Trade Missions

Northern Irish developers at GDC

With the help for Northern Ireland Screen, a league of Northern Irish developers made their way to GDC this year with the aim of meeting and networking with other developers and publishers from around the world. Over the course of the 3 day conference, local developers met with potential partners to show them why Northern Ireland is a great place to make your game. 

 Rach from App Attic chatting to Unity asset developer Forest. Photograph credit Gamasutra
Rach from App Attic chatting to Unity asset developer Forest. Photograph credit Gamasutra

With the help of Northern Ireland Screen, companies App Attic, BillyGoat Entertainment, Black Market, Boom Clap Games, Inlifesize, Italic Pig, Troll Inc and Retinize all exhibited their work and met other international developers. 

More on this story at Develop.

Misc. News

Tranzfuser Opens today

Tranzfuser, the innovative new talent development programme from UK Games Talent and Finance CIC and funded by the UK government, launches today. 

Designed to provide a platform for creative leaders of the future, Tranzfuser is aimed at graduates looking to break into the games development industry, with a strong focus on getting their game to market. 

Lead applicants to Tranzfuser have an opportunity to project manage the teams that they form for the Tranzfuser journey and win funds from the UK Games Fund.

Successful applicants will be invited to develop their ideas into working prototypes over the summer in a competition that culminates in a nationally recognized showcase event.

Participants will have access to Regional Hubs and leading industry support where possible, providing the best knowledge-base and resources available across the UK. 

Graduates are invited to apply as:


  • Individuals looking to build their own team or
  • Individuals on behalf of their team 

Successful applicants will be awarded a £5,000 budget to allocate as they choose throughout the competition. At the showcase event in September 2016, selected teams will be invited to pitch for follow-on funding of up to £25k from the UK Games Fund to commercialise their game and launch a company.


“I’m delighted to have realised a long-time ambition of joining up early-stage talent recognition and showcasing with prototype funding” says Paul Durrant, pioneer and veteran of previously successful schemes in talent and funding “The way in which Tranzfuser will become a fresh talent pipeline for the UK Games Fund is a real first. Tranzfuser teams that win our funding will become the top tips for future success.”

 To find out more information or to apply visit the Tranzfuser website

Misc. News

Uk Games Fund Briefing

Northern Ireland Screen will be hosting a briefing with Mike from UK Games Talent and Finance CIC (UKGTF) to discuss the UK Games Talent programme and the UK Games Fund on Thursday 24 March from 6:30pm to 8:30pm in The Mac, Belfast.   

UKGTF is a newly established community interest company that has been established to help develop the UK games development sector, particularly at the early stage. 

The UK Games Fund will provide grants up to £25,000 to help new games development businesses create working prototype games. 

Who should attend? 

Game development or animation students in their final year or who have recently graduated (up to two years) that are considering starting their own projects.  

Game producers, studio heads and developers that are thinking of applying to the UK Games Fund. 

Register via the Eventbrite link below or by visiting the Eventbrite page. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis, please register early to avoid disappointment. 

For any further information please contact

Misc. News

ConceptNI game development seminar in Belfast

Northern Ireland Screen is hosting ConceptNI, a seminar that will shine a light on the creative and business aspects of game proposals, how developers and publishers evaluate early stage game concepts and how to make use of available platforms and services. The seminar will take place on Friday, 26th February, from 2pm to 6pm in The Factory at The Mac, Belfast.

We have a great list of speakers lined up who will be covering a wide range of topics.

Sessions will include:

1:30pm – 2:00pm – Registration, networking & refreshments

2:00pm – 3:00pm – Barry Meade – Fireproof games

3:00pm – 3:30pm – Colin Macdonald – All 4 Games

3:30pm – 3:45pm – Break

3:45pm – 4:15pm – Jamie O’ Flanagan – Gamesparks

4:15pm – 5:30pm – Working with Unity and Windows (speaker tbc)

Details subject to change.

Who should attend?

Game producers, studio heads and developers looking to take their content to market to find partners and promote their projects.

Students studying game development or animation may also find these sessions useful.

Secure your place now via Eventbrite (see below). Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis, please RSVP early to avoid disappointment. Register now to secure your place.

Please let us know if you have any access or communication needs prior to attending this event and we will be happy to consider any reasonable adjustments that we can make to assist you.

For further information please contact

Developer News

Five developers chosen for Greenshoots NI

Northern Ireland Screen and Microsoft Ireland were happy to announce this week that that five companies have been chosen to take part in the Greenshoots NI scheme.

Greenshoots NI is a programme jointly developed by Northern Ireland Screen and Microsoft to support early stage start up game studios. Game studios will receive financial support of £20,000 and technical help from Microsoft to develop new and exciting game titles for Microsoft and Xbox One, Windows PC and Mobile Platforms.

The five companies were chosen after pitching their ideas to panel of industry professionals. The five projects selected are:

Block ‘N Load – Billy Goat Entertainment 

Block ‘n Load is a shared screen, local multiplayer party game where players assume the role of robot gunslingers in a sci-fi take on the American Old West. The aim of the game is to eliminate opposing players, the last robot cowboy standing wins.

Beat Bugz – Boom Clap Games 

Beat Bugs is a music based game for mobile devices in which you have to protect your drums from pesky bugs that keep infecting your rhythms. 

Safari Slides – Blackstaff Games 

Safari Slides is a themed variation on the classic puzzle game ‘Pipes’ using a hexagon based system with the integration of new mechanics and level based progression. A modern re-imagining of a classic, Safari Slides is a fresh take on an old concept.

Slidecast – Coffeebox Games 

Slidecast follows a wizard escaping from a disaster that he himself caused. The player will manipulate the environment around the wizard across a series of levels and tile sets using simple rhythmic touch controls.

SoMe – AppAttic 

SoMe, is a mobile and desktop game that visualises a user’s social media most frequently used words. It highlights frequency with size and sentiment (positive, neutral and negative) through colours. The aim is to give the player insight into their current mental wellbeing whilst encouraging them to engage with it by using their words to play the SoMe game.

The player must get their character from one side of their most frequently used word to the other. The problem is that their character cannot jump/climb the letters. Therefore the player must use their other words to build bridges across to the other side. Negative words will make it difficult and positive words will help. The user can share their word cloud and resulting level with friends online.

Donal Phillips, Northern Ireland Screen’s Digital executive said “We are delighted that Northern Ireland Screen’s partnership with Microsoft Ireland means that five local game studios have the opportunity to develop their own games. The five companies pitched their games to a panel of industry professionals and displayed a high level of ability and creativity. This is positive step to creating a sustainable games industry in Northern Ireland and we look forward to seeing the studios’ completed games.”

Michael Meagher, Partner Business Evangelist, Microsoft Ireland, said “Microsoft is delighted to support this great initiative through mentorship and access to our BizSpark program tailor made for startups. We’re looking forward to seeing these games both in the Windows Store and on the Xbox in 2016.”

All games will be released Spring this year

Developer News

Blackstaff Games release DogBiscuit on iOS

Follow DogBiscuit on his first adventure through the land of Crayons!

Following the adventures of the cute and friendly protagonist, DogBiscuit: a drawing adventure is a creative drawing exploration game aimed at a younger audience.

As the player you are the creator of the world in which DogBiscuit, RichTea and ChocolateNibble have their adventures. Throughout their outings to picnics at the beach, or meeting aliens in space, they make friends with a tribe of crayons, unlocking new colours and tools to change the environment and progress through in the game.

DogBiscuit is a great game for the entire family! The user interface is intuitive and objects can be drawn very simply or in greater detail, depending on the player’s age. Unobtrusive music and lovingly designed animations round off the experience and turn it into a pleasant trip into the world of drawing.

You can download DogBiscuit now from the App Store, and on the Google Play Store.

DogBiscuit has been developed by Blackstaff Games with funding from Northern Ireland Screen supported by Invest NI and published by Tivola Publishing.

Developer News

Outsider Games launches its Steam Greenlight campaign for Wailing Heights

Outsider Games launches its Steam Greenlight campaign with a new coffin-rocking trailer for Wailing Heights; A body-hopping, musical adventure game, set in with a horrific hamlet of modern monsters.

After a booking mix-up, Frances Finklestein, former manager of The Deadbeats (the greatest 60s rock and roll band in the world), finds himself imprisoned in Wailing Heights; home to the likes of vegan werewolves, hipster vampires, Motown zombies, gossiping ghosts and all manner of well-adjusted supernatural taxpaying homeowners.

A mysterious cellmate teaches Finklestein to “body¬-hop”, leaving his corpse behind in the holding cell and jumping from ghost to vampire to werewolf to zombie. Each creature’s skills and abilities give him access to places no human should ever set foot, while bringing him one step closer to getting his own body out of lockup and getting the hell out of the Heights. But of course, it’s never that easy…

Wailing heights features a story by Kevin Beimers (Hector: Badge of Carnage, Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark), comicbook-style visuals and an original, eclectic soundtrack from Motown Zombies, Hipster Vampires, Barbershop Ghosts and Irish-folk playing Werewolves. 

Wailing Heights received funding from the Northern Ireland Screen Fund supported by Invest NI and is due for release on PC, Mac and Linux early 2016. For more information, screenshots and production blog, visit

Misc. News

Microsoft and NI Screen launch Greenshoots Northern ireland programme

Northern Ireland Screen has today announced that it is partnering with Microsoft to deliver the Greenshoots Northern Ireland (NI) programme; a funding and technical support initiative for early stage start up game studios.

Greenshoots NI offers financial support of £20,000 each for 5 companies, to develop a game title for release on Xbox One, Windows PC and mobile platforms. With Lottery funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through Northern Ireland Screen, Greenshoots NI is open to all Limited companies based in Northern Ireland.

The Greenshoots NI programme will include a package of technical support and business expertise from Microsoft, Northern Ireland Screen and other industry partners which aims to support studios to develop new intellectual property (IP), reach a global audience and explore further export market opportunities. 

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said; “Working with Microsoft to bring Greenshoots to Northern Ireland is a great way for us to work directly with industry to help our local game developers reach their commercial and creative potential. Digital content is highlighted as a key priority in our latest strategy and we are committed to supporting the sector with funding and expertise, in order to create an ecosystem where the most innovative companies can flourish.” 

Michael Meagher, Partner Business Evangelist, Microsoft Ireland, said “Microsoft is delighted to support this great initiative. There is great talent and innovation in Northern Ireland and we are confident that the Greenshoots programme will help to foster and further encourage this talent. Gaming allows great creativity and we look forward to seeing the response to this great programme.”

Those interested in applying for the Greenshoots programme should visit the Northern Ireland Screen website

Developer News

Billy Goat Entertainment nominated for two awards

Northern Ireland created adventure game Her Majesty’s SPIFFING (HM SPIFFING) has received two nominations, for Best Story and People’s Choice award, at the Games Connection Development Awards in Paris.

HM SPIFFING was created by Northern Ireland based game developer Billy Goat Entertainment who received funding from the Northern Ireland Screen Fund supported by Invest NI.

HM SPIFFING is a jovial, quintessentially British adventure that sees you assume the role of distinguished veteran and gentleman Captain Frank Lee English, as part of the Special Planetary Investigative Force For Inhabiting New Galaxies (SPIFFING), as you venture through the cosmos to claim a new, Galactic British Empire. Along the way you’ll stumble upon other individuals with their own intergalactic aspirations. Some hostile, some friendly, some despairingly indifferent.

The Best Story category is decided by a panel of industry professionals, however, the People’s Choice awards allows the public to decide who should win the award. People can vote for the game they like the most on the Games Connection Facebook page by liking the post linked to the game they want to win. YOU can vote for HM SPIFFING hereVoting deadline is October 28th 11.00am.

Education News

Innovative Game Development Academy launched

Department for Employment and Learning Deputy Secretary, Catherine Bell, today launched the first Game Development Academy at Parliament Buildings.

The Academy aims to provide 16 talented individuals with the skills and experience required to take up exciting new opportunities in the game development industry, which is a growing sector in Northern Ireland.

Mrs Bell said: “The IT industry and specifically the game development sector has shown significant growth here in recent years. There is now a need for additional skilled people to enter the industry and the Game Development Academy will provide the skills required to allow people to gain opportunities in local companies.

“Delivered through my Department’s Assured Skills initiative, this Academy proves that Government, the private sector and our further education colleges can respond quickly to industry needs by designing a bespoke programme to meet the skills need of the sector. This in turn will help to grow our local economy.”ric

Targeting talented creative individuals, the Academy will offer an intensive 16-week training programme including a company placement. Successful participants will gain an industry recognised qualifications and NI Screen, through the Aim High: Gaming scheme, funded by Invest NI, will offer a 12 month game development industry placement for up to six participants on the Academy programme.

Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest Northern Ireland added: “I am delighted to be here today to launch Northern Ireland’s first ever Game Development Academy. 

“Gaming is an emerging industry here in Northern Ireland and is worth an estimated £6bn across the UK. Invest NI is supporting many local companies in this area through programmes such as Propel and through our support of Northern Ireland Screen.

“The Game Development Academy, supported by Invest Northern Ireland will build on this momentum, and help shape the growth of the games industry here. It will provide the opportunity for local talent to develop the creative skills to help them take advantage of the opportunities in one of the world’s fastest growing industries.”

The Academy has been designed by Northern Ireland’s game development companies with support from the Department for Employment and Learning, Invest NI, NI Screen and NRC, in conjunction with South West College and Southern Regional College.

Applications to the Game Development Academy will close on Friday 2 October 2015 at 4pm and the training programme for successful applicants will start on 2 November 2015 at Northern Regional College (NRC), Newtownabbey campus. Applications can now be submitted online at:

More information is available at: