European Game Developers join forces with the Irish Air Corps


Serious games can be a fun business, as evidenced through the outcomes of a two week Erasmus collaboration between IT Carlow and scholars of games design from Austria, Norway and Netherlands. Norwegian, Dutch, Austrian and Irish students operated as part of a pan-European team comprising of programmers, artists and UX designers. Ken Power, Lecturer in Computer Game Graphics at IT Carlow said “due to the technical nature of games development our students are already au-fait with working in multi-disciplinary teams, the Erasmus programme incorporates an international dimension to a world-wide industry”.  

During his welcome speech Mr. Nigel Whyte, Head of Department Computing & Networking at IT Carlow told students from Hogeschool van Amsterdam (Netherlands), Fachhochschule Vorarlberg GmbH (Austria) and HogskoleniSor-Trondelag (Norway) that “working in collaboration is a daily experience for technology professionals, this Erasmus IP programme enables you to work alongside students from across Europe. We look forward to seeing alliances form and to lasting relationships that create synergy for future development”.   

Initially international groups focused on methodologies to improve team cohesion and potential for constructive collaboration. One of the first workshops focused on cultural awareness followed by lectures on Rapid Prototyping, Game Mechanics and Agile Software Development. GretheSandstrakAssistant Professor at HøgskoleniSør-Trøndelag, HiST said “This is an unique opportunity for the undergraduate and post graduate students involved, not only are they experiencing the diverse nature of the technology industry but also learning about new cultures. As we are ardent about developing their creativity, adapting to new cultures plays a vital role in encouraging inventiveness”. 

The Erasmus Intensive Programme requires that students work in collaboration with an industrial partner.  Previous teams worked on real world application of serious games in petrochemical processing, electricity production and flood defence. The 2014 project focused applying serious game methodologies to innovation in logistics, with industrial partners the Irish Air Corps. The Air Corps currently operates fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. Researchers were tasked with developing innovations in aircraft logistics. Over two weeks teams brainstormed, programmed concepts and demonstrated imaginative prototypes to defence force officers. Commenting on the prototypes, Commandant Con Barber said “Flight Safety and Risk Awareness are a priority for the Air Corps. Being able to simulate real-life situations through the serious gaming methodology was a unique opportunity to enhance the safety of our operation and improve the efficiency of our services. Using the prototypes developed with the Air Corps will certainly inform how we conduct operations and allow us to address real concerns by highlighting shortcomings, before they manifest themselves as real problems." 

As the Erasmus Intensive Programme draws to a close, work is already underway for future alliances between the Higher Education institutions involved. Institute of Technology Carlow, Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Fachhochschule Vorarlberg, and HogskoleniSor-Trondelag academics plan to continue to work on projects whereby European students can continue to benefit from the development, application and adoption of best practice in education, innovation and collaboration.


For further information contact 
Ken Power, Computing and Networking Department 
Institute of Technology Carlow, Kilkenny Road, Carlow, IRELAND, +353 (0)59 9175537 


IMAGE: Staff and students from IT Carlow and Hogeschool van Amsterdam (Netherlands), Fachhochschule Vorarlberg GmbH (Austria) and Hogskolen i Sor-Trondelag (Norway) who participated in the Erasmus IP Programme.


FRIDAY 4th April, IT Carlow, Ireland.