Gaming gathering gets start-ups back in gear
The renowned Motion in Games (MiG) conference in TCD gave Irish gaming studios the opportunity to mingle with around 80 of the world’s leading graphics and animation academics
The organising committee for this year’s Motion in Games conference (from left) Nathan Sturtevant, assistant professor in computer science at the University of Denver, Rachel McDonnell, assistant professor of creative technologies at Trinity College Dublin, and Victor Zordan, associate professor of computer science and engineering at University of California Riverside. photograph: paul sharp/sharpix
Three weeks on from the noise and spectacle of this year’s Web Summit, Ireland’s start-up community has been looking towards somewhat quieter conferences and gatherings to further their horizons.
From last Friday’s IIEA Cybersecurity Conference in the Mansion House to the recent DCU-hosted Techspectations ‘Get Mobile’ event, the year-round process of collecting contacts and gaining knowledge didn’t stop when Elon Musk jetted home after his “fireside chat” with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Most intriguing of all technology-focused events in recent weeks, though, was the unheralded arrival of the internationally-renowned Motion in Games (MiG) conference in Trinity College earlier this month.
Andrea Magnorsky, co-founder of one of Ireland’s most successful gaming start-ups, BatCat Games, explained the attraction, saying that while the “Web Summit was about business, this is about knowledge”.
Now in its sixth year, this was the first time the event had been held in Ireland, and CEO with independent games studio SixMinute John Halloran was also in attendance. While MiG may not be filled with “venture capital funds” he said, it did focus on “people freed from commercial needs and pushing [games] in ways that we never thought of”.
“It’s one of those rare times that we’d get to mix with these high level guys,” said Halloran, “it’s very hard to get in contact with them, you don’t run into them on a normal Friday evening in Dublin anyway”.
Organised by Trinity-based assistant professor of creative technologies, Dr Rachel McDonnell MiG gave Irish gaming studios the opportunity to mingle with around 80 of the world’s leading graphics and animation academics.
The three-day conference, held in the university’s Lloyd Institute, saw visiting experts from the US, Switzerland, Bahrain, Spain, Mexico, South Korea, China and elsewhere present findings on injecting emotion into video game characters, simulating movement and creating realistic virtual crowds.
“I think it’s a really good time to have the event [in] Dublin as there’s such activity in games in Ireland,” said McDonnell during a break between presentations.
“I really wanted to engage Irish industry involved in [games] plus give people visiting here a view of what’s going on,” she added, saying that despite the recent job losses at Big Fish Games in Cork, the creative end of the industry is still very healthy here.
“Companies like Havok are hiring and mobile gaming companies are starting everywhere,” she said, adding it was also an “important” part of the conference to emphasise to the gathered experts that Ireland is a country where academic and commercial funding for games-related development is “taken seriously”.