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Developer News Industry News

Hypixel To Open New Studio in Derry

Exciting news for the Northern Ireland game development scene as Hypixel Studios have been acquired by League of Legends developer Riot Games. Further, a new studio to oversee administration for the company and carry out QA testing is being set up in Derry. 

Hypixel started out as a Minecraft server dedicated to minigames and community modding. From this the developers announced a voxel-based game called Hytale which had seen investment from a few sources including Riot Games. The announcement trailer has been seen almost 60 million times with a fantastical world and community servers promised, Hytale is an ambitious and alluring project. But it is also a sign that the whimsical aesthetics and nostalgic pull of Minecraft is a powerful source of enthusiasm among players to this day.

The popularity of Hytale has exploded since the trailer with 2.5 million sign-ups for the beta and being featured on the cover of Edge magazine in the UK, it’s no surprise that Hypixel has attracted interest from potential partner companies. 

In a letter to the Hypixel community, co-founder Simon Collins-Laflamme commented that “Riot will become our parent company and we’ll gain access to their expertise and resources. This means a bigger budget for Hytale, more security for our team, and advisory support from a company that knows how to launch and operate successful, long-running games”.

The acquisition means a larger budget for Hytale and most importantly for the NI game development scene a new studio opening up in Northern Ireland. As part of the acquisition Aaron ‘Noxy’ Donaghey will step up as CEO of Hypixel and said of the new studio that it “is going to allow us to bring on support staff to help with the day to day running of the company, as well as a new QA team to assist with the ongoing development of Hytale.” 

Vacancies are open to work both at the Derry office when it’s established and to work remotely with the studio. You can find job vacancies here.

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Industry News Misc. News

Play Diaries Reports on Run For The Border

For those that couldn’t quite make it to Run For The Border in January this year, Johnny Cullen of Play Diaries has an article and podcast up talking to developers at the event and providing key context to the political ramifications for game development on the island as Brexit officially begins.

Run for the Border is an event in January of each year where folks from North and South of Ireland come together at the halfway point between Belfast and Dublin: Dundalk, for a much needed catchup. Coaches provided by Creative Europe leave from the two cities and meet up in Spirit Store in Dundalk. There are informative talks and plenty of food and drink, but most importantly the craic is mighty!

Despite the closeness of these communities (being just up/down the road from each other) there’s a dearth of formal opportunities to come together outside of GDC and Gamescom. 

Johnny went from Derry to Belfast to Dundalk interviewing developers from Italic Pig and Whitepot Studios about their successes in capturing the hearts of players all over the world and about the community forming between developers from North and South. But a spectre looms over proceedings as Brexit potentially threatens this camaraderie in the room. 

You can catch the podcast on Youtube above or you can listen to more Press Play podcasts on Apple or Spotify. You can also support Play Diaries on their patreon here.

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Developer News

Wailing Heights Releases on PS4 and XBox One!

The Playstation Blog just announced that Wailing Heights is available NOW on the Playstation Store, with Xbox One release tomorrow!

A body-hopping, musical adventure game, set in with a horrific hamlet of modern monsters.

After being invited to a gig in a town no one’s ever heard of, Frances Finklestein is trapped in a holding cell, charged with the crime of… Being Alive!

A mysterious cellmate teaches you the power of possession – leaving your corpse in the holding cell and “body-hopping” from hipster vampires, to vegan werewolf, to soulful zombie.

Each creature’s skills and abilities bring you one step closer to getting your body out of lock-up and escaping Wailing Heights.

Wailing Heights is developed by Northern Irish game studio, Outsider Games.

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Industry News

Vicky Potts from Whitepot Studios wins Rising Star of the Year at Women in Games Awards

Vicky Potts, from Whitepot studios has won the Women in Games 2018, RISING STAR OF THE YEAR – DEVELOPMENT AWARD!

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Industry News

2ngaming Joins the NI Game Dev Scene

2ngaming is the latest addition to join the exciting Gaming Industry in NI. Its ambition – only to redefine how users play games on their Mobile devices!

Its founders David Campbell and John Fahy have a long track record of success in building technology and finance businesses around the globe and have decided to setup their latest business 2ngaming here in Belfast. Why ? They want to do something different from the usual suspects in the usual places – David having recently returned to live in NI from China has a unique perspective on how the market for games will develop globally.

“The end users we want to target come from very different cultures and want a very different experience this needs a different way of thinking about Game development” 

John and David believe the current Gaming Experience on mobile devices can be characterized as static, repetitive, boring and counter intuitive – they have developed a specification for a new type of Experience targeting the Gaming/Gambling Industry which has already been prototyped and end user tested with very encouraging results.

2ngaming is the first start-up in this space in Northern Ireland providing a unique opportunity to be truly disruptive within a very lucrative industry.

David attended our recent Games NI community get together and had the following to say

“I loved the diversity of thinking in the room, the willingness to challenge the perceived norms and the warmth of the community towards each other – this is what we want 2ngaming to be about”

John and David are looking to build their core team around two senior developers (one server side, one mobile) who will lead the development of a gaming platform for mobile devices. The technical skills, commitment and passion of these developers will be central to their success and in addition to paying a competitive salary they plan to make the developers that join them part owners of the business to share the success.

The co-founders already run several successful businesses in the US & UK and they will provide funding, mentorship, contacts and ideas, but are looking to identify the developers who can ultimately lead the technical decision making and the business.

Interested in learning more ?

Drop David a summary of your experience & contact details in confidence at:
david@2ngaming.com

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Misc. News

Enter Yes Announce Publishing Deal with Green Man Gaming for ‘Before the Blood’

Enter Yes’ Before the Blood is an intense 3rd-person urban beat-em-up game in which you punch, kick and knock out rival gang members on your journey to uncover the truth at Hilden Green, London – the place where Micky’s brother, Dean, allegedly took his own life.

Before the Blood will launch onto digital PC platforms in Mid-2018 Green Man Gaming

Pre-order – https://www.greenmangaming.com/games/before-the-blood-pc/

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Misc. News

Irish-made games on sale for St Patrick’s Day!

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a taste of the good stuff – games made in Ireland!

 

In honour of the holiday, a highlight of Irish titles are on sale over the 17th March, and throughout the week.

The sale features an eclectic mix of games made by game developers and studios across the island of Ireland, and feature everything you need to enjoy the weekend, from singing Irish werewolves to occult investigations.

A sample of games are feature below, and visit GamesNI.com and IMIRT.ie for an updated list.

 

Notes:

 

Games NI

Games NI is the association of Games Developers and Producers in Northern Ireland. Our mission is to create a collaborative network connecting NI companies and freelancers with other developers and publishers internationally. http://www.gamesni.com/

 

IMIRT

Imirt Irish Game Makers is a Company Limited By Guarantee (CLG) that represents game developers in the Republic of Ireland. We promote, mentor, and improve the game making environment for those developing games here. http://www.imirt.ie/

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Misc. News

2018, New Committee, New Events and More!

Hello everyone! It’s well into 2018 and we’re very excited to be back bringing you a splattering of events, news, opportunities all throughout the year! 

Speaking of which, our first meetup of 2018 will be March 14th, 6pm in Vandal. 

Tickets and more info on the event can be found here!

March Theme:

“Where Money Comes From…”

In a panel led by Kevin Beimers (Italic Pig), starring Donal Phillips (NI Screen), Sophie Hayes (Creative Europe), we’ll be seeking to provide advice on a subject dear to every game developer.

If you leave Vandal without knowing how to fund your game, we’ve done something wrong!

Next, after the AGM on the 9th January, we’re saying goodbye to some old faces and welcoming in the new committee. 

Stephen Downey (Chairperson), Kevin Beamers, Paul Dillon, Thomas Hislop andJames Hunter. You’re more than welcome to come say hi at Vandal!

And finally the last two months saw several notable events.


There was the Global Game Jame 2018 with Farset Labs.

All of the games from this years event in Belfast can be downloaded here


We also had an industry Panel and series of lectures at the UKIE Hub Crawl, In the MAC, with guest speakers Josh Garrity (Sold Out), Sam Collins (UKIE), Alan Moss (Harbottle & Lewis), Donal Phillips (NI Screen) and Neil Parmar (Escape Technologies)


Also a Communicating Game Design workshop with Kevin Beamers. 


…as well as the 2nd NI Game Dev Awards!

Game of the Year: Tubocity
Game Studio of the Year: Italic Pig
Rising Star: Michael O’Kane
Community Award: Kitty Crawford

Big congratulations to everyone who was nominated and huge thanks to Angela McKeown and Peter Chapman for hosting the event with the NI Game Dev Network. 

We’re excited about the year to come. Keep checking back here for news and events about the local game scene and more! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch on mail@gamesni.com or tweet us @Games_NI

-Love from Games NI 

 

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Misc. News

Her Majesty’s Spiffing Releases on Nintendo Switch!

 Write here…
Write here…

HM Spiffing, that satirical space and click adventure game from Billy Goat Entertainment has just released on the Nintendo Switch! The store page can be found here. 
 

Her Majesty’s SPIFFING is also available on SteamXbox One and PS4

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Misc. News

Young Game Designers Competition has Opened

Young Game Designers is BAFTA’s games competition for 10-18 year-old aimed at creating opportunity + giving insight into the world of game making, as well as offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences with top game makers + industry professionals.

They want to see your original, brand new video game idea. If you don’t have any coding skills, have no fear – you can enter the Game Concept Award. If you’re already making + building your own games, enter the Game Making Award.

If you’re chosen as a finalist, you’ll be invited to an awards ceremony at BAFTA HQ in London. Looking to get into the games industry when you leave school? Winners will meet leading games industry figuresget mentorship from professionals actively working in games as well as a host of other amazing prizes from the YGD partners. 

Entries must be received by BAFTA no later than 17:00 on Wednesday 25 April 2018.

More information on the competition as well as applications can be found here