Train2Game Course Director Tony Bickley speaks to Train2Game Radio at the Develop Conference

Train2Game featured prominently at this year’s Develop Conference, with a stand promoting students on the courses.

Towards the end of the show, the Train2Game blog caught up with Train2Game Course Directly Tony Bickley to find out how successful Train2Game’s time at Develop 2011 had been.

The interview is also available to listen to at


Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game students could see L.A. Noire tech in Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V could feature the extremely impressive facial art & animation techniques originally used in L.A. Noire. (Train2Game students can remind themselves about the motion capture here on the Train2Game blog)

That’s according to  Team Bondi co-founder Brendan McNamara in an interview with PSM3.

“Yeah, I think they’re looking at it for every game. As much as LA Noire is a huge game, Grand Theft Auto is incredibly huge, so you’ve got all the problems of how big the cast would be and how many lines would you have to record and all that kind of stuff.

“Obviously we’d like them to, and they’re more than welcome to use MotionScan, but if they decide it’s not right for that and want to use it for another game, then that’s fine too.

“I think it brings a level of humanity to the experience that means people will – in the first few minutes – start relating to the characters on screen. They don’t have to make that decision about ‘whether I like this guy’ or ‘do I actually believe them? – but they can make all the like or dislike decisions based on the actor’s performance.

“Rockstar will make those decisions. They generally make the right decisions in terms of what they do for their games.”

The prospect of motion capture in Grand Theft Auto V is no doubt an intriguing prospect, both to Train2Game Art & Animation students, and everyone else.

There has been no official announcement regarding Grand Theft Auto V, but increasing rumours suggest that we’ll glimpses of it in the not too distant future.

Indeed, as previously reported by the Train2Game blog, analysts believe Grand Theft Auto V will arrive next year.

So Train2Game, do you think GTA V could benefit from motion capture? Do you believe it’ll be in the game?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source:  Develop Online]

Train2Game Art & Animation student Piers Duplock from Leamington speaks to Train2Game Radio

Piers Duplock is studying to become a Game Artist & Animator with Train2Game. Train2Game Radio caught up with him to find out why he chose to study with Train2Game, how he’s finding the course and how he balances it around a job at Codemasters.

Listen to the interview at

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game students read this! Valve on playtesting during game development

 They're waiting for you Gordon, in the test chamber...

Train2Game students, particularly the QA Testers, will know of the importance of testing during a games development.

Now, in an interview with GameSpot, Valve has revealed that they believe playtesting to be the most important part of game development.

“For us, playtesting is the most important part of the game development process,” experimental psychologist and Valve’s playtesting lead Mike Ambinder told GameSpot.

“It’s not something we save for the end of the development, or use as a quality assessment or balancing tool. It is the dominant factor that shapes our decisions about what to release and when to release it.”

It’s a statement that Train2Game students who haven’t already been testing games throughout their development should really take on board.

Valve uses something called ‘bio-feedback metrics’ as part of the testing process. It features standard observed play sessions and surveys, but also involves tracking eye-movement with monitor-mounted cameras; monitoring heart rates; and even skin conductivity tests.

Valve use all of these to determine the players enjoyment of the game.

“We became interested in the use of biofeedback both as a playtesting methodology and as potential user input to gameplay because the idea of quantifying emotion or player sentiment seems to have utility,” said Ambinder.

“On the playtesting side, recording more objective measurements of player sentiment is always desired. People sometimes have a hard time explaining how they felt about various things, and memories of feelings and events can become conflated.

“Conversely, if you have a more objective measurement of arousal or engagement, you can get a clearer picture for how people are emotionally consuming your game.”

Last week, the Train2Game blog reported that Valve’s Steam service is ‘essential’ for indie developers.

So Train2Game, how important do you believe playtesting is to the game development process? How would you go about it?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: GameSpot]

Train2Game / Game Horizon Developer Drinks

  • Opportunity for students to meet industry professionals and discuss course details
  • Developer drinks on Tuesday 19 July gives developers access to hot new industry talent

Train2Game, provider of games industry training courses, today announces details of its participation in the 2011 Develop Conference, including its first ever ‘Guru Bar’ on stand B12 – giving those interested in the games industry a forum to interact with key figures and ask questions about training, career development and the community at large.

For developers eager to wind down after a long day marching the floors of the show, Train2Game will also be teaming up with leading games business network, GameHorizon, to host an evening of drinks at Alfresco, a Brighton seafront bar. Here, developers are invited to meet future industry talent and rising stars of the course, as well as get more information on how to get involved with placement programmes.

Key facts of the placement schemes follow below:

  • The placement schemes operate across the all Train2Game courses – Artists, Animators, Developers, Designers and QA.
  • Developer placements programmes are subsidised by Train2Game and can range for periods of 2 – 6 months.
  • Developers can choose from the top performers to suit their needs

Tony Bickley, Course Director at Train2Game sees events like Develop as the perfect place for the present and future of the games industry to collide: “While it’s easier than ever to connect online, there’s no replacement for meeting your peers face to face, both when on the hunt for new talent or considering a route into the industry. It’s the same logic which fuels our courses – substantial relationships and interaction online supported by face time wherever possible.”

Train2Game is a blended-learning organisation designed to fast track the best, most ambitious and motivated students into the games industry through comprehensive, expert-supervised courses. A big part of this is co-ordinating with the best developers in the country and providing top tier talented graduates for placements in the workplace.

Train2Game Guru Bar Details
Weds 20 – Thurs 21 July
Venue: Develop Expo, Stand B12
Hilton Metropole, Brighton
Attendance is free, please RSVP at the Develop 2011 front desk

Train2Game/ Game Horizon Developer Drinks
Tuesday 19th July
Time: 17:00 – 19:00
Venue: Alfresco,
The Milkmaid Pavilion,
Kings Road Arches,

Train2Game Game Developers will be interested in this; Relentless Software on getting work in the industry

Train2Game Game Developers will be especially interested in this, Lead Programmer at Relentless Software, Lizi Attwood has been speaking to about what she looks for in a graduate programmer.

On the key skills a graduate programmer should have, Attwood said:

“Obviously, really strong C++ skills, on top of that really good de-bugging skills, some optimisation skills, knowing that you need to profile code before you start optimising it. Really good communication skills are important, some exposure to source control, I’m interested in that, and knowing why that’s good. And just really friendly, relaxed happy people.”

While when quizzed about whether programmers shold specialise in a certain area, she replied:

“Personally I look for generalist programmers. I don’t see any reason to be really specific but if you’re going to go for graphics then specialise in it, but you better be really good at it because it’s very competitive.”

“A lot of people see it as the most exciting part of the game and really try to go for that but there is so many people doing that so you have to be exceptional”

And when asked about how long before a graduate programmers becomes a productive member of a game development team, Attwood responded:

“At Headstrong I will throw you in the deep end but we will assign you a mentor to guide you – give a lifebelt – who will guide you towards doing something productive as soon as possible. We might say ‘Okay here’s your task’, something that might take an experienced programmer half a day to do but it might take you a week.”

“At the end of that week you’ll have produced real functionality that contributes to the project and you’ll have learnt so much about the code base. I think that good graduates can become productive and useful pretty quickly and that’s something that we encourage.”

Of course, some Train2Game programmers are already getting hands-on experience building games be they working as part of a student team, or on a Train2Game industry experience placement.

Nontheless, Attwood gives all Train2Game Game Developers a useful insight into what to expect in that first role in the games industry.

The full interview is available on

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Attwood’s advice? Is it useful to you if you’re a programmer?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.


Train2Game news: Steam ‘essential’ for indie devs say Mode 7 Games

Frozen Synapse by Mode 7 Games is published through Steam

Train2Game students with plans to develop PC games will almost certainly be familiar with Steam, the digital distribution service from Half-Life, Portal and Team Fortress 2 developer, Valve.

Now, Mode 7 Games, the team behind indie title Frozen Synapse, have praised Valve and the way they go about promoting indie games, while keeping a hands off approach.

“That’s one of the best things about Valve, they won’t say ‘you are doing this’ – which they could do very easily – they’ll say ‘this is the kind of thing we want to do, this is why, how do you want to go about it?’ It’s great, it lets you try stuff.” Mode 7 Games co-founder Paul Taylor told

“We’re doing some stuff on Steam that people don’t normally do, like the free key for a friend thing, or offering the soundtrack as a separate thing you can upgrade to.”

“They’re quite different, and Valve had to do some actual system-related stuff to allow us to do that. For an indie game that doesn’t have a lot of clout, they’re surprisingly flexible and that’s great.” He continued.

“When you’re a company with that much power and that size, you have to strike a balance between doing things that benefit you and things that create a good eco-system for everyone,”.

“I think they’re pretty good at that, and they think very seriously about it. It is astonishing just how important they are in terms of the PC. Steam is really essential for indie games at the moment.”

The recent Steam Sales will probably have helped many smaller studios sell their games too.

Of course this isn’t the first time the supportive nature of Valve has been mentioned on the Train2Game blog, regular readers will know that community developers receive revenue from in-game items they’ve produced for Team Fortress 2.

So Train2Game, do you agree that Steam is ‘essential’ for indie PC developers? Would you attempt to get a game on Valve’s distribution system?

As usual, leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.


Train2Game event in Brighton 19th July


 Train2Game has teamed up with GameHorizon teamed up to promote the best Train2Game students to UK games companies in an effort to get more out on industry experience placements!

Train2Game and GameHorizon will hold a series of events around the UK throughout the year, and will kick off with an evening event in Brighton to coincide with the Develop Conference on Tuesday 19th July from 17.00-19.00. 

If you are in Brighton on 19th July why not come along to Alfesco’s on Brighton Beach (opposite the Hilton Hotel) to find out more about the Train2Game placement scheme and how developers can benefit from having one of the top Train2Game students in their team

The event will be a good opportunity to meet some of the students and find out more about how the placement scheme works over an ice cold beer! It’s also a good opportunity for Train2Game students to meet developers!

As reported by the Train2Game blog, Train2Game partnered with GameHorizon earlier this year.

If you would like to attend the event please email Carri Cunliffe on  or 07881 833 443.

Date: 19th July
Time: 17.00 -19.00
Venue: Alfresco,The Milkmaid Pavilion, Kings Road Arches, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 2LN
Cost: Free to attend but please RSVP

For more information see the GameHorizon website.

There will be a Train2Game exhibition stand in the Develop Conference Expo area from Wed 20th – Thurs 21st July where you can also find more information.

A ‘Guru Bar’ will also be available for Train2Game students to get advice from, for more information about this, head to the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game news: Sony want industry support for indie devs


Tran2Game students may be pleased with the latest comments to come from Sony; they are that the games industry should do more to support digital indie developers.

The comments come directly from Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida.

As an industry, we have to support those smaller teams, and let them try out their ideas, without doing so, the whole industry will stall, in terms of innovation.” he told Develop.

Speaking about how Sony have already provided digital platforms for indies with the PlayStation Network, Yoshida said

“Having the capability to sell their games on the network is key to giving those smaller teams an opportunity to come up with ideas, and sometimes invest their own money to come up with something special and have their projects meet with millions of users.”

Encouragement from one of the top people in the games industry is sure to please Train2Game students, but he isn’t alone in saying indies should be supported by bigger developers.

Earlier this year, the Train2Game blog reported that Peter Molyneux wants up and coming game developers to receive more support.

“I wish people in the press would focus on some of that up and coming talent, because there isn’t enough focus on it in my opinion” he said.

“People like Marcus Persson who did Minecraft, he’s a fantastic person to talk to, and I think Minecraft is a complete work of genius.”

People like Marcus – and there are some people in the social side – I feel there’s a real talent there. I think the triple AAA titles will continue to improve, but I dearly wish that things like the [Develop] 30 under 30, that pull people out of obscurity, were noticed a bit more.” Molyneux added.

So Train2Game, are you encouraged by Sony stating they want to support digital developers? Can you see yourself producing games for a Sony platform in future?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Develop]

Train2Game news: Free-to-play games generate 65% of App store revenue


Train2Game students with plans to develop mobile games may be interested in the following statistic; free-to-play games now bring in 65% of the revenue in the iTunes App store.

That’s according to a report by Flurry Games GM Jeferson Valadares that tracked over 90,000 apps and showed that at the start of the year free-to-play games brought in just 39% of revenue.

It could encourage Train2Game students to develop free-to-play titles of their own.

“When you make your game free and add in-app purchases, two powerful things can happen: first, more people will likely try your game since you’ve made the ante zero,” writes Valadares.

“And second, you will likely take more total money, since different players can now spend different amounts depending on their engagement and preferences. It’s not unheard of for individual players to spend into the tens of thousands in a game they like,” he continues

“Although this means that more than 90% of players will not spend a single penny, it also means that players who love your game spend much more than the $0.99 you were considering charging for the app.”

Valadares adds that free-to-play is “here to stay” This evidence for this is significant, with the Train2Game blog even reporting that EA believe it can be as profitable as triple-a

In an interview with the Train2Game blog last year, games industry consultant and Gamesbrief founder, told us that free-to-play generates more revenue.

“The guys who are making more money are allowing people – if they like the game – to keep upgrading. And instead of the maximum amount of that money you can make from customer being 99c you can make $5, in some cases $30.” Lovell told the Train2Game blog.

“There’s a game called Pocket Frogs which has in app purchases of values of 99 cent, $4.99 & £29.99. Only 8% of people by the $29.99, but in revenue terms, more than half their revenue comes from those bigger packs.  And most businesses stop at the 99c level, they would make a tenth of the revenue of Pocket Frogs.”

Last week, the Train2Game blog reported that Smurfs’ Village is ‘changing the market’ for mobile games.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the growth of free-to-play? Is it here to stay?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Industry Gamers via]