Thursday, 25 October 2012

Dundalk's O'Fiaich College Youtube channel online

Here are some promotional videos from O'Fiaich College.

O'Fiaich Open Day 2010

 Published on 22 Oct 2012 by


O'Fiaich Graduation Night 2011 

 Published on 22 Oct 2012 by


Ofiaich Open Day Second Level by 8MMP

Published on 22 Oct 2012 by

Monday, 15 October 2012

Level 6 Assignment 5 Sustained Piece of Writing

Title & Code of Module                     Communications G30001
Assessment Technique                     Portfolio Of Coursework
Weighing                                             5% = (50 divided by 10)
Title                                                      Sustained Piece Of Writing

Guidelines: The piece of writing should be based on the candidate’s personal/professional interest eg short story, personal letter. It should consist of at least 700-1000 words, and may be hand written. Evidence of editing, proof reading and re-drafting skills should be provided.

Assessment criteria:
Structure, paragraphing, editing, proof reading and redrafting (15)
Fluency of style and expression (20)
Choice of topic, sustains interest (5)
Correct use of grammar, spelling, punctuation etc (10)

As well as a great plot, good creative writing involves planning, drafting and redrafting and editing
Think about the story to your favourite movie or book. 
Do you think there was much planning involved or did the writers and scriptwriters just type away?
Do you think the actors would have had much say in the script? 
Did the director interpret the script or film it word for word? 
Do you think a writer consults anyone when crafting their ideas? 
Why do you think book editors exist? 

Drafting the Idea

The process of writing involves a lot of planning, drafts, editing and rewrites. You can see in this videoclip gow J.K. Rowling created the world of Harry Potter through drafts, rewrites, and drawings of the characters before the public got the book that reached them

Youtube Video
J K Rowling on how she created Harry Potter

Uploaded by on 18 Feb 2009

Brainstorm and Mindmapping The Idea

Here is a video of mind mapping you might find useful for coming up with ideas for your story. Mind maps are a useful reminder and reference point to the writer. They are useful because you don't have to retain all that information in your brain when you decide to write your story. Include your mindmap with your assignment along with various drafts.

Youtube Video How To Mindmap

You will have covered some Personal Writing before in Communications Level 5 Assignment 1.
Look for that post to assist you with ideas.
What is the story going to be about and what outcomes do you want? 
Where will it be located?
Who are the characters?
When did it happen (presentm past or future)
How will you write the dialogue?
Why are you writing it?
Also consider:
The beginning, middle and  end
What conflict and resolution will there be?
What style will you write in?

Here is a quick clip from one of Ireland's most famous writers of recent years Frank McCourt. He received a Pultizer Prixe in 1997 and the National Book  Critics Circle Award in 1996 for his book Angela's Ashes, which was also adapted into an internationally successful movie. He wrote by being influenced by his personal experiences. He was also the author of highly succesful books 'Tis and Teacher Man. He died in 2009. In this clip he states that everyone has a story in them
Youtube Video Frank McCourt :Everyone Has A Story  
Uploaded by on 20 Jul 2009

Here is some advice from world reknown horror writer Stephen King regarding how to write. Stephen King wrote The Shawshank Redemption, Carrie, The Shining, Misery, Pet Semetary and numerous other bestsellers. A lot of his work has been adapted to film.

Youtube Video

Advice from Stephen King

Uploaded by on 27 Dec 2006

The last time you may have looked at grammar could have been in secondary school. As we grow older, it is easier to pick up bad writing habits, particuarly if we don't write that often. 
Look for:
1-Spelling mistakes
2-Correct use of grammar like commas and inverted commas "..."
3-Structured paragraphs

Youtube Video

How to Edit Your Writing : Why Writing Skills Are Important

Uploaded by on 4 Apr 2008

What are the employment prospects of someone with bad writing skills? 
Your writing is communicated to fellow employees, management or customers in your workplace, If there are alot of spelling mistakes or longwinded sentences that have no clarity, what does that say about you representing a company? 
What does it say about the company?

Writing a Moviescript Option For Assignment 5
I am including the option in this assignment to write a script for a movie. Why? In the 21st century Irish students will more and more need to have skills to make short films ads and videos for their company or for themselves. Knowing how to write a filmscript is an important skill to have. If you decide to do this option you must adhere to the assignment guidelines at the top of the page, as that is how you will be marked.

Here is a video by AFI about writing a script which you may find useful. Remember to keep it to 700 to 1000 words if you do. 
It must be a work of fiction you are writing about if you choose to do this

Youtube Video

Scriptwriting (AFI's Lights, Camera, Education!) 

 Uploaded by on 13 Mar 2008

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Be Rewarded for Introducing Ireland

An Irish Government programme, Succeed in Ireland, will offer a financial reward of €1,500 per job up to a maximum of 100 jobs to people who can host introductions to overseas companies which subsequently invest and create new sustainable jobs in Ireland.

ConnectIreland is implementing an incentivised global referral model asking individuals to make contact with family, friends and business connections, to identify and make introductions between ConnectIreland and overseas companies considering international expansion. 

Open to all nationalities, Ireland is the first country in the world to offer an incentivised referral programme to boost efforts to attract foreign direct investment. ConnectIreland is also targeting the Irish Diaspora estimated to be 70 million worldwide to drive introductions to companies considering international expansion. 
Almost six months after launching over 300 companies have been suggested to ConnectIreland via the referral marketing programme, creating a strong pipeline of potential investors. Ireland was not on the radar of these companies prior to introductions. These companies were introduced to ConnectIreland by Connectors from Ireland and all over the world. FDI specialists in ConnectIreland are currently examining the viability of between 10 and 12 of these possible investment projects with decisions expected by year end. The ConnectIreland programme will predominantly seek to target small-to-medium overseas companies looking for growth internationally.
ConnectIreland welcomed its first success story in May when Carlow based Eddie Horkan’s contacts led to US engineering firm Intergeo Services creating 30 jobs in Carlow. Under the initiative Mr Horkan will receive a payment of €45,000 from the Irish Government for helping to bring the new jobs to Ireland.
IDA Ireland has appointed ConnectIreland to deliver the Succeed in Ireland initiative as part of the Irish Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2012 which aims to create a minimum of 5,000 new jobs over five years.

What can you do right now to help create new jobs in Ireland?
1. Register your support on
2. Ask your employer to send a ConnectIreland message to staff
3. Tell at least 3 friends about ConnectIreland
4. Keep your eyes and ears open for Ireland

For further information on Succeed in Ireland or to register your support call 056 7797 322 or see

ConnectIreland - Ireland by the numbers

  Published on Mar 7, 2012 by

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Level 6 Assignment 4 Critique/Review

Title & Code of Module                      Communications G30001
Assessment Technique                        Portfolio Of Coursework
Weighing                                             5% (50 divided by 10)
Title                                                     Critique/Review
The critique/review may be on any topic of the candidate’s choice.
The written review should be 500-700 words long and will form the basis for an oral presentation to the candidate’s peers.

Assessment Criteria:
Choice of topic (10)
Content – research, critical thinking (10)
Correct use of grammar, spelling, punctuation etc (10)
Structure – introduction, body of text, conclusion, appropriate length (10)
Presentation and layout (10)

What are your reasons for critiquing? You are getting marked on your critical skills. Do you know what critical thinking is? Here is a video which discusses the idea of critical thinking. It's a little fast paced but if you watch it through you will have a better understanding of what being critical means.
Uploaded by on 24 Dec 2009

How do you review critically? Is it enough to just say “it sucks” or “it’s brilliant” without discussing why you think so? How can your readers make an informed decision regarding why you thought something if they cannot read it. When you read a movie review, is it simply a retelling of the plot or is there more to it? Why are sites like so popular? Have you ever disagreed with a reviewer or felt angry when they have written something negatively about a musician or film you liked?

The world of the critical reviewer is changing fast. Gone are the days where we solely relied on a weekly film review show on the TV to determine our cinema choices. Being a movie reviewer isn’t hard with the advent of the internet where we can post our reviews for free. Being a good critical reviewer is a little more difficult. How does a personal attack of the artist’s character or their celebrity status enhance your knowledge regarding the film? How can you criticise constructively? Can you compare the film with an actor or director’s previous work or with other movies within that genre? For example arguing that Barbie The Movie is a movie dripping with schmaltz and sugary sweet emotions which should only be viewed by children”. Well is that not the point of the movie? If you watch a brainless comedy with cheap laughs and little plot aimed at the teen market, well how does it compare with other  brainless comedies with cheap laughs and little plot aimed at the teen market? Some people like those type of movies.

What is your purpose as the reviewer? To help sell more newspapers or to attract followers to your blog? To gain notoriety for being outspoken similar to critics like Perez Hilton or can you give a more thoughtful review similar to Paul Gambaccini, Mark Kermode or Jonathon Ross? Look at issues of music and movie magazines  and read the reviews.

Look up popular reviews on the internet maybe on or something similar. Is there parts of the review you are reading that you agree with? How can you reference others writing so that it will enhance the authority of your review? Do aspects of any existing reviews online conform more with your own viewpoint? Why is your review going to be more interesting?

How are you going to structure the review? What is your introduction going to be like? You want to get the reader to keep reading, how are you going to get their attention and make them want to read more? How is the introduction going to set up the rest of the review?
What are the main details you want to get across in your review? Are you spending too much or too little time on each point? How can you get what you want to say across clearly. Can you reference other people’s writing to enhance your own correctly?
You want to leave your audience with something to remember. Often this is the last thing they read. It is a term known as recency. This is the place where it is useful to remind your audience what your review was about. You do not want to be approaching new topics in the conclusion but rather strengthening your point.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Seminal Games

These are a handful of the most influential and important games in the development of the games industry, though there are much, much more. So in no particular order:

-        Spacewars

One of the earliest games made, created for use in MIT on the college computers in 1961, it featured two ships on a black screen which could turn, move forward and shoot. The object of the game was to shoot the other ship while avoiding the star in the middle which pulled the ships towards it. The game had no colour or any particularly interesting features bar the ability to teleport your ship away from danger a few times during the game, yet it was extremely popular.

Even today if you find a ported version online somewhere and give it a go yourself (which I highly recommend to get a feel for what games went before today’s games, in fact if you haven’t already you should definitely play all the games on this list, even just for a few minutes.) and you can get it working, as the controls are a little tricky to master at first, play against someone and you will still enjoy it even 50 odd years later.

There are a few reasons for its popularity when it was released first. Number one is no game like it had been made before and it was a relatively simple concept to grasp and play. Another is the theme. It was released during the space race so anything to do with space and the great unknown was going to be popular at the time.

-        Pong

Even if you’ve never played it you’ve more than likely seen or heard of pong. Released by Atari in the early 70’s pong was an extremely popular game which was played on home consoles and in arcades alike. The game was ridiculously simple consisting of two paddles which were just two lines of white squares, and a ball that moved over and back, which was one square, and a “beep” sound when the paddle hit the ball – and that was it. The whole game took a few days to code.

All you had to do was move your paddle up or down to hit the ball and stop it going into the goal behind you. Yet it became a craze and one of the most popular games of its time with competitions being held in arcades and people everywhere playing it. For one reason – it kept a score. It played on our human nature to be competitive.

The game was so simple that anyone could pick it up and play and all you had to rely on was your reactions. This shows how important a tool adding a competitive edge to a game can be, online leaderboards and multiplayer modes to games are all there in modern day games for this reason.

-        Wolfenstein 3D

Wolf 3D was one of the first FPS games released, and featured a “fake” 3D engine. The game looked as if it had 3D models but this was only an effect. Yet the player could move around and explore the areas in the game just as with subsequent FPS games. The game featured an American soldier who has to escape from a Nazi stronghold. This setting was quite controversial and the game was censored quite a bit.

The player begins with a pistol and three lives and must try to escape the compound, shooting enemies as you go. As you progress through different levels you rack up points and find new weapons, unless your health drops to zero which results in losing all ammo and weapons bar your pistol. In each level you could also find treasure and extra lives.

Now on its own that doesn’t seem all that impressive, but consider that this was one of the first FPS games out, and even today a lot of games have lives, a score counter, a variety of weapons for you to find etc. so it really set out the guidelines for all future FPS games to follow.

-        Zork

Zork is a text based game. This means there are no images, no characters to look at, only text to read. Now initially you may wonder how this could make an interesting game to play, but consider a book, the readers imagination makes the book come alive. Much is the same for text based games, you have a limited amount of controls you type in, for example go west, pick up lamp, open door etc. with the game only reading designated commands.

 This type of game is not as common nowadays as it was when Zork was originally released, but text based adventures are still being made today, at a whole new level and I recommend anyone reading this to at least give one a try. What Zork did so well was it showed how engrossing you could make the most basic of settings if the player could interact with a variety of objects and use them in interesting ways to progress to the next area. The only way of getting through Zork was to think outside the box.

Go to this site below for a good introduction to some modern text based games (or interactive fiction) or to play Zork if you so wish.

-        Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario is possibly one of the most well recognised names in the games industry, I can nearly guarantee if you’re reading this now you have at least heard the name if you haven’t played any of the games (which is unlikely). Super Mario Bros was first released in 1985 by Nintendo, and subsequent games (Super Mario Bros 2 and 3, and Super Mario World) were all largely the same apart from a few extra features and slight improvements in graphics.

The game is a side-scrolling platformer that puts you in control of Super Mario, the small Italian plumber who must pass through the levels in front of him to get to his nemesis Bowser and rescue Princess Peach. Each level see’s Mario jumping from platform to platform, avoiding or jumping on a variety of different enemies and manoeuvring through obstacles. There are also boxes to hit which can give you coins which you collect to get an extra life, or mushrooms which make you bigger and stronger and a flower which lets you shoot fireballs, with the next games in the series adding a few new power ups.

And that’s it. However the gameplay is fast paced and fun and in the more difficult levels can get quite hectic, but in a gradual way, so you can complete the earlier levels and improve as it gets harder and harder. Also there is a nice variety of levels including underwater, underground, cloud levels, and each one (particularly in 3 and World) are beautifully drawn despite the basic graphics. The main positive about this game though is that it’s fun. Even today I could happily pick it up and spend a few hours of my afternoon happily playing away.

Super Mario World

-        Final Fantasy VII

This has been critically acclaimed as one of the best RPG games ever released.

Gamefan mag called it “quite possibly the greatest game ever made”   

IGN said “The RPG by which all others are to be measured, FFVII is a cinematic wonder”

 Released in 1997 by SquareSoft (now known as SquareEnix) this game introduced the RPG format to Europe and really set the standard of what could be done.

Final Fantasy VII (FFVII) is an RPG that puts the player in control of a band of rebel soldiers who are fighting against the corruption in their city and against a bloodthirsty company that is damaging the earth. The game uses a turn based system, where you pick a move (or attack) for a character, and then have to wait for a bar to fill up before you can choose another action for that same character, but fighting flows quite well. In the game you use “materia” orbs which grant different abilities and powers to customise each person and fight how you want to, and the combat is quite fun and can be very tactical and challenging at times, keeping you on your toes.

The graphics do certainly leave a lot to be desired, even for their time they were not fantastic, but FFVII makes up for it in how it makes you feel. Every character is really fleshed out and you get a really good impression of their personality, everyone has a back story and you learn about everyone which is impressive for a game that has no voice acting in it. You can relate to the characters and they mean something to you in the story, and it is the story that is one of the game’s strongest aspects, it is told beautifully and keeps you hooked the whole way through with plenty of twists and surprises.

The main character, Cloud as well as trying to save the planet, has to deal with his relationship with the people around him and his own dubious past. There are also sub plots going on the whole way through the game and it really ties everything well together. Few games have engrossed me as much into the story of a game.

Also you can explore a huge game world with plenty of hidden surprises and extra activities to keep you busy, and every area feels unique and distinctive in its own way. This is helped in part to the music which sets the tone for each region and event in the game and is an example of how important music can be in a game. Try finding some of the music from the game and just listening to it and seeing what kind of mood it sets.

So if you haven’t played this gem of a game yet I highly recommend doing so if you are any way a fan of RPG games.

Computer game genres

Game genres

·        First person shooter

Example of a generic fps game

A first person shooter or FPS is a very popular genre of game. The game is played through the eyes of the player’s character (as seen below) which is known as first person perspective. Generally the aim of this kind of game is to shoot enemies and navigate your character through the environment around you. It also usually consists of a number of linear levels that you must go through in sequence to get to the end and finish the game.

·        RPG

RPG or role playing games are more popular with hard-core gamers. In these games you control a character and play through a story in a fictional world. Often this consists of lots of exploration and interacting with NPC’s (Non-Person Characters, or characters in the game controlled the game itself). This is also a more personalised experience as most RPGs allow you customise your character or play through the way in a variety of different ways and can be much longer to play through than other genres of game.

·        Platformer

In a platformer game the players’ character usually has to jump between various platforms (hence the name) and avoid obstacles on the way. Super Mario was an early example platformer game, with many others evolving from this such as Tomb Raider or Crash Bandicoot.

·        Side-Scroller

Side-scroller games were originally very popular in arcade machines, where the player controlled a character had to move through the level rather like a platformer or shoot enemies to progress, while moving from the left of the screen to the right which then drags the screen, scrolling to the next section of the level. The metal slug series are an example of side-scrollers.

Similar to this genre is the top-down scroller which simply flips the orientation, but is otherwise the same although the screen may scroll down automatically such as in the game 1942.

·        Action-Adventure

This genre is very broad and therefore difficult to define. Any game that follows a story for the character to go through and action elements such as combat can be said to fit into this genre.

·        MMORPG

Standing for “Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game” these games are as their title suggests played online and against hundreds if not thousands of other players. They are basically RPGs were you create your own character and personalise them and then get put into a huge fictional world, the only difference being there are nearly no NPCs (Non Person Characters) here, everyone you interact with is another user. World of Warcraft is an example of an extremely popular MMORPG.

·        Strategy

This simply refers to any game that heavily makes use of strategy elements in its gameplay such as games where you control armies and order them tactically around a battlefield, sometimes building bases or defences. Medieval 2 Total War or  Command and Conquer are good examples.

·        Fighting/beat ‘em up

This genre of game features the player controlling a character who must fight against a variety of opponents, either in one on one combat like in Tekken or against numerous weaker enemies like in Streets of Rage. The players’ character will usually have a repertoire of moves or attacks like high kick, punch etc.

·        Puzzle

Puzzle games like the name suggests are a game that either is a series of fun and challenging puzzles that the player must solve, or an action adventure game that has number of challenges blocking progression throughout the game. The Professor Layton series of games on the Nintendo DS are a popular example of puzzles games.

·        Simulation

Any game that tries to simulate a real-life activity accurately can be classes a simulation. However it must try to simulate realism, for example Burnout Paradise, a racing game featuring unrealistically fast cars which drive around on streets full of other cars is an arcade style racing game, whereas Gran Turismo 5, a circuit racing game where every car is an exact replica of its real-life counterpart and the cars handle as much like they do really as the developers could make it is a racing simulator. There are also various flight and train simulators around.

Adding one piece of equipment to a car in Forza Motorsport 4

To conclude:

As you can see many of these genres can overlap and a game can be in more than more genre. Also this is not a definitive list of genres as you can break many of them down further into sub-genres, or add others such as driving or sports but most of these are fairly self-explanatory so I’ve left them out.

Technological Influence on the Games Industry

Uploaded by  on 8 Mar 2011

As the consoles and computers on which games are played have improved over the years, the limit to what a game can achieve has been pushed further and further. Games have not only improved their graphics but have become bigger and more complicated as machines now have greater processing power. However this is only one aspect of games that has improved due to new hardware. Any new machine out, be it a faster PC or a smart phone, opens new possibilities for games.

As machines became smaller in size portable consoles such as the Gameboy became possible and today the Nintendo DS combines this portability with a touchscreen feature. Also the capability of smart phones to be able to play bigger games than was possible on any older handsets has really opened a new market for games designer, in particular apps such as Angry Birds have had phenomenal success worldwide.

Further again the Ipod and Ipad have added motion sensors to add a whole new dimension to what game designers have to play around with. Now in addition to whatever core gameplay they had in mind they can incorporate various touch activated commands along with movement of the device to make entirely new gaming experiences.

Yes you look silly but it works...

Even 3D has made its way into games recently as some console games have options to display in 3D on 3D capable TVs, and the Nintendo 3DS having a form of image projection, while not entirely 3D itself, is still impressive on a handheld console. This just proves that with every new advancement in technology games embrace it and progress further so it’s always a good idea to keep up to date with any new upcoming technologies.

Online games are also beginning to replace games that would normally be single player and just on your own machine now that more and more players have better internet connections allowing them to all play together either against each other or cooperatively and really makes games more of a community.

                                                     Uploaded by  on 21 Dec 2007