Train2Game News Codemasters Opens Birmingham Studio

Codemasters® today opened the doors to its new state-of-the-art development studio in the heart of Birmingham, UK.

The new office in the Grade II listed Alpha Tower, formerly the headquarters of regional television company ATV, is now home to the BAFTA award-winning F1® game development team which currently boasts 108 employees. The office space spans 14,000 square feet and has been equipped with the latest technology including a D-Box race simulator which delivers the ultimate driving experience. The new studio replaces The Custard Factory, where the company spent three years having previously been based in Tricorn House.

Codemasters’ ties to Birmingham dates back to the mid-1990s, as a development studio for the now defunct Rage Software. The studio lived-on as independent developer Swordfish Studios and was acquired by Codemasters in 2008, collaborating on titles including Jonah Lomu Rugby and World Championship Rugby. The studio’s first F1® game was the BAFTA award-winning F1® 2010 and the studio has produced F1® video games through to the present day.

“Birmingham continues to be a hub for attracting talented developers and, as our studio continues to expand, making Alpha Tower our new home is a testament to the quality of the people who want to work for Codemasters in this incredible city,” commented Ian Flatt, Head of Studio, Codemasters Birmingham. “Creativity is at the heart of every decision we make and we wanted a new home that inspires people, offers our employees the best working facilities and enables them to fulfil their potential.”

For more information on Codemasters go to http://www.codemasters.com/

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 at Gamescom: Interview with F1 2011 Chief Game Designer Steve Hood

 

Train2Game was at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany from 17th August to 21st August. While there, we spoke with F1 2011 Chief Game Designer Steve Hood of Codemasters in a wide ranging interview.

Subjects included new Game Design features, how building for multiplayer differs to single player, adapting to the sports new rules and F1 2011’s art.

Hood revealed how he started in the games industry and gave Train2Game students advice on how to get in. Read the full interview below, or listen to it on Train2Game Radio.  Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Another essential F1 2010 dev diary for Train2Game students

Codemasters have released another F1 2010 developer diary and once again it should make interesting viewing for Train2Game students, particularly the Games Designers.

Entitled Live the Life, and describes what is essentially the games story. You start off as a new driver, with the expectations placed upon you depending on your team and difficulty setting. The video is once again fronted by Formula 1 driver and Technical Consultant on F1 2010 Anthony Davidson, and he explains how your teams expectations are very authentic.

“The expectations for the driver playing the game are the same as in real life given your machinery. At the end of the day, the teammate that you have is the only direct competition you’ll have through the whole season. There’s a strange balance of having to work together but also this desperate competition. Where it gets a little bit personal is events like qualifying and the race where you’re just out there to beat him, no matter what.”

The video also demonstrates how you won’t just be driving the car, but will be involved in press conferences and other media duties with the in-game journalists’ questions depending on how well you’ve been driving. The video doesn’t reveal how this’ll affect the game, but perhaps it’ll be in the style of Football Manager where your reactions can either boost or lower the morale of your team. Or will your comments cause your rivals to almost run you into a wall?

Interestingly, the developers discuss how they’ve striven for realism in the garage by using motion capture from real F1 mechanics to make everything as close to the real thing as possible. Of course, there are also pit girls, whether or not they were motion captured isn’t revealed…

Anyway, you can watch Live the Life of a Formula 1 driver below.

If you missed the previous developer diary, which examined the work put into recreating the cars, you can watch it here.

So Train2Game, what do you think of this latest Codemasters F1 2010 Developer Diary?  Did you expect Games Designers to have to include a story and scripts for a racing game? And how would you like to use motion capture in one of your future games?

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

Essential viewing: F1 2010 Developer Diary

Here’s a treat for every Train2Game student. Be you a Games Designer, Games Developer or Games Artist and Animator, you’ll find F1 2010 Developer Diary from Codemasters very interesting indeed.

Ok, so maybe you don’t like Formula 1, but even if that is the case you just have to appreciate the level of detail these developers, designers and artists have achieved and how they’ve gone about doing it.

The video takes you behind the scenes at Codemasters Birmingham and reveals the amount of painstaking work put into recreating the cars and circuits. The F1 2010 Developers have even enlisted help from Formula 1 driver Anthony Davidson who has been able to provide expert advice. In the video he says:

“Driving the real world circuits enables me to give that impression to the guys creating the game, there’s all these details that only a driver would know about.”

“For instance, turn eight in Spa; I know straight away any car I have ever driven there always understeers and it’s knowing that kind of detail as a driver that you can get over into the game. The circuits feel really spot on.”

It really is an interesting insight into the world of video game development and I really recommend every Train2Game student takes five minutes to watch it.

What do you think of the video? How would you feel about needing to conduct that much research before designing a game? Does anyone want to help develop racing games? And finally, I can’t be the only one looking forward to getting hold of this in September can I?

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