Train2Game News Biba taking mobile games outside

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Biba, a developer of mobile augmented reality games and apps, and PlayPower, a leading provider of play, sport and recreation equipment, have partnered to bring digital and real world play together.

The companies are inspiring kids to get back outside by fusing digital games with active outdoor play through new Biba mobile apps and Biba-Activated playgrounds from PlayPower.

“Biba’s mobile games designed for outdoor play are just a breath of fresh air,” said Dr. Greg Zeschuk, former Bioware Founder and Biba’s Chairman of the Board. “PlayPower and Biba are creating a new category, an inventive way to blend our new media habits with the health benefits and joy of active outdoor play. I am inspired by the category as a game designer and father.”

Biba games ensure children use the phone not as a vehicle for abstraction, but as an intuitive, single-function interface.  In addition, the games are designed for ‘refereed play,’ keeping the phone predominantly within the parent’s hands, keeping kids safer, devices safer and providing parents an opportunity to have freeform fun with their kids.

“We want to change what screen time means,” said Matt Toner, President of Biba.  “Our games bring kids back outside and turn playgrounds into the ultimate destination for modern families to go for healthy, active fun.  Thanks to our partnership with PlayPower, we think we’ve blended the richest parts of mobile play with the unadulterated fun of jumping, swinging, sliding and playing outdoors.”

The storyline of Biba’s initial mobile games is simple:  Playgrounds are transformed into the wreckage of robot spacecrafts that have crashed on Earth, and players interact with their very own companion robot, which encourages the player to explore the playground through its whimsical eyes.  The games marry a colorful interface intended to foster the imaginations of kids ages 3-9 with a unique ‘embodied play’ game philosophy that encourages kids to actualize their gameplay with their bodies.  Fun and age-appropriate physical challenges are reinforced through points, high scores and badges that can be shared online and with friends.

Biba games will be optimized for use with ‘Biba-Activated’ playgrounds from PlayPower, where augmented reality technology will create deeper gameplay experiences.   Biba apps will provide information about the gameplay experiences available at each playground—enabling families to search and find their favorite playground destinations..  Some of the Biba games will work with playgrounds that aren’t Biba-Activated, since Biba games allow players to tag which types of playground equipment are available to them.

“Active outdoor play is essential to the development of healthy children.  Getting enough active outdoor play for their kids is a problem with which most modern parents are familiar.  The solution PlayPower has developed with Biba blends the technology-driven world that kids expect with the joyful outdoor fun that parents remember from their own childhood,” said Lynne Vandeveer, Chief Marketing Officer at PlayPower. “Parents’ concern for their children is justified by research that shows kids are spending too much time sitting still in front of a screen and not enough time outdoors.  We intend to change that by engaging modern kids on their own terms.”

Biba games will be coming to mobile devices later this year, at the same time that Biba-activated PlayPower playground equipment will be populating city parks across the country.

Train2Game News Pocket Gamer Awards

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Steel Media is as excited as a Jack Russell puppy to officially launch the 2015 edition of the Pocket Gamer Awards.

Now in their sixth year, the Pocket Gamer Awards 2015 (http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/pgawards2015) continue the event’s now established tradition of celebrating the very finest from the world of portable gaming.

As has now become standard practice, any title released on app stores or reviewed by Pocket Gamer between 1st January and 31st December of the previous year is open to consideration by the site’s editorial team during the selection of the finalists.

This time around that meant just short of 1,000 games were evaluated for inclusion in the 20 slots available for each of the 14 categories split across traditional format- and genre-specific sections.

Following the hugely popular format of the two most recent Pocket Gamer Awards, while the PG team shortlists the nominees it is the site’s readers who decide the winners. Voting for each of the categories is now open and will remain so until midnight GMT on 27th February 2015.

The Pocket Gamer Awards 2015 winners will then be announced at a special event held during the Game Developers Conference, which takes place in San Francisco between 2nd and 6th March 2015.

This year’s Pocket Gamer Awards are sponsored by Games Solution Centre and Chukong Technologies.

Train2Game News StoreFrontSDK

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Apostrophe Apps, LLC, has released StoreFrontSDK (http://www.StoreFrontSDK.com), a free service and plugin that generates shops within mobile apps where developers and publishers can sell their custom-designed goods and apparel.

StoreFrontSDK is currently powering the SnorgTees mobile app (iOS and Android) and multiple mobile game companies have already committed to use StoreFrontSDK including SparkPlug Games (Plight of the Zombie) and Replay Games (Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded).

StoreFrontSDK offers mobile app developers and publishers of any size an easy way to create, control and sell physical products featuring their intellectual property. Unlike most ad systems where mobile app creators earn a meager trickle of pennies for a few hundred ad clicks, the StoreFrontSDk system allows them to determine – and dynamically adjust – the amount earned for each product sold.

StoreFrontSDK is easy to implement, taking only a few minutes to populate with uniquely branded products and incorporate into a mobile app.

Mobile developers can create a free account at http://www.StoreFrontSDK.com, where they upload designs to create custom gear and popular apparel including T-shirts, hoodies, mugs and phone cases. They then use a few lines of code to create their own button to launch their shop within their app.

After the StoreFrontSDK plugin is implemented in an app, products can be managed through the web site, immediately pushing updates to the live app without costly, time-consuming updates. Product details, prices and even entire shops can be managed across multiple apps from one account, allowing for special promotions or quick responses to sales trends.

Apostrophe Apps handles all of the printing, payment processing, fulfillment and customer support, allowing mobile teams to concentrate on making awesome apps instead of worrying about boxes of products to catalog, store, sort, package and ship.

StoreFrontSDK will soon also support user-generated content (e.g. photos and art uploaded from a mobile device), unlockable content and curated partner products to sell within their shops.
StoreFrontSDK is currently available for Unity at http://www.StoreFrontSDK.com.

Train2Game News Derp Studios update by Chris Ledger

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This year’s been really busy, but we have achieved many things! 

We’ve managed to sign a contract to create a licensed app for a well known company.  We are delighted to be given this opportunity!

We’ve also got another contract going in creating a social game with for a local business.

Unfortunately we cannot disclose any information at this time about either of those projects but you can stay up to date with us at www.derpstudios.com or www.facebook.com/derpstudios, where we will announce it sooner or later (those blasted non disclosures eh!?).

As some of you may be aware, a few months ago we announced that we were rebooting and re-branding Dire Consequences!

We do have a tech demo, which we scraped together in a month long game jam using Unreal Engine 4. The tech demo itself is only a taster of what’s in store for you guys, it can be located at our website http://derpstudios.com/games/dire_consequences/.  We do like to show as much of our developments as possible without spoiling the game and I can certainly say we have a lot of confidence in the title!

So why did we choose to reboot Dire Consequences?

Good question.  It was one of the first, first person, magic and melee action games of its kind on mobile and was quite well received.  We also had some previous marketing done with it for Make Something Unreal Live 2012.

Since MSUL 2012 we’ve had a good number of projects on our plate, but none of them has compared to the sheer awesomeness of Dire Consequences. 

Unfortunately due to licensing issues, the original MSUL 2012 Dire Consequences candidate was taken off the iOS market after a month or so, which left all of us at Derp Studios feeling very emotional.

A lot of hours, or should I say months were put into the game and the fact we couldn’t release our hard work and for a lot of us, our first game onto the mobile marketplaces…well it was heartbreaking to say the least.  Especially since we were the only teams in the competition at the time to successfully ship their game.

To show you can’t keep a good man/woman down, we are re-branding Dire Consequences and making it bigger and better than ever before.  We are currently targeting the PC market, however there will be a time in the future where we will look into getting some “Classic Consequences” (our nickname for the original Make Something Unreal Live 2012 candidate) on to mobile, however the PC version comes first.

Also I’d like to take the chance to say a massive thank you to all of those who have contributed to making Derp Studios the way it is today.  I would list you all in here but I think it would be best to throw a link in so I don’t take up too much precious screen revenue! http://derpstudios.com/about/derp-team-members/

So without further ado, here is some of the artwork (some of which is work in progress) that has been produced by our amazing artists Nicole Nixon and Gabi Schultz, who have helped shape the games design tremendously!

Train2Game News WWE Immortals

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WWE and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment are creating WWE Immortals, a free-to-play mobile game that will feature epic Superstar battles in a fantastically re-imagined WWE world.

WWE Immortals is being developed by NetherRealm Studios, the creators of the best-selling Mortal Kombat franchise and Injustice: Gods Among Us, in conjunction with Phosphor Game Studios, and will be available worldwide on iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Android devices in 2015.

“It’s amazing to be working with WWE to offer a new way for fans to experience the brand on mobile platforms,” said Greg Ballard, Senior Vice President, Mobile, Social and Emerging Platforms, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “NetherRealm Studios are experts in creating award-winning games and the team is working hard to deliver the same quality of engaging gameplay with WWE Immortals.”

“We are excited to partner with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and NetherRealm Studios to create WWE Immortals and bring a new action-packed mobile experience to our passionate fan base,” said Casey Collins, Executive Vice President, Consumer Products, WWE. “By tapping into NetherRealm’s legendary game development studio along with the unparalleled reach of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, we are creating a new way for fans to engage with the larger-than-life WWE characters.”

Additional details, including gameplay features, will be announced leading up to the game’s launch next year.

Train2Game News In app purchases for charity

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Multiple leading developers will be donating all money generated by microtransactions to charity for the next two weeks.

The initiative is part of the Apps for Red drive, which is supporting Product Red, the organisation founded by U2 vocalist Bono and activist Bobby Shriver. The money raised will go to the Global Fund fighting HIV, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in Africa.

Many of the mobile games involved have rebranded to highlight the campaign, with the money spent on any in-app purchases going straight to charity, reports Polygon.

Slogans supporting the movement include Angry Birds’ “Fling Birds. Save Lives” and Clash of Clans’ “Raid Friends. Save Lives”. Monument Valley has even released a brand new chapter named Ida’s (Red) Dream to help raise money.

The games involved include:

    Angry Birds
    Bubble Witch 2 Saga
    Clash of Clans
    CSR Racing
    Cut the Rope 2
    Despicable Me: Minion Rush
    Farmville 2: Country Escape
    FIFA 15: Ultimate Team
    Frozen Free Fall
    Kim Kardashian: Hollywood
    Monument Valley
    Puzzle & Dragons
    Rayman Fiesta Run
    The Sims FreePlay
    Threes!

Source: Develop

Train2Game News Google Play Games adds multiplayer

Google Play GamesGoogle has rolled out an update to its Google Play Games development toolkit that allows for local multiplayer matchmaking. Prior to that, the service supported only online multiplayer.

The toolkit, which offers a raft of services to devs, and to players functions as a game network similar to Xbox Live or Apple’s Game Center, can be implemented in iOS, PC, and Android titles. More info is available at Google’s developer portal, here.

Google Play Games’ Greg Hartrell said earlier this year about the company’s aspirations for the service and tools.

“Our game services are there, and our game network is there, to bring together this concentrated network of people who love playing games — to make it easier for someone who is a game creator to reach that highly valuable audience,”

The Google Play Games service is designed to help developers create mobile games for both Android and iOS devices, as well as browser games.

You can find out more information at Google’s developer page.

Train2Game News New RPG Maker allows mobile ports

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Enterbrain and Degica collaborate on new middleware, which enables first official RPG Maker mobile ports.

Enterbrain recently partnered with Degica to distribute RPG Maker VX Ace, the latest version of the software, outside of Japan. Since teaming up, the pair have developed a new piece of middleware that allows developers to efficiently port RPG Maker games to mobile devices.

The RPG Maker software first emerged back in 1988 and, throughout several iterations, has remained the first choice when it comes to creating both traditional and innovative games in 16-bit.

Degica’s global director of sales and promotion, Mitchell Scott, said: “The RPG Maker software has been a great tool for aspiring and established game developers alike over the past two decades and we’re incredibly proud to be part of that legacy.”

While the majority of projects emulate major franchises such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, numerous teams have capitalised on the flexibility of the engine to create unique experiences.

The likes of To The Moon are widely regarded as genuine indie success stories, with the game receiving numerous awards and praise from established publications and organisations including Gamespot, Wired and the Independent Games Festival.

Earlier this week, Undefeated – the popular RPG Maker title – was unveiled for mobile with a brand new trailer and an iOS/Android release date of 3 October, 2014.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Degica connects the dots between developers, distributors and publishers, and between the Eastern and Western markets. Their recent work with Enterbrain and RPG Maker aims to put the popular development toolkit, and the games it has spawned, firmly on the global map.