Train2Game interview: Laurence Kinane of Make Something Unreal Live team Digital Mage

Train2Game  students are launching four new development studios in 2012 as part of ‘Make Something Unreal Live,’ a competitive process designed to accelerate their careers by giving them the tools and resources needed to release games for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this spring.

The studios are Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam.

The first titles released by the studios will be based on the Fighting Fantasy series of books created by Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson.

We caught up with Digital Mage’s Laurence Kinane to find out how the road to Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show has gone so far. Listen via Train2Game Radio or read it here on The Train2Game Blog.

Hi Laurence, tell us about your team for Make Something Unreal Live, Digital Mage.

We were at the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam and obviously selected as one of the winning teams to go to Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show. We came together as a good team, we had good team dynamics at the game jam. We’ve found it a bit difficult taking that into virtual development, it’s a bit more difficult not being in the same room with everybody, but we do get on well and we’ve learned to work with the virtual restriction.

How have you found working with the prestigious IP of the Fighting Fantasy books, and which particular story is your game based on?

It was quite a big surprise getting such a prestigious IP, the book we are based on is Armies of Death. We’ve got a bit of creative license we can use there but we are trying to stick with the story as much as possible.

And what genre of game are you making around that story?

We were given the strategy genre to work with. We’ve taken it to a tower defence style game, but we’ve put a bit of a spin on it in you’re actually attacking the towers rather than defending them. We’ve also another spin where you’re not actually the good guys, you’re the bad guys.

What gave you that idea?

We were throwing a few ideas around between the whole team, and we just stumbled upon it really. We thought it might be cool if we work this in, being the bad guys, as players don’t play as the bad guys so much, especially in tower defence games.

I suppose it’s just one of many good ideas you’ve had on the road to Make Something Unreal Live.

It’s quite nice when you come up with ideas that maybe you don’t initially think will work, but you have a tweak at an idea which fits in perfectly. We’ve had a few circumstances where that’s happened, and hopefully we’ll have many more before The Gadget Show.

Are there any other achievements you’re particularly proud of so far?

I’d say one particularly was last night. We’d hit a bit of a stumbling block, one of the game mechanics, we were having a few problems. But it all seemed to fall together last night, and we’ve managed to put it onto IOS to show to our mentors.

And it’s a good opportunity for you to put into practice the skills you’ve learned on Train2Game courses.

Oh yeah, definitely. The game design course is more geared to the documentation side, it’s later in the course where they start getting you involved in game engines, but obviously UDK is out there, anybody can use it for free, it’s a good engine to start working in.

How much are you looking forward to the Make Something Unreal Live event in April?

Yeah, I can’t wait to get there, it’s going to be a huge experience, it’s going to be a huge opportunity for not just ourselves, Digital Mage, but also all four teams involved it’s a fantastic opportunity. Also it’ll be good to work in the same room as the team again.

For those who want to follow Digital Mage in run up to Make Something Unreal Live, what are the contact details for Facebook and Twitter?

Do a Facebook search for Digital Mage and they’ll find us there, with a nice black icon with a mage figure inside. On Twitter it’s @TheDigitalMage.

Thanks for your time Laurence, and good luck.

No problem Danny, cheers.

Keep up to date with the latest news from Make Something Unreal Live here on The Train2Game Blog.

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