Steam Greenlight for 2nd year Games Programmer

Fluffy Horde

A game by 2nd year BSC Games Programming Bashar Saade has recently won a place on the prestigious Steam Greenlight.

Steam is considered to be the largest digital distribution platform for PC gaming, with over 125 million registered accounts.

Syrian-Ukranian student Bashar Saade recently developed Fluffy Horde, as part of the three person team Turtle Juice.

Fluffy Horde is a 2D side-scrolling hybrid between real-time strategy and tower defense. According to the blurb, “It revolves around a magical hyper-breeding bunny horde created by a misunderstood Shaman wanderer. After having a dwelling denied in all three kingdoms, the Shaman is willing to take over all of them by force. Can you stop the Fluffy Horde?”

Dr Jeremy Gow, programme leader of Goldsmiths’ BSc Games Programming says: “Steam is the X Factor of indie game development and it’s a big deal for any student to get their work onto it. If Fluffy Horde gets enough votes to be greenlit, it is likely to win considerable attention.”

CATALYST Digital Arts Computing degree show


This May, you are invited to CATALYST, Goldsmiths’ third annual BSc Digital Arts Computing exhibition.

This year our students demonstrate their imagination and skill in working across a diverse range of media including textiles, live performance, live streaming, 3D printed sculpture, virtual reality, sound and scents.

Expect robot children, interactive hairdressing, smell-o-vision, CCTV psychodrama, textiles, a virtual metal band and robotic sculptures.

Where: St James Hatcham (the church), New Cross SE14 6AD. Map
Opening night: 5.30-9.30pm Thursday 4 May 2017
Exhibition continues: 10am-4pm Friday 5 May 2017

disco brain

Programme leader Dr Simon Katan explains: “What binds this collection of works together is that each of them constitutes an integral engagement with computation and responds to the challenge of how to make art through code.

“This is the first graduate show for BSc Digital Arts Computing. The degree was conceived to nurture a new generation of artists who are not only conversant with computational processes and techniques, but also develop a critical understanding of the socio-economic effects of computation and its expressive potential within the world of art.”


BSc Games student presents swarm game at major AI conference

A third year paper by BSc Games Programming student Michael King has been accepted for inclusion in the 2017 AISB Convention. In this post he and his supervisor discuss Michael’s work.

Dr Mohammad Majid Al-Rifaie, Lecturer in Natural Computing

Throughout history, nature has been a source of inspiration to mathematicians, physicists and technologists. In computer science, for example, swarm intelligence is inspired by ant colonies, bird flocks and fish shoals, where interactions between individual members (or agents) create an ‘intelligent’ global behaviour. Evolutionary computation subjects algorithms to mutation and natural selection, resulting in ever-fitter generations of ‘child’ algorithms.

In my third year module Natural Computing, students learn about nature-inspired techniques, and then apply them to real-life challenges such as medical imaging, protein folding, statistical analysis, economics, art generation and analysis, and engineering.

Following Michael’s choice of Natural Computing as one of his third year modules, he decided to continue working on what he has learnt. Now as part of his final year project, he has prepared an elegant academic paper which has been accepted for presentation and publication for the AISB 2017 Convention in AI & Game Symposium.

Michael is likely to be the only undergraduate student who will be presenting his work amongst PhD students, researchers, and professors. The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB), which hosts the event, is the oldest Artificial Intelligence society in the world, and the largest in the UK, so this is quite an achievement!

Michael King

My paper represents the theoretical side of my third year Natural Computing project, a virtual reality drawing game. In this game, the user creates a drawing within a VR space – and then small spherical agents recreate it. For this to work, the game uses two algorithms, Dispersive Flies Optimisation and A* Pathfinding, to build organic-looking structures based on a simple input.

  1. Dispersive Flies Optimisation, developed by my supervisor Mohammad Majid Al-Rifaie, is an open source algorithm that mimics how flies swarm around food. I’ve used DFO to identify the next place for an agent to explore. [Download DFO]
  2. A* Pathfinding is an efficient and reliable algorithm for finding a path from one place (or ‘node’) to another. For my project, I modified the algorithm so that each node was actually an agent. This, coupled with DFO, allowed structures to be built in a rather organic and unique looking way.


In the two pictures above, the green spheres are agents that are still moving, while the red spheres are agents that are locked in place and form the structure. The larger yellow sphere is the target/food for the agents and the red cube is the ‘best’ position for the agents to start building from.

Related links

Dispersive Flies Optimisation is an open-source algorithm. Download DFO here

Goldsmiths artists win at Netherlands hackathon


This March, a group of MA Computational Arts students participated in the Living Data City Challenge hackathon in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Amy Cartwright reports on what happened.

The Living Data City Challenge hackathon is a two-day event where people with technical, design, and creative backgrounds use open data to create new solutions. The challenges that we were presented with were sustainability, green spaces, loneliness and traffic congestion. Our group was made up of four MA Computational Arts students, plus two colleagues we met in Eindhoven.

Our project ‘Food Path’ responded to the challenges of sustainability and loneliness – and won joint third place. Food Path is a way of distributing leftover food products from local privately-owned businesses back into the community. This food is sent to volunteer organisations who use it to prepare meals for individuals who do not have easy access to food.

touchscreenWhile exploring Eindhoven, we discovered plenty of local businesses willing to be involved. What was missing was the communication with service users, so we created a program to show the locations of these meals. And because our service users may not have access to  smartphones, we proposed that the program be installed on Eindhoven’s public-access City Beacons – large interactive pillars which have full screen and internet access.

(Another interesting thing we discovered whilst in Eindhoven was the food farms, community gardens that allow people to contribute with planting and caring for the crops – and in return the helpers can take what they need. This seemed like a great way for people to get involved in the community and to give those people who are on the outside of the community a way back in. Our program also shows the location of these community projects.)

As a team it was our first hackathon, so the whole experience was very much a learning process. We all come from a creative background and so we really enjoyed responding to the challenges, and being creative with the ideas that came from the proposals. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the city; it was interesting to consider Eindhoven’s specific resources and systems, and how they differ from London and our home cities.


The whole weekend was a bit of a marathon – pretty exhausting, but very rewarding. There was a strong sense of community amongst the attendees and it was great to meet new people and learn new skills. It was also fun to travel and bond with classmates outside of classroom. It was nice to see our classmates working together with other people and seeing their artistic identity show up in their proposals. There was a lot of diversity of experience and many different backgrounds. Despite the competitive nature of the event everyone was very friendly and welcoming. It was a gentle and supportive atmosphere with lots of great entertainment and refreshments.

As a first experience as computational artists outside of Goldsmiths it was nice to be able to trial our new skills. We are now looking forward to attending the Anvil Hackathon at Goldsmiths in April!

Physical Computing projects, Spring 2017

Here is a selection of recent projects from our third year Physical Computing module, taught by Phoenix Perry and Perla Maiolino. 

The projects – which were developed in the department’s new hack labs in St James Hatcham Building – include toys, games, controllers, musical devices, and lots of robots.

Flight Control System
by Jacky Wang

Roll Game
by Andrea Fiorucci

Once upon a Time: The Seasons
by Elliot Brown & Sapphira Abayomi. Once Upon a Time site

Drum Machine with Arduino Mega
by Hamood Abdul Jabbar and Gabriel Oliveira Valencia. Project site

Fortune Telling Robot
by Sam Arshed. Robot website

Arduino Tee: a vest with electric shock pads
by Kamaldeep Singh Bachus and Umar Yunus. Tee site

Pendulum: midi controller for a max filter with a pendulum accelerometer
by Harrison Bamford. Pendulum website

Auduino: breath-powered musical instrument
by Saskia Burczak & Mohsin Yusuf. Auduino blog

Electromagnetic String Instrument
by Cameron Thomas

Electromagnetic String Instrument from Cameron Thomas on Vimeo.

Omnimac wheeled robot
by Cormac Joyce. Omnimac website

by Eliot Heath

Arduino Synth
by George Sullivan

by Tom Holmes

by Gil Hakemi.
Project blog

Alarm System
by Osian Jarvis

Street Fighter Joystick Controller
Justin King

Vibrating Diamonds
Qian Joo Lim. Diamonds blog

Ladybird Robot
by Michael King

Upcoming events in Spring 2017

Here’s a load of great events for the technology-minded. Most are organised by Goldsmiths Computing – and most of them are free and open to all.

Being a Junior Games Programmer at 22 Cans
5-6pm Monday 6 March // Room 142, Richard Hoggart Building

Hacksmiths: Learn Ruby on Rails
4-7pm Wednesday 8 March // G11 St James Hatcham

VR in Games Now!
4.30 – 5.30pm Thursday 9 March // Room 256, Richard Hoggart Building

The Invention of Consciousness
4-5pm Wednesday 15 March // Lecture Hall, Ben Pimlott Building

VR The Next Frontier: A Masterclass with Dave Ranyard
5.30-10.30pm Thursday 16 March // LG02, Professor Stuart Hall Building

Science Showoff at the Amersham Arms
6.30-10pm Wednesday 15 March // Amersham Arms

Hearts & Minds: The VR Interrogations Project 
4pm-5pm Wednesday 29 March // Cinema, Richard Hoggart Building

Anvil Hack III: a creative hackathon at Goldsmiths
Saturday 22 – Sunday 23 April // Goldsmiths

Exhibition: Health Tech and You
25 April – 8 May // Design Museum, Kensington High Street

Anvil Hack III: a creative hackathon at Goldsmiths, 22-23 April


Anvil Hack is back for the third year! Run by Goldsmiths tech society Hacksmiths, the hackathon invites current or recent students to focus on the creative applications of technology.

Use your skills to make something wonderful, arty, musical – anything you build will be awesome. We’ll provide you with food, drink, electricity and internet, so that you can get on with the real work – making cool things!

This year we have the privilege of sharing our brand new fabrication lab with you, built right into the church. You’ll have access to state of the art equipment just a couple of months after it’s been installed. Exciting!

When: Saturday 22 – Sunday 23 April 2017
Where: St James Hatcham Building, Goldsmiths
Tickets: Free. Register here

What is Anvil Hack?
Anvil Hack is a two-day invention marathon for developers, designers, psychologists, researchers and more. During the event, participants will build projects that answer our challenges to build awesome creative projects.

But what are you expecting to actually be built?
Anything goes! We’re really interested to see what awesome things you can build, especially interesting generative art, awesome audio projects, and DIY hardware.

Do I need to be a student to attend?
Yes, you need to be a current student or have graduated within the last 12 months. We will work to ensure that there is a diverse range of people in terms of skill set and ability.