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 GEEK Festival

Replay Events, the UK’s leading gaming entertainment company, announced today participation in the GEEK festival, a three-day celebration of all forms of gaming, taking place in UK half-term week from February 17th through February 19th 2017.
More than a mere video game show, GEEK features family entertainment on an epic scale, featuring a huge range of multi-player interactive games, board games, retro and current gen gaming, card games and real world games.

Leaders in consumer gaming events, Replay Events will be bringing a jaw-dropping selection of retro-gaming to GEEK, including the following attractions:

    -Multi-Player Lounge Play – Come chill out with a classic range of ‘couch-play’ four-player titles, from classic games like Micro Machines™ and Bomberman™ to brand new indie sensations like Ultimate Chicken Horse™ and Party Panic™!

    -Multi-Player Retro Gaming – Take a trip through time sampling forgotten classics from previous generations of consoles from the Atari® VCS and the Amiga™, to the PlayStation® 2, Gamecube™ and original Xbox™. See how the games of yesteryear compare to the modern classics on current generation consoles, also available to play at GEEK!

    -Minecraft™ Zone – Running continuously throughout the GEEK festival, the Minecraft Zone features three playable game modes including Survival Mode, Creative Mode and the ever-popular Hunger Games

    -16-Player Replay Ring – Experience local multi-player gaming on an impressively huge scale! The Replay Ring features 16 Xbox 360 consoles linked together, playing non-stop classics such as Halo™ 4, Blur™ and Blazing Angels™ 2

    -Tournament Zone – Replay Events brings the fun of competitive gaming to GEEK, running contests throughout the show on classics such as Halo 4, PES™ 2017, Street Fighter™ V and Minecraft. With prizes to be won, gamers can test their skills and win big!

   -Street Fighter ™ Celebration – Celebrate the most beloved fighting game of all time with a dedicated area re-living the classic series and featuring the following titles: Street Fighter™ II Turbo on the SNES, Street Fighter™ II: Championship Edition on the Megadrive, Street Fighter™ III: Third Strike on the Dreamcast, Street Fighter™ IV on the Xbox 360 and Street Fighter™ V on the PS4™

    -Rock Band™4 Stage Zone – Rock out with the legendary music game, featuring a full four-player band setup playable on the stage!

    -Iron-Geek Challenge – Not for the timid, show your skills on Pac-Man™, Sonic the Hedgehog™ and Super Mario Bros™ in the Iron-Geek challenge zone! Race through each of the games and win the coveted trophy!

“The GEEK festival is celebrating its fifth year in 2017 and Replay Events are proud to be partnering with the show,” said Andy Brown, Director for Replay Events. “GEEK is the perfect opportunity for gamers and families to come together and enjoy gaming on a massive scale. Replay Events are proud of our heritage in staging gaming events throughout the UK and a key part of our business lies with providing an unrivalled range of classic and retro-games for various partner events. With this in mind, we’re confident we’ll have something for everyone to enjoy and we look forward to welcoming guests to the show this February.”

Amongst the impressive roster of events taking place over the three days, GEEK is proudly teaming up with Nintendo® to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mario Kart™. Alongside offering visitors the opportunity to play every Mario Kart game through the ages, GEEK proudly plays host to the official Mario Kart tournament, taking place on Saturday 18th February. With a chance to win a brand-new Nintendo Switch™* home console, players will compete one-on-one in repurposed bumper cars from Dreamland’s historic amusement park as they tussle for first place across eight races from the best Mario Kart has to offer!

Tickets for GEEK are available now and start from as little as £7 per child and £12 per adult. For more info, please visit https://www.dreamland.co.uk/geek

For the purposes of this event, an adult is aged 15 and over. There will be some over 18s areas at the evening event.

Under 5s go free. Dreamland Members get 10% discount. For more info on Dreamland Membership, visit https://www.dreamland.co.uk/membership

*Nintendo Switch will be awarded to the winner post release

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.

Train2Game News Global Game Jam partnered with GDC

​Global Game Jam® (GGJ), the world’s largest game jam event taking place in physical locations across the globe, announced today that it has partnered with the Game Developers Conference® to offer 25 Global Game Jam volunteers an all-access pass to GDC 2017 in San Francisco, CA on March 1-3, 2017.
For three years in a row, the Global Game Jam and Game Developers Conference have offered scholarships to GGJ organizers, regional organizers or other volunteer affiliates with a goal of reward those participants from underrepresented regions of the world and countries where none or few GGJ sites normally participate. The scholarships give participants an opportunity to further their career development through networking and on-site learning at GDC, the world’s largest forum for the game development community to come together and share ideas.

“Last year, we we’re able to offer scholars from Cuba, Zambia, Pakistan and a number of other areas the opportunity to attend GDC” said Gorm Lai, president and founder of the Global Game Jam. “By offering these scholarships, we hope that our volunteers are able to bring the information that they learn from the conference to grow their local game development communities and further their own careers.”

Interested parties can apply for a scholarship by filling out a short application and survey. The deadline to apply is December 1, 2016 and decisions will be made by the GGJ scholarship community as early as January 1, 2017.

Train2Game News UK Games Fund

​Consider yourself the next Kojima? Ready to become the next Rocksteady? Maybe you’ve got the skills to become a future Meier?
UK games developers could be in with a chance of securing up to £25,000 of government funding, as the hunt begins to find the UK’s next big video game.

The UK Games Fund is inviting developers to apply for the grants in a bid to support video games projects and help develop new talent.

The fund, which in now its third round, has so far helped 50 developers from across the nation see their gaming dreams transformed into reality thanks to more than £1.3m in government grants. 

Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock MP said:

“The UK is a world leader when it comes to making video games, and we’re determined to make sure this continues long into the future.

“Our UK Games Fund has already helped many young games companies turn prototypes into a reality. Together with the Government’s video games tax reliefs this shows how we’re supporting this dynamic sector to attract further investment and new talent.”

The UK’s video games sector plays a vital role in the country’s thriving creative industries, which contributes £84 billion to the economy.

Video games developer Sensible Object, who successfully applied for funding from the first round of the UK Games Fund, have brought their game “Beasts of Balance” to life thanks to the government grant. About to be launched in retailers including John Lewis, “Beasts of Balance” is an ambitious mixture of a physical tabletop and digital game in which players stack beast-shaped pieces into a balancing tower that’s scanned by a connected smartphone or tablet.

On a visit to the Sensible Object studios in Somerset House, the Minister was shown how the developers have developed their designs and are now bringing them to market.

Alex Fleetwood, Sensible Object founder, said:

“Launching any venture is fraught with risks, but creative businesses like game companies come with even more challenges and the UK Games Fund is a very timely form of support for those that hope to grow and succeed in that area.

“The fund is well-run, straightforward to apply for, and clear in its decision-making, making it a valuable asset to game companies like ours and the industry as a whole.”

The Government’s UK Games Fund is aimed at supporting new video games businesses, encouraging talent, accelerating growth in regional games clusters and complements UK’s video games tax relief. Many small businesses lack the capital to help develop their ideas and attract private investment. The Fund has been created to help bridge that gap and help developers take their ideas from the drawing board and into production.

Paul Durrant, head of the UK Games Fund, said: “We’re really excited about this funding round, given the high demand and the quality of projects we’ve seen so far. It’s also good to see the success stories arising from our support. Sensible Object’s rapid progress shows just what we can achieve when we assist the UK’s top games development talent.”

  Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie,  said: “The UK is home to some of the world’s best and brightest creative games talent, and support from the UK Games Fund has already helped many projects get a much needed boost towards development and funding. The fantastic games that have already emerged from previous rounds shows what a huge asset this fund is to the games sector in the UK, and Ukie is proud to continue supporting the project through this next round.”

To apply for funding visit: ukgamesfund.com