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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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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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Developer News Industry News

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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Industry News

Claire Wilgar on Global Game Jam Committee 2018

Locally renowned web dev and community manager at Hackerspace Farset Labs, Claire Wilgar is known by most of the Northern Irish community as one of the lead organisers of the Global Game Jam in Belfast. On the up and coming jam however, Claire has taken it a step further, and will be involved with the organising of the global event as one of the committee members spear heading the jams world wide. 

We’d like to both thank Claire for all her hard work organising the Global Game Jam every year, and wish her luck/congratulate her on becoming part of the steering committee. We all look forward to what the next jam brings.

You can find more information at their announcement page.

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Industry News

GamesAid – Please Vote NOW for NI Child Brain Injury Trust

You may have heard of GamesAid, a collective for charitable activity on behalf of the games industry, taking advice from all sectors. Local Northern Irish charity Child Brain injury Trust have been nominated and are seeking local industry support to help them secure their nomination as one of this years sponsored GamesAid charities.

By voting for the Child Brain Injury Trust in this year’s GamesAid charity nomination, you will transform the lives of hundreds of children and their families, many of which are based right here in Northern Ireland.  They are a small UK charity with an office in Carryduff and your vote could make all the difference to them and the hundreds of children they support. 

In order to secure their nomination, they need as many people associated within the UK gaming industry as possible to vote for them.

HOW TO VOTE

If you are an Existing Member of GamesAid

– Check your Email Inbox for the GamesAid Poll Card.
– Select the link and vote for The Child Brain Injury Trust.

If you are not an existing Member of GamesAid

– Register FREE at http://www.gamesaid.org/join-us/registration/
– Check your Email Inbox for the GamesAid Poll Card
– Select the link and vote for The Child Brain Injury Trust

A word from Child Brain Injury Trust – Why Vote For Us:

‘When brain injury strikes, we provide long term emotional and practical support for children and their families. We are the only charity to look after the needs of the whole family, helping them to come to terms with the lifelong impact of a child’s brain injury.

“Melissa suffered severe brain injury and lost the ability to walk and talk. She took her first steps and spoke her first words again at the age of 8”.’

Voting will run from the 16th of August to the 6th of September.

This is the first time a Northern Irish charity has been entered into GamesAid and it would be fantastic to get as much support as possible. Thanks to everyone who votes!

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Industry News

No Piknik selected for Tranzfuser 2017

Northern Ireland games developer No Piknik is among the Twenty-three teams of graduates from across the UK are today celebrating success after being selected to take part in Tranzfuser™ 2017.

Tranzfuser is funded by UK Government and organised by UK Games Talent and Finance CIC (UKGTF). Now in its second year, the games design competition runs for 3 months. Each team will be awarded £5,000 to support them as they turn concepts into prototypes ready for further professional development.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for the Creative Industries said: “The UK’s creative industries are one of our biggest success stories and a big part of that is our leadership in video game production. Now we need to nurture the next generation of talent, and the Government’s UK Games Fund and Tranzfuser have been set up to do exactly this. I wish all the entrants good luck in the competition and look forward to seeing the prototypes as they develop.”

All of the 2017 selected teams are meeting for the first time today in Manchester for the TALK Tranzfuser event; a jam-packed day of practice pitching sessions and expert advice.

The hard work will culminate in September when the teams journey to EGX 2017, the UK’s biggest consumer games event which will take place at Birmingham NEC where the teams will showcase their work. The contestants will pitch their prototypes to a panel of games industry experts for the opportunity to receive a grant of up to £25,000 from the UK Games Fund (also operated by UKGTF).

Today, UKGTF also announced the network of UK-wide local hubs which will support the individual teams throughout their Tranzfuser journey.

Deborah Farley, Head of Talent and Outreachsaid: “The quality of the applications to Tranzfuser 2017 was very high across the board. This made the judging process for our external reviewers no easy task. However, after much

For a full list of team selected please visit the Transfuser website.

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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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Industry News

Testify featured on Radio Ulster

Ahead of StartPlanetNI 2017 Demo Day – Testify founder Adrian Campbell speaks with Sara Neill from BBC Radio Ulster about his gaming industry startup and the Accelerator programme which has helped. Click here to listen to the programme.