Train2Game News Interview with Peter Law Part 1

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“My name is Peter Law, and I’m attempting to be an indie game developer.” Part 1

This week Train2Game caught up with Peter Law, the forum favourite that operates under the username: Carwash. He’s helped many other students with their Train2Game related queries and assisted lots of people on their games creation journeys.

Not a lot of people actually know that Peter has been working in the games industry for years. He’s now working on his own projects and has recently released two titles under his independent label, Enigma 23.
This is the first part of the interview, where we asked Peter about his history with games and what he’s currently working on.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your love of gaming?

“I probably started gaming on the Atari 2600 (“Light Sixer”), I’ve no idea at what age. I still remember getting the Atari 5200ST one Christmas, which came with around 25 games, Gauntlet; Bomb Jack; Space Harrier and so many more I enjoyed many, many … many hours playing – I wish I still had it. The thrill and enjoyment of coming home with a new Atari game I remember fondly. Another Christmas I got a Super NES and a TV for my room, again many hours spent on Mario All Stars; Mario Kart; Donkey Kong Country et al – thankfully I still have my Super NES and Atari 2600.

It was probably the Super NES that incepted me with games as more than a pastime, then the N64 which progressed me more into the world of gaming – I read so much about the N64 before its release it became somewhat of an obsession. It was PC gaming, the internet and online multiplayer that solidified the desire to work in the games industry.
So I started gaming back when games were hard, back when you had to think, there was no hand holding in games (certainly not to the extreme extent many games have today).

I started off working in the games industry for EA, in their QA department. Since then I’ve worked for SEGA, Microsoft, ChangYou (a fairly big Chinese MMO developer/ publisher) and some non-gaming companies. After 8 years in QA I got the chance to take some time off and do my own thing, teach myself a lot more of C# and Unity, and make some games – that’s what I’ve been doing since October 2014 with Enigma 23.

Over the years, I have always dabbled in creating something, be it websites (HTML and CSS); levels (Hammer – TFC, GtkRadieant – Q3); flash (websites and animations); games (UDK – my own stuff) but they never really got fully completed, it wasn’t until picking up Unity at around version 3.5 that I started to be able to progress and finish a game.

My hobby is my career, and my career is my hobby.

Can you tell us about Shh, Zombies?

“Shh, Zombies originally started out as a companion mobile game to an MMO game idea I had years ago, but as that MMO was never going to get made I turned SZ into its own, full game. Shh, Zombies is a puzzle game where the player must get Jim safely to the exit, they do this by placing waypoints down to complete a path to the exit and then watch the action unfold. There are two types of zombies to avoid: the idle, but ever watching, zombie – if they spot Jim they will give chase. Then there’s the walker, these just walk in a straight line, oblivious to what’s going on around them.

There are 40 levels, set during the day and at night. Night levels offer greater difficulty, as it is night time there are more zombies and lower lighting. Each level has 2 objectives:

1- Complete the level in a set number of moves (par).
2- Collect all the zombie heads.”

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And its release?

“As this was my first time publishing a game I decided to launch on the Windows Store (desktop) first, using it as a platform to do a soft release and learn about the process of submitting to a store, iOS and Android were then a fairly easy submission process for me.

I didn’t expect to make anywhere near my money back on SZ, but I expected it to do better than it did – mainly because of friends and colleagues saying they’d buy it when it was released, most didn’t, but very thankful to those who did

I have a blog post that goes into more detail about the release than I’ve got room for here (http://enigma23.co.uk/blog/shh-zombies-sales-post-mortem/)”

And can you tell us about Minecart Runner? And describe the game?

“’Shh, Zombies’ took me approximately 18 months from start of development to first release, and nearly 2 years until I decided it was “finished”, for my second game I wanted something that wouldn’t take as long, 2 to 3 months. In December I started prototyping an infinite runner, and I forget why exactly now, but started to remember the mine cart levels on Donkey Kong Country, so I took inspiration from that and made ‘Minecart Runner’.

There are 2 modes in the game, a Normal mode, where the cart is on rails and the player must jump over gaps and obstacles, collecting items along the way; and then Krazy Mode, which is procedurally generated, is quite difficult and has “crazy” physics (the cart spins around 360). Krazy mode is how MCR started out and wasn’t supposed to be in the game, but during prototyping quite a few people said to me they’d play that, so I kept it in as an additional mode.
MCR has been out, on iOS, since Friday 17th and has had nearly 400 downloads so far – it’s doing a lot better than I expected. Most people are playing the normal mode at the moment. I released Android a little over a week ago, but it hasn’t been picked up as well on there.”

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Why Enigma 23?

“The 23 enigma refers to the belief that most incidents and events are directly connected to the number 23, some modification of the number 23, or a number related to the number 23. Though, this belief isn’t something I personally believe, I do find it interesting and use it as a meta game, hiding 23 where I can.”

How many people in your studio, just yourself?

“Just me, though my wife is a graphic designer, so she helps me out with art when I need it – mainly UI, icons, promo assets etc.”

What are your responsibilities?

“Everything. Game design; coding; UX/ UI design; producer; marketing; PR; community management; testing; even did a bit of 3d work for my first game.”

Who did the artwork?

“For ‘Shh, Zombies’ I had a friend helping me with the UI assets, and he did an awesome job. I did all the 3d work for SZ, using a program called Qubicle. Then my wife has done UI assets, icons and promo assets for both SZ and ‘Minecart Runner’. Other than that I buy game assets from the Unity asset store or Game Dev Market.”

How is it working independently?

“Besides the lack of income? It’s great! Doing what I want and working making games. It is hard though, working at home alone, the main challenges that come with that are not being left alone by my family, and not having someone to work with, discuss ideas with, and get motivation from. To help with motivation I’ve started going to indie developer meetups/ events in my area, which gives a huge boost to motivation – just to be around other developers is a great help.”

You can keep up to date with the company on there social media at

Twitter: https://twitter.com/en9g131
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/en9g131

Or the company site http://enigma23.co.uk/

Train2Game News Get your game at Develop

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Develop:Brighton’s annual search for the next big thing in independent games development is underway as submissions open for its fifth Indie Showcase at www.developconference.com.

The conference’s free-to-enter Indie Showcase celebrates the very best of indie game development with an exhibition featuring the ten best entries as chosen by a panel of experts, chaired by Assyria Games’ Adam Green.

All 10 finalists receive two free Indie Dev Day conference passes, up to five Expo passes, pre-event publicity and a profile on the event website, plus the opportunity to show off their games to around 1,800 developers and publishers at the event.

Over the past four years, more than 250 indie developers have submitted their games to the judging panel. Alumni winners include critically acclaimed 2013 Editor’s Choice winner, Gunpoint, 2014 Editor’s Choice winner Darklings which has made it into the top-100 grossing games chart on iOS and 2013 People’s Choice winner, That Dragon Cancer.

“The quality of the games submitted to the Develop Indie Showcase last year was nothing short of astounding, and it’s great to see so many previous winners going onto both commercial and critical success,” said Andy Lane, managing director of conference organisers Tandem Events.

“The showcase is now in its fifth year and continues to be a fantastic opportunity for indie developers to get their games in front of publishers, the gaming press and their fellow peers,” added Adam Green, managing director of Assyria Games and chair of the judging panel.

“Last year had a record number of games submitted to the competition and what really stood out were the diversity of the entries; everything from highly polished commercial titles, to deeply artistic emotive personal projects and everything in-between. I can’t wait to see what this year’s selection has to offer!”

Constantin Graf, developer of iOS title SwapQuest and 2014 Indie Showcase winner commented “The first thing I would say is do it! It doesn’t really matter if you’re on a very tight budget, just take your chances, somehow you’ll be able to make it in the end. The other thing I’d say is you shouldn’t just do it for the chance of winning, but for the experience of meeting up with like-minded people that can give you some real insight.”

Submissions for the Develop Indie Showcase are now open and it’s completely free to apply. Applicants wishing to enter must comply with the following rule:

– Studios with no more than 15 people
– Studios – and games – that are non-publisher funded
– Games which are not published by a third party at the time of submission
– Games that have a development budget of less than £1million
– Games that are created in the “indie spirit”
– More information and application forms can be found on the website www.developconference.com

The deadline to enter is 11 May and the overall Indie Showcase and People’s Choice winners will be announced to press and delegates at the Develop:Brighton Conference on Thursday 16 July 2015.

Train2Game News CG Student Awards

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£240,000 worth of prizes and twenty five paid internships available to Train2Game Digital Artists in the CG Student Awards

Train2Game students asked to enter CG Student Awards by co- founder of the industry wide Computer Graphics competition. Interview with co-founder exclusively for Train2Game also tells students more about the competition.

The CG Student Awards are an annual independent event created by Games Developers, which showcase and reward excellence in computer graphics from students and recent graduates.

The Awards strive to create a platform for all aspiring digital artists to launch their careers, network with professionals, and connect with other passionate digital artists from around the world. The Awards are a chance to reward those studying Art while putting them in the spotlight of employers. 

This year there are over £240,000 in prizes available and twenty five paid internships, at companies including: Weta Digital, Epic Games, Moving Picture Company, and Double Negative. All entries to the competition receive an incredible software package worth £65. Entries also receive an industry approved rank for their submission and feedback from judges on their entry.

Train2Game spoke with CG Awards co-founder Alwyn Hunt to get his advice on what Train2Game students can gain from entering the competition.

Alwyn Hunt, co-founder, Sales and New Business:  “The CG Student Awards are a great stage for students to be able to compare themselves with their peers. We have some world class gaming studios involved with the Awards that are looking for students to work for them.”

“We created the awards, because we recognised the fact that there was no stage for student to be able to showcase their work. People are genuinely shocked when they see just how good student work can actually be – even we’re amazed each year with the quality coming through. It’s great to see, and that’s what the awards are all about – just showcasing the different talents from around the world and bringing it onto that global stage via the website, www.cgstudentawards.com.”

“The most important thing that students stand to gain is exposure on a global scale.  On top of that every person that enters gets a 1-month subscription to Digital Tutors, a 6-month Creative Cloud license from Adobe, and a 3-month website hosting package from SiteGround! Goodies worth £65.”

“Having something to work towards helps stop procrastination, and you learn so much in the process of getting your entry ready for competitions.  We put a lot of effort into organizing studios to offer internship to the winners.  We have a lot of big studios looking at the students work during the running of the Awards and we have found in the past that even students that don’t win, often get contacted by studios.”

The competition is now open for 2015, enter at www.cgstudentawards.com

Train2Game News EGX 2015 Tickets Selling Fast

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Gamer Network, the world’s leading network of independent video games websites and producer of the UK’s premiere video games events, today announced that tickets for this year’s EGX – powered by Virgin Media – have smashed through the 20,000 sales milestone.

In just two weeks 20,000 – or one quarter – of all EGX tickets have been sold, including 100% of the Virgin Media Early Entry and Saturday and Sunday Early Entry tickets. Tickets of all types are selling quickly (Friday Early Entry tickets are especially limited), with consumers demonstrating their excitement for EGX 2015; the UK’s biggest ever video games event, with the greatest number of playable pre-release games.

With the huge initial publisher support – 2K, Bandai Namco Games, Bethesda Softworks, Capcom, Electronic Arts, Green Man Loaded, Introversion Software, Nintendo, Oculus VR, PlayStation, SEGA, Square Enix, Team17, Ubisoft, Versus Evil and Xbox – gamers know they’ll be getting their hands on 2015’s best gaming experiences before the general public.

Fans have also fully embraced the new venue. Centrally located just outside Birmingham, with fantastic transport routes to the north and south of the country, the NEC provides the ideal space to support the whole of the UK.

For the small number of Londoners afraid to leave the capital (you know who you are) EGX has partnered with Virgin Trains to offer a 25% discount on rail travel (offer also available nationwide). Visit http://www.egx.net/egx/location for more information and join the rest of us at this year’s massive show.

Frozen at last year’s prices, tickets are available from the EGX website (www.egx.net/egx/tickets ), with a variety of day and full event passes available:

●     Day ticket – £17.50
●     Early Entry ticket – £20
●     Four day Super Pass – £60

Stay up-to-date with EGX online, including heads-up on ticket and game giveaways and to purchase tickets visit the  EGX 2015 event website, www.egx.net/egx

Train2Game News BAFTA seeks Breakthrough Brits

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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has opened applications for BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, in partnership with Burberry. This annual initiative celebrates and supports the UK’s future stars of film, television and games.

To mark this year’s launch, BAFTA and Oscar-nominated director Christopher Nolan spoke to previous Breakthrough Brits and other BAFTA-supported new talent at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly. During the event Nolan discussed his own breakthrough moments, and gave insights into his creative process.

Applications are open at http://bit.ly/Breakthrough-Brits  until midday on Wednesday 27 May. A panel of film, television and games professionals will select up to 20 Breakthrough Brits for 2015, who will each receive a bespoke programme of career development support, including mentoring, guidance sessions and networking opportunities, as well as non-voting membership of BAFTA for a year. The selected Breakthrough Brits will be revealed at a reception at the Burberry global flagship, 121 Regent Street, later this year.

‘Friends of BAFTA Breakthrough Brits’, supporters of the initiative, include director Paul Greengrass, actors Douglas Booth, Blake Harrison, Miranda Hart, Toby Jones, Simon Pegg, and Sheridan Smith, presenters Edith Bowman and Emma Freud, and games industry entrepreneurs Ian Livingstone CBE and Fiona Sperry.

Amanda Berry OBE, Chief Executive of BAFTA, said: “I am absolutely thrilled by the success of Breakthrough Brits and delighted that, for the third year running, we are partnering with Burberry who share our vision to celebrate emerging British talent. Our ambitions for Breakthrough Brits continue to grow and tonight’s inspirational event with BAFTA-nominated director Christopher Nolan is a brilliant way to launch our search for the Breakthrough Brits of 2015. The calibre of the professionals the Breakthrough Brits meet through the development programme, and the generosity of their support, are what makes this initiative really special.”

Since the launch of the initiative in 2013, three Breakthrough Brits have become BAFTA winners: games producer Daniel Gray and game designer Rex Crowle (as part of the development teams for Monument Valley and Tearaway respectively), and writer Dominic Mitchell (In The Flesh). Two other 2014 honourees, writer Chris Lunt and producer Marc Williamson, are nominated in the Breakthrough Talent category at the British Academy Television Craft Awards, which takes place on Sunday 26 April.

Over the last year, BAFTA has arranged for past Breakthrough Brits to meet industry professionals who can help them develop their career.  Recently producer/directors Mike Brett and Steve Jamison met director Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson on the set of their latest film Steve Jobs. Describing their experience as Breakthrough Brits, Brett and Jamison said: “The word ‘BAFTA’ instantly changes people’s perception of your [professional] pedigree, and also of your future ambitions. That seal of approval has not only allowed us to cement relationships with filmmakers we already knew, but also to forge new connections with people we might otherwise not have been able to meet. To be recognised for having taken that daunting and rewarding first step is one thing, but to be supported as you attempt your subsequent, more ambitious steps is absolutely invaluable.”

Individuals can apply to be a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit at http://bit.ly/Breakthrough-Brits. Industry professionals can nominate someone by contacting breakthrough@bafta.org ; BAFTA will then contact the nominated individual to invite them to submit an application before the Wednesday 27 May deadline.

Proposed candidates for BAFTA Breakthrough Brits must be UK nationals at the start of their career who are making a name for themselves as a performer or in a craft specialism within film, television or games, and have a credit on at least one production with a theatrical release, broadcast or publication in the UK between August 2014 and August 2015. For the full entry criteria go to: http://bit.ly/Breakthrough-Brits.

Train2Game News Game Music Connect

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Hailed as “The video game music industry’s event of the year” (Classic FM), Game Music Connect today announced its highly anticipated return to The Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre, London on September 15, 2015. Early-bird tickets are available now at http://www.gamemusicconnect2015.com .

Building on the symposium format of two previous sold-out events, this year’s programme is set to feature sessions on the next frontier in video games – Virtual Reality (VR) – as well as further expanding on diverse practical topics ranging from live orchestral recording and interactive music engines through to sample library creation and showreel presentation. First announced session, ‘To Be Or Not To Be: Music for VR’, will be a discussion on the role of music in VR experiences, looking also at how the blurring of lines between sound and music in some games is bringing the work of composers and sound designers closer together.

Now in its third year, Game Music Connect is for aspiring and professional composers of all backgrounds and those interested in learning about the art and craft of creating today’s cutting edge video game soundtracks – featuring talks, practical demonstrations and round-table discussions with some of the world’s leading artists, innovators and decision makers in the world of music for video games.

Game Music Connect is founded by multi-award winning game and TV composer James Hannigan and celebrated game audio director, composer and industry commentator John Broomhall – who, with over one-hundred AAA game credits between them, joined forces in 2013 to create Game Music Connect in order to celebrate and explore the music of video games.

James Hannigan: “We’re back bigger than ever for 2015 and with a longer running time, too. As well as the hot topic of VR and its implications for the game soundtrack, we’ll be delving deeper into interactive music, looking at sample library creation with a major library developer, talking about mockups, demos and showreels with the composers and a lot more besides. Great speaker announcements and further details to come!”

For more information and to purchase tickets for Game Music Connect 2015, visit http://www.gamemusicconnect2015.com .

Train2Game News ChilliWorks GameJam

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Dundee based, game technology company, ChilliWorks, is gearing up to give away £1,000 to the best prototype game created with their new open source game engine, ChilliSource.

ChilliWorks is a new suite of game development tools created by Scottish mobile game studio, Tag Games. This week the company announced plans of their first official game jam, inviting teams to take part in the event.

ChilliWorks is offering competitors the chance to win £1,000 to the overall winner of the 48-hour ChilliSource Game Jam, where prototype games will be created with the ChilliSource engine. Submissions will be judged by the ChilliWorks team, based on style, mechanic, creativity and general fun factor.

The jam coincides with this year’s Dare to be Digital competition. A change in the application process that allows competitors to apply for Dare to be Digital with a pre-developed prototype, provides a timely opportunity for anyone taking part in the ChilliSource Game Jam.

Mike Herron, Head of Connected Technology at ChilliWorks says, “The first ChilliSource game jam is another significant milestone in the roadmap of the engine. It’s open-source so it’s out there for anyone to download and contribute to. The jam will give us the opportunity to get a lot of vital feedback from developers. We are big fans of Dare to be Digital so being able to support applicants through our game jam is a real added bonus.”

He goes on to say “We hope the ChilliSource Game Jam will encourage potential Dare to be Digital applicants to create something incredible using our engine and inspire anyone in two minds about taking part to get involved.”

The ChilliSource Game Jam is hosted remotely meaning teams can work from the comfort of their own home. The jam starts at 18:00 UTC on the 17th of April and finishes at 18:00 UTC on the 19th of April.

If you want the chance to take part, you need to email gamejam@chilli-works.com before the 16th of April and register your team.

Train2Game News Tester Job Available

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A new job is available for Train2Game students who are interested in games testing.

F2P GAMES QA TESTER – Based in Milton Keynes

Games tester required to join a proven industry leading mobile games
developer. We need a few pragmatic and self-motivated individuals who can
work on their own initiative and function well within a team.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES

   – _ Write and run custom and bespoke test routines as required
   – _ Compile games test results and data into concise bug reports
   – _ Complete test report tickets

OUR REQUIREMENTS

   – _ 1+ years experience, preferably in games or related field
   – _ Strong team player, eager to learn and share with others
   – _ Bright, flexible and able to work to deadlines and under pressure
   – _ Tech savvy with an interest in F2P game on mobile and console
   – _ Strong written and oral communication skills
   – _ Excellent attention to detail
   – _ Ability to follow processes and suggest improvements
   – _ A good understanding of the software development and testing
   lifecycle

EXTRA KUDOS FOR

   – _ Professional development experience of mobile and console platforms
   – _ An understanding of the F2P games market
   – _ A passion for playing games, particularly on mobile
   – _ Initiative and drive for problem solving

Please send job applications to jobs@train2game.com

Train2Game News Student artwork gallery

Dan CableDan Cable is coming to the end of his course with Train2Game and we have every confidence he’ll go on to do some incredible things in the gaming world.

We’ve highlighted some of our favourite pieces of his work, but if you’d like to see more art and 3D Gifs then visit his work thread on the forum.
http://forum.train2game.com/showthread.php/14286-Wyldeone1978-s-Work-Thread/page6

In a post Dan wrote on the Train2Game forum and said of the course: “I gotta say, I’m partly sad it’s over (or nearly) but it’s been a long road to get here. I’m a little disappointed I took so long (3 Years) as I think I committed too much time to things like BF3/4 and iRacing rather than get my head down with this. For the money spent I think I’ve got a great value education and a great understanding of the core principles involved in game art.”

We’ve approached Dan for an interview and he’ll be getting back to us as soon as he finishes his course work!

You can view some of Dans artwork in the gallery below

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Train2Game News SEGALives

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REZtron Ltd., have announced its move into London’s club scene with its first Friday night pop-up retrotainment at the most immersive (and sexiest) venue to date, BonBonniere club in the heart of Mayfair…

Guests will be transported into the sexy golden era of SEGA gaming, mixed with drinks, networking,music,sprites,vectors,polygons,3D,CRT TVs, projector screens, sexy LEDs and much more…all under the roof of a sumptuous Tron-esque nightclub for to indulge all of your senses…

The interior is inspired by the infamous Fabergé Egg which paints the perfect backdrop for a timeless, priceless and exquisite experience.The enchanted sweet shop will sweep you into a state of youthful bliss dusted with elegance.

Attendees will also be given the chance to entertain the crowd by showing off their gaming/music skills on the artistic electro-trance fuelled game Rez via the SEGA Dreamcast, whist standing inside a Fabergé Egg DJ Booth.

The LED fuelled retrotainment will take place on Friday 10th April,6pm til 11pm. The FREE tickets can be registered through Eventbrite.

It will be a night of 8-16-32-128-BIT retrotainment like no other…

Further details on REZtron’s upcoming events or for corporate bookings please visit  reztron.co.uk  or email logan@reztron.co.uk