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Gaming Aim High Diaries #4

Contiuning our series of Gaming Aim High Diaries, Chloe Gowdy talks about working at company Outsider Games

For my first 4 month placement I was chosen to be with Outsider Games run by Stephen Downey. For my first month there, the crew were all busy completing their game Wailing Heights, a body hopping musical adventure 2D game, so I spent most of my time helping them out by play testing the game and writing down any bugs throughout the game that I later gave to the programmer so that he could fix them. It looked pretty stressful for everyone as the release date was getting closer and closer and everyone wanted the game to be as perfect as possible so we were all over the place trying to get any possible bug or issues that happened in the game fixed, and finishing up any last minute assets that still had to be put in the game. On the day of the release (27th of april), we all took the day to relax in the studio and played lots of board game as we constantly refreshed the Steam page to see how the game was doing on the first day. 

 Chloe with the Outsider Games team after release of Wailing Heights
Chloe with the Outsider Games team after release of Wailing Heights

Even though the game was released I wasn’t done with the game just yet as Stephen wanted to have Steam achievement icons for his game as well as Steam trading cards and badges. After discussing what the achievements will be, I went into Photoshop to make several icon versions and showed them to Stephen who then gave me some advice on how to make some icons look better and once we were all happy with the icons, Stephen put them on Steam to be approved. It was fun to see the achievements appear in the game as I was testing it to make sure they were all working properly and appearing when I completed an achievement. We didn’t have any issue with making the achievement icons, but when it came to the trading cards, I had a lot of trouble getting everything to be approved by steam, especially for the badges. Stephen and I did a lot of research on how the trading card system on steam worked and how the badges are not allowed to look too similar, but even so I had to make the badges several times before they got properly approved on steam because they said our badges still looked too similar. But we eventually got there and it was still fun to come up with all these different ideas for what the trading cards and badges should look like and see it come to life on steam.

 Chloe hard at work in the Outsider Games office
Chloe hard at work in the Outsider Games office

After I had completed these tasks, there wasn’t anything left to do on Wailing Heights, so I started to work on their other project Jennifer Wilde, a point and click adventure game. They already had their 2D artist working on all the main stuff for the game so I mainly took care of designing UI for the game, think about what the main menu should look like and any other smaller 2D tasks I could help with. I am mainly a 3D artist so I wasn’t very confident in my 2D skills but Stephen was very helpful and was always there to come over when I asked for help r advice on something and he would correct me in any perspective issues I was having with my drawing and gave me advice on making my art better, which was very helpful and taught me a lot.

I finished my placement with Outsider Games at the end of July, and started my next placement with The Design Zoo. Overall I had a great time learning 2D and it was a great experience to see a game in its late development about to get released, and I look forward to learning more in my next placement.

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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.