All posts by Mark Doughty

Project Anarchy presentation

SoCS students were introduced to the capabilities of Project Anarchy in a presentation and demonstration on Wednesday 19th February. Stu Johnson introduced Project Anarchy and showed it’s capabilities as a mobile game development and deployment environment. Stu, who is a game industry ‘veteran’, illustrated how complex games could be developed using this technology. He also showed how this software has no licence restrictions and is completely free!

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Video games and performance art: the future of games development

Performance artists and researchers are joining forces to create a new type of video game, further blurring the boundaries between real and virtual worlds.

The Videogames Research Network has been set up by the Games Research Group at the University of Lincoln, UK.

It involves several researchers from Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, including Dr Patrick Dickinson, Dr Duncan Rowland, Dr Conor Linehan and Dr Ben Kirman, working with Dr Kate Sicchio from the School of Performing Arts and Dr Grethe Mitchell from the School of Media.

Collaborating with Performance and New Media Professor Gabriella Giannachi, from the University of Exeter, the aim is to bring together games developers, performance practitioners and academics to explore new concepts in the design and creation of movement-based games. Arts Queensland, based in Brisbane, is also a project partner.

The project is being sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), as part of a wider initiative to develop the creative industries and put Britain back at the forefront of creative technology.

Dr Dickinson said: “The concept of performance has already become important in games; for example, Microsoft Kinect, Nintendo Wii and Playstation Move are based on direct physical movement rather than pushing buttons on a controller. However, it’s an area of interaction that’s not been fully explored in terms of innovative mechanics in a commercial setting. We want to take a fresh look at from the perspective of performing arts research and practice, and use them to develop new game design ideas. We will also be looking at location-based gaming – games that are situated ‘in the wild’.”

The emergence of movement-based interactions and mixed reality mobile platforms have profoundly changed the types of experiences game designers are able to create.

Project performers will participate directly in the game creation process through a series of workshop activities. This will drive development of new performance-led game mechanics, and playful audience interactions, which will inspire new types of experience in contemporary gaming platforms.

Dr Rowland explained: “The mechanics of video games can now be expressed using naturalistic body movements and behaviours, blurring the boundaries between the real and virtual worlds. We will address this challenge using the perspective of performing arts research and practice, enabling performance practitioners and researchers to engage directly with the game development process. It’s about how concepts of expression through performance could create new and engaging game play mechanics and how the role of audience could create playful interactions and be used to generate competitive and collaborative play.”

Professor Gabriella Giannachi added: “Performance and Audience in Movement-Based Digital Games is an exciting opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in Computer Science and the commercial sector to look into how we can use practices and theories from performance and new media to create game play mechanics in commercial games. The theoretical framework being used is documented in a set of publications, including the MIT book Performing Mixed Reality, written by computer scientist Steve Benford from the University of Nottingham and myself, which documents a series of landmark performances and installations that mix physical and virtual environments, live performance, game mechanics and interactivity.”

There will be three inter-disciplinary workshops in Lincoln and Nottingham in the UK and Brisbane, Australia, where researchers working in games studies, human computer interaction and technical aspects of game development will work with developers and performance researchers/practitioners to prototype new collaborative game ideas.


Linda wins robot marathon!

Linda, the University’s robot from the STRANDS project, fought off five robots from across the EU to be crowned winner of last week’s Robot Marathon.

From November 25 to November 29, the six robots from the EU STRANDS project battled it out for the title of last robot standing in the STRANDS Robot Marathon.

The challenge was to autonomously patrol a populated environment for as long as possible, with the aim to cover the most distance in the shortest time possible.
The STRANDS Robot Marathon featured live feeds from robots, information about all the participants, and information on the underlying science and technology challenges this work presents.

The “race” finished at 4pm on Friday and Linda travelled a total of 45.1km fully autonomously.

Dr Marc Hanheide, from the School of Computer Science, said: “Congratulations to the local STRANDS team and a big thanks to everybody for their support.”
Linda is based in the new Robotics lab at Witham Wharf.

For full details of the STRANDS project go to

Google Talk!


On Friday 8th November we have Ed from Google coming in to talk to current students about his role at Google and how he got there. He works within the technical side of Google Maps but will also tell you more about working for Google and the areas within it such as Google Maps and Earth as well as Search/GMail/YouTube/Docs, Google Glass, self driving cars and internet balloons.

Ed will talk about his time at Google for about 1 hour and will be available for up to another hour to answer questions.

The talk will be in the Enterprise building on the 8th November 3pm in meeting room 1. Please go to reception and they will point you in the right direction.

This will be a great insight into the inner workings of Google! And will count to one of your Lincoln Award Subject Activities should you be on the Lincoln Award.