About Adrian Gurney – University Lecturer

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Adrian Gurney

University Lecturer at Staffordshire University

 

 

Who is Adrian Gurney?

I’m a lecturer in games design at Staffordshire University, primarily teaching games engines. I previously worked as a contractor / consultant for several companies including Digital Native Academy. While lecturing at the university I have been involved with projects from the Technology Strategy Board, as well as offering technical support for Epic Games at the Make Something Unreal Live 2013 event.

In the little spare time I have, you’ll find me SCUBA diving, working on motorbikes, or learning new computing skills.

You can always find my current work contact details on the Adrian Gurneys Staffordshire University Contact Page.

 

What I do…

  • Games Engines (Unreal Technology)
  • Teaching
  • Technical Support
  • Consulting
  • Web Programming
  • Documentation
  • Video tutorials
  • PC & Server Building / Deployment
  • Server Administration
  • Hardware fixing / maintenance

 

 

A brief history…

The Acorn 410/1 - Adrian Gurneys First Machine

The Acorn 410/1 was one of my first machines

 

My first introduction to computing was in the form of a  kindly gifted an Acorn Electron. While most of this was command line, I quickly found my way around the system and even wrote a few BASIC programs.

A few years after that I moved up to an Acorn Archimedes, which was used in most UK schools at the time. This is where my love for all things geek related grew from, and a system I still own. Sadly most people around my age had little interest in computing so I quickly found myself socialising with people much older than me that introduced me to other systems. By the time I reached secondary school, I owned an Acorn Electron, Acorn Archimedes, Atari 2600, ZX81 (with the 16K Expansion, of course!) and a Commodore 64 thanks to friends and family.

Even though my secondary school was initially kitted out with the Acorn Archimedes (3000 series), they were changed for Windows 95 based systems a few years in (much to my disapproval at the time). They quickly grew on me however, which was mostly due to having the internet and discovering IRC. With Microsoft taking over the market, my first ‘PC’ was purchased shortly after: A Cyrix 6×86 PR-166 based system, with a a full 16MB of RAM – thanks Mum and Dad!

I quickly fell into this new world with the help of PC Pro and Computer Shopper magazines. The inclusion of CDROMs on these meant I had access to a huge amount of software for free, even if much of it was demo limited versions. Macromedia, Microsoft and Corel products were usually high on the list of usage.

It wasn’t long until I got into gaming on the system. Even though my computer was underpowered for games of the time, I did manage to play enough to see the difference between the Acorn systems and what was currently on the market – which made me want to upgrade as soon as possible.

A lot of saving and I purchased and built my first homemade system a couple of years later at the age of 14: A Celeron 400, 32MB of RAM, a 20GB 7200RPM HDD and an awesome Voodoo 3 3500 AGP graphics card. The increase in performance was staggering, with it handling almost any game I could throw at it. At the time I was a huge Mechwarrior 3 fan and I still remember the first time I saw the game running in hardware accelerated mode (as opposed to software rendered) – stunning! Throw in multiplayer on the Microsoft Zone service and I was sold on online gaming forever.

When I installed the Voodoo 3 3500 card, it came with a free copy of a game called “Unreal”. It was visually stunning, had an amazing storyline, beautiful audio / music and multiplayer. It’s arguably this single free game which has had the biggest impact on my life.

Free tools were included that allowed the game to be modified (or ‘modded’). They were quite buggy, but great fun. A fantastic community helped each other in solving issues and I released many maps (levels) for the game as a result. Soon after, a follow up multiplayer title called ‘Unreal Tournament’ was released, for which I did the same. You’d often find me posting on the infogrames forums (known as ‘ina forums’), which later on became the Atari forums, and now run under the control of Epic Games.

This fascination with game creation lead me to take a degree at Staffordshire University in Games Design. At this point very few universities ran courses that specialised in this area, so this one clearly stood out. It was a fantastic 4 years (+1 for Masters) where I increased my skills and made lots of friends – many who would go on to work in the industry as well.

The head of the games department, aware of my experience and grades, invited me to do some part time lecturing at the university for their Games Engines module which was in need of an overhaul. Due to my experience with Unreal Technology over the years, and the university currently not having it in any aspects of their courses, I decided to ditch the content entirely and rewrite the entire course using Unreal Engine 3, which had just been released. I used Unreal Tournament 3 for an introduction to level design (both single & multiplayer) and UDK after it was released, for making games in the second year of the course using Unrealscript. In the time I had free from lecturing, I worked as a contractor and consultant for games engines related projects, often in conjunction with the Technology Strategy Board where commercial software, simulation tools and games were produced.

After a couple of years I managed to secure a full time position at the university where I continued building on the games engine courses. During this period I still worked on external projects (again, through the TSB) with companies such as Monumental Games, in addition to offering technical support to Epic Games at the Make Something Unreal Live 2013 Event at the Gadget Show Live.

Current work…

I’m currently working with Unreal Engine 4 at Staffordshire University over a 2 year period for some of the core awards we offer. I also do a lot of web programming / database work to help support courses at the university. This includes a register system and work upload system for the students that is used across the vast majority of the faculty.

 

Contact Adrian Gurney…

You can reach me through my Contact Page. I don’t print a personal email address due to spam. I’ll then contact you as soon as possible – remember to include contact details!

If you’d like to contact me on any work related matters, please use a.gurney@staffs.ac.uk