Nix – Available to Download Now!

Nix is available for Download Now! – Nix is the winner of the 2014 Off the Map competition.

Nix has been created by Jackson Rolls-Gray, Sebastian Filby and Faye Allen. The team created an underwater journey through Fonthill Abbey, the once-stunning Gothic revival country house in Wiltshire, which was demolished in 1846 after the collapse of its spectacular 300-foot tower twenty years earlier. Nix challenges gamers to reconstruct theAbbey via a series of puzzles in a spooky underwater world. It uses Oculus Rift, to enable the user to virtually explore the Abbey in its original splendour. The team used original drawings, maps of the estate and sounds held in the British Library’s collections.

The Off The Map competition is a collaboration between the British Library, Crytek and GameCity. It challenges higher education students based in the UK to create games inspired by the British Library’s collections, using Crytek’s cutting edge real-time technology Ceyengine.

The 2014 Off The Map competition accompanies the British Library’s current exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. Curators handpicked a number of items, ranging from maps, sounds, text, images, illustrations and architectural plans, to provide three Gothic themes for entrants to base their videogames on. These were author William Beckford’s home Fonthill Abbey, Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Masque of the Red Death and the seaside town of Whitby, which features in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

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Beneath the Crimson Moon – Available to Download Now!

Beneath the Crimson Moon is available for Download Now! Get it today a give it a go, it’s a great game.

Beneath The Crimson Moon is an exploration puzzle game in which the player must find objects that can be destroyed. When destroyed, the materials gathered, can then be used to navigate obstacles by re-building other objects such as bridges or ladders. The game is fully voiced with a narrative and story. Team Members: Sam Beale – Visual Concept Designer, Zack Finley – Mechanic Designer, Gary Kings – Narrative and Audio Designer, Ashely Lake – 3D Asset Designer, Rob Pearce – Level Designer, Mitch Leatherdale – Level Designer.

Beneath the Crimson Moon was a finalist at Off the Map 2014.

The Off The Map competition is a collaboration between the British Library, Crytek and GameCity. It challenges higher education students based in the UK to create games inspired by the British Library’s collections, using Crytek’s cutting edge real-time technology Ceyengine.

The 2014 Off The Map competition accompanies the British Library’s current exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. Curators handpicked a number of items, ranging from maps, sounds, text, images, illustrations and architectural plans, to provide three Gothic themes for entrants to base their videogames on. These were author William Beckford’s home Fonthill Abbey, Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Masque of the Red Death and the seaside town of Whitby, which features in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.


Great Week at GameCity 9!

GameCity9 Highlights
Once again this year we made our annual pilgrimage to GameCity in Nottingham, to completely immerse ourselves in games!

With talks and workshops from State of Play the creators of Lumino City, Christos Reid from Failnaut, James Parker’s fantastic Wise Old Games’ Owl, Ian Livingstone and Richard Bartle, Ed Stern, Chris Avellone, Zoe Quinn and Eline Muijres to mention a few! As we’ll as getting to play loads of fantastic games in the ‘Open’ galleries.

There was also an exciting announcement from Mike Bithell (a 2007 graduate) and Gisbourne Industries  about the upcoming game Volume, but more on that in another post.

It was also great to hear that GameCity will now become a permanent feature in Nottingham with the National Videogame Arcade opening in March 2015.

Showcase
We spent the whole day on Wednesday showing off some of the games created but current and recently graduated students of the USW Games Design course.

These included, Nix (Jackson Rolls-Gray, Sebastian Filby and Faye Allen), Beneath the Crimson Moon (Zack Finley, Sam Beale, Gary Kings, Rob Pearce, Ashley Lake and Mitchell Letherdale), SimRaiders (Matt Stockham) and Fragments (Adam Curtis). Nix went on to win this year’s Off The Map competition, but there will be more on that on another post. Ollie Elliot (a 2011 graduate) also brought along his new game Congo War Child.

All of last year’s graduating games can be seen on our 2014 Showreel…

More videos are available on the USW Games YouTube Channel and on USW Games Twitter.


USW Games Design students win Off The Map 2014 with thier game Nix

We are very pleased to announce that a team of students from the USW Computer Games Design course has won Off the Map 2014, a competition run by The British Library, Crytek and GameCity.

Off The Map 2014 Winners
Nix by Jackson Rolls-Gray, Sebastian Filby and Faye Allen. The team created an underwater journey through Fonthill Abbey, the once-stunning Gothic revival country house in Wiltshire, which was demolished in 1846 after the collapse of its spectacular 300-foot tower twenty years earlier. Nix challenges gamers to reconstruct theAbbey via a series of puzzles in a spooky underwater world. It uses Oculus Rift, to enable the user to virtually explore the Abbey in its original splendour. The team used original drawings, maps of the estate and sounds held in the British Library’s collections.

Once again this year we had two teams short listed in the final, the other was Beneath the Crimson Moon by Zack Finley, Sam Beale, Gary Kings, Rob Pearce, Ashley Lake and Mitchell Letherdale.

The Off The Map competition is a collaboration between the British Library, Crytek and GameCity. It challenges higher education students based in the UK to create games inspired by the British Library’s collections, using Crytek’s cutting edge real-time technology Ceyengine.

The 2014 Off The Map competition accompanies the British Library’s current exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination. Curators handpicked a number of items, ranging from maps, sounds, text, images, illustrations and architectural plans, to provide three Gothic themes for entrants to base their videogames on. These were author William Beckford’s home Fonthill Abbey, Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Masque of the Red Death and the seaside town of Whitby, which features in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.


Mike Bithell talking about his new game at GameCity8

Last year at Game City 8  Mike Bithell had an on stage discussion about his new game Volume.

Here is an edited version for you to take a look at…


Two Newport Student Teams Short-listed for the Crytek Off the Map Competition

Off The Map is a year-long project that encouraged students to create interactive environments using the CRYENGINE games engine. The competition supported by Crytek the British Library and GameCity, challenged students from selected universities to draw inspiration from British Library maps and then turn that inspiration into games. Teams could choose from three different maps: The Pyramids of Giza, Wiltshire’s Stonehenge, or London around the time of the Great Fire in 1666.

The competition short-list comprised of three teams, two of which were teams from the University of South Wales’ Computer Games Design Course. As finalists they had the opportunity to visit Crytek’s studios in Nottingham for feedback about their games and to gain an insight into the companies production processes. The teams were then asked to showcase their games at the Nottingham GameCity festival to an invited audience of professional games developers.

Ian McMichael presented his team’s work entitled ‘Mystical Wings’, a fantasy world based upon Stonehenge where the player controls Liliana a 6″ tall faery.
http://www.crydev.net/project_db.php?action=project_profile&team_id=5306&project_id=5200

James Macleod and Max Cutler then presented ‘Catacombs’ a game which takes the player on a journey through a fantasy landscape of underground dungeons and caves hidden beneath Stonehenge.
http://www.crydev.net/project_db.php?action=project_profile&team_id=5375&project_id=5208

Computer Games Design Lecturer Adam Martin says: “The student’s professionalism during the event was excellent, they did a fantastic job of conveying a sense of the games they had created and described the technical details of their production, they impressed the seasoned games developers at Crytek. We are very proud of what they have done.”

We are now preparing for next year’s competition and see this as a great way to enable students to engage with industry in a meaningful and valuable way. The ethos of the course is to make great games, so when competitions like this arise we can integrate them as assessable coursework. We actively encourage our students to work on projects that combine academic rigour and technical expertise, both of which are highly valued by the industry partners involved with the Off The Map project.


Pete Harries’ thoughts on exhibiting The Seeker at GameCity 7

Pete Harries a Newport grad from 2010 has been working on a new game called The Seeker. Back in October Pete showcased the game at GameCity 7 in Nottingham and has written a message about his experience…

10 things to remember when exhibiting your game

Written by Pete Harries, original article available from http://fatpancake.com/?p=47

In October we exhibited “The seeker” at GameCity7 in Nottingham, it was a great success and we learnt a lot. So I thought “Hey I’ll blog about this!!” unfortunately the few weeks have been incredibly busy and I’ve not had a chance to write at all. But finally, I’ve found the time to break out the pen and paper (keyboard) and get something down, and here it is! enjoy!

GameCity7 The Seeker

The Seeker gets some attention at GameCity7

1. Bring your notepad (and a pen!)

This may seem obvious but this is the number one must have item when exhibiting your game. Write down feedback, get important peoples details, notes on how to make your next trip more productive. Basically write everything down in here, if your anything like me you won’t remember half the stuff that gets said / done whilst your there so being able to reference back to your notepad is invaluable. Great for design ideas that get sparked off during the trip as well.

2. travel in groups

Exhibiting on your own is an option, but having a couple of friends that are familiar with your game or some of the development team along for the ride really, really helps! This way you can take turns to go to the toilet or go and get food. At GameCity this year I was asked to jump up on stage to talk briefly about “The Seeker” this wouldn’t have been possible if I was on my own! (cheers guys!)

3. network, network, network

This is of paramount importance. Talk to everyone! Go to the post exhibition events, Give out your business cards and introduce people to each other. When it comes to getting the word out about your game later on having a network of contacts on tap that can share with their friends any news you want to publish is extremely important.

4. support material

Business cards are obviously at the top of this list, easy to give out and less likely to go missing than a scrap of paper. But other material can be handy as well. This year we used flyers with a QR code printed on them that linked directly to our Steam Greenlight page, people could play the game and if they liked it scan the QR code and vote for us on the spot!

5. accommodation

Again something that seems obvious but make sure it’s close to the venue, you’re going to be on your feet for 7+ hours a day so you don’t want a 5 mile hike back to where your staying, especially if you carrying equipment with you! Oh and make sure you do stay overnight, you’ll want to attend those after parties!

6. Check your tech!

Prior to the event make sure you find out exactly what the situation is with tech, what will the organisers be providing? Will you need to bring specific items along with you? what time you need to be there to setup? After you have this information be sure your game is setup to work on what you have. And have a backup plan just in case that doesn’t work. Maybe even a backup, backup plan…

7. play other peoples games

These events are a great opportunity to meet people in a similar position as you, so go meet them! Play peoples games, see what they’re doing and how their doing it! Networking opportunity, inspiration and you get to play some awesome games, win-win!

8. ask people what they think of your game

Hopefully you’ll have a load of people coming by your stand, so talk to them! explain what your trying to do and see if they think your achieving it. Ask them what they think of the game even if they have any ideas about things they think would improve it! Then write it ALL down in your notebook.

9. follow up

If everything goes well at the event you’ll meet loads of great people and you’ll arrive home with hundreds of business cards. Follow them up! Email every one of them just to say hi and that it was great to meet them! (assuming it was!). If you get a chance to add them of facebook or Linkedin this is always handy as well. So next time you want to contact these people you won’t be going in cold.

10. have fun

These events are usually really enjoyable, so make the most of it!