InstaView Inc!

November 28, 2010

Our team consisted of myself and fellow students Eamonn Tuohy, Diarmaid Haugh, Martin Cahill, and Dave Keane. We began by brainstorming an idea. We each contributed ideas to our list, some practical like a handle that could be fitted with different tool heads (shovel, pick, etc), and some outlandish like velcro equipped self tying shoe laces!

When our list was complete, we picked the three ideas we thought had the most potential profit:

  • A hard drive with a built in screen that shows what files and folders the drive contains.
  • A vacuum sealed coaster which could be attached to the bottom of a glass or cup, and stay on as it was picked up, eliminating the problems of missing/losing coasters
  • A service that would help a person find their phone by making it ring out loud even if it is set to silent.

We performed S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis on each idea, and decided on the hard drive screen as the most useful, original and profitable one. We designed the screen to be as simple as possible, just a basic text display with 4 buttons for navigation. This design would:

  • Keep costs down, monochrome text only screen and few buttons is cheap.
  • Make it easier to use, no mass amount of confusing features or buttons.
  • Make it tougher, no fragile physical components like a touchscreen, or complex software prone to failure.

After coming up with the design idea, we produced the following mock up:

This was a very fun project, the collaboration of creativity with my peers was interesting and rewarding. Coming at the problem from a business point of view was worthwhile as well, its not necessarily “is this good” but more “will this sell”. Overall it was a great experience that will serve me well in the future.

For further information, please see the following presentation of idea and company business plan:




A day in the life of a video games reviewer…

November 15, 2010

I joined the community a few weeks back. During my time there I made a profile, talked to people, had some fun times, had some insults hurled at me too!

I experienced the forums, the customisation tools for my profile, took part in some contests and had some funny/interesting/annoying talks with gamers from all around the world.

I read many reviews and features, both professional and done by the amatuers of the community. I contributed some of my own too, and improved my writing style.

I helped out in the design and development of an XNA game. A small group of people from all over the world are developing it, and I was lucky to give my feedback and advice to help out. It really proved the concept of freelance, open source development done in people’s spare time can work. And of course, if it can work as a hobby it can work as a profession, which was interesting for me to see.

Here is a link to my full report, with a sample “Day In The Life Of A Video Games Reviewer”, enjoy!



November 13, 2010

My profile on LinkedIn

Have a look, hire me if you like 😉

My Ideal Job

October 1, 2010

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a games developer…

Back in the day, playing my first few games on the good old Super Nintendo, I was amazed at how much fun they were. But I was just as amazed when I finished my first game and the credits began to roll. Here was a list of people who got paid to make games! What was this madness and how could I sign up?

I would very much like to see my name here…

So, from the age of 6 or thereabouts, I had a dream of making games. The reality escaped me for a few years yet though. I certainly played many games but didn’t learn much about making them. All this changed when I got to college and began my course, Multimedia and Computer Games Development.

In this course, I have learned and created many things, from basic programming logic, to the syntax of several different languages such as Java and C++, to basic graphics programming, to making extensive mods to an existing game (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion), and now even to making my own (admittedly simple) games using Microsoft XNA Game Studio.

I have also been reading avidly. Both programming books such as “Microsoft XNA Game Studio 3.0“, and theory/design books like “Game Design: Theory and Practice” by Richard Rouse III. Richard was project lead, lead designer, and writer on a great game called “The Suffering” for the Playstation 2, so he is a very useful source of information on what the industry is really like.

The man knows what he is talking about!

From my time and experience in college, I have decided my ideal job would be as a designer/writer. The thing that really makes me smile is thinking up different gameplay ideas, mechanics, settings, stories, characters, controls, and so on. I think the potential of games is astronomical, and with the amount of power, the level of graphics, and the standard of online, physics and AI we have available at the moment, it seems like an incredibly exciting time to be a designer.

My only concern is that with how expensive games have gotten, with 100 million dollar budgets popping up more and more often, no one in their right mind will want to hire a designer that doesn’t have a list of hit games on their CV!

A fantastic, 100 million dollar game! That I didn’t make…

An alternative career path could be as a programmer. While I prefer the design side, I do enjoy writing code too. Attempting to solve a problem in the leanest, most efficient way possible is always fun. Hopefully if I don’t make it as a designer, becoming a programmer might be an easier path into the industry. Though again, I am not sure if a games company will want to hire someone with no experience making games.

With that in mind, I’m going to teach myself as much as possible. Whether it’s practising programming, reading books, modding existing games, making my own games in XNA, or just playing the Xbox 360 for hours with my friends, I’m going to keep improving my chances of one day fulfilling my dream and working in one of the biggest, most exciting, most creative industries in the world!