the peripheral stuff. You can also catch a sneak peak of our first iPhone title on you tube at youtube.com/electrictophat. Later...

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