2013: A Year in Review

Phew!
That was a hectic year! Of course, we can’t complain about being busy and getting to work on so many fantastic projects.

We were involved with technologies from mobile, to tablets to giant screens and more.
And across a plethora of languages!

We had C# and XNA in our inaugural build of Master of the Seven Teas. In which we created a real-time, mathematically accurate, fluid solver and in order to make this surface as visually accurate, utilised HLSL (High Level Shader Language) to provide the Xbox 360s GPU with the various techniques required to render a realistic fluid surface.

With a similar syntax, we made use of Java and the Android SDK to create applications for clients. Java and the Android SDK also enabled us to begin development of various ANEs (Adobe Native Extensions) which allow us to provide access to lower-level functionality of a system up to Adobe AIR – so developers can use the ActionScript 3 language, yet still maximize their use of the hardware capabilities of the platforms they are running on.
Our whole ANE procedure lead to the OUYA Controller ANE, the now deprecated OUYA IAP ANE and the most recent, OUYA Facade ANE. All of which have been used in production ready games – helping to expand the OUYA development community.

Extending from our development with AIR, we branched out into one of ActionScript’s more powerful features: Stage3D. This allows us to continue to develop in the language and with the tools we’re familiar with, yet still gain access to the GPU and the rendering capability that comes with it.

Adobe have also developed an excellent networking protocol, known as RTMFP (Real-Time Media Flow Protocol). From this, we have developed a new networking system that allows for cross-platform communication between any AIR supporting devices – be it Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, OUYA or Blackberry. All of these can communicate freely between any of the others. To set this up, we have made use of Microsoft’s web service called Azure.

With this, we have developed with web technologies such as PHP and SQL – specifically, Transactional SQL on the Azure platform. And, for testing the RTMFP connections when everything has been configured, using Adobe Cirrus.

There were also several events that occurred this year, including a trip to GDC San Francisco, some speaking and mentoring at the University of Bradford and more. And of course, plenty of things we can’t talk about – just yet!

Here’s looking forward to an even more fulfilling 2014!

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Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, one and all!

Gaslight Games are enjoying the winter break, soaking in all these fantastic winter game releases, enjoying far too much food and seasonal cheer and worry about it in the New Year!

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IC Tomorrow: Crytek UK Challenge

WebsiteImageICTomorrow

The UK Governments Technology Strategy Board runs a program known as IC Tomorrow, which is a testbed for digital innovations. Through this program, IC Tomorrow launch various competitions and challenges in different sectors, all along the theme of innovation.

This challenge was in the field of video games and involved industry partners such as Crytek UK and SCEE (Sony Europe).

With our experience in procedural and real-time systems (our Fluid System used in Master of the Seven Teas, is a prime example), we entered into the Crytek challenge – to create a procedurally generated city, starting with Open Street Map data and outputting a 3D scene.

From our entry, we were selected as one of three finalists! Our first stop was the IC Tomorrow offices in London, where we gave our initial presentation in order to receive feedback and ensure the final pitch is the best we can deliver.
A few weeks later, it was the final event! We were the first up in our category (and the third category on the day). Afterwards, many commented on how well the presentation was delivered, all of the ideas were brought across to the room and we felt we left everything we could up at the podium.

Ultimately, and sadly, we were not selected as the eventual winners.
Our thoughts were that the raw computing power required to enjoy a CryEngine experience would mean the systems these games were running on would likely have plenty of processing capability. From this, we wanted to download and process the map data on the machines, seeking to reduce how much was streamed from remote sources. Another facet of our concept was to potentially use the OSM data as a base, which an environment artist could then modify to create the experience they were after.
It seemed that Crytek were looking for a more cloud based solution – very much the opposite of what we conceived! The entire competition was a fantastic experience and we met even more great people in the video games industry (easily the best industry!).

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