Train2Game News: Game Jam creativity blossoms in to something more

The Game Jam is not only a time of creativity but it can also be a time of love. This was the case for two people last year.

Lloyd Knott, 28, from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, met Joyce Webb, 25, from Hampshire, at the 2011 Game Jam. Joyce is a student with Train2Game and Lloyd was an advisor for the event. The two just celebrated their six month anniversary at last weekends world record beating Game Jam.

Being an advisor Lloyd could wander around, giving him an excuse to spend time with Joyce, talking to her and getting to know her. Following on from that Game Jam, Joyce and her winning team, Indigo Jam, went on to be part of Make Something Unreal Live.

After 6 months of developing and creating, Joyce got to go to The Gadget Show Live as part of the competition. Lloyd was assigned to Indigo Jam to help them get bits done and got to spend more time with Joyce.

Leading up to the Gadget Show the teams had monthly meetings at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton. It was at the last of these the two got together.

Joyce said “Well, it all started when one of the guys on the team, yes I’m putting this firmly on Dan Rutter’s shoulder, started saying he thought Lloyd liked me. Being a generally oblivious person, I thought he was just winding me up. When Lloyd was eventually assigned to our team to help get things ready for the Gadget Show, I noticed he was behaving a little oddly from the last few times I’d spoken to him. However it wasn’t until he asked if I’d like to go and see a film after the final meet up in Luton that I realised than Dan was right all along”

Lloyd said “Well I first met her at the last game jam where I was told to look after their team before helping out the other teams, but nothing really happened till after I was put on their team to help them get stuff ready for the gadget show. We got talking on their team speak server and kinda hit it off.”

After going to see The Raven, the biopic of Edgar Allen Poe, the two realised they had a lot in common and decided to become a couple.

Lloyd has just left Lionhead to begin working at Microsoft and Joyce is a Train2Game student who works at Odeon Cinemas in Andover.

Not only are Game Jams great for being creative and a good thing to put on your CV, you might even find someone to fall in love with. I wish the very best of luck to both Lloyd and Joyce in everything they do.

Train2Game News: Games industry blasts to new heights

The latest numbers from trade association UKIE show the UK games industry being worth £3.266 billion. It accounts for almost half of the entertainment market in the United Kingdom

Over 28,000 people are employed by the industry, 9000 of which are skilled roles at over 200 development studios. The research suggests over 32 million people actively play games in the UK, with the average age of 33. An equivalent of more than one console is owned per household.

In addition Google Play, the android market place, is catching up to Apple’s App Store.

Google play has just surpassed 25 billion downloads of its 675,000 applications and the App store hit 25 billion downloads back in March of its 700,00 apps.

Google has seen over 500 million Android device activations and Apple has seen over 400 million iOS devices activated. The number of Apple devices should rise with the recent release of iOS 6 and the iPhone 5. A current potential 900 million mobile gamers on Android and iOS alone.

Google intends to celebrate the 25 billion downloads milestone by offering cheaper featured apps and other discounts on films, books, albums and magazines for the next five days.

With such large numbers people can not ignore the games industry. It is now a big part of the world and should only get bigger with the introduction of the tax break.

The numbers have been released for the start of the London Games Festival which begins today with the opening of Eurogamer.

Train2Game News: Matty Wyett-Simmonds student diary: Week 42

Week after the big game jam and have been hard at work!

We’ve had to make up for the time off and we’ve all been pretty busy here. We did a few late nights (up to 10pm) as well.

I’ve been churning out art assets at the same time as fixing assets that don’t work correctly in game. I also did my first purely 2D art work in a very long time which was pretty cool I think.

Other than that I’ve not had much of a week. Me, Craig and Amanda went to the pet store at lunch time one day to get some dead mice for her snake, Craig desperately wanted to get hamsters for the office which I don’t think Clive would have appreciated as much as we would.

I was in my first car crash this week too! I wasn’t driving though so I don’t know if it counts, but still it happened.

I also got a new phone which is awesome (Samsung Galaxy sIII), My sII died the night before so I went out and got it on contract. Very worth it if you haven’t tried a Galaxy phone, much better than the iPhone5 I think.

Train2Game News: Ezekiel Morris student diary: Week 15

This week has been very stressful and not the best of weeks. Trying to fix animation errors and getting things to work in Unity, so it’s been annoying.

I don’t like Unity I know some people might find it OK but my experience using it is I hate it. It was simple enough using UDK.

I enjoy animating characters but I never realized how much hard work was involved especially when you’re given a deadline. Learning how to use Maya and Unity at the same time has been tough. So when I import the animation sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, it’s annoying to have to keep on asking for someone to sort the problem. I try doing it myself but still struggling a bit with some issues, the animation works in motion builder.

Finally I’ve found out what’s stopping the animation and it’s working perfectly. I haven’t felt comfortable using Unity I ‘am afraid I will break the game. I know this isn’t my strong point but the good thing about this experience is I now know how to use Maya so great experience. I can’t wait to do my thing soon.

Train2Game News: Mid-week round up

Blizzard Entertainment released Mists Of Pandaria yesterday. The latest expansion for World Of Warcraft. Blizzard have also said that they have no fear of Windows 8 and will release games for any platform their players are on.

Avenged Sevenfold have released a new track that will feature on Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2. The song, Carry On, is the second song the band have released for a Call Of Duty game. They previously released Not Ready To Die with one of the Call Of Duty: Black Ops DLC packs.

Telltale’s five Walking Dead episodic games will be put on disc in December for Xbox360 and PS3. The game is based on the graphic novel turned TV show and through playing them myself I can say, if you are a fan of the series, play this game. You won’t be disappointed.

Nvidia’s head of cloud gaming, Phil Eisler, believes that cloud gaming could take over from consoles. He believes that consoles have one final generation in them before they die out, leaving the world of gaming in the hands of the cloud.

Ubisoft have announced that Assassins Creed 3 will not play on Windows XP. The company has released the specifications needed to play the game. There is a version for Windows 8 in the pipeline though.

Bethesda have released an animated prequel to its upcoming Dishonored. The webseries is called Tales of Dunwall and the gorgeous animated shorts are being released in three parts. The videos can be found on YouTube and they show the downfall of the in game city.

Sony Xdev are giving a small studio the opportunity to win £25,000. This new initiative, called Playstation Pioneers, will reward developers for a PlayStation Mobile game concept and will also offer successful candidates the opportunity to work alongside XDev. Further details can be found here.

An extra four titles have been added to the Humble Bundle 6. The titles are: Bit.Trip Runner, Gratuitous Space Battles, Jamestown, and Wizorb. If you have already purchased the bundle, you will get the new games added at no extra cost.

If you are attending Eurogamer this weekend you can get a special surprise when you play Company Of Heroes 2. Everyone that plays the game or attends the developer session at the event will get a code to access a future beta for the game.

Finally Train2Game will be at Eurogamer this weekend. If you are attending go and say hello, it is always nice to meet these people. I will be attending on the Saturday so if you see me feel free to talk to me. I hope everyone that attends has a brilliant time.

Train2Game News: Craig Moore student diary: Week 44

Its story time kids!

This week has been a bit of a mammoth task for me, it has been a case of completely planning and attempting to organise the full storyline for the game. It’s a bit of a new beast for me, taking to creating a narrative is something I have only really ever lightly touched on.

Being an arcade gamer at heart my story lines tend to start and end at ‘Save the Princess’ so embellishing on that and pushing my narrative skills has been a good exercise. Especially when considering the fact that I am working with quite a strict set of predetermined story lines it certainly stretches the old grey matter.

That has literally been my week, when I look at the work I have done it doesn’t sound like much, but making it all intertwine and essentially work takes up a great deal of time and trying to ensure it’s going to work best for the player is another world entirely!

Apart from that I have been knee deep in my Train2Game work, I’ve moved on to my final few assignments while I am waiting for my first submission to be marked, hopefully I will get the course finished before the end of the year, at least that is my target.



Train2Game News: Amanda Blatch student diary: Week 1

So.. first diary, first week. What is there to say? First day at DR Studio I met a lot of people, t’was pretty cool. Also did my first concept sheet for an in-game character and vectorized it and made her look so sickingly adorable it was fun.

Wasn’t the last character piece this week though as I went on to do the same to an additional two characters, before then getting my hand held through the entire cutting and rigging process in Maya and 3Ds Max as they were things I hadn’t done before.

That night I learnt to rig for this game I’m sure my housemates were going to forcefully drag me away from the computer had it not been so late and I was so very, very tired. Luckily after a good night’s sleep I was able to pick it up again in next to no time and storm my way through the remaining two vector characters so they were ready to go in the game.

Annnnd I think that is about it!

Not really much to say as my week was mostly about learning the style, processes, where to store files correctly and how to use programs that I hadn’t used before. Wait, actually there was that car accident after my first day of work at the beginning of the week where Matty and Craig did NOT nearly die despite what their diaries this week might say. Mostly based on the fact that when travelling at about 15-20mph, the vehicle will not scream into a blazing inferno.. so there.

Boom. Week 1 diary complete! See you all next week.

Train2Game News: Ezekiel Morris student diary: Week 14

I have been sketching up eight characters this week for the new project, sorting out colour palettes so that everyone knows which colours will suit the characters. In the back of my mind when I was first asked to draw eight characters in a week I didn’t think it wouldn’t be possible considering the time it can take creating the colour palettes, I thought it would take longer.

Sketching was quick and there have been times when I have to get the character just right before continuing, making sure that when I draw over the mannequin layout the character looks right with the mannequin. Once the project manager is happy with the sketches I continue on to the next character, the last couple of weeks have been very busy. I have been working late with the guys to get some work done but luckily enough I’ve done five concepts in the week with three more left to go. I’ve almost finished my sprints and now I’m just working on my last concept and I’m done.

I think my next sprint is animation, I feel confident using Maya but I’m not so sure when it comes to the technical side, if there’s a problem that I can’t solve I will let someone know, I think its best that I work on my strengths and improve what I know, I have said this before I won’t say no to a challenge and I’ll give it my best.