Developer News

Successful Assembler participants announced

Northern Ireland Screen has announced the decision for their Assembler Programme.

The Assembler Programme is aimed at the early stage development of 6 games with the aim of one of the selected projects going into production in 2017-18. Projects will go through 3 stages of development. Publishers and distribution partners will be invited to each stage of the process to select projects that they see potential in and to feedback to developers

The 6 projects selected for the Assembler Programme have been awarded Lottery funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through Northern Ireland Screen.

Dog Gunnit – Toll Inc

Dog Gunnit is a ‘90s style arcade driver and shooter where 2 players take control of a man and his dog in a buddy-cop tale where they must overcome an initial dislike of each other to take out the bad guys.

Terranaughts – Outsider Games

A side-scrolling, turn-based action role playing game set on the planets of Farset 13, the furthest human-colonised solar system, humans walk among an often-dangerous civilisation of dinosaur like alien species. With no plant life to replenish the Oxygen humans consume, it becomes a limited natural resource, and the few human inhabitants of Farset 13 are taxed heavily on the air they breathe, with the threat of armed bounty-hunting tax collectors looming, should they fall into debt. Play as one of these bounty hunters, with an initial goal to combat and capture anyone with tax debt. 

Journey Sauvage – Boom Clap Games & Blackstaff Games

Journey Sauvage is set in a fictional and fantastic galaxy with central characters loosely based on Phileas Fogg and Passepartout’s “Around the World in 80 days.” As the player, it is your task to guide the protagonist and your trusty assistant through a series of planets featuring exotic landscapes, alien civilisations, robots and bandits via an array of intergalactic vehicles.

Juiced – Match Head Games

Juiced is a 3rd person action platformer where players chase and capture fruit and veg creatures, known as “Crops”, in order to make the smoothies. Each crop has their own unique way of moving, and some have special abilities that make them unpredictable when first encountered. Players must learn their behaviour or risk being caught in sticky strawberry jam, burned by citric acid or crushed by a swarm of angry grapes.

Children of Geometry – Enter Yes

Children of Geometry is a story-driven third-person hack-and-slash game set amidst the streets of Carrickmass; an urban wasteland run amok with delinquent hoodies who lurk amongst the digitally augmented nightmares. Micky and his closest friends must make their way through Carrickmass on their journey to Blackspoint – a costal viewpoint – where Micky’s older brother took his own life; but not before leaving a geo-tagged suicide note. The journey to Blackspoint isn’t safe.

How to Kill Monsters – Coffee Box Games

A 2D Strategy role playing game (RPG) where the player fights off monsters with giant mechs. The player commands an isolated society in a post-apocalyptic world of colossal monsters, where they have to balance combat with resource management and faction politics.


Education News

Gaming Aim High Diaries #1

This will be the first in a series of entries following the experiences of trainees on NI Screen’s Aim High Gaming Placement Scheme. First up is David Freebairn.

My background is in STEM subjects, having graduated with an MEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at QUB before obtaining my Ph.D. in Medical Device Design and Engineering last Summer.  That said, I’ve always retained a strong creative streak on the side with Art and Design subjects and a lifelong passion for gaming and the wider entertainment industry.

Initially, I applied for the Department of Education and Learning’s Games Development Academy (GDA) and was selected as one of 16 talented young programmers and artists from a wide range of backgrounds who each shared a common desire – to make video games in Northern Ireland.  I couldn’t pass up such a unique opportunity to learn, network, and develop my skills amongst like-minded creative individuals with similar interests and goals.  Our ultimate goal was to be selected for one of 6 Aim High “Gaming” placements.  Aim High is NI Screen’s flagship training programme designed to grow the film, television and digital content industries (including gaming) in Northern Ireland by funding year-long industry-led placements in conjunction with trips to conventions and training events.

The GDA was an intensive 12-week programme run by the Colleges and local games companies, culminating in a 4-week placement within a company developing their projects.  A combination of lectures, workshops, and practical game development, together with our own experiences and knowledge as gamers ensured we all had a good base of skills to create quality games.  Put simply, the Games Academy has been a great opportunity for individuals like myself to turn my hobby into a career through a mixture of taught-lectures and hands-on, practical experience.

At the Academy, I worked with 3 other talented individuals, Glenn Osborne, Jack Rafferty and Duncan Foreman to develop Elysium, a first-person exploration game made with Unity.  The resultant game and 4-week placement with Iglu Media earned me a spot on Aim High, where I have continued to work with Iglu Media (the first of 3 four-month placements) on their current game, E.1027, releasing on iPad this Summer.  Developing games is the perfect cocktail of both creative and technical disciplines; a place where art and tech meet.  If you’re passionate about games and interested in art, coding, or just creating cool stuff in general, my advice is to download the Unity engine for free, follow some tutorials and start making games today!  

Try Elysium for free on

 David Freebairn is currently working at Iglu Media on the Aim High Gaming scheme.
David Freebairn is currently working at Iglu Media on the Aim High Gaming scheme.
Developer News

Of Kings And Men Early Access

This week, Green Man Gaming Publishing and developer Donkey Crew in conjunction with Northern Ireland Screen, have announced that their new medieval multiplayer action strategy game, Of Kings And Men, is coming to Early Access in August 2016.

Of Kings And Men is developed by Donkey Crew, the team behind the popular “cRPG” modification for the medieval action role-playing game, Mount & Blade: Warband. The developers are now based in Northern Ireland after initially working on the game from different locations around the world. Today, Of Kings And Men is a project funded by Northern Ireland Screen the government-backed lead agency supporting film, television and digital projects.

Of Kings And Men allows you to experience huge, player-driven battles like no other. Engage in massive combat with more than 200 players, capture territories, or practice your fighting skills in competitive matches with intuitive melee combat.

Throughout Early Access, Of Kings And Men will introduce strategic elements, allowing players to conquer and control the land by political, economic or military means. Send armies to protect your cities and invade enemy territories. Lead your troops into decisive orchestrated sieges against player-built fortifications that are fought with hundreds of friends and foes simultaneously. Every victory or defeat shapes history forever.

Key Features in the Early Access launch:

  • Battles. Over 200 players can battle it out in large, skirmish regions
  • Factions. Team up and wage war against enemy kingdoms
  • Skills. Train your character and practice your personal skills
  • Progression. Unlock Swords, Polearms, Spears, Bows, Crossbows, and other authentic 13th Century weapons and armors to customize your look and play style
  • Dynamic Combat. Fight with a fast-paced and intuitive combat system, based on the experience of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) fighters and medieval manuscripts
  • Proprietary Engine. Donkey Crew’s custom engine provides a highly optimized, beautiful experience.

Find out more information over on the Of Kings And Men website.

Developer News Industry News

Tranzfuser teams announced

Tranzfuser™, the innovative new talent development programme from UK Games Talent and Finance CIC (UKGTF) and funded by the UK government, has announced the winning teams taking part in this year’s competition across the UK Regional Hub network.

This is the first time a UK-wide talent programme has been linked directly to a prototype fund allowing new teams to benefit from grants and interaction with a host of other early stage games development companies.

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

Northern Ireland Screen is the Regional Hub for NI and its successful teams are Pandara’s Box and Red Spear.

Successful applicants have been awarded a £5,000 budget paid in stages to replicate the real world for them to allocate to allowable costs throughout the 10-week long competition. At the showcase event later this year, selected teams will be invited to pitch for follow-on funding of up to £25k from the UK Games Fund (also operated by UKGTF) to commercialise their game and launch a company.

Other teams chosen can be found on UK Games Funds website. Find out more about information about Tranzfuser at

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

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.

Developer News

Italic Pig nominated for a Develop Industry Excellence Award

Italic Pig’s Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark has been nominated for a Narrative Design award at the 2015 Develop Industry Excellence Awards. 

Cooked up by the team behind the gritty, grown-up point and click trilogy Hector: Badge of Carnage and featuring the voice talent of the brilliant A.J. LoCascio (known for his role as Marty McFly in Telltale Games’ Back to the Future),Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark is part combat-platformer, part logic-puzzler, part open-world explorer, part character-driven adventure. 

There are 137 companies nominated in this year’s Develop awards, encompassing tools providers, technology and services firms, outsourcers, and specialists in audio, VFX, QA and recruitment – not to mention 71 games studios. 

The finalists hail from all over the UK and Europe, with representatives of countries such as France, Germany, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Italy and more in the mix. The 2015 Develop Industry Excellence Awards will take place in Brighton at the Hilton Metropole Hotel on Wednesday, 15th July 2015.