Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Jonny Robinson

You can listen to the interview at

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:

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 News: 22Cans wants you for curious beta

Peter Molyneux, CEO of 22Cans sent out a post on the company’s Facebook asking for beta testers for its mysterious new game.

This is the first game to be released by 22Cans and Mr Molyneux since he left Lionhead to create the company. Mr Molyneux attended this year’s Gadget Show Live and gave very valuable advice to those participating in the Make Something Unreal Live contest.

The game is on iOS devices and is called Curiosity – What’s inside the cube. It was previously known as just Curiosity until NASA had them change it for having the same name as the Mars Rover.

The social experiment game gets you to tap on a cube with other players causing it to fracture until it breaks open revealing, to the last person who tapped it, the unknown wonders inside.

The post asks for people to have an hour free between 4 and 5pm any day this week. You’re asked to give your name, email, location and device type, as well as your reason for participating when you sign up to the beta.

The site states “As we get nearer to releasing our first app “Curiosity – What’s inside the Cube”, we are looking for some feedback.

“We are asking for a few kind people to participate in trying out our first experiment. Hopefully these people will give honest feedback on what Curiosity is like, and spot some of the flaws in this totally unique experience.”

The game was scheduled for release in August but has been rescheduled to later this month.

You can register for the beta via the 22Cans Facebook page.

Train2Game news: Ian Livingstone “delighted” to be a part of Train2Game’s Make Something Unreal Live initiative

Train2Game has been hailed as a “fantastic opportunity” for people to get involved in the games industry by Ian Livingstone, Life President of EIDOS and co-author of Fighting Fantasy

The games industry legend was speaking to us at Train2Game and Epic Games’ Make Something Unreal Live, where four teams competed to build games based on Fighting Fantasy books for iPhone and iPad. He was one of the judges that decided Commando Kiwi was the winner.

“I’m delighted to be part of this Train2Game initiative. I’ve been in the games industry since 1975 when Steve Jackson and I started Games Workshop.” said Livingstone.

“We had our first Fighting Fantasy game book in 1982, The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and here we are thirty years later judging a competition in the world of digital entertainment where people have taken have taken our book and transformed it into a very playable iPhone and iPad game.”

“And it’s great to see young talent coming through because I would say the UK is one of the most creative nations, if not the most creative nation in the world. It’s important that we support the young talent coming through.” Livingstone continued, before hailing Train2Game for giving more people the skills needed by the industry.

“Initiatives like Train2Game are fantastic, to get people who might not have known there’s a worthwhile career in games, recognising it as worthwhile, and being empowered with the skills to be able to make a contribution with real skills. It’s a fantastic opportunity today.” he said.

Watch the full video interview below.

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

Train2Game video: Make Something Unreal Live Mentors Panel

Train2Game hosted a mentors panel at Gadget Show Live which saw some of the industry veterans advising the Make Something Unreal Live teams, taking part in a 30 minute discussion.

The video, which you can now see here on The Train2Game Blog, features Epic Games’ Mike Gamble, the combined 50 years games industry experience of Pete Hickman and Tony Bickley, and CEO of AppCrowd Rick Alexander.

All four provide plenty of great advice to Train2Game students and you can watch what they have to say right here.

There’s more advice from figures including Peter Molyneux and Cliff Bleszinski, and an insight into what went on at Gadget Show Live in our Make Something Unreal Live documentary.

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

Train2Game at Gadget Show Live: The documentary


Train2Game students recently took part in Make Something Unreal Live, a game development contest co-sponsored by Epic Games which took place at The Gadget Show Live in April.

Four teams received mentoring from high profile industry figures as they completed games based on the iconic Fighting Fantasy series. The winning team, Commando Kiwi walked away with a fully licensed Unreal Development Kit for i OS, while all four games will be published on the App Store through Appynation.

Now, here’s a 15 minute Train2Game documentary about Make Something Unreal Live. The video features all four teams that took part – Commando Kiwi, Digital Mage, Derp Studios and Indigo Jam – talking about their experiences.

Not only that, but industry figures including Unreal’s Mike Gamble, Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski, Peter Molyneux, Fighting Fantasy creators Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.

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 Gadget Show Live interview: Commando Kiwi artist Cat Forsyth

Train2Game student teams recently took part in Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show, a contest in association with Epic Games that saw winners Commando Kiwi walk away with a fully licensed Unreal Development for Ios. Their winning title was a game based on Fighting Fantasy book The Warlock of Firetop Mountain.

During the course of the show, Train2Game news spoke to art & animation student and Commando Kiwi member Cat Forsyth. In an interview that was recorded before the winners were announced, she told us how she was finding the experience, and even mentions the possibility of a job offer!

Read the interview here, or listen via Train2Game Radio. Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

Cat, can you tell me what course you’re on, please?

I’m on the Train2Game Art & Animation course, and I’ve been doing it for about a year.

And how did you get into that?

I was actually a jeweller beforehand by trade, business was beginning to get a bit slow, so I decided to take the opportunity for the Train2Game course advertised, and I applied for the Art & Animation course,  and here I am now.

And how are you finding the course so far?

I’m enjoying the course very much. Unfortunately, because of The Gadget Show, I haven’t actually done anything in several months, but fingers crossed when the dust settles after this event, I’ll get back onto it.

How did Commando Kiwi, the team that you’re on, come about?

We went to the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam in November last year. None of us had met each other before and we got put together as a team, came up with the name Commando Kiwi, and that’s where we started.

What’s your role on the team?

I’m the UI Artist for the team, I’m predominantly doing the user interface, graphics, buttons, things like that.

So what’s been happening over the last few days?

Basically, we’ve sped up out working process; it’s a lot easier to work all together in one room. It’s a culmination of the last three or four months and we’re fine tuning things, tweaking things, making the game run smoother, things like that.

It must have been hard over the last few months, working towards this show and doing your studies at the same time.

A little bit, I think I sit on my computer until about 11 o’clock at night, that’s my life at the moment!

Hopefully this experience will help further your study and career path, do you think that’s going to be the case?

Yes, it’s a massive opportunity and I couldn’t imagine being where I am now six months ago. I’ve learned an awful lot, my skills have improved immeasurably, and I’ve had loads of opportunities meeting people, making contacts, learning. It’s been an invaluable opportunity.

How do you rate your chances here at Make Something Unreal Live?

I think the competition is quite good but I think that we’ve got a fair chance.

And you had an underhand interview happen here at the show?

Yes, I had an interview without knowing it. I got introduced to a gentleman who took my card, and fingers crossed after the event I can keep in contact with the possibility of a job.  It’s been very worthwhile.

Excellent, a fantastic opportunity. Thanks very much Cat.

For more information about Train2Game and Make Something Unreal Live visit

Train2Game Gadget Show Live interview: Overclockers UK on how to build gaming PC and more

Train2Game News visited Overclockers UK stand at The Gadget Show Live in the Birmingham NEC. While there, we spoke to Overclockers UK’s Mark Purdy, who told us a bit about what the company do, how to build your own PC and much more.  As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum. 

First of all, tell us a bit about Overclockers UK?

We are a high end gaming components and computer seller, an online retailer based in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. Visit us at At The Gadget Show we’re showcasing a range of gaming systems that you can come and try, we’ve got one that’s running Batman: Arkham City, one that’s running the Diablo 3 beta, and two that are running Battlefield 3. We also have a racing simulator with our own branded racing seat running Project Cars, and we have a flight simulator running Microsoft Flight. We have our show system, Ultimate Mammoth, which is a £6000 machine featuring brand new NVIDIA GTX 680 graphics cards.

We have stock for sale, which you can come and purchase. We also have a free shipping code on flyers that you can come along and grab. We are running daily competitions, doing build demos so you can learn to build your own computer, and also have our time on the main stage where we’re giving out bags full of goodies.

Building a computer is something many people will look at and think of as a tough task, but is it actually relatively simple to do?

I’m going to compare it to building Lego; putting in each component in the right place is just like slotting in pieces of Lego, as long as you know where it goes and can connect it up properly, and test it.  That’s what we’re going to be showing.

So, if someone wanted to build a high-end PC, what would you recommend they start with? What are the key parts they’ll need?

Look at the games you’re going to be playing, and make sure you build a system that’ll run the games nicely. There’s no point spending too much money on a system you’ll never use all of the full potential of the power.  Always get a system which you’re comfortable with, which will run the games nice and smoothly and won’t cost you too much. There are so many people who’ll go out and buy a few thousand pound machine and never actually use the full potential of it. You could spend £700 to £800 on a machine that’ll do your games running at high definition, while you play it nice and smoothly.

Where can people get more information about this, or Overclockers?

We have a Facebook page which people can go on to, which we update every day. We have a Twitter account where people can ask questions on. We have one of the UK’s largest forums as well, with over 100,000 members, where people can ask questions about hardware. If they’re not sure what to buy they can just go on and talk to our members and get information; if they have a budget and they’re not sure what to spend it on they’ll get recommendations.  And it’s just for general chit-chat, so we have a general discussion area where anything can go, a PC games section where people talk about the latest releases, and latest news and deals where we o do special deals just for the forum.

The forums are a key part of a good community then?

Yes, a very key part of the community. The business is built almost around the forums, the forums really helped the business take off back in 1999. So it was one of the best additions it could’ve had for marketing, especially for new products, it’s absolutely fantastic.

Thanks for your time.

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

Train2Game Gadget Show Live interview: Centre for Computing History Curator Jason Fitzpatrick

Train2Game News visited The Centre for Computing History stand at The Gadget Show Live in the Birmingham NEC. While there we spoke with the museum’s trustee and curator Jason Fitzpatrick. In an in-depth interview, he discussed the aims of the centre, the importance of programming, the museum’s upcoming move to Cambridge and more.

Listen via Train2Game Radio, or read the interview below. As usual, leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

What is the Centre for Computing History?

It’s a computing history museum, currently based just outside of Cambridge, but we have some sponsorship from companies like ARM and Microsoft Research who have helped support us, and we’re now going to open up in Cambridge in the next couple of months.

What are the main aims of the centre?

It’s the history of computing in general, and we’ve got a bit of a different slant on it because obviously computers are important for that they are, but it’s looking at computers and how they’ve changed us. The term ‘personal computer’ is very much more personal than anyone thought it would be, so having something like computers and the way they interact with our lives and changed the way we are is something that we’ve taken for granted.

So we go on the internet now, shop, and that’s just what you do. But going back to the early 1980s, it wasn’t something you could even dream of doing, so it’s a really short space of time, but things have changed completely, so it’s looking at machines and how they’ve changed things.

And all of the computers are on display here at The Gadget Show Live for people to look at or even use.

Yeah, absolutely! The museum wants to be interactive, so we want to have these things out and people can use these things, play the games as they were, feel how the machines and the keyboards were like. Otherwise, they’re just beige boxes of nothing, but to have one on and see it in use, that means everything.

Now when people play games, they just need to take it out the box or download it first, but back in the 1980s you had to code it yourself. Are those types of machine to see? And is programming something that’s lost on the younger generations?

Yes, certainly. Go back to the 80s and you were typing in magazine games – and most of the time they were wrong anyway – so you’d then spend time trying to work out why they were wrong, and in doing that you were learning programming.  Certainly it’s important, and it’s something we’re very much keen on doing; we take a fleet of BBC Micros out to schools and let kids program them.

For some of those kids it’s quite an eye opener, they don’t even know you can program a computer, which is really strange for me, but that’s the way it is, they’ve just grown up with computers and they’re just ways of accessing the internet or using Word. So, I think programming is a bit of a lost art form, and it’s important that we get it back into schools and into the curriculum, and we’re trying to play our part in doing that.

How do you go about selecting what’s on show in the Centre for Computing History?

It’s really difficult, like choosing your favourite child! Really, it’s about trying to change it from last year, so for this event [Gadget Show Live] we had some other machines on display, so we’ve put those aside this year and do a different selection. For the museum, again, we’re going to keep it fresh, we’re going to make sure that it changes fairly regularly. Because in the 80s there were hundreds of machines, computers and games consoles that came out. You couldn’t have them all on display at the same time, but we can change them around, so that’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to have different displays on at different times.

How difficult is it to maintain the computers? Parts, especially for the older ones, can’t be easy to find.

Yes, it can be difficult sometimes. But we’ve got a lot of support from the general public, it’s really nice, so we get a lot of donations in. And people email us saying “I’ve got an old Commodore 64, but it doesn’t work, do you want it?” But we’ll take it, because it could be used for parts as we have a mountain of old machines that are in various states of working and we basically live off those. So we either try to get those working by fixing them specifically or using the parts to fix others.

How is the museum going to be funded?

There’s a lot of love in it, I must admit. There are a lot of volunteers that do things for the museum like coming out to events and supporting it, fixing the machines, do various things. But it does have a certain amount of funding, from ARM, Redgate Software and Microsoft Research in Cambridge, and they’ve put money into physically moving us into Cambridge.

After that, once we’re there, we’ve got to build the museum ourselves, so we’ll be looking for sponsorship or donations of equipment to physically build the museum. Once we’re there, and we’re opened, then people will pay on the door to come and see us and we’ll just work like any museum, with a shop, cafe, things like that.

But we’re also a little bit different, in that we take a lot of this old technology, and make it available to TV and film companies.  So we then supply this old stuff, or make it do something different, doing documentaries, so that’s another revenue generating things for the museum that keeps it ticking over.  There are a few bits of business we can do to keep things going.

When will the new museum open, and where can people get more information?

Museum version 1 is currently in Haverhill, Suffolk which is going to close its doors for awhile as we move over. Museum version 2 will be in Cambridge and you can go to the website where there’s all the information about the move and when we open. We hope to open in a couple of months. So go on there, follow us on Twitter and Facebook and keep abreast of what we do.

Finally, if there’s one piece of equipment here you could say is the most significant, what would that be?

That’s so hard, because there are lots of significant items in different areas.  For me, in gaming, the Atari 2600; it’s a bit of a personal one because I had one, I was quite lucky. So, that for me is really important because it started the whole cartridge based console system. There were things before it, but it really made cartridges popular. Equally, I think we’ve got things like the ZX80 computer which brought computing down to a price that was affordable, so that’s important. I think I could go round every decade, but those two are my favourites.

Great thanks, for your time.

For more information, go to