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 student gets big chance

James Valaitis, a Train2Game student taking part in the Game Jam was rewarded with an apprenticeship at 22Cans following his hard work at The Gadget Show Live earlier this year.

James, 19, lives in Essex and has been a student on the developer course from Train2Game for just over 2 years. He has been involved in every Game Jam that Train2Game have hosted and his hard work is now paying off.

At last years Game Jam he was a part of Team Gandalf which went on to become Digital Mage. The team would go on to be one of the winning teams that year. Winning that Game Jam meant James and his team had 6 months to design and develop a game based on the Fighting Fantasy game books written by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. The end goal was to display the games at The Gadget Show Live at the Birmingham NEC to several industry icons. It was here that James met Peter Molyneux, CEO of 22Cans.

James was the presenter for Digital Mage, as well as one of the developers. He would show the game to an audience and a games industry icon. Mr Molyneux was one of these icons. James did an incredible job of presenting to him and Mr Molyneux immediately saw his potential.

James said “Without Train2Game I would of never been in an opportunity where I got to meet so many legends at last years game jam.

“Going to the studio was an experience I’ll never forget and I think the best decision I have ever made is signing up for Train2Game.”

22Cans are soon to release there first product, the social experiment app, Curiosity – What’s in the cube?.

Good Luck to James in everything he does. I have no doubts that he will go very far indeed.

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live 2012 – All 4 documentary films (Updated)

Train2Game student teams took last month’s Make Something Unreal Contest at Gadget Show Live, with the task of building an iOS game based on the prestigious Fighting Fantasy series.

Now, you can see the progress each of the four made through Make Something Unreal Live in a new video from Train2Game! It features industry figures including Cliff Bleszinski, Jon Hare, Peter Molyneux and Ian Livingstone providing advice to Train2Game students as they developed their game.

We have upgraded all the team videos on YouTube, so if you are linking to them you will need the new URLs which you can find below. 

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live 2012 – The Commando Kiwi Story 

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live 2012 – The Derp Studios Story

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live 2012 – The IndigoJam Story 

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live 2012 – The Digital Mage Story

They’re also all available, with much more, on the Train2Game YouTube channel.

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

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live 2012 – All 4 documentary films

Train2Game student teams took last month’s Make Something Unreal Contest at Gadget Show Live, with the task of building an iOS game based on the prestigious Fighting Fantasy series.

Now, you can see the progress each of the four made through Make Something Unreal Live in a new video from Train2Game! It features industry figures including Cliff Bleszinski, Jon Hare, Peter Molyneux and Ian Livingstone providing advice to Train2Game students as they developed their game. Links to each of the 15 minute documentaries are below.

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live 2012 – The Commando Kiwi Story 

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live 2012 – The Derp Studios Story

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live 2012 – The IndigoJam Story 

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live 2012 – The Digital Mage Story

They’re also all available, with much more, on the Train2Game YouTube channel.

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live 2012 – The Digital Mage Story (Video)

Train2Game student team Digital Mage were one of four to take part in last month’s Make Something Unreal Contest at Gadget Show Live, with the task of building an iOS game based on the prestigious Fighting Fantasy series.

Now, you can see the progress they made through Make Something Unreal Live in a new video from Train2Game! It features industry figures including Cliff Bleszinski, Jon Hare, Peter Molyneux and Ian Livingstone providing advice to Digital Mage as they developed their game.

Watch it on the Train2Game YouTube channel, or here on The Train2Game Blog.

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

Train2Game interview: Laurence Kinane of Make Something Unreal Live team Digital Mage

Train2Game  students are launching four new development studios in 2012 as part of ‘Make Something Unreal Live,’ a competitive process designed to accelerate their careers by giving them the tools and resources needed to release games for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this spring.

The studios are Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam.

The first titles released by the studios will be based on the Fighting Fantasy series of books created by Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson.

We caught up with Digital Mage’s Laurence Kinane to find out how the road to Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show has gone so far. Listen via Train2Game Radio or read it here on The Train2Game Blog.

Hi Laurence, tell us about your team for Make Something Unreal Live, Digital Mage.

We were at the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam and obviously selected as one of the winning teams to go to Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show. We came together as a good team, we had good team dynamics at the game jam. We’ve found it a bit difficult taking that into virtual development, it’s a bit more difficult not being in the same room with everybody, but we do get on well and we’ve learned to work with the virtual restriction.

How have you found working with the prestigious IP of the Fighting Fantasy books, and which particular story is your game based on?

It was quite a big surprise getting such a prestigious IP, the book we are based on is Armies of Death. We’ve got a bit of creative license we can use there but we are trying to stick with the story as much as possible.

And what genre of game are you making around that story?

We were given the strategy genre to work with. We’ve taken it to a tower defence style game, but we’ve put a bit of a spin on it in you’re actually attacking the towers rather than defending them. We’ve also another spin where you’re not actually the good guys, you’re the bad guys.

What gave you that idea?

We were throwing a few ideas around between the whole team, and we just stumbled upon it really. We thought it might be cool if we work this in, being the bad guys, as players don’t play as the bad guys so much, especially in tower defence games.

I suppose it’s just one of many good ideas you’ve had on the road to Make Something Unreal Live.

It’s quite nice when you come up with ideas that maybe you don’t initially think will work, but you have a tweak at an idea which fits in perfectly. We’ve had a few circumstances where that’s happened, and hopefully we’ll have many more before The Gadget Show.

Are there any other achievements you’re particularly proud of so far?

I’d say one particularly was last night. We’d hit a bit of a stumbling block, one of the game mechanics, we were having a few problems. But it all seemed to fall together last night, and we’ve managed to put it onto IOS to show to our mentors.

And it’s a good opportunity for you to put into practice the skills you’ve learned on Train2Game courses.

Oh yeah, definitely. The game design course is more geared to the documentation side, it’s later in the course where they start getting you involved in game engines, but obviously UDK is out there, anybody can use it for free, it’s a good engine to start working in.

How much are you looking forward to the Make Something Unreal Live event in April?

Yeah, I can’t wait to get there, it’s going to be a huge experience, it’s going to be a huge opportunity for not just ourselves, Digital Mage, but also all four teams involved it’s a fantastic opportunity. Also it’ll be good to work in the same room as the team again.

For those who want to follow Digital Mage in run up to Make Something Unreal Live, what are the contact details for Facebook and Twitter?

Do a Facebook search for Digital Mage and they’ll find us there, with a nice black icon with a mage figure inside. On Twitter it’s @TheDigitalMage.

Thanks for your time Laurence, and good luck.

No problem Danny, cheers.

Keep up to date with the latest news from Make Something Unreal Live here on The Train2Game Blog.

Train2Game news: Interviews with participants of the upcoming Make Somethingg Unreal Live contest at The Gadget Show Live

Train2Game Radio recently interviewed a number of Train2Game students who are set to take part in Train2Game and Epic Games Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show Live between 11th-15th April.

Links to all of the interviews are below, and are divided into the different studios.

Digital Mage (Facebook/Twitter)

Craig Moore of Digital Mage speaking to Train2Game Radio

Laurence Kinane of Digital Mage speaking to Train2Game Radio.

Commando Kiwi (Facebook/Twitter)

Jonny Robinson of Commando Kiwi speaking to Train2Game Radio

Adam Sherratt of Commando Kiwi speaking to Train2Game Radio.

Derp Studios (Facebook/Twitter)

Chris Ledger of Derp Studios speaking to Train2Game Radio.

Stuart Moore of Derp Studios speaking to Train2Game Radio

IndigoJam (Facebook/Twitter)

Ben Stoneman of IndigoJam speaking to Train2Game Radio.

Daniel Rutter of IndigoJam speaking to Train2Game Radio.

Keep reading The Train2Game Blog for the latest news in the run up to Make Something Unreal Live.

Train2Game Students given access to Fighting Fantasy IP to create games for Make Something Unreal Live

The Train2Game blog chats to the teams about working with the Fighting Fantasy IP for Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show Live, as the teams become studios in their own right.

The hottest new Indies in town: Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam

With student teams beginning to perform as independent studios and working on a world-renowned IP, we caught up with the development teams to get a few choice words on the latest news and to get some more details on the games they are working on.

First on our list was Commando Kiwi.

Jonny Robinson, Commando Kiwi, said: “When we found out we’d be working on a game inspired by The Warlock of Firetop Mountain; we were all in shock, a few of us have read the book before so our minds were blown away with pure awesomeness! We’re working on a classic IP from legends in the game industry; Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.”

Next we caught up with Derp Studios to hear their thoughts on working on a Fighting Fantasy title and the genre of game they’re designing.  We also got the lowdown on what it’s like to work remotely when designing games.

Nigel Clark, Derp Studios, said: “Our game is a gripping first-person RPG, a sequel to the second Fighting Fantasy gamebook, Citadel of Chaos.  Strategically combined combat with both melee and magic will only get you so far.  The player must decide the best course of action.  A true test of “fight or flight” awaits our players.”

“To combat the distance factor, we’ve utilised tools within Facebook, Subversion (SVN) and contact points within Train2Game and Epic Games, along with Skype conferences to maintain good team communication. Working as a team is challenging in the first place.  However with your team spread throughout the country it’s even more of a challenge.”

Our next destination was Casa del Digital Mage, where we asked: What do you want to achieve with your game?

Craig Moore, Digital Mage, said: “Digital Mage hopes to help the player truly become engrossed within the battlefields of Allansia by providing ease of use and an intuitive control system enabling quick decisions to control an army as a general should!”

..and what do players have in store should they buy it?

“An exciting, diverse, and adventurous team is sculpting a mobile experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat and keep you coming back for more, with lush graphics and a sweeping soundtrack, Digital Mage is using every last trick in the book to make this the best mobile strategy game available on any platform.”

Lastly we caught up with Indigo Jam, where we asked: What have you been designing and can you get us excited about it?

Indigo Jam, Deathtrap Dungeon, Action Adventure

Ben Stoneman, Indigo Jam, said: “Indigo Jam studios brings the Deathtrap Dungeon title to life with gameplay featuring a dark tale set in Allansia that leads you to a Trail of Champions in the dark dungeon labyrinth of Fang, riddled with monsters and deadly traps and other unknown horrors. Countless adventurers have accepted the challenge but have never been seen again.”

Train2Game then went on to ask: How has the course helped you develop the skills to deliver what is such an imaginative game design?

“Indigo Jam is very lucky to have a good range of skills and abilities gained from the Train2Game courses complemented by the extra training for the UDK Game Jam in November. The team is getting along really well. They are confident in their own abilities, and have delivered at every stage of development.”

 With the energy and hype that the teams are creating, Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show Live can’t come soon enough.

As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Train2Game student studios Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam launching 2012.

Train2Game  students are launching four new development studios in 2012 as part of ‘Make Something Unreal Live,’ a competitive process designed to accelerate their careers by giving them the tools and resources needed to release games for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this spring.

The studios are Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam.

The first titles released by the studios will be based on the Fighting Fantasy series of books created by Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson.

Train2Game and Epic Games have created the ‘Make Something Unreal Live’ competition where students are challenged to create their own studios and develop games for the iOS platform using Epic Games’ Unreal Development Kit. The winning studio will receive a full source, commercial Unreal Engine 3 licence for iOS as well as gain invaluable professional experience in the games industry.

As part of the competition process, students competed in the Train2Game and Epic Game Jam last November. The Game Jam had teams facing off against each other to create full games to a set deadline and to a professional brief. Continuing this process, students have created four new studios from their original teams to launch games at this year’s The Gadget Show Live.

At this huge event, they will reveal their new projects to the world, each finalising a full game for distribution. Key industry icons will be on hand to aid and advise with game designs as the studios compete to win a full Unreal Engine licence and a holiday to Aquacity in Slovakia, www.aquacity.sk.

“Train2Game courses aim to teach students how to work professionally in the games industry. Helping them launch their first studio gives them invaluable, hands on, in the field experience of what it’s like to create and distribute their own games.” said Train2Game Course Director Tony Bickley.

The games are being developed using Epic Games’ UDK, the free edition of the award-winning Unreal Engine 3, helping students gain experience with tools used by leading studios around the world. During the process, students have their work reviewed, critiqued and mentored by a series of Train2Game tutors, current industry leaders and game specialists.

The final games will be distributed globally on the App Store and launched at this year’s The Gadget Show Live, the premier consumer show taking place from April 10-15, 2012 in Birmingham.