Train2Game News GameLoading Rise of the Indies

GameLoadingGameLoading: Rise of the Indies is a feature documentary exploring the world of indie game developers – their craft, their games, their dreams, and how they have forever changed the landscape of games culture. The project is currently crowdfunding through Kickstarter to help complete post-production.

Filmmakers Lester Francois and Anna Brady have clocked over 100 hours of interviews with both high-profile and up-and-coming indie developers and industry figures from all over the world. The stories that feature in the documentary are only the tip of the iceberg, with the team currently offering an additional 23 videos on youtube, with more scheduled to be released regularly over the next few months. Popular videos include BitSummit in Kyoto, Dutch Game Garden and Mike Bithell – ‘Story and Gameplay’

The exclusive Member’s Section on their website features longer more in-depth interviews available to Backers. The member’s section is a great resource for indie devs and fans. Those wanting to be a member can do so by backing the kickstarter The Final Push.

GameLoading’s Kickstarter, which launched last week is on track to raise the $50,000 needed to fund post production. Featured on the kickstarter page is the new GameLoading trailer, which has been touching the hearts of audiences across the community. It offers a heartwarming and positive message about developer culture, despite the recent negativity in the industry.

GameLoading features interviews with Davey Wreden (The Stanley Parable), John Romero (Doom), Rami Ismail (Vlambeer), Alexander Bruce (Antichamber), Lucas Pope (Papers, Please), Richard Hofmeier (Cart Life), Phil Tibitoski (Octodad), Zoe Quinn (Depression Quest), Steve Gaynor (Gone Home), Christine Love (Analogue), Mike Bithell (Thomas Was Alone) and dozens more.

The film will demystify what goes into making a game, examine the processes of different studios and individuals, capture the excitement of industry events like PAX and GDC, ponder why we play and what success means, and explore where this art form has come from and where it may be going.

Train2Game News Steam Game Discoverability

Valve logoValve has made some major changes to the way users discover games on its digital distribution platform Steam.

The new Discovery Update revamps the store’s home page and presents recommendations based on past purchases, recent gameplay and friend recommendations.

Also new is the curators list. Users can create their own list of games, based on a sci-fi theme for example, and recommend games based on their tastes for other players to see and subscribe to.

Steam will still retain some of its more traditional elements however, such as displaying popular new releases, recently updated games and top sellers. Users though will now be able to customise their homepage to display which of these categories they want to see.

Game searching has also been updated, and now allows users to discover titles by entering a tag or a basic description of a game they would be interested in playing.

Through a new traffic data analytics system, developers will be able to see where their game is appearing on the store, how many times it has been shown, and if those impressions have resulted in game page views.

The revamp is Valve’s response to the growing number of games being released on Steam. Since January, 1,300 new titles have been added to the marketplace, a significant increase on previous years and more than a third of the store’s total lifetime releases.. In total there are now more than 3,700 games on Steam.

Source: Develop

Train2Game News TIGA wants to help fund studios

TIGAIndustry trade body Tiga has called for the creation of a Creative Content Fund to provide a new source of financing for UK game studios.

The organisation has suggested a £3m fund per annum for game developers, split in to loans of up to £150,000. Part of this could be funded by National Lottery funds, which Tiga has also called for finance from.

The trade body said in comparison, the British Film Institute invests over £26m of Lottery funds a year to support film development, production and distribution, a figure set to rise to £30m by 2017.

A similar scheme is also run in Finland through the government-backed Tekes program, which has provided nearly $70m in funding since the late 1990s to studios in the country, including Rovio and Supercell.

Tiga suggests financing for the UK’s own initiative could be provided on a match-funding basis or through a convertible loan deal, with the CCF aiming to recoup money from recipients.

Recommended criteria for the fund include:

· The company is based in the UK.

· The company proposes to develop original new games IP which is innovative in terms of content, gameplay and, where appropriate, business models.

· The company retains majority ownership of the IP during the term of the loan.

· The company should have to demonstrate a robust business plan about how it intends to use the match-funding to enhance its prospects for commercial success.

· The CCF should invest in projects that have the potential for commercial success. Independent assessments of each game’s production and commercial potential should be sought as part of the CCF’s due diligence, before a funding decision is made.

· A commercial mentoring business advisory service should be provided for companies benefiting from CCF disbursements in order to provide guidance to new companies.

According to a recent survey by Tiga, 43 per cent of game businesses in the UK noted funding as the biggest challenge they face. It claimed that often studios secured finance by negotiating deals to trade away their IP rights.

“Establishing a Creative Content Fund would improve developers’ ability to raise finance, stimulate original IP generation and promote studio growth,” said Tiga CEO Richard Wilson.

“It would enhance the independence and commercial viability of game developers and strengthen the prospects for the expansion of the UK video games industry.”

Train2Game News Radius announce playable games

RadiusThe organisers of the Radius Festival have today announced the list of games to be showcased at the inaugural Radius Exhibition next week, 19 – 21st of June.

After a great start to the Radius video games Festival with Loading Bar’s E3 media briefing party, attended by over 200 people, the exhibition moves to White Space Venue, near Leicester Square.

The exhibition will host around 20 different playable titles each day, from developers all over the world,  including Tango Fiesta, 0rbitalis, Tap Happy Sabbotage, Timmy Bibble’s Friendship Club, Beyond Gravity, Mighty Tactical Shooter, In Space We Brawl, A Light in Chorus, Fossil Echo, The Kraken Sleepeth, The Marvellous Miss Take, Volume, and many others.

For the full list check out www.radiusfestival.com

“The creative variety and diversity of the games is amazing”, says co-founder and organiser Georg Backer, “and highlights that Radius is for everyone, from the one person developer to the established studio and to gamers and general public who are curious about games.”

“Radius is a celebration of game design and of the vibrancy of this wonderful industry,” adds co-organiser Keith Stuart. “We set it up in the wake of the major event E3 video games exhibition in Los Angeles, to give gamers a chance to experience and celebrate games amid a period of excitement and hype for the games business.”

The exhibition is free for everyone to attend and runs from June 19th to June 21st. There is £15 Supporter Ticket which includes a free drink and download tokens for two PC indie games: 0rbitalis and Richard & Alice.

During the evenings, there’ll also be the “Radius Show”, a live-streamed Internet show presented by games industry veterans and broadcast on Twitch, featuring developer interviews, guest stars and many surprises. Tickets for the evening show cost £25 and include a free drink plus free digital editions of 0rbitalis, Richard & Alice and Tango Fiesta. The show will be live streamed via www.twitch.tv/radiusfestival

Tickets for both the Exhibition and the Evening live show are now available at www.radiusfestival.eventbrite.co.uk

Train2Game News: Virgin Media Game Space

Virgin Media Game SpaceI got the pleasure of attending the launch for the Virgin Media Gaming Space last night at Blackall studios in London.

The Virgin Media Gaming Space is a new venture to promote indie gaming in the lead up to Eurogamer, where Virgin are one of the key sponsors.

The space itself is filled with many of the new indie games to try, including Spelunky and Super Hexagon. Downstairs is an area for indie developers to drop in and work together to create games with the hardware available.

There is also going to be a number of events across the time that the space is there including Game Jams and several talks with industry professionals including Mike Bithell, the developer of Thomas Was Alone.

One of the biggest attractions that is at the Virgin Media Gaming Space is the chance to try out an Oculus Rift. I jumped at the opportunity to see what it was like myself and personally was a bit disappointed but I can certainly see the potential in it.

The game that was being used to display the Oculus Rift was Strike Force Zero. A space shooter where you are a pilot destroying all things in view.

My main problem with the Oculus Rift was with me wearing glasses the headset pressed them in to the bridge of my nose causing discomfort. I did however like the way the UI would slide in to view when you looked to the left.

Regardless of my opinions on the Oculus Rift I wouldn’t have had the chance to try it out if it wasn’t for the Virgin Media Gaming Space. I urge all who can make it to visit as it is an excellent place to meet like minded individuals and play some of the latest greatest indie games.

You can read more about the space and find out about the events taking place at http://www.vmgs.com/

You can view a gallery of my time at the event below:

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Train2Game News: Microsoft allowing self publishing on Xbox One

Xbox OneMicrosoft have announced they will allow self publishing for indie titles on the Xbox One. This is excellent news for Train2Game students.

Microsoft have also announced that each console can be used as a development kit, much like the way that Apple devices can be used as such.

Here’s the official statement from Xbox corporate VP, Marc Whitten:

“Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox LIVE. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox LIVE. We’ll have more details on the program and the timeline at Gamescom in August.”

Whitten also told Kotaku that dev kit functionality will not be available at launch, but will be added ‘at a later date’.

This dispells all concerns of the accessibility and exposure of indie game on Xbox One, Whitten promises they will live on the Xbox Live Marketplace with the major titles.

Whitten explains “Of course there will be different pivots inside of that. There will be everything from what are we curating, kind of like spotlight content, to the normal discoverability stuff like recommendations, what’s trending, what’s got a lot of engagement on the platform. But you shouldn’t think of it as there’s an indie area and a non-indie area.”

With this announcement it opens up an entirely new indie market for Train2Game students and Student Studios with all the features of the Xbox One, allowing you to get creative with features such as Kinect and the Cloud.

Train2Game News: Over 1,600 developers attending Develop Conference

DevelopOn Tuesday 9 July, any Train2Game students lucky enough to attend the eight annual Develop Conference in Brighton will have the chance to interact with over 1,600 developers.

The three day conference will host over 90 sessions covering the whole spectrum of games development. 120 speakers will debate the biggest issues and trends in the industry, from Neil Brown’s session on PlayStation 4, to developments in touch-screen technology, discussions about Kickstarter and funding, global markets and even a session on cyber-psychology.

Lee Schuneman, studio head at Microsoft Lift London, will open the Evolve Conference on Tuesday before Mark Cerny, president of Cerny Games, will give the Develop Conference opening keynote entitled Changing the Game: Developing into the Next Generation. In total, there are nine tracks and seven keynotes over the three days.

Outside the conference, Develop will be hosting its biggest expo yet. Attendees can meet some of the biggest names in the industry including Dolby, Microsoft, Sony Computer Entertainment, Unity, Unreal Engine and Valve, as well as discovering some of the newest talent in the Develop Conference Indie Showcase.

Centrally located within the expo, the Indie Showcase highlights ten unpublished, independently-developed games selected by a judging panel of industry experts. Delegates have the chance to get hands on with the games and vote for their favourite through the People’s Choice vote.

“With only a week to go, we’re delighted with both the quantity and high quality of content we are offering our delegates,” commented Andy Lane, managing director of Tandem Events. “We’re lucky to have some fantastic keynotes and great sessions, which will offer invaluable information for every type of developer – from the smallest indies to established studios. I’m really looking forward to welcoming everyone down to Brighton next week.”

Full information on the conference sessions and speakers together with who is exhibiting at the expo can all be found on the new mobile event app, sponsored by Microsoft, or you can find the information on www.developconference.com.

Train2Game News: New online indie game market opening soon

A new online store is going live on 26 September selling indie games. It will utilise a pay-what-you-want scheme.

The new store, IndieGameStand, is run by the same people behind Indie Game Magazine. Its goal is to promote indie games and give indie developers a chance to show their talents.

The pay-what-you-want scheme is a good way for customers to show their support for indie titles. The majority of the games have extra bonuses that come with them if you choose to spend enough. 10% of all sales will go towards the developer of the games chosen charity. Humble Bundle has had good success with a similar scheme.

Every game you purchase from the site can be downloaded and installed as many times as you like, regardless of what you paid.

IndieGameStand states on its website “The purpose of IndieGameStand is to put a spotlight on those indie titles which provide fantastic experiences, but may have been passed over by the mainstream gaming public, portals, websites, or whatever. This site is about supporting all of the fantastic and worthwhile indie developers out there. Every developer out there deserves a moment to shine.”

This is good news for students as it opens up a new market to sell your games on. You can get good exposure, have a game released and help a good cause.

You can learn more at IndieGameStand.com

Train2Game News: Robert Boyd wants more opportunities for Xbox indie games

Robert Boyd believes Xbox should help their indie market by allowing high rated games to break through to Xbox Live Arcade.

It can be difficult to become a developer for XBLA. Taking inspiration from Steams Greenlight, Robert Boyd of Zeboyd believes Microsoft could do more for indie developers.

In his opinion the Xbox Live Indie Games could be a proving ground for new titles, with the best among them being sent forward to be released on XBLA. Similar to Steams Greenlight community rating system.

Boyd said “I’d like to see XBLIG kind of merge into XBLA”

“Keep Indie Games free to everyone but if you have a really good game, you could submit it to Microsoft for it to be upgraded to an XBLA title. Right now, becoming an XBLA developer is fairly difficult for a small team, so reducing the barrier of entry to XBLA could only help Microsoft, I think.”

If Microsoft take this on board any student who decides to create their own game can be spurred on by the thought that if their game is successful it will reach an even bigger audience. That can only be good for everyone involved.

It can be very hard to stand out in the Indie market. Any developer who makes a good game that is enjoyed by players should be rewarded for it.

Train2Game students can hear indies speak at GameCityNights

Train2Game students in Nottinghamshire have a great opportunity to find out how an indie studio works for themselves at GameCityNights later this month.

In their latest monthly event, GameCityNights will feature all three former Bizarre Creations developers of indie studio Hogrocket as they discuss their debut game Tiny Wings, their move away from Triple-A and life as an indie.

Of course, those who can’t make it to Nottingham can always read the Train2Game blog interview with Hogrocket co-founder Ben Ward in which similar subjects are covered.

“We’ve always loved the GameCity Festival and admired the hard-working folks behind it, so it’ll be great to take the stage once again in Nottingham” said Hogrocket’s Pete Collier.

“This time we’ll be sharing the experience of starting a brand new games studio, including all the ups and downs that go with it! We’ll also let you play Hogrocket’s first gaming creation: Tiny Invaders. See you there!”

The GameCityNights event will also be showcasing a number of indie games, which will no doubt be of interest to Train2Game students.

GameCityNights Season 2, Episode 7 takes place on Thursday 29th September from 6pm in central Nottignham. For more information, and for ticket prices, see the GameCityNights website.

So Train2Game, if you’re in the Nottingam area, will you be going? Do you see it as something useful to you?

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