New Media Projects @ HSAD, Hull, with the Games Designers & Animation Students…

Presentation given to Arts Faculty Staff at the Faculty Day hosted by HSAD for members of HSAD, Horncastle and Harrogate staff

– Tuesday, 17th January 2012.

– Presented by Gareth Sleightholme & Paul Starkey – covering Games Design & Web Design‘s involvement with Heritage Projects and the opportunities for Research and Transferable Skills development, Animation Year 2 and their Documentary Projects and finally the Rabbit Heart Game project.

Rabbit Heart Game

Rabbit Heart is a game concept based around the character of a young girl, called Ululu, lost in a strange world of flying galleons, tentacled monsters & abandoned cities, whose only ally is a semi-sentient Exo-Suit that reminds her of the toy rabbit she had lost.

Gareth and Paul hope to publish the “making of” and development document as an educational book (above).

The Rabbit Heart Game is a collaborative educational project led by Gareth Sleightholme & Paul Starkey (HSAD – NEW MEDIA dept) being used to show students how to pull a games project together, with the intention of eventually publishing the recorded design process as a book including Concept Art, 3D development as well as Mini-projects & Tutorial Ideas for use in teaching games design.

Find out more at:

Rabbit Heart the Game will be appearing at this years Platform Expos 2012 two day conference and expo event.

One of the hardest but most fundamental principals we try to get over to students on the new media courses here at HSAD is “the difference between Education and Training”.

In particular the adaptability and ability to react creatively to new and unexpected situations that “education” brings.

This is exemplified by the work the Games Design Students (and more recently web design students) have been working on in conjunction with Adele Howitt and the local Museum Services.

Over the last three years Year 2 students on the Games Design BA have produced heritage based imagery (digital video fly-throughs) based on research undertaken at the Museums and elsewhere and created using games engine software (UDK), stretching both the remit of the software and their own appreciation of potential revenue streams for their developing skills and futures in practice.

Year 2 Games Designers produced a Fly-through of Hull circa 1900 looking at the Docks that came right into the city as far as Queens Gardens (see fly-through in situe in the Ferens Art Gallery – above & Below)

 – Year 2 Games Design, from the exhibition “Ink Or Swim” – 2010 – …and still being used here on the Museums Educational Pages.

…and this speculative “time travel” interpretation of the journey of the Grimston Sword (Hull & East Riding museum, Celtic Exhibit) using a games design engine software to see it move through time from its creation in a Celtic Forge, via a Victorian antiquities collector’s study (a nod to the likes of J.R. Mortimer) and on to the “stacks” of the museum before its eventual exhibition (an innovative technology exhibit which again proved popular with visitors, much like last years recreation of the Hull Docks as they appeared in 1900) – the full video can be found here:

The final work based around The Grimston Sword on show in last years “What Lies Beneath” Exhibition at The Feren’s Art Gallery, Hull.

Paul Heath and the current year 2 Games Designers working on The Precious Cargoes Project

The development of assets for the Game Engine, from sketches to 3D modelling.

…and of course all the historical research that goes with that.

Years 2 Games Design – Roman period visual research wall.

This years exhibition will see students looking at the journey of a Roman Oil Burner (above) from the potters yard where it was made (possibly) in Syria, across Europe, and finally to its current place in the East Yorkshire collections.

Add to that the excellent work done by the 3rd Year Web Students for their Client Brief for the Civil War in Hull Project.

Year 3 Web Design students early visuals for the Civil War Hull website.

…the website, the mobile app’ and print materials along with the work of the Games Design students on a new touch screen installation would all connect to create a “multi-platform” marketing opportunity.

Year 3 Students for Web Design and one of the Games Design students look through the research materials in the archives at the History Centre. 

…looking at actual period materials with help in interpretation supplied by a historian from the archive team.

Year 3 Web Design students invited a local re-enactment group into the New Media Studios to discuss the Civil War period in particular the struggle as centred on Hull.

Explaining the dress and equipment of the typical period infantryman.

Elsewhere in New Media?


This year the New Media Students have had a much more subject focused experience than some of the previous years.

Year 1 Games Design this year has changed a little… part of their Craft & Media technologies has seen them looking at:

– Drawing with Basic Primitives for 3D (many of our new media students come from a none arts background, and need up-skilling in visual communication).

– Creating Game Maps as part of the Games Design Process.

– Using Sketch Up to “block out” Level Designs …amongst other subjects.

Each of the twelve, four hour sessions working as “an intro to…” but producing some great results. Especially the group Games Concepts element based on the back of the Game Maps session.

Joe Steeles Group Project

Frazer Sneddon’s Group Project

Like wise, Sallie Bell‘s revised Interactive Comm’s project saw students learning how to develop content for the blogs and “web presences” they had set up.

…including the great Monopoly Project, that asked students to revise the classic Monopoly Board basing the gameplay instead on a digital/computer game of their choice.

“Red Dead Redemption” Monopoly Design by Frazer Sneddon

The results of which you can see here and find on the mezzanine outside the New Media Dept.

Animation Year two students have been working on Documentary or Non-Fiction projects this semester and Alex and Nat have done particularly well, surprising them both with the stretching of themselves as creatives through the unfamiliar documentary format.

Bee designs for Alex’s short documentary “Dialects in the Language of Bees”

AlexWork In Progress 1 /  Work In Progress 2

Design sheets for “the narrator” in Nat’s piece “The Economics Of Good & Evil”.

NatWork In Progress

– ANY QUESTIONS? contact Gareth via email at

~ by hesir on January 17, 2012.

2 Responses to “New Media Projects @ HSAD, Hull, with the Games Designers & Animation Students…”

  1. Love this stuff.

    What’s funny is the technology being used is now free for students and non-professionals or non-profit organizations.

    These kinds of projects would cost tens of thousands, now we can produce it for a tiny fraction of that amount. We still should be careful with expectation, as quality work takes just as long. Remember clients know nothing about creating content on computer, most still believe you just press a button. We have a duty to never devalue the effort that goes into creating art, or to let people with little knowledge dictate exactly what we do or commodity it.

    And I’d like to play Red Dead redemption monopoly..

    • Really good points Andrew, in particular “We have a duty to never devalue the effort that goes into creating art, or to let people with little knowledge dictate exactly what we do or commodity it.”

      Awesome response.

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