Misc. News

Her Majesty’s SPIFFING goes Mobile

Northern Ireland game developer Billy Goat Entertainment has released its celebrated space adventure game Her Majesty’s SPIFFING (that’s the Special Planetary Investigative Force For Inhabiting New Galaxies, if you’re wondering) on iOS and Android platforms today.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign Billy Goat Entertainment commenced development of Her Majesty’s SPIFFING in November 2014 with funding from Northern Ireland Screen via Invest NI.

Just like the console and PC versions, which were released last December, mobile gamers will now be able to take charge of Captain Frank Lee English as he (along with his insightful Welsh colleague, Aled) takes to the stars on-board the HMSS Imperialise in this modern interpretation of a classic point-and-click.

In Her Majesty’s SPIFFING players will be charged with solving both mental and physical based puzzles, all the while being rewarded with a sharp and witty script.

William Barr, Director, Billy Goat Entertainment Ltd “It takes cues from/ plagiarises everything from Monty Python to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In short, it’s about as British as a game can be, in that it deftly undermines everything we hold dear about this damp collection of islands from beginning to end.”

Her Majesty’s SPIFFING is available now on  iOS and Android.

Industry News

Big Motive Launches stunning childrens Virtual Reality story for iOS and Android

Tara’s Locket is a short story adventure for 5-7 year olds set in a beautifully illustrated world. This unique virtual reality experience allows kids to step into the story and meet Tara and her friends. Users can follow the interactive story and help guide Tara through the magical landscape of Urah with goal of reuniting our heroine with her parents.

A new project from product design and innovation studio Big Motive, Tara’s Locket was inspired by the landscapes, stories and folklore of Ireland’s dramatic Atlantic coast. The story explores the value of self-belief and the often overlooked contribution that children make to family ties.

Tara’s Locket began as a conversation about children’s books and how virtual reality might enhance how stories are told and enjoyed by early learners – enabling children to be transported into the world of the story. Big Motive’s Managing Director, Damian Cranney says: “We set out on this journey wondering about the opportunities to adapt existing IP for a virtual reality experience. Picture books felt like a super place to explore as we could potentially produce something additive in terms of how readers enjoy stories – while preserving the integrity of the story and the artist’s work.”

To expand the storybook into virtual reality, the team drew on their experience working on mobile experiences for the children’s category as well as working with existing IP for the likes of the BBC and Channel 4. Tara’s Locket features a hand-illustrated world – a magical counterpoint to 3D modelling and advanced CGI being used in to bring the latest slate of VR game to market.

The app is launching as a Google Cardboard experience. What excites Big Motive about Google’s about mobile VR technology in general is its affordability and accessibility. “It makes virtual reality completely portable, fun and easy to experience with family…” says Cranney. Tara’s Locket has been designed with this in mind allowing kids to dip in and out of Tara’s world.

Big Motive worked with Priya Mistry who illustrated Tara and her world, and with BAFTA-nominated (Lily’s Driftwood Bay) Scoredraw Music who composed an original score and sound design for Tara’s Locket.  

Stephen Shaw, Big Motive’s UX Director comments, “What sets VR apart from any other medium is its ability to transport you to a different place. Our goal with Tara’s Locket was to create an experience for children that lets them feel like they have stepped into the story.”

Damian Cranney adds. “We’re really excited about our venture in VR. There is so much junk out there using every modern technique to hook and bait kids into gorging on rubbish content, we wanted to create something that inspires little learners.”

Tara’s Locket is available for $2.99/£2.29 from the App Store on iPhone and Google Play Store for Android or at; . (iPhone 5 minimum requirement). Compatible with all headsets including: Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, Homido, FreeFly, VR One, GearVR, Durovis Dive. Tara’s Locket features a kid-friendly interface with no in-app purchases or third-party advertising.

Tara’s Locket Website

Tara’s Locket Twitter

Big Motive Website

Big Motive Twitter

Developer News

DogBiscuit nomineed for the Develop Awards 2016

Northern Ireland created family game DogBiscuit has been nominated in the New Games IP (Mobile) category, at the Develop Awards in Brighton.

DogBiscuit was created by Northern Ireland based game developer Blackstaff Games who received funding from the Northern Ireland Screen Fund supported by Invest NI.

The game sees players follow DogBiscuit, with his variety of colouring pens packed, on his journey through many exciting worlds. But something is missing from all of them: colour! Whether it’s fruit trees, sandcastles or giant planets – how the environment ends up looking is completely in the player’s hands. There are over 20 options to design the worlds individually and to draw beautiful things for DogBiscuit and his crayon friends.

In total, there are 108 companies in the running for awards, encompassing not only developers, but also tools providers, services firms, outsourcers and specialists in VFX, audio, QA and recruitment. DogBiscuit is among 36 games nominated in the Creativity section of the awards. 

The winners will be announced at the Brighton Hilton Metropole on Wednesday, July 13th during Develop: Brighton 2016.

For a full list of nominees visit the Develop Awards 2016 Website. 

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.