Ireland's students excel in the games industry

With several global software companies based in Ireland it is no surprise that Irish institutions are at the forefront of computing education. Here are two success stories of students in Ireland who have developed their own award-winning software.

Innovative PC game demo ‘RagCat’Havok game developers launched a contest for innovative PC game demos as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to showing the fun and interesting applications of maths, physics and computer sciences.

Offering a total prize fund of US$40,000, Havok invited students, hobbyists and the ambitious from the global game developer community to create an innovative playable PC game demo using the Intel sponsored no‐charge PC version of Havok’s award-winning software ‘Havok Physics’.

Ireland's students excel in the games industry

“The aim of the Havok Physics Innovation Contest was to inspire innovation and creativity in the global amateur game developer society”

In a bid to encourage budding Irish game developers to enter, one of the prizes in the contest was only open to entries from Irish third level students. Team Awesome from IT Carlow were the winners of this prize. Three other game demos entered from the global game community received thousands of dollars in cash prizes. Havok and Intel showcased the winning game demos alongside top Irish entry ‘RagCat’ at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. Their winning entry ‘RagCat’ follows a cat left paralysed after a car accident who uses telekinesis to get around his interactive world. Players can use RagCat’s telekinetic powers to manipulate any moveable object in the game in order to solve puzzles and allow the character to reach various destinations to score points.

David O’Meara, Managing Director of Havok says: “The aim of the Havok Physics Innovation Contest was to inspire innovation and creativity in the global amateur game developer society and to show Irish students the fun and cool side of maths, physics and science. All of the winning entries have shown original uses for Havok’s award winning technology. On behalf of everyone at Havok, I extend my congratulations to Team Awesome as the Irish winners of the Havok Physics Innovation Contest.”

Burning Ship StudiosBurning Ship Studios is a company founded by David Hill, Simon Coulter and Conor Masterson, all graduates of the B.Sc (Honours) in Computer Games Development at the Institute of Technology, Carlow. While studying at the Institute, the founders have been involved with some of the world’s biggest computer game companies such as Nintendo, Activision and PopCap Games. The team members have won a series of prestigious awards including a finalist position in the international Dare to be Digital competition, winning the Innovation Accelerator award in the finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup and winner of the Intel/Havok Physics Innovation competition. Since graduating from the Institute, Burning Ship Studios have begun development for the Apple iPhone. The company is currently developing iPhone games and applications with further plans of moving into the console market within two years.

Burning Ship Studios has taken its first intern from the Institute and will maintain close ties to the Institute that helped to create it.

Provided by Institute of Technology Carlow (2010)