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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

Categories
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. 

Categories
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.

Categories
Education News

Monster Confidence with Stemettes

A few weeks ago, GamesNI got the chance to exhibit at a Stemettes event called Monster Confidence. Stemettes is an organisation that encourages young women into STEM fields, and Monster sponsor them to take their show on the road UK wide.

GamesNI reps arrived at 8am that day and set up several machines showing off what Northern Ireland has produced in the past few years, including a VR headset kindly lent to us by Enter Yes. It was a productive day of explaining to girls ages 14 to 20 the options available to them in video game development in Northern Ireland. 

The day itself contained multiple workshops, speed dating with specialists as well as talks from industry leaders in Northern Ireland. It was incredibly inspiring to see female leaders in the tech industry talk about what it’s been like for them working in STEM fields, including our very own Gareth Grey (honorary lady?) who took part in a panel at the end of the day. 

It was an honor for GamesNI to be able to participate in such an event and we hope to conduct many more like it in the future. 

Categories
Developer News Industry News

Italic Pig Nominated for 5 Games Connection Development Awards

Northern Ireland game development studio Italic Pig have been nominated for five awards at Game Connection’s 2016 Development Awards for its latest project Mona Lisa. The award ceremony will take place during this year’s conference in in Paris from October 26th – 28th.

Mona Lisa, created by Italic Pig’s Kevin Beimers, is a stealth & forgery adventure that sees Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous creation brought to life as Renaissance Italy’s greatest art thief. The project received funding from Northern Ireland Screen via Invest NI.

Having picked up a number of awards and nominations for his last production Schrödinger’s Cat And The Raiders Of The Lost Quark, including Best Game Script nominations from both Writers’ Guilds of Great Britain and Ireland, Kevin continues to push the company’s impressive storytelling record by securing Mona Lisa nominations for Best Casual Game, Best Story/Storytelling, Most Creative/Original Game, Best Quality of Art and Best Indie Game. Italic Pig is the only member of the UK games industry to receive nominations at the event.

“The Game Connection Development Awards program is designed to shed light on the most innovative and creative projects that we can find and offers additional exposure to those developers who are constantly pushing the industry forward,” said Pierre Carde, CEO of Game Connection. “We are very excited for the Game Connection Development Awards to spotlight and award more projects than ever and we look forward to seeing what the newest crop of nominees will bring.”

Mona Lisa’s game concept pitch was a recipient of a prestigious development award from Creative Europe’s MEDIA sub-programme, which, along with support from Northern Ireland Screen, has been used to fund the development process over the last year, utilising local homegrown talent to create a game with huge international appeal, whilst also helping to bolster the burgeoning games industry in the country.

The ambitious game sees you playing as Mona Lisa, a Renaissance robot of Da Vinci’s own design and a graceful and gadget-filled marvel of engineering perfection. When Mona is not busy breaking into 15th century strongholds and forging some of the greatest works of art that mankind has ever created, she is exploring the streets of Italy trying to solve a mystery that even Robert Langdon would struggle to make sense of.

“It’s an over the top mash-up of Dan Brown, Terry Pratchett and ‘springpunk’” describes Kevin Beimers, Mona Lisa creator, “Mona herself is a charming mix of Lara Croft and Inspector Gadget, clad in a modest floor-length dress. Leonardo, on the other hand, falls somewhere between Doc Brown and Peter Capaldi – amazed not so much by his own genius as by other’s stupidity. They make a great team to write for.”

The writer, director, programmer, artist and animator will attend the awards and the conference at the end of October hoping to not only secure more kudos for his company but also with a view to attracting further interest in Mona Lisa and exploring potential opportunities with publishers and distributors. Whilst the game will not be officially launched until 2017, Kevin will be showcasing exclusive first-look content from the game at the conference. For those familiar with the high-quality, narrative-driven games that he has been involved with in the past, Mona Lisa is sure to thrill.

For a full list of nominations visit the Game Connection website.

View the trailer for Mona Lisa below. 

Categories
Industry News

Northern Ireland Screen’s Adding Value Report

Northern Ireland Screen has published the second edition of its Adding Value Report, a celebration of the spectacular range of opportunities, jobs and experiences pursued within and supported by the screen industry in Northern Ireland.

Covering the period from September 2013 to June 2016 the report offers an insight into what growing the screen industry in Northern Ireland really means for the broad range of individuals involved.

Whilst covering multiple screen industries, the report covers Gaming and mobile, which has stepped up in Northern Ireland since the previous report with a growing cluster of local companies now involved in digital and interactive content. Among the recent achievements, Northern Ireland Screen launched Greenshoots NI in partnership with Microsoft, a funding and technical support initiative for early stage start up game studios. We’ve seen Northern Ireland becoming home to the team Of Kings of Men, and the establishing of many new companies province wide.

The report also gives a glimpse into the future of the screen industries as it highlights some of the many talented trainees taking their first step, be it on the Aim High development programme or through the DEL Animation and Gaming Development Academies. These trainee development schemes aim to equip people with the skills and experience required to take up new opportunities, as well as address the needs of our local screen industries.

 

 

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said; “We cannot believe it has been almost three years since our last Adding Value Report in 2013. So much has happened in that time which Northern Ireland can be proud of, it has been a great period for the screen industries here, with lots more exciting projects in the pipeline.

“We hope readers will enjoy learning about the companies and individuals that work in the screen industries here and feel the same pride that we do at what they have achieved not just locally but nationally and internationally.

“These are exciting times and we are very conscious that this is the result of tremendous support given to the screen sector here by Invest Northern Ireland, the Department for the Economy, the Department for Communities, the British Film Institute and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. ”

To view the Adding Value Report please click here.

If you would like a printed copy of the Adding Value Report please email info@northernirelandscreen.co.uk

Categories
Education News

Gaming Aim High Diaries #3

 Image courtesy of IFB2016 
Image courtesy of IFB2016 

Continuing our Gaming Aim High series, Mark Skelton talks about the group visiting Liverpool with Northern Ireland Screen for the International Festival for Business.

After a successful trip to Amsterdam for the Unite Europe 2016 Unity training day it was safe to say that the Aim High crew were very much looking forward to our latest excursion to Liverpool.

Joined by Paula Campbell and Donal Phillips of NI Screen, we caught a flight from Belfast City Airport at 7:10am (we were all fresh as daises!). We arrived at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool at Kings Dock for UK Trade & Investment at the International Festival for Business 2016 for registration at 10am. The talks were scheduled to begin at 11am, which gave us time to get our bearings and explore some of the exhibits that IFB2016 had to offer.

There was a smorgasbord of genres on show, including a VR arcade experience, a word based platformer, a community driven football manager game and an outer-space based racing game. We all got to talk with the creators of each game to gain an insight into their backgrounds, development stories, experience with the business of games and have a general chit chat.

 Gaming Aim high team arriving in Liverpool
Gaming Aim high team arriving in Liverpool

The event kicked off with a welcoming message from Tony Hughes of UKTI followed by keynotes, most notably from Peter Moore of Electronic Arts. It was especially interesting to hear Peter’s viewpoints on future opportunities for business with the European gaming industry following the recent result of the EU referendum. We then had a quick coffee break at noon to recharge the batteries and network other attendees of IFB2016.

The afternoon session saw us receive talks from leading players and investors from three major international games markets; the USA, China and Korea. Much was learned from these presentations, such as localisation challenges faced when entering Korean and Chinese gaming markets, the huge scale of popularity for mobile games in these markets and the many similarities between the UK and USA gaming industries. From 3:30 – 5:30pm we partook in break-out sessions with experts from the overseas markets. We were split into groups for each international games market. Those of us in the USA group were able to directly ask questions to intelligent and captivating figures such as Peter Moore, William Hummel and Fred Schmidt. Topics of discussion included investment, pricing strategies and funding models and we were able to hear brilliant viewpoints from such experienced heads of the gaming industry.

The day was rounded off with a final networking session from 5:30 – 7:00pm, giving us a chance to further discuss what we had learnt throughout and gain potentially important connections for the future. All in all the trip was a huge success and I can safely say that we are all thoroughly looking forward to Aim High’s next adventure!

 

 

 Mark Skelton is currently working at Enter Yes on the Aim High Gaming scheme.
Mark Skelton is currently working at Enter Yes on the Aim High Gaming scheme.

 

Categories
Industry News

Q&A with Enter Yes™

In a new series of interviews with local Northern Irish developers, we met with Ross from Enter Yes™.

Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about who you are and what you do?

I’m Producer at Enter Yes™, a BAFTA and Emmy award-winning studio based out of Belfast. My background is writing, mostly short stories and poetry. I was Short Story Editor of a publication called GetBack in Liverpool before moving back home to Belfast to concentrate on my own writing. I did some Script Editing for Kris and the gang here when they just started out and was delighted when he offered me a Production Coordinator role in late 2014. Since then things have just gone from strength to strength.

How was Enter Yes started and how did you get into games?

Enter Yes™ was started by Kris Kelly, a BAFTA nominated director. He was the founder of the hugely popular Blacknorth Studio and with this new venture he wanted something more mature and positive in contrast to the derisive Blacknorth. Enter Yes™ offers an open and confident studio who can cater for both regional and international clients alike.

We’re greenhorns in the Gaming community and Beyond Hirieth is our first IP. We completed a project for BBC called Ghosts of Thiepval, a VR experience which took the user through the first moments of the Battle of the Somme. We went out and scanned the trenches at Thiepval so we could create an authentic 3D version before we used the voices of some of the men who fought and survived that battle. As you walk through and hear them speak about how calm yet petrified they were, it gives you real goosebumps every time you put it on and go over the top. This just whetted our appetites to create our own stories within VR and it’s kind of just snowballed from there.

Who’s on the team?

Kris is the Managing Director whilst also coming up with a lot of the IP conceptions. Tom Getty is our Creative Director. He’s a talented young animator out of Co. Down who has a real bright future in this industry.  Vicki Rock is Line Producer on a number of international projects, not least Kings of Sumava, the HBO animated documentary Kris is directing. She has a background in marketing and has worked with huge clients of the ilk of Guinness and Vodafone. We also have a vast pool of freelancers we use when big projects come in. I’d also like to mention the UofU placement students who come in to us every year. They just seem to get better and better year on year and that’s a huge credit to Conann, Greg, Alec et al. Most recently, we had Hannah Turkington and Scott Gill. They made such a huge impression on us with their hard-working and passionate attitudes towards the studio not to mention their extreme talent. We’ll be excited to see them again after they graduate. 

Some companies work in an office, some work remotely – what works best for your team and why?

Definitely within the same studio. I understand that it’s impossible for some companies to have studio space but, in my personal opinion, the money those companies are saving is probably being spent on the length of time the project takes to complete. Having everyone in the same room is vitally important for ensuring the pipeline flows as it should and also is where our best ideas come from, the creativity just bounces off one and other.

Can you tell us anything about your up coming game Beyond Hirieth?

Okay, it’s billed as Starfox (gameplay) meets R-Type (aesthetic) meets the Jonathan Glazer film Under The Skin (narrative and aesthetic). It’s a VR railshooter being developed on Oculus but will be platform agnostic and isn’t necessarily VR only. It’s unusual for a rail-shooter to have a dense narrative and that is where we excel. It follows Marta, a loner after her family disappear in a Solar Flare who is approached by The Teacher. He promises to reunite her with her family in her most treasured memory – but she must sacrifice herself for his cause. It asks the question of why anyone would give up their own lives for a cult or belief system. Kind of challenging the faith (with a lower-case ‘f’) people put into things. We had some great meetings in Gamescom this year – and even came away with a Vive Dev Kit… score! 

And finally – what are your top 5 games?

Me personally? You might be disappointed:

  • 1. The FIFA series (sorry).
  • 2. Sonic the Hedgehog
  • 3. R-Type
  • 4. Tenchu
  • 5. Strest of Rage

You can keep up to date with Enter Yes™ on:

Twitter
Facebook
Official Website

Categories
Industry News

Q&A with Enter Yes™

In a new series of interviews with local Northern Irish developers, we met with Ross from Enter Yes™.

Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about who you are and what you do?

I’m Producer at Enter Yes™, a BAFTA and Emmy award-winning studio based out of Belfast. My background is writing, mostly short stories and poetry. I was Short Story Editor of a publication called GetBack in Liverpool before moving back home to Belfast to concentrate on my own writing. I did some Script Editing for Kris and the gang here when they just started out and was delighted when he offered me a Production Coordinator role in late 2014. Since then things have just gone from strength to strength.

How was Enter Yes started and how did you get into games?

Enter Yes™ was started by Kris Kelly, a BAFTA nominated director. He was the founder of the hugely popular Blacknorth Studio and with this new venture he wanted something more mature and positive in contrast to the derisive Blacknorth. Enter Yes™ offers an open and confident studio who can cater for both regional and international clients alike.

We’re greenhorns in the Gaming community and Beyond Hirieth is our first IP. We completed a project for BBC called Ghosts of Thiepval, a VR experience which took the user through the first moments of the Battle of the Somme. We went out and scanned the trenches at Thiepval so we could create an authentic 3D version before we used the voices of some of the men who fought and survived that battle. As you walk through and hear them speak about how calm yet petrified they were, it gives you real goosebumps every time you put it on and go over the top. This just whetted our appetites to create our own stories within VR and it’s kind of just snowballed from there.

Who’s on the team?

Kris is the Managing Director whilst also coming up with a lot of the IP conceptions. Tom Getty is our Creative Director. He’s a talented young animator out of Co. Down who has a real bright future in this industry.  Vicki Rock is Line Producer on a number of international projects, not least Kings of Sumava, the HBO animated documentary Kris is directing. She has a background in marketing and has worked with huge clients of the ilk of Guinness and Vodafone. We also have a vast pool of freelancers we use when big projects come in. I’d also like to mention the UofU placement students who come in to us every year. They just seem to get better and better year on year and that’s a huge credit to Conann, Greg, Alec et al. Most recently, we had Hannah Turkington and Scott Gill. They made such a huge impression on us with their hard-working and passionate attitudes towards the studio not to mention their extreme talent. We’ll be excited to see them again after they graduate. 

Some companies work in an office, some work remotely – what works best for your team and why?

Definitely within the same studio. I understand that it’s impossible for some companies to have studio space but, in my personal opinion, the money those companies are saving is probably being spent on the length of time the project takes to complete. Having everyone in the same room is vitally important for ensuring the pipeline flows as it should and also is where our best ideas come from, the creativity just bounces off one and other.

Can you tell us anything about your up coming game Beyond Hirieth?

Okay, it’s billed as Starfox (gameplay) meets R-Type (aesthetic) meets the Jonathan Glazer film Under The Skin (narrative and aesthetic). It’s a VR railshooter being developed on Oculus but will be platform agnostic and isn’t necessarily VR only. It’s unusual for a rail-shooter to have a dense narrative and that is where we excel. It follows Marta, a loner after her family disappear in a Solar Flare who is approached by The Teacher. He promises to reunite her with her family in her most treasured memory – but she must sacrifice herself for his cause. It asks the question of why anyone would give up their own lives for a cult or belief system. Kind of challenging the faith (with a lower-case ‘f’) people put into things. We had some great meetings in Gamescom this year – and even came away with a Vive Dev Kit… score! 

And finally – what are your top 5 games?

Me personally? You might be disappointed:

  • 1. The FIFA series (sorry).
  • 2. Sonic the Hedgehog
  • 3. R-Type
  • 4. Tenchu
  • 5. Strest of Rage

You can keep up to date with Enter Yes™ on:

Twitter
Facebook
Official Website

Categories
Industry News

Q&A with Enter Yes™

In a new series of interviews with local Northern Irish developers, we met with Ross from Enter Yes™.

Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about who you are and what you do?

I’m Producer at Enter Yes™, a BAFTA and Emmy award-winning studio based out of Belfast. My background is writing, mostly short stories and poetry. I was Short Story Editor of a publication called GetBack in Liverpool before moving back home to Belfast to concentrate on my own writing. I did some Script Editing for Kris and the gang here when they just started out and was delighted when he offered me a Production Coordinator role in late 2014. Since then things have just gone from strength to strength.

How was Enter Yes started and how did you get into games?

Enter Yes™ was started by Kris Kelly, a BAFTA nominated director. He was the founder of the hugely popular Blacknorth Studio and with this new venture he wanted something more mature and positive in contrast to the derisive Blacknorth. Enter Yes™ offers an open and confident studio who can cater for both regional and international clients alike.

We’re greenhorns in the Gaming community and Beyond Hirieth is our first IP. We completed a project for BBC called Ghosts of Thiepval, a VR experience which took the user through the first moments of the Battle of the Somme. We went out and scanned the trenches at Thiepval so we could create an authentic 3D version before we used the voices of some of the men who fought and survived that battle. As you walk through and hear them speak about how calm yet petrified they were, it gives you real goosebumps every time you put it on and go over the top. This just whetted our appetites to create our own stories within VR and it’s kind of just snowballed from there.

Who’s on the team?

Kris is the Managing Director whilst also coming up with a lot of the IP conceptions. Tom Getty is our Creative Director. He’s a talented young animator out of Co. Down who has a real bright future in this industry.  Vicki Rock is Line Producer on a number of international projects, not least Kings of Sumava, the HBO animated documentary Kris is directing. She has a background in marketing and has worked with huge clients of the ilk of Guinness and Vodafone. We also have a vast pool of freelancers we use when big projects come in. I’d also like to mention the UofU placement students who come in to us every year. They just seem to get better and better year on year and that’s a huge credit to Conann, Greg, Alec et al. Most recently, we had Hannah Turkington and Scott Gill. They made such a huge impression on us with their hard-working and passionate attitudes towards the studio not to mention their extreme talent. We’ll be excited to see them again after they graduate. 

Some companies work in an office, some work remotely – what works best for your team and why?

Definitely within the same studio. I understand that it’s impossible for some companies to have studio space but, in my personal opinion, the money those companies are saving is probably being spent on the length of time the project takes to complete. Having everyone in the same room is vitally important for ensuring the pipeline flows as it should and also is where our best ideas come from, the creativity just bounces off one and other.

Can you tell us anything about your up coming game Beyond Hirieth?

Okay, it’s billed as Starfox (gameplay) meets R-Type (aesthetic) meets the Jonathan Glazer film Under The Skin (narrative and aesthetic). It’s a VR railshooter being developed on Oculus but will be platform agnostic and isn’t necessarily VR only. It’s unusual for a rail-shooter to have a dense narrative and that is where we excel. It follows Marta, a loner after her family disappear in a Solar Flare who is approached by The Teacher. He promises to reunite her with her family in her most treasured memory – but she must sacrifice herself for his cause. It asks the question of why anyone would give up their own lives for a cult or belief system. Kind of challenging the faith (with a lower-case ‘f’) people put into things. We had some great meetings in Gamescom this year – and even came away with a Vive Dev Kit… score! 

And finally – what are your top 5 games?

Me personally? You might be disappointed:

  • 1. The FIFA series (sorry).
  • 2. Sonic the Hedgehog
  • 3. R-Type
  • 4. Tenchu
  • 5. Strest of Rage

You can keep up to date with Enter Yes™ on:

Twitter
Facebook
Official Website