Train2Game News WeWanaPlay Game Jam

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Gaming industry professionals and students from across the West Midlands will be heading to Birmingham City University on 23 January to make new computer games – in just one weekend.

Hosted by the University’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment and co-organised with Birmingham gaming app-makers WewanaPlay, the event forms part of the Global Game Jam (GGJ) – the world’s largest game jam event which last year saw almost 3000 games created.

Taking place at Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus, participants from the West Midlands will join more than 7,000 people worldwide as they compete to make the best computer games in 48 hours.

“Computer games are of growing importance to our regional economy and we are very fortunate to have so many great innovative indie game studios so close to our City Centre Campus. Our highly respected computer games technology course is leading the way in providing exceptional young talent to these companies”, said Andrew Wilson, Programme Leader for Computer Games Technology at Birmingham City University.

“This event will emphasize both the regional and global importance that computer games play and it’s an amazing opportunity to network with industry professionals, learn new skills and share best practice.”

On arrival at the event, a secret theme will be announced which must form part of all of the games created. Attendees will be invited to explore new technology tools, take on new roles in games development and test their skills as they design, develop, create and test new games over two days.

To find out more visit http://www.blog.wewanaplay.com/

Train2Game News Minecraft Story Mode

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As 2014 comes to a close, Telltale are delighted to confirm the partnership with Mojang to create a new episodic game series based on one of the most popular video games in history – Minecraft.

Minecraft: Story Mode will be an all-new narrative-driven game series developed by Telltale in collaboration with Mojang. Set in the world of Minecraft, the series will feature an original story, driven by player choice. It will not be an add-on for Minecraft, but rather a separate stand-alone product that will premiere in 2015 on consoles, computers and mobile devices.

Telltale’s game series will mix new characters with familiar themes, in an entirely original Minecraft experience, inspired by the Minecraft community and the game that continues to inspire a generation.

2014 is Telltale’s tenth anniversary year; seeing in the climactic finales of the critically acclaimed and best-selling The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead: Season Two. With the recent premieres of both Game of Thrones and Tales from the Borderlands, their 2015 lineup will include the remainder of both of those new series, and now it will also include the premiere of Minecraft: Story Mode.

After ten years of making games, Telltale is JUST getting started!

Train2Game News Game of Thrones Episode one review

Game of ThronesTelltale have been very lovely people again and they sent me the first episode of the Game of Thrones episodic to play through.

The first thing I have to mention is that Telltale are true experts at catching the feel of an IP. Borderlands, The Walking Dead and now Game of Thrones have the exact feel as they show, comic, game or book it represents.

The art style is beautiful and slightly different to the normal comic book style we see from Telltale. This has been done more in an oil painting style which suits the game. I played the game on Xbox One and as you’d expect it is a crystal clear image.

The choices you have to make through the game are very Game of Thrones style and are incredibly difficult to make, you often move on wondering if you have made the right choice and questioning, what if?

As with the Borderlands game this can be played if you have never seen the show or read the books as the story stands on it’s own. However if you are a fan of the series the inclusion of characters from the show will increase your enjoyment, or fear in some cases.

I highly recommend picking this up and look forward to playing through the rest of the Game of Thrones series.

Winter should definitely come to your console!

Train2Game News Xbox Game Streaming

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Arcadia is the name of Microsoft’s in-development streaming games tech.

That’s according to ZDNet, which says Arcadia is being developed by a new streaming team in Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group and is designed to replace the ‘Rio’ streaming tech demonstrated last year.

Arcadia, which is being built around Microsoft’s existing Azure cloud network, will not just stream games but also apps – the site even says that the company at one stage saw Arcadia as a way for Windows users to access Android content. This idea has now apparently been put on hold, although recent job ads for the Arcadia team do ask for candidates with experience with iOS and Android.

ZDNet doesn’t believe Arcadia will be demonstrated at the upcoming Windows 10 reveal next month, although Xbox boss Phil Spencer will be talking.

Sony became the first console platform holder to branch out into game streaming. It acquired streaming firm Gaikai in 2012 and this year launched its PS Now service in North America. Other streaming games firms, such as OnLive, have struggled to gain traction.

Train2Game News Deep Silver charity money raised

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Deep Silver’s Humble Bundle sales have totaled a sensational 1.89 Million US-Dollar for charity since the start of the co-operation between the publisher and Humble Bundle, Inc, in July 2013. Both partners are proud and thankful for the continuous support and the strong commitment to donate.

With brands like Saints Row and Metro being part of the offers, Deep Silver has become one of Humble Bundle’s biggest partners. With its unique approach, Humble Bundle offers a package of games. The price is up to the client, in the same way he or she can choose how much of the money goes to the publisher, Humble Bundle itself or to charity.

“We are stunned by the huge number that our buyers have donated over the last year,” says Dr. Klemens Kundratitz, CEO of Deep Silver/Koch Media. “This success is a clear sign to keep investing in the strong relationship with Humble Bundle and continue to offer attractive packages in the future.”

“Teaming up with Deep Silver to delight millions of gamers around the world while raising nearly 2 million dollars for charity has been absolutely awesome,” said John Graham, co-founder and COO of Humble Bundle. “Deep Silver is one of our favorite publishers to work with and we are excited by what might be possible in the future.”

Top five beneficiaries are Child’s Play ($530,000 reiceved), American Red Cross ($520,000), Charity: Water ($320,000), Save the Children ($300,000) and World Vision ($84,000).

Train2Game News Race to Elite

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Frontier Developments plc today launched Elite: Dangerous, the fourth game in the groundbreaking, genre-defining Elite series.

Elite: Dangerous is the fourth in the Elite series of games, following on from the seminal 1984 Elite, developed by David Braben and Ian Bell, 1993’s Frontier: Elite 2, and 1995’s Frontier: First Encounters.

Elite: Dangerous was crowdfunded via Kickstarter and Frontier Developments’ own website, beginning in November 2012. Throughout 2014, backers have had access to the game’s Alpha, Beta and Gamma stages.

The story begins today with the Empire in disarray. The Emperor is sick and a bitter fight for succession has already begun. The Federation has a weak President, and some frontier States are looking to leave it.

Players are free to throw themselves into the story wholeheartedly, participate a little, or not at all. How players choose to respond will directly affect the outcome of the current events, and the unfolding story beyond.

Since 1984, players have aspired to be called Elite. In 1984 only the greatest combat pilots were known by the prestigious title.

Today in Elite: Dangerous, Elite status is awarded as recognition for total mastery in either combat, trading or exploration, with the best of the best aspiring to become Elite in all three.

For most, the journey to Elite will be a long one. For some, it will become a race.

Frontier Developments is offering a separate £1,000 cash prize to the first player who attains Elite status for each of combat, trading and exploration, and a further £10,000 prize for the first player to attain the coveted Triple Elite status for total mastery of all three. Player’s choosing to claim one of the £1,000 cash prizes will make them ineligible for the ‘triple’ prize, though one player could get more than one of the £1,000 prizes.

For further details and rules of the competition, visit the Elite: Dangerous forum thread on the competition here

Train2Game News Developers calling for reclassification

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Video games should be officially classified as cultural products equal to TV, film and animation, according to UK developers.

Industry body Tiga has told Newsbeat the move would give games “the respect they deserve” and offer a boost to British-based companies.

Games are currently classified as software under EU law. Developers argue a change would allow the UK and other countries to support the industry and create jobs.

“Recognising games as cultural products would untie the red tape which unfairly prevents EU member state governments from supporting their national video game sectors,” said Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of Tiga.

Tax breaks were introduced for games companies in March, but only after the European Commission approved the move. Developers claim that would not have been necessary if games were classified as cultural products.

Dr Wilson added games should be seen as “an art form, as a high-tech, highly-skilled industry, as a force for economic and social good”.

The video games industry is worth $93bn (£59bn) worldwide, compared to $15bn for the music industry, and the $88.3bn worldwide film industry, according to Tiga.

Source: BBC Newsbeat

Train2Game News WWE Immortals

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WWE and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment are creating WWE Immortals, a free-to-play mobile game that will feature epic Superstar battles in a fantastically re-imagined WWE world.

WWE Immortals is being developed by NetherRealm Studios, the creators of the best-selling Mortal Kombat franchise and Injustice: Gods Among Us, in conjunction with Phosphor Game Studios, and will be available worldwide on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Android devices in 2015.

“It’s amazing to be working with WWE to offer a new way for fans to experience the brand on mobile platforms,” said Greg Ballard, Senior Vice President, Mobile, Social and Emerging Platforms, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “NetherRealm Studios are experts in creating award-winning games and the team is working hard to deliver the same quality of engaging gameplay with WWE Immortals.”

“We are excited to partner with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and NetherRealm Studios to create WWE Immortals and bring a new action-packed mobile experience to our passionate fan base,” said Casey Collins, Executive Vice President, Consumer Products, WWE. “By tapping into NetherRealm’s legendary game development studio along with the unparalleled reach of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, we are creating a new way for fans to engage with the larger-than-life WWE characters.”

Additional details, including gameplay features, will be announced leading up to the game’s launch next year.

Train2Game News Gender Balance Workforce Survey

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This week saw the launch of the Next Gen Skills Academy Gender Balance Workforce Survey.

Women working in the games industry are invited to fill in an online survey outlining their experience of working in the sector and any challenges or issues they have come across, which will be open until Wednesday 24 December. Those who wish to contribute further will be able to opt in to take part in more detailed phone interviews. Companies and men working in games will also be consulted and any who wish to contribute can share their views by emailing info@nextgenskillsacademy.com.

The aim of the Gender Balance Workforce Survey is to understand more about career challenges and barriers that women face in the games industry. The results will be analysed by an advisory group, and distilled into key issues that will be explored at a workshop in February 2015 held in three locations across the UK. The project’s findings will be made publicly available so they can be used by anyone working in the industry, and build a platform from which solutions can be made to address the current gender imbalance in the games industry. According to the Creative Skillset census in 2012, only 14% of the games industry workforce are women.

A company focused workshop will also take place in London during February 2015 exploring the issues faced by organisations in recruiting and maintaining gender balanced workforces. These practical workshops and knowledge sharing events will be based on the evidence collected during the online survey and telephone interviews.

This project is funded by Creative Skillset’s Skills Investment Funds, which helps companies invest in the development of skills and talent in games and other creative industries. Next Gen Skills Academy is also working within the VFX and Animation industries to investigate and address gender imbalances in those sectors.

Managing Director of Next Gen Skills Academy Gina Jackson, said, “An Internet Advertising Bureau study published earlier this year found that 52% of gamers in the UK are women, yet women only make up 14% of the industry workforce. It’s important that the games industry is made up of a range of people reflective of the demographics of its customers, to ensure relevance to the mass market and the commercial success of the UK Games Industry. The results of the Gender Balance Workforce Survey will help us work towards strengthening our industry and ensuring that the British games industry remains relevant and competitive on a global scale.”

Train2Game News GEEK 2015

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Multiplay, hosts of the UK’s biggest gaming festival Insomnia, is delighted to announce a new partnership with GEEK, a festival that is the place to Meet, Make and Play.

GEEK is a growing festival of play and games, held each year in the seaside town of Margate, Kent. A place for families and friends to come together to help create and play whilst having large amounts of fun, GEEK offers digital and analogue activities for both casual and dedicated gamers.

As a result of the partnership, Multiplay will be curating multiple parts of GEEK2015 which takes place from 20th – 22nd February next year.

GEEK has something for all the family. So whether you want to play and compete, relax, learn new skills or get an idea of how to get your dream job using games and technology, GEEK is the place to be.

“We have big plans for GEEK so it is really exciting to be working with Multiplay on GEEK2015. Multiplay has an unrivalled reputation, and their success on a national and international scale with global partners is a result of their outstanding passion for gaming and commitment to excellence,” said Kate Kneale, Director Marine Studios. “Together we can create a really innovative showcase for games, old and new, popular and obscure, innovative and just plain crazy.”

“The undertaking with GEEK is one we are ecstatic to be part of, showcasing the continually rising popularity of gaming events.  We are delighted to once again be working with GEEK for the second consecutive year, and this is just the start of an array of fantastic projects we will be involved with throughout 2015,” said Craig Fletcher, CEO & Founder of Multiplay.  “It’s been yet another fantastic year and we are delighted to now be actively involved with almost every single show in the gaming events calendar, with GEEK2015 at the forefront.”

More information on GEEK2015 will be revealed on the GEEK website www.geek-play.com