We’ve had a great time again this year at the South Wales Hub taking part in Tranzfuser 2017. The teams spent a very busy 10 weeks working on their games through the summer, which culminated in an excellent showcase at EGX!
We are very please to announce the fantastic successes of our teams this year…
Mochi Mode won Tranzfuser and will receive £25,000 (yes, twenty five thousand pounds!) to continue developing their game. They also won a public vote at EGX.
Filthy Fresh Studios were selected as a runner up and will get another opportunity to pitch for further funding as part of the Tranzfuser Accelerator scheme.
Big Thank Yous
We’d like to say a massive thank you to all of those who came in to mentor and advise the teams including, Lloyd Jones (Boden Project – Tranzfuser 2016), Jack Bevan-Davies (Duel Fuel – Tranzfuser 2016), Emma Forouzan (USW Enterprise), Katherine Wolfe-Adams (Welsh Government), Ann Swift (Department for Economy, Science and Transport), Gayle Rees (Business Wales), Richard Jenkins (Planet 83), Martin Onions (Freelance), Susan Cummings (Tiny Rebel Games), Arwyn Williams (Business Wales), Chris Munasinha (Arcade Vaults) and everyone that played the games and gave valuable feedback at the Games Wales monthly meetups and the Arcade Vaults Summer Pop-up.
The South Wales Hub Teams
Kevin Ho – BA Computer Games Enterprise, graduated 2016
Liam Jones – BA Computer Games Enterprise, graduated 2016
Laura Wells (Team Lead) – BA Computer Games Enterprise, graduated 2017
Thomas Woodward – BA Game Art, graduated 2016
Amy Marie Baldwin – BA Computer Animation, graduated 2016 (not pictured)
Team Filthy Fresh with Jeff’s Tower a VR tower defense game, where the player is in the tower, unleashing magical spells to shoot down incoming hordes of enemies of the evil king’s army. Protect the runestone, protect the world.
Tadas Juknevicius (Team Lead) – BA Computer Games Enterprise, graduated 2017
Lukas Garliauskas – BA Game Art, graduated 2017
Joshua Bonser – BA Computer Games Enterprise, graduated 2017
Carl Skanoy – BA Game Art, graduated 2017 (not pictured)
Team Dark Planet Studio with Stellarmania a space strategy game where the player will take on the role of the director of a company looking to expand its exploits into deep space – be it through piracy, escort duty, financial marketing or technological prowess.
Finn Daly (Team Lead) – BA Computer Games Design, graduated 2017
Courtney Davies – BA Computer Games Design, graduated 2017
Jordan Williams- BA Computer Games Design, graduated 2017
Tucker- BA Computer Games Design, graduated 2017
Ryan Smith- BA Computer Games Design, graduated 2017
All photos copyright Pixel Pro Media.
Full Press Release from UK Games Fund.
Graduate game developers win Government grants
Some of the UK’s most talented young games developers were today (Monday 6 November) awarded grants that could help take their creations into millions of homes.
Mochi Mode from Cardiff (University of South Wales) and Shuttershade Studios from Huddersfield (University of Huddersfield) are the winners of Tranzfuser, a graduate talent competition funded by the Government’s UK Games Fund, that saw startup video game studios from across the country battling it out for grants.
The two winning teams, both receiving £25,000, have joined the prestigious portfolio of professional games development studios working with the UK Games Fund community.
Matt Hancock, Creative Industries Minister, said:
“The UK games industry is a fantastic success story and we want to see it continue to grow from strength to strength. The Tranzfuser programme is aimed at identifying and supporting the talented young games developers and the original and innovative games they are producing right here in the UK.
“Last year’s Tranzfuser alumni went on to publish their own game and I wish this year’s winners the same success in turning their creativity into a reality for us all to enjoy.”
Over the summer, Tranzfuser tasked 23 teams with just ten weeks to take their idea for a great game from concept to playable demo to be showcased in front of 80,000 games fans and a panel of expert judges at the UK’s most popular video games festival, EGX. The teams developed all manner of fun and innovative games, from single-player puzzles to multiplayer room-scale Virtual Reality experiences.
Awarded a grant of £5,000 from UKGF, the teams developed their games with invaluable support provided by a nationwide network of Tranzfuser Local Hubs based at some of the best universities for video game design and development.
Mochi Mode wowed the judges and public alike with their game of bright visuals and simple one touch gameplay that sees players controlling a herd of cows. The setting changes to different locations across the Wild West but the goal is the same: players must guide the herd to safety through a host of colourful obstacles in this fun arcade game.
Laura Wells, Team Leader at Mochi Mode said:
“After graduating, it’s tough to know what steps will help you ‘breakthrough’ into the games industry. That was especially true for us with the aspiration to start up our own studio. Tranzfuser has given us guidance at a crucial point of our development. Most importantly, it has allowed us to make a little magic!”
Shuttershade Studios is a team of graduates from the University of Huddersfield. The small group of four individuals created a virtual reality game, VR Party Ware, primarily consisting of a collection of various minigames. Players can compete globally through an online leader board system or locally with their own friends in a casual competitive environment.
Marcus Nichols from Shuttershade Studios said:
“Winning Tranzfuser has had a life changing effect on both me and the entire Shuttershade Studios team. We’re now able to do our dream jobs which is to have very little sleep but to have a tonne of fun developing our own video games. It’s the most varied job that we’ve all had and we wouldn’t change it for the world.”
New for 2017 is the Tranzfuser Accelerator, a unique programme where the runner-up teams from the competition receive tailor-made consultancy packages to give them the best chance of successfully applying to the UK Games Fund.
The UK Games Fund and Tranzfuser are both funded as part of the £4m UK Government programme of games development and talent funding announced in 2016, run by UK Games Talent and Finance Community Interest Company (UKGTF).
Paul Durrant, UKGTF’s founder, said:
“All of the teams worked hard after securing their place on Tranzfuser 2017. Each of the 23 teams has put in a huge effort and each has benefitted significantly from real-world learning throughout. The winning teams are the ones that best managed the scope of their projects, had a shared creative objective across the team and better understood the target audience for their particular games.”
Notes to Editors:
- Many startup studios lack the capital to help develop their ideas and attract private investment. Now in its second year, Tranzfuser was created to help bridge that gap and allow developers to take their ideas from the drawing board to production.
- The Mochi Mode studio is comprised of four members – team leader and designer Laura Wells, programmer Liam Jones, artist Thomas Woodward, animator Amy Baldwin and level designer Kevin Ho. They aim to develop small, engaging games for app markets.
- Also at the ceremony was an exclusive screening of the first ever Tranzfuser documentary; a broadcast-quality 30 minute long film charting the summer-long competition and the competitor’s journey from applicant to professional games developer.
- The Tranzfuser competition is unique in being a UK-wide talent programme linked directly to a prototype fund allowing new teams to benefit from grants and peer to peer interaction with a host of other early stage games development companies. 85% of the UK Games Fund and Tranzfuser’s spend to date has been outside London.
- Teams that secured support from UKGF in the first Tranzfuser in 2016 are now successful studios. Cold Sun Studios and Miracle Tea Studios are both working towards release of their funded projects.
- Outside of Tranzfuser, the UK Games Fund supports young start-ups who can apply for funding. Companies such as White Paper Games (based in Manchester) and Coatsink (based in Sunderland) are both excelling as established indie games developers.
- Since first being selected for funding, Coatsink has grown significantly with nearly 50 employees in the business and further growth plans to take that number up in the next couple of quarters. Their latest VR title, the critically-acclaimed Augmented Empire, was released in July.
- Eddie Beardsmore, Chief Operations Officer at Coatsink said:
“Coatsink expanded rapidly over the last year. Due to our current project roster of over a dozen titles – all in various stages of development – we’re looking to employ a further 15 to 20 developers by April next year.
“We continue to develop for multiple platforms and recently announced a partnership with Nintendo to bring our much-loved platformer Shu to the Nintendo Switch later this year. The UK Games Fund has provided a huge amount of support for the studio and we wouldn’t be in this amazing position without them.”
White Paper Games, a team of graduate colleagues who were supported by YEAR (the predecessor to the UK Games Fund) is doing incredibly well with the imminent release of a much-anticipated game The Occupation.
Pete Bottomley, Co-Founder of White Paper Games said:
“Working with the UKGF has been a great experience. The fund afforded us the additional time to push the quality and design of the game which ultimately allowed us to announce it in a strong position. This was instrumental to The Occupation’s early success and interest and without this, I don’t believe we would be in the position we are now. I can’t recommend and praise the fund enough.”
We a super happy to see that Henry Hoffman (a graduate of BA (Hons) Computer Games Design in 2011) has been named as a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit 2017. Great to see recognition for all of Henry’s hard work over the last few years.
Henry can pinpoint the exact moment he fell in love with games. He was five years old when playing Sim City at his dad’s university office and a police station named after him was blown away by a tornado. A few years later his dad bought him a copy of Planet PC magazine that came with a free drag-and-drop game building CD-ROM. From that moment Henry was hooked, making over 100 games by the time he was just 13. Around that time, Henry saw a review in the magazine for a game made by Introversion, a British company consisting of three friends making games in their bedrooms. It was then that Henry realised this could be a career.
During his first year of university, Henry’s game Mush won both the Dare to be Digital competition and a BAFTA Cymru award. His breakthrough game Hue was inspired by his fascination with dreaming up new gaming mechanics. When combined with his love for colour, Henry created a game that has stunned players all over the world. For Henry, beginning new projects by thinking about the gameplay first is the crux of making games that people enjoy.
Henry has found that the industry distinction between developers and creatives is unhelpful. For anyone thinking about a career in games, Henry would encourage them to be guided by their passion, and not to let people put you in a box.
For more information on Henry’s most recent game HUE please go here… https://www.huethegame.com/
A huge well done to Mike Bithell (BA Computer Games Design Graduate) for making the Games Industry Biz Top 100 Most Influential People in the British Games Industry List.
Taking inspiration from filmmakers such as Kevin Smith, Bithell focused on making impressive titles with a tight budget. Now he is an aspirational figure for many a hopeful one-man indie, but when asked for advice on how to make it in games, he reminds fellow developers that “they are not on the same journey.”
“The business changes weekly, so I try not to give too much advice,” he says.
Following huge commercial success came the chance to meet his heroes, such as Hideo Kojima, which Bithell describes as a “massive privilege.” But according to the Volume creator, it’s the audience that drives him.
“It sounds corny, but the best part of this job is meeting the people who play our stuff,” he says. “Fan art, cosplay, videos – everything that folks do with the games we make.”
Extract from http://www.gamesindustry.biz/top100/indie-leaders
Tomos Hywel graduated with a first class honors degree from BA (Hons) Game Art with a dream to become a character artist.
We recently spoke with Tomos about his time on the BA (Hons) Game Art course here at the University of South Wales, here is what he had to say…
“I knew for a long time that I wanted to be a games artist but it wasn’t until my 2nd year that I discovered I had a great interest in anatomy and creature designs and developed a keen interest in sculpting through Zbrush. I therefore decided to focus on making character and creature artwork for games.
“The Game Art course not only helped me to discover the artistic field I wanted to pursue but gave me the tools I needed to develop my skills that would one day lead me to a job in the industry.
“I now work for Airship Images, a game art outsourcing studio as a junior character artist.
“I’ve had the pleasure of creating character artwork for AAA titles and short films. With the help of my lecturers, Simon Reed and Pierre Laffoux, I was able to graduate from the course with a first class honours degree and won the award for Best Game/ Game artist at the end of the year student showcase. I later won the award at the ‘Ffresh student festival’ for the same category. I started the course without any knowledge of 3d modelling and later graduated with the skills I needed to get noticed by the game industry.”
For more information on how to apply or to book a place at one of our open days please visit http://www.southwales.ac.uk/games
Some of our fantastic third year Games Enterprise and Game Art student’s showcased their (still in progress) final year project Jeff’s Tower VR at last weekend’s PC Gamer Weekender in London.
They spent the weekend showing off their game and getting great feedback in the SEGA sponsored student area.
The University of South Wales (USW) has been named as one of three pioneering organisations that have been recognised for their contribution to the UK Games Talent’s Tranzfuser competition after grants from the UK Games Fund were awarded in their names.
USW, Digital Creativity Labs (DCL) in York, Eastern Enterprise Hub in the South East of England, each selected an industry start-up in their area to receive a share of £50,000 after each facility excelled in providing local hub support to competitors in the Tranzfuser 2016 competition process.
DCL chose Cooperative Innovations Ltd to receive a grant, while USW picked a start-up games develop company from Caerphilly called Runwild Entertainment Ltd to benefit from the money. Eastern Enterprise Hub decided to have the money in its name awarded to Miracle Tea, the company it has hosted during the Tranzfuser competition and beyond.
Head of Outreach and Talent at the UK Games Fund, Deborah Farley, explained the role of Local Hubs: ‘Tranzfuser offers entrepreneurial organisations across the UK the opportunity to support graduate teams who aspire to make their mark on the UK games industry.
‘With the help and support of Local Hubs we can provide competitors with an invaluable connection into a national competition. We know that our Local Hubs see great value in their role in Tranzfuser.
‘By providing support and physically hosting teams, it gives these organisations the chance to invest into the UK games industry at a grass root level.’
Production Director at Runwild Entertainment Ltd, Martin Onions, said: ‘Runwild Entertainment Ltd is made up of experienced games industry veterans with combined experience of 65 years. We’re currently developing our first game – a unique multiplayer experience that allows players to connect across different devices and interfaces.
‘This nomination shows how committed USW is to supporting its alumni and local games companies and as a graduate of USW and on a personal level I feel very grateful. The money means a lot to the company and will allows us to develop our first IP to the point where we can take it out to demonstrate to publishers and the public.’
Deborah added: ‘By awarding this money in recognition of the work of our Local Hubs we’ve had the opportunity not only to highlight the inauguration of Tranzfuser but also the hard work of hundreds of people across the country.
‘In actual fact, when it came to choosing the three winners the selection panel had an extremely difficult task to perform due to the high standard of professionalism and the level of support provided by our Local Hubs throughout the UK’
‘Tranzfuser is only a success because of every single one of our supporters and the commitment they give to helping our competitors. We cannot wait to work with an extended network of local hubs as part of Tranzfuser 2017.’
Find out more about Runwild Entertainment’s debut title Almighty… http://www.runwildent.com/almighty
The University of South Wales (USW) is to be the South Wales regional hub again in 2017 for the innovative talent development programme. Organised by UK Games Talent and Finance CIC, and funded by the UK Government.
Designed to provide a platform for creative leaders of the future, Tranzfuser is aimed at graduates looking to break into the games development industry, with a strong focus on getting their game to market.
Last year Tranzfuser 2016, the first iteration of the annual competition, saw 18 teams from across the UK work with a £5,000 prize to develop their game.
The competition ended with the teams showcasing their projects at the EGX video games festival in Birmingham, attended by more than 75,000 gamers. During the show, a team of industry judges shortlisted the best games to compete for grants from £10,000 to £25,000 from the UK Games Fund to develop commercial prototypes.
Lead applicants to Tranzfuser 2017 have an opportunity to project manage the teams that they form for the Tranzfuser journey and win funds from the UK Games Fund.
Successful applicants will be invited to develop their ideas into working prototypes over the summer in a competition that culminates in a nationally recognized showcase event.
Participants will have access to Local Hubs and leading industry support where possible, providing the best knowledge-base and resources available across the UK.
Graduates are invited to apply as individuals looking to build their own team or individuals on behalf of their team.
Successful applicants will be awarded a £5,000 budget to allocate as they choose throughout the competition. At the showcase event in September, selected teams will be invited to pitch for follow-on funding of up to £25k from the UK Games Fund to commercialise their game and launch a company.
Richard Hurford, Course Leader for Computer Games Enterprise at USW, said: “We are delighted that USW has again been chosen as the regional hub for Tranzfuser, and we’re excited to be mentoring and supporting the teams through the process.
“USW is all about giving students the skills to go out into the world and make a success of their ideas, and this is a great competition to gain further experience and potentially have access to vital funding.
“Those involved will be exposed to a range of industry specialists who can provide priceless advice and guidance. It is a fantastic opportunity for recent graduates from a range of disciplines to get involved in the games industry. We are looking forward to welcoming the 2017 teams and seeing a new set of great idea being turning into a reality.”
Deborah Farley, Head of Talent and Outreach at UK Games Talent and Finance CIC says, “Tranzfuser 2016 exceeded everyone’s expectations; from the calibre of the teams participating, contribution and involvement from the Local Hubs to the showcase event at EGX.
“We were delighted to go on a see six of the teams receive UK Games Fund grant funding and to continue our support of them. This year we will be building on this success with more opportunities for teams to get involved, continued support during the competition and a showcase event to remember. This is a fabulous opportunity for any graduates looking to break into the UK Games Industry, don’t miss out!”
Applications for 2017 close on Monday 27th February at noon. http://tranzfuser.com/apply-now/
Over the 10 weeks of the summer programme the teams worked intensively on their game ideas and prototypes.
Topkek – Boden Project
Ringworld management simulator.
Duel Fuel – Infinite Void
An infinite running with a twist.
We invited many mentors in over the duration of the project to talk with the teams about their games and advise on best practice for development, with
A huge thank you to all of the mentors for taking part, Ian Thomas (Frictional Games & Talespinners), Ted Everett (Kerbal Space Programme), Russ Morris (Freelance Unity Specialist), Anton Faulconbridge (Rant Media), Ella Romanos (Strike Game Labs & Rocket Lolly Games), Ben Cawthorne (Thud Media), Shame Skuse (Thud Media) and Karl Jones (Unity).
We also gave the teams chance to showcase their early work at the Wales Games Development Show in June.
“When I first heard of Tranzfuser I knew how big it would be for everyone who took part. I wasn’t wrong. Tranzfuser had so much more to offer than just a £25k prize to further develop our game, with industry mentors coming in every week, to attending/showcasing at events. I felt taking part in Tranzfuser was one of the best start to my career that I could ask for. Although we didn’t get through to the last 6 to go on and win further funding, my team feel like winners with all we have learnt and experienced. ”
Jack Bevan Davies (Duel Fuel – Team Lead)
“Tranzfuser was a great experience to gain as a practitioner in the industry. It provides a powerful experience for any student looking to launch themselves into the Games Industry by bridging the gap between university driven production and the “real world”. Allowing for unfiltered interaction with the industry ranging from working with contractors to attending events and dealing with competing for funding in a very real way. Regardless of its outcome, its true worth lies in the lessons it teaches and those lessons are worth learning. In short, do it.”
Lloyd Jones (Topkek – Team Lead)
The teams were also given the opportunity to showcase their work at EGX, meeting loads of industry people and members of the public.
We’ve had great fun hosting the teams and we are now looking forward to next year and excited to see what project ideas it brings!
A few weeks ago the Games Gradshow was in full swing, showing off final year undergraduate work from students on the BA (Hons) Computer Games Design and BA (Hons) Game Art courses.
It was pretty busy from the get go, with lots of people coming to visit from local games, animation and media companies. If you missed the show, you will be able to see a selection of the work at the Wales Games Development Show on the 19th June… http://walesgamesdevshow.org/ or you can take a look at this year’s showreel.
The list comprises of 100 women working in the UK games industry from almost 100 different studios, divisions or companies – chosen by a judging panel of over 50 UK games industry executives.
Alice Rendell Game Designer, Kobojo
Alice is a Game Designer currently working at Kobojo. She has spent over three years at the firm’s Paris HQ, she returned to UK and Dundee earlier this year to work on Zodiac, a JRPG co-developed with former Final Fantasy staff. Prior to Kobojo. She previously worked at Facebook games specialist Ooblada and offered consulting advice on game design at studio We Move Beyond. Alice is also on the Board of Directors of the IDGA Scotland.
Catherine Woolley Senior Designer, Creative Assembly
Cat is currently a Senior Design at Creative Assembly, most recently working on the award winning Alien: Isolation. She has been at Creative Assembly for 4 years, before which she spent just over 2 years at Electronic Arts Bright Light. In her spare time she is a co-host and editor at gamercast.net.