Train2Game News Xenko Games Engine

Game maker and middleware pioneer, Silicon Studio, today releases the Xenko game engine, giving developers more options than ever before in creating projects of all sizes, from mobile games to realistic VR experiences and beyond. Xenko is free for educational use, small studios and individual users, with larger studios paying a nominal monthly fee. To celebrate the launch, Silicon Studio is offering all users access to the engine’s unrestricted Pro plan at no cost and with no registration requirements through July 31, 2017.
“We worked with developers to create a tool that lets them explore their creativity without running into some of the limitations they may find with other game engines,” said Terada Takehiko, CEO of Silicon Studio. “By offering advantages like C# and photorealistic rendering, we’re positioning Xenko as the top choice for creators working in 3D, VR and everything in between.”

Xenko was designed by an international team of developers, for developers. Using the latest version of C#, the open source engine features high-end realistic rendering, multithreading with support for the latest graphic APIs (Vulkan & DirectX 12), nested prefabs, particle effects, a built-in script editor and more.

Compared to the beta version, the commercial release boasts major improvements including VR support – with features such as binaural audio, single pass rendering, multi-sampling anti-aliasing (MSAA), one-click VR setup – scene streaming management, a pipeline rendering editor, and light probes (a first step to global illumination), along with greatly improved stability.

“I’ve been developing with the Xenko engine for over two years now,” said beta user and game developer Filip Dusek, creator of the game Children of the Galaxy. “I’m really pleased with the performance and stability of the engine. The renderer is remarkable – both in terms of use and the visual results.”

Xenko represents a new option for developers that want more flexibility from game engines, and this release is just the first step. Silicon Studio will continue to offer new features and updates, including a much more advanced rendering pipeline editor, a visual scripting system, and more.

To celebrate the launch, Silicon Studio is introducing the Xenko Welcome Campaign, allowing unfettered access to the Pro and Personal plans without registration and at no cost until July 31, 2017. Following the conclusion of the welcome program, users that took advantage of the Pro Plan who wish switch to the Personal Plan can simply register their account and select the Personal option (studio size restrictions apply). For more details, see the campaign page.

Pricing, availability, and welcome campaign

Pricing for Xenko is broken into four tiers:

    Xenko Personal – Free for small studios, personal, and students

    Xenko Pro – Designed for small to medium-sized studios; $75 per month (free until July 31, 2017)

    Xenko Pro Plus – Designed for larger studios; $150 per month

    Xenko Custom – Available to accommodate teams with a variety of special needs, projects, and requirements.  

For full details, see the Xenko license plan page.

A Xenko Education version is free for students and universities for use in non-commercial education uses.

During the Welcome Campaign, registration options for the Xenko Pro Plus plan will only be available to corporate customers upon request. When the campaign ends, the Pro Plus plan will be made available to all users through the Xenko store. For details, please contact Silicon Studio.

Xenko is available for PC, and allows developers to build games for Windows, iOS, Android and Xbox One, with Supporting for other consoles coming soon. Xenko can be downloaded directly through the Xenko website.

Train2Game News Insomnia60 Days Away


The countdown has officially begun. Insomnia60, the UK’s largest gaming festival, which starts this Friday, will see the most star-studded line-up ever grace the stage at the NEC in Birmingham.
For the first time, the festival will also host an orchestral concert – The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses will feature a full symphony orchestra performing over 30 years of music from The Legend of Zelda franchise as never before a perfect event for families and fans alike. The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses starts at 19:45 on Sunday 16th April.

Tickets for a full day at Insomnia60 are priced at £25 per person, with the full VIP experience priced at £90 + fees, and are available for purchase at https://www.theticketfactory.com/multiplay/online/

For more information on Insomnia60, please visit: https://insomniagamingfestival.com/

Train2Game News Women in Games Ambassador programme 

Women in Games, the not for profit, games industry diversity organisation, today announced the launch of its Ambassador programme, sponsored by Women Techmakers, with 43 individual Ambassadors from across the UK and Europe supporting women and girls in understanding the games industry and the opportunities there are within it.
The Ambassador programme from Women in Games exists to grow the membership of the organisation, to help it increase the reach and scale of its programmes and help it achieve the strategic goal of doubling the number of women in games over 10 years.

Ambassadors are expected to reach out to young women at school, college and university locally in their region to encourage them to consider the games industry as a career. They will also reach out to the local public, regional industry and educational leaders and local government to form partnerships and long term strategic relationships.

Google’s Women Techmakers initiative provides visibility, community, and resources for women in technology, implementing global scalable initiatives to support and empower women in the industry.

The first Ambassadors for Women in Games are announced today as Alex Jones, Jade Leamcharaskul, Amelia James, Rhoda Daly, Steph McStea, Leoni Smith, Rory Jackson, Terri Mardel, Alex Grahame, Catherine Wooley, Jessica Curry, Adrienne Law, Amanda Blatch, Amrita Bharij, Amy Parish, Amy Yu, Ashley Riza, Becky Jowsey, Bex Edmondson, Carleigh Morgan, Chella Ramanan, Gareth Johns, Hazel Turnbull, Jess Magnus, Jodie Azhar, Karen Cham, Karen Hedger, Kate Killick, Laurence Bouvard, Liz Mercuri, Lorraine Ansell, Maria Fernandes-Hermida, Martine Spaans, Michael Corinus, Michelle Tilley, Monique Boddington, Nida Ahmad, Nika Droravic, Rachael Gregg-Smyth, Sandra Chau, Sharon Toliani-Sage, Tabitha Huchon and Timea Tabori.

Marie-Claire Isaaman, CEO of Women in Games commented: “We are delighted to have the support of Google’s Women Techmakers for the launch of our Women in Games Ambassador programme. During our 2016 European Women in Games Conference I ran a workshop to initiate this scheme and the enthusiasm and drive of the individuals who attended was extraordinary. We are extremely excited to see what our Ambassadors will achieve and confident that this initiative will have substantial impact in supporting us with our strategic goals.”

Rupert Whitehead, Developer Relations Programs Lead, UK, Ireland and Netherlands at Google said: “Women Techmakers and Google are proud to support the Women in Games Ambassador programme. This will grow awareness of the amazing variety of opportunities that are available for women in technology in what is a thriving and creative games industry. Seeing women already in these roles sharing their story is a powerful way of achieving this.”

Train2Game News Unity plugin supports EditorVR

VR game development on the Unity platform just received a massive productivity boost. 
Today, KinematicSoup Technologies announced that Scene Fusion now officially supports EditorVR. The announcement was in response to Unity Technologies’ latest update to the platform, released on March 11th, 2017.

Scene Fusion is a Unity plug-in that adds real-time collaboration for level design to the Unity engine, which reduces the amount of time it takes to build and ship a game by up to 33%. With the growing popularity of VR, the decision to support it in Scene Fusion was an easy decision for Justin McMichael, CEO of KinematicSoup.

Unity launched the first publicly available experimental build of EditorVR for Unity, on December 15, 2016. Since this launch, the team at KinematicSoup has made efforts to ensure Scene Fusion builds have supported the continuous development of EditorVR, and plans to continue this trend.

 “Our goal is to provide complete interactivity to game developers so that they can bring games to market sooner and work more efficiently. We see VR as a natural next step to the evolving landscape of game development. The benefits of real-time collaboration have never been greater than they are in VR. Being able to have people in and out of VR interact together on a single scene creates a very fast and efficient workflow that results in faster game development.”

 Justin McMichael, CEO, KinematicSoup

Scene Fusion has been in development since 2015 and has since become popular among many Unity-based game studios.

Interested in learning more about Scene Fusion? Visit https://www.kinematicSoup.com/scene-fusion 

Train2Game News Middle-earth Shadow of War

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today announced Middle-earth: Shadow of War™.
Shadow of War is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor™, winner of more than 50 industry awards, including 2015 Game Developers Choice Awards’ Game of the Year, Outstanding Innovation in Gaming at the 2015 D.I.C.E. Awards and the BAFTA for Game Design. Developed by Monolith Productions, Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ features an original story with the return of Talion and Celebrimbor, who must go behind enemy lines to forge an army and turn all of Mordor against the Dark Lord, Sauron.

The official Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ Announcement Trailer can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/sPhOCXzLBKA

In Middle-earth: Shadow of War™, players wield a new Ring of Power and confront the deadliest of enemies, including Sauron and his Nazgul, in a monumental battle for Middle-earth. The open-world action-adventure game is brought to life through the expansion of the award-winning Nemesis System. The robust personalization from the first game is now applied to the entire world where the environments and characters are all shaped by player actions and decisions, creating a personal world unique to every gameplay experience. 

Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ will be available for Xbox One, Project Scorpio, Windows 10 PC (Windows Store and Steam™), PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®4 Pro beginning 25 August, 2017. Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ will be available as an Xbox Play Anywhere title.

“Monolith Productions continues to innovate by introducing deeper, more personalised gameplay experiences, coupled with authentic storytelling,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ truly drives the genre forward by taking the Nemesis System to new heights and allowing players to create their own personal journey within Middle-earth.”

“Following the amazing reception to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor™, we massively expanded every dimension of the game, including the world, the story, the RPG systems, the core gameplay and of course the personal player stories of the Nemesis System,” said Michael de Plater, Vice President, Creative, Monolith Productions. “As lifelong fans of Middle-earth, we are so grateful to have the privilege to bring to life the most incredible fantasy world ever created in a new way, for a new generation. With Middle-earth: Shadow of War™, we can’t wait to see the amazing stories players are going to create and share.”

The innovative Nemesis System created unique personal stories through procedurally-generated enemies who remember every encounter and are differentiated by their personality, strengths and weaknesses. Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ expands this innovation with the introduction of Followers who bring about entirely new stories of loyalty, betrayal and revenge. The Nemesis System is also expanded to create a unique personal world through Nemesis Fortresses, which allows players to utilize different strategies to conquer dynamic strongholds and create personalized worlds with their unique Orc army.

Set between the events of The Hobbit™ and The Lord of the Rings™, Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ continues the original narrative of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor™. Players will be engrossed in a richer, more personal and expansive world full of epic heroes and villains, iconic locations, original enemy types, even more personalities and a new cast of characters with untold stories.

As an Xbox Play Anywhere title, players can purchase a digital version of Middle-earth: Shadow of War™ once and play it on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC. Gamers can pick up where they left off on another Xbox One or Windows 10 PC, bringing all the saves, game add-ons and achievements with them at no additional cost.

For more information or to join the Middle-earth: Shadow of War conversation, visit www.ShadowofWar.com 

Train2Game News Games Report 2017

​Last year was a record breaker for games, with tech M&A advisor Digi-Capital’s new Games Report 2017 (www.digi-capital.com/reports/#global-games-investment-review ) recording $30.3 billion games deals in 2016. 
The $28.4 billion of games mergers and acquisitions (M&A) was 77% higher than 2014’s previous record, and $1.9 billion games investment was the second highest ever. With games revenue set to grow from $117 billion in 2017 to over $170 billion by 2021, games has turned into a two speed market driving massive consolidation around mobile games in particular.
So what’s behind the consolidation around mobile games? Mobile apps (not just games) revenue grew an unexpected 40% last year, with China a major driver. Taking over three-quarters of all mobile apps revenue globally, mobile games had an absolute flyer. Despite this outperformance, mobile games growth could slow to 14.5% annually long-term (CAGR) for over $80 billion revenue by 2021 (gross apps revenue across iOS, Google Play and all the Chinese app stores). That’s more revenue than the entire games market a few years ago.

At the other end of the spectrum is the land of the indies, where there isn’t enough money yet for the big boys. VR hardware, AR games and VR games have a lot of runway and look set to drive over $20 billion revenue combined by 2021. Together with the games tech/services and mobile games, these smaller, faster sectors are where billions of dollars from VCs and corporates were invested into games in the last 12 months. 

Train2Game News British eSports Association Board and Website

T​he British Esports Association (British Esports) – the UK’s esports national body – established to support, promote and instil good governance for amateur esports players and teams – confirms its Advisory Board and launches its full website.
Led by British Esports Chair, Andy Payne OBE, the board for 2017 includes:
    Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner, Veteran Esports Host, Caster and Presenter
    Richard Lewis, Esports Journalist of the Year
    Michael “ODEE” O’Dell, President Team Dignitas
    Craig “Wizzo” Fletcher, Founder Multiplay
    Chris Mead, Twitch’s UK Director of Partnerships
    Ryan Hart, World Champion Esports Player
    Ceirnan “ Excoundrel ” Lowe, Colour Caster
   Josh Williams, Founder, National University Esports League  
    Carleigh Morgan, Academic
    Andrew Nixon, Partner at Sheridans

The board, which possess a wealth of experience across all aspects of esports and are some of the leading figures within the industry, will discuss developments and areas of focus for the British Esports Association, and offer their guidance and advice to constantly develop esports in the UK. The first board meeting will take place in January 2017 and each member will sit on the board for a minimum of 12 months.

“I am really proud and honoured to be taking this role on for British Esports at such an exciting time for the industry. We have assembled a really talented group of esports professionals to interact with the community and guide our activities. There is much to do, but given the talent assembled, we will be able to make a significant difference over the coming 12 months, bring it on.” commented Andy Payne.

The brand new website www.britishesports.org will be an information hub, providing expert advice and support from grassroots levels and up, across the esports spectrum. There will be articles educating about jobs in the industry, to wellbeing, guidance for parents, to finding out the latest esports events, who are the event organisers, key figures in the industry and how to get involved in competition both locally and nationally here in the UK plus much more. British Esports wants to help existing gamers and nurture future British talent in becoming global champions.

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 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 Miitomo Update

When Nintendo’s first smart-device app, Miitomo, launched in March, it set the stage for future mobile games like the upcoming Super Mario Run. Miitomo has received a major update that adds even more ways for players to express themselves and communicate with friends and is out now.
After downloading the free update, users can immediately enhance their social adventures by sending private messages to any of their friends who also have the Miitomo app, customising their in-game Mii character’s room with things like posters and Nintendo-themed wallpaper and sharing their answers and outfits with even more Miitomo users.

Here is a taste of some of the new things users can do after downloading the free Miitomo update:

· Private messages: After downloading the update, users can send private messages to anyone on their friends list. Users can set the expression of their Mii, and either a user’s main Mii character or a Sidekick Mii will personally deliver the in-app message to the friend.

· Room customisation: Rooms can be decorated with custom flooring and wallpaper, which can both be collected for free in the in-app Miitomo Drop game or by completing in-app actions. Some of the wallpaper is even inspired by some of Nintendo’s key franchises like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Metroid. Rooms can also be decorated with posters, adorned with Miifoto images or even real-life photos contained on the user’s smart device. Each room can hold up to eight posters. Poster spots, which each hold one poster, can be purchased individually for £0.79 from the in-game store.

· Style Central: Dressing up in the latest outfits in Miitomo is a big part of the fun. With the new Style Central feature, users can submit up to three of their favourite custom outfits a day to share with other users. These other users can browse the submitted outfits to ‘like’ them or try them on. By sharing outfits, users receive My Nintendo points that can be redeemed for fun Nintendo rewards. 

Visit https://my.nintendo.com/ for more information about My Nintendo.

· Answer Central: One of the main features of Miitomo is answering fun questions and sharing those answers with others. The new Answer Central hub displays a public list of questions and answers that anyone can browse or comment on. This opens up the social interactions to a much wider base.

· Sidekick Mii characters: Sidekick Mii characters are controlled by the account user, but play secondary roles to the main Mii. Sidekicks have their own rooms, can be dressed and can even be set to public or private. Up to 100 Sidekick Mii characters can be assigned to the main user.

· Easier to Use: A new timeline feature allows you to see your friends’ latest answers without the need to speak to other Mii characters. You will also be able to see your friends’ customised rooms.

Alongside today’s update, Miitomo has launched in more countries including Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. For more information about Miitomo, visit https://miitomo.com.