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The BBC Scotland Prototype Programme

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Brendan Crowther Brendan Crowther | 17:00 UK time, Thursday, 11 February 2010

[Editor: Brendan Crowther of R&D is currently on attachment with New Media in BBC Scotland. At the moment he's coordinating their long running Prototype programme, a collaboration with a Scottish university]

Prototype - BBC Scotland New Media's collaboration with the University of Abertay - kicked off on Monday with a development workshop at Pacific Quay in Glasgow. The project sees BBC staff working with third year students from the university taken from the following courses:

  • BA(Hons) Game Design and Production Management
  • BA(Hons) Computer Arts
  • BA (Hons) Visual Communication and Media Design
  • BA (Hons) Creative Sound Production
  • MSc (Hons) Computer Games Technology

The students work with BBC designers and programmers on technology briefs focussed around current BBC priorities. The results feed into the development of future BBC services. Ant Miller was with us on Monday briefing the teams on R&D's present objectives.

Prototype students settle in to their dedicated Lab at BBC Pacific Quay

At the moment the teams are working on multi-platform products which include a toolset to create sound and motion control games deployable across a bunch of different platforms and a music app that lets festival crowds beatbox to produce looped music tracks. Instruction & feedback in the latter is handled through big screens and the light and audio setups on the stage.

We had another brainstorming session earlier on today where we were looking at:

  • Playful archive experiences which allow users to build profiles by navigating and tagging content.
  • Games for 3-6 year olds which teach the basics of engineering principles. With this we're looking at letting them print off templates, make objects with mum or dad and then see how those objects behave in an online simulation.
  • How to link real life cityscapes, online maps and music to create location based playlists based around parameters such as geography, architecture, ethnicity and culture.

The teams are well on course to deliver their results a week on Friday. So far we've got rough demos of objects controlled by sound and motion, multi-tracked music for use with the beatbox game and a bunch of different visualisation options for both the music and motion/sound controlled games.

The student and BBC team members

We've got a feedback/presentation session for the BBC stakeholders coming up on Friday 19th Feb and another workshop kicking off on the Monday 15th March. I'll let you know how it all goes.


  • Comment number 1.

    It was one of the most satisfying experience of my life.These 2 weeks were just too good.Managed to get 3 working demos.Great team chemistry made it a success.Hopefully i will get the opportunity to be a part of the team which carries forward our demo to make it a reality.

  • Comment number 2.

    Brendan i think you made a small "typo " mistake.You wrote
    "The project sees BBC staff working with third year students from the university taken from the following courses:"
    Well me along with the two programmers were first year Masters student whereas the remaining were 3rd year undergraduates.Thank you for making the correction.

  • Comment number 3.

    thanks to everyone who made this such an enjoyable experience. I would do it all over again in a second.


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