Games technology students launched Speed Titans at a Bloodhound showcase event at Cornwall Airport, when the vehicle was put through its paces in a first public run ahead of a planned land speed record attempt in South Africa.
A team of four UWE Bristol students from the PlayWest game studio developed the multiplayer game which sees teams working together against the clock, collecting objects from a junk yard to create their very own speed machines. Their designs are then put to the test on an airstrip, with scores given for accuracy, distance and top speed achieved.
Groups of pupils attending the showcase event werethe first to try the game in what could spark the beginning of a ‘national championship’ among schools to create the ultimate Speed Titans car.
Andy King, Associate Professor in Technology & Innovation at UWE Bristol, has overseen development of the game with PlayWest. He said humour, creativity and collaboration were incorporated into the game’s design in order to appeal to a young audience and help spur pupils’ interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
He said: “The game is inspired by the Bloodhound Model Rocket Car Challenge and is very much Scrapheap Challenge meets Minecraft or the Kerbal Space Program games – but with more of a subversive and playful nature to it. The aim is to build something resembling a land speed car – ideally a chassis with wheels and components such as spoilers and fuel tanks all built around massive aero engines. But it is possible to get movement out of practically any unwieldy collection of cobbled together objects, such as toolboxes and spanners, although poorly-designed cars don’t perform particularly well!
“The functionality of the game allows components to be picked up by players simultaneously, swivelled and tumbled around, then fixed to any position on the car’s chassis. Players can develop their own learning through trial and error as they work out what works and what doesn’t when their cars are put to the test.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the imaginative designs the children come up with and hope they enjoy playing it as much as we did creating it! We would love for it to develop into a full national championship, allowing us to have the greatest possible impact on promoting STEM among the next generation of engineers.”
The studio earlier developed a prototype mobile app for the Bloodhound SSC which can be used by mechanics to detect faults and monitor the car’s performance remotely on a handheld device while the vehicle is running. Called Bloodhound Inspector, the app is capable of receiving data from more than 600 sensors fitted to different parts of the car and acts as a ‘window’ into the vehicle’s system.