I WATCHED THE MOST nail-biting final in Irish Robocode history unfold in the Thurles Thunderdome on the LIT-Thurles campus and at the end of a captivating nine-minute round, Robo Panda from the Dundalk Institute of Technology took the trophy from a very aggressive and cleverly programmed Feels Tank Man from ITC Carlow. You can listen to the final round commentary below.
I've attended Robocode every year since 2003. During most of the years, I've brought dozens of creative students 35 miles north from the sister campus of Clonmel. This year, 12 Game Art Design students from the Limerick School of Art and Design roamed the Thurles corridors inspecting games produced on third level campuses across Ireland. The day's activities also included an action-packed Robocode competition and prominent speakers from the games industry. Romero Games, Microsoft Ireland, Entertainment Arts, and First Data offered valuable perspectives for students who are considering roles in the games industry.
Based on the complementary skills nurtured on the two Tipperary campuses, an excellent synergy could be nurtured between the game art designers completing their degrees on the LIT-Clonmel campus and the games developers writing code on the LIT-Thurles campus. Ten years ago, stronger links connected the two groups when both were managed under Tipperary Institute management. Today, synergies happen less inside Tipperary and more with school management structures in Limerick. I'm interested in rekindling an obvious strategic partnership with lecturers I have know through several major programmatic reviews, strategic vision sessions, and national initiatives. I'm drafting a blog post that will publish my updates about this topic in April 2019. At the very minimum, some large posters of character designs will hang in the Games Fleadh corridors and the digital signage system across all campus locations of the Limerick Institute of Technology will feature short video clips about the shared interests in Games Development.
It should also be an easy process to ask creative design and animation students to produce short video clips alongside enhanced podcast segments that can be embedded, shared and syndicated. At the moment, two of my modules dive deep into the Spreaker Content Management System. With a little planning, we should be able to produce 30 second video spots that make the Robocode story a prominent part of social media newsfeeds.
It's also important to me, as a part of a young primary school student showing an interest in computer science, to directly connect with teachers who will deliver computing as a Leaving Certificate subject. Years ago, students like Peter Benilov (below) were producing clever Robocode tanks that competed against other second level entrants in Robocode Junior events on the Thurles campus.
I'm deeply indebted to several people who make the continued success of Robocode possible in Ireland. Liam Noonan, a superb organiser, pulled together a wide variety of tasks to ensure the day runs smoothly. He inherited the initiative from Phil Bourke, a former TippInst lecturer who is now training students to strip his past campus of all top honours in coding for games development. And Vincent Cunnane, the president of the Limerick Institute of Technology, endorses the Robocode initiate by his enthusiastic presence and his senior management influence.
If games development as a career or computing as a Leaving Cert subject interests you, I strongly suggest you visit GamesFleadh.ie to be inspired.
Previously on InsideView.ie:
"Scorpion Tank for Robocode 2004", March 11, 2004
"The value of third level field trips", March 12, 2015.
"Media Writing Deliverables", September 9, 2007.