Train2Game News Jagex GameBlast Success

SpecialEffect’s GameBlast saw RuneScape developers take part in a variety of ridiculous activities live on Twitch.

The inaugural GameBlast Games, held over a 24-hour period at Jagex’s Cambridge headquarters, has successfully raised over £100,000 ($125,000) for the charity, SpecialEffect.

Taking place from 12 noon on Friday 23rd February, the fundraiser was watched by more than 340,000 unique viewers on the RuneScape Twitch channel. The money raised by the event, held as part of the annual GameBlast18 fundraising weekend, will help SpecialEffect in their mission to make videogames accessible to people with physical disabilities.

Watch the highlights video here .

The RuneScape and Old School RuneScape player communities helped raise funds by purchasing GameBlast-themed cosmetic items, while Twitch viewers could also directly donate to the studio’s JustGiving page, and bid on gaming swag and experiences in an online auction.

A mix of gaming, gruelling – and disgusting – challenges and utter chaos, the marathon GameBlast Games saw three teams of staff and influencers compete in 3-a-side office chair football, budget robot battles, and drinking smoothies with a mixture of vile ingredients. Joining in the fun with Jagex were fellow games studios Frontier Developments, Codemasters and Slingshot Cartel, as well as peripherals producer, Razer, and esports teamwear designers, Raven.

Neil McClarty, VP of Product Management, Jagex, said:

“It was fantastic to once again host a GameBlast fundraising live stream for SpecialEffect, the staff always get stuck into taking part and helping raise money for what is an amazing and extraordinary cause. Many thanks to Codemasters, Frontier Developments, Razer, and our other industry friends, who came along to help take part during the 24 hours. This year was our most ambitious yet with The GameBlast Games, and having raised over £100,000 in such a short amount of time we just want to thank our incredible RuneScape communities for their generosity.”

Tom Donegan, Events Coordinator at SpecialEffect, said:

“Once again we’ve been completely blown away by the generosity of the Jagex and the wonderful RuneScape communities. The money raised will enable us to make an immense and immediate impact on the lives of many more disabled people by enabling them to play mainstream video games. A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone involved in this incredible event.”

Train2Game News Jagex Charitable Giving

​Jagex, the creators of RuneScape, today announced a partnership with three key charities to support mental health awareness, with a focus on affecting change for young people, as part of a two-year fundraising programme.

Jagex will link up with CPSL Mind, The Prince’s Trust, and YMCA Right Here on a local, national, and international level and has a target of raising £150,000 in 2017 to support their programmes. The games developer and publisher has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes in recent years, including over £100,000 for SpecialEffect in 2016.
The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index report, released at the start of the year, revealed that young people’s happiness and confidence are at their lowest levels since the organisation launched its study eight years ago. Over a third – 37 percent – of young people aged 16-25 admitted to feeling stressed about coping with work and school, while NEET young people (those not in employment, education or training) are more likely to feel worried about their circumstances and their future. These burdens impact the mental health of young people and increase their chances of not fulfilling their potential.
Throughout 2017, Jagex will host a series of in-game and real-world events to support the charities and promote mental health awareness. During Mental Health Awareness Week (8th-14th May), RuneScape will run a two-week long charity-specific in-game event – Gielinorian Giving – in which any currency purchased by players will be donated to the causes; in return players will receive exclusive rewards, such as an amour set and in-game pet.
Jagex will also participate in several key initiatives driven by the charities, including The Prince’s Trust career introduction programme, Get Started in Games Design, which will see young people participate in game design workshops hosted by Jagex in addition to a company game jam during Mental Health Awareness Week.
Additionally, the company will become one of the first commercial companies to join the likes of the local police service, some local NHS services, and Cambridgeshire County Council to sign a pledge supporting CPSL Mind’s ‘STOP Suicide’ campaign in Jagex’s home city. Working with YMCA Right Here, Jagex will support the organisation’s ‘Find, Get, Give’ initiative.

The programme will help young people aged 13-25 years old to find and receive support, and then give feedback around the mental health services they’ve accessed. Jagex will be assisting YMCA Right Here in the development of a mental health support networking app.
Phil Mansell, COO and Acting CEO of Jagex, said, “Our passionate and generous RuneScape community has helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for some incredible causes over the last few years. By focusing on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people through partnering with these three charities, we hope they will once again come together and help people receive the backing they need to cope with the turbulence of the world today.”
Ben Marson, Director of Corporate Partnerships at The Prince’s Trust, said: “Here at The Prince’s Trust, we’ve recently seen an increase in the need for mental health support amongst the young people coming to us for help, so the focus of this partnership with Jagex couldn’t be more timely. By hosting Get Started in Games Design with Jagex, we can develop young people’s confidence and skills to improve their wellbeing and help them get a job.”

Cat Dyson, YMCA Right Here Project Manager, said, “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Jagex as part of their charitable strategy. YMCA DownsLink Group is focused on supporting young people to belong, contribute and thrive. The YMCA Right Here Project champions this approach by working closely with young people; empowering them to influence mental health work, educate others around health and wellbeing and campaign for change.   We are incredibly excited about the opportunities that this partnership presents, both for the YMCA and young people across the country.”

Aly Anderson, Interim CEO of CPSL Mind said: “We are delighted that Jagex has chosen CPSL Mind – and the STOP Suicide Campaign in particular – as one of their three charities to support this year.  Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 and the female suicide rate in England is at its highest since 2005.  However, most suicides are preventable and we are very much looking forward to working with Jagex to train more local people in suicide prevention, to raise awareness of potential suicide warning signs and to encourage everyone to talk more openly about this important subject.”

Further information on the three charities and the Jagex Charitable Giving initiative can be found at .

Train2Game News Jagex GameBlast funds raised


Jagex Games Studio, custodians of the long-running fantasy MMORPG, RuneScape, is pleased to announce that £50,000 was raised during the recently held 24-hour GameBlast15 marathon for SpecialEffect.

The figure compares favourably against the £48,000 raised by RuneScape and Ace of Spades during last year’s inaugural GameBlast event.

On 20th February, around 90 people – both staff and players – embarked on the challenge to play RuneScape, Block N Load and many other games in Jagex’s permanent LAN arena and the attending Fragers GamersBus. The marathon, which included a series of outrageous challenges, was livestreamed on the official GameBlast15 channel on and watched by tens of thousands of people online.

In addition to making direct donations, the community also utilised RuneScape’s ‘Well of Goodwill’ to bequeath in-game gold, items and Bonds to SpecialEffect. These were then converted into a real world contribution on behalf of the charity.

“We were thrilled to host SpecialEffect and kick off GameBlast15 with our telethon-style livestream. It not only showed off the dedication of our players and staff, but also highlighted the crazy antics people are prepared to do in the name of charity,” said Jane Ryan, director of community and events at Jagex. “I think that after a second successful year of fundraising to help people with physical disabilities play videogames, both Jagex and the wider community are looking forward to offering our support for GameBlast16!”

“The support and enthusiasm of Jagex and their communities in supporting GameBlast has been truly staggering. Being personally present during their livestream was an amazing and humbling experience, and on behalf of all the staff of SpecialEffect I’d like to pass on my heartfelt thanks to everyone who took part or donated,” said Dr Mick Donegan, founder and director of SpecialEffect. “Yet again they’ve raised the lion’s share of the overall GameBlast total, and it will make a huge difference in ensuring we can continue to bring the magic of video games to those who would otherwise be excluded from their many, many benefits.”

A number of companies supported the Jagex hosted marathon, including We Got Game, Multiplay, CoolerMaster, and Fragers, as well as local franchises of Domino’s Pizza and Subway.

Train2Game News GameBlast15


The gamers’ charity, SpecialEffect, is aiming to build on the success of its inaugural GameBlast gaming marathon weekend in 2014 by calling on the UK games industry and gaming community to sign up for GameBlast15 as they look to raise over £100k towards the charity’s work.

The event, the UK’s largest game-based fundraiser, takes place 20-22 February and already has some of the UK’s top games industry names behind it including Jagex, the company behind the hugely successful Runescape. Jagex is SpecialEffect’s original GameBlast partner and last year raised almost £50k for the charity’s work in helping people with disabilities to access video games.

Along with a major marathon stream from Jagex from Friday to Saturday, the UK gaming trade body, UKIE, is supporting the SpecialEffect fundraising effort by hosting GameBlast LIVE, a 24-hour gaming broadcast from its headquarters in London. This will run from Saturday to Sunday.

Dr Jo Twist, SpecialEffect Vice President and CEO of UKIE, explained why she is so keen to get behind the SpecialEffect fundraiser, ‘They [SpecialEffect] were one of the first groups I met when I started my Ukie role in 2012 and I was bowled over by their dedication, their passion and their love. The innovative work they do to enable young people enjoy the games they love is incredibly inspiring. Games and the ability to play can enhance and enrich people’s lives in so many ways and everyone should have the right to play.’

The event, hosted by Matt Cuttle, promises 24 hours of unadulterated gaming and madness as BBC Click presenter and SpecialEffect Vice President, Kate Russell, builds on the £7,500 she raised through her Elite:Dangerous livestream at Christmas by flying a 12 hour Elite marathon alongside other enthusiasts of Frontier’s iconic space travel game. But Kate will be taking a break from space travel to battle it out with Jo Twist using SpecialEffect eye-control technology as they compete live on Twitch for the fastest lap in Codemasters’ popular Dirt 3 motor racing game. 

Kate explained why she has done so much to raise money and awareness of the charity’s work, ‘Ever since I found out about Special Effect a couple of years ago – a charity dedicated to helping those with physical limitations through illness or injury have fun playing computer games – it has been my pleasure and honour to be able to help raise funds and awareness about their tireless and dedicated work’.

If you’d like to join industry names like Jagex, Gamer Network and Multiplay and join hundreds of other gamers across the UK in raising money for SpecialEffect through the GameBlast15 gaming marathon go to:

Train2Game News Jagex to host SpecialEffect for Gameblast


Jagex Games Studio, creators and custodians of the fantasy MMORPG, RuneScape and the upcoming online multiplayer action game, Block N Load, is to lead the way in SpecialEffect’s upcoming GameBlast15 games marathon weekend.

The event, which takes place between 20th and 22nd February, launches a 24-hour gamer challenge to raise money and help enable individuals with physical disabilities play games.

During the inaugural GameBlast in 2014, the RuneScape and Ace of Spades: Battle Builder communities raised more than £48,000 for SpecialEffect, and more than 90,000 viewers watched Jagex’s livestream of gameplay, interviews, and real-world challenges. In addition to holding another marathon livestream from Jagex’s Cambridge headquarters, RuneScape players will also benefit from a double XP weekend.

“SpecialEffect is a cause that’s very close to our hearts at Jagex. We had a lot of fun last year with our livestream for GameBlast14, so it’s fantastic to get stuck in once again and get even more involved in GameBlast15,” said Phil Mansell, vice president of RuneScape. “We’re really looking forward to welcoming Mick and the SpecialEffect team to Jagex, as well as holding our own 24-hour marathon and double XP weekend, next month.”

David Solari, vice president of Block N Load, added “The Ace of Spades: Battle Builder community were really supportive during GameBlast14, so we can’t wait to see how the burgeoning Block N Load player base performs this year. We’re currently in the beta phase of development, so the 24-hour GameBlast marathon will really put the game through its paces ahead of its launch!”

“We were simply stunned by the amazing generosity of the Jagex community during last year’s GameBlast, and honoured that they’re gearing up for another 24 hours of activity in February,” said Dr Mick Donegan, founder and director of SpecialEffect. “Having such a major force in the gaming industry backing our work helping people with disabilities is a great boost, and I’m personally really looking forward to being at Jagex HQ during the event to be part of their GameBlast heroics.”

Hosting SpecialEffect and taking part in GameBlast15 is the first of a number of fundraising drives for planned by the Jagex throughout 2015. During 2014, the studio and its passionate RuneScape community raised more than $300,000 for good causes, including Oxfam and SpecialEffect. RuneScape was also the first games partner of United for Wildlife, and helped to raise awareness of the plight facing the world’s rhinos with a series of in-game quizzes and limited edition virtual pets.

Train2Game News: Jagex supporting SpecialEffect GameBlast


Jagex Games Studio, makers of the multi-award winning fantasy MMORPG, RuneScape, is to host a 24-hour long marathon in support of the games charity SpecialEffect’s inaugural GameBlast weekend.

The challenge, to be held at Jagex’s Cambridge headquarters, will take place from 1pm GMT on Friday 21st February and will see staff and selected members of the RuneScape community play RuneScape and Ace of Spades throughout the 24-hour period. The event will also be live-streamed throughout via the official RuneScape and Ace of Spades channels, which will also include interviews with the RuneScape development team.

In addition to holding the marathon, Jagex will be running in-game events within RuneScape. Following a recent player vote, there will be Double XP for players during the GameBlast weekend. The Well of Goodwill, which saw players raise tens of thousands of pounds for a number of charities at the end of 2013, will re-open for a short time only. Players will also be able to purchase a virtual GameBlast tunic for their avatars, with all proceeds donated to SpecialEffect. During the GameBlast weekend, 50 percent of all profits from sales of Ace of Spades will be donated to SpecialEffect.

“Jagex has long supported numerous charities close to our heart, and we are thrilled to be able to continue our strong relationship with SpecialEffect by taking part in the inaugural GameBlast,” said Neil McClarty, Brand Director for RuneScape. “Our community truly are fantastic, and their generosity during our most recent charity campaign saw hundreds of billions of gold pieces and Bonds converted into real-world cash for good causes, including SpecialEffect. The weekend is shaping up to be big with lots planned including live streams and players recently voted to celebrate with double XP available all weekend, this is one not miss.”

“SpecialEffect does fantastic work to level the playing field between abled and disabled gamers, and Jagex is excited to continue supporting the organisation’s efforts by participating in GameBlast,” said Rob Kinder, Brand Director for Ace of Spades. “Getting the Ace of Spades community together for a 24-hour marathon gaming session while raising money for charity at the same time is the perfect way to start the weekend, and we can’t wait for the event to kick off!”

“We’re absolutely delighted that Jagex are going to play a huge part in GameBlast. We’re already indebted to them for the wonderful support they gave us in 2013 through their Well of Goodwill, and to have their involvement in this weekend of gaming is fantastic,” said Dr Mick Donegan, Founder and Director of SpecialEffect. “There are thousands of people in the world that want to share our passion for video games, but their disabilities stop them playing any of the titles we love. The sponsorship that the Jagex players and staff raise through their marathon will help us to bring magic moments and opportunities for inclusion into many, many more lives.”

Train2Game News: Minecraft meets guns

Jagex, the team behind RuneScape, have developed a new free-to-play first person shooter that has been described as Minecraft meets Team Fortress.

Jagex, Europe’s largest independent games studio, today formally unveiled details of its previously unannounced innovative shooter, Ace of Spades. Ace of Spades is the latest title from the multi-awarding UK studio behind the leading free-to-play browser MMO RuneScape.

Ace of Spades is a retro-looking intelligent creative shooter that gives players complete strategic freedom over a battlefield they can evolve and built on throughout a game session.  Featuring up to 32 players, Ace of Spades destructible environments are only limited by the imagination of the players creating them. The game provides players with all the ‘world-building’ freedom of a voxel-based sandbox, but with the addition of competitive, team-based multiplayer FPS gunplay.

Creativity is key to succeeding in Ace of Spades as the game gives players the freedom to construct anything from simple bunkers to elaborate fortresses and tunnel networks. This adds a new and innovative component to the game giving players unrestricted freedom to plan their own battles, construct purpose-built defences, and adapt the environment in real-time, changing the course of the battle.

Jagex CMO David Solari said, “If you’re tired of the same old first person shooters, coming out year after year with a fresh lick of paint and a hefty price tag, then Ace of Spades will tick all the boxes for you, offering an all action multiplayer featuring up to 32 player FPS combat and a fully customisable environment which will continuously develop throughout your battle.

“Despite keeping this game under the radar during development, it has still proved to be hugely viral with more than two and half a million players entering the prototype phase. Ace of Spades is set to take FPS to the next level, adding evolving tactics and strategy to twitch FPS gameplay. We have blended the artistic style of voxel-based sandbox games, such as Minecraft, with the class based combat of titles like Team Fortress, and added an extra dimension with real-time evolving battlefields to create a game which we firmly believe will appeal to FPS gamers looking for a bigger challenge.”

The game, which has been developed by Jagex and a small team of talented independent developers, has been running a massively successful prototype since April last year which has been downloaded in excess of 2.5 million times and currently has 550,000 active monthly users.

The full version Ace of Spades featuring an improved graphics engine and an armoury of new weapons will be available to download from Steam in December 2012 for a small one off fee.

You can watch the trailer for the game below:



Train2Game news: Concept art is “base of all gaming production” says Jagex Art Director

Train2Game Art & Animation students who find work in the industry will see their concept art become an essential base to the whole game development process.

That can be taken from comments made by Jagex Art Director Pascal Blanche in an interview with Develop Online. Cambridge based Jagex are the studio behind browser based MMO RuneScape.

“I saw the role of concept art growing up during all those years, and becoming the base of all gaming production. It has become essential for game design, art design and production design as well.” he replied about the evolution of concept art’s role in game development.

Blanche also said the role of a game artist has evolved.

“Most concept artists now are used to creating speed-paintings and thumbnails to get a rough idea pretty fast.” he said.

“The needs of the production to an extent created the hybrid artists they’ve now become. Some concept artists are even good at storyboarding or illustrations, using other tools to create better and faster results such as Sketchup and Zbrush.” Blanche added.

The full interview with the Jagex Art Director is here on Develop Online, and it makes an interesting read for Train2Game Artist & Animators. It’s also accompanied by some fantastic concept art.

Click here for more information about the Train2Game Art & Animation course.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Blanche’s comments? Is concept art the base game development?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Develop]