Gamescom Meet Up

As there are a group of local companies going across to Gamescom with Enterprise Ireland this year, some companies exhibiting and a few people going solo, I think it’s time to inaugurate the first Ceol agus Craic @ Gamescom 2013 for the Irish Games Industry.

I have spoken to the owner of The Corkonian in Cologne, not far from the Cathedral. He is willing to let us organise a meetup from 6.30pm after the first day of Gamescom. A map to the location is available on their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Corkonian-Irish-Pub/146280922908?id=146280922908&sk=page_map

The pub does not serve food, as there are ample restaurants in the area, so if you want to check in, have a pint, go off for food, then come back after, you are welcome. Also, if you have friends who have worked in Ireland in different companies at Gamescom, feel free to bring them too. If you have a particularly good meeting during the day, you can invite them for a follow up later, and also network with a wide variety of people across the industry, who are outside Ireland too.

There will be music up until 10.30, and the pub is open late after that. It has wifi, and while I suggest you dump your stuff back at your hotel before coming out, but if someone in your party has a bag, the owners can store a limited number away from the main floor. The pub has wifi, but don’t expect it to be quick with the amount of connected devices.

There are no tickets, and the pub has a decent indoor and outdoor area, so if you’re in Cologne, please stop by, or make it your home for the night. # for the night is #ceolaguscraic

Pip On Kickstarter

You will recognise this project from previous events in Ireland but Galvanic have their Pip device up on Kickstarter with just 63 hours to go they have over $80,000 raised with a goal of $100,000.

See http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/484175508/the-pip-a-biosensor-that-helps-you-relax-through-p

Facebook: facebook.com/RelaxWithPip
Twitter: @relaxwithpip
Web: www.galvanic.ie

Best of luck to them.

Culturetech In Derry

This coming September from the 9th-15th, there are a number of games related events taking place in Derry/Londonderry as part of the CultureTech event.

The irrepressible Vicky is of course involved in some of the games events including:

1) “Super Fun Happy Games Bar” – £3 at the door
http://culturetech.co/event/2013-09-13/super-fun-happy-games-bar

The invite is still open for indies who want to show their games that evening. PM her on gd.ie or email herat whykay@gmail.com.

2) “GameCraft @ CultureTECH”
http://dublingamecraft.com/events/derry-gamecraft/

Culture Tech will feature over separate 100 events and sessions, at the crossroads of arts, culture and technology. Remember it is the UK City of Culture so there is a lot of other stuff going on too.

Check out their programme – http://culturetech.co/prog and tickets at http://ct2013.eventbrite.com/

Game Design Workshops

Owen of BitSmith is running a series of workshops on game design in Dublin this August. If you don’t know him, he is also behind DubLudo and of course their first game Ku was released earlier this year.

The focus of these design workshops will be experiential – you will learn by actually making games every day!

The curriculum will cover all game design fundamentals and is aimed at various levels; from people just starting out, to those needing a refresher, to those who just want to be immersed in play – anyone who wants to make a game.

Who?

Owen Harris is the studio head and lead game designer at bitSmith Games and is a leading figure in the emerging Irish games industry. He teaches Game Design and Production from diploma to masters level at DIT and Pulse College, speaks extensively at national and international conferences, and advises the Irish Government on the growth and direction of the burgeoning games sector.

He LOVES playing games and helping folk make their own.

When?

August 6th, 12th, 19th, 26th

How much?

Students can attend all four days (€200) or pick and mix the days that interest them most (€60 per day).

What do I need?

A deep love of games and play of all sorts
– Pen and paper
– A Gameplay Journal (fancy notebook)
– No special technical knowledge or experience is required to enjoy this course
Want more information?

Just send a quick line to gamedesigncamp (at) gmail.com and we’ll be right back to you!

There are only 15 spaces available for each day so sign up now!

See http://owenllharris.com/events

More info on the gd.ie forums too.

Havok & Project Anarchy

In the past two weeks or so Havok, the well known Irish based middleware company, has released Project Anarchy, Havok’s complete end-to-end mobile 3D game production engine.

Games developed using Project Anarchy technology can be deployed for free on iOS, Android and Tizen mobile platforms without commercial restrictions on company size or revenue.

Project Anarchy includes Havok’s Vision Engine together with access to Havok’s suite of Physics, Animation and AI tools as used in franchises such as Skyrim™, Halo, Assassin’s Creed®, Uncharted and Skylanders.

With features like an extensible C++ architecture, a flexible asset management system, advanced Lua debugging and customizable game samples and tutorials, Project Anarchy offers game developers the ability to quickly iterate on their ideas and create incredible gaming experiences.

“Project Anarchy liberates game developers to freely explore gameplay ideas on mobile platforms using the same award-winning tools that console and PC developers have used for years,” said Ross O’Dwyer, Head of Developer Relations at Havok. “This complete set of tools lends powerful graphics, physics and animation capabilities to mobile game development teams for free regardless of team and project size.”

As part of this release Havok revealed a new online hub where developers can participate in Q&A, forums and benefit from community support.

Project Anarchy is available for download now at www.projectanarchy.com/download.

For more information on Project Anarchy visit: www.projectanarchy.com/about

For more information on Havok, visit: www.havok.com

Nordeus Arrives In Dublin

Jamie continues to find companies for his survey of companies based in Ireland and this week we also saw the arrival of a new FDI company, a publisher who is to set up in Dublin.

Nordeus is setting up a Customer Relations and Business and Marketing Operations centre in the city, and will create 15 jobs in the process. Nordeus publishers the online sports video game Top Eleven (http://www.topeleven.com/) and already has offices in San Francisco, California; Belgrade, Serbia; and Skopje in the Republic of Macedonia.

Read more about this new company over on Silicon Republic at http://www.siliconrepublic.com/careers/item/33232-video-game-publisher/

Spreading The Jam

George S. Patton, America’s WWII military general, once claimed that a good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow. In other words, an idea is worthless unless you use it. If Patton had stepped into the computing facility of Griffith College Dublin toward the end of January, 2013, he would have been proud to see his advice in action. As part of the annual Global Games Jam (GGJ), dozens of developers were bringing their dreams to interactive life.

Working under the theme of Heartbeat, one team was creating Tour de Lance, a surreal adventure that requires players to feed Lance Armstrong stimulants to keep his heart ticking over. Elsewhere, developers were making Tell-Tale Trials, a 3D story game based around Edgar Allen Poe’s story The Tell-tale Heart. Another game, Pulse Unknown, challenged players to control a cyborg with a human heart.

Simultaneously, in LIT Tipperary’s GGJ event, a team was creating Slingshot Surgery, about a paramedic who transports hearts for transplant patients. In Belfast, some developers were making a multi-player rowing game. All these developers were working against crunch time, collaborating and brainstorming between power naps and pizza.

Eoin Carroll, the Computing Facility’s Programme Director at Griffith College, has organised GGJ at the college for the last three years and believes the purpose of game jams is elementary: to get people developing games.

“Lots of people have ideas for games and never take them any further,” says Carroll. “Others are afraid of the time it takes to get up to speed to develop a game and then publish it. [A game jam] gives them a crash course in ActionScript, Flash or Game Maker. At the end, they have a finished product. They can take those skills and build them further. For our students, it’s a great way of seeing how much can be done in a very short length of time and to what level of professionalism.”

Debbie Rawlings, Director of Operations at Bristol-based developer Auroch Digital, runs a number of game jams, including GGJ, and contends that jams are ideal for ideas and innovation, as well as networking and learning new skills. Auroch’s Game the News, which turns topical news stories into playable games, emerged from a game jam. “From doing games jams, we realised what is possible within 24 or 48 hours,” says Rawlings.

In Ireland, the jam scene is thriving. While GGJ takes place every January, game developer Andrea Magnorsky (BatCat Games) and coder and tech event organiser Vicky Lee run Dublin GameCraft on a number of occasions annually. The first GameCraft took place in February 2012. Events have since been held in Thurles, Belfast; another is due to take place in Derry, as part of CultureTECH 2013, in September. Titles forged under Andrea and Vicky’s organisation include Tornado Apocalypse, from GameCraft @ Games Fleadh.


Andrea Magnorsky (BatCat Games)

In March, 2013, 091labs hosted the first Galway Game Jam under the theme of Magnetism. Another event is now planned for June, 2013.

Preparation
What’s involved in organising a game jam? Ideally, an organiser will secure sponsorship to cover food and refreshments, prizes, and venue overheads.

For GGJ, Carroll takes part in IRC chats with the organisers at International Game Developers Association (IGDA): “There is extensive use of forums for communication with the organisers. Myself and Phil [Bourke, Games Design and Development Course Coordinator for LIT-Thurles] have run it enough times that we know the set up. We’re aware of the snag points during the 48 hours where students are either going to get fatigued, or they’re under pressure to get things done. Within 24 hours before the event starts, we get the theme, and the keynote speech sent to us, so we can set up and start at the designated times.”

On the Friday of GGJ, everyone gathers to watch a short keynote speech. Past speakers included John Romero (Quake, DOOM) and Cliff Bleszinski (Gears of War). The secret theme is announced and sites worldwide must complete their games by Sunday afternoon.

Location
Choosing a suitable location for a games jam is crucial. “Make sure you have plenty of space,” advises Rawlings. “Once everyone gets themselves into teams, they need to separate out a bit, focus and get their heads down.” Jams are held in conference halls, universities, and other private spaces. “Griffith College has given me increasing bigger rooms to hold the event as we have grown over the last three years,” says Carroll.

Dublin GameCraft III, in May 2013, was held in Dublin’s Engine Yard. “There were bathrooms, a kitchen, couches, and a lot of natural light,” says Magnorsky. “Loads of people said this was a great place. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dinner part was interesting. We charged for this event for the first time, although it was only €5.”

Dublin GameCraft usually takes place over eight hours, but the time limits on jams vary from a couple of hours to a month. In the case of a 48 hour jam such as GGJ, participants often work throughout the night. Outside Ireland, TIGSource has held one-month jams. Seven Day Roguelike organises week long affairs. TIGJams challenge coders to build games in as little as three hours. Glorious Trainwrecks have been known to offer two hour limits.

Themes
Most jams are based around themes, which can vary from Ludum Dare’s Evolution to 2012’s F*** This Jam, in which participants created a game in a genre they disliked. In location-based jams, developers are not told the theme until they arrive, so everyone starts on a level playing field. Some events include individual challenges. GGJ challenges, for example, include Two Heads Are Better Than One (requires multiple devices to play), and True Colours (a game only uses the classic 16-colour palette).

For GameCraft III, the theme was Non-Violent Exploration. “In the morning of the GameCraft, we announce the theme which is decided by the judges,” says Magnorsky. “The judges are selected semi-randomly from people we know – ‘Hey, do you want to come and judge all these games, which means you have to play about 30 games in two hours while drinking and eating pizza? It’s not like many people go, ‘I hate that idea’.

Game jams have few rules or restrictions, although GGJ organisers are asked not to reveal the theme to the world. “It starts at 5pm local time for each time zone,” explains Carroll. “If we get the topic and we announce it to America, it will be spoiled for them. So we ask the participants not to put it out on Twitter and social networks. Apart from that, it’s up to the discretion of each organiser to run it in their best interests.”

Format
Most jams are over 18. The GameCraft organisers were hoping to include coderdojo, the global network for young programmers, but insurance for the venue prevented this.

Due to the lack of strict rules, game jam teams come in all sizes. For the first year of GGJ at Griffith College, teams came together organically. For 2013’s event, the 54 entrants each pitched an idea for a game. A bidding war then began in which people signed up to each other’s teams. While some teams consisted of 10 people, others were two-man (or woman) operations. “Part of the idea of the Global Game Jam is you meet and work with people who you might not know on a day to day basis,” says Carroll.

Technology and disciplines vary wildly. Participants can use whatever building tools they prefer, whether Unity, GameMaker, etc., and develop for any platform (iPad, Xbox, PC, etc). There are coders, character designers… even production managers.

“At this year’s event, we had people from industry, postgraduate, undergraduate students,” says Carroll. We had first year students who were able to get a game developed over the 48 hours. Most of the studios that helped us out were start-ups over the last year or so. They were able to talk about their experiences, or give quick training on Unity and other tools.”

Magnorsky urges those with specialist skills – like musicians and writers – to come along too.
“I think it really enriches the experience,” she says. “Every time I invite people with other talents they think it is amazing. The more they like games, the more it helps.” Carroll continues: “[The lack of] music is always a bit of an issue. The other issue is a shortage of artists – 3D assets. At this year’s event, one guy said he was happy to be a roaming artist for all the teams. People came up to him with their specs.”

Different approaches
Game jams have been on the go for over 10 years, since events such as Ludum Dare began producing titles in 2002. While critics of the format suggest it is impossible to produce a decent game in a short space of time, impressive titles have emerged from jams. Rom Check Fail, a mash-up of various retro games, was born out of TIGSource’s one-month jams. Irish developer Terry Cavanagh made the brilliant Sine Wave Ninja as part of a jam. Experimental Gameplay Project, meanwhile, unearthed the classic World of Goo in 2008.


Jams are open to a variety of approaches. Debbie Rawlings has produced jams that bring game developers together with scientists: “The scientist is in the role of designer, so he or she is embedded as part of the team.”

Last year, Rawlings and Helen Kennedy, a professor at the University of the West of England, held the XX Game Jam: the first all-women jam. This 24-hour event was held to coincide with Ada Lovelace Day, which celebrates the world’s first computer programmer.

“The point of doing it was to encourage more women to come into the games industry,” says Rawlings. “After we put out the call, 43 female developers signed up within 8 days. Most of those were programmers. By the time the event came around, another 40 women were on the database. We offered travel, accommodation, and childcare costs, so people could travel from around the country. The venue gave us their office space from 6pm on a Friday night until 11pm. The next day was 6am to 6pm. Some of the teams worked through the night at their hotels. A couple of girls found a cafe that was open 24 hours, so they worked in there.”

The theme for XX Game Jam was Clockwork; winning titles included Donkey Kog Country. “The standard was amazing,” says Rawlings. “As high quality as any jam that I’ve ever run.”

A winning formula
Although some jams have winners, or games that are singled out, organisers are quick to suggest these events are not competitions. Creating an atmosphere of collaboration and communal bonding is the priority. Not competitiveness.

At the end of Dublin GameCraft III, the organisers ordered 40 pizzas for the participants and opened a fridge full of beer. “While people are doing the game jam they are focused on making the game,” says Magnorsky. As soon as the game jam part is over – after 12 hours in this case – there is a People’s Choice award. Each participant has a token, so they can vote on games, and play everyone else’s games. This generates an ice-breaker between the teams.”

Game jams foster new friendships, increase confidence and create opportunities within the community. These games don’t have to be approved in boardrooms, they are not subject to focus groups, and they don’t necessitate enormous budgets. “We always make the point that you’re never going to develop Gears of War or FIFA,” remarks Carroll. “You want a small scope for your game. Get a prototype up and running, then work from there. If you have time to expand the prototype, that’s brilliant. If you don’t, don’t worry about it.”

It’s perhaps no coincidence that the concept of thinking small and simple is producing some of the best games on the market. Magnorsky sees the future in small indie games. “You are trying to push creativity without the limitations of big budgets,” she says. “Maybe that helps something like Journey. That was a group of 10 or 12 people and that was just astonishing. That was not a casual game for me. It was something uncategorisable.”

For Rawlings, who knows companies that emerged from teams who met at game jams, the concept is a no brainer: “If you want to get into games, do a game jam.”

Galway Game Jam, 22 June. www.galwaygamejam.com

Derry GameCraft @ CultureTech, Sat 14 Sept. www.dublingamecraft.com

www.culturetech.co
http://gamethenews.net
http://aurochdigital.com
http://globalgamejam.org

Gamecraft Heads To London

For all you roving jammers GameCraft is heading to London this August thanks to the good folks at Skills Matter.

Skills Matter’s mission is to promote continuous learning and innovation in software. More than 35,000 people get together at Skills Matter each year, everyone with the goal of improving themselves and our community.

The event will be taking place on Saturday the 10th of August at the Skills Matter eXchange in Clerkenwell, Central London.

This is a free event but you need a ticket, register at http://skillsmatter.com/event/os-mobile-server/london-gamecraft

For more see http://dublingamecraft.com/events/london-gamecraft/

Galway Games Jam

Galway Game Jam #2 will be taking place on 22 June in Áras na MacLéinn, NUIG.

It will be a 12 hour long game jam open to interested people of all skill levels. If you are an experienced game developer or a total n00b to game development head along and meet up with like minded people to build your next masterpiece!

There will be food available on the day.

Prizes will include drawing tablets, books, games and gadgets.

Entry Fee: €10.00 Employed, €5.00 Student/Unemployed/OAP
Limit: 200 People
Doors: 0830
Jam: 0900-2100

Galway Game Jam – http://www.galwaygamejam.com/
Facebook Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/480620372018856/
Buy Tickets – http://galwaygamejam2.eventbrite.com/#

Keep an eye on the galway games group thread on the gd.ie forums for more.

Irish Hci Conf

The Irish HCI conference programme is now online at hci.casala.ie

The conference will take place next week, June 12th and 13th, in the School of Health and Science in Dundalk Institute of Technology.

There are two keynote speakers – Brian Reaves from SAP, Palo Alto and Dónal Rice from the Centre of Excellence in Universal Design. They also have an industry session and a number of invited talks from HCI academics.

In keeping with previous years, registration costs for iHCI remain low. Registration for student’s costs €35 plus processing fee, whilst registration for non-students costs €60 plus processing fee.

You can register online at hci.casala.ie.

Bitsmith’s Ku Comes To Pc, Mac And Android

Today, the 29th of May, 2013, we are delighted to announce that bitSmith’s Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan will be available on PC, Mac & Android.

For those of you who don’t know – Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan is an Action Adventure in which Ireland’s ancient past and economic present collide.

You play as young Ku, who must venture out in to a broken and strange world for the first time. You will have to battle monsters, solve puzzles and retrieve an ancient treasure from the goddess Morrigan.

It blends a hand-drawn, Celt-Punk art style with a storyline based on ancient Irish legend, with a dash of subtle commentary on the grim reality of economic collapse. The aesthetic of Irish and Celtic cultures are prevalent, and the game offers full Irish language support.

The iOS version, which launched earlier in the year, received some glowing reviews and broke the top 100 in the US paid charts. Edge Magazine awarded it their “iOS Game of the Month” for February and others called it “imaginative, charming and persistently attractive” and “a hugely promising debut”.

There is a mini-site available at http://kuthegame.com/ with videos, screen-shots and downloads.

Get it

The PC and Mac versions come with controller support and will be available through the Humble Store widget on the bitSmith Games site at http://bitsmithgames.com/

The PC version will be available on http://www.gamersgate.com/ from today.

It’s also on Steam Greenlight at http://kuthegame.com/

See it

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU1i1qf0kM4
Story – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGAfylkgQBM
Screenshots and music – http://kuthegame.com/media/

Contact Them

http://bitsmithgames.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bitSmithGames

https://twitter.com/bitSmithGames or @bitSmithGames

Tokyo Game Show Scholarships

The IGDA is pleased to announce that it will once again be offering IGDA Scholarships to attend CEDEC and Tokyo Game Show. Students from around the world, in all disciplines related to the games industry, are invited to apply.

CEDEC will take place from 21 to 23 August in Yokohama, Japan. Tokyo Game Show will take place from 19 – 22 September in Chiba city, Japan.

The IGDA Scholarships are awarded to the best and brightest students and provide access to major industry events. Students receive individual mentorship from professionals in the field, opportunities to meet and talk to senior figures, as well as the chance to visit local studios in the area of the event. Through this experience, students can get a feel for what it truly means to be a part of our industry.

Applications close on 20 June 2013, as the judging process begins.

For more information and for the applications form, please visit: http://ifigdaj.blogspot.sg/2013/05/igda-scholarship-cedec-tokyo-game-show.html

Street Rugby Game Launch

I guess it is timely and a good ‘celebrity’ link up. If you are in the area why not pop down.

Aphra

******************

Sean O’Brien (Tullow RFC, Leinster, Ireland and tourist with the 2013 British and Irish Lions) will be on hand to launch iMobile’s new Street Rugby game – in which he is the central character – at the Hampton Hotel, Dublin 4 at 3.30pm on Thursday, 23rd of May.

Details:

Venue: Hampton Hotel (formerly Sachs)
19-29 Morehampton Road,
Donnybrook,
Dublin 4

Times:

3.30pm: Demonstration of Street Rugby
4.30pm: Group interviews with Sean O’Brien

About Street Rugby

The game player controls international rugby star Sean O’Brien as he tackles and side-steps his way through the streets of Dublin from The Spire on O’Connell Street to Lansdowne Road collecting caps and power-ups along the way.

Street Rugby is an arcade-style mobile game using a 3D modelled map of the real streets of Dublin where Sean O’Brien dodges taxis, jumps potholes and shakes off passersby on his way to the home of Irish rugby.

About iMobile

Dublin-based mobile application design, development and publishing company iMobile have been developing apps for sports brands for years with Leinster Rugby, IRFU, ERC, Graeme McDowell, Retief Goosen and many more among their clients.

Having developed a reputation for quality and cutting edge mobile solutions, iMobile are branching out into the fast growing world of mobile gaming with Street Rugby.

See http://www.imobile.ie/features/portfolio/sortable-layout

Imobile And Sean O’Brien Launch Street Rugby On Itunes

International rugby star Sean O’Brien of Tullow RFC, Leinster, Ireland and tourist with the British & Irish Lions launched Street Rugby at the Hampton Hotel in Dublin on Thursday 23rd May. The freemium third-person running game, is developed by app and games developer imobile.

Released initially on iOS devices, with an Android version to follow, the game allows players to take on the role of Sean running, jumping and side-stepping through a recognisable 3D representation of central Dublin from O’Connell Street, Grafton Street, through Stephens Green on the way to the finishing line at Lansdowne Road.

Players will collect caps and power-ups, avoiding potholes and barriers, knocking down buses and taxis, and taking down opposition players and being chased down by adoring fans. The game also features in-app purchases allowing players to upgrade their character as they try to reach the finishing line.

The launch was well attended by media including television, radio and print media. In the midst of the media scrum, Sean said “When I heard the imobile lads were looking for me to get involved in Street Rugby I was very keen to find out more. I’ve got long flights to Hong Kong and Australia coming up so I was looking for something to pass the time on those as well.

GameDevelopers.ie had time to sit down and chat with Padraig Shanley, co-founder of imobile and discussed how they moved from app development into games.

The Project

GameDevelopers.ie: So how did the project start?
Padraig Shanley: We’ve done a lot of sports apps. We’ve built apps for Leinster Rugby, Munster Rugby, the IRFU, Graham McDowell, Retief Goosen, we’ve worked with Aviva Premiership so we’ve worked with a lot of sports. In some of the applications they’ve asked us to put in mini-games so Leinster had a kicking game last year in a version, Retief Goosen had a mini golf game in it, Graham McDowell wanted a mini golf game, so that’s what started it with all the golf games.

Then we decided we’d get into the games end of it with 3D games and we had decided we wanted to do something in rugby as we had built six applications for rugby clubs so Street Rugby came out of that. We didn’t want a kicking game because we had done it and rugby is a very hard game to build for so we decided to make it a bit of fun, base it in Dublin, run through the streets and collect caps, try and get a top rugby player involved and Sean fitted in with that because it was bashing through cars and running through the streets and he was a proper character for that, and that’s how we got into it.

We had an interest in the creative side of the business so we have also developed another puzzle game which is played on a live server against anyone in the world called Be Number One, and we have a third game coming along so that how we got into that end of it.

GD.ie: How many people were involved in the development of the game?
PS: Our entire team is 28 developers, four creative and ourselves. At nearly every stage of the game nearly everyone had some contribution. I’m not saying that everyone worked on it all the time but there was definitely 15 or 20 people involved at different times working on it. We had a lot of other projects on and we wanted to build it as we worked on our main business, so we’ve worked on it over the last nine months.

The Game

GD.ie: What were the main challenges in the game? It’s a 3D model of Dublin you can run through, how big is the zone that you can go through, is it from O’Connell Street to Lansdowne Road?
PS: Yes, it goes through Stephens Green, Baggot Street, up along the quays. It has a lot of the canal, through Baggot Street again, up by our office, by Google’s office ending at Lansdowne Road. We mapped pretty much all of the city centre. It started off we were only going to do one or two streets but then we got a little carried away and tried to map the entire city so we’re going to be bringing out a couple of other versions hopefully, in different cities around the world such as London, Paris, somewhere in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and maybe do something with American Football as well with the same concept.

GD.ie: What were the different challenges between making an app and making a game, or was there really any difference at the end of the day?
PS: Apps are not as creative. They come with a spec from the customer and the creative part might be to create a nice UI, whereas we wanted to get more into the other side of things and that’s where the game stepped in. That would be main challenge, the creative side, coming up with the concept, putting it together and putting the right team in place to do it, and not going off spec.

GD.ie: I can see within the game that you have in-app purchases, so can you explain some of the functions that they can give you, and for someone who is playing the game for free, just running through and avoiding things, they can collect caps, but what do the in-app purchases do?
PS: It is possible to clear the game completely without an in-app purchase, but it’s very difficult. An in-app purchase will allow you to collect power because you need energy to get around, you can have “Tullow Tank” mode that lets you bash through cars and buses that are in your way, also bash through people you have to tackle. You also have invincibility which allows you to run for about 15 seconds without being killed by anything, like in Temple Run. We also have resurrection which allows you to come back from the dead instead of going back to the start. You can also buy your own jersey; we have most of the rugby clubs in it if you want to change your jersey. We have a lot of new functionality coming next version. We might put Sean on transport; we’ve been looking at different things.

From apps to games

GD.ie: Are there plans now to set up imobile games separate to the app company?
PS: It’ll be a boutique games company and we plan to roll out somewhere in the region of four or five games over the next year, maybe more, across all platforms.

GD.ie: From the point of view of working in the app industry and the games industry, have you had much involvement with the local industry?
PS: Not really, it’s something we should have done and something we will do now but we do a lot of work outside of Ireland, 90% of our work is outside of Ireland. We have an office in Mexico, so we haven’t really, but we will.

GD.ie: We’ll get you to come along to some of the events.
PS: We will, absolutely.

GD.ie: The game’s available now on iOS and you have an Android version?
PS: That’s being launched in less than two weeks, probably in conjunction with a major phone brand.

GD.ie: And how much is the game?
PS: It’s freemium, download it for free and buy in-app purchases, we might do some product placement in it later on as it’s based on the real city so you might see some bars popping up, or some branded trucks. We’re going to experiment with that.

The game can be picked up on iTunes now and will be on the Google Play store within the next few weeks, and GameDevelopers.ie would like to thank Padraig for his time for this interview.

See http://www.imobile.ie/

Ba (Hons) Animation Bcfe

This honours degree programme allows the students to develop and integrate their technical and academic skills in a structured way. It aims to develop in the student a balance between the conceptualist, the artist, the storyteller and the technician.

At honours level the learning is largely self-directed and the students are required to produce an individual animated film and a dissertation based on independent research.

The programme is validated by the University of Dundee (http://www.dundee.ac.uk/).

Programme Content

The programme is composed of both practical and theoretical modules: Production, Life Drawing, Research and Development, Historical and Theoretical Analysis, Personal Programme of Study, Dissertation.

Entry Requirements

HND in Animation (or relevant and equivalent qualification). If English is not your first language you must provide documentary evidence of your ability in English. Normally students are expected to have an IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent.

Certification

Advanced Diploma in Animation – City of Dublin Vocational Education Committee. BA Honours Degree in Animation – University of Dundee

Portfolio Guidelines

Artwork should demonstrate ability in both figurative and abstract approaches. 10 samples of life drawing and life drawing sketchbooks. Layout and design samples and developmental work. Scripts,treatments, storyboards. Animation tests with conceptual development and thumbnail work to support context. Personal observation sketchbooks and journals exhibiting artistic/cultural interests. Work may be presented flat or digitally. All work must be original and recent.

See http://isa-bcfe.ie/

Q-Ed Belfast

Q-Con 2013 will be running from the 28th to the 30th of June, and is a great opportunity for gamers, fans, and designers alike to meet, greet, and compete.

Q-ED is a one-day conference ( Sat. the 29th) of talks and panels taking place during the Q-Con games convention in Belfast.

Q-Con 2012 was one of the UK and Ireland’s largest games conventions with over 2200 people attending throughout the weekend.

We are nailing down details of the talks and panels at the moment, but many of this year’s Q-ED speakers have been confirmed, including veterans of mobile gaming, illustration, and movie CGI.

Current speakers confirmed so far include:
Greg Maguire – inlifesize.com
Andrea Magnorsky – batcatgames.com
Owen Harris – bitsmithgames.com
Brendan Drain/Tina Lauro – predestinationgame.com
Tanya Roberts – Star Wars comics
PJ Holden – 2000AD comics
Sophie Tynan – LARP NI

More details are available at http://www.q-con.org.uk/node/38

For further details about Q-ED and Q-Con, you can find us at http://www.q-con.org.uk, or follow us on Facebook as QConBelfast and Twitter as @qub_qcon

Dublin Start Up Weekend

A Dublin Start Up Weekend is taking place from the 7-9th of June this year in Google Ireland. It is not just about games but there are some game companies involved as mentors and judges.

The tickets are €55 until 17 May, which includes: food on Friday night (pizza or something similar); breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday; snacks throughout the weekend; and lots of swag – t-shirts, etc.

Ideas are pitched Friday night and teams are formed, then the ideas are developed throughout Saturday and Sunday with the help of mentors. On Sunday night all teams pitch their ideas and out judging panel will score the teams based on certain criteria. There will be prizes and potential talks with investors.

Our mentors and judges can be viewed at http://dublin.startupweekend.org/

Get tickets at http://startupweekenddublin.eventbrite.com/#

Bsc (Hons) In Computing, It Tallaght

Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computing

Full Time: Application Closing Date:

This is a general computer science course but there are two modules of relevance in Year 4 – Interactive Media Design and Interactive Media Development both lectured by Stephen Howell.

Interactive Media Design deals mainly with the processing framework for development of 2D graphics and UI.

Interactive Media Development is now using Unity3D (previously XNA) to teach game development fundamentals (Lighting, cameras, animation etc..) as well as the some game-design theory.

See http://www.it-tallaght.ie/index.cfm/page/course?id=61

Gdc Europe Scholarships

The IGDA is offering some student scholarships to attend GDC Europe this summer.

Students from around the world, in all disciplines related to the games industry, are invited to apply to receive an All-Access pass to one of Europe’s most prestigious conferences, held in Cologne, Germany 19-21 August.

Applications are being accepted until 14 June at which point the judging process will begin.

Interested students can find more information, as well as apply, at http://www.igda.org/scholars/2013-info/how-to-apply/

Games & Learning Event

The Irish Symposium on Game Based Learning (iGBL2013) will be held in the Dublin Institute of Technology from Thursday 6th to Friday 7th June.

The conference has a varied programme of presentations, interactive posters and showcases spanning educational and corporate sectors.

This year’s programme will also feature interactive workshops, presentations powered by PechaKucha and some gamification novelties! There will be plenty of opportunities for networking and collaboration with educational practitioners, researchers, students, exhibitors and industry professionals.

View the conference website at igbl2013.wordpress.com or follow us on Twitter: @igbl2013.

REGISTRATION
Registration for iGBL2013 is now open with registration closing on Friday 10th May.

Register online at: http://igbl2013.wordpress.com/registration/

KEYNOTES
We are delighted to present our two keynote speakers:

Dr. Nicola Whitton is a game-based learning expert and researcher in learning innovation at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is passionate about enhancing and rethinking the ways in which teaching, learning and assessment are carried out, particularly in higher education, in order to create more equitable and engaging experiences for students. She is particularly interested in the use of games for creating active and experiential models of learning. See bit.ly/URnXYy for more details.

Fiachra Ó Comhraí is a gamification expert and CEO of Gordon Games [gordongames.com], a company making people happier at work through software game techniques. The company uses gamification to bond people together, make progress clearer and make good work addictive. See bit.ly/XEu1lP for more details.

WORKSHOPS

For the first time, this year’s conference will feature a series of interactive workshops where delegates will get the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of game-based learning and gamification. Workshops will cover a variety of themes including:

· How to design cheap and effective games for learning

· Gamification: using gaming techniques to motivate and engage

Workshop details will be announced shortly and places will be limited so early registration is advised.

Ireland @ Berlin Games Event

So EI seems to be involved in the Quo Vadis games event taking place shortly in Berlin, Germany where there is a special focus on the games industries in Ireland, Spain, Israel, Poland and Malta.

See
http://die-entwicklerkonferenz.de/en/program-2013/intern-cooperations

23-25th April

http://die-entwicklerkonferenz.de/en

Indi Dev Comp @ Develop

Indie Dev Showcase 2013 at Develop, Brighton, July 2013.

As part of the Indie Dev focus, Develop is also running The Indie Showcase again from 10 – 11 July in the Develop Expo – which will feature 10 independently developed games unpublished by a third party, shortlisted by a panel of experts.

Delegates will have the chance to play all the games on display, and one of these games will go on to be judged overall Indie Showcase winner by our panel. All delegates will have a chance to vote for their favourite game in the Showcase via a “People’s Choice” ballot at the event.

“Unity are proud to once again be sponsoring the Indie Game Showcase at Develop 2013 in Brighton. We were blown away by the quality of last years entries and look forward to checking out what the very best of the indie development community has to show-off this year.” David Helgason, CEO, Unity

How do I enter?

It’s free to enter and the closing date for all game submissions is Monday 13 May 2013.

If you’re an indie developer who’d like to submit a game all you need to do is read the Guidelines and How to Enter sections, then complete the online entry form and send in your game by 13 May. It’s that simple.

Enter at http://www.developconference.com/Content/Indie-Showcase-Submissions

Winners of The 2012 Indie Showcase Awards were:

Editors’ choice – Qube, Toxic Games
People’s choice – Missing Ink, Red Bedlam
Judges’ choice – Lume, State of Play

Vs-Games Cfp

VS-Games 2013 (extended submission deadline)

http://www.vsgames2013.org/

(– Please note that the deadline for all submissions has now been extended to Monday the 22nd of April –)

The fifth outing of the International Conference on Games and Virtual Worlds for Serious Applications will be hosted at Bournemouth University, UK between the 11th and the 13th of September 2013. With the conference organized in previous years at locations such as Coventry (UK), Braga (Portugal), Athens (Greece) and Genoa (Italy), it will take place, for 2013, at the state of the art Kimmeridge House building of Bournemouth University, situated at the main Talbot campus of the institution.

The development and deployment of games with a purpose beyond entertainment and with considerable connotations with more serious aims is an exciting area with immense academic but also commercial potential.

The VS Games 2013 conference aims to address this variety of relevant contemporary challenges that the increasingly cross-disciplinary communities involved in serious games are currently facing. This will be achieved by, amongst other ways, the comprehensive dissemination of successful case studies and development practices, the sharing of theories, conceptual frameworks and methodologies and, finally, the discussion of evaluation approaches and their resulting studies.

For VS Games 2013 we are therefore seeking contributions from researchers, developers from the industry, practitioners and decision-makers which aim to advance the state of the art in all of the technologies related to serious games. The following listed topics are particularly encouraged, though it should be mentioned that they are not the only ones of interest to VS Games 2013 and that the list below is not exhaustive by any means:

• Game design
• Virtual environments
• Game-based learning methodologies
• Mixed and augmented reality
• Computer graphics
• Gamification
• Case studies/user studies for serious games and virtual worlds
• Mobile gaming
• Interactive storytelling
• Application areas
• AI for serious games
• Educational/learning theories and their application
• Visualization
• Pervasive gaming
• Human-computer interaction
• User modeling
• Alternate reality
• Simulation
• Platforms and tools

The following are the dates of submission for the different tracks of the VS Games 2013 conference:

• Full Papers (8 pages): 25th March 2013 extended to 22nd of April 2013
• Short Papers (4 pages): 25th March 2013 extended to 22nd of April 2013
• Poster Papers (2 pages): 25th March 2013 extended to 22nd of April 2013
• Call for Workshops (2 pages): 25th March 2013 extended to 22nd of April 2013

The authors of the best papers will be invited to write an extended version for inclusion in the Elsevier Entertainment Computing journal (subject to additional review) and IGI Global’s International Journal of Game-Based Learning.

Authors of selected technical articles with a focus on computer graphics will be invited to submit extended versions of their works to be considered for publication in Elsevier’s Computers and Graphics Journal.

Further proceedings and other journal special issue details for the VS Games 2013 publications are being finalised and will be announced as soon as possible.

Juice Jumpers Now Out.

Juice Jumpers, the new puzzle game from Little Bee Studios, has arrived and is launched today in the iTunes store.

Juice Jumpers is a match three puzzle game that turns the genre on its head, instead of sliding rows or swapping gems, you spin fruits to match them and rather than the pieces simply disappearing when you make a match, in Juice Jumpers you feed your characters with your every move.

There are three modes of fruity madness….

Classic : Perfect match three arcade experience.

Evolve : Feed, Evolve, Multiply.

JumperWare : Series of microfast lightning games to test your reflexes.

The ultimate goal here is to evolve your juice jumpers into their upgraded forms, giving them useful powers which will help you in eradicating those pesky fruit chomping worms. As you advance you will need to plan ahead and be efficient with your moves in order to defend against the wormly horde while blasting your way to blockbuster score bonuses.

There are several ways to build your score, complete bonus challenges by matching fruits in a given order, or even, by filling the board with juice jumpers of the same family, get the ultimate score bonus, the JUICEPACK.

It has taken the team two years to reach this point so help to support them by going to https://itunes.apple.com/ie/app/juice-jumpers/id555099920?ls=1&mt=8

*Download the game, its 79 cents well spent

*Rate it if you enjoy it, even if you don’t they would be super grateful for the stars

Well done all!

Engineers Ireland Award Winners

Last week saw the Engineers Ireland Game Developer Awards, an evening of celebration which took part during the Games Fleadh in Thurles.

The winners of the awards very much reflected that Dublin is the powerbase for the indigenous digital gaming sector in Ireland, with eight of the 12 awards coming from six companies in the capital. The other four were divided evenly between two companies, one in Galway and the other in Thurles itself.

Phil Bourke noted “The real positive is we are creating a great opportunity here for Ireland as the proliferation of indigenous games developers is sending a strong signal to multi-nationals that Ireland is a cutting-edge location when it comes to games development. We are building a real pedigree in Ireland.

Engineers Ireland Game Developer Awards winners

Best mobile game – PufferFish Games, Dublin, for Busy Bees

Best PC game – Riotgames for League of Legends, Dublin,

Best in Animation – Tribal City Interactive, Galway for Sheep Launcher 2

Best in Game Design – Nevermind Games, Thurles for TroubleSum

Best in Game Play – Haunted Planet, Dublin for Bram Stockers Vampires

Best in Casual Game Tribal City Interactive, Galway and Psychic Software, Dublin (Joint first)

Best Original Audio & Music – bitSmith, Dublin for Ku Shroud of the Morrigan

Best free-to-play – Redwind Software, Dublin for Numerosity: play with math

Best Original Innovation – Haunted Planet, Dublin for Bram

Best in Visual Engineering – bitSmith, Dublin for Ku

Best Indie Game of the Year – Nevermind Games, Thurles for Solar Sprint.

Best Game of the Year – bitSmith, Dublin for Ku

For pics of the awards see http://bit.ly/1129T3b and http://www.gamesfleadh.ie/

For pics of all the competitions see https://www.facebook.com/ditschoolofcomputing

Well done to Phil, LIT and all involved!

Games Fleadh

The 90% plus growth of the digital gaming sector in Ireland from 2009 to 2012 can be replicated if not accelerated over the next three years such is the confidence in the industry here, the premier annual gathering for young programmers was told today.

Speaking at the opening day of the 10th annual ‘Games Fleadh’ – hosted by LIT Thurles for country’s leading young programmers – founder of the event Philip Bourke predicted that Ireland is on track to exponentially grow the industry and create thousands of jobs over the next three years.

The two-day Games Fleadh is being attended by over 2,500 of the country’s leading young programmers and games developers. The gathering, which has fast become Ireland’s largest digital games programming festival, includes a range of events that will showcase the talents of Ireland’s leading young programmers.

One of the highlights is tonight’s ‘Oscars’ of Irish computer gaming, the Engineers Ireland Game Developer Awards, which this year has seen a doubling in the number studios and games nominated for 12 awards.

Students are also participating in a range of gaming competitions at the event, which will also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the classic game Robot Tank © Activision Publishing Inc., while a number of industry experts giving addresses on the future of the emerging industry and its significant job creation potential.

“We have an explosion in the indigenous sector and have landed some really impressive FDI global brands over recent years. The FDI jobs are mostly in support-centres and we need to attract more of these but the jobs growth rate will really multiply if we can develop Ireland as a global hub for game development.

“The missing link we need to increase our output of character artists, people who will design the actual characters for the games. We have everything else; game designers, programmers, graphic designers, developers and improved competitiveness as a destination for FDI.”

The Irish Games Industry Survey 2012 by Jamie McCormick, Marketing Systems Manager with Dublin based GALA Networks Europe, showed that the Munster and Connacht regions have experienced the biggest increase in jobs but are more reliant on major FDI employers, whereas Dublin has a greater critical mass of indigenous companies employing the same numbers as the Connacht and Munster regions.

According to Mr Bourke, a focus area going forward has to be on helping the smaller indigenous developers get their games published but the indigenous sector can also help attract further FDI.

“We are creating a real opportunity here for Ireland as the proliferation of indigenous games developers is sending a strong signal to multi-nationals that Ireland is a cutting-edge location when it comes to games development. We are building a real pedigree in Ireland.

“The Games Fleadh is playing a role in that and its organic growth has been partly responsible for the development of a cluster of start-up companies here on our campus in Thurles alone. To support this, and the wider industry, we are in the process of establishing our own Games Research Centre here.

One of the first things this Centre will do is conduct research into how companies can best promote their digital games, which could have real benefits for indigenous Irish companies to commercialise their games.”

Nfq Level 5 – 3D Game Design, Bife, Bray, Co. Wicklow.

QQI (FETAC) Level 5 Award
Course Code: M5

Introduction:
This extremely popular course is an introduction to 3D computer game design and development. Learners will design and create their own computer games. The course examines all aspects of computer game production and learners will acquire a comprehensive knowledge of game design as well as an extensive portfolio of work.

Programme of Study:

Games Design Theory
3D Modelling
3D Animation
Game Logic
2D Texturing
Sound design
Art & Drawing

The comprehensive programme of study enables the student to take control of all aspects of the design phases of their games; Concepts can be brought to reality in the art room, designs and plans are then transferred to computer, models are generated, rigged, animated and textured for use in games while interactive and in game sounds are produced in the sound studio. In this way, the student will produce two games in this course.

Number of places: 24

Course Costs: Approximately €600 per year (including €200 government Tax)

Qualification: Level 5 FETAC Major Award in Creative Media

Duration: This is a full-time, one year course which runs from September to May

Application: Applicants should have at least a pass Leaving Cert. Mature applicants welcome. All applicants will be interviewed.

Apply online here: https://bife2013.enrol.ie/bife2013/

Title: 3D Game Design Foundation Course, Bray Institute of Further Education, Bray, Co. Wicklow

The Start Of Something Big

The last eight months have been a whirlwind for Tom Murphy. In July 2012, Murphy, founder of boards.ie, set up mobile games company Gone Gaming. Now he and business partner Karl Hutson are planning the worldwide launch of their first title, The Jump, in Austin or Los Angeles. The game, which features DJ Poet from pop group Black Eyed Peas, has won app of the month on Eircom and Meteor. Murphy has secured a place for the game – a free download for Android and iOS – on Google Store Play. The game also has a Playboy tie-in.

“Karl and I look back at everything that’s happened and think, ‘Wow’. Last July feels like a lifetime ago. We’ve learned so much and come so far from our original squiggles on a piece of paper. It’s been a rollercoaster.”

Despite the gloomy economic climate, it’s a healthy time to fund and develop a games company. “Recession causes entrepreneurship,” continues Murphy. “People say, ‘I lost my job, I’ve been forced out of my cosy environment’, or ‘I can’t get a job, so I might as well just make my own’. Traditionally, recession is a good time for entrepreneurs. When you get booted out of your job by redundancy, you have nothing to lose.”

The industry is not only seeing an increasing amount of business veterans establishing start-up software companies, but college-leavers are also considering entrepreneurship as a valid career choice. This marks a welcome change, according to Gary Leyden, director at National Digital Research Centre’s (NDRC) LaunchPad programme.

“Building a scalable business is so much cheaper with web technologies and storage. There’s a real buzz in Dublin at the moment: a really strong underground start-up scene. On two or three nights a week, you can go out to a meet up around start-up. It’s a community that helps each other out. In NDRC, we’re seeing more and more people coming out of college into entrepreneurship.

Step 1: Connect with the community and develop your Idea


Dublin’s vibrant start-up community allows budding developers to explore options and business viability before looking for funding.

Gamedevelopers.ie hosts indie meets in Dublin city centre, organised via the forums – informal events to share knowledge with like-minded small game companies. A group in Galway, with their own thread on the forums, also meets regularly. There are a number of relevant groups on LinkedIn, including Irish Game Developers, and Gamepreneurs for founders of games companies. These groups allow you to network with people who have relevant experience.

The National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), which works out of a warehouse building in Dublin 8, behind the Guinness Brewery, operates a number of programmes that allow software developers to road test ideas. These include their Open Mic Idea Jam, in which developers pitch ideas. See www.ndrc.ie/category/events

Once an idea is in place, the next step is to explore the target market and develop a business plan. Enterprise Ireland (EI) provides two programmes of relevance: New Frontiers and feasibility funding.


A team pitches at NDRC

EI – New Frontiers
Linda Coyle, Development Advisor at Enterprise Ireland (EI), describes EI’s New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme, as an ideal resource for game developers in the early stages of setting up a business. “Pretty much at the idea stage,” she explains. “We get a lot of companies in the Competitive Start Fund (CSF) that were on New Frontiers. It’s a means for them to validate models and put a competitive business plan in place.”

The New Frontiers programme, delivered locally by Ireland’s Institutes of Technology, offers training modules in areas such as financial management, market research, business process, patenting, product development, and sales training.

Applicants – who receive mentoring, office and incubation facilities, and a €15,000 scholarship to cover the six month course – are assessed on a number of criteria. These include: “capability and commitment needed to develop a sustainable business”; a plan to achieve “turnover greater than €500,000 and create more than five jobs in three to five years time”; and evidence of a commercial market for the proposed product.

See http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/Start-a-Business-in-Ireland/Supports-for-High-Potential-Start-Ups/New-Frontiers-Entrepreneur-Development-Programme.html


New Frontiers: Seán Sherlock T.D. Minister for Research & Innovation and Dr. Lisa Keating, Enterprise Ireland, launching the New Frontiers entrepreneur development programme in Dublin February 2012.

EI – Feasibility funding
When Tom Murphy decided to start a mobile games company, a few people initially worked with him for equity. Others were happy to invest in the company. Murphy also poured his savings into the venture.

The team then secured a feasibility study grant through Enterprise Ireland. This involved an online submission of around nine pages and a face to face meeting, resulting in a grant of €15,000, which Gone Gaming matched with their own €15,000.

According to Linda Coyle, Enterprise Ireland offer feasibility studies grants on a selective basis. Applicants must not have secured feasibility funding elsewhere – through the New Frontiers programme or NDRC’s LaunchPad, for example.

Nevertheless, the grant was enough to get Gone Gaming in motion. “I wouldn’t say it was enough to get a games company off the ground, but it’s certainly seed capital,” explains Murphy. “It can happily keep one person at the coalface working on a project, but €30,000 or €40,000 isn’t going to get you much of a game these days. We were aiming somewhat bigger.
We knew we needed a second round of funding.”

Step 2: Develop your idea and get initial equity investment

If you don’t have sufficient funds but think you have a valid idea, concept, and target market, further investment will be required. Potential options include the NDRC and EI. Most of these programmes are designed to provide office space, mentorship and investment, often in return for an equity stake in the company.

NDRC – LaunchPad accelerator programme
Six weeks after forming bitSmith Games, Owen Harris, Basil Lim, Ralph Croly and Paul Conway, pitched their idea for Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan, a touch-based adventure game for iPad, centered around Irish mythology, in front of a panel at Dublin’s National Digital Research Centre (NDRC).

NDRC’s LaunchPad accelerator programme is geared toward software development companies in their early stages. “We invest in or around the idea stage,” explains NDRC director Gary Leyden. “We offer the opportunity to validate your idea. We invest a small amount of money – up to about €20,000 – in teams of up to three people. They enter our programme for three months to validate and craft a model for scaling their business.”

LaunchPad puts out a call for applications twice a year and runs programmes that commence in February and September. Out of around 100 pitches, the best 15 are selected.

“The first port of call is one of NDRC’s many social events, where you can have a chat about the programme,” says Harris. “NDRC is very involved in the start-up world in general. The first stage is a paper submission; the second stage is a pitch.”

Applicants submit a form via the NDRC website: outlining the idea, the team, and the project’s stage of development. Leyden continues: “We hold a lot of workshops and open information sessions beforehand so people understand what we’re looking for. Then we try and get as many people as possible to pitch. It’s important to meet them.”

Equity is negotiable for developers who receive LaunchPad funding; the average share is around 8% of the business. Harris advises new game developers not to be overly precious about handing over a chunk of the company to an investor.


Ku Shroud of the Morrigan, BitSmith. Available via the App store.

“I strongly believe you have to be flexible in terms of giving away some equity – you can’t throw it every which way, but it’s important you’re willing to give some away,” he says. “Some companies doggedly hold on to all their shares. As the old saying goes, ‘100% of nothing is nothing’. Before LaunchPad we were just a few dudes sitting around with laptops, tinkering away. NDRC forces you to get your act together pretty quickly. It’s a real sink or swim programme. They can be slightly brutal in terms of their feedback. Rightly so.”

LaunchPad offers mentoring and workshops alongside investment. Games companies tend to benefit from NDRC’s peer-to-peer environment, in which they work alongside 14 other start ups. This working environment was crucial to bitSmith’s development.

“A lot of technical teams are happy to work out of their bedroom or kitchen,” says Harris. “For me, it’s important psychologically and productively that we have a space to go to. There’s a barrage of mentoring. Sometimes about 50% of your day is made up of one to one workshops and mentoring.”

Although LaunchPad is geared toward generalised digital start-ups, a number of games companies make it through each round. In the last LaunchPad VI, NDRC invested in middleware business Conker.io, and PowWow, whose point and click game The World of ShipAntics is launching on PC/MAC and iOS.

NDRC will recruit for LaunchPad VIII in summer 2013. “The only caveat is that idea needs the potential to scale up,” says Leyden. “We’ll only invest in something that’s innovative and has the potential to scale internationally.”

www.ndrc.ie/launchpad
launchpad@ndrc.ie


Conker. Winner of NDRC Launchpad 6, 2012.

EI – Competitive Start Fund
After securing feasibility funding, Gone Gaming started to look at other options in order to create a prototype for The Jump. First port of call? Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund (CSF). CSF was initially modelled on programmes such as Y Combinator, an American seed-stage start-up funding firm, and through consultation with Irish industry specialists.

“Originally the Competitive Start Fund was aimed at Internet and games companies but then it spread across sectors to give them access to funding that might be a stepping stone to HPSU (High Potential Start Up) funding,” explains EI’s Linda Coyle. “For a number of those companies, CSF is sufficient. A lot of games companies are applying and are successful. It suits smaller companies where the plan is one game per year.”

Successful applicants receive €50,000 for 10% equity of the business. The investment is delivered into two packages of €25,000 with an evaluation before the second €25,000 is released. The business must provide a corresponding €5,000 input.

Although EI are ideally looking for first-time entrepreneurs or younger entrepreneurs, CSF’s initial evaluation is not for the faint hearted. The business is initially evaluated on a number of key areas: company and promoter profile; product and market opportunity; business plan execution; product innovation, and ability to deliver key commercial and technical milestones. After evaluation, the top 30 scoring businesses are forwarded to the next round: a presentation before a panel of internal EI executives and external industry experts.

Of the top 30, 15 are selected for investment.

“There was a lot more work required [than for feasibility funding],” remarks Tom Murphy of Gone Gaming. “It was thorough. We did several rounds of pitching. A web submission first of all. Then web video interview. At the end, when we got down to the last 30 for the 15 slots, you do a face to face pitch for five minutes.”

Successful applicants are assigned a development advisor and a range of supports, including: a business mentor; access to workshops, training and buyer events; and access to EI’s overseas offices for events such as trade shows.

Like Owen Harris in bitSmith, Murphy was not worried about giving up a percentage of the business – in this case 10%. “We felt we were valued a little higher, but then you think, ‘In five months I’ve gone from scratching my eyes in my bed to having a €500,000 company’. We were delighted with the investment and what it allows us to do. Our main shareholders still own 90%. CSF is really well set up with great people behind it. For an experienced business person, it’s not a difficult decision to make. Some people might say, ‘I don’t want to give away any of my business’. But that’s an inexperienced business person.”

EI puts out an open call for CSF four times a year. Of the 100 or so applicants, around 10% are games companies.

www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/funding-supports/Company/HPSU-Funding/Competitive-Start-Fund-CSF-.html
E-mail: csf@enterprise-ireland.com
Tel: + 353 1 727 2202 (9am – 5pm)


Pictured (l-r): Mark Dunne, 2SaaS, Richard Bruton TD, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and Peter Van den Bossche, 2SaaS, at Sept 2012 announcement of CSF investments

EI – Internet Growth Acceleration Programme
Funding a business is only the first step to long term viability. Any games developer worth their salt has to continually grow the business and upskill the team. Fortunately, the Internet Growth Acceleration Programme (iGAP) is ideally placed to do just that.

iGAP – developed by Enterprise Ireland and the Internet Growth Alliance – gives high potential internet companies the opportunity to take training modules with world class serial entrepreneurs, on practical topics such as business strategy, product-market-fit, designing the customer experience, funding strategies. Participants are partnered with experienced coaches, given access to seasoned industry experts, and wroth through a business growth plan. The full cost is €10,000 for two participants, but EI provides 70% (€7,000).

Last year, Gone Gaming’s Tom Murphy mentored on iGAP. This year, the self-confessed poacher-turned-gamekeeper hopes to land a place on the course in order to grow his new business. What does iGAP offer a fledgling company? “It’s a boot camp for entrepreneurs,” says Murphy. “Maybe you’re an inexperienced business leader. You need to polish up on those skills, or learn those skills. iGap marries people in the industry with new entrepreneurs. Each company gets individual coaching for a day. Top names come in and help – that’s invaluable. It’s very rewarding.”

Michelle Lawlor, Enterprise Ireland,
01 7272317
igap@enterprise-ireland.com
Ray Walsh, Enterprise Ireland,
01 727 2118,
ray.walsh@enterprise-ireland.com

Room to roam
Finding office space to facilitate a development team is one of the tougher challenges facing any new business. Thankfully, there are options available. As part of its LaunchPad accelerator programme, the NDRC offers an open plan office in a warehouse building in Dublin 8. There are 15 pods, each with three desks, presentation space and meeting space.

“The environment is pretty unique,” says Gary Leyden, LaunchPad director. “You work alongside people doing the same things as you: not just games companies, but digital technology companies. There’s a huge amount of peer to peer interaction.”

Games Ireland, in association with EI, has just announced (28 February, 2013) its GamesSpace project in the IFSC in Dublin, featuring office space for start-up companies. The space will provide “hotdesks” for up to thirty companies as well as individual offices for anchor game companies, including the first start-up tenants of the incubator: Powwow Studios, Six Minute, bitSmith Games and Batcat Games (the last two are co-located with Digit). The space will also have meeting rooms. If you are interested in registering for a hotdesk, email mark@gamesireland.ie


Powwow’s transmedia project The World of Ship Antics (coming soon)

“A co-working space is hugely beneficial,” says Leyden, who is involved in the Games Ireland initiative. “The [game development] business model depends on pulling in a lot of resource: art, game design, coding. Rather than building one big team, lending and borrowing skills from other companies is of huge benefit. An environment in which you can share resources. Hopefully we can plug in some of the third level colleges and give them a dedicated place they can go for experience.”

www.gamesireland.ie
Games Ireland held the second Games Ireland Gathering (GIG 2013) at the Aviva Stadium on February 28th from 4-8pm.

Step 3 – Moving On

EI – High Potential Start Up (HPSU)
Tom Murphy of Gone Gaming describes Enterprise Ireland’s HPSU fund as a step up from the Competitive Start Fund. This investment scheme caters toward companies with long term business models. Typical investments can reach €250,000. However, the selection criteria is even more onerous than CSF. Not many game developers make the grade.

EI’s Linda Coyle explains: “The criteria is a business with a projected 10 employees and €1m turnover. We’re looking for a longer sustainable business model. It’s not just about the developers and artists. There has to be a strong commercial element and a business model we believe in. We look at the requirements of the business plan and see who else is investing. We require a minimum matching investment.”

Alongside financial investment, HPSU-funded businesses receive advice and training around their ccommercial and growth strategy, and cCapability building within the start-up team. There is access to EI events, mentoring, R&D linkages, international contacts, introductions to angel investors, etc.

Gone Gaming has set its sights on HPSU funding. “There are normally 15 places and 120 companies apply,” says Murphy. “With HPSU we need some traction, so we’re releasing The Jump this month. We’ll see how sales go. We hope it works out well.”

Gone Gaming is also exploring research and development (R&D) tax credits. “Research and development covers a much broader area than people think,” says Murphy. “People think of R&D as guys in clean suits in an Intel lab. It’s not necessarily that at all.”

www.enterprise-ireland.com/en/funding-supports/Company/HPSU-Funding

No business like show business
If the industry specialists and game developers we spoke to had any uniform advice, it’s this: approach any application for funding or developing in a professional manner.

“People who have a great game – and that’s all they are thinking about – have no long term viability,” says Tom Murphy. “Enterprise Ireland couldn’t, wouldn’t and shouldn’t, invest money in companies that are not going to generate cash and jobs. They don’t want to hear, ‘I’ve got this great idea for a game. It’s going to be awesome. I’m going to sell loads of copies’. What they want to hear is: ‘My company can generate a lot of games, a lot of jobs and a lot of revenue. Just being a great developer and a great games designer doesn’t necessarily make you a great business person. Often, they are separate skills.”

In making his Competitive Start Fund application, Murphy took advice from a few people. Ultimately, though, a development team should make its own calls.

“It’s difficult because you can’t really afford to have experts in different areas,” says Murphy. “You’ll have to pay all those people and you’ll burn through your money three times as fast. You do need maybe one person who is a games designer or programmer, and another person dealing with the business side of things: sales, etc. Without that, nobody will let you make your favourite game. Show them they are investing in a long term project.”

NDRC’s Gary Leyden agrees: “You can pitch us an idea that is absolutely brilliant, but there’s so much more to a games company than just the idea. It’s also about how you get customers, which customers you’re targeting, how you get them cost effectively. The internal processes are important. A developer needs to build the game cost effectively.”

Alternatives: Crowdfunding
bitSmith Games emerged from the LaunchPad accelerator programme wondering how to take their company to the next stage of funding. After Enterprise Ireland’s Competitive Start Fund rejected their application, one option outweighed all others.

“Crowdfunding is an amazing win-win scenario,” says Owen Harris. “There’s literally no drawback. It’s so incredibly efficient. Crowdfunding means we can acquire customers, do market research, and advertise the game, while raising funds. All at the same time! It’s just incredible. My mind boggles that more people don’t go down this route.”

bitSmith placed a proposal on crowdfunding site Fundit.ie, setting a €2,000 target for Kú – episode 1. Amongst the deals offered to investors was the opportunity to be characters within the game. There were also offers of merchandise: stickers, posters, t-shirts, and copies of the game. The team advertised its venture through social media and word of mouth. Fund it also spread the word.

“We experimented with some Google adverts but they weren’t very successful. By far the best thing was talking about it on Facebook and Twitter,” adds Harris.

Within a few hours of posting the venture on Fundit.ie, bitSmith reached their €2,000 target. At the time of writing, the tally is up to €2,537. Harris continues: “We got what we needed and that led on to much better things. We were the second fastest ever Fund it campaign on the site, and the first ever game. It’s been one of the real success stories on Fund it.”

bitSmith are now exploring publisher routes, but the company plans to do more crowdfunding. In 2013, Harris plans to deputise investors as game designers: “We’ll build the game collaboratively together. I’ll be more of a curator than an architect. I’ll collect their ideas and bring them to fruition, rather than just present them with my own vision.”

bitSmith’s crowdfunding investment allowed the team to visit the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco and fund development of the game. The company has since secured investment from the Competitive Start Fund.

www.fundit.ie

DIY
Despite the often onerous responsibilities facing game developers in applying for funding, no one should wait for permission to make a game in 2013.

Owen Harris of bitSmith reckons the first step is DIY: “There are lots of free resources and tools to do that. Pick a small simple game and go through the process of making it, and then repeat that. If you enjoy it, take it to the next step. Form a company. Release a free PC, Android or iPhone.”

There is no shortage of options for a budding developer when it’s time to graduate to the next step. Alongside the aforementioned funding and training avenues, Enterprise Ireland is hoping to set up an accelerator programme specifically designed for game developers.

“When I started [software development], trying to get a foot in the door to see anybody was impossible,” says Tom Murphy. “You couldn’t get the doors opened. Now you’re being led by absolute experts in their field. It’s a great time to be a game developer in Ireland.”

Games Industry Surveys 2013

Gd.ie and Jamie McCormick are asking if you could help with two things: an update to the Irish games industry survey from last year and an expat survey. Results of both will be published here on gd.ie and elsewhere in the media in summary form. Read on to see how you can get involved. (Aphra)

******************

As you may be aware, last year I (Jamie) published a report looking into the Irish Computer Games Industry, to map out where it is, what it’s made up of, how many people work across all the company types, and to see how it is growing. The results were impressive.

The 2012 survey identified 91% jobs growth since 2009 with over 2800 employed across 80 companies by October 2012. It also identified significant growth in the game development sector of activity in Ireland. A summary of the report is available athttp://gamedevelopers.ie/features/viewfeature.php?article=5652

The full report is available as a PDF at http://gamedevelopers.ie/features/TheGamesIndustryinIreland2012.pdf

Workings are also available at http://irishgamessurvey.wordpress.com/

So for 2013, I am looking ahead at doing the next one, as I unofficially count about 100 companies in total. However, I need to find out if people have closed, merged, phoenixed out of the ashes of ones that shut down, started, or went from being a part time or college project to a full time project. I also didn’t really have much luck on the North, so I’d like to really improve this to have an all-island view of the industry this time around.

So favour number one, if applicable, is for you to pass this to any Irish people you know working in the games industry based in Ireland, please ask them to go to http://jamiegdie.polldaddy.com/s/irishgamesindustryreport2013 to be on the report.

I’ll take figures for February now, and then get an update of numbers at the end of October again, and put this out in November. I’m especially interested in those of you who did the last one and have changed numbers.

Now for favour number two, and this is where all of those of you who have fecked off somewhere hotter come in :) ! I am running a survey of Expatriate game development personnel across the world and need you to share them a link to fill in a 10 question survey – tinyurl.com/ismaithliomcacamilis

What I am trying to do with this survey is fairly straightforward, looking for honest, plain English answers. I’m asking when they left, where they’re from and if they did college, what they did, how they got to their current job working on what games and platforms, why they left Ireland (ie family commitments, better career opportunities, better weather etc) and if they’d come back, if they’d want to work for a company or set one up.

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated, it’s a slow burner and I want to aim for 50 participants, and I have over 25 already and would like to get the report published in the early summer. The expat survey report will be overlaid over the one I’ve done, to try and find areas where there are overlaps, but maybe only entry and mid-level roles, and where there are clear gaps.

This will enable colleges to adjust courses, and stakeholders in the industry to see what needs to be done over the next two years to get us going from baby steps to toddling about. With up to 30 companies going to be catered for at http://gamesireland.ie/wordpress/420/pilot-games-co-shared-space-established-by-games-ireland/ , the industry is going from strength to strength, and the more we can show this with facts and figures, the more we can help build on the real industry that exists here today.

Please share any and every way you can – pint, text, instant message, email, tweet, phone call, blog post, or good old fashioned printing this message and handing it to the Irish person you work with.

Thanks!

Jamie

Games Ireland Fri Event

The Games Ireland LAN Party 2013 will take place tomorrow, Friday the 1st of March. The event will take place in Windmill Lane Studios, in Dublin.

This is an invite only event. If you have not received an invite from Games Ireland and think you should have you can contact events@gamesireland.ie to see if there is space for a few more people.

*******************************

14.00 – 14.20
David Sweeney, CEO, Games Ireland Welcome
Address by Minister Joan Burton, Cabinet Minister (Social Protection)

14.20 – 14.30
Start in Ireland – “Why choose Ireland and supports for new businesses?”
John Dennehy

14.30 – 15.00
Panel Discussion – “Marketing & the Community”
David Solari, Chief Marketing Officer, Jagex in Cambridge
Matthew Elliot, Riot Games EU Community Manager in Dublin
Bruce Bale, Facebook EMEA Gaming Manager in Dublin

15.00 – 15.15
Keynote Speech
James Whelton, Coderdojo

15.20 – 15.50
Panel Discussion – “Best Engineering Management Practices and Methodologies”
André Weissflog, Head of Development, Bigpoint Games in Hamburg
Jeff Dixon, Founder and Lead Programmer of Magic Pixel Games in Los Angeles
Sean Blanchfield, Founder of Scalefront and Techpreneurs

15.50 – 16.20
Keynote Speech – “People Development at Riot Games (with a focus within Engineering)”
Michael Saladino Director of Engineering, Riot Games

16.30 – 16.50
Panel Discussion – “Elements of games”
Neil Leyden, Director IDSC
Jeanne Kelly, Mason Hayes Curran
Paul Young, CEO, Cartoon Saloon (Oscar nominated for Book of Kells)

17.50 – 18.10
Panel Discussion – “The evolving business model”
Paul Breslin, General Manager EMEA, Riot Games
Tony Kelly, CEO, Demonware
Andrew Bowell, Head of Product Management, Havok

17:20 – 18.00
Start-Up Showcase
“Developing Game companies in Ireland”
Gary Leyden, Programme Director NDRC Launchpad
Josh Holmes of Microsoft and Startup Bootcamp
John O’Sullivan, ATC Venture Capital

Different Irish Start-Up Companies Highlighting Their Activities and Games
bitSmith Games
Batcat Games
Six Minute
Powoww

18:00– Onwards

LOL – LAN PARTY/ Drinks Party

New Gamesspace Announced

This should be of interest to all start ups and small local companies. I am sure more details on how to apply etc. will emerge soon. (Aphra)

*************************

Today Games Ireland has announced the establishment of a new game-specific incubator called ‘GamesSpace’ which will be based with Pulse College/Windmill Lane Recording Studios in the IFSC in Dublin.

The announcement came as the organisation runs the second Games Ireland Gathering (GIG 2013) today, the 28th of March, which is taking place this year at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in association with Microsoft’s Gaming Re-Imagined event.

In order to encourage the growth of the thriving game start-up industry in Ireland, Games Ireland whose members include Digit Studios, Riot Games, Havok, Microsoft, EA, Activision, Demonware and Big Fish Games, has established GameSpace to provide a central development and meeting hub for exciting, young game companies.

It is with the support of these Games Ireland members and Enterprise Ireland that the initial pilot GamesSpace has been established.

The space will provide hotdesks for up to thirty companies as well as individual offices for anchor game companies, including the first start-up tenants of the incubator: Powwow Studios, Six Minute, bitSmith Games and Batcat Games (the last two of whom are co-located with Digit.)

Further co-located incubators with Games Ireland member companies will be established until a larger premises for all anchor start-up companies is available.

GameSpace also provides a meeting area for prospective publishers, partners and investors to meet with the most promising game companies. GameSpace will create greater synergy between start-up companies and further momentum for the burgeoning games development industry in Ireland who have been scattered in locations throughout the country until now.

The establishment of GameSpace is part of a wider framework envisaged by Games Ireland that will also encompass an accelerator programme, GamePad, which will seek to fast-track younger game companies for graduation to GameSpace. Games Ireland will look to attain greater support for this wider infrastructure and a larger home for GameSpace participants in the coming months.

The global trend towards multi-platform, online, browser and mobile device-based gaming platforms has opened up a market of upwards of a billion potential customers worldwide. Games Ireland hopes to encourage talented Irish start-up game companies to take advantage of this trend and enable them to become commercially successful enterprises.

GameSpace is a major, innovative step in providing the support needed. “The establishment of the pilot incubator GameSpace is an essential step in the development of the indigenous games industry and is key to Games Ireland’s number one goal – growing the Irish game sector at all its levels.’ said David Sweeney, Games Ireland’s CEO ‘

For more info:

To register your interest please contact mark@gamesireland.ie

To enter the GamesSpace you must be either an incorporated company or have released one game.

See http://gamesireland.ie/wordpress/games-ireland-gathering-gig-2013/

See http://win8gaming.eventbrite.ie/#

Games Ireland Thurs Event

The following is the updated schedule for today’s Games Ireland event at the Aviva stadium Dublin. This is open to all.

9.30
Microsoft App Days
“Gaming: Re-Imagined”
(Featuring exhibitions by Start-Ups affiliated with Games Ireland)

See http://win8gaming.eventbrite.ie/# for details. This event is now sold out but there is a waiting list. Also the event will be live streamed at www.microsoft.com/ireland/app/event.html

17.00 – 17.10
CEO Address
Games Ireland: “Who we are and what are our activities.”
David Sweeney, CEO, Games Ireland

Government Address
Paschal Donohoe TD address

17.20 – 17:40
Keynote Speech
On gaming and social media platforms/The social graph
Nikki Lannen EMEA Gaming Advertising Sales at Facebook

17.30 – 17.50
Panel Discussion
“Encouraging further growth of the upstart ecosystem in Ireland”
Stephen Hegarty, European Business Operations, Big Fish Games
Paul Breslin, General Manager EMEA, Riot Games
Andrew Bowell, Head of Product Management, Havok

18.00 – 18.20
Game Showcase
Surprise Guest
+
Jordan Casey
12 year-old wonderkid developer on his latest game

18.20 – 18.30

Keynote Speech
Steve Collins, Founder of Swrve

18.30 – 19:00
“Presentation of Inaugural Incubator Participants
Two minute presentation and pitch from each game company if possible.

Powoww
BatCat
Six Minute
Bitsmith

Belfast Gamecraft Bus

Gamecraft is coming up fast this weekend, the 23rd, and you can travel with fellow participants from Dublin to Belfast by bus.

The cost per person depends on the numbers using the bus. They’ll need at least 14 people for it to make sense, but the more they get, the cheaper it’ll be.

Sign up at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5394148042#

Games Fleadh Registration

The 10th Games Fleadh is fast approaching and runs from the 13-14th of March. This year Games Fleadh will honour the 30th anniversary of Robot Tank (c) Activision Publishing Inc.

Team registration for the various competitions remains open until 5.00pm Friday 22nd February.

1) Robocode Ireland Challenge
http://www.gamesfleadh.ie/compete/robocode/enter/

2) Game Studio Ireland Challenge – theme: Robot Tank (c) Activision Publishing Inc.
http://www.gamesfleadh.ie/compete/game-studio/enter/

3) DirectX Ireland Challenge – theme: Robot Tank (c) Activision Publishing Inc.
http://www.gamesfleadh.ie/compete/directx/enter/

Don’t forget that you can also nominate a game for the Engineers Ireland Game Developer Awards.

Digital games or technologies must have been released between March 2012 and February 2013. One nomination per person. See http://www.gamesfleadh.ie/awards/

Ei Discounts & Gdc

After the success of last years Market Study Visit Enterprise Ireland will be showcasing the best Irish games companies at the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco from March 25-29th 2013. www.gdconf.com/

THE OFFER

Enterprise Ireland is supporting The GDC All Access Pass at a rate of €1,200 plus 23% VAT per delegate for Enterprise Ireland clients.

Delegation package includes:

*Branded trade stand during the trade show – for your use
*Company logo included in signage on the stand and all branding materials
*Enterprise Ireland networking event Wednesday March 27th 5 pm – open to your network

Entrance & all-inclusive pass for GDC 2013:

*Over 400 lectures, panels, poster sessions and roundtables (Wed – Fri)
*All summits, tutorials, and bootcamps (Mon & Tues)
*All one-day and two-day sponsored developer days (Mon & Tues)
*All sponsored sessions (Wed – Fri)
*GDC Flash Forward (Wed)
*Game Career Seminar (Fri)
*GDC Expo Floor and Career Pavilion (Wed – Fri)
*GDC Play and IGF Pavilion (Wed – Fri)
*Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony (Wed)
*GDC Business Matchmaking
*GDC Mobile App
*GDC Expo Floor Happy Hour
*All GDC Mixers
*GDC Vault subscription (provides metered access to recordings of sessions for select GDC 2013 events via GDC Vault)
*One-year digital subscription to Game Developer magazine (includes print version for qualified U.S.-based attendees)

PARTICIPATION FEE & REGISTRATION

The cost of participation is €1,200 plus VAT at 23% – €1,476 and includes your ALL ACCESS conference pass and participation in our networking event on Wednesday 27th March 2013. This payment must accompany your booking and is non-refundable.

Non Enterprise Ireland clients can participate at this event for a participation fee of €2,400 plus 23% VAT (€2,952). A non refundable deposit of €1,476 (this is made up of €1,200 plus 23% VAT) is due upon registration in order to secure a place on this event.

More information on the ALL ACCESS pass is here. http://www.gdconf.com/attend/passes.html

BOOKING

Please register and pay online at http://bit.ly/VhHnWP

Please note that the last date for registration is Friday, 15 February 2013 and registration for the limited number of places at this event is on a first come, first served basis. For further information please contact keith.byrne@enterprise-ireland.com

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE

The Games Developers Conference (GDC) is the world’s largest professionals-only game industry event. The GDC attracts over 22,500 attendees, and is the primary forum where programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio professionals, business decision-makers and others involved in the development of interactive games gather to exchange ideas and shape the future of the industry.

With Silicon Valley and San Francisco still the heartland for games development and production in the United States, GDC 2013 in San Francisco will give Irish clients an opportunity to interact at the cutting edge of the industry. And that’s why we want you, Ireland’s best games companies, innovators and entrepreneurs to join the 2013 delegation.

Dare 2013 Launched

Lots of folks on the boards have been involved in this and it is a great opportunity for third level or further education students.

Aphra

******************

The Digital Hub Development Agency, with support from the Department of Education and Skills, in association with the University of Abertay, Dundee, Scotland are inviting students from the Island of Ireland to enter Dare to Be Digital 2013.

Dare to be Digital is an internationally renowned games development competition for talented computer science and art students to develop a prototype video game. Teams of 5 students, usually a mix of artists, programmers and audio, assemble in a development hothouse in Scotland for 9 weeks during June to August 2013. Here they receive daily support and weekly training sessions from industry specialists to create their games. The students also receive a weekly stipend of £150 per student, free accommodation at the University’s halls of residence and a team budget of £200.

This unique competition is open to students enrolled in further education and 3rd Level colleges on the island of Ireland who are interested in developing a new innovative product in the games sector.

Dare to be Digital presents a unique opportunity for students. Many of the contestants from previous years have been hired by games companies on completion of the competition.

At the end of the competition, the prototypes are displayed at talent showcasing event Dare ProtoPlay. The general public and industry experts get to play and vote for the games. At the Dare awards ceremony, three prizes of £2500 will be awarded to the three highest scoring teams based on the criteria of innovation and creativity, market potential and use of technology (none of the three will be specifically attributed to any particular criterion). Seven months later the winning teams attend the BAFTA Video Games Awards to compete for the coveted “Ones to Watch Award”.

We’re looking for a diverse range of original, innovative, ground breaking games for all platforms.

Sounds good, yes? If you’re still not sure, here are the benefits of taking part.

*Enhance your CV
*Get mentoring from the industry
*Produce a demo to take to interviews
*Hone your skills and get the experience that employers are looking for
*Expose your skills and work to games industry luminaries / potential employers
*Experience working as part of a team
*Weekly stipend of £150
*Team budget of £200
*Free accommodation at Abertay’s halls of residence throughout Dare
*Build industry contacts
*Work with friends and make new ones from across the globe
*Opportunity to start your own games studio
*Work on your own ideas
*Exhibit your game at Dare ProtoPlay where thousands will play it
*Chance to win one of three £2500 prizes
*Chance to win the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award

How to enter:

*You must be studying in further education and/or a 3rd level college
*You must be part of a team of five students with a mix of programmers, artists and audio with someone acting as Team Leader
*If you are an individual and wish to join up with others in order to form a team post a notice on the Ireland Vacancies Board at http://www.daretobedigital.com/88_How-To-Apply-Ireland.html
*Register to become a member of the Dare to be Digital Website.
*Once registered log in to the Dare to be Digital Website to complete the team application form.
*Sample Application Form available to view at http://www.daretobedigital.com/applications/uploads/ApplicationForm_Final.pdf so you have an idea of what information is required from you.

The deadline for receipt of completed applications is Tuesday, 9th April 2013.

To read the rules & terms, frequently asked questions, and for further information on how to apply, please read the pages in the apply section.

Digital Hub Development Agency
Digital Exchange
Crane Street
The Digital Hub
Dublin 8
t: +353 1 4806200
f: +353 1 4806201
e: learining@thedigitalhub.com

Gala-Net Bought By Webzen

It has just been announced that Gala-Net, Inc. and its subsidiaries, Gala Networks Europe Ltd. (including its Irish operation) and Gala-Net Brazil Ltd., a publisher of free-to-play online games and operator of the gPotato portals, has been acquired by the South Korean company, WEBZEN, Inc., one of the leading companies in the MMO market.

“During this period and afterwards, we will develop strategies and come up with decisions on the continuation and future of our and WEBZEN’s brands for the European, North and South American markets”, explains Nicolas Pajot, CEO Gala Networks Europe.

Following this acquisition, gamers can expect more MMOs from WEBZEN’s portfolio to be available in Europe, North and South America. Additionally, all gPotato games are planned to continue their operation.

Founded and established in Seoul in 2000, Webzen Inc. is one of the leading companies in the MMOG market. One of WEBZEN’s most-known brands is MU Online, with more than 65 million registered users. WEBZEN have acquired YMIR Entertainment in 2011, perhaps most famous for the Metin series.

Gala and the gPotato portals will give WEBZEN access to the European and North American markets, as well as to more than 20 million registered players, and free-to-play MMORPGs such as Allods Online, Rappelz, Flyff, SEVENCORE and the upcoming Martial Arts-MMORPG, Age of Wulin, which will launch 2013 in Europe, and which is scheduled to enter its Closed Beta Testing phase soon.

Webzen and Gala Networks already started cooperating before the acquisition, by recently channelling the action MMORPG Continent of the Ninth Seal on the gPotato.com and gPotato.eu portals in North America and Europe.

About Gala-Net, Inc. and gPotato
Founded in 2004, Gala-Net, Inc. is a leading publisher of free-to-play online games. In 2006, the European subsidiary Gala Networks Europe Ltd. was founded in Dublin, Ireland.

About WEBZEN Inc.
Founded and headquartered in Seoul in 2000, WEBZEN Inc. (KOSDAQ) completed the merger with NHN Games in July 2010, and acquired YMIR Entertainment in 2011. WEBZEN has become a leader in the MMOG market and has developed one of the world’s top online games and client/server technologies. WEBZEN is continuing the tradition of MU Online, which boasts more than 65 million registered users, with Soul of the Ultimate Nation, and ARCHLORD.

They are currently working to release more new games including ARCHLORD 2 and MU2 , which is under development. More information on ‘WEBZEN.com’ and its games can be found at www.webzen.com.

Gamecraft Goes North

On Saturday the 23rd February game developers from all over will gather together in Farset Labs, Belfast , to pour forth their creative juices in an extravaganza of game development talent that hasn’t been seen since…well, since the las GameCraft in November, or another game jam :D . That’s right, it’s time for Belfast GameCraft!

This time around, participants, either individually or as a team, have a whole 8 hours to create a game centered around a random theme to be announced on the day.

It will be exciting, it will be intense, it will be…slightly pungent, frankly. But it will be worth it! After 8 hours, a panel of highly trained judges (at least, they look highly trained, they are all wearing monacles) will examine each of the submitted games and select a few stand out entries to be awarded some awesome prizes.

While the games are being pinched, prodded, and poked, we’ll all have some well deserved refreshments and a bit of time for the all important networking. Participants are free to use whatever game creation platform they like, be that Unity, UDK, GameMaker, Construct2, XNA, or one of the myriad other fine platforms available today. Good luck and may the most ridiculous game win!

What happens on the day?

1. You with your team need to build a game from scratch, you have about 8 hours.
2. You can come with a team formed or form your team there
Platform agnostic
3. We announce a topic during breakfast
4. Early start, then, at 5pm judging starts. There is a people’s choice so we all get to play each others games
5. People and Judges vote .. there are prizes yay!
6. Everyone learns
7. People meet other people

This event is free but all members of your team need a ticket … REGISTER at http://belfastgamecraft.eventbrite.com/#

Organization

Andrea Magnorsky (@roundcrisis on twitter)
Matt Johnston (@cimota on twitter)
Greg Maguire
Andrew O’Connor (@bravesirandrew on twitter)

Belfast Gamecraft – 23rd February 2013

When: 23rd February 2012, 9AM
Where: Farset Labs, Weavers Court, Linfield Rd, Belfast, Antrim BT12 5GH, United Kingdom

See more at http://dublingamecraft.com/2013/01/30/belfast-gamecraft-23rd-february-2013/

Isa Con 2013

The Irish School of Animation with support from the Irish Film Board, Enterprise Ireland and Animation Ireland has announced details of the upcoming animation/vfx event: ISA CON 2013.

The event will take place on Friday 15th February from 7-10pm in
Printworks at the Morrison Hotel.

Guests speakers at the event include renowned anatomy consultant Stuart Sumida (‘Ratatouille’ and ‘Life of Pi’), animation story artist/director Fergal Reilly (‘The Iron Giant’ and ‘Hotel
Transylvania’), motion capture specialist Simon Kay (‘Total Recall’
and ‘Iron Man 2’), and visual effects guru Ciaran Crowley (‘Inception’ and ‘The Dark Knight’).

Tickets cost 5 Euro and are available from the Administrative Offices of Ballyfermot College of Further Education. Tickets will also be available for purchase/collection on the door of the venue on the evening of the event.

For more information see:
http://bcfeisa.ilikecake.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/ISA-CON-2013.pdf

Game Based Learning Conf. Cfp

Want to know about ‘serious games’ or games used for non entertainment purposes? Well, the third Irish Symposium on Game-Based Learning (iGBL2013; http://igbl2013.wordpress.com) will be hosted at the Dublin Institute of Technology between the 6th and 7th June 2013.

The purpose of this symposium is to:
· report on the use of GBL in primary, secondary and third-level education
· define the roadmap for GBL in Ireland
·provide evidence of the effectiveness of GBL to motivate and learn
·identify how GBL can be included and facilitated in instructional settings

This symposium will bring together teachers, lecturers, students and researchers, and provide insights from different perspectives such as education, sociology, educational psychology, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), artificial intelligence, game design, game development and instructional design.It will also be a great opportunity to network and share ideas with other researchers and practitioners.

Important Dates
———————-
8th March: Abstract submission deadline
8th April: Notification of abstract acceptance
19th April: Earlybird registration deadline
3rd May: Registration deadline
31st May: Final submission of presentations

Submission types
————————

This year the programme will include presentations, workshops and pecha kucha sessions as well as interactive poster presentations. All submission types require that you submit a 300-500 word abstract to be received by 8 March 2013. For further details see the conference website athttp://igbl2013.wordpress.com.

Topics
————————————–
We are seeking contributions on a wide range of topics including, but not limited to:
· Pedagogical/learning theories for game based learning
· Evaluation of game based learning
· Assessment in game based learning
· Integrating game based learning with the curriculum
· Use of narrative/role-playing in game-based learning
· Designing games for learning
· Gamification
· Serious games
· Technologies, tools and platforms for developing games for learning
· Technologies for mobile and multi-user games for learning
· Location-based technology for game-based learning
· Social and collaborative aspects of game-based learning
· Organisational issues when implementing games within educational settings
· Gender/age/cultural issues

Submission Procedure
———————————

All submission types require that you submit a 300-500 word abstract to be received by 8 March 2013. Submissions must be made online form athttp://bit.ly/W4XnIH. Submissions must include the proposed title for the submission, the full names and affiliations of all authors, and the contact details of at least one author. In the case of multiple authors, please specify who will be the presenting author at the symposium. The abstract should clearly explain how the submission will meet the objectives of the symposium. Authors will be notified of the status of their proposal by 8 April 2013.

Inquiries can be forwarded to igbl2013@gmail.com and you can follow us on twitter @igbl2013.

Game Dev & Proj Management Course

Pulse College in association with Windmill Lane Studios are offering a free 33 week Game Development and Project Management Course funded by Momentum, aimed at re-skilling those on the live register for the game industry.

It is a high-level course, aimed at those who already possess a degree, or genuine interest in the industry. The aim is produce work-ready graduates who can be an asset to companies.

Additionally, they will all undertake work placement for 10 days. I have secured internships with companies like Riot, BatCat, Bitsmith etc., but the college is seeking additional companies. Contact Naomi Moore at pulse@pulsecollege.eu

There are 90 places available and Proposed Start Date is the
11/02/13 running until the 16/09/13.

Attendance is free if you fulfill the criteria.
– Be unemployed for 12 months or longer and Be in receipt
of Jobseekers Allowance, Jobseekers Benefit or be signing on
for Social Insurance Contribution Credits for 12 months or
longer
– Be actively seeking work.
– You must apply through Employment Services at the Department
of Social Protection

See more at http://www.pulsecollege.eu/freecourse/

(Lest we be seen as favouring one college over another – please note that Clane College is also offering an introduction to game development course via the Momentum scheme – in Kildare, Limerick and Galway – See http://www.gamedevelopers.ie/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7002)

Brighthead Launches King Croc

Another week, another game!

Gd.ie are delighted to announce that Irish independent game studio, Brighthead Games, have today launched their first title for PC.

The Adventures of King Croc is a retro puzzle platform series, created with stunning art and detailed game mechanics.

” King Croc is a re-imaging of platforms, we wanted to combine our love of old school platformers like donkey kong and bubble bobble, along with our passion for physic puzzles like portal” said a spokesperson.

Avaliable on Indievania for $ 1.00 – http://www.indievania.com/games/adventures-king-croc

Available on IndieCity for €0.70 – http://store.indiecity.com/projects/kingcroc

King Croc

King Croc is a puzzle platformer game that re-imagines how 2d games work. In this game, the player assumes the role of the eponymous hero, as he travels through different worlds to restore his crown and rescue his princess from the clutches of the evil Professor Plumber.

The levels in King Croc are very diverse. Some are more action-based, while others require the player to use puzzle-solving skills. What makes the game of King Croc different from others of this type is the fact that he cannot directly harm any of his enemies.

Instead, he must rely on his gun’s ability to alter the environment to create portals, jump-pads… etc. The levels in each world become progressively more difficult, and careful planning and resource management become a must in the later stages of the game.

For those players who enjoy a challenge, once the game is beaten, 2 new game modes become unlocked which offer a whole new gaming experience and make the game much more difficult.

The origins of King Croc was the result of a demo which we had created for the Dublin Game Craft in 2012, which we successfully completed and won. As a result of overwhelming excitement from both Judges and competitors we decided to release a fully developed game.

About the company

Brighthead Games is based in Dublin developing for Facebook, IOS and Android Games. The company was founded in 2012. The team met through game design competitions. The team is formed by Edward Mc Elroy, Mariano Di Murro & Zafer Balbous.

See http://brightheadgames.com/

Bsc (Hons) Games Design And Development, Lit-Tipperary

BSc (Hons) Games Design and Development, LIT-Tipperary

Awarding Body: HETAC​, Level 8
Duration: 4 Years​
Number Of Places: 20
Course Code: LC418

This programme is designed to produce graduates with an in-depth knowledge of the critical aspects of games design and development. They will acquire the necessary knowledge to cope with the changing nature of the games industry throughout their careers. Students will be taught techniques for analysis, design and development of games for platforms such as mobiles, handheld consoled, PC’s, games consoles, interactive TV and online games in a variety of computer languages.

Students will develop problem specifications and their respective solutions related to games design and development. In addition, participants will be required to complete a substantial project under the guidance of an ICT Specialist. Graduates can expect to take up employment in industries ranging from small or medium-sized entertainment media enterprises to large multinationals.

Entry Requirements:
A minimum of 2 Honours and 4 Passes in six Leaving Certificate subjects, including Mathematics and English/Irish.

OR

A full FETAC Level 5 award, including a distinction grade in at least three modules or a FETAC Level 6 award.

Applicants must have passed a Mathematics module in their FETAC Award or have passed Mathematics at Leaving Certificate to qualify for entry to this programme.

OR

Mature applicants will be required to undertake a written assessment and complete a detailed written application in accordance with the Institute’s entry procedures. The application process will consider the applicant’s academic ability (previous education, readiness for 3rd level study) and their suitability (communication skills, motivation and interest in the course and career area).

Modules:
Year 1:
Introduction to Programming,
Web Development Fundamentals,
Computer System Concepts,
Mathematics for Computing,
Operating System Fundamentals,
Organisations and Business Processes,
Introduction to Computer Networks,
Introduction to OO Programming,
Programme Design Concepts,
Electronics for Computing,
Mathematical Methods,
Operating Systems Management,
Interpersonal Development.

Year 2:
Digital Games Design,
Structured Programming,
Database Planning and Design,
Human Computer Interface,
Introduction to Object Oriented Design,
Management Principles,
Data Structures,
Internetworking,
Microprocessor Systems,
Statistical Data Analysis,
Database Systems implementation,
Enterprise Application Development.

Year 3:
Digital Game Programming Principles and Practice,
Network Services and Applications,
Algorithms,
Professional Development,
Computer Graphics,
Software Security and Testing,
Embedded Systems,
Advanced Digital Game Programming,
Artificial intelligence,
Project and Teamwork,
Employment Placement

Year 4:
Programming Digital Game Engines,
Software Project Management,
Concurrent Algorithms,
Networked Games,
Game Physics,
Platform Digital Game Development,
Digital Game Artificial Intelligence,
Distributed Algorithms,
Computing and Modern Culture,
Graphics and Audio,
Project.

What our Students say:
After graduating I returned to work in DemonWare where I had just completed a summer internship. My role in DemonWare relied heavily on the skills and training I received in LIT Tipperary in programming, algorithms, networks, design patterns and hardware systems.

While at LIT Tipperary I was involved in the TippSoc Gaming society. Through the activities of this group I picked up extra skills and met people from the games industry which helped me get the job I have today. LIT Tipperary is an excellent place to study with lecturers you can interact with and its societies provide invaluable experiences and contacts.

David Brennan
Network Programmer, Activision (DemonWare)

Further Studies
Students who successfully complete this programme will be eligible for a wide range of taught and research Level 9 Masters Programmes in Ireland and abroad.

Jobs Include:
Games Design and Development provides graduates with exciting career opportunities in a rapidly changing sector of the computing industry. Graduates will be able to gain employment in different areas of entertainment media enterprises such as Games Development, Mobile Application Design and Development, Design, Interactive TV, e-Learning and Online entertainment applications. Graduates of this programme will possess attributes making them suitable for employment in a range of positions that might include:

* Games Programmer
* Game Testers
* Level Designers
* Game Designers
* Games Middleware Engine Developer
* Games Developer Tools Designer
* Graphics & Audio Software Production
* Project Manager

For Further Information Contact:
Philip Bourke
Tel: 0504 28258
Email: philip.bourke@lit.ie

For more see http://www.lit.ie/courses/LC418

[updated Jan. 2012]

Bitsmith Launches Ku

We are delighted to announce that Irish independent studio, bitSmith Games, have today launched their first title for iPad on the App Store.

Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan is a Celtic-Punk Action-Adventure series, brought to life through beautifully painted hand-drawn pencil sketches.

“We’ve built a rich and intriguing universe to contain our re-imagining of the classic Irish epic; The Táin – set in future Ireland following economic collapse. This chronicles the adventures of Ireland’s greatest warrior-hero, Cú Chulainn.” said a spokesperson.

FEATURES

* Celtic-punk – a fusion of Celtic and Steampunk aesthetics

* A rich and intriguing world, brought to life by beautiful hand-drawn sketches, lovingly painted and animated in high resolution

* Timeless narrative – a re-imagining of the classic Irish epic, The Táin, which tells the story of Ireland’s greatest warrior-hero Cú Chulainn

* Full Irish translation of the game

* A lush world populated with strange creatures and vicious enemies, born in the cauldron of war

* Fast-paced combat and epic boss encounters

* Solve puzzles by repairing and interacting with ancient mechanisms with the aid of your trusty ‘Árgatlam’ gravity glove

* Original soundtrack featuring music from independent Irish electronic artists

bitSmith Games is based in the incubator space provided by Digit Gaming, on Princes Street South, Dublin along side fellow game devs Bat Cat Games. The team is formed by Owen Harris, Basil Lim, Ralph Croly, Paul Conway and Robby Becker.

The game is available for purchase at – https://itunes.apple.com/ie/app/ku-shroud-of-the-morrigan/id581362461?mt=8&ls=1

A new mini-site for the game – www.KutheGame.com

www.bitSmithGames.com
www.facebook.com/bitSmithGames
www.facebook.com/kuthegame
www.twitter.com/bitSmithGames