Train2Game News: Coming soon in 2013

DeadpoolAs big as 2012 has been, 2013 has more to come.

The first thing of 2013 to be keeping an eye on will be how well the Wii U does following it’s release and the Christmas rush. Will it be as big a hit as Nintendo hopes or will it fail to reach expectations?

A number of new blockbusters are coming next year with a lot of new sequels. For example 2013 will see the release of Rockstars GTA V and 2Ks Bioshock: Infinite. From what has been released of the games so far they both look stunning and both have been pegged as being big hits.

There are also two reboot games coming out next year. The first being the new Devil May Cry, being developed by the English based Ninja Studios and Tomb Raider being published by Square Enix. I played both games at Eurogamer, Tomb Raiders graphics are truly jaw dropping and Devil May Cry looks to be very action packed with good effects.

A new IP that could be a wild card is Deadpool. The game based on the Marvel Comics star.  The game is being developed by High Moon Studios and is due to be published by Activision in 2013. Regular Deadpool comic writer Daniel Way will pen the script, and Nolan North, who has voiced Deadpool in other media, will reprise his role. This could go either way, this is definitely a wait and see game.

There are a lot of big goings on in 2013 that should lead the gaming industry in to bigger and better things. It’s going to be exciting.

Train2Game News: SpecialEffect Charity video

SpecialEffect Over the past few months I have been updating you with all the good work that SpecialEffect have been doing and trying to get their video up to 25,000 views.

SpecialEffect is a wonderful charity that helps the disabled to play games. This means that they can interact with other people and play together on a level playing ground.

The SpecialEffect website describes themselves as “Doing whatever it takes to help everyone with disabilities to have a better quality of life. For some, this means access to fun and leisure activities like computer games. For others, it’s giving them a voice at a time when they can’t even speak.”

SpecialEffect help people by using there loan library which is where all the specially made controllers are loaned to those in need. For example a specially created Wii mote for a girl who lost her limbs to Meningitis.

The charity also uses their StarGaze project to help people who can move nothing but their eyes. StarGaze is, perhaps, the most labour-intensive and demanding element of SpecialEffect’s work. A huge amount of care and sensitivity is required to ensure that the person we support has a gaze controlled computer system – as quickly as possible – that is personalised to meet their specific and often complex needs.

Dr Mick Donegan, the CEO of SpecialEffect said “Time after time, people with disabilities tell us what they want and need most is to find a way to enjoy themselves – a way to interact, compete and make new friends.

“It’s difficult or impossible for them to access mainstream videogames and leisure technology, and before we started there was nowhere to go for independent and expert advice and support to help them use technology to actually have fun!

“At the heart of the charity is the determination to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes to help each individual, and that necessitates a huge range of services. On the one hand, our GameBase website is giving information to many people who might need immediate specialist advice about accessible games and controllers. On the other, we have an increasing waiting list of very severely disabled individuals with complex problems that we know will take us years of support visits and equipment loans to achieve any level of success.

But that’s why we’re here. If the charity had been set up to support just one individual, it would have been more than worthwhile.”

The charity has been trying to get this video to 25,000 views by Christmas day. It isn’t far off so please keep watching and sharing the video as much as possible to spread the word of the amazing work SpecialEffect do.

Train2Game News: Train2Game in 2012 – April to June

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live gets a surprise visit from a Dr Who Dalek

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live gets a surprise visit from a Dr Who Dalek

The second quarter of 2012 was especially good for me as it was in April that The Gadget Show live was held.

The Make Something Unreal Live was possibly the biggest thing Train2Game had done up to that point. It brought much media coverage and gave the students involved a highly valuable experience.

The 4 teams at the event got to meet such industry professionals as CliffyB, then from Epic Studios, Peter Molyneux who had just launched 22Cans and Jon Hare the man behind Sensible Software,

The event started in November of 2011 following a Train2Game Game Jam which was sponsored by Epic. The top 4 teams from there then had 6 months to create a game which was to be released on the iOS store.

The games that were created were based on the Fighting Fantasy books. This gave the teams more time as it took story creation out of the equation and it already had an existing fan base to work from.

You can check out the video from the 2012 Make Something Unreal Live contest below:

Train2Game News: Train2Game in 2012 – January to March

Train2Game2012 has been a good year for Train2Game and the students and I am going to take you through some of the best bits.

At the end of January some Train2Game students entered a game jam in Scotland.

The Scottish Game Jam is part of Global Game Jam 2012 and at the event Train2Game Art & Animation students Fiona Stewart and Corinna Bruce were winners of the Best Art Award at the Scottish Game Jam.

It was at this jam where the game Shplem was created and nominated for a BAFTA award.

The first quarter of the year was also the run up to the Make Something Unreal Live competition.

Four student studios: Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam were working hard trying to get together their games which were based on the Fighting Fantasy books which would be displayed at The Gadget Show live in April.

It is a time I remember well as I was a proud member of Digital Mage and it was one of the greatest times of my life.

Possibly the most important part of early 2012 was the government announcing that they would implement the Games Tax Relief. Just the mere announcement of this has seen the games industry grow to new heights.

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Joanna Janse van Vuuren

CEO of Savage Sea Studios with Megan Marie of Crystal Dynamics.

CEO of Savage Sea Studios with Megan Marie of Crystal Dynamics.

Today, Train2Game radio Spoke to CEO of Savage Sea Studios, Joanna Janse van Vuuren. Joanna tells us how the studio came together and how an illness led her to the gaming industry.

You can learn more about Savage Sea Studios here.

You can listen to the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1122380-train2game-student-joanna-janse-van-vureen-talks-to-mark-t2g-radio

Or read the transcript below:

Hi my name’s Joanna Janse van Vuuren, I’m on the Art & Animation course and I live in Brighton.

Hi Joanna, how you doing?
I’m doing great thank you very much.

Excellent. So tell me, what’s your story? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life and made you who you are now?
Uh, well, I’ve got quite a few of them! I’ve always loved Video Games since I was really small. I remember me and my sister got a really ancient Commodore 64 when we were little, we played it on a little black and white TV and then from there we got a PC. We played games like Age Of Empires 2 and Half Life and that’s what really got me in to gaming. From there, in my teens I got more energetic and I found out about Tae-Kwon-Do, it’s a martial art and I really love to kick people! So from there I went to Uni and did a sport and leisure management degree but unfortunately a couple of years in to it I got quite ill. I couldn’t do Tae-Kwon-Do any more because of the physical aspect of it so I spent a lot of time in bed or on my sofa, playing on my Xbox and I could see myself maybe doing something like that. After that I had a few basic jobs when I was healthy again. Shop jobs and call centres, all the kind of basic jobs. I definitely knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do in the future and then the Train2Game advert popped up in the news paper and I applied immediately.

Do you think you would maybe want to make a game about the old Tae-Kwon-Do and stuff?
Yeah, I’ve been considering it yeah but it’s a very fast sport, I’m not sure how it would work so much. I’ve been thinking about it and comparing it to games like Street Fighter and all those types of games because I used to love them when I was little. I think it’s just the violence of those sorts of things I like!

So What would you say the most dramatic or exciting thing you have done in your life is?
I think this entire year has been quite busy for me! A lot of things have happened. I’ve now started my own Tae-Kwon-Do school which gives me a lot of flexibility to work on my own coursework and portfolio and earlier this year which is probably the biggest thing I’ve done so far is me and Philip Stevens, who is on the developer course, have been playing around with a game idea for a while so we decided we wanted to make this game in to a proper product. So we started recruiting for some other students to help us out and that’s when we created our own studio, Savage Sea Studios.

So what’s the game idea you have been playing around with if you can say much about it?
Well we haven’t got a name for it at the moment. It’s still got a jokey code name at the moment which is, Project Trolling. It does have Trolls in it and some other things in it which I can’t reveal too much at this stage but it’s kind of like the old 2D pixel art games but with bringing more of a 3D aspect to the way it looks.

What sort of platform are you aiming for then?
At the moment we are just going to boot it on to the internet and then hoping when that’s sorted, because it’s our first game we want to develop and kind of continue our education of the game making process. So we are just taking it to the internet on your PC and maybe taking it to iPhone or Android.

What are you using to make the game?
We are using Game Maker Pro

How are you finding that?
It’s quite good. We have two developers that’s, Philip Stevens and Luke Jackson and they obviously do all the codey stuff for it and then there is me and another Artist Chris Straver and a designer who is Kieron Baker. We all work together because it’s quite a simple programme for us all to understand and it’s not to heavy on any of the game making process so we find it quite easy to use.

Finally, What is your greatest ambition and where do you want to go with your career?
Well I would quite like to get this game finished! It’s taking us a long while but obviously we have to balance our own jobs and personal lives and our coursework with studio work as well. All of us want to create a studio together where we would all get money and develop it up quite big or work in a big studio ourselves.

That’s fair enough! Thank you very much Joanna
Thank you very much for interviewing me.

Train2Game News: Aardvark Swift announce Search For A Star competition

ASwift compAardvark Swift have announced the fourth annual Search For A Star competition will go ahead in January 2013.

The Search for a Star nationwide competition is designed to highlight and reward the UK’s most promising video games students. The competition spans the UK’s leading areas of higher education including; universities, colleges and blended learning courses such as Train2Game.

The competition takes the form of three stages and mirrors a typical recruitment process within the games industry: A technical test, preparation of a demo and finally a panel interview. Entrants are given a real taste of what it takes to make it in the games industry.

The competition process is designed to get students ready to work professionally and give them the first chance to enter games development companies in the UK. All entrants get CV and Portfolio advice from Aardvark Swift, with the aim to prepare them to apply for placements and permanent roles. Up for grabs for the winners will not only be physical prizes provided by Microsoft but also internships at some of the most prestigious games developers in the UK, including: Sony Evolution, Exient and Boss Alien.

Created by Aardvark Swift, the competition is contributed to by some of the UK Games Industry’s most respected video games developers including, The Blast Furnace, Headstrong Games, Rockstar Leeds, Microsoft, Sony Evolution and many more.

A spokesperson for Aardvark Swift, said: “The Search for a Star competition aims to make entrants more employable, raise their profile and hopefully lead to permanent employment. As a recruitment agency specialising in gaming we are looking to bridge that gap between education and employment, which is where many people struggle to make a final step into the industry. As part of the wider games industry it’s really important to us that the UK’s video games industry goes from strength to strength and students get opportunities for employment.”

Lizi Attwood, The Blast Furnace, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for students to make their mark on the UK’s games industry and take steps towards gaining future employment. The competition spans the whole of the UK and any educational institution can put forward students to the competitive process. The competition creates a level playing field where each individual will be judged by working professionals, who know what knowledge and skills the industry is looking for.”

You can find out more about the competition and apply by visiting Aardvark swift, here.

Good luck to all those who enter and enjoy yourselves!

You can read the full press release in the file below

Search For A Star – Announce Final

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio interviews Matthew Greenwood

Little Green DudeTrain2Game Radio interviewed Matthew Greenwood, the developer for Road Hog Games. He tells us his coding experience and how he got together with Road Hog Games.

You can follow Road Hog Games on Facebook here or on twitter @roadhoggames

You can listen to the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1118876-train2game-student-matthew-greenwood-talks-to-mark-t2g-radio

Or read the transcript below:

Hey I’m Matthew Greenwood, I’m from Surrey and I’m doing the Developer course with Train2Game.

Hello Matthew, how you doing?
I’m not to bad

So tell me what’s your story? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life?
Right well from a very young age I have kind of been forced, as it were, in to programming. When most people were getting their first CD’s, I got my very first Spectrum +2, 48k BASIC and if ever I wanted to do anything I have always had to write it myself. Pretty much had to grow up and effectively write my own things since I was about 8 years old and of course at that age, games. Everyone else was playing Super Mario Brothers and I was playing my own version of it.

So you have always been making games then and have always been interested in that?
Yeah, I started off at a young age playing games and making my own versions of them. I kind of got more in to developing websites and doing all the background server programming stuff for various different companies. I’ve pretty much been solely into programming really since a very young age.

What is it you do for a living now?
I’m actually a software engineer for a brand management company. We do an online brand management system for the likes of various big companies.

Do you think that helps your game development at all or is it a completely different sort of thing that you have to keep swapping between?
Programming wise, most of it is very similar. The work that I do in the actual Train2Game course has actually helped me greatly with a lot of new stuff that I have had to take on at work. It’s kinda helped both ways

What is the most dramatic and/or exciting thing you have done in your life?
I think the biggest thing so far is attending the Game Jam with Train2Game.

Is that the most recent one, the one with Microsoft?
Yeah that was the World Record attempt.

Yeah, how did you find that?
That was an absolute nightmare! It was brilliant fun, I met lots of great people but I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I was pretty much behind that computer non stop. For the few times I did leave the computer I had a few people staring at me because my eyes were just getting redder and redder over the weekend.

So was it at the Game Jam you met the other people of Road Hog or was that a different way you got together?
Yeah, Terry and Gareth were both part of the same team for the Game Jam, Team 46, and we came up with a game called Monumental but we never actually had an artist at all during the Game Jam, so we spent most of the time getting photos off Google I think it was and various other places. We became really good friends and now we are off to do this and I think either Gareth or Terry found Amy, who is now our resident artist and it’s helped us greatly in lots of ways for the new game.

Excellent. So finally, what is your greatest ambition for your career. Where do you want to go with it?
That’s a big one. I think I would actually like to be able to work for myself and to be able to pick and choose what sorts of projects I want to work on rather than having to work on everything because you need the money in the door.

Excellent! Well thank you very much for your time Matthew!
Thank you very much.

Final Alert for Microsoft competition!

Final Alert

The closing deadline is coming fast to join the latest Train2Game Microsoft competition.
Registration closes today, but worry not you have until mid-January to complete you entry.
Full details can be found on Student World – GOOD LUCK.

Train2Game News: UK Top 20 – 17.12.12

This is the last game chart that Train2Game will bring you in 2012. Not a lot has changed in the run up to Christmas. Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 is still at number 1, Hitman Absolution has risen up the ranks from number 6 to take the number 2 slot and Forza Horizon has revved back up into the top twenty this week.

Week ending 15 December 2012

POS.  TITLE 

PUBLISHER

 LAST
WEEK 

1

– 

CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS II

ACTIVISION

1

2

HITMAN ABSOLUTION

SQUARE ENIX

6

3

– 

FIFA 13

EA SPORTS

3

4

– 

JUST DANCE 4

UBISOFT

4

5

FAR CRY 3

UBISOFT

2

6

ASSASSIN’S CREED III

UBISOFT

5

7

– 

HALO 4

MICROSOFT

7

8

– 

NEED FOR SPEED MOST WANTED

EA GAMES

8

9

– 

LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS

WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE

9

10

– 

WWE ’13

THQ

10

11

– 

SKYLANDERS GIANTS

SKYLANDERS

11

12

THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM

BETHESDA SOFTWORKS

15

13

FOOTBALL MANAGER 2013

SEGA

14

14

SONIC & ALL STARS RACING TRANSFORMED

SEGA

16

15

MOSHI MONSTERS: MOSHLINGS THEME PARK

MIND CANDY

12

16

MEDAL OF HONOR: WARFIGHTER

EA GAMES

13

17

LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES

WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE

18

18

FORZA HORIZON

MICROSOFT

19

NEW SUPER MARIO BROS. 2

NINTENDO

17

20

– 

DISHONORED

BETHESDA SOFTWORKS

20

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2012 UKIE Ltd

 

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Connor Adams

Connor AdamsTrain2Game spoke to Connor Adams this week about how I went from a Train2Game student to working at Atomhawk up in Newcastle.

Connor is a brilliant Artist you can check out his DeviantART page HERE or his portfolio HERE.

You can listen to Connors radio interview here – http://audioboo.fm/boos/1114244-train2game-studio-radio-with-mark-talks-to-connor-adams

or read the transcript below:

Hello I’m Connor, I live in Gateshead but I’m from Weymouth and I took the Art & Animation course.

Hi Connor, how you doing bud?
I’m not too bad man, how are you?

I’m excellent, thank you
Awesome, it’s lovely to hear your voice again.

Yours too! So tell me, what’s your story Connor? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life to make you who you are now?
Oh wow, that is a deep question. I suppose I started off by playing a lot of video games when I was young, like everyone. I took quite a weird path, I left school after finishing my GCSE’s and I just started painting and drawing all day because I wanted to design all these games but I didn’t really know what path to take. So I was painting and things like that and then I saw the Train2Game course and joined up on that and I attended a lot of Game Jams whilst studying everyday on my own time and getting all that down. Then I applied for the internship up here and here I am. I’m sure there is probably a lot more to it, but that’s all I can remember for now!

So where is it you applied for an internship for?
I applied up to Atomhawk. It’s based in the Northern Design Centre in Newcastle.

What kind of games do they make there?
The guys at the studio, all of us are concept artists and illustrators, so we have no programmers, we have no designers or anything like that. So people come to us and they out source us for concept art and illustration. We do a lot of stuff before games are released like we worked on Mortal Kombat. We are working on a lot of stuff right now but none of it I can say because it’s all under NDA, which is typical. It’s a lot of stuff like Sony and Warner Brothers, people like that. So it’s quite big clients but we don’t actually work on the games, we just make the concepts and illustrations.

What is the most dramatic or exciting thing you have done in your life previous to being at Atomhawk?
Oh god! All these questions Mark, I’m not sure I’m ready for them! I think the most scaring and exciting thing, was leaving school. Trying to take things in to my own hands. From leaving School and going straight to Train2Game that made things a lot easier. Going down that personal route was quite scary at first.

I know you were also part of Derp Studios as well. How was that experience?
I was part of Derp Studios, yeah. That was really, really great. I mean the Game Jam and the meeting with people and going up to Luton and doing all that was just great. The whole experience was fun and these guys I still talk to a lot of them today, Me and Amanda are mostly talking a lot and it’s great. It was a great bonding experience. It was great for contacts, it was great for skills, great experiences. Well I met you up at The Gadget Show which was a lovely experience.

It was indeed! We have been firm friends ever since.
Yeah absolutely, it was really great.

We touched on it before, what is your reason for getting into the gaming industry particularly?
It’s just games you know? It’s like what kind of guy can say they go to work and draw men shooting aliens and you know, Zombies and Monsters! It’s all fun and games. It is serious at the same time but it’s all play. It’s hard work but it’s play. To get paid to do that is just fantastic.

When did you actually get the job at Atomhawk that you have now?
My internship was 3 months ago, so back in September, August was when I was applying and got the internship but a few weeks ago they offered me a junior position which is going to last 6 months which is fantastic.

So you get a nice job just in time for Christmas then?
Absolutely yeah which is a real relief as Christmas is a horrible time.

What is your greatest ambition?
Oh OK, well I guess just to be the best, like a Pokemon trainer! I gotta keep on going and hit the top of your field, maybe one day in the future I will have my own Graphic Novel and I’ll be working on some AAA games. I dunno the future is very unpredictable so it’s hard to say really.

Finally then, if you could work for any studio what so ever, what would you work for?
Actually, genuinely I would rather work for my self. I think I would rather get some of my closest friends and make my own studio and make the games that we love.

So we should probably start working on that soon then?
Absolutely!

Thank you very much buddy!
No worries, cheers mate.