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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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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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Local developer Italic Pig successfully gain CE funding for 2nd time

Italic Pig have proudly announced that they have received a grant from Creative Europe for the second time to develop a brand new adventure. Not much is yet known about the new project other than it will be based in Virtual Reality.

This is a massive success for the company, that successfully secured Creative Europe funding in 2015 for their soon to be released title ‘Mona Lisa’. 

Production is set to start on their next title come 2018. Read more on the Creative Europe website.

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Italic Pig Paints Mona Lisa all over Global Game Conference

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Mona Lisa, the mischievous art heist and forgery game in development by Northern Irish game developer Italic Pig, has been selected as the 2017 Branding Sponsor of Casual Connect USA.   

Casual Connect USA is a world class event with a focus on matching the creativity of the games industry with new media innovation and investment to find the next big thing. At each of Casual Connect’s four yearly events, an independent games company with a unique product and art style is chosen to fully brand the event. This year, they’ve chosen Mona Lisa.

The opportunity means that attendees to Casual Connect will be getting a taste of Mona Lisa’s unique art style on the event programme, badges, signage, social media and more.  Italic Pig’s quirky characters, peculiar scenery and slapdash forgery artwork will emblazon the event, and introduce tens of thousands of people to both the game and the indie studio for the first time.  

In addition to this prestigious honour, Mona Lisa has also been selected as an Indie Prize nominee, representing all of the UK as the only game to be nominated. 

“It’s amazing to see how much Mona Lisa’s ‘Arcade Art’ has drawn acclaim during its development,” says Kevin Beimers, Italic Pig’s Director and creator of the Mona Lisa property. “I imagine it’s similar to what the creators of Guitar Hero or Dance Dance Revolution must have felt in their early days.”

Mona Lisa is an artistic new heist and forgery adventure for mobiles and tablets. The player takes on the role of the mysterious Mona Lisa, Renaissance Italy’s greatest art thief. Mona sneaks into the studios of the other great masters of the 16th century using Leonardo’s arsenal of gadgetry, locating precious works of art, and swapping them out with slapdash forgeries created by the player during the robbery in under two minutes.

Mona Lisa’s hook is its speed-painting engine, which, in Kevin’s words: “offers the player the satisfaction of creating something beautiful in minutes, without silly things like lack of talent getting in the way.”

This isn’t the first time that Mona Lisa has punched above her weight and taken home the title.  Recently, Italic Pig Director Kevin Beimers “made history” at PocketGamer Connects London by unanimously winning the Very Big Indie Pitch; never in the seven years the VBIP has been running have all 15 judges agreed on a single clear winner.

In 2015, Mona Lisa was one of only four UK companies to be awarded a sizeable grant from the Creative Europe Media Subprogramme for the development of narrative-led video games. The award was soon after matched by an equally sizeable investment from Northern Ireland Screen.

Italic Pig specialises in character-driven adventures of the irreverently epic variety. Their debut game – Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark – is a quantum physics action-adventure game for Xbox One, PS4 and Steam that has been nominated for several writing and industry awards, including Best Game Script from the Writers’ Guilds of both Great Britain and Ireland. Mona Lisa recently won Best Casual Game at Game Connection Europe, and has since been marked as “one to look out for”.

For more information:

Kevin Beimers

kevin@italicpig.com

www.italicpig.com

@italicpig

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Developer News

Frantic launches on Kickstarter

Frantic has just launched on Kickstarter with a goal of £200. Frantic is a retro themed game which focuses on quick reflexes. Its a mix between the iconic arcade games Pong and Coin dropper. 

You can support the project over on Kickstarter.com

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Developer News

Proceed to hit Kickstarter 28th July

Proceed will be launching it’s Kickstarter on July 28th. There will be a small Demo with a restricted number of planets to test early mechanics for the kickstarter.

This will feature:
New water enemies (procedural fish)
Updates to overhanging procedural terrain.
New deeper caves
New shaders and atmosphere types
More cinematic intro to new planets.
Crashed freighters to explore.
Beginning work on boss type enemies for a the mission generator.

Keep an eye on the Proceed Facebook page for updates.

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Developer News

Defuser released on Google Play

Shallow Sky Studios have released Defuser, their second title for Android (with iOS soon to follow)

In Defuser, you have a device covered in connected nodes. Each node has a number which will count down towards zero every time you tap a node. Tapping a node resets your clock and resets that node to a higher number.

If any node hits zero, it’s game over.

If your timer hits zero, it’s game over.

How long can you defuse?

Features:

– Frantic high-score chasing gameplay
– Special modifier nodes requiring quick thinking and razor-sharp reflexes
– Unlockable skins to customise your defusal

Download now on Google Play. 

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Developer News

Tubocity released on mobile

Whitepot studios have now released their flagship project Tubocity on iOS and Google Play

Get your ship together 🚀 – JUMP and SWIPE through our tube at the speed of light, zooming past obstacles and getting ever closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.

Tubocity is a game that really tests your reflexes – see how far along you can get, and maybe you’ll get the global high score! And of course maybe buy a ship or two, or click on an ad or three 😜

Features:
– A selection of awesome music that builds up as you make it further along the tube
– Apple Game Center/Google Play and Facebook scoreboards – try and beat your friends!
– Cool ship designs to choose from
– Apple Game Center/Google Play achievements
– Short tutorial to help you get your ship together
– Easy touch controls which can be changed in settings for the best gameplay experience

You can download the game no on iOS and Google Play.

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Developer News Industry News

App Attic named in Disrupt 100

Northern Ireland app and tech development company App Attic has been named in the Disrupt 100 list for 2017.

Disrupt 100 celebrates the businesses with the most potential to influence, change or create new global markets. The list is compiled and curated by the world’s leading entrepreneurs, investors and business people.

AppAttic uses innovative tech solutions to help improve people’s health. Through apps and games, it collects and validates clinical data derived from mobile devices, and aims to evoke prolonged behavioural change in people with health conditions in order to reduce their costs and improve the quality of their life.

One of its products is a medicines-tracking game for mobile and tablet devices. The app engages users with their medicines schedule – recording their mood and heart rate and any non-adherence and reasoning. It gently nudges users to adhere to their prescribed medicines schedule through game experiences, rewards and competing with their peer-group.

Engaging people in their own medicine routines and getting them to understand what leads them to skip their medicines is becoming a massive part of health education.  AppAttic is providing health engagement and insight in a fun, tactile and innovative way. Its “games” approach means it is especially suitable for children who rely on medicines for their health, but need daily encouragement to take them.

To read the full Disrupt 100 list click here.

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Developer News Industry News

St Patricks day Irish games sale!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the NI Game Dev Community!

In honour of St. Patrick’s Day, many Irish titles are on sale throughout the week from 17% (for March 17th) to 75% off! See the titles and links below for more details! Enjoy! 

Title Developer Publisher Platform Discount
Wailing Heights Outsider Games Outsider Games Steam 30%
Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark Italic Pig Team 17 Steam 75%
Predestination Brain and Nerd Brain and Nerd Steam 25%
Gunman Taco Truck Romero Games Romero Games Steam 17%
Project G Nebula Interactive Nebula Interactive Steam 70%
Bard to the Future Battleboard Games Battleboard Games Steam 17%
Curtain Dreamfeel X Dreamfeel X Itch.io 30%
The Little Acre Pewter Games Curve Digital PS4 50%
Her Majesty’s SPIFFING Billy Goat Entertainment Billy Goat Entertainment Xbox One 25%
Lifespeed Wee Man Studios Wee Man Studios Nintendo 3DS 50%

This promotion comes in partnership with Imirt including games across Ireland and Northern Ireland.