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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: https://gda.mindmill.co.uk/

More information is available at: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/game-development-academy

Categories
Developer News

Italic Pig receive funding from Creative Europe

Northern Ireland based game studio Italic Pig have been awarded a grant by Creative Europe. 

Italic pig specialise in character-driven adventures and have received a grant of €122,500 to develop their adventure game entitled Mona Lisa. 

Kevin Beimers from Italic Pig “We are so excited to be diving into our next wild adventure game so hot on the heels of our last one. As a company that believes that the story is the key element to a great game, it’s wonderful to know that Creative Europe is providing funding specifically for great stories and great ideas in games and other media. In a world where match-3s, endless-runners and open-world shmups are saturating the market, it’s so great to know that there’s an organisation out there that still believes in the importance of a good story.” 

“We were delighted to give Italic Pig advice and support with their application, and are very pleased that their application to Creative Europe was successful, making them the first video games company in Northern Ireland to receive funding from Creative Europe. Funding for the development of video games is a new addition to Creative Europe’s MEDIA sub-programme, which supports the European audio-visual sector,” from Agnieszka Moody, Director, Creative Europe Desk UK.

Northern Ireland Screen is also on board with Mona Lisa. With a long and illustrious reputation for helping Northern Irish entertainment studios get their big ideas off the ground, Northern Ireland Screen has approved match funding toward the Mona Lisa project.

Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said; “We are delighted to be working with Italic Pig on such an exciting, engaging and unique concept. Italic Pig is a prominent member of an emerging group of interactive content creator developers based in Northern Ireland. Expectations for this project to succeed in the market place are extremely high and we are keen to support Kevin and his team at Italic Pig throughout the development process. We are also greatly appreciative of the funds that the Creative Europe MEDIA Award provides and extremely proud that key Northern Ireland talent can access this strand of funding.”

With the funds promised from Creative Europe and Northern Ireland Screen, Italic Pig aims to spend all of next year in development on Mona Lisa with a release in early 2017, using as much local talent as possible.

The competition for the Creative Europe grants, intended to support the early development stages of a game (up to the first playable version), was substantial. Altogether 182 applications were received from 24 countries. 

The full list of results can be viewed on the European Commission’s website 

Categories
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.