Train2Game News: GameStick Kickstarter earns over $600k

GameStickThe Android based GameStick has now finished its Kickstarter and it has made over 6 times more than it needed.

The GameStick is a new portable console that runs the android operating system. It is a very small stick, similar to that of a USB stick, with a HDMI connection so it can plug straight in to your HD TV. The stick can be stored inside of it’s specially made Bluetooth controller to keep it safe and compact. The GameStick will also work with other Bluetooth controllers.

GameStick´s purpose-built game store will be powered by PlayJam´s built-for-TV technology enabling users to browse, download content and interact with the wider GameStick community.

The campaign to fund the production of GameStick, which is set to ship in April 2013, closed on Friday with pledges coming in right up to the last second finishing at 648% of the original target with a total of $648k. Those that missed out on the Kickstarter campaign will be able to pre-order via the GameStick website at www.gamestick.tv.

Anthony Johnson, CMO, PlayJam said “We are overwhelmed, excited, grateful, thrilled and everything in between. The campaign has been an incredible success with support from thousands of backers worldwide but this is just the beginning. The feedback from the Kickstarter community has been invaluable in shaping the final product and we will continue to seek input from those that supported us to ensure continued innovation ahead of a global retail launch.”

Throughout the campaign the team responded to thousands of comments and suggestions from Kickstarter backers that saw the product evolve in real-time as the team scrambled to incorporate a number of requested features from additional memory capacity to support for peripheral hardware via a docking station.

GameStick, described as ‘The Most Portable TV games Console Ever Created’ has been hailed by many supporters as the console to disrupt the games industry. The device has gathered high profile supporters throughout the campaign such as; Jason Kingsley, (Founder of Rebellion), Jason Bradbury (Gadget Show host) Jermaine Dupri (Record producer) and Shaquille O’Neal (Basketball Legend).

You can download a SDK for the new device at www.gamestick.tv and start developing for a new consoling experience.

Train2Game News: Jason Bradbury praises Surface

Jason Bradbury spoke to The Sun to compare the Microsoft Surface to Apples iPad.

Mr Bradbury said: “It’s a lot less expensive than the iPad, if you compare like for like, and you get a touchscreen version of Windows 8, as well as a traditional Windows operating system.

“It also comes with a very innovative cover-slash-keyboard, which is one of the thinnest I’ve ever used. It’s only 3mm thick, and it really is exceptionally good.

“So what you’re getting is something that’s about the same size as the iPad, which is less expensive, has Office software, a relatively normal desktop operating system, and a keyboard.”

“Whether you’re a road warrior or a student, you don’t want to be touch-typing your 2,500 word essay, or your pitch.”

Jason also claims Microsoft’s tablet has the edge when it comes to design which was the traditional strong point of Apple’s tablets.

He explained: “The iPad used to be elegant and beautiful, but now it’s a little bit dated as a design, it hasn’t really evolved a great deal.”

Jason Bradbury will be in London this week for The Gadget Show live in London which will give people a chance to try out a Nintendo Wii U before its launch on Friday. As well as an array of new technology, The Gadget Show Live is set to feature a theatrical spectacular.

Running from November 30 and December 2, gadget fans can watch the TV star operating flying robots, driving a remote control car around an enormous loop-the-loop, and being towed on a skateboard at 30mph..

More information and tickets can be found at www.gadgetshowlive.net.

Train2Game interview: Daniel Rutter of Make Something Unreal Live team IndigoJam

Train2Game students are launching four new development studios in 2012 as part of ‘Make Something Unreal Live,’ a competitive process designed to accelerate their careers by giving them the tools and resources needed to release games for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this spring.

The studios are Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam.

The first titles released by the studios will be based on the Fighting Fantasy series of books created by Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson.

We caught up with IndigoJam’s Daniel Rutter to find out how the road to Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show has gone so far. Listen via Train2Game Radio or read it here on The Train2Game Blog.

Hi Daniel, what’s the name of your team for Make Something Unreal Live, and why has it got that name?

We’re called IndigoJam Games, and there are a few different reasons. The main one is that Indigo is a colour that scientists can’t decide whether it does or doesn’t exist and it has a bit of mystery around it. And the word jam comes from, well, we all met at the Train2Game & Epic game jam. That’s how we got to know each other, that’s what we’ve got in common and those things came together and sounded quite tasty and so we ran with it.

You’re now moving forward to Make Something Unreal Live where you’re using the Fighting Fantasy IP to make a game, which is of the Fighting Fantasy books is your game going to be based on?

The book we’re doing is one of my personal favourites, and it’s Deathtrap Dungeon.

What genre of game are you making?

We were given the genre of the action adventure game, probably one of the broadest ones out there.

But it goes well with Deathtrap Dungeon.

Definitely. We had the choice of House of Hell or Deathtrap Dungeon. We thought House of Hell was more of a survival horror – still a good IP that we’d love to do at some point – but Deathtrap Dungeon fitted really well with our action adventure brief.

Tell us a bit about your game then, the mechanics, how it works.

We’ve opted for doing a first person action adventure game, keeping with the idea of the book that you are the player, it’s all about you, you don’t have another character there that’s getting in the way of the story, it’s just you and the action. We’ve also stuck to keeping dice for combat, which is very much rooted into that mythos, that’s what all of the books have, that’s what I fondly remember.

We also have a little things like environment kills and being able to sneak around; you can play through the levels in a couple of different ways depending on whether you like doing the combat with dice, or whether you’d rather avoid the enemies of dispatch of them in other ways.

And how have you found developing for the IOS platform?

Developing the game has been fantastic. We’re fairly early adopters for UDK on IOS, there have been a few games and they’re gradually coming out now, so it’s really been a finding our own way of doing things. But once you sort it out, it’s amazing, especially the way we can plug in our iPhone or iPad, plug in the game and actually have it there, play test it, it’s really, really good.

How have you found the transition from being a team at the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam, to being a fully functioning game developer working towards Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show?

It started off absolutely terrifying! Suddenly, you’ve gone from 48 hours where I’d turned up for the experience and to have fun, and we came out really well from it, which is really good. And then suddenly The Gadget Show is up for grabs, a licence is up for grabs, we really had to knuckle down and come up with something. But we’ve had to work around some clever ways of working because we’re not in the same room, you can’t just lean over and look at what another person is working on.

So, our lead programmer set us up with a forum where we originally started coming up with ideas. Then we were given our IP, we have a Teamspeak account so we can all chat online, so we verbally communicate. We use various web based software for sharing screens, so we are kind of working in the same room, but over the internet.

Are you looking forward to making a game at The Gadget Show live, potentially in front of thousands of people?

I’m really looking forward to it actually, I really am. I’ve always been interested in games, and if something like this had been going on I would’ve been there to see what’s going on and I’m sure lots of people will have lots of questions and I now feel like I’m in a position where I can answer some of those questions because we’re doing it. That’s really cool.

What are the contact details for IndigoJam on Facebook and Twitter?

Our Twitter handle is @IndigoJamGames and our Facebook page is also IndigoJamGames. So come along, like us, follow us, we’ll share information with you.

Thanks for your time and good luck for The Gadget Show.

Keep up to date with the latest news from Make Something Unreal Live here on The Train2Game Blog.

 

Train2Game interview: Stuart Moore of Make Something Unreal Live team Derp Studios

Train2Game students are launching four new development studios in 2012 as part of ‘Make Something Unreal Live,’ a competitive process designed to accelerate their careers by giving them the tools and resources needed to release games for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this spring.

The studios are Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam.

The first titles released by the studios will be based on the Fighting Fantasy series of books created by Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson.

We caught up with Stuart Moore of Derp Studios to find out how the road to Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show has gone so far. Listen via Train2Game Radio or read it here on The Train2Game Blog.

Hi Stuart, how have you found being part of Derp Studios on the road to Make Something Unreal Live?

Very chaotic, but also very enjoyable. I’ve got a great team working with me, there’s a whole range of personalities and they’re really lovely people, I’ve made some good friends and I’m really enjoying working with the Unreal Engine and making massive progress, some great leaps recently in installing the software onto the device and just seeing it in action blows your mind.

So, you’re enjoying using UDK?

Yeah, the software is really good, really intuitive. As a developer, using the tool that they’ve called Kismet, it really lets you visualise all the development that you’re doing.  Instead of seeing lines and lines of code, you get to actually see images on the screen of the actions you want the engine to take.

You’re working with the Fighting Fantasy IP, which book is your game going to be based on?

We’re making a sequel to the book The Citadel of Chaos. That’s basically a story which revolves around a mage who was sent to assassinate the evil Balthus Dire, who is attempting to get another Army of Chaos from another realm.

So there’s a lot of Might & Magic style things in the game.

Yeah, there will be a lot of spells and we want the player to rely more on the spells and strategy and only use their melee as a last resort.

How are you finding developing a first person game for IOS?

As far as I’m aware, there aren’t many first person games for IOS, so I think we’re really hoping to revolutionise the platform and get more hardcore gamers on iPad and on iPhone. But also we want to incorporate a mini-game so you can play on a casual commute if you’ve just got half an hour on the train so you will be able to hack and slash. But if you want to sit at home for a few hours you can play through the story and that mode will be quite immersive, we hope.

So, you’re essentially doing two games in one.

Yeah, we’re hoping to have two completely separate modes, one rough and ready that gets you into the game to kill as many enemies as possible to get the highest score that you can. And also, we’re hoping to have an engaging, in-depth story mode to keeping the player interested, wanting to know what happens next, where is the next twist coming from.

The team formed at the Train2Game and Epic Games Game Jam, how have you found the transition from that to working as a fully operating game development studio.

I’d say one of the major difficulties that we have is the distance between some of our team members. We have to rely mostly on communicating over the internet using Skype and Facebook, and we’ve got a pretty good program called SVN which we can use to share files. But apart from that, you wouldn’t really be able to tell that we’re not having that many face-to-face meetings. We’re gelling really well and the progress is coming along leaps and bounds.

And there’s still plenty of time to go before you take part in Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show, how do you think you’re going to find building the final stages at the big event where potentially thousands of people could be watching?

The pressure is going to be on, to have five days to build the game. Hopefully we’ll know exactly what we’re doing, the whole process has been a massive learning curve.

And finally, tell us the contact details for Derp Studios,  of your Facebook page and Twitter page.

We’re available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/derpstudios and on Twitter it’s www.twitter.com/derpstudios

Great Stuart, thanks for your time.

Thank you.

Keep up to date with the latest news from Make Something Unreal Live here on The Train2Game Blog.

Train2Game interview: Laurence Kinane of Make Something Unreal Live team Digital Mage

Train2Game  students are launching four new development studios in 2012 as part of ‘Make Something Unreal Live,’ a competitive process designed to accelerate their careers by giving them the tools and resources needed to release games for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this spring.

The studios are Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam.

The first titles released by the studios will be based on the Fighting Fantasy series of books created by Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson.

We caught up with Digital Mage’s Laurence Kinane to find out how the road to Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show has gone so far. Listen via Train2Game Radio or read it here on The Train2Game Blog.

Hi Laurence, tell us about your team for Make Something Unreal Live, Digital Mage.

We were at the Train2Game & Epic Game Jam and obviously selected as one of the winning teams to go to Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show. We came together as a good team, we had good team dynamics at the game jam. We’ve found it a bit difficult taking that into virtual development, it’s a bit more difficult not being in the same room with everybody, but we do get on well and we’ve learned to work with the virtual restriction.

How have you found working with the prestigious IP of the Fighting Fantasy books, and which particular story is your game based on?

It was quite a big surprise getting such a prestigious IP, the book we are based on is Armies of Death. We’ve got a bit of creative license we can use there but we are trying to stick with the story as much as possible.

And what genre of game are you making around that story?

We were given the strategy genre to work with. We’ve taken it to a tower defence style game, but we’ve put a bit of a spin on it in you’re actually attacking the towers rather than defending them. We’ve also another spin where you’re not actually the good guys, you’re the bad guys.

What gave you that idea?

We were throwing a few ideas around between the whole team, and we just stumbled upon it really. We thought it might be cool if we work this in, being the bad guys, as players don’t play as the bad guys so much, especially in tower defence games.

I suppose it’s just one of many good ideas you’ve had on the road to Make Something Unreal Live.

It’s quite nice when you come up with ideas that maybe you don’t initially think will work, but you have a tweak at an idea which fits in perfectly. We’ve had a few circumstances where that’s happened, and hopefully we’ll have many more before The Gadget Show.

Are there any other achievements you’re particularly proud of so far?

I’d say one particularly was last night. We’d hit a bit of a stumbling block, one of the game mechanics, we were having a few problems. But it all seemed to fall together last night, and we’ve managed to put it onto IOS to show to our mentors.

And it’s a good opportunity for you to put into practice the skills you’ve learned on Train2Game courses.

Oh yeah, definitely. The game design course is more geared to the documentation side, it’s later in the course where they start getting you involved in game engines, but obviously UDK is out there, anybody can use it for free, it’s a good engine to start working in.

How much are you looking forward to the Make Something Unreal Live event in April?

Yeah, I can’t wait to get there, it’s going to be a huge experience, it’s going to be a huge opportunity for not just ourselves, Digital Mage, but also all four teams involved it’s a fantastic opportunity. Also it’ll be good to work in the same room as the team again.

For those who want to follow Digital Mage in run up to Make Something Unreal Live, what are the contact details for Facebook and Twitter?

Do a Facebook search for Digital Mage and they’ll find us there, with a nice black icon with a mage figure inside. On Twitter it’s @TheDigitalMage.

Thanks for your time Laurence, and good luck.

No problem Danny, cheers.

Keep up to date with the latest news from Make Something Unreal Live here on The Train2Game Blog.

Train2Game interview: Chris Ledger of Train2Game & Epic Games Make Something Unreal Live team Derp Studios

Train2Game students are launching four new development studios in 2012 as part of ‘Make Something Unreal Live,’ a competitive process designed to accelerate their careers by giving them the tools and resources needed to release games for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch this spring.

The studios are Commando Kiwi, Derp Studios, Digital Mage and Indigo Jam.

The first titles released by the studios will be based on the Fighting Fantasy series of books created by Ian Livingston and Steve Jackson.

We caught up with Derp Studios’ Chris Ledger to find out how the road to Make Something Unreal Live at The Gadget Show has gone so far. Listen via Train2Game Radio or read it here on The Train2Game Blog.

Hi Chris, how did you come up with the name of your studio?

Well, we unnamed for our first few weeks, debating what to be called, and it turned out the most common phrase we were using was ‘Derp’ because we were making stupid mistakes and saying ‘Ah derp’ we ended up as Derp Studios from that.

How have you found working with the Fighting Fantasy IP, which particular book is your game going to be based on?

It’s based on The Citadel of Chaos, which is the second book in the Fighting Fantasy franchise. It’s been great fun to work with, we’ve had numerous playthroughs of it and we’ve bought some additional books to expand our knowledge about the lore of the franchise as well.

And how are you finding getting to grips with the Unreal Engine using UDK?

I really like UDK, it’s brilliant, absolutely fantastic. We had a few teething problems at the start with the mobile functions as it’s completely different to the PC version, almost. But we were gutted about the terrain, but we’ve worked our way around it by exporting an object and re-importing it, so we’ve overcome the teething problems and it’s going quite well at the moment.

How are you finding the work compared to pressured environment at the Train2Game and Epic Game Jam?

It’s probably equally as stressful sometimes, especially because of deadlines…and even though we’ve got more time to do things, our scope is a bit bigger than what we were doing at the game jam. I suppose it’s equally as stressful, but just as enjoyable.

What deadlines have you met recently, and what progress have you made with your game?

We’ve done our pre-Alpha, so we’ve compiled a small build with most of our mechanics in, just fine-tuning that. What we’ve been doing lately is mostly getting the character models out the way. We’ve done the majority of the levels that we’re planning to have in the game, and now it’s just the character models and adding the code to them.

Tell us about the genre of game you’re working on for Make Something Unreal Live.

It’s a first person RPG. I haven’t seen anything like it on IOS devices at all, I’ve seen first person shooters, but nothing that’s first person melee and magic based, so it should be quite eye opening and interesting to see when it’s fully done.

Does the game have a bit of a Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim vibe to it then?

Yeah, we’ve obviously, often referenced Skyrim, Elder Scrolls and other famous first person melee games. We got a bit nervous at first as people might think it’s just a watered down version of Skyrim, but…they’ll love it!

And it fits in nicely with the Fighting Fantasy IP as well.

Yeah, we’ve taken extra care to fit it perfectly with the IP. Our game is in fact a sequel to The Citadel of Chaos game book.

Why is it a sequel rather than being based on the book itself?

Well, it’s based on the exact same settings, it’s just happening a week afterwards. In the game book, at the end, you kill the main bad guy, and we thought we could have a bit of a twist on it where events happen after his death, but it’s all related to him. So, it’s got a lot of twists that relate to the book.

How are you looking forward to going to The Gadget Show and making a game in that public setting?

I’m nervous and excited at the same time. Well, more excited. It’ll be great just to show off what our studio is doing. It’s eye opening for the public as well.

How can people who want to find out more about Derp Studios on Facebook and Twitter?

We’ve got a Facebook and a Twitter page. Facebook is www.facebook.com/derpstudios and Twitter is www.twitter.com/derpstudios

Great Chris, thanks for your time and good luck.

Thank you.

Keep up to date with the latest news from Make Something Unreal Live here on The Train2Game Blog.