Blog Listings

Gravity Assist – a game made at Manchester Game Jam’s Ludum Dare Weekender

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Luke Thompson has written a blog post about a game he made during Manchester Game Jam’s Ludum Dare Weekender. There’s still time to vote for Luke’s game, so give it a try:

Gravity Assist is a game I made for the Ludum Dare 28 competition, my first game jam. If you’re not familiar with LD48 or game jams in general, the idea is to create something in 48 hours. You can play (and vote on!) the game here, in-browser or as a standalone.


Inspired partly by my day job (accelerator physics), you launch a “particle” angry birds style, choosing your power and trajectory to navigate between various force fields and objects. Primarily these fields are gravitational, causing the particle to curve and loop. Getting close to them scores you more points, but instant death on contact. You can instantly retry though with space, and all your previous tracks are shown to help you and make things pretty.

LD48 is a global event; in Manchester an event was hosted at the excellent MadLab in the Northern Quarter. It’s a great hackerspace, with community-organised activities ranging from game development to film-making to taxidermy[3]. It was nice to be in a space around a bunch of other people developing at the same break-neck (some might say reckless) speed. Comparing ideas, testing each others’ games and offering general advice is pretty rewarding in both directions, and it’s a great way to meet more people, and get together with those I already knew.

Read Luke’s full post here.

MadLab festivities in Blackburn!

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

In the run up to Christmas, MadLab is heading over to Blackburn to get involved with ‘Blackburn is Open’, a scheme that sees disused shops being transformed into pop-up-art centres. Wayne Hemingway, the backing behind the scheme, hopes that this will revive Blackburn’s empty streets and inspire a new community of budding entrepreneurs and creatives in the heart of Lancashire.

blackburn is open 5

blackburn is open 3
To kick off the sessions we sent MadLab’s Technical Coordinator and Maker extraordinaire James Medd to teach kids how to make their own flashing Christmas decorations. The Solder-a-star workshop gives children a chance to practice their electronics skills by soldering a simple LED circuit on to a star shaped circuit board resulting in a flashing Xmas star. There were lots of willing enthusiasts at the session and we even overheard one participant telling his Dad- ‘I don’t want Ice Skates for Christmas anymore Dad.. I want a soldering iron!’. N’awww! It warmed our hearts!

Following this brilliant start and in keeping with the DIY-Xmas theme, we had Katie Steckles from Manchester Girl Geeks run a Maths Christmas Tree Decoration workshop. The lovely Katie will also run the next two sessions, the first of which is a Soft Electronics workshop where participants will be given the opportunity to sew their own bright-eyed critters (12 Dec).

Little monsters that Katie will be teaching how to circuit and sew!

Little monsters that Katie will be teaching how to circuit and sew!


Following that, Katie will have robotics and arts colliding with the Brushbot session (19 Dec), a workshop that teaches you how to make robotic paintbrushes using paper motors and bristles.

Blackburn is Open is running right up until Christmas and will include a Pop-up arts centre where Artisans can sell their work, Town Hall Square events and two mini festivals with a pop-up cinema. Head over to support the scheme and get involved with some MadLab events!

Young Rewired State 2013 – the film

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

They came, they saw, they coded. For the fourth year in a row, MadLab has been hosting young programmers during Young Rewired State. This years Festival of Code has been more popular than ever, with an additional three centres in Greater Manchester (MadLab, Media City, Oldham College). MadLab hosted 26 eager young coders during a week in August.

How did they get on? Watch the film below to find out!

Young Rewired State 2013 at Manchester Digital Laboratory from Prohyena on Vimeo.

Thanks to our centre lead DJ, all the mentors, filmmaker Maria, YRS, and of course all the young participants!

See you next year!

Revolution in North Korea – North Korea’s marketisation talk review

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

First published on Northern Soul 22nd July 2013. Written by Alfred Searls

North Korea

Joseph Park is 31 years old, a defector from North Korea and a prophet of the revolution. In his former homeland the revolution in question is already under way and, to borrow Gil Scott-Heron’s memorable phrase, the revolution will not be televised because this time it’s going to be marketised. As Joseph tells it the whole process may well now be unstoppable. All this and virtually no one outside North Korea has even noticed it’s begun.

The MadLab Network Survey!

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

It’s summer, and the time of year that MadLab turns it’s eyes to self-reflection. This time, we’re developing a network diagram of the users, communities, organisations, companies and agencies that frequent our doors – not just of direct visitors, but the whole range of beneficiaries around MadLab. We’re planning to make this resource available on our website, but for now – we have to collect this information!

If you have a few minutes – please fill in our survey!

A first pass at a MadLab network map

BCS’s first-pass network map

Why are we doing this? Well, we know that MadLab is a critical crunch-point for Manchester’s digital and creative communities. We also know that lots of informal – and not-so-informal – relationships form here, which we’re curious about. It’s important for us in terms of us being able to assess our impact and reach, which is what we’re trying to paint a picture of. This isn’t the first time this has been tried – Chris at the BCS tried to map out the networks at MadLab, but it developed into too large a project to handle! We’re hoping to build on Chris’ work, not just at the relationships between group level, but also looking at key people and other agencies – in short…