Train2Game News Your Beautiful Game Results

The results of Turtle Beaches Your Beautiful Game poll have been release and the number one beautiful game may surprise you.

Forget Far Cry 3, Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker or The Last of Us – a Turtle Beach poll to discover the title that gamers care for most passionately has crowned Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress as the community’s most “Beautiful Game”.

Over the past four weeks, Turtle Beach has been asking fans to nominate the games they care most about by submitting videos, images or text through a special microsite at www.yourbeautifulgame.com. A shortlist was then compiled, from which members of the Turtle Beach community could pick their winner. Those who made the shortlist campaigned hard for support to try and ensure their beautiful game came out on top.

The campaign, which began in July and concluded this weekend, saw nominations for a huge variety of games. After thousands of votes  Dwarf Fortress triumphed over huge titles such as The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Far Cry 3 and The Last of Us to establish itself as the most popular game amongst the Turtle Beach community.

The top 15 beautiful games
1. Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress
2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
3. Far Cry 3
4. Call of Duty: Ghosts
5. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
6. Borderlands 2
7. The Last of Us
8. FINAL FANTASY X
9. Pac-Man
10. Halo 3
11. FIFA 14
12. Grand Theft Auto V
13. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
14. Super Mario Galaxy 2
15. Resident Evil

“It’s been really interesting to see the votes come flooding in for Dwarf Fortress,” said David Roberton, Vice President of International Marketing at Turtle Beach. “We had a strong and very eclectic list of nominations and are delighted, but not surprised, to crown Dwarf Fortress as the Beautiful Game. While some truly phenomenal games featured on the shortlist, Dwarf Fortress is an outstanding example of interaction design and proves that you don’t have to be a huge AAA title to really resonate with gamers.”

Train2Game News From Bytes to Boxed

Sold OutSold Out Sales & Marketing Limited, one of the UK’s leading publishers of boxed titles, claims that many independent developers are missing out on substantial amounts of additional revenue by ignoring traditional routes to market.

The firm – which recently announced a partnership with Team17 Digital Limited to bring its forthcoming digital titles to retail – is now actively seeking new publishing opportunities which can generate an additional tranche of revenue for the developer.

In the case of high-profile digital releases, many mainstream publishers have forecast that their digital revenues may be as little as nine per cent of their boxed income. Microsoft’s decision to keep boxed as part of their Next-Gen strategy indicates that even where a business intends to be primarily digitally focused, retail earnings are still very key in the revenue streams.

“Digital publishing has proved a fertile ground for innovative, lean independent developers – but many are ignoring additional opportunities – which is leaving that cash on the table,” says James Cato, Sales Director at Sold Out.

“Whilst the digital marketplace is undoubtedly convenient for indie developers, we’re able to very quickly and easily open up routes to traditional markets, reaching players who prefer to build physical collections – or those who remain fearful of purchasing online.”

In the latter half of 2014, Sold Out will bring at least seven new titles to retail – including some of the highest-profile digital releases of the year. More information will be revealed at a later stage. These titles will be in addition to Sold Out’s own digital releases across PC and home consoles.

“We’re actively seeking new partners,” adds James Cato. “We’re as simple to work with as it comes: getting your games into shops requires very little additional manpower, and we’re not interested in owning anyone’s IP or digital revenues, all we offer is additional profits and access to a traditional market – literally every sale we make is a bonus to our partners.”

For more information in working with Sold Out, please contact sales@soldout.uk.com / +44 (0)203 405 4585

Train2Game News Develop looking for Indies

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

The conference’s 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 led by Assyria Games’ Adam Green. One of these 10 games will be judged overall Indie Showcase Winner by the judging panel, one will be selected by journalists in the Editors Choice Award and there will also be the chance for all delegates to vote for their favourite game during the event in the People’s Choice Award.

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 1,600 developers and publishers at the event.

Last year, a record number of indie developers submitted their games to the judging panel. Winners included People’s Choice award That Dragon, Cancer, a game created to help developer Ryan’s four year old son in his battle against cancer and financed by OUYA to launch this year; Editors’ Choice award Gunpoint, out on Steam which received an 83 metacritic score on launch and Indie Showcase overall winner Ibb and Obb which launched in Europe and America on the PlayStation Store a month after winning the award.

“It is fantastic that The Indie Showcase is back for a fourth year. Last year produced a record number of submissions and I think it is safe to say we are in a golden age for indie developers. I have high hopes there will be even more amazing games submitted this year and I can’t wait to check them all out,” said Adam Green, managing director Assyria Games.

“The showcase remains an excellent opportunity for indies to put their game in the spotlight at the Develop in Brighton Conference and get in front of publishers, the press and over 1600 delegates.”

Andy Lane, managing director of conference organiser Tandem Events, added: “For the last four years, we’ve been fully committed to giving a platform to the very best indie talent that’s out there. It’s completely free for indies to enter and the top ten games not only get the great opportunity to be showcased to the wider development community who come to be part of Develop in Brighton each year, but the shortlisted Indies will get direct feedback on their games from other developers playing them.”

Entry to the Indie Showcase is open to the following at www.developconference.com:
– 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”

The deadline to enter is 12 May 2014 and the Indie Showcase, Editors’ Choice and People’s Choice winners will be announced to press and delegates at the Develop in Brighton Conference on Thursday 10 July 2014.

Train2Game News: Indielicious

IndieliciousIndieMedia officially launches www.Indielicious.com, a website dedicated to promoting small independent game projects.

Founded by Chris Shrigley, a veteran game developer, the site aims to provides free, promotional coverage to small independent game developers, hoping to publicize their games to a growing audience. The site is a mixture of previews, reviews, interviews, news, and editorials, aimed at smaller developers, who often find it difficult to find a voice.

The site will focus on smaller indies and students, trying to get their small projects noticed. There are so many fantastic and creative games out there that just don’t get the publicity they deserve, and Indielicious wants to change that. The site will give these passionate, creative individuals a platform to publicize their projects, from the initial early stages, all the way through to completion, totally free of charge.

Indielicious will also feature interviews and editorials from established independent developers, hoping to inspire new developers just setting out to pursue their game making dreams, and offer advice and their thoughts on making those dreams a reality.

This could be an excellent tool for some of our Train2Game Students to get their work the attention that it deserves!

Train2Game News: 32 developers announced for ID@Xbox

Xbox OneMicrosoft has revealed thirty two teams have signed up for their independent publishing programme, ID@Xbox.

Head of ID@Xbox Chris Charla announced the list of thirty two developers today with studios from all over the world including big names like Double Fine and Team 17 all the way down to smaller first time studios developing for Microsoft like The Men Who Wear Many Hats and Iron Galaxy.

Microsoft claims to have shipped over 50 SDKs to independent teams working on Xbox One projects, and intends to enable retail Xbox One units to be used as a dev kit in the near future.

“Bottom line, we’ve been blown away by the interest in the ID@Xbox programme, and we can’t wait until the games start shipping so players can experience the amazing titles that the independent developers will be bringing to Xbox One,” said Charla.

Iron Galaxy’s Dave Lang, makers of Divekick, added: “All developers care about is being able to make the games they want and get them into the hands of as many people as possible. Now, thanks to ID@Xbox, Iron Galaxy can bring Divekick to a Microsoft platform for the first time. We’ve been working on Xbox One games for a while now, and because of that you can bet Divekick will take advantage of all the platform’s unique capabilities.”

Microsoft are certainly stepping in the right direction to help the little studios get their foot in the door and get their games seen by a wider audience.

If you are interested in joining the current list of developers visit http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/developers/id

Train2Game News: Autodesk release Maya LT for Indie developers

AutodeskAutodesk has unveiled a new tool specifically targeted at indie developers. The 3D modelling and animation toolset is designed for developers working on mobile, PC and web, and can be integrated with game engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine.

Maya LT includes a number of features such as enabling the creation of 3D assets of any size, with the ability to export FBX files containing up to 25,000 polygons per object.

The tech’s animation tools include a skeleton generation and inverse kinematics with Autodesk HumanIK, as well as viewport previews so developers can view assets as they would appear in-game. Other features also include lighting and texture baking, with developers able to use global illumination tool to create “realistic” lighting effects.

Autodesk’s latest tool will cost $795 per perpetual licence as oppose to the license for Maya which is almost $4,000. Short-term licenses are also available on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

“We see indie game developers as a key part of the industry, driving innovative new production techniques and gameplay,” said Autodesk Media & Entertainment VP Chris Bradshaw.

“The market is fiercely competitive, and Maya LT can provide indie developers and small studios with a powerful, yet simplified workflow for designing and animating remarkable 3D characters, environments and props – at a price that fits within even the most modest budget. It’s a practical solution that closely matches the needs of the mobile game development production cycle and helps developers rise above the noise and really shine.”

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Lee Pearson

Lee PearsonI got the pleasure of speaking to a very ambitious guy who has been working incredibly hard to get noticed. Train2Game student, Lee Pearson, has worked through many obstacles to get his character designs noticed.

You can listen to part one of the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1471396-train2game-student-radio-speaks-to-lee-pearson-part-1

Part two is here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1471393-train2game-student-radio-speaks-to-lee-pearson-part-2

Or you can read the transcript below:

Hello my names Lee Pearson, I’m on the Train2Game Radio forum, talking about my work I’m doing for the indie game scene, in the USA.

Alright Lee, how you doing mate?

Yeah not too bad mate

Excellent. So, tell me a bit about you then buddy?

My name’s Lee Pearson, I come from Ashford originally, I was born and raised in Ashford, Kent. I spent the last thirty years in education full time and all that. I’ve been drawing since I was born. My obsession with monsters began when I was watching Ray Harryhausen films and I started drawing loads and loads of monsters, loads of gory stuff. My Father used to bring home loads of the old VHS Videos and I got inspired by drawing that and that’s how it all started.

Yeah, the good old video nasties?

Yeah the good old eighties, I was probably only about five but that’s what inspired me to draw really and I just used to do it for my own enjoyment and just kept doing it and doing it. It was extremely violent, it worried my dad a little bit, and I just kept drawing and drawing them because I loved doing it. It’s what I have gone back to doing today now.

I’ve always had an interest in working on Movies and Video Games but I haven’t found the exact thing to get there at the moment. I’m still needing a little bit more experience yet. I did courses after I left school. I spent from 1994 to 2008 doing all these art courses and all that but I just felt this isn’t exactly what I want to do. I want to do something in Video Games and Movies because I’ve got such an imagination designing creatures.

I’ve had it hard with my courses because I’ve had special needs, I had to deal with a lot of family problems helping friends out, mental health problems and a lot of other things I’ve had to cope with.

I finally graduated in 2008, with an HND in fine arts with nine distinctions, including photoshop, and I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in 2008.

I left college from 1998 to 2008 just doing stuff for DJ scenes, just to calm myself down a bit. I always wanted to do Video Games though and my mate called James Sacker had this little card for Train2Game calling out all the Games Designers, I thought this looks interesting. I looked into it and my Dad said, “don’t do the course Son because it’s going to cost you a lot of money”. So I had some guys come around to my new flat that I am living at at the moment and we spoke about it and watched the Video and I thought to myself, it’s something I really want to do because I love Monsters and I love Gore and I love all that stuff. Without telling my Mum and Dad, I signed on to Train2Game.

I assume they now though, do they, you parents?

Not yet at the moment, just keeping it a secret

OK Lee, that’s all good that you did all that before so it’s 2013 now. What are you up to now?

At the moment I’m just working in some indie game companies in America, just doing it online. I decided to grab a copy of Photoshop CS 5, I’ve spent an awful lot of my money on computer equipment out of my benefit money, I had to sacrifice food for it. I bought Graphics Tablets, Scanners, Printers and all sorts of stuff. I’ve been practising and practising with the Graphics Tablet and over time I’ve mastered it in about ten months really, my graphics tablet.

I’m doing mostly Horror games. I did one last year before I started learning the Graphics Tablet. I went on the concept art OEG and I was flicking through all the games adverts and there was one that caught my eye, called Richard Lee, he was a guy looking for a guy to do his art work for a cult Horror game in America based before Jesus Christ. I applied for it and he liked my work so much that he said, yeah I’ll give you the shot.

It wasn’t done by a graphics tablet, it was done with A4 paper and pens and I started drawing all these really gory demonic characters. We worked on it together for a couple of months and then sadly he gave me an email saying he had to stop to go back to Trucking because of money. It’s a shame because I thought it would be a fantastic project to work on.

You’re getting some good work experience out of this projects now then?

It’s mostly just one on one really. It’s mostly just Indie stuff really and I just got my work out there by Facebook. I was just getting all my art work and spamming it and spamming it. I was then talking to someone on the Train2Game course and they said, why don’t you try deviant art?, so I got all the recent work I’ve done and spammed it and got it out there and it caught the eye of another guy in America called Mark Wemm, which I am working on at the moment. He told me to create my own character, so I created a Teddy Bear that got possessed by an Alien, Demonic Spirit that turns it into a hideous monster and it’s really really gory. I’m working on that at the moment and I don’t know how long it will take but I’ve been asked to do all of it by Photoshop and I’ve been doing all the landscapes and all the concept art and all the weaponry, it’s just great fun, it really is.

Yeah. It sounds like your enjoying yourself.

Oh I love it! Loving it to bits, it’s really, really good fun

Excellent, so you mentioned before that you had Aspergers so how is it studying and working with that, do you find you get prejudice against it or what?

No, I’ve got to the stage now where I don’t really care about my disability. I just have a laugh like my dad does, just enjoy it. I don’t really care about money I just love and enjoy doing it, it’s great fun.

So what are you wanting to do in the future then Lee?

Well before I go to America, I’m going to America just to have a holiday with my Step Mum, Dad and my family. I want to come back home, get a bundle of computers and PC’s, get a load of Photoshop, all the packages, Zbrush, 3D Max and I just want to go completely character mad. Create characters in Photoshop, to 3D Max and draw them, hand paint them, everything. Bring it all together and that’s the sort of thing I want to do with the rest of my life really. I can’t think of anything else.

I’m going to have obstacles that I am going to have to over come, like the Train2Game course, I realised because I was pushed behind a year, I am going to have to do this course. I am going to have no choice but I definitely want to do more, more, more character designs. I really enjoy doing it, that’s the future for me. I want to try and expand all over the globe. Doing the stuff in America and I sent some stuff off to Japan. I did a picture of Cammie on wall paper and sent it off to Japan, but I definitely want to start doing lots of characters, monsters, vehicles just for games really.

That’s beautiful. You sound like you are incredibly ambitious and just want your art work to be seen absolutely everywhere.

Yeah, definitely. It’s just good fun, just enjoy the ride! I just love doing characters, back in the day it was all done by hand and I was just fascinated by characters. I had them in my head everyday, sometimes even talk to them! I think the future for me now is definitely the Video Game industry.

Well, I think that is all we’ve got time for today Lee, it’s been a pleasure talking to you!

Yeah, it’s great, it’s fantastic!

And I will talk to you soon mate, alright?

Yeah will do mate

Cheers mate, Bye!

Thank you, bye

Train2Game News: GameCityNights coming to a place near you

The GameCityNights festival is going nationwide. The event annually held in Nottingham it is now hitting the road.

The festival celebrates everything from the game world with previous keynote speakers from Crytek UK, Harmonix music systems and Sony London Studio.

This years event is sponsored by Edge Magazine, SimCity, Maxis, EA and more. Previous years the festival has had no financial support so to get such big names is a big step forward.

“After three years of Nights gigs in Nottingham and loads of brilliant guests and audience members, it seemed like a good time to share the love,” says Iain Simons, director of GameCity. “The one thing we love more than doing GameCityNights events is driving – so this really is the ideal combination for us”

More details of the event are soon to come – it’s guaranteed to feature many playable games, intimate talks and panels with industry icons. There’s also the GameCity Arcade: a free space for indie devs to put their games. All the games will also feature on Edge’s website.

“So if you’ve got something to say or a game to show, get in touch,” says Simons.

If you have been working on a game lately and are looking for a place to show it and get feedback from the public, this is a good time.

Dates and locations are below:

November 13: National Media Museum, Bradford
November 20: BFI Southbank, London
November 21: Dublin Science Gallery, Dublin

January 24: Antenna, Nottingham
January 29: Arnolfini, Bristol
January 31: Junction, Cambridge

February 5: MAC, Birmingham
February 22: Animated Exeter Festival
February 23: GEEK2013, Margate
February 25: Carriageworks, Leeds
February 26: FACT, Liverpool

For more details on the event go to nights.gamecity.org

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 News: “Don’t expect to sit around.” after completing production of your first game

Finishing development of your very first video game may be an incredibly satisfying experience, but don’t expect that to bring instant success or to be the end of your work either.

That’s one of key themes to come out of a ‘Directions to take after your first game’ session at Develop Conference 2012.

“You build it, you’re happy with it, and you think you’ve crossed the finish line.” said Sean Murray of Hello Games, creators of Joe Danger, before going on to add that feedback from players about almost everything – including in the case of Joe Danger , custom soundtracks not working propely – will keep you busy.

Supermono’s Tak Fung agreed, stating its important for indie developers to keep working even after the game has shipped.

“Don’t expect it to be glorious Vegas gambling.” he said, pointing out the importance of getting knowledge of your game out there through PR and marketing. “Don’t expect to sit around.” he added.

Keep reading The Train2Game Blog for the latest news from Develop Conference.

What are your thoughts on the advice from the indie developers on what do you after your first game? Have you planned that far ahead?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.