Train2game News: Microsoft announce new accelerator programme companies

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UK firms Gateway Interactive and 8 Bit Studios to begin 12-week programme in February

Microsoft has announced the new wave of companies that will take part in Microsoft Ventures’ London Accelerator programme.

The scheme has been piloted this year and provides support to start-ups for 12 weeks as they try to establish themselves as a business.

Twelve firms will be taking part in the 2014 programme, which kicks off on February 3rd. Two of these are gaming firms: Gateway Interactive, a studio based in the North East of England working on their inaugural title Pure Space, and 8-bit Studios, which is working on online multiplayer game Skara.

The successful applicants were named during a Microsoft event at London’s Canary Wharf, where the pilot companies of this year’s programme were able to show off their work and pitch for further support from other potential investors.

Two of the five pilot companies were games firms – Whispering Gibbon and GallantCloud – and all pilots have been invited to continue working with Microsoft at its new Accelerator headquarters, which is due to open in Whitechapel.

Microsoft UK’s managing director Michel Van der Bel told Develop: “These technology start-ups and entrepreneurs are the future success of our sector. The future of our economy will be based on the success of these start-ups.

Train2game student and GallantCloud member Ben Cooper said “i want to say thank you on behalf of the team for all the help Train2game gave us. It was very much appreciated and I believe we nailed the pitch!”

Source: Develop http://www.develop-online.net/news/microsoft-ventures-names-start-ups-for-2014-london-accelerator/0187016

Train2Game News: A Gallant Journey Part 3

WP_20131027_023GallantCloud’s Wayne Campbell discusses the team’s current project A Knights Tail and the bustling UK development scene.

Hi everyone this is Wayne from Gallant Cloud at the helm of this week’s blog and what an awesome week it has been for the team! We started this week’s project entitled A Knights Tail.

So far building this project has been amazing since we as a team are loving every part of the process. It’s hard work for sure, but we all love what we are doing and we are also meeting some really influential people in the gaming industry and beyond.

We are all absorbing things really fast and as we are halfway through the Microsoft Ventures UK accelerator, this is where we all turn things up even more! We assigned our individual tasks through the new system to keep track so that everyone is up to speed on their task. We have the daily scrum to make sure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet which has been working brilliantly so far. Everyone has been supportive of one another and pushed each other to achieve their best.

We are all very excited about the things we are doing and planning on doing the future and are very fortunate to be right in in the middle of the melting pot of the game developing world. Earlier this week several of the team members went to the Bossa event, where they were showing off some incredible new things that were happening with the Oculus Rift and it was brilliant to meet some really passionate people.

That is one of the greatest points about being in tech city. There are so many incredible events going on all of the time and so many great people. We have found that joining the community has been like becoming part of the family. All I can say in the words of Ben Cooper: it’s “absolutely awesome.”

We all came from different backgrounds and put together simply with the same vision to make absolutely mega games. I come from South London where it can be kind of tough if you don’t have any direction or will power. I personally would like to make some kind of difference in my community and show that anything is possible if you work hard enough for it.

This weeks event highlights: we had another great session around funding and giving us more direction on where to focus our attention for the business side of the company. There was also a session with the incredible Ben Nunney from Twilio on telling a coherent brand story. We attended a user experience workshop within Central working and had a pitching practice session to get a feel of what to expect later this year. We then had a meeting with Professor Bernie Good, a Cyber-psychologist. It is always a pleasure to talk to her and she has some incredible knowledge and views on video games and their gamers.

This week we also had our monthly start-up meeting. This was a brilliant chance for all of the start-ups on the program to give feedback on how they feel the accelerator has been so far. The Microsoft Ventures UK team really have been brilliant in helping each of the teams realise their full potential and constantly work hard to give our businesses the best chance possible.

Thanks for reading guys and don’t forget to check us out on our website, Facebook and Twitter and obviously our blog each week for new updates on what we are doing!

One love, Wayne

Train2Game News: A Gallant Journey Part 2

WP_20131027_029GallantCloud’s Paul Rayment discusses how the early stages of the Microsoft Ventures UK Accelerator Programme have gone so far.

GallantCloud, the team of five Train2Game students merged together to create a new and upcoming games studio, are now on Week 4 of the Microsoft Ventures UK Accelerator Programme.

With our mentors onboard, ranging from members of existing high profiled games studios, Microsoft resources, and many others lending their expertise, GallantCloud now have a vast quantity of resources to make use of.

The team and mentors have worked hard and have created a game development curriculum that is unique to GallantCloud and will work alongside the overall curriculum that all Microsoft Ventures UK Accelerator teams are working to.

The GallantCloud curriculum is very geared towards making the most of the teams time in getting ideas out there and filtering those ideas to a smaller number which the team will develop further. To accomplish this we are using a physical whiteboard for those in the office, and then everything is transferred to the digital whiteboard for future analysis.

Everyone on the UK Accelorator Programme has just been really helpful as well as informative. GallantCloud have been granted access to hardware and software that wouldn’t have been possible going it alone. Great things were happening, but now they are happening with greater tools for the job.

Of course it isn’t all work (well it is, but it’s fun!), the Eurogamer Expo that took place in London Earl’s Court was a fantastic opportunity not to be missed.

Being that GallantCloud were all Train2Game students, at the allotted time we took our positions within the GamesIndustry/fair section of Eurogamer in the Train2Game room to talk of our experiences whilst on the Accelerator Programme to train2game students. Day two also saw GallantCloud standing up front talking again. After a great overview of the UK accelerator programme a thunderous applause erupted!

Eurogamer was a great experience and we certainly had fun and took away a lot from it (not just the free loot and photos with cosplayers!). GallantCloud managed to take part in the mass energy and excitement that buzzed throughout the building, gathering ideas and intel on ways to create, present and expand on everything there is to do with getting a game created from the simplest to the complex of ideas.

Technological advances such as eye tracking systems to drive cars with your eyes only (or slice fruits in Fruit Ninja!) were brilliant to witness and experience each piece of innovative technology adding to the way we think about our game ideas.

We invited our followers to join us in our Eurogamer experience, with a constant stream of pictures and updates to our Facebook and Twitter, and received loads of new support and great feedback!

We have achieved a lot and have so much more ahead of us to accomplish. We continue to move forward, each step a discovery.

If someone were to ask us how we feel things are going with the UK Accelerator Programme, things are going incredibly well. There is something happening every day, whether it be a talk from an external party coming in to give insight in to how they got started with their product, or a quick chat with a mentor, a meeting with Microsoft to give updates on our milestones, or actually getting some games created, there is always productivity taking place.

 

Train2Game News: A Gallant journey Part 1

Gallant CloudThe GallantCloud Games team chronicles their journey through the Microsoft Venture accelerator

Hello ladies and gents and welcome to GallantCloud Games!

We are a brand new start-up game company and are in the privileged position of working with the Microsoft Ventures UK team on their accelerator pilot.

The team is made up of five guys who have wanted to make games since getting their podgy little fingers on their first Gameboy, console or computer. We are all Train2Game students, working to create beautiful little games from the safety of our bedrooms and garages when we escape work (or the kids).

We entered a competition that popped up one day on the Train2Game student world, and after phone calls, meeting and deliberations we, the lucky few, were put together.

We then had a bit of a mountain to climb. We needed a name and with a name a logo.

This proved to be harder than anticipated, with all five members contributing to create a very unhelpful list of a hundred names, all of which weren’t quite perfect.

After many late night Skype calls and much cursing we had it! Now… just to create a logo.

So there we were on September 9th. Five chaps who hadn’t met as a team before got together at Central Working to meet the other brilliant teams who had a place on the Microsoft Ventures UK pilot scheme.

After the initial meetup and layout the hard work began. We jumped in at the deep end, having to pitch a so far non-existent game to a panel of industry professionals in just two days time.

After a shaky start and some incredible training from the Microsoft team and its partners, we managed to pull off a pitch. The rest of the evening involved chatting and sharing a drink with some great people about our new company and how we should go about forming what we are doing.

Following some great advice, we organised a game jam for our team. Held at Central Working and with the theme of sound, we took over several desks for 24 hours and went about creating our game ‘Monster Night’, finding out how well we worked together as a team and learning where each others strengths and weaknesses lay.

The next week brought some more excellent training and more ideas of how to structure the company and made us think about what we want to deliver to our customers. It also brought some new ideas for potential games that the team felt passionate about and that we put in the ‘to do’ design pile.

We were also invited to take part in the Develop Quiz. Aside from from the dodgy ‘reversed songs’ round It was an absolutely brilliant night and GallantCloud went head to head with some extremely talented game developer teams, with some brilliant stories shared and yet more great advice for the team! We decided not to show all of the other teams up and positioned ourselves a sly third from the bottom on the scoreboard…

We managed to get some more design and concepts done throughout the rest of the week, even managing to create a rough prototype of one of the games, sparking ideas for how it will work and what type of things we could add to make it AWESOME.

The first two weeks have been incredible for the team and we have an exciting time ahead of us. We would love for you to follow our journey through our blogs!