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Tuesday 28 April 2015

Arran Langmead presents a game created without coding at conference

A video game developed without coding was presented by Southampton Solent University lecturer Arran Langmead at the world’s largest gaming industry event recently.

Arran, who lectures on games art, was invited to attend the Game Developers Conference (GDC) after catching the attention of the creators of Unreal Engine 4, the software used to create his game, Bears Can’t Drift!?.

The concept of a game developed without coding is unusual, and while there are others working on similar games, nobody is as close to publishing a non-coded game on a console. Arran says: “This new way of creating games demonstrates a shift in accessibility in games development. If people like me – someone with no coding ability – can now build games, people with other skillsets could start moving towards games development.”

Arran’s game, Bears Can’t Drift!?, at the GDC

With more than 400 lectures, tutorials and discussions and more than 27,000 game industry professionals in attendance, the conference, held in San Francisco, was a great opportunity for all attendees, and one lucky student was invited to accompany Arran after winning a competition.

Third year BA (Hons) Computer Games Art student Laura Reeves won the opportunity to attend after Arran opened up his spare ticket to all three year groups.

She says: “The support I received from Solent was great. Preparing for GDC was so busy but the tech staff were helping me with equipment and setting up my business cards. They took time out of their schedules to make this experience the best it could be for me.” She added: “Networking with all these people by just being myself and talking opens up so many doorways for my future career in the games industry – I even got offered a job at the conference! Being surrounded by so many hard working developers encouraged me to push myself more and more.”

Southampton Solent University is currently working to build the research profile of its games courses, with the help of Nick Hampton, Creative Practice Lecturer, and Mark Doyle, Psychology Lecturer.

Mark Doyle is currently conducting a study that explores the relationship between video games, mental health and wellbeing with a focus on coping mechanisms. He hopes to find out whether video games can be seen as an important predictor of effective coping strategies that protect against mental health difficulties.

He will also be testing participants on several immersive levels of virtual reality (VR) video gaming to explore the effect on stress reactions. He says: “Over the next year, there will be an influx of commercial VR headsets at reasonable prices, meaning this will be the first widespread use of this immersive technology. Consequently, it is important to explore these unknown effects that some of the more violent and potentially distressing games may have on individuals.”