Train2Game News UKIE on eSports

The trade body for games and interactive entertainment consulted with members of the UK esports community and today released the results in a whitepaper outlining eight recommendations for how the UK can become a global leader in esports.
The esports sector is set to be worth $1bn globally by 2019, and the UK’s ecosystem is young but growing. Highlighting the sector’s prospects in job creation, local economic growth, tourism, and new skills development, the report also indicates how the sector can be used as an example of the UK’s best technology, innovation and creativity.

As a trade body for interactive entertainment, Ukie now represents major UK stakeholders, including publishers, developers, platform holders, and key players in the esports ecosystem such as Hi-Rez, makers of Smite, ESL, Gfinity, FaceIT, Team Dignitas, Fnatic and Game/Multiplay amongst others.  They worked in consultation with Ukie via its largest member Sub Group to outline the measures.

The recommendations centre around:

    -The sector to work with key government departments to develop a unified strategic approach and appealing trade and investment offer to major international tournament holders, IP owners and brands;

    -The delivery of superfast broadband and 5G to provide the best infrastructure across the country;

    -The sector should coordinate itself as an industry group to share information and encourage and facilitate the sharing of best practice;

    -Industry and government to develop a methodology for more accurately measuring the UK esports sector;

    -Government to consider the needs of esports businesses and players in policy debates around skills and immigration and

    -The UK’s already world-leading games industry education courses to include esports modules;

    -Esports companies to actively support sustainable initiatives that promote and inspire diverse participation of esports;

    -Fifteen UK esports ambassadors to be created to promote esports in the UK and internationally, picked from a diverse mix of players, developers, publishers and event organisers, and to be added to the UK’s existing Video Games Ambassadors scheme.

Ukie also announced it would be supporting the Digital Schoolhouse powered by PlayStation to hold its first schools esports tournament in 2017.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said, “For some time, we have been proposing that esports in the UK could be a high value opportunity for the economy, provided the right infrastructure and support is in place so we can compete at a global level. Ukie stands for interactive entertainment, and esports is born out of the meeting of games, competition, fandom, live events, and digital innovation, and so in many ways is the epitome of interactive entertainment. Combining industry commitment with political and practical support both nationally and locally, collectively promoting the sector, and supporting the grassroots esports movement across the country, we can make the UK the leading global destination for esports.”

The whitepaper was launched at an event at Gfinity Arena, London’s home of esports, on Monday 28 November.

You can read the full report digitally here.

Train2Game News articy draft Unity Beta

​Bochum-based tool developer NEVIGO launched a closed beta for their under development articy:draft Unity Plugin and the articy:draft Macro Devkit.
NEVIGO invites all developers interested in testing its articy:draft Unity integration and the Macro Devkit to write to beta@nevigo.com to actively take part in the development of these tools.

All you have to do, as an interested developer, is to tell NEVIGO why you want to test the software and what you plan to do with it. If you qualify as a beta partner, they’ll contact you with further instructions on how you can participate in this closed beta to test the new features of the upcoming version 3 of articy:draft and give feedback.

In short the articy:draft Macro Devkit allows you to develop your own customized plug-ins and helps to integrate articy:draft in your individual workflow.

The Unity integration is a plug-in that allows you to import your articy:draft content hassle-free into Unity.

On NEVIGOs news blog you can find some quick information videos for both of the new upcoming features.

The Unity plugin: http://www.nevigo.com/en/fast-track-into-unity/

The Macro Devkit: http://www.nevigo.com/en/feature-in-development-articydraft-internal-api-video/

articy:draft is a visual environment for the creation and organization of game content. It unites specialized editors for many areas of content design in one coherent tool. All content can be exported into various formats, including XML and Microsoft Office. With the help of our integration components, you can even export into your game engine. Regardless of whether you are an individual user, an indie team, or a large studio, articy:draft adapts to your team size and ensures a smooth collaboration.

Train2Game News Insomnia59 Next Month

Multiplay, the organiser of the UK’s largest gaming festival, today reveals that global YouTube sensation Dan TDM will appear at Insomnia59, topping a stellar line-up of popular YouTube stars with a combined subscription base of 22 million people. 
Dan TDM, world-famous for his Minecraft vlogging and live stage touring, will be appearing on the Insomnia main stage once on the Saturday and again on the Sunday, with a new and exclusive 45 minute session produced especially for Insomnia by Endemol Shine UK, the producers and creators of Dan TDM On Tour.

Other confirmed YouTubers in attendance include @real8bitgaming, @marzbargaming, @Razzbowski and @ThePrenti, @yammy_xox, @gizzy14gazza, @samgladiator, @GameboyLuke, @OMGitsfirefoxx and @LDShadowLady. All will be available for meet and greets, with Dan TDM visiting on Saturday and Sunday to meet fans and perform on stage.

New to Insomnia59 will be the first ever Ultimate Gamer competition, which will seek to find the next big gaming YouTube star. The competition stands to propel budding YouTubers into the realms of YouTube stardom, with the winner taking home £5,000 worth of prizes. Applicants can apply through the Insomnia webpage and the heats will take place at i59, with a panel of experts judging and determining the best in show.

Andy Smith, Insomnia Events Director at Multiplay, commented: “Our Ultimate Gamer competition at Insomnia is an addition we’re really excited about, something that could give one lucky winner a potential platform to become the next Dan TDM! Along with Dan we’ve got some truly amazing YouTube talent coming to i59 and combined with the latest games titles, Virtual Reality demos, cosplay, retro games and competitive esports tournaments, Insomnia is the ultimate destination for families this Christmas.”

Continuing its rich tradition of bringing exciting first plays to the UK audience, i59 will be the first place British gamers can get their hands on Syren, a new VR title from Hammerhead, which will be playable from the dedicated VR and Technology section featuring Oculus Rift, Playstation VR and many more. This will be accompanied by three Hypixel games, which include Sky Wars, Walls and Parkour, not to mention all the biggest titles available this Christmas such as Call of Duty, FIFA 17, Gears of War 4 and Battlefield 1.

The ever popular BYOC tournaments featuring games such as Counter Strike Global Offensive (CS:GO) and Hearthstone will be open for entry for 2000 fans to compete in. Prize based BYOC tournaments will include Battlefield 1, Overwatch and Rocket league, with a total of £12,000 worth of prize money up for grabs. For more details on how to get involved head to https://insomniagamingfestival.com/whats-on?categories=tournaments

Insomnia59 will be taking place at The NEC, Birmingham, 9-11 December, 2016 and are available online from £20, with BYOC tickets costing £99. Tickets are available at: https://insomniagamingfestival.com/tickets/.

For more information please visit: https://insomniagamingfestival.com/

Train2Game News Walking Dead third Telltale game announced

​Fellow Survivors, the premiere date and new key art for The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier, the third season in the critically-acclaimed series was announced yesterday.
The first of five episodes in The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier will premiere digitally worldwide starting Tuesday December 20th on PC from the Telltale Online Store, Steam, and other digital distribution services, on the Xbox Games Store for Xbox One® and Xbox 360®, and on the PlayStation®Network for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3. The episode will be available the same day for compatible iOS devices via the App Store, and for compatible Android-based devices via Google Play. 

Beginning February 7th, the series will also be available for purchase on a special ‘Season Pass Disc’ for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, which will include the premiere episode for the third season, as well as access to all subsequent episodes in the five episode season for download as they become available. 

PlayStation 4 users can preorder the digital version by visiting the product page on the digital store. As a special bonus, PS4 digital preorders also receive a complementary copy of The Walking Dead: Season Two and The Walking Dead: Michonne.

Steam users can preorder the season by visiting the product page on Steam, with a savings of 10% for preordering.  

When family is all you have left… how far will you go to protect it? Four years after society was ripped apart by undead hands, pockets of civilization emerge from the chaos. But at what cost? Can the living be trusted on this new frontier? As Javier, a young man determined to find the family taken from him, you meet a young girl who has experienced her own unimaginable loss. Her name is Clementine, and your fates are bound together in a story where every choice you make could be your last. 

A special extended first look at the premiere episode will be revealed live on stage at The Game Awards on Thursday December 1st. 

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier is expected to receive a rating of ‘M’ (Mature) from the ESRB. 

Train2Game News The Bridge eSports live

On Monday the 28th of November, GINX eSports TV will launch its brand new show The BRIDGE which will broadcast LIVE worldwide for 3 hours every weeknight at 8pm GMT from its London Headquarters.
The BRIDGE is described by Producer David Kangas as a ‘crossing place’ for eSports, aiming to bring together fans, teams and personalities from across the world, spanning all games, tournaments and platforms. 

Hosts Alex ‘Machine’ Richardson and OJ Borg will be in the driving seat for this, alongside streamers, casters and content creators Duncan ‘Thorin’ Shields, Marcella ‘Nysira’ de Bie, Shanna Nina, Sheever, Owen ‘ODPixel’ Damascus.

Your favourite players, streamers and opinion-setters will be live from the studio or calling in from across the world to dive deep into the world of eSports- telling the stories the matter as they unfold!

Producer David Kangas said “We threw the reins over to the fans, the players and the content creators and asked them if they could build it how would it be. So we’ve ended up with ‘ The BRIDGE, ’ a crossing place for eSports – where we can talk to whoever we want, about whatever game we want, whenever and however we want. That feels like a great starting point.”

ALEX ‘Machine’ Richardson commented: “LIVE and interactive every night with OJ and Nysira in the studio … you sort of feel like anything can happen … It ’ ‘s going to be an absolute blast!” Marcella de Bie ‘ Nysira ’ ” “ Oh my, this is gonna be SO much fun. Live from London to the world. It’s gonna blow my socks off!” 

Marcella de Bie ‘Nysira’ observed: “Oh my, this is gonna be SO much fun. Live from London to the world. It ’ s gonna blow my socks off!””

OJ BORG –added “”I can’t wait! Radio & TV hosting runs through my veins and to now throw esports into that mix with The BRIDGE gets me really excited.”

Join us and tune in. THE BRIDGE premieres Monday 28th November from 8pm GMT on GINX eSports TV and live on our Twitch Channel: twitch.tv/GINXTV 

GINX eSports TV is available on cable and satellite platforms throughout the world. In the UK the channel is available on Sky Ch.470 and Virgin Media Ch.290.

Train2Game News Unlocked the World of Games Revealed

Sean Astin, Tom Arnold, Penn Jillette and Michael Rooker top a list of celebrities exploring the world of gaming in the new 8-part docu-series.
Mediajuice Studios, a Dallas, Texas-based film and television production house, has announced the release of the 8-part documentary series UNLOCKED: THE WORLD OF GAMES, REVEALED starring celebrity hosts Sean Astin, Tom Arnold, Matt Walsh, Penn Jillette, Michael Rooker, Zelda Williams, Alison Haislip, and Meghan Camarena. The series will be released on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Steam starting December 15th and is currently available for pre-order.

From Executive Producer Sean Astin and Director Jeremy Snead, UNLOCKED: THE WORLD OF GAMES, REVEALED is a genre defining 8-part documentary series that, through eight celebrity correspondents, explores a variety of previously untapped areas within the video games industry. From Sean Astin’s exploration of game design schools and the world of video game journalism to Tom Arnold’s journey into the past, present and  future of games, the series dives into dozens of topics within the world of gaming and features a who’s who of game industry heavy hitters. 

Matt Walsh covers non-traditional areas by meeting with doctors and field experts to understand the psychology of gaming, while magician Penn Jillette dives into the world of modern game development. 

Other series hosts include Michael Rooker and his look into the fascinating world of gaming motion-capture (mo-cap) technology, Zelda Williams investigating hospitals use of games as therapy and rehabilitation, Alison Haislip behind the scenes at Nintendo, and YouTube star Meghan “Strawburry17” Camarena exploring the global explosion of competitive video gaming, better known as esports.

UNLOCKED: THE WORLD OF GAMES, REVEALED was directed, written and produced by Mediajuice Studios’ founder Jeremy Snead, executive produced by Sean Astin, Dusty Womble, Brett Womble, and also features William Shatner, Tony Hawk, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. Interviews included in the show feature a litany of video game industry icons, field experts, scientists, game designers and many more.

“Jeremy’s determination and ability to explain the world of gaming through the documentary medium in such a thorough yet entertaining way is pretty incredible,” said Executive Producer Sean Astin about Unlocked director, Jeremy Snead.

“The goal in producing a series like Unlocked is to educate and entertain the audience on all these fascinating topics within the world of gaming all with a cast of curious correspondents that the audience is familiar with,” said Jeremy Snead. 

“Intellectually stimulating, and way more interesting than I expected. Fun, and I learned a lot,” said host Tom Arnold of his journey into gaming in Unlocked.

“I now have a true appreciation for the art, business and downright hard work of game development,” said host Penn Jillette about his experience throughout filming Unlocked.

Official Trailer: https://youtu.be/2P9QVaVo07w 

Fans can pre-order the entire 8-part series now at unlockedtvshow.com.

Train2Game News Pokémon Sun and Moon record breaking release

The Pokémon Company International and Nintendo are proud to announce that the latest entries in the Pokémon universe, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, which are available exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, have broken a new record. 
Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon are the first completely new titles since the release of Pokémon X and Pokémon Y in 2013.

The Pokémon Company International is coming to the end of its 20th celebration, a year that has seen millions of fans of all ages enjoying Pokémon GO and special Pokémon Trading Card Game products. 

Having received fantastic reviews, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon have now officially broken a new record with initial shipment figures of the games exceeding 10 million units worldwide—the largest figure in the history of Nintendo 3DS titles. This is an increase of 150% beyond Pokémon X and Pokémon Y.

The record-breaking celebrations will continue this December 9–11 in London with the arrival of the Pokémon European International Championships. 

The best of the best Pokémon players from all over the world will descend on the event, with many battling in what will be the first official Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon video game tournament since the games’ launch. 

Players will compete for a combined prize pool value of up to $250,000. More information on the Pokémon European International Championships and how to enter can be found here: http://www.pokemon.com/uk/play-pokemon/internationals/2017/about/

For more information about Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, please visit Pokemon.co.uk/SunMoon.

Train2Game News London Arcade Tour

Bespoke Arcades, the premier name in quality, customisable arcade entertainment, announced today a London Arcade tour to kick off their Holiday celebrations in style and offer London gamers the chance to win an arcade machine of their own!
Taking up temporary residence at Harrods, London’s premier shopping destination, Bespoke Arcades will be welcoming gaming fans to the 3rd floor Gaming Dept for the entire weekend of November 26 and 27, armed with complimentary seasonal treats and free-play on their entire arcade range! 

Come enjoy a mince pie and take part in our ‘Season’s Beatings’ by taking on legendary Guinness World Record holding professional gamer Ryan Hart! 

Feared throughout the gaming world for his unbeatable skills, Ryan will be challenging those brave enough to face him in battle and gamers even have the chance of winning their very own arcade machine should their skills prove powerful enough!

Bespoke Arcades will also be participating in the prestigious Ideal Home Show at Christmas, taking place at Olympia, London from November 23 through to November 27. With their entire jaw-dropping range, including the infamous King-Pin Virtual Pinball Table on show to the public once again, no ideal home would be complete without a Bespoke Arcades cabinet. With exclusive show discounts on offer for a limited time only, gamers have the perfect excuse to treat themselves to what they really want for the holidays!

“This is the time of year for good times and great games and Bespoke Arcades is perfectly positioned to deliver just that! We’re coming to the end of a landmark year for the company, introducing many exciting innovations along with our new King-Pin table and we’re excited to meet the London gaming community as the party season gets into full swing,” said Ben Georget, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Bespoke Arcades. “Ryan Hart is one of the world’s most respected gamers and a fan of Bespoke Arcades. We’re excited to have him join us at our Harrods weekend as we look to broaden our reach amongst gamers across the UK and beyond.”

For more information on Bespoke Arcades and the London Arcade tour, please visit http://www.bespoke-arcades.co.uk/

Train2Game News nDreams investment

nDreams Ltd., the UK’s largest independent developer/publisher solely focused on virtual reality (VR) entertainment software, today announced that it has received an investment of £2.0 million, the first of a two-stage round. 
Mercia Technologies PLC, the technology-focused investment business who has invested £4.1 million into nDreams previously, funded £1.0 million of the latest round. The rest of the investment comes from a group of angel investors.

The nDreams investment follows the recent launch of the award-winning The Assembly (view trailer) on Sony’s PlayStation®VR, coming after its number one debut on Oculus Rift and successful release on HTC Vive. nDreams also recently released Danger Goat (view trailer), its first title for the Daydream, Google’s new high-quality mobile VR platform that launched on 10 November 2016.

Patrick O’Luanaigh, nDreams’ CEO and Founder, said:

“We’re delighted that Mercia are continuing to support our growth by taking part in this investment, which is the first of a two-stage round. We’re also very pleased to welcome a number of private investors, all of whom have hugely successful business backgrounds and a wealth of knowledge and experience. I’m so proud of the team that we have assembled here at nDreams. This investment allows us to continue building on the momentum we have achieved, and to develop VR games and experiences of the very highest quality.”

Mike Hayes, Mercia’s Investment Director, Digital & Digital Entertainment:

“The continued progress of nDreams is an example of Mercia’s success in investing and mentoring UK technology businesses. We congratulate the nDreams team and believe that the Company has an exceptionally exciting future ahead, operating at the forefront of the VR content development.”

nDreams was one of the first game studios in the world to focus on VR software, and has been working on virtual reality since 2013. The company has also launched Gunner and Perfect Beach on the Samsung Gear VR and has several VR games and experiences in development.

Train2Game News Speech Graphics launches animation SGX


Award winning software company Speech Graphics today launches its debut animation software SGX, which generates facial animation from audio.
The Coalition, a Microsoft Studio, is the first company to license the groundbreaking software, animating over 35,000 lines of dialogue in the critically acclaimed game Gears of War 4.

SGX has been licensed to a further three global studios, news of which is expected to be released in the new year.

SGX marks a step change in the games sector by bringing the quality of in-game animation close to the quality of handcrafted cut-scene animation.  The result of five years of research and development by Speech Graphics, SGX makes it possible for video game studios to execute large batches of facial animation of thousands of lines of dialogue in-house, using only audio recordings, without needing to outsource to specialists.

Based in Scotland, Speech Graphics has an international reputation for extraordinary advances in audio-driven animation and motion technology, providing facial animation for the video games industry and working with multinational companies like Warner Brothers and global artists like Kanye West.

SGX delivers an immersive experience for the gamer.  SGX processes audio files and transcripts into facial animation, creating audio-generated facial animation that is high-quality and scalable across large volumes of dialogue.

Michael Berger, CTO and co-founder of Speech Graphics, explains: “Automatic, accurate lip sync is one of the holy grails of computer facial animation.  Our task is to create the impression that the animated face you see is the source of the sound you hear.  This illusion is notoriously difficult to achieve: the movements of speech are fast, complex and subtle and the viewer is highly sensitive to any mismatch between face and the voice.

David Coleman, Animation Director of Gears of War 4, commented: “Speech Graphics provided us with a robust system for automatically creating quality facial animation for the many thousands of lines of gameplay dialogue in Gears of War 4. We found the people at Speech Graphics to be very responsive and helpful in us achieving our goals.”

“SGX goes beyond good lip sync. Speech contains energy and emotion, and that too can be decoded from the voice and synchronized in the face. Using all available acoustic information, our algorithms drive not just the mouth but the entire face from audio input, from syllables to scowls.”

Speech Graphics delivers accurate and expressive facial animation. Emotional impact comes through very strongly in both the upper and lower face. Speech Graphics technology captures the intensity of every syllable and animates eyebrows, eyes, lips, jaw, cheeks and even tongue. 

Speech Graphics has a unique fusion of expertise in speech technology and computer animation found nowhere else in the world. The team brings together decades of research into machine learning, speech recognition, phonetics and computer graphics to solve what is an interdisciplinary problem.

Speech Graphics is on track to become the main provider of lip-sync and facial animation – a sector forecast to reach over $500 million (£375m) – to the global video game market. Speech Graphics currently employs eight staff and has plans to recruit three more in the year ahead. 

For further information visit: www.speech-graphics.com