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 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.