Train2Game News Commando Kiwi Update

Commando KiwiTrain2Game Student Studio, Commando Kiwi, the winners of the 2012 Make Something Unreal Live competition are back and under new management!

Train2Game Student Adam Sherratt is now the head of Commando Kiwi and they have been working hard since we last heard from them.

After deciding that the project they had started following the Make Something Unreal Live contest was slightly more ambitious than they first anticipated they made the executive decision to start a new IP using the framework they had already created for there winning game at MSUL.

However, with life getting in the way, a few of the original Commando Kiwi members left on to new ventures which left the team struggling until Adam came up with a plan to revitalise the studio. Several of the team volunteered to be mentors at the recent Train2Game Game Jam which put them in excellent position to scout for new team members.

The studio was back up to eight members and ready to get to work on their next game.

When asked about the studios new project Adam said “The game is a 3rd person action adventure RPG style game with cinematic combat sequences that play very similarly to battles in final fantasy 7, 8 and 10. Our aim is to bring a console quality gaming experience to mobile. By using the unreal engine 3 we will be able to offer incredible visuals, a strong sound track and a great story to produce a truly immersive game world on mobile. Initially the game would be released on iOS for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch but if things go well we will port it over to Android too. If you follow Commando Kiwi on Facebook you will see we have just started to leak information and concept art and we have a new company logo.”

Now the next stage for Commando Kiwi is they will be displaying their game at Appsworld and Platform Expo this year to spread the word and receive feedback from the public to make the game as best as it can be. So if you are attending either event go and say hello and give them your support!

The studio is intending to start a Kickstarter campaign in the future as currently everything they are doing is having to come out of their own pockets and they want this game to be the best that it can be.

You can follow Commando Kiwi on Facebook at

Train2Game News Student offering her artistic skills

LUC52101Train2Game Student and three time game jam winner, Chloe Martin is offering her artistic skills and knowledge to those in need.

Chloe is on the art and animation course and was previously a member of Digital Mage, along with my self, who were featured at The Gadget Show Live in 2012 as part of the Make Something Unreal Live contest sponsored by Epic Games.

After her continued success through previous game jams Train2Game invited her to be a mentor at the last game jam in April which she did an excellent job as. Using her knowledge and talents to help new students.

She is now looking to update and improve her portfolio by offering to help other Train2Game students with their coursework or any projects they may be working on. Chloe is a highly talented artist and will be a huge asset to your work.

Chloe is primarily a 2D artist but also can do 3D work if need be, dependant on what you are looking for in your project or coursework. This will be something she will be doing in her own spare time as she does have a full time job and is continuing to study on her own course.

You can find samples of her work on the forum by following this link:

This is just a very small fraction of the work she can do and she will provide more examples on request.

If you are interested and want to contact Chloe you can email her at

Train2Game News: Make Something Unreal Live winners game comes to app store

Warlock of Firetop MountainTrain2Game Student studio and Make Something Unreal Live 2012 winners, Commando Kiwi, have released their first game on to the app store.

The game, Warlock of Firetop Mountain: Lost Chapters, was created by the students in their spare time for last years Make Something Unreal Live contest, held by Epic. The game was created using the UDK software and is based on the very first Fighting Fantasy novel, Warlock of Firetop Mountain which was written by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson.

The studio, which consists of Cat Forsyth, Martyn Whittel, Tom Chipchase, Jonny Robinson, Ashley Taylor, Adam Sherratt, Aaron Reeve, Andrew Smallwood, Tom Constable and Ezekiel Morris, have been working on the game since the beginning of 2012.

The students won the competition after demonstrating their game to a number of industry professionals, including Peter Molyneux, Cliff Bleszinski and Jon Hare. The final descision was that of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson who decided Commando Kiwi’s game best captured the essence of Fighting Fantasy.

The game is a third person action game which puts you in the shoes of the adventurer who is travelling through the deadly Firetop Mountain in search of the fabled treasure of the all-powerful Warlock. The game features enemies and locations from the classic book with a battle system based on the system from the book its self. The unique combat system based uses skill and luck combinations made famous by the series of novels in an intuitive Active Time Battle System.

The game is available for free to download now from the app store.

You can re-live the Commando Kiwi story in the video below:

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 News: Sam Hawkins talks to Train2Game Radio

Sam Hawkins, level designer for Derp Studios spoke to me about his life and where he wants to go with his career.

You can listen to the interview here:

Or read the transcript below:

Hi, I’m Sam Hawkins. I’m from Chelmsford, Essex and I am on the Designer Course.

What’s your story Sam, what are the past experiences that have shaped your life?
Well starting from the beginning, I used to do a lot of Bmxing back in my original home town of Dagenham. It was a big group of us that used to do it, we used to go around streets of Dagenham and Romford, originally just around Essex at first, just doing street Bmxing.  Eventually we just started getting around the UK, it was really good fun. After that, I moved to Chelmsford, where I am now where I did a bit of college for a year, doing Engineering. After that I took a real passion for music, it was relit from school. Music has always been a passion of mine and I played drums for a rock band for about 2 or 3 years. Then I found this course and I’ve been doing this ever since.

You’re also the main level designer for Derp Studios, had you done much level design before that?
Prior to the Game Jam that we had last year, no. None at all I have kind of just taken to it really well, it’s like finding my calling.

Do you think that’s what you are going to go on to in the industry its self. You want to aim for more level design stuff?
Yeah 100%.

Do you think that stems from your Engineering in college?
Possibly, yeah.  When I was doing Engineering at college it was drummed into me that everything I made was 100% perfect. I loved the feeling of actually building something and getting my hands in to it. I’ve always admired the way levels have been played out in front of me, how they’ve been designed or engineered. I think it’s fascinating.

So out of all the things you’ve done with the Bmxing and everything like that, what do you thinks the most dramatic or exciting thing you have done through your life?
Being in the band, prior to The Gadget Show that was in the beginning of this year that was the pinnacle of what I have been doing so far. Before that it was being in the band. At one point we actually got signed for a little bit.

How’s Dire Consequences doing on the iOS store now?
I think it’s doing OK, It’s been received quite well. We actually do have a patch coming out for it very soon, to add new levels. There’s also been a lot of people giving us some really good feedback, some really good creative criticism, that we can take from and build on it.

Yeah, so are you happy with the game then and how it’s all turned out?
Yeah I am. It’s been really good fun working for it, also stressful at the same time, as most projects probably will be.

So how does it feel to be published?
It’s fantastic, it’s absolutely fantastic! I couldn’t believe it when I heard it

Do you think it will open up your gaming prospects and your prospects for your career and everything?
Oh definitely.  When you look at applying for a job in the industry, a lot of people want Designers or Programmers or whatever to have experience. With this behind my belt it is going to be a lot easier if I do venture out to look at other studios.

What’s your big game plan for the future Sam?
For the time being I am just concentrating on getting the course done and a lot of portfolio work that needs doing. Other than that I am going to be working for Derp Studios for a lot longer, get as many games under my belt as I can and really try and establish ourselves as a company as well. If we can do that and be really successful then I’ll just take it from there really! I may venture off into a much bigger studio but at the moment I’ll stay with Derp.

Well I think that’s all we’ve got time for today Sam, so thank you very much!
Thank you very much for your time Mark. Thank you

Cheers Buddy

Train2Game News: Chris Ledger talks to T2G Radio

Chris Ledger spoke to me about the rise of Derp Studios and having their game released on the app store.

You can hear the interview here:

Or read the transcript below

Hey I’m Chris Ledger, I’m on the Train2Game Designer course and I live in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

What’s your story? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life to who you are today?

The Train2Game design course even in its early stages did. I managed to do a few Portfolio Pieces, A High Concept Document and other working style documents. I managed to show that to a small iPhone developer and my first project that I worked on was licensed. The second one was the Game Jam in 2011, which was hosted by Train2Game and Epic Games. I was chosen as an individual to make the fourth team to go on to Make Something Unreal Live where we worked on a project which used the Fighting Fantasy license. The company, Derp Studios, which was The Gadget Show Live Team, just released their first title, Dire Consequences on the iOS store.

Tell us a bit about the game

The game, it’s a first person action game. It’s a wave game for iOS and you can buy optional spells, the more enemies you defeat you get souls. You can use the souls to get spells to help you through the waves. That’s the gist of it really. At one point, I nicknamed it horde with swords because it’s a wave mode like Gears so I thought horde with swords was the best way to describe it.

That’s a good way to describe it I think. So is this work for you now? Is this what you do for a job?

I did make Derp Studios a limited company in, I guess around April time, just after Gadget Show Live I think. We are planning to go ahead and make it a business and earn a bit of money from it, which will be nice. Even though it’s still like a hobby it feels but we do want to make money out of it as well.

How did you get that to happen?

There’s websites you can actually go through to register as a company. It doesn’t actually cost a lot. Well it can build up over time because you’ve got to get all the documents. I used a website called which is quite good. I actually signed the company up for a pound but you’ve got to pay for other things like helping you with documents and things because there is loads to do to set up a company, more than you’d ever imagine.

Do you think Derp Studios will enter the Power Up competition by Microsoft and if you do, do you have any early game ideas yet?

We would like to try that. We have been discussing it I can’t really say for certain if we’ll go ahead and do that. I know we do want to make a second project so that will start quite soon.

One thing that I have always wondered is why did you end up calling the studio Derp Studios?

Oh no, explaining this again! People usually ask that. Well in the early stages we didn’t know what to call ourselves and we were unknown for a while. Because we are all quite new to making games, we kept making mistakes and would say “Oh that’s a Derp mistake”. The most common phrase was “Oh Derp”. So it just kind of went from there.

What is your reason for getting into the gaming industry and how do you think getting into the games industry will change your life?

Well it’s changed my life already but I have always wanted to be in the gaming industry, ever since I was about 8 or something. I just wanted to give something back really to the gaming community and actually live out the dream of becoming a designer that I’ve had since a very early age.

How is Dire Consequences doing on the iOS App Store?

Better than I thought it would to be honest. I forget how big the iOS market is. We shoved it out there and we were over the moon when it was actually on sale. We had some quite good reviews but our average rating is 2 stars but I thought we are quite novice still and it is still quite buggy. People have been pointing it out, issues that they would like to see resolved and how we can improve it, which is absolutely great hearing feedback from a customer audience that have actually played it and experienced it, so that’s proven quite valuable. I think in the first week we have had three thousand downloads.

That’s Excellent. Thank you very much for your time Chris!

No Problem.

Train2Game News: Dire Consequences for App Store

After eleven months in development, Derp Studios game has hit the App Store. The game was made for the Make Something Unreal Live contest in April this year.

Following on from the 2011 Game Jam four teams went on to compete in the Make Something Unreal live which took place at The Gadget show in April. The four teams were the winners of the contest, Commando Kiwi, A team I was a part of, Digital Mage, Indigo Jam and Derp Studios.

From January to April the teams worked relentlessly on their games which were based on the Fighting Fantasy IP of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson. The books from the series in particular that were chosen was: The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain, Armies Of Death, Deathtrap Dungeon and Citadel of Chaos. The last of these is the book Derp Studios worked on.

The game, Dire Consequences, is a first-person action game by Derp Studios, and sees players take on waves of enemies to collect souls and progress their character for new spells. The game is currently only available for iOS devices.

The Gadget Show Live was a life defining moment for many of the Train2Game students involved, including myself and having to do some research in to the whole event to fill in some gaps in my memory was a lovely journey. I am so pleased one of the teams got their game uploaded as they were all amazing games and the whole event really kick-started our careers.

A massive congratulations to Derp Studios and I urge all those with access to an iOS device to go and download the free game immediately!

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: