Train2Game News Commando Kiwi looking for artists

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Professional Studio wants Train2Game Artists to help complete project.

Studio seeking artists to work on Valour: Shadow of Grimdark
Commando Kiwi is reaching out to the Train2Game student community to help complete its new title set to be released 2016.

The team are close to completing the project and need help to create 3D assets. They are looking for a couple of artists to come on board for the final stages of the build. The Artists chosen will receive a credit on a shipped title, which will be a huge endorsement as they embark on their professional games development careers.

Commando Kiwi is an independent studio and the majority of the members are current or former Train2Game students. They are hugely popular in the Train2Game community and won the Make Something Unreal Live Competition in association with Epic Games a few years ago. The team is relatively large for an Indie studio, with ten team members plus outsourced audio support.

The team want to create a game that all team members can use in their portfolios, showing off their work with a project that out shines the average indie title. The first release will be used to get feedback from community and if it’s a success Commando Kiwi may take the title to Kickstarter to gather funding for a full enhanced version.

The additional team members will not need to be available full time, but enough to make a decent contribution to the project. Commando Kiwi are aware most Train2Gamer’s have other commitments. If the artists that join the team are successful, they could be asked to join the team permanently.

Adam Sherratt, Commando Kiwi, ‘The game is called Valour: Shadow of Grimdark, as the name implies the game Valour could in the future be made up of several chapters, which we have already have back story planned for.’

‘The game is 3D action adventure game with RPG elements and is massively updated version of a project we showed November last year at Apps World and Platform Expo. The player must explore and fight their way through the game world, gaining new weapons, equipment and skills as they go to realise their destiny and save the land from the impending war and destruction.’

‘We are aiming to have the first part completed and on the App Store by the end of the Quarter one of 2016. Of course this really depends on whether we are able to get the help we need on the Art front as the project is being held up by this at the moment. Code wise the game is essentially complete and just requires a little more polish / bug fixes’

‘If the Artists who work with us do well then we would certainly look to integrate them into the team for the foreseeable future. This first release is non-commercial and is designed to be an outstanding portfolio piece for all of us that we can also use to get feedback from the community. If it is well received we plan to go on and seek crowd funding to extend and enhance the game and produce a paid version for the App Store.’

‘I personally have completed all of the T2G Developer course material and just have coursework projects to complete. The knowledge gained from the course has been a huge help getting me this far and all my original contacts were from taking part in the T2G game jams and events. However my current priority is to get the first release of this game completed. We are still doing all our work in our spare time in addition to our main jobs so we don’t require people to be able to put in silly hours just a reasonable contribution.’

Main studio members currently working on the project are:

Adam Sherratt (Originally T2G Developer Course)
Andrew Smallwood (Originally T2G Design Course)
Danny Welch (Originally T2G Developer Course)
Erolle Del Rosario (Originally T2G Art Course)
Martyn Whittel (Originally T2G Design Course)
Malik Razik (Originally T2G Art Course)
Tom Constable (From University background – met at Epic Game Jam)

We are currently also trailing a couple of new Artists:
Liam Sell (From University background – met at Platform Expo)
David Vickery (Originally T2G Art Course)

Adam Sherratt, Commando Kiwi, ‘In additional to this we have an outside company called Undercurrent Audio doing some of the scores and sound effects for us.’

‘If anyone is interested can they please email me at adam.sherratt@commandokiwi.co.uk along with their portfolio or a sample of any work they have done. Obviously once they have signed our NDA we can answer any questions and show them more of the project.’

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Train2Game News Commando Kiwi Update

Commando KiwiTrain2Game Student Studio, Commando Kiwi, the winners of the 2012 Make Something Unreal Live competition are back and under new management!

Train2Game Student Adam Sherratt is now the head of Commando Kiwi and they have been working hard since we last heard from them.

After deciding that the project they had started following the Make Something Unreal Live contest was slightly more ambitious than they first anticipated they made the executive decision to start a new IP using the framework they had already created for there winning game at MSUL.

However, with life getting in the way, a few of the original Commando Kiwi members left on to new ventures which left the team struggling until Adam came up with a plan to revitalise the studio. Several of the team volunteered to be mentors at the recent Train2Game Game Jam which put them in excellent position to scout for new team members.

The studio was back up to eight members and ready to get to work on their next game.

When asked about the studios new project Adam said “The game is a 3rd person action adventure RPG style game with cinematic combat sequences that play very similarly to battles in final fantasy 7, 8 and 10. Our aim is to bring a console quality gaming experience to mobile. By using the unreal engine 3 we will be able to offer incredible visuals, a strong sound track and a great story to produce a truly immersive game world on mobile. Initially the game would be released on iOS for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch but if things go well we will port it over to Android too. If you follow Commando Kiwi on Facebook you will see we have just started to leak information and concept art and we have a new company logo.”

Now the next stage for Commando Kiwi is they will be displaying their game at Appsworld and Platform Expo this year to spread the word and receive feedback from the public to make the game as best as it can be. So if you are attending either event go and say hello and give them your support!

The studio is intending to start a Kickstarter campaign in the future as currently everything they are doing is having to come out of their own pockets and they want this game to be the best that it can be.

You can follow Commando Kiwi on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/comkiwi

Train2Game News: Make Something Unreal Live winners game comes to app store

Warlock of Firetop MountainTrain2Game Student studio and Make Something Unreal Live 2012 winners, Commando Kiwi, have released their first game on to the app store.

The game, Warlock of Firetop Mountain: Lost Chapters, was created by the students in their spare time for last years Make Something Unreal Live contest, held by Epic. The game was created using the UDK software and is based on the very first Fighting Fantasy novel, Warlock of Firetop Mountain which was written by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.

The studio, which consists of Cat Forsyth, Martyn Whittel, Tom Chipchase, Jonny Robinson, Ashley Taylor, Adam Sherratt, Aaron Reeve, Andrew Smallwood, Tom Constable and Ezekiel Morris, have been working on the game since the beginning of 2012.

The students won the competition after demonstrating their game to a number of industry professionals, including Peter Molyneux, Cliff Bleszinski and Jon Hare. The final descision was that of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson who decided Commando Kiwi’s game best captured the essence of Fighting Fantasy.

The game is a third person action game which puts you in the shoes of the adventurer who is travelling through the deadly Firetop Mountain in search of the fabled treasure of the all-powerful Warlock. The game features enemies and locations from the classic book with a battle system based on the system from the book its self. The unique combat system based uses skill and luck combinations made famous by the series of novels in an intuitive Active Time Battle System.

The game is available for free to download now from the app store.

You can re-live the Commando Kiwi story in the video below:

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 Jonny Robinson

You can listen to the interview at

http://audioboo.fm/boos/1030916-train2game-student-talks-to-mark-kingdon-on-t2g-student-radio

or read the transcript below:

 

Hello, I am here with Jonny Robinson from Milton Keynes, how you doing Jonny?

I’m doing very well thanks how is yourself?

I’m very good thank you, Could you tell me what course you’re on?

I’m on the Games designer course.

What is the most dramatic or exciting thing you have done in your life?

Winning the Gadget Show, that was quite cool, the Make Something Unreal Live 2012. Pretty exciting times with Epic!

What is your reason for getting in to the gaming industry and how will the gaming industry, change your life?

I wanted to get in the gaming industry when I was very young, it’s one of those things that I explain a lot to my friends that when I was young I used to put the gaming industry on a pedestal. You know you kind of worship it, you want it so bad but then you realise, I don’t know if I can do that so you kind of dismiss it for years. I then saw this course advertised in the news paper and I thought, you know what – I’ll give it a shot, it’s an online course I can do it in my own spare time and when I actually did the course I felt a lot more confident in myself. I felt I should share my experience with people so I did a lot of Train2Game promoting for the design course because it helped me a lot with my confidence and so really I would say it is one of the best decisions I have ever made so far.

After you earn your Train2Game diploma, what would be your greatest ambition in the industry?

Obviously get a full time job. I am also working with my team, the Commando Kiwi team, on a new project. I’ll chuck that out there as well, it’s the first time I’ve mentioned it. We are going to put something up on our Facebook very soon. We made a game for the Gadget Show which was “The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain” on the iOS and now we are taking a further step into the industry with the Unreal Engine, as that’s what we won at the Gadget Show. I can’t really say to much but we are on the fronts of making this new game.

What platform is the game going to be on?

At the moment we are going to stick to our current market and go with iOS but there has been hints with the team for Steam as well.

What genre is it going to be?

That’s stuff I am keeping reserved, I will let you know the scoop when I am ready to release the information.

What is your story, what are the past experiences that have shaped your life to who you are today?

Being where I am at the right time I suppose and just keep on striving for success, keep your head up and just keep going. I wouldn’t say anything has altered me, I would just say it’s the path I have been led on, you know, by destiny or whatever you want to call it but so far, if it is so called destiny, it has led me down a fine route, I have met some really interesting people.

I also know you have a blog to help fledgling designers get in to the industry, what inspired you to start that?

I have been doing video diaries for a long time and I know there are a lot of blogs out there like Gamasutra, they make some really incredible articles. I realised that there are not many from a student point of view that’s actually been in the industry and tasted that addiction as I like to call it. You know once your in the industry you kind of feel like an over whelming sense of adrenaline and I just feel like if I need to keep blurting my mind out there to people saying you need to get in this industry, it’s amazing! I’m doing whatever I can as it’s not programming or art its more design and it is a very niche market. I can guarantee you, you ask any designer and you say, what does it mean to be a game designer? What skill sets do you have? Every designer will tell you something completely different and that’s what I am trying to get across in my blogs. You have to be really open minded to be a designer and really blend your key skills to the actual studio themselves.

That leads me quite nicely on to my last point, what advice would you give to someone looking to get in to the games industry?

First of all, attend Game Jams, that’s the first one. I know Train2Game just did one with Microsoft and I attended one last year that was with Epic. The second I would recommend is trying to talk to people in the community, go on the Train2Game Forums and just generally create games. No one ever says in the industry who have you worked for, they say what experience have you got?

If people want to read more about it, where can people find your blog?

My website is www.ironcore1.wordpress,com

Thank you very much Jonny and keep us updated on all things Commando Kiwi

No problem, thank you very much for your time Mark, Ta-ra!

Train2Game News: Jonny Robinson’s Blog

Train2Game Student Jonny Robinson has been writing his own blog. He talks about his experiences on being a fledgling games designer. He covers subject such as his time at DR Studios and his work with Commando Kiwi, the winning team of the Make Something Unreal Live at the Gadget Show Live earlier this year.

You can read Jonny’s blog below:

http://ironcore1.wordpress.com/

Train2Game News: Ezekiel Morris student diary: Week 16

This week has been excellent, so far, as I have finished all my sprints. I am now double checking that the animations are working in the game engine.

Last Friday I went back to my home town to see my family and friends, to catch up on stuff and it was great to see everyone. After meeting everyone I had a fat meal then I’m chilling down with the family watching The Big Bang Theory.

I went to Eurogamer Expo last Saturday and met up with some students and the tutors from Train2game. I took some good photo’s. I didn’t get to play all of the games on show as the queues were ridiculously long but the ones that I did play were Devil May Cry, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 6 and Doom 3 in 3D.

Monday Oct 1st I had a team meeting with Commando Kiwi, we were discussing schedules for the new project that we are working on. My sprint is to create three concepts, so I will be working my ass off 6 hours a week. I’m happy to be working on the project as I like to doing realistic characters so yep it’s time to get to work!

Train2Game interview: Ian Livingstone OBE on Make Something Unreal Live, Fighting Fantasy and game design

Ian Livingstone OBE is Life President of Eidos, co-founder of Games Workshop, co-author of the popular Fighting Fantasy novels and one of the most respected figures in the UK games industry.

He also judged the Train2Game and Epic Games Make Something Unreal Live contest, which saw Commando Kiwi and their Warlock of Firetop Mountain game named winners.

We sat down with Livingstone at Develop Conference, where the games industry legend discussed Make Something Unreal Live, the changing games industry and what it takes to be successful in it, his upcoming brand new Fighting Fantasy novel and more.

You were involved with Train2Game and Epic Games Make Something Unreal Live contest at The Gadget Show earlier this year, can you explain what your role was for those who weren’t there?

My involvement was to be supplier of the intellectual property, Steve Jackson and I allowing the whole initiative to use our intellectual property in terms of Fighting Fantasy. The development teams were able to use whichever titles they wanted – they used Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Deathtrap Dungeon, The Citadel of Chaos and Armies of Death – and imagine them in any way they wished to create a brand new game using Unreal Technology.

The winners of Make Something Unreal Live were Commando Kiwi with Warlock of Firetop Mountain, how is the game coming along ahead of its upcoming release?

The other part of our function was to help judge the final which was held at Gadget Show Live in Birmingham. That was really good because it was so close with deciding what game would be the winner, but in the end we decided on Warlock of Firetop Mountain because we felt that they’d achieved the most in an original way, a fun way, a very creative way and mostly importantly, something that’s a really fun game to play.

The team since then have been working hard, it’s incredible what they’ve been able to achieve effectively as a virtual team, only having met for one week to work together. Student teams with a lot of ambition, a lot of drive, a lot of creativity. I’m really looking forward to seeing the final game, and I’m sure it’ll be a very proud moment for them when they finally see Warlock of Firetop Mountain on the iStore.

The games are running using the Unreal Engine on an iPad which is a feat in itself, looking very good for what are mobile games.

Yes, it just shows their ability to develop fantastic content using a great piece of technology which is the Unreal Development Kit.

The future of iOS and mobile looks very bright, with analysts claiming it’ll overtake console gaming, or even make it obsolete. What are your thoughts on the issue?

Undoubtedly the smartphone is going to be the largest – or shall we say the biggest number in terms of being the most available platform – but that doesn’t mean for one second that Triple A console gaming is going to disappear, they’re going to live together.

And whilst the platforms of the consoles might change with their technology ended up embedded in a smart TV, or their business model might move from a premium to a freemium model, people will always want a very rich, cinematic, very visual gaming experience. Whilst at other times they’ll be happy to play games on their smartphones or social networks like Facebook, I think most core gamers will want that very rich, visual experience.

So, one is not going to be at the expense of the other; sometimes you want a big gaming experience, sometimes you just want a snack and some light entertainment like watching an indie film or watching a Hollywood movie.

You mentioned blockbuster games; many nowadays seem to focus on style over substance. But what do you think game designers can learn or adapt from old-school RPGs and board games?

You’ve got to create a strong storyline, a great narrative, have a great a great emotional engagement. But above all, with a game, the gameplay has to be fantastic because people will always buy a game which has great gameplay and poor graphics over something which has great graphics and poor gameplay. So when people ask what are the three most important things in a game? I will say gameplay, gameplay, gameplay.

You have a new Fighting Fantasy book on the way; firstly, can you tell us a bit about it, please? And secondly, why is now the right time for a new entry in the series?

Well, August 2012 is the 30th anniversary of Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and it just seems like yesterday when Steve Jackson and I saw it first appear on shelves at book shops around the country. Fighting Fantasy really touched a nerve at the time; pre-digital, the very first interactive entertainment albeit in book form, it resonated with a very wide population resulting in nearly 17 million copies of the series sold, translated to 28 languages.

I always wanted to celebrate the 30th anniversary, especially when nowadays so many people who grew up with those books, who are now in their late 30s or early 40s, and as soon as you mention Fighting Fantasy they sort of revert to childhood and have such fond memories. For me that’s very gratifying and almost humbling that people liked what Steve and I did way back when, and it’s still as relevant today as it was back then.

So I decided to write a new one and the title is Blood of the Zombies. It’s also going to be available on iOS and Android, so hopefully it’ll appeal to ten year olds of today and ten year olds of the 1980s.

How do you go about the process of writing a Fighting Fantasy book?

It’s a very complicated process! It’s a nightmare in parts; it’s like writing several books at once, because you have to keep track of several different parts of the branching narrative. So, it’s effectively writing a computer programme, a flowchart where you allocate numbers as the path branches, and keep track of all the items you can find and the inventory and make sure everything balances in combat, making sure the monsters, there aren’t too many of them or they aren’t too hard to overcome.

So there’s a lot of balancing required, but at the same time it has to be story driven. So, it’s part book, part game, part puzzle, but hopefully Blood of the Zombies will resonate with today’s audiences and will be a worth inclusion in the series

Back to game development if there’s one piece of advice you could give those aspiring to break into the industry, what would it be?

Be true to yourself, do something that you want to do, make something original, be creative, express yourself in your own way and hopefully you’ll find an audience that appreciates what you do. If you spend your life copying other people, I suspect that will never lead to monetary success and nor will it satisfy your soul. So, be true to yourself, that’s the most important thing you can do.

Thanks for your time.

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game student industry experience diaries: Jonny Robinson at DR Studios week 44

Train2Game game designer Jonny Robinson is on a Train2Game work placement at DR Studios. In his latest industry experience diary, he discusses the importance of knowing when to relax while working in the busy world of the games industry.

Read it below or on our Scribd page , and catch up with Jonny’s previous diaries here on The Train2Game Blog.