Teesside University Is Ready For Indie Games

THE popularity of indie games is rising and Teesside University is looking to get in on the action.

Teesside University has introduced a brand new Indie Games Development course for up-and-coming game developers to learn the skills that they need to make innovative and successful games.

School Of Computing

Breeding the next Markus Pearson.

The number of people playing indie games is on the up and the number of indie game developers is rising along with it.

Successful independent games such as Minecraft have motivated people to get involved in creating their own games in hopes that they will have a chance at following in the footsteps on Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Pearson who recently penned a deal, selling his company Mojang to Microsoft for $1.5 billion.

Marc Silverstone has just embarked on his journey to become an Indie developer at Teesside.

He said: “I was inspired by Minecraft mainly. One man started making such a successful game in his bedroom, that’s what I want to be able to do!

“I’m really looking forward to getting to grips with the course, and getting some real industry experience.”

Companies like Kickstarter are also making it easier for budding game developers to turn their ideas into reality, allowing single developers and small companies to create content that they are passionate about.

Indie games tend to stray away from the more ‘traditional’ forms of gaming with over half of all indie games being made for tablets and smartphones.

A 2013 Games Developers Conference survey showed that over half of games developers identified themselves as ‘indie’ and of those 51% had been ‘indie’ developers for less than two years.

In addition to that, fewer developers are working with large gaming companies, with 40% of the people in the GDC survey stating that they worked in a company with 10 or less people and while only 20% were working with large games development companies on their current game.

By having a course tailored to teaching the specific skills needed to develop indie games, Teesside may just produce the creator of the next big thing.

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Animex Expands To South East Asia.

The hugely successful festival extends its reach across the globe

Animex is an annual gaming and animation festival held as Teesside University.

Students at KDU University College Malaysia enjoy Animex.

Students at KDU University College Malaysia enjoy Animex.

The week-long festival started in 2000 and has gone from strength to strength, attracting some of the biggest names in games, animation and visual effects while offering students the opportunity to network with industry professionals.

Studios such as DreamWorks, Pixar and Epic are regular attenders to the North East festival, and deliver speeches as well as hosting workshops.

This year, Animex expanded its reach into east Asia and visited Malaysia.

Dean of Teesside University’s School of Computing, Simon Stobart, said: “We are to be able to offer an opportunity for participation in this wonderful event to the people of Malaysia.”

In its first year, Animex Malaysia attracted huge names in the gaming world, including Jennifer Clixby who is a producer on Microsoft Lionhead’s hugely popular Fable series.

Unlike the UK event, Animex Malaysia ran over a weekend, but hopes to gain popularity and follow in the success of its Teesside counterpart.

In 2012, she had the honour of being included in Develop Magazine’s 30 under 30, a list of young gifted game programmers and entrepreneurial leaders. Clixby was one of only four women to be included in the feature.

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Tside Does Christmas In Spain.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, mince pies, turkey, overcrowded houses. We all know how Christmas is in the UK.

But what’s Christmas and the rest of the festive period like for the many international students that Teesside University attracts?

María Del Mar Ayala, from Almería, Spain spoke to Tside about the festive period in her home country and the differences that it has to England.

“On the 24th of December we meet with our family and spend time with each other.

“The 25th is when people would go somewhere else like the coast or the countryside for a meal.” She said.

“In Spain, we normally have food like lamb, pork or turkey. I like lamb when it is prepared in the chimney, we do it traditionally.

María Del Mar Ayala talks to Tside about Cristmas in Spain.

María Del Mar Ayala talks to Tside about Cristmas in Spain.

“My favourite food [of the festive period] is prawns.

“We also have Polvorónes (a type of almond based cookie) and Turrónes (which also has almonds in it).

We eat a lot of almonds around Christmas.” She jokes.

She adds: “The 24th is the most important day for me because I spend a lot of time with my family.”

After Christmas is over with, the New Year’s celebrations begin.

“We eat 12 grapes [when the clock strikes midnight] for good luck.” She says

Families gather in town squares and one grape is eaten with every chime of the clock at midnight, this is to receive good luck for the year ahead.

While families in Britain are taking down decorations and stuffing them into dusty lofts ready for next year, and students are braving the freezing weather and going back to university for the second term – the celebratory mood in Spain continues with the Day of the 3 Kings.

The Day of the 3 Kings, or Dia de Los Reyes, on the 6th January is arguably more anticipated in Spain than Christmas day itself by some people.

Dia de los Tres Reyes: The Day of the three kings is populr with children all around Spain

Dia de los Tres Reyes: The Day of the three kings is popular with children all around Spain

“Kids look forward to this day because they get their presents.” Maria says.

Celebrations begin on the night of 5th Jan with a street parade where 3 kings hand sweets to the children.

The next morning, children wake up to see their presents delivered.

“I’d like to spend a Christmas in the UK to see how different it is to Spain, but I am going back home this year.”

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Teesside leading the way with robotic surgery

TEESSIDE’S James Cook University Hospital is leading the way with advanced robotic surgery which is to be offered to prostate cancer patients.

For the first time ever a da Vinci robot will be used to treat men suffering with the cancer,  which will be less invasive, reducing the side effects of complicated surgery.

The hospital, that is well known for taking on board Teesside University health care students, is now able to offer surgery in a way like never before making it more precise and recovery time quicker.

The robot uses tiny instruments which are controlled by the surgeon sitting at a console. The surgeon has the benefits of 3D vision and hand and foot controls to control the micromanipulators, which have a greater range of movement than the human hand.

Consultant urologist David Chadwick, who will be the first person to preform the surgery, said: “Robotic surgery allows surgeons to have improved vision and a greater level of precision than the use of conventional surgical techniques. This has significant benefits for the patient.

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“It’s a significant development for the trust and, over time, will be used not only to treat patients with prostate cancer but also bladder cancer, kidney cancer, colorectal and gynaecological disease, head and neck disease and thoracic surgery.”

Rafaro Chivasa, 21, Student Nurse from Teesside said: ” It’s a benefit for us students, to be able to learn with all the advanced technology that some student nurses in other hospitals may not be exposed to before they qualify as staff nurses so it puts us training at James Cook at a greater advantage in our learning experience.

“I think we will definitely see more of similar developments across the NHS as the aim is to improve the patient experience always; therefore everyday there is a learning experience and with every learning experience there’s always room for improvements and developments.”

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It is estimated that between 300 and 400 patients a year, including 100 men with prostate cancer, will benefit from robotic surgery, which has been made possible through the generosity of the local population donating to South Tees Hospitals Charity.

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Different uni systems

Lots of people ask me how is it to start in a new city, uni and country; it is been eight months since I came here and it feels like one week. It is true that the first two weeks are awful: the life style is completely different from Barcelona (where I live) the uni it is also so different from there and I couldn’t understand anyone; I’ve been learning English in school and in an academy since I was 6 and I couldn’t understand anyone; so I felt so lost.

The first week was quite weird, here you have an introductory week for the first years so people can start knowing each other and the teachers, for me was so good, I started to know people and started knowing the teachers. BAck home we do not have this system, basically all the uni system is quite different.

First of all, we have more theorical lectures and we do not have that many seminars (just some weeks but not always) it was so complicated for me to try to get used to this, it seems like an easy thing but when you are used to do things differently and suddenly you have to change all your lifestyle and your uni system it is quite different.

But teachers ask you always how you doing and if everything is alright so they are always trying to make things easy and it is a thing that most of international students appreaciate. Another good thing is the Interling which is like a “society” for international student and you join them and there are a lot of activities to do so you can go and watch football matches, travel around the UK, go to Whitby, York, Newcastle, etc. It is quite good that the University take care that much about international students to make them feel like home and to make them discover the country or the region.

About the classes the organisation it is also different; starting with the credits – in Spain there are subjects with 3, 6, 9 and 12 credits. And here most of them are about 20 credits or 40.

The timetable – back home the timetable it is almost the same every day; from 9AM to 2 or 3PM, 2hours lecture of every subject and 1 hour of practical sessions. The timetable changes when we have to do a TV program, hand in the newspaper or do the radio program.

The exams – in Barcelona we usually have two exam periods: in January/February and in May/June. Depends on the subject we also have mid term exams but almost all of the subjects are final exams (theorical, practical or both) The main difference is that we do not have two “types” of students; here it has the NCTJ students and the ones we do not do that. Back home we all do the same exams and the same practical exams.

The teachers – I think here you only have like four or five teacher for all the years and one teacher can do two subjects; for me was so weird because I was used to have one teacher for every subject. Is the subjects are similars we had the same teacher but most of all we had different teachers every years and for every subject.

In summary, it has been a great experience to know more about UK, to learn more English and know more about the English lifestyle in general and make a really good friends.

 

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International meal to share with friends

Xènia Perarnau Lanza

If you don’t know what to do in a rainy day, or you and your friends are tired to do always the same? Here you have an international meal: Spanish starter, Main dish from Dominican Republic and great deserts from Germany. Three different countries in just one meal! What else could you ask for?

Below the video you can find the recipes for all the dishes! Enjoy and bon appétit

 

 

TORTILLA DE PATATAS for 4 people

– 3 potatoes, or if you are doing it with the small ones you can count 3 or 4 small ones for each

– 5 eggs

– 1 onion

– Salt

– Oil

– First of all you have to peel the potatoes and cut them in a little squares. After that, cut the onion in a small pieces (You don’t need all the onion, it depends on the taste of everyone). Put the potatoes and the onion in a big skillet, they have to be covered with oil; it’ll take about 20 minutes to get it fried. The next step is the eggs, you have to beat the eggs till it look like an orange liquid. After that, mix the potatoes and the onion with the beat eggs and put it in a skillet. The size of the omelette will depends on the size of the skillet. Put just a bit of oil in the skillet and put the mix there, you’ll see it will be like a crepe, wait till the back is done and turn it to the other way (you have to be clever or the omelette will be broken) turn it around and wait until it’s done in the other side. Put in a plate and bon appetit

Chicken with coconut and fried plantains for 4 people

– 500gr. Chicken fillets

– 1 can of Coconut cream

– 1 can of Tomato Sauce

– 2 Plantains

– 1 or 2 eggs

– 1 Onion

– Garlic Salt

– Black and red pepper

– bit of flour

– Salt

– Oil

Cut some (you will not need all the onion) and put it in a pot, fried it and mix it with the coconut cream and tomato sauce. Then take the chicken fillets and put it black and red pepper, salt, and garlic salt. Then beat the eggs and put the chicken inside the beat eggs, they have to be covered with beat eggs and then put it with the flour they have to be covered too. the next step is cutting the plantains. You need two plantains, and cut them in slices; fried them and fried the chicken in different skillets. And that would be everything, enjoy them!

VANILLA BISCUITS

– Sugar

– Ground almonds

– Butter

– Strong white berad flour

– White icing sugar

– Vanilla

First of all we take some butter (depends on how many people you are cooking for) we add sugar and icing sugar and we mix everything while mixing add a little bit of vanilla (it is enough with just a little bit if you add a lot it will taste just like vanilla and it is not that good) after the vanilla add the strong bread flour and mix it with the butter and the other things we have already mixed until dough; add the gound almonds and mix again til it is an homogeneous mass. After all mixed you can start doing the cookies with your hands and doing the half moon shaped (put icing sugar over the cookies) and put it in the oven; wait until it is done and enjoy your desserts!

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MIMA for children

The Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) is a leading gallery of modern and contemporary art. Since its opening on January 27, 2007 a million people have visited MIMA.

MIMA is managed by Middlesbrough Council and it is also an Arts Council National Portfolio organisation.

It has had many exhibitions including:

1) St. Ives mundial exposition (January 2015) An interesting exposition about some of the artworks of the most important modern and contemporary artists like: Rothko, Pollock, Madigliari, Banksy, etc.

2) Georgina Starr; I cave (7 April 2015- 28 May 2015) A solo exhibition about the Georgina’s distinct language through the use of video, sculpture, performance, writting and sound.

3) Stephen McKenna; Perspectives of Europe 1980 – 2014 (6 February 2015 – 7 June 2015) Painting, drawings and watercolours of this artist; all of them made between 80’s and nowadays. What he was looking for was to transmit to other people different cities, landscapes and people across Europe at the same time he was walking through the histroy. It is a very good idea to go see this exposition so you can see a lot of history while you also see other cultures inside the old continent.

This is one important part of MIMA – to have a lot of exhibitions so people can choose what they like and have more variety. Another thing that it is important in MIMA is the program they have for families and early years.

A free weekend art session on Saturdays afternoon – from 1pm until 4pm – for families and parents can enjoy with their children. It is also available during school holidays so there is no excuse to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about art and to introduce the little ones to the art world.

Sarah is one of the workers for this “MIMA for children” and also one who does the earliest art program for babies (from birth to four years) so she knows how to treat children to be interested in art.

Sarah, one of the workers in MIMA for children told us “MIMA for children is a good way to encourage kids and also parents to learn more things about art; it is also a good opportunity to interact parents and kids; they can play together, build different art pieces, etc. – one of the things we do is decoration; depending on the season of the year but it is more usual to do it for Halloween, Christmas and Easter”.

– Which are the timetable of MIMA for children? Do you also have activities during the week?

Sarah: Usually we open every Saturday from 1pm until 4pm and it depends on the weekend of how many children come. It depends a lot on the parents too. And yes some weeks there are schools that join us, usually on Thursdays, and when they come maybe they are 70 students more or less.

– Which are the different programmes or acts that you do?

S: During the week we used to encourage schools to go to Art Galleries, museums, expositions..because it is so important to know what is going on in the art world. Some schools come to MIMA on Thursdays to do some activities; it is the school who choose which Thursday (not every Thursday) but it is interesting so they encourage students to have more interest in art and to improve their art abilities.

– Is it easy to teach children about art?

S: Usually it is easy. Most of them are interested in art and participate in every activity we do – normally we make groups so they can participate as a team and this helps them to take part in. Also they give us their opinion so they have always voice in our activities; it is so important to know what they think about art.

– Do you think nowadays, with all the technology, are we loosing the habit of the good art?

S: I think art galleries against technology is not a day a day problem here. The problem is more important in big cities, like London for example; but I think it is not that bad in the small ones.

– Sum up in a sentence your opinion about this art event.

S: It should be more people interested in art. There are a lot of people but the most important part is the young people; a lot of them have never experienced anything related with art.

Interviewing Sarah - worker in MIMA

Interviewing Sarah – worker in MIMA

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First work or common sense?

We have seen many times how the press often invades the privacy of people, specially of children. But what we have to think is until what point the press has to be in the front line to have an exclusive and in what time they have to give privacy to the affected people, in whichever be the case.

Even in the lasts weeks we have seen this – when Princess Kate and Prince Charles were parents for the second time; Kate appeared after just a few hours to show the world they new baby. I understand they are the Royal family but we have to think they are humans as well; they should have rest for at least 24 hours and then show the world the newborn. I saw the images and even a drone was flying above the Princes and focusing the face of the daughter when she was born just a few hours ago.

This is a special example, but anyways, we are all humans, we all need our own life space and I think press should be conscious about this and sometimes, in cases like this, give some privacy to the families.

As a journalism student from Spain – but doing this course at Teesside University – I am looking at a specific incident that took place just two weeks ago in Barcelona; to examinate if journalists can, sometimes, go too far and invade people when it should be a more private moment.

On April 20th, 09:20AM in Joan Fuster high school (Barcelona) a 13 years old student killed a teacher with a crossbow and injured two more teachers and two students. After just an hour of the tragedy there were already mounts of journalists and TV channels asking the students, who are minors, for an exclusive.

The journalists were pressed the students which were in a terrible shock. The situation was so untenable that a lot of parents, who were taking care of their children, and some of the teachers of the high school made a human chain to avoid the press record the students in shock – which remember, are minors.

After the human chain, little by little the journalists started to take some meters back to leave some space for students, teachers and police could do their work.

Is this fair? I do not think so. There are lots of laws that protect minors and children and speciall journalists must respect these rules. Children can not show their faces in newspapers, televisions, etc. without the consentiment of their parents or legal tutor. Starting with this – journalists there were asking the minors for an exclusive.

Young children are so vulnerable and as a humans and adults, some of journalists must respect that. I think they should empathize more with other people and not think just in their work.

This media behavior has been criticized for lots of people; even for some other journalists who have said they feel ashamed about their profession and how other journalists have acted in front of this tragedy.

Now there is an open debate to think if journalists always have to think about their work or sometimes, in tragedies like this, should be more cautious and have more common sense?

 

In front of Joan Fuster high school (Barcelona) - Online picture

In front of Joan Fuster high school (Barcelona) – Online picture

In front of Joan Fuster High School (Barcelona) - Picture: mirada crítica

In front of Joan Fuster High School (Barcelona) – Picture: mirada crítica

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Stories we could tell

 

Book Title: Stories we could tell
Publisher: Harper Collins
Price: £ 7,99
Tside Rating: Tside Rating: 3,5 out of 5Tside Rating: 3,5 out of 5Tside Rating: 3,5 out of 5Tside Rating: 3,5 out of 5Tside Rating: 3,5 out of 5

 

 

"Stories we could tell" takes readers back to the era of Punk Rock and political change.

Stories we could tell” takes readers back to the era of Punk Rock and political change.

London, 1977. The whole country is on the move. It is not only the political situation, but also hostile youth groups that add to the taut atmosphere in the UK.

Terry, Ray and Leon are right in the middle of it all. They’re young, hungry for life and all working for London’s most popular music magazine.

The reader lives through a single night with the trio, the night that Elvis dies and that changes the world for a whole generation.

It isn’t just politics and the music scene that changes, the night steers the lives of all three friends in a new direction.

Ray, the youngest of the group, grew up in a desolate working class neighbourhood. He can’t rely on his family to support him and tries to make it on his own.

With a mother stricken by depression and an alcoholic father, he struggles with finding his place in the world and tries to find something to hold on to.

His friend Leon, on the other hand, tries to escape the overbearing expectations of his successful father by living in a squat with homeless and drug addicts.

The third in the trio, Terry, just decides to break up with his girlfriend when she tells him that she’s pregnant.

All of them are on the verge of growing up entirely and entering adult terrains. The personal stories feel a little too drawn out at times and too clichéd to be credible, but for me, ‘Stories we could tell’ is about the music and the Zeitgeist of the Seventies.

Author Tony Parsons certainly drew inspiration from his own experience as a music journalist for NME in said era.

He might have generalised a bit too much using his protagonists as poster children of Britain’s various youth cultures, but the book is still a good read.

It seems like nostalgia got the best of Parsons, which is just right for readers who were born post 1980.

He captures the feeling of a whole generation and makes me as a member of today’s society long for the days when young people were different: curious, optimistic and eager to change the world.

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Drink your fruit and veggies!

I believe I’m not alone when I say I don’t like getting out of bed when my alarm goes off in the morning. In fact, I put it off until the last possible minute and have to rush out the door to not be late for my 9 am lecture.

If that sounds familiar to you, you’ll probably realise you forgot to take something to eat with you an hour into the lecture and food will become the only thing you can think about.

The easy, quick and delicious solution is: Smoothies! Throw your favourite fruits and drinks into a blender and you’re ready to go. If you’re even too tired to remember what your favourite fruits are, here’s some inspiration for you.

 

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