Microsoft opens new Irish video-games lab

13 Feb 2009

Software giant Microsoft has opened a new Games Development Laboratory at the Tipperary Institute to help students build their software and games portfolio.

The idea behind the laboratory is to assist in the development of the skills sought after by the growing games development and entertainment technology industry in Ireland and abroad.

To mark the opening, which took place during Engineers Ireland Week of Wonder, some 70 students from Tipperary, Limerick and Dublin took part in workshops at the lab.

The students used the latest Microsoft games development technology XNA to create their version of the classic Atari computer game Asteroids.

“Tipperary Institute views investment in technology as crucial to our students’ learning experience, and for the future development of the knowledge-driven economy,” explained James Greenslade, director of ICT at Tipperary Institute.

“We aim to develop students who are innovative and dynamic – something which is vital for our economy. To achieve this, we must have access to technology and to networks, something Microsoft is providing for us through its sponsorship.

The new laboratory was completed in time to host the annual Games Fleadh, which brings the games industry and secondary and higher-education students from across the island of Ireland together.

“Innovation has never been as important as it is in today’s economic climate,” explained Dr Kevin Marshall, academic programme manager, Microsoft Ireland, who officially opened the laboratory.

“We need to embrace innovation in business, in technology and in society at large if we are to position Ireland as a true knowledge economy. There is a demand for skills in games technology, both from established global players and also from smaller companies based here and abroad.

“The growth of online technology means the skills students will learn on the course will be relevant and in demand,” Marshall said.

By John Kennedy

PIctured: gaming action from Gears of War 2