Unity 3D the clear industry favourite.

The recent growth of Unity 3D in industry locally despite the push in further education for the Unreal Engine (at odds with industry demand) was why we worked with South West College to deliver more training for converting some programmers to Unity Devs. And, of course, to aid collaboration and component re-use for game jams!

Digital Circle spends a lot of time looking at industry trends. We focus on the good of the industry which has a different perspective to support agencies like Invest NI (which has a focus on jobs created) and Northern Ireland Screen (which has a focus on headline-grabbing movie projects).

We couldn’t have delivered some of our interventions without the help of the Arts Council ‘Creative Industries Innovation Fund’ (supported by DCAL) and the Honeycomb Creative Works programme (supported by the SEUPB). The bad news is that both of these programmes will not be active in the coming future.

It is just nice, every now and then, to know that we did the right thing, for the right reasons, with the right outcomes.

If you want to get stuck into Unity, there are heaps of tutorials on their web site and if you’re a small business, you could do well getting support from the InnovateUS programme to get Unity mentoring from South West College. There are also heaps of video training resources in YouTube.

Games are bigger than Hollywood, Apps are bigger than Hollywood. And yet…

Horace Dediu puts together the numbers:

Apple paid $10 billion to developers in calendar 2014

Put another way, in 2014 iOS app developers earned more than Hollywood did from box office in the US.

The curious thing is that even though the medium of apps is swamping other forms of entertainment in all measurable ways, comprehension of the phenomenon is lagging.

It’s again one of the times when I hate being right. I made an impassioned plea to government agencies, visited universities and colleges and even spoke to politicians back when the App Store was still on the horizon and I said “This app thing is going to be massive”. With the App Economy worth 627,000 jobs worldwide, Northern Ireland should have a fair share there and we just dropped the ball. Some people saw the Apple logo and decided not to get involved and some, well, some just stood in the way. They couldn’t see the future or, as in one case, they had a major personal investment in a competing mobile software distribution platform (that ultimately went nowhere).

And remember this is just the Apple side. It doesn’t include ad-based revenue, it doesn’t include Android and Windows phone. It doesn’t include Mac apps and it doesn’t include apps sold outside of the Apple ecosystem.

Back in the early noughties, I attended a meeting where a consultant told Northern Ireland not to even look at the games market. It was too late they said. So we didn’t invest, we gave the responsibility for games development to agencies who didn’t understand, appreciate or even like games. And I don’t expect them to like them; I expect them to follow the best opportunities.

I cannot even begin to count the opportunity cost here; the friction of just being resistant to new ideas and new technology but we pay for it again and again in being conservative in our collective outlook, in mistrusting the novel.


I coulda had class.
I coulda been a contender.
I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.
It was you.


A compound Spanish neologism meaning “child-buyers,” which was coined by Victor Hugo in his novel The Man Who Laughs.

Adopted as a pejorative term used for individuals and entities who manipulate the minds and attitudes of children in a way that will permanently distort their beliefs or worldview.

And we have a new word for those who are opponents of integrated education in Northern Ireland. People who wilfully distort the minds and attitudes of children, installing bitterness and fear where there is innocence and acceptance.

Electric Car Charging Up 50% in a single year!

Proof that journalists can put the negative into anything to get a headline:

Two-thirds of London electric car charging points go unused

Figures for June 2014 show that of the 905 units across the capital, only 324 were used (36%). The remaining 581 were not plugged into at all.

By way of comparison, in June 2013 there were 892 charging units in London and during that month a quarter (24.3%) were used.

However in June 2014 there were a total of 4,678 charging sessions, more than double the 2,243 figure a year earlier. This reflects the quickening take up of electric cars of which there are now about 16,000 in Great Britain.


In essence…There were more charging units available in 2014 and the number of people using them jumped from 24% to 36%. That’s a 50% increase in a single year.

The figures are actually really positive and I am heartened that government is much more optimistic about this than the media.

The encouraging news is that electric car sales in the UK are at last showing signs of improvement, but we still have a charging network that is running far from capacity.

Running a charging network that is not at capacity costs a few feet of space and has a prominent mindspace benefit. Electric cars are a luxury right now but by 2030 they’ll be a necessity. They will be the most cost-effective way to move around – never mind being zero emissions and orders of magnitude more efficient than internal combustion-based cars.

Don’t get used to cheap gasoline

Clearly we’re seeing some of the supply-and-demand statistics play out and we’re seeing low fuel prices, we may see that for a certain amount of time but our medium and long term view is that they will go up.
Ford CEO Mark Fields (link)

Of course they’re going to go up. That’s what they do. They’re only down at the moment to strengthen the Saudi grip on the oil markets because they’re the only oil producers with the reserves to weather out a price war. That major oil producers are playing a game of chicken – oil is currently plentiful (as US oil production has reached a new high not experienced since 1983).

Enjoy the reduced prices for a while because they’re going up again soon.