Train2Game News Writing for video games event

The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and London Writers’ Week have announced a writing for video games panel event, which will take place as part of this year’s London Writers’ Week and which will provide access to advice from some of the UK’s leading video games writers.

Taking place on Friday 20th July at 12 – 1pm, the event will be chaired by Writers’ Guild of Great Britain video game committee member David Varela, whose credits include writing the mobile adventure Sherlock: The Network, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, script consultancy on the chart-topping mobile game Zombies, Run! (which was nominated for a Writers’ Guild Award), and writing the murder mystery game The Trace and who is currently narrative designer on an undisclosed project at Criterion Games.

Speakers for the panel event will also include Olivia Wood, who was recently selected by BAFTA as a 2017 Breakthrough Brit, and Rhianna Pratchett, who is an award-winning writer for games, comics, film, TV and short stories whose work has received awards from the WGA, the WGGB, DICE, SXSW, and a BAFTA nomination. Rhianna has written for DC, Dark Horse and Dynamite (notably writing an origin story for Red Sonja’s chain-mail bikini) and is currently working on film and TV projects with the Jim Henson Company, Film4, Big Talk and O3 Productions.

The final panelist will be Andrew S. Walsh who is an award-winning writer/director with credits across film, television, theatre, radio, animation and videogames. To date he has worked on videogames such as The Division 2, Prince of Persia, Lego City: Undercover, Risen, Harry Potter, Fable Legends and Need for Speed. His film work includes the English version of Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, while his time in television includes BBC’s Raven, Emmerdale, Byker Grove, Risk, and Family Affairs. His theatre work includes Wind in the Willows which is touring South London this summer.

Jennifer Tuckett, Director of London Writers Week said: “We are delighted to be able to include this excellent event from The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain’s video game committee in this year’s London Writers’ Week. Writing for video games is an important opportunity for writers to know about and, as part of London Writers’ Week’s aim to provide access to and showcase the best new ideas going on in new writing in the UK each year, this year in terms of film, we are delighted to be able to provide access to advice from some of the writers leading the way in terms of writing for video games, in partnership with The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain’s video games committee”.

The event continues the relationship between The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and London Writers’ Week, and The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain has been a supporter of London Writers’ Week since its creation four years ago.

This year’s London Writers’ Week is also donating 100% of all profits to organisations promoting diversity in the arts. The organisations which will be supported by this year’s London Writers’ Week are The Diversity School Initiative, which campaigns for greater diversity in drama schools and whose board members include Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre, Actor Awareness, which campaigns for working class actors and writers and who recently made “The Acting Class” documentary with Maxine Peake, Christopher Eccleston and others, the London Playwrights Blog, an invaluable resource providing access to opportunities and advice, and University Women in the Arts, which aims to improve the transition from women studying the arts to working in the arts.

For more information and to book tickets please go to: www.londonwritersweek.com

Train2Game News Escape Studios Game Jam

The Future is Creative – it’s time to make your mark on the games industry by joining your peers and taking part in the annual Escape Studios’ Game Jam, from 22 nd – 24 th June at 190 High Holborn, London.

At the Escape Studios Game Jam, gain insight and advice from industry leaders, and learn about the creative job opportunities in the games space.

For the third year running, the Escape Studios’ Game Jam is going to be offering up-and-coming talent a chance to meet their peers and put their skills to the test. In a task set against the clock, teams will be challenged to create the best game to fit the brief and theme (the theme will be revealed at the start of the event!).

Team work, creativity, endurance and a desire to learn from your peers are all that is required in this annual game design competition, which is now in its third year.

Running from Friday 22nd June, through to Sunday 24th June, each team will get 48 hours to create and present their game to a panel of industry judges, in order to win an exclusive prize package!

Full Details on the weekend’s activities can be found below:

Exclusive Prize

Part of the grand prize is a Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia game code and exclusive t-shirt, with further prizes to be announced.

The Teams

Each team will consist of 4 gamers and members will be selected by the event organisers to ensure an even skill-set for each team. The Game Jam 2018 will be made up of a maximum of 6 teams, so get in early to secure your spot!

As part of the sign-up process, to secure your place, you will need to submit a £10 deposit, which will be refunded once the event is complete. The deposit will not be refunded if you do not turn up to take part after committing to do so.

The Competition

The theme of the Game Jam will be provided on the day and teams must make all components of their game over the weekend – no part of the game can be pre-made.

The competition will be judged on the game concept, design, art, relevance to the brief and overall delivery.

Mentors

We have teamed up with up with Industry body UKIE, Creative Assembly and 3D World Magazine to bring you top industry professionals to help build your ideas. Representatives will drop in over the course of the weekend, to offer advice and will be part of the final judging panel.

Additional judges also include Tom Constable, Seconded Level Designer at Creative Assembly. who has worked on games such as Total War, Alien Isolation and Halo Wars 2 ‘Awakening The Nightmare’. Escape Studios’ Head of Games, Simon Fenton, who has over 23 years’ experience in the games industry and has worked for the likes of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Simon will also be on hand to provide mentoring and guidance over the weekend. In addition to Simon’s expertise, jammers will be joined by George O’Keefe, alumni of Escape Studios who is currently an Environment Artist at Rare Ltd.

The Venue

The Game Jam 2018 will be held at Escape Studios’ campus, 190 High Holborn, London WC1V 7BH, in central London (nearest tube – Holborn).

All participants must bring their own laptop, power cables, converters and any other equipment you may need. All participants are responsible for their own property – Escape Studios cannot be held liable for property damages or loss. We will be providing power supply and Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as food and drink to get you going and everything you need to plan and brainstorm your ideas.

Timings

You will have access to the building within the below dedicated times, outside of these times you are free to work on your game as a team, at a location of your choice:

Friday 22nd June – 19:00 – 21:00pm

Game Jam Kick-Off – Full Briefing and Introduction to Industry Partners.

Saturday 23rd June – 07:00am

Development to commence – You will be given 24hour access to the facilities, to work on your game through the night (if you choose to!) until the end of judging on Sunday.

Sunday 24th June – 15:00pm

Game Jam to end, judging and announcement of winning team to take place.

You will be able to tweet the event across the weekend at @Escape_Studios and share images on Instagram @escapestudios by using #EscapeGameJam

Train2Game News Square Enix work potential

Square Enix® Montréal, the award-winning and critically acclaimed mobile games studio, has announced that it is attending Casual Connect in London on May 29-31, 2018, and will be located at booth #206.

The studio will be a Gold Sponsor of the conference and has recently made the move to the freemium mobile game development model. As a result, Square Enix is actively looking to fill new positions within the Montréal and London mobile studios. Key members of the Square Enix Montréal and London mobile teams will be available at the booth to discuss any of the available positions, spanning Creative, Analytics, Product Management, and beyond.

As well as sponsoring this year’s ‘Best Kids and Family Game Indie Prize Award’, Square Enix Montréal’s Head of Studio, Patrick Naud will join fellow industry experts to discuss Live Operations on the ‘Live Game Ops Power Panel’ at 4pm on May 30, 2018 in the St. James’s suite. Senior Producer Dominic Allaire and Lead Game Designer Jean-Francois Dugas will deliver their ‘Live and Kickin’ presentation covering the evolution of Hitman Sniper at 11am on May 30, 2018 in the St. James’s suite.

“We’ve always strived to provide the highest quality experience for mobile players and premium was the most appropriate format for us to do so initially in order to prove our know-how,” said Patrick Naud, Head of Studio at Square Enix Montréal. “While we remain absolutely committed to delivering innovative experiences to our existing IPs, we also want to make original games that are accessible to all players, hence we are now fully embracing the freemium format, while being mindful that we continue to provide the mobile gaming community with unforgettable experiences; a value central to every Square Enix Montréal title.”

For more information regarding the ‘Live Game Ops Power Panel’ and ‘Live and Kickin’ presentation: http://europe.casualconnect.org/schedule.html

Casual Connect will be held at The Queen Elizabeth II Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London, SW1P 3EE. Square Enix Montréal will be located at booth #206.

Train2Game News Kinect recycled for medical needs

A new system which helps people with Parkinson’s disease overcome debilitating walking problems has been developed by researchers at Brunel University London.

Built using Microsoft’s now-obsolete Kinect peripheral, the system monitors for and detects freezing of gait (FOG) in Parkinson’s patients. When an occurrence is observed a laser casts visual cues on the floor according to the patient’s location, helping them release their gait and improve their movement.
It’s hoped the system, which was unveiled in the Journal of Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology and supported by Parkinson’s UK, can be further developed for installing in patients’ homes.

“Freezing of gait is one of the most disabling symptoms in people with Parkinson’s, affecting its sufferers by impacting their gait performance and locomotion,” said Dr Amin Amini, a researcher from Brunel’s Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, who lead the research.

“It is an episodic phenomenon that prevents the initiation or continuation of a patient’s locomotion, and it may lead to a loss of independence or frequent falls.”

The system, whose prototype cost just £137 to build, excluding its controlling PC, works by monitoring a patient’s leg movements in their own home. Whilst similar systems using Kinect have been tested previously, the new system specifically monitors the angle of the patient’s knee and their head direction, offering increased accuracy and a reduction in false positives.

Initially launched in 2010, the Microsoft Kinect is a motion-sensing device developed for use with a PC or Xbox. Whilst it was originally intended for gaming, the product proved popular with researchers and developers keen to find alternative uses.

Although the Kinect was discontinued as a commercial product in 2017, they are still easily obtainable second-hand.

“The main reason that Microsoft Kinect was used is that it doesn’t require the patients to attach any sensors to their bodies in order for the system to detect FOGs,” said Dr Amini.

“The Kinect can unobtrusively detect and track subjects’ body movements without any attachments, which makes it an ideal device for such applications.”
Once FOG is detected, the system casts two laser lines on the floor, perpendicular to the direction the patient is facing. This visual cue stimulates movement in the patient and helps relieve their gait.

“We tested the system’s capabilities and detection success rate by inviting healthy participants during the prototype phase, as well as inviting real Parkinson’s disease patients to a focus group, where we demonstrated our system in action,” said Dr Amini.

“The results showed the possibility of employing the system as an indoor and on-demand visual cue system for people with Parkinson’s, that does not rely on the subject’s input or introduce any additional complexities to operate.
“Despite limitations regarding its outdoor use, feedback was very positive in terms of domestic usability and convenience, with people with Parkinson’s showing interest in installing and using the system at their homes.”

Kinect4FOG: monitoring and improving mobility in people with Parkinson’s using a novel system incorporating the Microsoft Kinect v2 is published in the Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
For further information on Brunel’s research, please visit www.brunel.ac.uk/research

Train2Game UK Studio recognised as one of 1000 studios to inspire

Outplay Entertainment has been named as part of 1000 Companies to Inspire.

Devised by London Stock Exchange Group, this report celebrates the fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK and Europe. It also examines the opportunities and challenges facing SMEs today and looks at the sectors and trends that will shape the future of the British and European economies.

Douglas Hare, CEO of Outplay Entertainment comments: “To be acknowledged in 1000 Companies to Inspire is testament to our team’s ability to develop and market engaging games that can be enjoyed by players from across the world, and is further proof that we’re heading in the right direction. We started small and built on our initial success, and are very bullish about the future. 2018 is proving to be another exciting time for Outplay Entertainment.”

This recognition follows a string of business accolades for the largest independent mobile developer in the UK. The studio ranked 61st in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 (December) – a league table of the fastest-growing technology companies in EMEA and placed 11th in the UK Fast 50 (November). It also reported 1,904% revenue growth since 2013.

Headquartered in Dundee, Scotland, Outplay’s 170-strong team has developed several critically acclaimed games which have surpassed over 150 million downloads to date.

For more information about Outplay Entertainment please visit https://outplay.com/

Train2Game News Live Action Text Game in London

GamesAid today releases exclusive early bird tickets to the games industry for the live action text-based adventure interactive show The Dark Room.

Organised as a London Games Festival fringe event and hosted by GamesAid, the UK games industry charity, in partnership with the BFI Certification Unit, this one-off show will be on 10 April at BFI Southbank.

The cult hit touring the world since 2012, The Dark Room’s award-winning stand-up comedy is wedded to retro video games and fused into a deranged rock n’ roll game show where the audience play as contestants. It has been a huge success at Insomnia Gaming Expo, Runefest, EB Games Expo Australia, SFW, UK Games Expo, Soho Theatre, Gameblast, the Edinburgh Fringe, Underbelly Festival and MCM Comic Con.

Matt Spall, Chair of GamesAid said, “Expect no loot boxes, no DLC, The Dark Room is just good, old-fashioned 1980s-style torment and after its killer session for GamesAid at The Comedy Store two years ago, GamesAid is delighted to be partnering the BFI’s Certification Unit in hosting this day.”

Hosted by John Robertson, a comedian for 15 years and host of the Videogame Nation on Challenge, 2014-2016, this is how The Dark Room day works – the rules are simple:

1 – Options appear on the screen.

2 – Audience calls out the option they want.

3 – You’re either right, or dead.

4 – In the end, everybody plays!

The Dark Room reviews:

★★★★★ Sun

★★★★★ British Comedy Guide

★★★★ Den Of Geek

“NOT TO BE MISSED” – The Guardian

“Don’t miss it.” – The Daily Telegraph

“Hi, I’m Ian, I invented the thing you’re parodying.” – Ian Livingstone

Tuesday 10 April 2018
BFI Southbank – Blue Room
Doors Open at 7:30pm
Starts at 8:00pm
Ticket Price: £12.00
Tickets available here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/473194/

Train2Game News European Women in Games Conference

Women in Games WIGJ, the not for profit, games industry diversity organisation, today announced that Facebook will be its headline sponsor for the European Women in Games Conference, taking place on the 11th-12th September at City University.

With the objective to educate, inspire and help stimulate future generations, the inspirational two-day event will comprise of keynote speeches, panel discussions and workshops with insight provided by key staff members from Facebook HQ. There will also be over 40 speakers and panellists from across the games industry that represent the diverse wealth of sectors and the talent within them.

The event will take place at central London’s City University, highlighting the need to promote diversity through and within education, giving rise to a talented, inclusive new generation in the games and tech industry.

Aoife Brodigan, Head of Games Marketing, EMEA said, “Facebook has a rich history in broadening the audience for playing and building communities around games. We are excited to further this work with our Women in Gaming initiative that offers women in the games industry a platform to share their stories. As the headline sponsor for the European Women in Games Conference, we are looking forward to sharing some of these inspiring stories, working with WIGJ to power meaningful connections between women in the industry. Facebook is committed to supporting diversity initiatives in games and encouraging more young women to lean in to the industry and into leadership positions.”

Dr Radu Jianu, Lecturer in Computer Science commented, “City, University of London feels privileged to this year host the European Women in Games conference for its 8th edition, in central London. As an institution deeply committed to promoting diversity and one of the few universities in the country offering programs with a dedicated focus on games technologies, we are particularly excited about this partnership. We have watched the conference grow rapidly over the years into one that welcomes and inspires hundreds of computer games professionals and are looking forward to becoming part of its journey.”

Marie-Claire Isaaman CEO of Women in Games WIGJ said, “The Women in Games WIGJ, not for profit organisation exists to double the number of women working in the games industry by 2025. Our flagship event is the European Women in Games Conference which has a 7 year history of educating, inspiring, and helping to stimulate future generations of talent in the technology and creative industries. We welcome Facebook as headline sponsor. It sends a clear signal of the intent to change the face of games and the tech sector and we look forward to our long term partnership.”

Women in Games WIGJ is inclusive and male delegates are very welcome.

For further details about the conference please visit: http://www.womeningames.org/ .

Train2Game News London Playable Christmas Tree


Millions of people are expecting video games waiting under the tree this Christmas, but at King’s Cross station the Christmas Tree IS a video game: the world’s first ‘playable’ Christmas tree.
#GamesTree has landed at King’s Cross and is an interactive exhibit 6 meters high and made of 7,000 LED lights.

The tree is an adaptation of of award-wining London-made independent game Line Wobbler and has been created following a unique collaboration between the upcoming London Game Festival, Network Rail and acclaimed games designer Robin Baumgarten.

The Games Tree adds games-themed festive cheer to King’s Cross and also celebrates the upcoming third London Games Festival, which takes place in four months running from 5 to 15 April 2018.

The London Games Festival is run by Games London, a joint initiative between the London screen industries agency Film London and trade body ukie (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment). Games London is funded by the Mayor of London’s London Enterprise Action Panel.

Hundreds of commuters and tourists have already played the Games Tree at the station just hours after its installation. It will sit in London Kings Cross station until January 4th 2018 before appearing at other venues.

Train2Game News London Games Festival 2018


The London Games Festival will return in 2018, running from 5 April to 15 April, organiser Games London has announced.
The London Games Festival is delivered by Games London, the three-year initiative from Film London, the capital’s screen industries agency, and video games trade body Ukie (The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment).

Games London is backed by the Mayor of London with funding worth £1.2m from the London Enterprise Action Panel, and seeks to make London the games capital of the world.

Over 50,000 people attended 40 different events across 20 different venues during the 2017 festival. The Festival has also established itself as a platform for global business in games with the Games Finance Market delivering nearly £20m potential business in April.

Since its launch in January 2016 Games London has connected 145 games businesses in the UK with 109 global investors, driving over £30m potential business back into local companies.

The 2018 festival aims to go even further with a wider programme of outdoor events and an even bigger offering for the games developer community. 

Highlights for next year include:

   

–       The third Games Finance Market (Tuesday, 10 April to Thursday, 12 April) the only event of its kind in the UK, connecting 60 games studios with 60 global games investors

   

–       Now Play This, the three-day festival of playful work and experimental game design at Somerset House

   

–       London’s largest games event EGX Rezzed (Friday, 13 April to Sunday, 15 April), a showcase of PC and indie games, at Tobacco Dock

   

–       The BAFTA Games Awards on Thursday, 12 April at Troxy

   

LGF organisers are also curating the brand new HUB event (Monday, 9 April and Tuesday, 10 April). HUB is a new two-day B2B event housing the Festival’s summits, a demo zone for prototpyes and start-ups, a pop-up coworking space and gallery. More details will follow in September.

Also to be announced later is a fresh range of activities that bring games to life on the city streets covering esports and street art, plus an exhibition of BAME artists in games and the return of the Games Character Parade.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London leads the world in culture, creativity and technology and the city’s games industry plays a major part in that success. In just a couple of years, the London Games Festival has become a major attraction for consumers and professionals alike and Games London is delivering significant investment for our cutting-edge tech sector – showing that London is open to creativity and innovation and open for business.”   

Follow @londongamesfest on Twitter or head to www.games.london for more updates over the coming weeks and months.

Train2Game News London Arcade Tour

Bespoke Arcades, the premier name in quality, customisable arcade entertainment, announced today a London Arcade tour to kick off their Holiday celebrations in style and offer London gamers the chance to win an arcade machine of their own!
Taking up temporary residence at Harrods, London’s premier shopping destination, Bespoke Arcades will be welcoming gaming fans to the 3rd floor Gaming Dept for the entire weekend of November 26 and 27, armed with complimentary seasonal treats and free-play on their entire arcade range! 

Come enjoy a mince pie and take part in our ‘Season’s Beatings’ by taking on legendary Guinness World Record holding professional gamer Ryan Hart! 

Feared throughout the gaming world for his unbeatable skills, Ryan will be challenging those brave enough to face him in battle and gamers even have the chance of winning their very own arcade machine should their skills prove powerful enough!

Bespoke Arcades will also be participating in the prestigious Ideal Home Show at Christmas, taking place at Olympia, London from November 23 through to November 27. With their entire jaw-dropping range, including the infamous King-Pin Virtual Pinball Table on show to the public once again, no ideal home would be complete without a Bespoke Arcades cabinet. With exclusive show discounts on offer for a limited time only, gamers have the perfect excuse to treat themselves to what they really want for the holidays!

“This is the time of year for good times and great games and Bespoke Arcades is perfectly positioned to deliver just that! We’re coming to the end of a landmark year for the company, introducing many exciting innovations along with our new King-Pin table and we’re excited to meet the London gaming community as the party season gets into full swing,” said Ben Georget, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Bespoke Arcades. “Ryan Hart is one of the world’s most respected gamers and a fan of Bespoke Arcades. We’re excited to have him join us at our Harrods weekend as we look to broaden our reach amongst gamers across the UK and beyond.”

For more information on Bespoke Arcades and the London Arcade tour, please visit http://www.bespoke-arcades.co.uk/