Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio interviews Lauren Black

Lauren BlackI had the pleasure of interviewing Train2Game Development student Lauren Black last week. She told me how she got involved with Train2Game and the comic book she is working on, Sacred Wing.

The comic is an an 8 part story detailing specific points in the history of the universe, each point in time thrusts  a number of separate races into a situation that’s bigger than any of them.

You can find out more and keep up to date at www.SacredWing.com or www.bothersome.co.uk

You can hear the interview with Lauren here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1675961-train2game-student-lauren-black-talks-to-t2g-radio

Or read the transcript below:

Hello there, my name is Lauren Black, I’m on the developer course and I’m from Middlesbrough.

Hi Lauren, how you doing?

I’m not too bad thanks, how are you?

I’m alright cheers. So tell me a bit about yourself?

Basically, I’ve just been working in the web development industry for quite a while now and a couple of years ago I decided that I’d had enough of that and that the game industry was the way to go for me.

So what did you do in the web industry before?

I did a lot of free lancing. I’d get a contract in now and then, they’d ask me to do a bit of security tightening, you know the odd bits and bobs. Every now and again I’d get a bigger contract to do something, it was just random bits and pieces.

So are you just primarily creating games now instead are you?

Instead yeah. I kind of figured that games would be a lot more interesting. I got this little letter through the door one day saying Train2Game so I thought, hey, i’ll go for that!

Excellent and are you happy with your choice?

Very much so! I’ve only do about half way through part two. I had to take a little break due to illness but I’ve learned a hell of a lot of it and it’s helped with the web side of things as well because it’s a transferable skill. The skills that you learn from the course can be used in other industries as well, so it doesn’t just lock you into games, it can help with a lot of other things as well.

Yeah? Have you been working on anything lately that you’ve been using your Train2Game course for?

Yeah! It’s helped me make a load of contacts in the industry. I worked a while back for a company called Iguana and they seemed to like me. Again that was around the time I got ill so I had to cut that short unfortunately. Like I say though, yeah I’ve made a load of contacts in the industry who have been helping me with this current project I’ve been working on called Sacred Wing. At the minute we are deciding to start from a comic book and we are going to be building a game a bit later on. So it’s a bit backwards from what other people are doing who are on the course who develop a game straight away but at the minute we are creating a comic to generate a bit of a fan base and then eventually we’ll be building a game on top of that.

Brilliant idea I reckon. I reckon it should do quite well!

Well I hope so!

So with the comic are you publishing it yourself or are you putting out on the internet? How do you want it to work?

It’s a bit of both really! We are putting it out on the internet for free first and then if we get a lot of hits and enough donations, because we are on a shoe string budget at the minute, so if we get a lot of interest then we will be doing a hard copy published which I’ll be publishing myself or perhaps even through a professional publisher. We’ll have to see.

What is the comic about?

What is it about? Now that’s a very good question because there’s a lot of things I don’t want to give away this early!

Ah right. I understand it’s a Sci Fi one isn’t it?

It’s a science fiction, it’s got a bit of fantasy in there, it’s got a bit of steam punk, you know all these elements that I’m hoping to bring out later on in the project. It’s very hard to see what’s there at the precise moment ’cause it’s very early on but hopefully there’s a lot of surprises that I can give to people.

Is there somewhere people can keep up to date with the bits that come out and stuff, have you got a website or a Facebook?

Absolutely! We’re available on www.SacredWing.com and also my personal blog www.bothersome.co.uk

Perfect! Well I’ll look forward to everything that’s coming out with that and I’m sure we will talk again soon.

I hope so. Thank you very much!

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Phil Langdon

Phil LangdonI spoke to Phil Langdon yesterday who has lead quite a varied life in his lead up to joining Train2Game.

Phil spoke to me about his past careers, how Train2Game has helped him and his new game which you can download from here.

To listen to part one of the interview go here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1640536-train2game-student-phil-langdon-talks-to-t2g-radio-part-1

Part two is here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1640517-train2game-student-phil-langdon-talks-to-t2g-radio-part-2

OR read the transcript below:

Hello my name’s Phil Langdon, I’m doing a games designer course and I’m from London.

Hi Phil. How you doing mate?

Yeah very well thanks Mark. How are you doing?

I’m good cheers bud. So tell me a little about yourself then?

I’m forty three at the moment and I’ve done quite a few things in my life. I started off as a graphics designer in the eighties but lost touch with the computing side of it, I was doing the manual side of it, screen printing and sign writing. Then because the industry kind of died I thought to change what I was doing so I went to University and did a Maths and Physics degree, hoping that would get me a better job! It didn’t really work out like that and I am still doing bits and pieces of grafting just to make some money. Since then I was working for a firm exporting diesel engine parts and it gave me a back injury so basically it left me in my flat by myself, well I’m living with a girlfriend but I’m basically by myself. I thought to do a game designer course with Train2Game because I had what I thought was a really good idea for a game and with my design and mathematical background I thought it would be OK to get in to games, so Train2Game gave me that opportunity and that’s where I find myself today.

How have you been finding the course then since moving on to it?

To be honest, I find it quite easy in general. It’s probably because I’ve got a Mathematical background, I know graphics, I know visual communication and advertising and I’ve been in to games since I was eight years old I suppose, 1978 when Space Invaders came out and there was a massive explosion. I remember it vividly and I absolutely loved it to be honest. I saw the way games have gone over the years, I’ve been analysing it all the time and I never really thought I could get into it because in the late eighties, the issue went from being a hands on graphic designer with pen and paper to somebody who uses great computer programmes that I didn’t have access to. I always thought I’d never be able to get in to it but that’s completely changed. I find the course to be extremely relevant, everything is purtenant, I recognise everything in the course so far as being purtenant to the course. For me it’s quite but maybe that’s because I’m forty three, I don’t know. I find it very enjoyable, really enjoyable and I just get straight in to it whenever I get it out.

Excellent. It sounds like you’ve had quite a bit of experience and stuff with it then so is it coming in to your games design, those past experiences you’ve had?

Yeah, I just made a game purely based on an idea I had in spring just after I finished learning how to use Game Maker in the first part of the course. That was absolutely invaluable because they gave me an instant hands on means of creating something from my own imagination using my own skill. I think that was probably the best part of the course for me, a huge learning curve in terms of what goes in to a game, how it’s made, how you put things together, how you create the illusions.

Did you use Game Maker to create the game you had been designing then did you?

Well I’ve got four or five different game ideas but I just had one when I was going to sleep one night and I suddenly realised I could actually create it using Game Maker. What I saw in my mind, I thought that would be a fun little game and I know that Game Maker can produce that sort of a game because it is a combination of three different styles that Game Maker is really good at: Platformers, Top Down Shooting and the maze idea. I thought to combine all three, it’s a tendency of mine to use everything a programme has got and combine it in a way I’ve never seen before.

It gets the most potential out of something if you use everything.

Exactly! It’s not something good just to do that for the sake of it but if it’s required by your game idea then you’ve gotta do it.

So have you started creating that now have you with Game Maker?

Yeah it’s basically finished. I’ve got, in my opinion, an Alpha version so I put it out on the forum and I’ve already got some really interesting feedback on it and I’ve tweaked it as a result. Something was said that was really interesting that when you play your own game over and over again because you need to play test it before you present it to anyone, you end up making it really difficult because it becomes to easy as you know where everything is, you know how to defeat everything etcetera etcetera. So you need the feedback to bring you back down to Earth a little and make it some what easier which is what I’ve done.

What are your future plans for the game?

For this game the original intention would be this would be perfect for an iPad game or a mobile phone game and that’s the intention for it. Even though I’m a graphic artist and designer I can’t do really beautiful computer graphic as that’s something I’m still learning to do. So I’d want someone else to come in and help publish it and develop it a little in another studio.

So are you going to look in to the Train2Game well of students to try and find a nice artist for yourself?

Yeah, I didn’t know how far to go with that because my sister works in the industry already, She’s an animator, she’s been doing that for twenty years and she is working on adverts, doing graphics for adverts but she went to art college and had the qualifications to get in to that which I didn’t. So I’ve seen it from the inside and I know that a lot of people expect to be paid.

So finally, what do you want the future to hold for yourself?

To be honest I’d like to have my own studio with a bunch of guys and girls creating some really fun games, that’s what I’m into. I’m a bit of an indulger so when it comes to gaming it’s got to be great fun and engaging no matter what style or format it is. It’s enthusiasm to play it, that’s what I want to bring to the game. So I’d like a little studio with a bunch of people and go from there, that would be fantastic.

Yeah well good luck with everything in the future then Phil and we will talk to you soon!

OK thank you so much Mark, appreciate your time.

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Richard Hoffman

Game_Jam_T2GI had the pleasure of talking to Richard Hoffman who has recently released his game, Man Alive on iOS and Android. Richard spoke to me about his career history and where the idea for the game came from.

You can listen to part one here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1544558-train2game-student-richard-hoffman-talks-to-t2g-radio-part-1

and part two here: https://audioboo.fm/boos/1544556-train2game-student-richard-hoffman-talks-to-t2g-radio-part-2

Or you can read the transcript below:

Hello, my name is Richard Hoffman, I am an indie game developer and I am on theGame Designer course with the Train2Game programme. I have my own indie company and we are doing cool indie games, developing and publishing on different platforms including Apple’s iOS and the Google Play Store.

Hi Richard, how you doing mate?

I’m alright thank, yourself?

I’m good cheers buddy. So tell us a bit about yourself, what’ve you been up too lately?

We have just finalised our game Man Alive which is now out for two platforms, iOS and Android. We also intend to publish it on Windows 8, so that will be out quite soon with a little bit of help with Microsoft’s tech team.

Yeah and how was it working on Man Alive?

It took a long time actually because we are working full time and doing this in our spare time. We started two years ago at the Global Gamejam and we saw it’s a really cool game which emerged after those two days and we just continued working and getting it to the stage it’s at now and we are quite proud of it.

Yeah, I’ve had a bit of a play of it myself on my tablet and it is quite a good different idea. Where did the idea come from?

The idea came from the Global Gamejam that we were in two years ago where we had a theme set and we had to do something around an ancient symbol of a snake that eats its own tail. This round shaped form, I’ve forgotten the name of it.

The Ouroboros.

That’s the one! My Greek or Latin is a bit limited! So with that theme in mind, we just bounced a few ideas off of each other and that’s basically what came out of it. We thought, we like playing Mario Brothers and platform games like Limbo for instance and we saw that every game has the same pattern; it’s all about survival and you have your set lives and that’s it. We were kind of bored with this, I’ve played games for about thirty years now, and it’s always the same pattern so we thought we’d do something different. With this theme we just twisted the whole platform game paradigm on it’s head, so it’s not about surviving but you have to die at least once in each level to get to the next level or the next stage. It’s an encouragement to throw yourself in to a river and jump up over your corpses which is kind of fun because it has a cute quirky graphic style which doesn’t look too serious at all because if I explain it to people sometimes they kind of get a bit anxious about the subject but it is quite funny.

Yeah it is quite good. It’s along the same sort of line is Limbo where it doesn’t look so bad to die, it doesn’t shock you or anything, it’s just something that happens.

Exactly except that in Limbo, the first time I played it my friends didn’t tell me you could die so I had a kind of shock moment, I thought it was forever and my friends were just laughing at me for not knowing that!

So what is the company your working with to create Man Alive?

It’s my own company called Global Empire Soft which I created three years ago and just started creating apps and games during that time.

Yeah, is it all Train2Game people working with you now or have you got a mixture?

I have a mixture actually, I have people I know from other universities plus Train2Game students. We work on different game projects whenever they have time as well.

So do you work in one place or are you a virtual team?

We are a virtual team but we come together occasionally but mostly we do everything over Skype and organise everything over Skype.

So whilst you are doing that in your spare time, what do you do for a living?

I’m an apps and games developer so usually I work on projects whether it be contract or a permanent position. My last contract or my last employer was Penguin Books which is quite a big publisher. We worked on some games and did occasional apps as well.

Excellent. So you’ve had quite a lot of experience already then?

Yeah I’ve had fifteen years working in the IT industry and working on apps and games on all different platforms. So I probably know most programming languages and in the last thirty years I’ve played a lot of games on all platforms, whatever came out at the time, from home computers to consoles and PC’s, now Mac as well.

So what brought you to Train2Game?

I was just curious to know more about game design because I never learnt it from Start to finish. I did a degree in Computer Science and before that I already was a programmer so it seems to be like I jumped in to the river and start swimming and then I am trying to understand where it starts and where it ends and what the whole spectrum of an education is. So because I am very passionate about game design and very creative and have a lot of ideas, I want to learn more about that the proper way and I thought the best way of doing that is with Train2Game.

So have you found Train2Game has helped you along in this then?

Definitely it’s a really good guide and has a good curriculum to starting from the simple mechanics of game design and platforms and game design and everything so I already got a good idea ready about the game design part. I am still in the middle of it but I am still keen to do the exercises at the end and just finish the TMA’s and just get to the next one.

Perfect. So finally then what are you working on next?

Next we are working on a few title, something called AVA which is an archaic flight simulator. So we are quite excited about that as we are all fans of Top Gun in our team and good old flight movies! We want to create something with a similar feel of the whole subject from landing, to starting from the Aircraft carrier and having all kinds of Airplanes and also using 3D instead of 2D. Our last game was quite an interesting and challenging approach.

Excellent, sounds like it’s going to be fun!

Definitely

Well I think that’s all we’ve got time for today Richard so thank you very much for your time!

You’re welcome, Thanks for having me.

My pleasure Richard, talk to you again

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Domm Young

Domm YoungI got the pleasure of talking to Domm Young who is Icey Montys new developer. You can hear how Domm started coding and how he got involved with Icey Monty.

You can listen to the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1475212-train2game-radio-talks-to-student-domm-young

Or read the transcript below:

Hi I’m Domm Young, I live in Portsmouth and I’m on the Developer course with Train2Game.

Hiya Domm, how you doing mate?

I’m not bad thank you. Yourself?

I’m alright cheers bud. So tell me a bit about yourself then?

I came out of college when I was 19. I’ve always wanted to be a Developer. I worked on a lot of stuff during my college time. I did Visual Basic to start with, it’s not the language I had in mind but it’s the only one they taught there at the time. From then onwards I’ve just been doing jobs that I didn’t really want to do and in my own time I’ve just been working on my own thing, but about a year ago or so I decided to join the Train2Game course because I needed a little bit more structure and discipline in my learning and that’s basically what’s brought me to here, really.

What started off your want for coding and stuff like that?

It was basically all down to the fact that when I was younger and playing games and stuff, I always thought it would be cool to implement my own things and I always had an imaginative way of thinking. So when it come to the PC I started playing a game called Vice City at the time, I’m sure everyone knows that!

Indeed.

There was stuff you could do by changing some of the scripts like replacing some of the models in the game but you could also add predefined scripts that were already done, you could put them in to the game and see how they worked. I thought that was pretty cool. From then onwards it was just basically researching and seeing how that all worked.

So were you doing a lot of Game Mods and stuff like that during your college years?

A little bit. When I started learning Visual Basic I thought, I’m going to be learning Visual Basic through the three years I’m at college I might as well get comfortable with using that. Obviously it got constraints when it comes to making games like the fact you can’t, you know, it misses an API basically. I was playing around with that and making little games on screen. When I left college, I started learning C++ as a full time thing and then obviously I found out that the Train2Game course also teaches C++ so it works out really well.

Now you’re with Train2Game you said you were working on other projects. What are you working on now?

I joined a company called Icey Monty. I found Nick on the Train2Game forum and then through Nick I met John. Within that company we do a lot of client work, primarily, that’s mainly our focus. We put our clients first and then we work on our own thing during the evenings or at weekends. Most of the time it’s just ideas we throw about, we get together in a call, we write a few documents and then we see if we can implement it and then if it actually works out, we’ll go ahead and do it. If it seems like it’s going to be boring or it’s not going to work out we decide not to bother with it any more. We’ve got a few projects we are playing around with it at the moment, one being a sort of racing game where you start off and you’ve got to see how far you can get whilst being obstructed by various types of Zombies, it’s just an idea we are throwing out there but at the moment it’s all in the works.

Yeah. So is it a few time job for you now working with Icey Monty?

It is now, yeah. I worked in retail, prior and then I got the chance to join Icey Monty, doing something I really like doing and no one would turn that down.

That’s gotta be a bit of a relief hasn’t it!

Yeah exactly. I’ve been working in jobs I hate for most of my life, since I left college. I’ve worked in stuff like Warehouses and Call Centers and Retail and all that sort of stuff. As soon as I heard Icey Monty were interviewing, I inquired more about it and managed to get hooked up with an interview, that’s where I met John, and it happened straight away. He asked within a couple of days if I wanted to start and I handed in my notice at work.

Excellent. So what was it you think they liked about you so much then?

It was more the drive. I didn’t care how much it was more the fact I wanted to do what I like doing and that’s all I really cared about. As soon as Nick told me they were looking for someone to be a developer for them, he told me what they were using like Unity and C# and stuff. Straight away I started getting straight on to it, started learning Unity, obviously told him about it and both of them were quite shocked about the drive that I had. So I think that played a big part in the reason why I got the job.

Excellent so with this full time job then you can pay the bills alright then?

Yeah, it’s fine. I am happy as long as I can make ends meet and do what I love doing really.

You sound like you’ve got a real love of all things code.

Yeah, that’s right, yeah. Like I said, it’s the only thing I ever wanted to do and I’m sure it’s the only thing I’ll ever want to do.

Excellent. So what are your ambitions to move on to or go forward to in the future?

Icey Monty is my first ever game industry job, working with programmers full time so I hope to stick with those guys. Working with John and Nick is really laid back, you couldn’t ask for a better set of managers to be honest with you.

Excellent! So I think that’s all we’ve got time for today Domm. So thank you very much for your time.

Not a problem at all. Thanks for having me!

My pleasure.

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Tarnya Smith

Tarnya SmithI got the pleasure of talking to Train2Game student, Tarnya Smith, who already has a years experience in the games industry after leaving university and she now works at Distinctive Games who have just released the popular Rugby Nations ’13. You can find out what she has worked on and how she got to where she is now in the interview.

You can listen to the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1473120-train2game-student-radio-talks-to-tarnya-smith

Or read the transcript below

My name’s Tarnya Smith, I live in Sheffield and I’m doing the Designer course.

Hiya Tarnya, how you doing?

I’m good thank you, how are you?

I’m alright thank you very muchly. So tell me a bit about yourself then?

I started off playing games when I was a kid, with my brother, that’s how I got in to it. I did creative kind of stuff through university and things like that and when I finished university last year I was given the chance to work as a tester for Sega in London, so I kinda took that with both hands and that’s where it started really. Then I got the opportunity to come up to Sheffield, up here, to work for Sumo, which was doing the Sonic game at the time and I got a job here at Distinctive, as a tester as well, and I moved up here permanently because I was living in London at the time.

You’ve had quite a wealth of experience already then?

Yeah, I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had a years experience straight off the bat, which is quite hard to come by but I work hard so I think that shows and I’ve always wanted to do, creative stuff. I didn’t really want to go back to university because I didn’t really enjoy it the first time around and I’ve always wanted to be a games designer so I thought I would do the Train2Game thing and see how that went.

Did you finish your university course then or did you just think that’s enough once you got the job opportunities?

No I finished, I finished back in May, but the testing job came straight up. I got given that at the end of July so I went straight into that after university.

Is that one you applied for or did they come and seek you out?

No, I know quite a lot of friends who work there and I never really thought about it before but then they started taking on a big bunch of testers so I went for it and got the job.

Very nice. What Sonic game was it you worked on?

Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed.

Oh was it? I do like that game, it is fun!

Well I’m glad because we worked hard on it! Yeah I really enjoyed working on it, it was great fun and I still play it from time to time.

Excellent. It does certainly have replayability a lot.

Oh god yeah!

So, you said you’re at Distinctive Games now. What are you working on there?

We’ve just completed the Rugby Nations ’13 that’s just come out. At the minute I’m just working on patches for old games that need updating for the new iOS and so on, but there are some projects coming out in the future that obviously, I can’t talk about but there good, I’m enjoying it.

Excellent, so are you a fan of Rugby then or is that just something you ended up working on anyway?

I was actually a big fan. I used to live near Twickenham, so I used to go to Twickenham Stadium when I got the chance but I’m not really a big fan of Sports all round but it’s fine!

Just what ever you can get your hands on really?

Yeah pretty much, it’s all good!

Are you a tester at Distinctive now?

Yeah, I’m a tester, yeah.

So do you think they’ll be an opportunity for you to move up to a designer instead soon?

Well I hope so, at some point.

Is that the main aim? I assume

Well, I’m quite happy to be a tester for a while, it’s not that it’s a problem but obviously my aim long term is to be a designer somewhere. So if I can get in here that’ll be awesome but you know, where ever life takes you.

You seem very relaxed with it all

Yeah, I just think I’m really lucky to get into something I’m really passionate about so I am just enjoying whatever I can get out of it, I’m not going to start stressing that I’m not getting the job I want straight away because that never happens.

That is a very good attitude to have

Yeah, so I am enjoying it and I am just going to try and enjoy it for as long as possible.

Excellent. So it sounds like you’ve had quite a good life already then!

I just think, the last year or so, I’ve been quite lucky and I’ve got to know some people that know people. It’s who you are that opens paths for you. I’ve been in the community a few years now and you do get to know people.

Perfect, well I think that’s all we’ve got time for today

Awesome.

So thanks very much for talking to us!

You’re very welcome!

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Lee Pearson

Lee PearsonI got the pleasure of speaking to a very ambitious guy who has been working incredibly hard to get noticed. Train2Game student, Lee Pearson, has worked through many obstacles to get his character designs noticed.

You can listen to part one of the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1471396-train2game-student-radio-speaks-to-lee-pearson-part-1

Part two is here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1471393-train2game-student-radio-speaks-to-lee-pearson-part-2

Or you can read the transcript below:

Hello my names Lee Pearson, I’m on the Train2Game Radio forum, talking about my work I’m doing for the indie game scene, in the USA.

Alright Lee, how you doing mate?

Yeah not too bad mate

Excellent. So, tell me a bit about you then buddy?

My name’s Lee Pearson, I come from Ashford originally, I was born and raised in Ashford, Kent. I spent the last thirty years in education full time and all that. I’ve been drawing since I was born. My obsession with monsters began when I was watching Ray Harryhausen films and I started drawing loads and loads of monsters, loads of gory stuff. My Father used to bring home loads of the old VHS Videos and I got inspired by drawing that and that’s how it all started.

Yeah, the good old video nasties?

Yeah the good old eighties, I was probably only about five but that’s what inspired me to draw really and I just used to do it for my own enjoyment and just kept doing it and doing it. It was extremely violent, it worried my dad a little bit, and I just kept drawing and drawing them because I loved doing it. It’s what I have gone back to doing today now.

I’ve always had an interest in working on Movies and Video Games but I haven’t found the exact thing to get there at the moment. I’m still needing a little bit more experience yet. I did courses after I left school. I spent from 1994 to 2008 doing all these art courses and all that but I just felt this isn’t exactly what I want to do. I want to do something in Video Games and Movies because I’ve got such an imagination designing creatures.

I’ve had it hard with my courses because I’ve had special needs, I had to deal with a lot of family problems helping friends out, mental health problems and a lot of other things I’ve had to cope with.

I finally graduated in 2008, with an HND in fine arts with nine distinctions, including photoshop, and I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in 2008.

I left college from 1998 to 2008 just doing stuff for DJ scenes, just to calm myself down a bit. I always wanted to do Video Games though and my mate called James Sacker had this little card for Train2Game calling out all the Games Designers, I thought this looks interesting. I looked into it and my Dad said, “don’t do the course Son because it’s going to cost you a lot of money”. So I had some guys come around to my new flat that I am living at at the moment and we spoke about it and watched the Video and I thought to myself, it’s something I really want to do because I love Monsters and I love Gore and I love all that stuff. Without telling my Mum and Dad, I signed on to Train2Game.

I assume they now though, do they, you parents?

Not yet at the moment, just keeping it a secret

OK Lee, that’s all good that you did all that before so it’s 2013 now. What are you up to now?

At the moment I’m just working in some indie game companies in America, just doing it online. I decided to grab a copy of Photoshop CS 5, I’ve spent an awful lot of my money on computer equipment out of my benefit money, I had to sacrifice food for it. I bought Graphics Tablets, Scanners, Printers and all sorts of stuff. I’ve been practising and practising with the Graphics Tablet and over time I’ve mastered it in about ten months really, my graphics tablet.

I’m doing mostly Horror games. I did one last year before I started learning the Graphics Tablet. I went on the concept art OEG and I was flicking through all the games adverts and there was one that caught my eye, called Richard Lee, he was a guy looking for a guy to do his art work for a cult Horror game in America based before Jesus Christ. I applied for it and he liked my work so much that he said, yeah I’ll give you the shot.

It wasn’t done by a graphics tablet, it was done with A4 paper and pens and I started drawing all these really gory demonic characters. We worked on it together for a couple of months and then sadly he gave me an email saying he had to stop to go back to Trucking because of money. It’s a shame because I thought it would be a fantastic project to work on.

You’re getting some good work experience out of this projects now then?

It’s mostly just one on one really. It’s mostly just Indie stuff really and I just got my work out there by Facebook. I was just getting all my art work and spamming it and spamming it. I was then talking to someone on the Train2Game course and they said, why don’t you try deviant art?, so I got all the recent work I’ve done and spammed it and got it out there and it caught the eye of another guy in America called Mark Wemm, which I am working on at the moment. He told me to create my own character, so I created a Teddy Bear that got possessed by an Alien, Demonic Spirit that turns it into a hideous monster and it’s really really gory. I’m working on that at the moment and I don’t know how long it will take but I’ve been asked to do all of it by Photoshop and I’ve been doing all the landscapes and all the concept art and all the weaponry, it’s just great fun, it really is.

Yeah. It sounds like your enjoying yourself.

Oh I love it! Loving it to bits, it’s really, really good fun

Excellent, so you mentioned before that you had Aspergers so how is it studying and working with that, do you find you get prejudice against it or what?

No, I’ve got to the stage now where I don’t really care about my disability. I just have a laugh like my dad does, just enjoy it. I don’t really care about money I just love and enjoy doing it, it’s great fun.

So what are you wanting to do in the future then Lee?

Well before I go to America, I’m going to America just to have a holiday with my Step Mum, Dad and my family. I want to come back home, get a bundle of computers and PC’s, get a load of Photoshop, all the packages, Zbrush, 3D Max and I just want to go completely character mad. Create characters in Photoshop, to 3D Max and draw them, hand paint them, everything. Bring it all together and that’s the sort of thing I want to do with the rest of my life really. I can’t think of anything else.

I’m going to have obstacles that I am going to have to over come, like the Train2Game course, I realised because I was pushed behind a year, I am going to have to do this course. I am going to have no choice but I definitely want to do more, more, more character designs. I really enjoy doing it, that’s the future for me. I want to try and expand all over the globe. Doing the stuff in America and I sent some stuff off to Japan. I did a picture of Cammie on wall paper and sent it off to Japan, but I definitely want to start doing lots of characters, monsters, vehicles just for games really.

That’s beautiful. You sound like you are incredibly ambitious and just want your art work to be seen absolutely everywhere.

Yeah, definitely. It’s just good fun, just enjoy the ride! I just love doing characters, back in the day it was all done by hand and I was just fascinated by characters. I had them in my head everyday, sometimes even talk to them! I think the future for me now is definitely the Video Game industry.

Well, I think that is all we’ve got time for today Lee, it’s been a pleasure talking to you!

Yeah, it’s great, it’s fantastic!

And I will talk to you soon mate, alright?

Yeah will do mate

Cheers mate, Bye!

Thank you, bye

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio – Ryan Mitchelson

Rage Quit GamesI spoke to Ryan Mitchelson recently about his position with Train2Game, his new game and his feelings on the Unity engine.

The site mentioned in the interview is still under construction but does have links to their social media if you would like to learn more about the company.

You can listen to the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1422444-train2game-radio-talk-to-ryan-mitchelson

Or read the following Transcript:

Hi I’m Ryan from Fife.

Hiya Ryan, how you doing mate?

I’m doing good, how about yourself Mark?

I’m not to bad ta muchly! So what have you been up to lately Ryan, what sort of things have you been doing?

Recently I’ve been working on getting prototypes put together for a game that I’m trying to establish, along side trying to set up a company for myself and the people that I work with.

What game is it that you’ve been working on? If you can say.

The game is called Bounce. The aim of the game is to keep a ball bouncing throughout the entire level. There’s going to be several different levels to the game with obviously getting more and more complex as they go by. Oh and it’s a physics based game as well so hopefully it will be an interesting game for people to play.

You said you were working with other people, who is it you’ve been working with?

Recently I’ve been working with Laurence Kinane.

Yeah he’s a Train2Game student isn’t he?

He’s currently a Train2Game student, at the moment he is trying to finish off his course so that we can work full time on games together.

So what’s your position now with Train2Game?

Well I decided to, after a while, not continue with the Train2Game course mainly due to financial reasons, but I have learned a lot from them and I’d like to say thank you for the knowledge I have gained from Train2Game, but at the moment I don’t really have any position with them, I am just trying to establish my own company.

Fair enough. Do you have a name for the company?

It’s called Rage Quit Games.

Something every nerd can get behind!

Oh yeah definitely! That’s why we decided to go with that name, we thought it would be appropriate.

Yeah we have all had a Rage Quit at some point or another!

Oh yeah, I think it happens daily for me to be honest.

So what is it you are making Bounce with at the minute?

We are using Unity.

You’re using Unity are you? How are you finding using that?

Using Unity is absolutely amazing! To be honest the thing I love most about Unity is being able to build extensions on top of it. One example being that I use Visual Scripting system, one of them called Playmaker which is an incredible powerful extension that allows me to essentially script the entire game just using little boxes that I connect together, each box has a certain amount of information in it.

Excellent! So yours is a coding background then I imagine?

Not so much, I am much more of a designer at heart. That’s why I decided to go with a visual scripting system because I did try to learn coding but I found it just wasn’t for me. I eventually just ended up really stressed out with it.

Yeah, I have tried learning code myself a couple of times and it does just look incredibly daunting whenever you look at it.

It is! I mean, it does make sense when you actually look at a sheet of code you can understand and edit it, well for me anyway I can edit things and make them work as I see fit, but writing code from scratch and remembering everything is the most difficult part for me personally.

Did you say you have a website in design at the minute or is out and about with people to see?

It’s almost out and about, I reckon by the time this interview goes up, it will probably be ready and available to the public to go and have a look.

Perfect then so if you’d like to give me a link so everyone can go and have a look at it?

It’s www.ragequitgames.co.uk

That’s perfect.

Is that ok?

That’s perfect and excellent so everyone can go and have a look see at that now.

Excellent

Well thank you very much for your time today Ryan and I will talk to you soon.

Not a problem, thank you for having me!

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio – Muir Halleron

Muir HalleronI got the pleasure of interviewing a young man named Muir recently who is just coming to the end of section 1 of his course. You may have seen Muir on Twitter or the Train2Game Forum as he is always very active on there. Now you can find out more about him!

You can here the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1391947-train2game-student-muir-halleron-talks-to-t2g-radio

Or read the transcript below:

Hi my name is Muir, I’m a Games Development student with Train2Game and I live in Widnes, Cheshire.

Hi Muir, how you doing mate?

I’m alright thanks Mark, how are you?

I’m good cheers buddy. So tell me, how did you get into Games Development?

Well, I’ve always loved games. My first games console was when I was like four years old and it was an Odyssey 2, if you can remember back that far! Showing my age. I’ve just been really interested in games going all the way up to Nintendo, Xbox360 and PlayStation. When I saw the Train2Game thing online I went on the website, filled out a form and didn’t think twice about it really.

Was there any particular game that made you want to get in to development its self?

Probably the Elder Scrolls series. I had a play with the Elder Scrolls, Skrim it was, there game engine that they use that they have opened up to allow people to mod the game. I was just absolutely gob smacked by it and everything that goes in to making a game. I’d say that’s probably the biggest series that’s worked.

Yeah. Were you into coding before that or is it something you have learnt through Train2Game entirely?

It’s pretty much something I am learning just through Train2Game. I remember when I was really little, about five or six years old, my Dad bought a home computer and I actually had a go at learning BASIC on that. It got to the point where I could make a really, really simple game on BASIC and that was about it.

So what have you been up to with your games development at the minute?

Well right now I’m nearly finished with Section one in the course and I’ve lately been doing the one game a month challenge that’s online. That’s www.onegameamonth.com

Oh yeah? How’s that going?

It’s going pretty good, this month has been pretty slow, I’ve had a mental block with coding for some reason this month but the last 3 months I’ve made one game a month. The first one was something based on one of the Game Maker tutorials in the intro booklet for the Train2Game course and the other two were ones I came up with, on myself. The last one being completely done in C++. I’m actually really proud of that one!

Nice, so it sounds like you are progressing quite well then?

Yeah and I just recently I’ve also been accepted with Road Hog Games. Doing there student initiative.

Ah very nice and what are you doing with them?

Well right now it’s a group of two developers, two designers and two artists I believe. We are in the process of making a game under the tutelage and support of Road Hog Games.

Finally, What is your greatest ambition for your career?

Well I am hoping eventually to be able to get to a point where I can either work for a well developed gaming company as a developer or go in as an indie dev and make my own games.

Is there any company in particular that you’d want to work for?

Well in this area, just in Widnes, there’s actually Sony Evolution Studios is in Runcorn which is real close to where I live. So I’ve been feeling the waters with them a bit and there’s a few other small gaming companies in Liverpool and Manchester as well.

Excellent. Well thank you very much Muir!

Thank you Mark!

Train2Game News: Train2Game Radio talks to Shaun Steer

me n zakI spoke to Train2Game student Shaun Steer last week. Shaun discussed with me how his career has progressed from being a Chef to the games industry and how he finds time to study whilst looking after five children.

You can listen to the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1274977-train2game-student-shaun-steer-talks-to-t2g-radio

Or read the transcript below:

My name is Shaun Steer, I’m doing the Game Designer course and the nearest town to me Ashford

Hi Shaun, how you doing mate?

Yeah not to bad, you?

I’m very well cheers mate. So what’s your story? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life?

Work wise, I’ve always been a chef. So it’s a bit of a drastic change to what I am doing now. I’ve been doing that since I was about 15 years old.

So why did you decide to change from being a chef?

Well a few years ago I had a few health issues which made me go out of main stream cooking and just take little jobs, in smaller kitchens. That was my chosen career path, pretty much, finished there. Last year I was getting fed up with where I was working and I just happened to come across a Train2Game advert. So I clicked on it, forgot about it, requested more information, a few more months down the line they contacted me and the rest is history. It’s all going really well at the moment, it’s all going very well.

Excellent, I understand that you’ve got quite a hectic family life as well?

Yeah, that’s one way to put it! Yeah I’ve got a house with five children to look after as well so that can take up a lot of your time.

Yeah it sounds like it! So how do you find the time to study with your five kids?

It’s a mystery to me as well! Sometimes I’ve actually got the little one you see there in my picture, little Zak, sometimes he’s just sitting on my lap while I’m studying away through the books and making the games. He was a tester for me actually on the Game Maker games I made.

That’s got to be quite good! Your own in house testers?

Oh yeah! He loved it, he loved the shooter and he is obsessed with Mario so when I did the platformer he was in his element.

I have seen you on the Train2Game forum and you get quite passionate about the course. Where did that passion come from?

I think it’s about gaming in general really. Well the first console I had was a SEGA Master System, way back when, what was it ’91 or something?

Yeah it was about that

I’ve had every console under the sun since then. So gaming has always been quite a passion. Well being able to learn how to put my input in on it, well it’s something I feel quite strongly about!

So it’s 2013 now Shaun so what objectives have you got in your course?

Well it’s funny you should mention that really. I’ve obviously been talking to quite a lot of people with in the course and we’ve just recently set up a student studio.

Oh really?

Yeah, we’ve started doing some concept work on a couple of game ideas already.

What’s the studio called?

The studio? We’ve named it Devils Ink Studios.

Very nice!

We’ve got a Facebook page up if anyone wants to click on it and like it for us! It will help get the word out.

What’s the address?

I think if you just search Devils Ink Studios and it will take you straight to the page.

Very nice so have you got a game in development at the minute or is it just ideas throwing around at the minute?

We are in concept stages at the minute. So we are just drawing up the concept documents and we’ve got some environments being drawn up and characters. We are just going to be writing the back story and everything like that well, today. We have been for the past few hours actually. There’s five of us at the moment but we will probably need more people to join the team so if anyone’s interested, just drop me a line! Just get in touch via our Facebook page, that’s Devils Ink Studios, thank you!

Well that’s perfect Shaun! I think that’s probably all we’ve got time for today so thank you very much for your time!

Excellent, thank you!

Train2Game News: Train2Game radio talks to Laurence Gee

Laurence Gee (Artist)Train2Game radio this week spoke to Train2Game Art & Animation student Laurence Gee. Laurence tells us how he got his job at Brain In A Jar and the exciting new project he is working on which is moments away from going on to Kickstarter!

http://www.braininajar.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/BraininaJarGames

https://twitter.com/openwheelgame

https://twitter.com/Braininatweet

You can listen to the interview here: http://audioboo.fm/boos/1267348-train2game-student-laurence-gee-talks-to-t2g-radio

or read the transcript below:

Hi my name’s Laurence Gee, I’m from Birkenhead and I’m on the art course.

Hiya Laurence, how you doing mate?

I’m not to bad, how about you Mark?

I’m excellent cheers mate. So then let’s start this off. So what’s your story? What are the past experiences that have shaped your life?

Basically, starting from School to College I basically focused my skills on Art and endeavor to get better and better at my art and try to focus on moving from the traditional art to the computer based art that I do now.

Excellent, so what do you currently do for a living?

I work as a 3D artist here at Brain In A Jar games development.

Excellent, how did you end up working there?

It was through placement. Train2Game got me a placement here, which I’m very grateful for, and I worked here for the placement and when the placement was over I was kindly offered the job.

Very nice and how long have you worked there?

2 years actually, just recently became 2 years.

Still enjoying it I assume?

I love it here, yeah!

So, what are you currently working on with the company if I can ask?

You can! We are literally about to release a Kickstarter any time soon, a game called Open Wheel. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding system. There’s a website you can go to and there are loads of different projects you can support. The actual users and the people that actually give them money are actually people of the world and basically Kickstarters a crowd-funding system where people actually get to judge the game themselves or the item it’s self that go on there.

So what we’ve done is we are putting a project on there called Open Wheel. An online racing game that we’ve designed and developed our selves. It’s pretty special because it features unique game connection system. There are no log in screens what so ever, when you want to race you can just drop straight into a game, in to any running server. No lobby’s means more time spent racing. You can customize the cars and drivers, loads of stats to track, on track celebrations, race teams, leagues. There’s lots to go in there.

So what drew you and the company to Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a great way, for small independent developers like ourselves, to fund projects, especially ones we really care about. If people like what we are trying to do then they can back us and help us out with the funding and stuff. The finances we need will make the game happen with a huge boost and we can make the game really really great!

What is your personal reason for getting into the gaming industry in the first place?

Do you remember Lemmings?

I do indeed, yeah!

I’m thinking back when I was at a really young age and I played my first game. Back from old PC games or modern consoles, I played computer games for a really long time. I was really intrigued by what went into a game, I wasn’t always intrigued about playing the game its self, but I spent a lot of time playing a game to figure who it was made and what made it work. That’s really what pulled me in.

Right is that what drew you to it was it, was that what drew you to the Art in particular or did that come from things in school?

What drew me to Art was that I’ve always done it. I’ve always been drawing and painted. I love to paint, I’m a very traditional artist and I decided I wanted to move in to the art in games because I wanted to see how they did it. When I discovered how they did it I thought it was quite interesting and I decided to take my traditional skills in to computer based skills.

So, how’s Train2Game helped you get to where you are now?

Well I started the course nearly three years ago now, very near the end of it, and I basically started the art course. I was frozen at the point where I had a basic job working in a shop and Train2Game contacted me to let me know they’d accepted me on the Art course and so I accepted, got on with the course, started doing the coursework and basically it was the placement that really helped me get to where I was.

Very nice. So finally then, where can people find out more about the project you’re working on?

Of course, that’s the main part! You can check out our Facebook page, Brain In A Jar, a twitter – we’ve got @Openwheel game and also @Braininatweets check out there – and also go to our website which is, www.braininajar.co.uk

Well thank you very much Laurence!

No worries! Thank you very much

I’ll talk to you again, bye!

Take it easy, bye!