Train2Game News Designing With Data

What role does data play in designing, developing and running the world’s leading videogames?

Data science company Effini has partnered with InGAME, the multi-million pound Innovation centre for games and media enterprise in Dundee, to discuss and debate this issue, as part of Data Fest 2020.

Taking place on March 11th, in the heart of Dundee’s thriving videogames cluster, Designing With Data: The Future of Videogames, features a keynote speech Dr Luke Dicken, the Director of Applied AI at Zynga, and the chair of the IGDA Foundation.

The event will then invite a panel of industry experts, from companies including Outplay, Ninja Kiwi and the university of Abertay to debate the use of data by game developers within Scotland and the UK.

Brian Baglow, the Director of the Scottish Games Network and Head of Marketing for Effini, said: “The intelligent use of data has helped the games market become one of the largest and most successful creative industries in the world today.

Yet on a local level, the video games sector can often be overlooked when it comes to the Scotland’s vision of becoming a data pioneer.

By partnering with InGAME, we can ensure we can leverage their expertise and experience in the videogames market and by creating the event as part of Data Fest, Effini can help to highlight the industry to the wider data community.”

Sean Taylor, the InGAME Project Director, said “We’re thrilled to be part of DataFest and collaborating with Effini to bring this event to Dundee.

“Data-driven design is the next frontier of game development and it’s important that explore the challenges and opportunities it creates for the city’s games cluster.”

For more information and to secure your free ticket, book now:
https://www.citizenticket.co.uk/events/datafest/designing-with-data-the-future-of-games/

Train2Game News: Scottish Games Network launched

Brian BaglowScotland’s video games industry, was transformed yesterday, with the launch of the Scottish Games Network, as the official industry body for the entire sector in Scotland.

The Scottish Games Network now offers a single unified and strategic contact point for Scotland’s diverse games sector, as well as opening the sector up to the wider cultural and creative industries, both nationally and globally.

The Scottish Games Network is open to every company and organisation involved in the video games and interactive industries. Not simply developers, but technology companies, animation specialists, audio companies, publishers, retailers, media, freelance staff, contractors, academic institutions and the government.

The organisation pro-actively identifies new projects and opportunities to enable the games sector to grow, evolve and prosper, moving beyond advocacy and representation to pull together the individuals, companies and organisations across the country, providing strategic insight, research, create new opportunities and organise incredibly cool events…

The Scottish Games Network was established in 2005 as a grass roots sector-specific community. It has grown and evolved rapidly to become the recognised organisation and focal point for the country’s video games industry, with over 90 game development studios, more than 130 games-related companies and around 5,000 individual members across multiple channels.

Scotland has a unique infrastructure, differing from the rest of the UK. There are over 35 commercial, cultural, educational and academic organisations across the public and private sectors in this country, which are actively involved in the games and interactive sector.

The Scottish Games Network is keen to work with all of these organisations and companies, building greater collaboration, communication, understanding and opportunities for Scotland as a whole. The SGN will also work closely with the existing video games industry bodies, creating links, affiliations and memberships, sharing information and ensuring collaboration wherever possible.

Scotland’s games industry has been a pioneer since the late 1980s, when it boasted six studios producing titles including Lemmings, Grand Theft Auto, Crackdown, HEDZ, Formula 1, Braveheart, Midnight Pool, Harry Potter Quidditch and many more.

Since then the industry has grown to nearly 100 independent studios, producing titles for every platform and device from smartphones and tablets to the next generation of games consoles. This includes, Rockstar North, the creator of GTA V, the largest entertainment product in the world, which generated over $1Bn in sales in its first three days on sale in September 2013. In 2012 there was at least one game released every week by development studios in Scotland – and that number is growing.

Founded by Brian Baglow, the network is now an officially incorporated organisation, with Brian as Director. Brian has worked in the games industry in Scotland since 1994, has been a constant advocate and media presence in the sector, and has worked with almost each and every company, organisation, educational institution and industry-relevant event in the country.

Baglow says, “The original Scottishgames.net was founded as a community to enable the growing games industry in Scotland to ask questions, discuss the industry and meet peers and colleagues. It has grown since then to become the focal point for the industry as a whole.”

We are now in the position where there are multiple organisations interacting with the games sector, from government, parliament and the public sector, to the wider digital, screen and creative industries. To enable and support this, the Scottish Games Network has become an official and committed full-time company.”

Our goal is, very simply, to help the country’s games industry grow and prosper. We will be working with government, the public sector and other trade bodies to provide data, expertise and insight into the games industry, as well as helping the industry open itself up to the wider creative world, fostering new partnerships, collaboration, diversity, funding; and encouraging entirely new experiences.”

Train2Game News: GTA V part of British culture?

GTA VThe BBC has covered the story of GTA V being released and has said that it could be one of the greatest exports from England.

As the latest instalment of the super-violent series hits the shelves around the world, many are taking a step back and assessing the cultural impact of a title that has changed not only the games industry, but perhaps even the entertainment business as a whole.

A shocking fact about the GTA series you may not realise is that even before today’s release of Grand Theft Auto 5, the GTA series has already sold more games than The Who have sold records. That is a mind blowing fact and shows how big this series really is. Across the world, the franchise has shifted more than 135 million units since its 1997 debut.

In the years since its release, the series would be named by the Guinness Book of Records as the most controversial video game in history – an accolade based mostly on the number of column inches dedicated to the series but had the game simply been about violence, it would not have stood the test of time, argues Brian Baglow, a writer on the first title in the series.

“The games sector had always been very good at blowing stuff up – creating more realistic bullet holes – but they had no real cultural relevance. GTA on the other hand, as it’s been set in a contemporary environment, has acted like a black mirror set up against society.”

In GTA5, for example, that mirror lashes out at many aspects of today’s popular culture, taking on foes including TV talent shows and social networking – a less-than-subtle dig at Facebook comes in the shape of “Lifeinvader”. Lifeinvader’s strapline, if the point needed pushing home further, is: “Where your personal information becomes a marketing profile (that we can sell).”

All the games – bar an early London-based spin-off – are set in the USA but crucial to the series’ success is that the world the characters inhabit is peppered with a distinctly British outlook, argues Mr Baglow.

“What GTA does is it actually take the American culture as we understand it from movies – it’s every gangster movie, it’s every crime caper. It uses that, but keeps it very grounded with a British sensibility.

“This is a very large part of the influence of Rockstar North, based in Edinburgh – there’s a tongue-in-cheek streak running throughout. That’s something that people tend to miss.”

The fifth instalment is forecast to sell in the region of 25 million copies within the first 12 months of its release but whether the series will be held up in the future as a prime example of British creative culture is still open to much debate.