GameCity Nights DevSoc

As of the last GameCity Nights we were given a wonderful opportunity at the National Video Game Arcade to show some of DevSoc projects.

We had a stall ready to play any past DevSoc projects from jams and to show a robotic arm that was recently brought back to life!

The main thing that current first year DevSoc members have been working on was me and another named Luke looking into prototyping our original rope game.

 

The concept spurs from the problems we had when we play Webslingers and grapple hook ropes games. They do not seem to offer full versatility in reacting with the world. Flying through the streets at Spiderman and having my rope clip through lampposts or just hault by the post.  Surely what should occur is a wrap around the lamposts. Even in Just Cause 2 the effects that could be had if the grapple hook could collide with the environment would be enjoyable. We set out to find out the reasons for this and if we could find a niche potential solution.

 

After investigation we found the primary reason this occurs is the line made is usually done through raycasting and exist only between the character and the point of collision. This makes sense as having the rope made up of segmented physic components in games doesn’t not seem the nicest thing a programmer could do to memory of a device. Especially as the collisions will be checked every frame and then calculate according. However, me and Luke then went about seeing what we can do using Unity to give each object its own rigidbody identity and see if the relationship between each object could be potentially fix this problem. After considering all this we made a quick level to hopefully prototype all these aspects at GameCity Nights.

 

The audience we have were lovely and gave us all the input into where to improve in our original concept. Granted the few mishaps with control understanding which would need improvement but it still allowed everyone to have good time.

 

For the readers here is a quick gif cropped up to see what were experimenting with #WereNotartists.
If anyone is interested in a executable please get in touch and I can send you a copy!

As a precursor to a Second year Project some members of DevSoc have been working on creating an autonomous robot. The official project title is:

 

‘Investigations into enhancements that can be applied to a Double Robot’

 

The team that have been working on this have undertaken a very large aim. The overall goal is to create a system that will allow the Double Robot to follow a defined path around a room. This path is to be updated so that obstacles are avoided. Also a method of detecting and recognizing faces is to be incorporated to facilitate dynamic response to individuals.

 

the double is a two wheeled self balancing robot, that can be controlled using two ipads and can act as a virtual presence device. the initial stage of the project was to understand how the communication between the IPad and double worked. Phase two involved the research into different areas of development for the double, this includes image processing and counter vision, networking between various devices and the implementation of a micro controller for distance detection.

 

Currently the robot is in it’s first autonomous phase. By using an open source computer Vision library (OpenCV) the double now Tracks and follows a object maintaining a safe distance from it.

 

After tweaking and ensuring that the Human Computer Interaction element of this phase is up to scratch development and investigation into other areas can begin.

 

Social Saturdays – End of Year Meal

To Kick start the reorganisation of DevSoc’s social Saturdays we took a trip to the National Videogame Arcade. The theme of the event was as suspected – Videogames. From a guest speaker talking all about their creation of the original Prince of Persia, to sitting down and playing Donky Konga, to playing mastermind, Social Saturdays at the NVA was awesome!.

The succeeding Social Saturdays at DevSoc have featured the playing of Minecraft across a LAN. A surprisingly exciting arrangement of 8 people playing minecraft across a switch ensured that nobody got bored of sitting and playing the same game for hours at a time!

Future Social saturdays we are hoping to branch out, play a wider variety of games and visit more events. A major thing that could become a weekly/monthly occasion is playing a game that has been developed by DevSoc. Be it a 5 minute demo, or a 4 hour competitive multi-player session. It would be a really good opportunity to create something with the knowledge that there are people out there who will want to see and play the game first hand.

 

The End of Year Meal.

The meal was held at TGI Fridays. A table for 15 ensured that it was a nice social affair. Ordering more food than we couldn’t bare to stomach again, it was delicious! It was especially nice to see everyone in DevSoc getting together to socialise in an environment that wasn’t Uni and the DevSoc Room. Social events like these are imperative to keeping a core group of friends who are passionate about what they do.

Succeeding the meal was a trip to the NVA a few games were played, a little bit of PacMan and a whole lot of Lemon Jousting! The highlight of the event was the insight into the life of former president Patrick Merritt. Full of fascinating tales from his times at Jams to to his current exploits as a PhD Student, there is never a dull moment when he’s around.

A massive thanks to Jason Tomlin for organising the end of year meal, and to everyone who came along!

Looking forward to what should be an exciting future year for DevSoc!

 

 

Dev Soc Session

The meeting today featured some exciting news!

 

The next batch of card access has been granted. The first year members of the society can all now access the room! It has taken more than a fair amount of time for it to happen but it finally has!

Hopefully this will help us to show that the Dev Soc room is still as used as it used to be. No longer will we have to rely on there already being people in the room before others can enter.

 

In order to further the practical use of the Dev Soc room we now have upgraded PC’s. They still remain on the slower side of things, but they have been wiped clean of the gunk that will have amassed over the years! It is definitely a start to the task that many have deemed impossible – New PCs ASAP!

To go with the now usable PCs there are 4 new Samsung monitors for us to use! No more hideous CRT’s and almost decade old monitors! The combination of the two upgrades have helped revitalise the whole room. A Room that can be used by all members, not just those who have laptops.

 

The meeting was adjourned with the appearance of two PhD students. One of those were researching into the use of BCI’s to create a multi-modal experience to improve the lives of those with disabilities. The other was investigating the use of Computational intelligence to produce a solution to a specific issue that occurred with many businesses.

 

The usage of BCI’s in the suggested scenarios could be used to assist those with impaired motor-skills. In the most severe cases the usage of BCI’s could help those who struggle to voice their needs by providing a way for them to communicate simple responses mentally to family, friends and carers. The research involved finding ways to create an interface with which the signals can be processed and noise can be reduced.

 

The research into the use of computational intelligence was to produce a system that would assist in the organisation of Shipments and shipping containers. Starting with answering the simple question of ‘will it fit’ the task soon grew to create a dynamic system that would allow a whole range of variables to be defined. This would allow the user to produce the most space-efficient way to pack the storage containers, regardless of the size, regardless of the objects being stored. The system being used has been designed around the usage of standard Genetic Algorithms. With an amalgamation of techniques contributing the biggest weight to the analysis.

 

Both of these PhD’s are incredibly interesting! it will be exciting to see how they progress as they move towards completion. Hopefully we will continue to get the opportunity to see what others are researching and studying to further their education and the field of Computer Science!

Hack 24 – We Did Something? Maybe?

On the weekend starting the 2nd May 2015, Two First year members of DevSoc entered their very first Hack!

 

Hack 24 was a really fun experience. They learned a lot. The event was really well organised and there was lots people who took part. What surprised us the most was the sheer amount of teams that made up of leaders in the industry!

The team that entered the hack were not expecting to produce anything that could be considered game changing. Especially given their lack of experience. Though they did go into the event open minded and willing to learn.

 

The idea that they worked on was simple. Aiming to produce something for the MidlandsHR Challenge they worked on a simple Up vote – Down vote manager rating system. In a similar style to existing sites like Reddit and YikYak. Working within the .Net framework the duo were learning something completely new. Neither of them have done any Web Development or Internet application style programming before.

The product that they ended up with featured a nice material design style and an easy to use, simple arrangement. It also held a rudimentary login system that would ensure that any user could only vote when logged in. It would also mean that the users could only vote a pre-defined amount of time.

To expand upon what was developed at the hack the team decided that they would set up a system so that businesses using it could allocate the amount of votes that people could take. This would allow businesses to get quick simple and informative information about their managers.

 

In the future Dev Soc are hoping to take more and more of its members to Hacks. This is to add variety to their skill set and ensure that Jams are not the only events that are attended.

 

For more information about HACK 24 please visit http://www.hack24.co.uk/

New DevSoc Presidents!

As the final term of the year began it became time to elect the new president of DevSoc.

 

For the first time in the societies existence a coalition has been formed by two members. Adam Slack and Dean P. Ottewell decided that it would be in the best interests of the society that they take on an equal partnership and division of labor. The benefits of this coalition mean that both members can focus on their strengths and bring to the society the things that they feel will benefit everyone the most.

 

The Top Priority for Adam and Dean is to bring a level of prestige and popularity that it had in previous years. As the Size of the society has dwindled they wish to create an environment that will act as an incubator for new members, bringing them into the fold and helping them get as much out of the university experience as possible.

 

To do this they plan to create as many events as possible; workshops, talks and social events that will help to attract as many opportunities for members to develop and progress as academics and individuals. They have already ran a workshop on Arduino’s and are in constant communication with lecturers for events that can be set up for DevSoc.

 

Together Adam and Dean are currently in the process of setting up Uni Jam 2015! In continuation of the prior Uni Jam they hope for this to be a huge event, for all students in the country. With luck the event will become a yearly occurrence. Plans are still in their early days, however things are moving along at a lightning pace! More information about Uni Jam 2015 will be posted as regularly as possible as things progress.

Keep your eye on this space for updates on what we’re all up to!

 

Jump Jam 2015 – Game City & The National Videogame Arcade

The Weekend just gone saw the occurrence of Jump Jam! A nice little game jam centered around the theme of jumping. The event was held on the opening weekend of The National Videogame Arcade and was situated in the building. Four 1st year members of DevSoc entered it as their first ever participation of a Jam.

 

The members of the team were: Adam Slack, Matthew Rosegreen, Luke Metcalfe and Dean Ottewell. As a group they felt the jam was a success. Considering that it was their first jam they didn’t know what to expect. Taking a fun and relaxed approach to the evening meant that enjoyment of the weekend was the number one priority. Proud to have completed a game within such a short time frame the team are really pleased. Amounting to only around 15 hours of work from the group – This is taking into consideration sleeping and eating of course!

 

To See some of the over Games submitted visit the JumpJam Submission Page or visit our @Devsoc Twitter to see some photos of the presented Games.

Scratch to Python : British Scienece Week 2015

Science Fair occurred today at Nottingham Central library and it was a buzz.
A DevSoc member Dean had a terminal teaching scratch. He then compared that to python, using pygame. In hopes of inspiring young people to learn programming, the DevSoc team were assisted in the event and allowed Dean to bring along the ardunio RC car they have been working on to show off alongside various python projects.

 

Primarily the plan was to teach the game flappy bird in Scratch, this was due to its current popularity. We felt this might create more engagement amongst the children.

 

Too reinforce the learning in scratch a flappy birds game created in python  was brought along for them to look at.

 

If anyone is interested in learning about Python or scratch, or would like more information about the session or examples that were used then get in contact with the DevSoc Team.

 

- DevSoc

 

Arduino Project

Dev Soc Members Adam and Dean have been working with Arduino’s for the past few weeks.

 

Here is their current progress!

 

 

A Simple Little Bluetooth controlled Robot that you operate through an app on your phone.
Their next Steps is to have it stream a video to your phone so you can see where you are driving it even if you are not with the car.

 

Might need the help of a Raspberry Pi!

 

- Dev Soc