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…

University of South Wales goes Off the Map with CryENGINE®3

Original Article: http://crytek.com/blog/university-of-south-wales-goes-off-the-map-with-cryengine-3


Earlier this year, Crytek launched a creative competition for students in association with the British Library and GameCity. The Off the Map challenge invites students from participating universities and colleges to draw inspiration from a selection of British Library maps and then turn that inspiration into interactive environments using our free CryENGINE 3 SDK.

Among the participants is the University of South Wales. One of their faculties is the City Campus in Newport, where students can get their degree in Computer Games Design, one of the oldest and most established Games Design courses in the UK. It has an international reputation for its teaching, research, and quality student experience. The program’s study areas range from key concepts to game mechanics and conceptual skills, focuses on both creative and technical processes, and teaches the students how to be a practitioner within a team.

USW has two different teams working on Off the Map: Asset Monkeys and Faery Fire. Each team has four or five members enrolled in the BA Computer Games Design or BSc Games and AI.


Catacombs by team Asset Monkeys.

Senior Lecturer Adam Martin says that the competition ties in perfectly with their program. “One of the strengths of our course is to recognize the importance of creative practice within games design, as we really focus on the creative and artistic aspects of contemporary games production. We want our students to develop their ability to think, research, and experiment, combined with traditional design principles. This competition asks students to challenge and surprise, and provides a unique starting point for understanding and creating their game world. We are especially mindful that it is a game we are making, not just a historical reconstruction of a certain environment.”

Participants in Off the Map must choose between one of three maps as their source of inspiration; the Pyramids of Giza, Wiltshire’s Stonehenge, or London around the time of the Great Fire in 1666. “We considered various maps and scenarios, but eventually settled on Stonehenge,” says Ian McMichael from Team Faery Fire, who are working on a game called Mystical Wings. “It will be a third person action game, where you play as Liliana as she explores the setting of Stonehenge, a vast landscape in comparison to the fairy character who is a mere 6” tall. This concept was inspired by fairytales and the folklore behind Stonehenge.”


Concept of Wiltshire’s Stonehenge by team Faery Fire.

“The design was built upon further within the group,” Ian continues. “We refined and finalized the use of scale and perspective, turning it into the game we currently have. The most important part of the design is of course the map. It will be used to create parts of the level, as well as other visual aspects of the game, like the HUD. The concept art we produced has given us further inspiration for the visual aesthetic we are aiming towards.”

Even though most students haven’t worked with Crytek’s CryENGINE before, the learning process has been relatively easy according to Adam. “Our students are effectively learning as they go! With the CryENGINE being such a powerful and visually rich environment to work within, it allows the designers to construct visually, in real-time, and then instantly test the game without lengthy compiling times. This provides a very fluid workflow throughout the entire creation process. The real-time lighting system and extensive visual effects are very intuitive for our arts-based students to use.”

Now that the CryENGINE has been incorporated into Newport’s Games Design course, Adam hopes that students will use it to create even more successful and beautiful games. “We firmly believe in the significance of the independent games sector, with alumni successfully creating their own companies and winning significant awards. It would be great to see the seeds of a publishable game at the end of this project.”

Production footage from team Asset Monkeys and their game called Catacombs.

To find out more about our CryENGINE 3 SDK and download it for free, please visit www.mycryengine.com.

Q.U.B.E.: Against the Qlock hits Steam

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!

Newport Grads short-listed for TIGA awards

We are very pleased to announce that this year there are several games from Newport Graduates that have been short-listed for the TIGA Games Industry Awards.

Tamoanchan by Jamie LewisDaisy SpiersJazz Moore & Craig Fox,  has been short-listed in the  ‘Student Game’ category.

Skyrunner: Rau and the Red Kites by Owen Pilliner and Dan Pearce, has been short-listed in the ‘Student Game’ category.

Mush by Angry Mango has been short-listed in the ‘Debut Game’,  ‘Visual Design’ & ‘Originality’ categories.

Good luck everyone!

4 Newport Games up for TIGA Games Industry Awards 2012

TIGA Games Industry Awards 2012

We are very pleased to announce that this year there are several nominations for Newport games in the TIGA Games Industry Awards.

Tamoanchan by Jamie Lewis, Daisy Spiers, Jazz Moore & Craig Fox, is nominated for shortlisting in the ‘Game Design’ VOTE, ‘Originality’ VOTE, ‘Visual Design’ VOTE & ‘Student Game’ VOTE categories.

Skyrunner: Rau and the Red Kites by Owen Pilliner and Dan Pearce, is nominated for shortlisting in the ‘Student Game’ category. VOTE HERE

Q.U.B.E. by Toxic Games is nominated for shortlisting in the ‘Visual Design’ VOTE, ‘Game Design’ VOTE, ‘Audio Design’ VOTE & ‘Originality’ VOTE categories.

Mush by Angry Mango is nominated for shortlisting in the ‘Visual Design’ VOTE & ‘Originality’ VOTE categories.

Voting closes at midnight on Friday 12th October, so get voting!

Mush is released

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Newport alumni Kate Killick and Henry Hoffman (Angry Mango) are releasing Mush today, it is avilable to download now from the Windows Phone Marketplace.

About Mush
Discover the emotions in this award-winning exclusive to Windows Live, a quirky puzzle adventure that lets you change how your character feels! Touch, tilt, rotate and shake up Mush to alter his mood. Gain new abilities, evade beasties and solve puzzles as you tumble through unique and beautiful worlds!

Henry has been talking to the Guardian Games Blog about the experience of developing Mush over the last three years, take a look at the article ‘Five key lessons for every young game developer‘.

Kate has been also chatting with the BBC Radio Wales Breakfast Show about the experience, skip to 22:57

There is a great article about Mush on Hookshot Inc.

For more information and to see lots of lovely screenshots go to the Mush website and follow Angry Mango on Twitter.

Newport Graduates showcasing at the Wales Games Development Show 2012

Kate Killick and Henry Hoffman, will be showcasing With the Dust and Mush, and Toxic Games (Dan Da Rocha, Jon Savery and Dave Hall) will be showcasing Q.U.B.E. at the fist Wales Games Development Show.

Wales Games Development Show will showcase talented companies and projects across the digital media industry in Wales. This will be a good opportunity to network, promote digital interactive products, find talent and gain experience. SMEs and potential new start-ups can also take advantage of the wide variety of support available to them through various agencies and potential funding pools.
Games Lab.

The Wales Games Development Show is taking place on Friday 22nd June 2012  at the Millennium Centre Cardiff between 10am and 4pm. Tickets are FREE, but you should sign up on Eventbright here.

Newport Games Design gets three nominations for the Ffresh Awards 2012

We are very pleased to announce that three Newport games have been shortlisted in the Games & Interactive Media category and the Ffresh Awards 2012.

With The DustThread Bear and Q.U.B.E. have been short listed, the games and interactive media juror David Banner has written encouraging comments about all three games.

The winner will be announced on Friday 10th February.

Q.U.B.E. Soundtrack to be Released

After the successful release of Q.U.B.E. back in January, the Toxic Games team have decided to release the original soundtrack for the game.

The Q.U.B.E. original soundtrack will be released on Friday 4th May, and will be available on iTunes, Amazon and Steam for $5.99/£4.99/€5.99.

There will be over 30 Electronica, Drum and Bass and Electro House tracks from the game and special bonus tracks composed by Ben ChandlerFelix Zirwes, Steve Dunne and Project Static. Includes the popular original version of “Finale” plus a special version featuring Dan Da Rocha (Designer at Toxic Games).

Here is something to wet you appetite…

It has also been announced that Q.U.B.E. version 1.2 is now available on Steam.