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Misc. News

Applications Open for NI Screen Games Development Scheme

Northern Ireland Screen intends to runs a skills development programme called Games Development 2017.  The programme will provide opportunities in a Game Development company for one person.

Games Development 2017 is a paid placement scheme (NMW/NLW), the placement will run from October 2017– 31st March 2017 and the participant will gain experience in a professional Game Development Company.

The scheme and placement will be based in Belfast, Northern Ireland and participants will be expected to base themselves in Northern Ireland for the duration of the scheme.

You are eligible to apply if you can answer YES to these two questions:

  • Are you a legal resident of Northern Ireland?
  • Are you available to participate in the scheme from October 2017 – 31st March 2017?

Further Information and Application Forms can be found here. 

 

Categories
Developer News Industry News

Boomdash Digital launch ‘Evil Dead: Endless Nightmare’

Developed by Dream Country Limited, Inlifesize Ltd, the official mobile game of the chilling remake of one of horror’s most iconic movies debuts on the Apple App Store today.

Boomdash Digital, the UK mobile publisher, have released on iOS and Google Play the official Evil Dead mobile game, based on the terrifying re-imagining of the horror masterpiece.

A secluded cabin. An ancient curse. An unrelenting evil. All you have to do is survive!

Based on what is widely regarded as ‘the most terrifying movie you will ever see’, Evil Dead: Endless Nightmare is an action-packed first person runner. Players get to experience, for the first time, familiar locations and characters from the movie, in a game packed with psychological terror, movie audio and cinema realistic graphics.

Evil Dead: Endless Nightmare sees players run from cinema’s most iconic cabin, where they must then survive the Deadite infested woods, avoid deadly obstacles and select the right weapons to take down the bloodthirsty Deadites, whilst completing increasingly challenging missions.

With the help of the Book of the Dead and an arsenal of signature weapons, including the trusty boxcutter, chainsaw and shotgun, players must fight for their survival, running through the woods to complete missions, collect blood droplets, unlock bonuses, upgrade weapons and ultimately prepare themselves to battle against the Evil Witch!

Evil Dead: Endless Nightmare is now available to play on iOS and GooglePlay:

Download on Google Play

Download on iOS

Features:

  • Spine chilling, 1st person POV, puts players at the centre of the Evil Dead universe
  • Record times, distances and Deadite-killing achievements to beat your friends
  • Cause carnage with an array of murderous weapons including the boxcutter, chainsaw and shotgun.
  • Run deeper into the woods to unlock new missions straight out of the Book Of The Dead
  • Realistic 3D graphics and camerawork recreate the look and feel of the movie set

Game Info:

Title: Evil Dead: Endless Nightmare
Publisher: Boomdash Digital Limited
Developer: Dream Country Limited, Inlifesize Ltd
Category: 3D Endless Runner
Monetisation: Free with In App Purchase
Age: 17+   

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

Games R&D Tax Relief event; in review

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Putting compelling storylines, picturesque artwork and a captivating soundtrack to one side, a modern game is a masterpiece of software development. It is just as likely to contain as much serious research and development as that undertaken in a laboratory.

The video games and interactive entertainment industry has a clear strong link to high-tech research and development (R&D). Playing an integral part in the development of original intellectual property, R&D has helped the UK become recognised globally as a leading source of original computer games concepts and design.  

With access to finance being a priority for the industry, HMRC’s R&D Tax Relief scheme actively encourages developers to engage in technological innovation that can bring huge benefits to the sector.

In order to qualify for relief, HMRC wants to see R&D being used to create an improvement in a field of science or technology. Even if the R&D in which a company has invested does not have the outcome hoped for, it may even still be able to qualify for R&D tax relief.

 From Left to right; David Baxter from Boom Clap Games, Carley Morrow from App Attic and Mark Westwood from Jumpstart
From Left to right; David Baxter from Boom Clap Games, Carley Morrow from App Attic and Mark Westwood from Jumpstart

With this in mind, Games NI held a discussion with R&D tax experts Jumpstart at the Northern Ireland Screen offices to chat about what the R&D Tax Relief scheme actually means for gaming companies here. R&D tax expert Jumpstart was on hand to explain that game development and interactive entertainment companies should take full advantage of the potential financial gains.

“From designers to producers, it was great to chat to a real mixture of gaming companies. You see, I’m not an accountant; I’m a software developer,” says Mark Westwood, a Technical Analyst at Jumpstart, who has over 30 years’ experience in software development.

“The fact that everyone knows about the Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR) is great to hear – I was very impressed by the knowledge the NI gaming sector has of it,” he continued. Mark also revealed that opportunities exist to claim both VGTR and R&D tax relief, but advised that care is required as HMRC are very particular about what is eligible.

Continuing, Mark says: “However, I found that knowledge on the R&D Tax Relief scheme was a bit sketchier. We have found that some people have looked into the scheme, but it really is under-utilised across Northern Ireland. Which is a shame really, as it’s not often HMRC actually offers you ‘money on the table’!”

 Mark Westwood from Jumpstart
Mark Westwood from Jumpstart

Kitty Crawford, Deputy Chair of Games NI, thought the event was highly informative for both herself and other companies in attendance: “It was superb to get a good overall grounding on the R&D Tax Relief scheme, as well as the opportunity to ask specific, technical questions which was very useful. Even though some companies may not be in a position to claim relief now, it is of huge benefit to know about it for the future.”

If there was one thing that the gaming sector in NI should know about the R&D Tax Relief scheme, Ian Wolfendale, Jumpstart’s Client Engagement Manager, said: “Take a look into it. Don’t ignore it and think it’s not for you, as you could be pleasantly surprised.

“After all, analysis of HMRC’s latest figures shows that NI companies – across all sectors – account for just 2.7% of total claims and a mere 1.6% of the total tax benefits claimed from across the UK. This tells me that the R&D tax relief scheme is massively underutilised here.”

If you would like to chat about what opportunities there may be for your organisation, drop Ian a line at ian.wolfendale@jumpstartuk.com, or find out more at their website.

 

 Guest post by Gavin Williamson, lead organiser of the event, from Lanyon Communications
Guest post by Gavin Williamson, lead organiser of the event, from Lanyon Communications

 

 

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
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.

 

Categories
Developer News

Of Kings and Man Early Access

Green Man Gaming Publishing, Northern Ireland Screen and Donkey Crew are pleased to announce that Of Kings And Men will be coming to Early Access on Thursday 25th August 2016.

Of Kings And Men is being created by Donkey Crew, previously know for their popular “cRPG’ modification for Mount & Blade: Warband. Having previously worked remotely around the world, the team are now based in Northern Ireland with funding from Northern Ireland Screen via Invest NI.

The Early Access version of the game will focus on combat, and allow matches of over 200 players to battle, capture strategic points, and learn your skills on the battlefield. The team have revealed an extensive roadmap of the games development, and plan to introduce faction management, a full open world, and a player run, persistent industry.

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.

Categories
Education News Industry News

Aim High Gaming trainees selected

 From left to right; Back row: Laura Robinson (Black Market), Colin McCusker (Inlifesize), Mark Skelton, Gareth Grey (Iglu Media), Benjamin Donoghue (Blackstaff Games), Timothy Cartright, Jonny Shields Front row: Chloe Gowdy, Stephen Downey (Outsider Games), William Barr (BillyGoat Entertainment), David Freebairn, Michael McDonald
From left to right; Back row: Laura Robinson (Black Market), Colin McCusker (Inlifesize), Mark Skelton, Gareth Grey (Iglu Media), Benjamin Donoghue (Blackstaff Games), Timothy Cartright, Jonny Shields Front row: Chloe Gowdy, Stephen Downey (Outsider Games), William Barr (BillyGoat Entertainment), David Freebairn, Michael McDonald

Yesterday marked the start of the first set of trainees to be selected by NI Screen and industry specialists for this 12 month pilot gaming traineeship. 

The Aim High Gaming scheme, created in partnership with BBC Northern Ireland, has been developed with the help of Northern Ireland game studios with the aim of developing the future leaders of the games industry in Northern Ireland. 

The six trainees, who were selected from the DEL Games Academy, will take part in a year paid industry traineeship completing various placements with different Northern Ireland game development companies, covering all aspects of the game development process.

This traineeship is the first of it’s kind in Northern Ireland for the gaming industry, and Games NI is delighted to welcome it’s first set of trainees to the scheme.

Categories
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