Train2Game News Trivium Front Man Joins Gaming Charity

Stack Up, the 501(c)3 military charity dedicated to supporting US and Allied Veterans’ mental health through gaming and working to end the epidemic of veteran suicide, announces that Matthew “Kiichichaos” Heafy, lead singer of GRAMMY-nominated metal band Trivium, is joining the Stack Up board of directors after a unanimous vote.

Across more than two decades in Trivium, Heafy has sold millions of records, toured with Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Korn, and performed on all continents except Antarctica. As a solo performer, Heafy has worked with heavy music luminaries like Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, black metal pioneer Ihsahn, and YouTube music sensation Jared Dines.

The son of a US Marine Corps veteran, Heafy is also known for the top Twitch music channel with more than 225,000 followers, where he performs music from his home studio and plays video games, including raising thousands of dollars for Stack Up.

Heafy also co-founded the Metal and Honey Foundation with his wife Ashley Heafy, which is dedicated to supporting the music therapy program at his local Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

Now a member of the Stack Up board, Heafy will help guide Stack Up as it continues its mission to support veterans and active duty military with the therapeutic benefits of gaming.

These initiatives include Supply Crate video game care packages to recuperating military members and active duty personnel. Additionally, Stack Up provides Air Assault trips to in-demand gaming events for deserving veterans, and operates round-the-clock mental health support initiative Stack Up Overwatch Program (StOP).

“I was born in Iwakuni, Japan, in a Marine Corps military base hospital. My father is a Marine and my mother is from Hiroshima, Japan. My dad’s side of the family has multi-generations long lineages in all services and branches of the military. Thanks to my father’s service in the USMC, I exist,” said Matthew Heafy.

“Stack Up’s emphasis on wanting to help people’s mental well-being, while creating a place in which fellow active service and veteran military – US and allied – can come together and celebrate what connects them, is a mission that resounded with me at my core.”

“It is literally a dream come true,” said Stack Up CEO and Founder Stephen Machuga,

“I have had Trivium songs on my workout mix since I was in the Army, and now the lead singer is sending me multiple emails a day before I’m even out of bed asking how he can help us out? It’s bananas; the potential feels endless right now.”

For more information, please visit the official Stack Up website, and follow the organization via social media on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Subscribe to the official YouTube channel, follow Stack Up on Twitch, and join the official Discord server.

For more on Matthew “Kiichichaos” Heafy, please follow him on Twitter, Twitch, and Facebook, and follow Trivium on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Train2Game News Military Gaming Discount

Green Man Gaming, a fast-growth technology company at the centre of the video games industry, has become the first digital video game retailer to partner with the Defence Discount Service to offer the UK’s military community and their families exclusive discounts on video games.

Green Man Gaming is committed to recognising the hard work and dedication of our service men, women, veterans and their families. The company believes that video games are awesome and everyone should have the opportunity to be part of the magic of games.

This exclusive discount will hopefully give the military community the opportunity to save money and enjoy the magic of games so that they can experience some downtime from their challenging daily routines.

The initiative is very important to the Green Man Gaming team, with the company’s CEO, Paul Sulyok and CMO, Ian McGregor previously serving in the British Army and its COO, Tim Sawyer, serving in the Royal Navy. As veterans, all of them hold accounts with the Defence Discount Service.

Paul Sulyok, CEO and Founder of Green Man Gaming, said: “We’re so proud to recognise the great service and dedication of our Armed Forces and hope that Green Man Gaming’s discount will give them an opportunity to save money and enjoy the magic of playing games during their well-earned breaks. As a veteran myself, I understand the challenges that come with being part of the community and strongly believe in giving something back to those brave and determined service men and women who have served the country, as well as their families.”

The discount is available to all serving Armed Forces, Reserve Forces, spouses and partners of serving personnel, HM Armed Forces Veterans (ex serving), MoD civil servants, bereaved family members, war and service widows and widowers, Cadet Forces (over 16) and NATO personnel in the UK from today, 18 June 2018. Green Man Gaming’s exclusive discount on top of its already great deals, can be redeemed on the Defence Discount Service’s secure and dedicated website.

Train2Game News Soldier uses experience for games career


Soldier will use his military experience as he embarks on career in gaming

Former soldier and Train2Game student now focusing on a career in gaming, plans to use military experience as inspiration for making games

Train2Game student and former soldier, Daniel Smith (Smudge) has left the army to embark full time on his games making journey. He plans to use his unique insight into warfare to develop military strategy and RPG games.

The course is going very well for Dan. Train2Game has been very understanding, when he embarked on the course he was still serving. It was tough to balance getting through the course alongside the requirements of military training for the 28 year old.

Dan gained extensive experience and training in the army, he had many roles including; Sapper, Medic, Combat Engineer and Searcher. Dan served in Afghanistan 2011. Dan enjoyed the travel, camaraderie and the accomplishments during his time serving.

He’s since left the army to pursue life dreams as a games designer. He’s studying computer games design with Train2Game. He plans to use his army experience as inspiration for games.

Train2Game student, Daniel Smith: ‘I’m 28, from Newark (near Nottingham), although I have just moved to Preston. I’m studying the Computer Game Designers Course with Train2Game. It’s going well at the moment, but it was quite sporadic while I was in the Army. Sometimes I would be able to get into a good study pattern, other times there was a lot going on, from additional training, which can be long and intense, to exercises aboard and deployments. This meant I would have to spend a lot of effort catching up.’

‘I’ve just started Section 2 Part C. The experience has been very positive, they’ve been very understanding of my situation and have given me lots of support and advice. I’ve wanted to become a Game Designer for some time, before taking the course I had no idea what was required to become one, so taking the course to make sure I have all the skills and knowledge I need.’

‘I was a Sapper in the Royal Engineers, After completing Basic Training I was trained as a Combat Engineer, learning such skills as Water Supply, Field Fortifications and Demolitions. I then went on to being trained as an Electrician. I had many roles after I had finished my training, I was given the responsibility of looking after a store, and being trained as a Team Medic, I volunteered to be trained in EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) and further trained as a Searcher.’ 

‘I have a lot of positive memories from the Army. I’ve visited many places, like Petra in Jordan and Bosnia. I’ve been parachuting, white water rafting and scuba diving. But my best memories have to be with the friends I made and the (now legendary) things we all got up to. I’ve also achieved a lot, even completing some of the training courses were huge accomplishments. I served in Afghanistan in 2011 as a Searcher, which involved clearing IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) routes and buildings.’

‘I’ve now left the military, Army life was starting to get in the way of where I wanted my life to go. I’ve always been interested in gaming. I prefer playing computer games over reading books or watching TV. I’m also an avid wargamer and have been since I was in my early teens. it seemed logical to start studying the subject.’ 

‘I have written a set of rules for a squad-sized tabletop game that draws from my army experience of firefights, being fast and chaotic events that can easily devolve into a confusing mess if not controlled well. I also have an idea for a war inspired game that involves the use of infantry tactics, as well having to manage what equipment you take with you on missions. I am a fan on RTS, TBS and RPGs games and would really enjoy creating games in there genres.’

‘I’ll predominantly draw from the fighting side of my time in the army for war-style games, but this sense of conflict and overcoming obstacles will translate to other genres, particularly RPGs. Soldiers also have a very unique sense of humour that will inevitably find its way into my games.’

‘I hope to work my way up to the position of Senior Designer and Lead Designer. I hope to create games that people will love to play and that will be looked on as classics.’

For more information contact:
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Train2Game News Operation Supply Drop joining Military and Athletes


Military charity Operation Supply Drop (OSD) – the world’s most generationally relevant support organization for veterans and active duty military – today announces an exciting partnership with Joint Forces Initiative (JFI) to extend the reach of their “Pro vs. GI Joe” program, developed to connect active-duty military and veterans with pro athletes through fun and competitive video game events.

Launched in 2007 by Greg and Addie Zinone, JFI is a non-profit organization with strong ties to and excellent relationships with sports teams, athletes, and leagues – including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA and more – enabling troops all over the world to compete head-to-head against some of their favorite athletes in games such as Madden, Call of Duty, and Halo.

In early 2016, OSD has committed to work closely with JFI to host over thirty offline and online “Pro vs. GI Joe” events for the benefit of veterans and active duty military. This collaboration bolsters OSD’s Thank You Deployments program – where veterans are given VIP insider access and tours of top entertainment events – adding JFI’s highly-successful “Pro vs. GI Joe” events to the experiences available. Both organizations will jointly attend the 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at a co-branded booth, advocating for and promoting the support of military veterans.

“We’ve been operating JFI for eight years and it works really darn well. But I knew that there was more that could be done,” said Greg Zinone, founder of Joint Forces Initiative and the “Pro vs. GI Joe” program. “With Operation Supply Drop by our side, we’ll be able to provide bigger events, bigger experiences, more one-on-one personal relationships built between our pros and our troops, and more lifelong connections made between our vets. It’s those reasons, combined with the reputation that Operation Supply Drop has established for itself, that we are excited to partner with them. It’s time to make some incredible things happen for our troops!”

“I’ve personally been a long time follower of Joint Forces Initiative, and we’ve been in talks for quite some time about collaborating in a meaningful way,” said Operation Supply Drop CEO Glenn Banton. “Both Operation Supply Drop and Joint Forces Initiative have finally grown to a point where we can effectively form a partnership and collaborate in new, bigger ways. The ‘Pro vs. GI Joe’ program is one example, where video games bring together people for exciting shared experiences.” He adds, “Being able to connect veterans with some of their favorite professional athletes over Call of Duty, Halo, or Madden is a wonderful additional way to give back to our active duty military and veterans.”

Train2Game News Operation Supply Drop rewards soldiers

Operation Supply DropMilitary-themed video game charity Operation Supply Drop proudly announces the first of several new initiatives for 2014, made possible by the overwhelming success of its recent 8-Bit Salute fundraiser: “Thank You Deployment.”

This initiative provides self-sacrificing members of the armed forces an all-expenses-paid VIP trip to select gaming events or tours of game development studios for a rare insider’s look at the video game industry.

U.S. Army Specialist Sean Patton, the inaugural recipient of the Thank You Deployment, will be flown to this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

Specialist Patton was severely injured while his infantry unit provided suppressive fire for a team of Special Operations when a suicide bomber detonated near his vehicle. Severely wounded, Patton continued to lay down covering fire with his vehicle’s .50 caliber machine gun until the insurgent forces were eliminated. Following several reconstructive surgeries, Specialist Patton is 100% mobile, but is in the process of being medically discharged from the U.S. Army. He received a Purple Heart and Silver Star for his heroic actions that day.

“Sean is a lifelong gamer, and we look forward to being able to provide him with this once-in-a-lifetime experience to enjoy E3,” said Glenn “Commander” Banton, chief marketing officer for Operation Supply Drop. “There is no way that we can take away the traumatic experience suffered by Specialist Patton on behalf of his country, but we hope that sharing with him the joy and passion so many of us feel in making video games will help ease the trauma and showcase the generosity of those within our industry.”

This is a fantastic initiative to help our deserving men and women of the armed forces. Operation Supply drop asks that you share this post to spread the word to help more military personnel.

Train2Game News Operation Supply Drop fundraising

Operation Supply DropToday, military-focused video game charity Operation Supply Drop announced their next major fundraising event, the third annual “8-Bit Salute”, a 24-hour gaming marathon, to be held May 17 – 18, 2014.

Donations raised during this charity event will fund video game care packages, offering much needed diversion and stress-relief to combat-zone deployed troops and those recovering in military hospitals.

Machinima sensation and community favorite Rooster Teeth (creators of the award-winning Red vs Blue series) will actively promote the 8-Bit Salute fundraiser and field a community team to raise awareness and funds.

“Rooster Teeth is excited to continue our involvement with Operation Supply Drop and to grow the partnership to continue to provide assistance to those who dedicate themselves to serving our country,” said Rooter Teeth co-Founder Gus Sorolla. “We look forward to further collaboration and success for years to come.”

Other key partners include gaming juggernaut Wargaming America (World of Tanks, World of Warplanes), developer Naughty Dog (2013 Developer of the Year, The Last of Us) and gaming-headset powerhouse ASTRO Gaming. They have pledged significant donations and will assemble fundraising teams via the Operation Supply Drop website at There, fans will have a chance to win a variety of great prizes while raising awareness and funds for our troops.

“The feedback, stories and pictures of delighted recipients, deployed in hot spots around the world, and those recovering from combat-related injuries serving us and our country, are testament to how much of a morale boost our supply drops are, as we try to give back to those that risk their lives to defend us and our way of life,” stated Operation Supply Drop Founder Captain Stephen “Shanghai Six” Machuga, a former U.S. Army Ranger and combat veteran. “We are thrilled to have so many partners involved and are confident that this will be the biggest and most successful 8-Bit Salute to date.”

Train2Game News: Gareth Brook talks to T2G Radio

Train2Game student Gareth Brook talks to T2G radio about his time in the army and how it has affected him today.

You can listen to part one here:

Part two here:

or read the transcript below.

Hi I’m Gareth Brook and I’m on the games designer course and I live in Leeds, England.

What’s your story? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life and made you who you are now?

You could go back to my Army days, I joined the Army at the age of 16 after leaving school and that had a big role to play in who I am today. It turned me into the man I am, made me grow up very quickly. I spent five years working mostly over in Northern Ireland, that’s where my one and only posting was, for about three years. I worked as a telecommunications technician and working a lot in IT systems as well as that. After leaving it, it got me in to IT, not something I particularly wanted to spend the rest of my life in but it was paying the bills, it was OK money and I was good at it so for the time being I was still wondering what to do with my life and it’s only recently that I’ve actually come to a decision. It’s a decision that was easy to make and it’s one that I should of made years ago really.


You mentioned that you were in the Army, has that influenced your game designs at all?

I’m not to sure. The ones I am working on at the moment, I would probably say not too much. I’m not quite at the level where I’m putting out first person shooters and that kind of thing on a military scale. I think it will have some influence in the future because all though I have been a civilian for seven or eight years now I think, I don’t believe anyone that’s spent a fair amount of time in the forces will ever become 100% civilian. I am still a squaddy at heart and I think it is going to influence me in the future. Things like the discipline from the Army and things like that, it’s stuff that’s going to stick with me forever.


What made you decide to leave the Army in the end?

It was a family decision in the end, I decided to choose my family over my career in the Armed forces. It’s a single mans game is the army.


I know you’ve got a fiancé now and a couple of kids as well.

That’s right, yeah. I’ve got a step son and we have a daughter together that’s just turned one.


So how do you find your time to study and do all your games design and being a Father at the same time?

It was fine, it was OK, but in the last few months my daughter’s started crawling and she is getting in to everything and with my fiancé working, times have gone where I could crack on during the day whilst my daughter was just in a bouncer. Now she’s everywhere it’s pretty hard during the day to try and get anything done. I’m a bit of a night crawler though so I do quite a lot in the early hours of the morning.


After you left the Army then, what did you do after that did you say?

I worked as an IT contractor, short term contracts. I started off in a place in Cumbria, where I was working for a company called B.A.E which were developing the latest and last Hunter Killer class submarine at the time. Then it was back down to Leeds, where I was brought up, I worked all over Leeds, different contracts in Wakefield, York and then a lot of it was on the road visiting different clients, down the M64 corridor, that sort of thing. As far north as Middlesbrough, as far south as Leicester and Coventry.


So you’ve had quite the versatile life then?

I’d say so yeah! I’m turning thirty in April but most of the people that I know don’t seem to have had as many life experiences as I do. I feel a bit old before my time if you ask me!


Out of all the things you have done what do you consider the most dramatic or exciting thing you have done?

That’s a bit of a difficult question to answer considering everything I’ve done. I suppose the most exciting thing is beginning the path in the games industry. After twenty nine years on this planet it feels like a decision I should of come to a decade ago and it’s just such a perfect fit. Dramatic? Any number of things for the last year, my life is filled with drama. If you ask my best friend he’ll say “It’s just like watching a soap opera.”


What brought you to the idea of finally getting in to the gaming industry?

I think it was just on a whim really. I was bored in the current job that I was previously in. I wasn’t bored as such but I didn’t want to do it for the rest of my life, that much I know and I thought OK, what am I going to do? I would mill around with different ideas in my head thinking I could do this or I could do that but nothing really seemed to jump out at me and say right this is what I’m meant to be doing with the rest of my life. I looked around trying to find courses in Video Games industry and I came across Train2Game’s website and I thought, Oh this looks pretty good, so it went from there.


What is your big game plan for the future, what are you aspiring to be?

Well right now as I am still in the designer course, anything in a design capacity would be great to get me in the industry. Long term future I would say I’d be interest in the production sides of the games industry. That’s something I’m not involving myself in heavily at the moment but it’s something I’ve always got the corner of my eye on. Picking up knowledge where I can about the role.


After being in the Army, what do you think of games like Call Of Duty and Modern Warfare, games like that. How do you compare them?

It’s probably best comparing a game like Battlefield rather than Call Of Duty. Call Of Duty, I can’t really compare that, everyone really plays that for the multiplayer and it’s just not realistic at all. Battlefield, more so but I don’t think it’s ever going to be, or should be, as realistic as possible because it is quite different. A game still has to be a game and has to be fun. All though I was in an operational place, it wasn’t Afghanistan or Iraq and I’m sure people that I know will tell you that it’s not something they would like to sit down and live out for two hours a night in front of a computer.


Right, so thank you very much Gareth!

No problem!

Train2Game News: SpecialEffect Case: Craig & James


Craig’s father Paul contacted us after seeing one of our videos for a one-handed controller set-up we created online. He wrote “Hi, my son Rifleman Craig Wood lost both his legs and left hand and nose in Afghanistan and I have just seen the “XCM Re-mapper” plus “Saitek Aviator Joystick” in use. Is there any way the lad could try one before buying one?”.

As this is a complicated piece of equipment to set up, we visited Craig at his home in Doncaster to show him how to configure it to his own requirements. He took to using the controller straight away. Craig has the controller on loan through our Loan Library.

A week after our visit, we asked Paul how Craig was getting on with it. “Yes, going good, never off it!”.


We were contacted by James via email requesting help with accessing his Xbox 360. “Hi, I am an injured soldier in the British Army and due to my injury, I have lost the use of my left hand now. I just want to play the games I play with the efficiency I used to be able to with two hands.”

We set James up with the controllers he was interested in trying, to enable him to try each one and see which helped him play to the standard he hoped for.

“I am writing back to say I have been using the controller since it arrived and I find it really useful.”

Do remember to keep sharing SpecialEffect’s video around and try and get them to reach their goal of 25,000 views by Christmas day!