Getting Into The Game

'Who Wants to Play Videogames' by JDHanckock
Poster based on ‘Who Wants to Play Videogames‘ by JDHanckock. | @JDHancock on Twitter. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Download: Getting into the Game Documentary

Broadcasting Bank Holiday Monday 31st October, 11AM on Newstalk.

Getting into the game is a new documentary aimed at kids who play games. Video games. Kids who play videogames and wonder maybe, possibly, perhapsily, if they’d like to make them. Growing up I remember getting those magazines full of strange impenetrable symbols that promised – if you could just type the whole book into your computer, without making any mistakes – you’d get a brand new, completely free game. These days games are everywhere, but they’re so damn fancy they can seem impossible to learn how to make.

This documentary will help open the lid, just a crack, to see what lies inside your favourite games. We’ve brought together people from every corner of the industry – artists, coders, indies, musicians, gamejammers, and developers of every age.

Featuring interviews with..

Mary Moloney of Coder Dojo
Andrew Boel, Pete McNally, Nick Grey, & Jen Taylor of Havok.
Terry Cavanagh, creator of VVVVVV and Super Hexagon
Owen Harris, designer of Deep, and co-founder of DubLUDO.
Niall Kehoe, Irelands youngest videogame developer.
Students and Lecturers from IT Carlow’s Videogame design degree.
Vicky Lee & Andrea Magnorsky of Global Gamecraft.
and filmmaker, animator and indie developer David O’Reilly.

The programme is divided into five segments, each one looking at a different part of making games.

Learning the Art

We visit cutting edge computing research laboratories at DIT and IT Carlow and tour exciting games development technology.  Lecturers and students explain the skills students should be building outside the classroom if they’d like to study videogames in college. Students tell us about their love of games and how they got into making their own.

Getting Covered in Jam

At DIT a group called ‘Global Gamecraft’ host ‘game jams’, competitions where anyone (over 18) can help make a game in just a few hours. Game Jams are an excellent way to develop the technical, artistic and collaborative skills sought by the games development industry. Jams are a fun and friendly way for young people to get a taste of game development. We speak to competitors and organisers like Vicky Lee, and provide a glimpse of the excitement and accessibility of ‘homebrew’ game development

Creating Havok

Modern videogames simulate exciting and realistic physics. The most impressive game physics ‘middleware’ software in the world comes from an Irish company founded by graduates of Trinity College. Havok are an industry leader employing dozens of artists and programmers. We speak to staff at the company about the day-to-day work of making one of the key technologies underpinning some of the most exciting and popular videogames.

Independent Heroes

The independent game development community is a thriving segment of the industry. We speak with leading Irish indie developer Terry Cavanagh, creator of hit games like ‘Super Hexagon’, about running his own studio. Terry explains how new distribution methods make it easy for anyone to sell their homemade game on the internet. Independent game development is a part of the industry that is particularly important to present to second level students – since it can be used to develop skills, or even start a business while at school.

We try out virtual reality in the company of Bryan Duggan of DIT, exploring DEEP, the anti-anxiety game from Owen Harris. Deep uses unique breathing sensors, soothing music and a beautiful polygon virtual environment to teach deep breathing relaxation techniques.

We hear from David O’Reilly, animator and creator of fictional videogames for use in Hollywood films. David gives us a glimpse into a self-directed career involving art, graphic design, and filmmaking.

Coder Dojo

Coder Dojo is a place for kids to learn how to make games, websites, and even robots. Started in County Cork, the Dojo movement has spread worldwide. Amazingly, Coder Dojo events are completely free! If there isn’t a coder dojo in your area, you can even start your own. We meet some of the kids who are making coder dojo the coolest place on earth.

Getting into the game was produced by Dead Medium Productions. The programme was developed, researched and presented by Gareth Stack and James Van De Waal.

All the music and sound effects used in the programme are listed here. Many of them are available for you to use for free in your projects under a creative commons licence. This documentary is available to download and share for free under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence, it can be played in class or emailed to your students. Use it and share it! Go make some games!



Eimear Noone – Culture File


Last April I spoke with video game composer Craig Stuart Garfinkle, about his life and career to date. That interview was just one of a number with composers involved in creating work for Blizzard franchises and the Videogames Live event. Here’s the second, a chat with composer, conductor and game music evangelist Eimear Noone. We talk about video game music, affect in composition and her work establishing Dublin City Concert Orchestra.

Image: Eimear Noone by Rkukiyhuri.

Download: ‘Eimear Noone’

Threat Detection – Episode 24 – All Filler, No Killer


Gareth & James get together in the first Threat Detection for a while for a general chat about games. They talk about classic videogame publications like PC Gamer, C&VG and EGM, as well as the revival of classic games on sites like Good Old Games.

Download: Episode 24

What is Threat Detection?

Threat Detection is a videogame chat show on Each week, hosts Gareth Stack & James Van De Waal take an hour or two to tear apart a videogame topic, like character, horror, or sex.

Threat Detection – Episode 22 – Gaming A.I. (Part 1)

lucy grand

What’s Threat Detection?

Threat Detection is a lively, smart, frequently funny and always irreverent videogame chat show on Each week, hosts Gareth Stack & James Van De Waal take an hour or two to tear apart a videogame topic, like character, horror, or sex.

Download: Threat Detection – Episode 22

Continue reading “Threat Detection – Episode 22 – Gaming A.I. (Part 1)”

Threat Detection – Episode 19 – Sex in Videogames (Part 2)


On this second part of our discussion of sex in videogames, we delve into gender, sexuality, and the auld ride in mainstream and indie videogames. How have videogames historically dealt with sex? Is it possible for such a mainstream medium to deal with sex in an adult way? Do we even want sex in our games? And finally, has a videogame ever been ‘sexy’?

Download: Threat Detection – Episode 19

Threat Detection – Episode 18 – Sex in Videogames (Part 1)


On this episode of our weekly videogame show Gareth & James discuss the steamy topic of sex in videogames. We delve into gender, sexuality, and the auld ride in mainstream and indie videogames. How have videogames historically dealt with sex? Is it possible for such a mainstream medium to deal with sex in an adult way? Do we even want sex in our games? And finally, has a videogame ever been ‘sexy’?

Download: Threat Detection – Episode 18

Threat Detection – Episode 16 – Horror (Part 1)


Download: Threat Detection – Episode 16

In this weeks ‘very special episode’ of Threat Detection, we discuss horror in videogames. We touch on the history of horror games from ‘Alone in the Dark’ to ‘Amnesia A Machine for Pigs’. We talk about how the mechanics of horror are evolving, and how they’ll change now that VR is around the horror. Finally we explore the potential for horror games that transcend our jaded cynicism, and make us truly afraid.


We’re also running a competition! We have two tickets each to give away to Gamecraft game jams in Dublin (17th / 18th May) & Galway (10th May). If the idea of working on a brand new game in a few short hours surrounded by fellow geeks sounds appealing, respond in the comments for your chance to win free tickets!

Threat Detection – Episode 15 – Privilege


Download: Threat Detection – Episode 15

1) Super Bunny Hop reports VAC bans affecting Dark Souls 2
– vac bans for using graphics enhancing hook file

2) Onion AV club running a series of articles on empty spaces in games
World of Warcraft
Myst and Riven

3) More privilege theory applied to gaming

Threat Detection – Episode 9


Download: Episode 8

We discuss…

1) Oculus DK 2 and Sony VR HMD ‘Morpheus’ announced
– you can order the DK2 today – ships July
– Sony unit has smaller FOV (90 vs 110 – diagonal) but otherwise very comparable
– DK2 is 1080p (divided over two eyes)
– Sony unit includes 3D audio – powered by new binaural engine – requires Sony camera
– Sony units design fits over glasses (weight is not on face)
– both have AMOLED screens – oculus pentile (reduces screen door)
– DK2 has full positional tracking (lean)
– DK2 has bigger ‘sweet spot’ and better lenses
=> hands on with Sony
=> hands on with DK2
comparison impressions
– initial impressions – oculus has better tracking – dedicated IR camera – sony has better screen
– neither meet the threshold for ‘presence’ (90 hrz refresh etc)
interview with oculus
– similar price (approx 300 for final version of both)

2) Other GDC announcements
– Cytek – now 10 dollars a month (per user) for devs
– UE4 now 20 dollars a month (per user) plus 5% of gross profits
– me too VR solutions from Gameface (all inclusive android on your face) and Sulon (stick your phone in the headset AR / VR with stereo cameras)
– Lots of new PS3/ PS4 middleware announced
=> open source version of XNA
=> Gamemaker now exports to Sony devices
=> Unity PS4 support coming
=> Sony Authoring tools framework (used in last of us) now free download

3) More on a new kind of multiplayer – ‘Crawl’ is a roguelike where your friends play the monsters

4) Irrational developers talk to Polygon about the last days of the company.

According to those with whom we spoke, the closure was the combined result of unfettered creative freedom, lower-than-expected sales, the butting of heads between Levine and his
employees and the unrealistic expectations of big-budget game development.