German Game Companies in Trade Mission to Ireland

The German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce is hosting a trade mission from Germany at the beginning of September aimed at establishing and maintaining German-Irish business partnerships in the Software Development and Online-gaming sector.

 

The Irish Digital and Software space is one of the fastest growing sectors in Ireland and its future is being further strengthened and developed through state initiatives.  Over the last 30 years Ireland has become a hub for many of the world’s leading IT, software and online-gaming companies gaining it international recognition as a centre of excellence.

Against this background, the German-Irish Chamber, in cooperation with the Federal German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, is running the “Software Development and Online-gaming” trade mission from 8th to 11th September 2015.

Irish companies have many opportunities to get involved:

1) Market Study: Irish market experts will be consulted in the process of the creation of a software and online-gaming market study for the Irish market. This will be published in August.

2) Conference “German Digital Innovation Summit”: Irish market experts will be invited to participate in a conference in Dublin on the 8th of September. This conference will bring together German and Irish expertise in the area of software, online gaming and educational gaming. In addition a visiting delegation of German companies will present innovative solutions for the Irish and international market. A draft programme will be available by 31st July 2015. Pre-register and secure your place.

This conference will bring together German and Irish expertise in the area of software and online gaming. Presentations by German and Irish experts will cover topics such as:

1- Software Development opportunities between Germany and Ireland
2 – Change in video game paradigm
3 – Needs for alternative financing
4 – International co-production and Business models
5 – Educational games development based on entertainment products
6 – Case studies presented

 


 

As part of this event, the visiting German companies offering Software and Online-Gaming solutions will travel to some Irish workplaces to explore co-operation opportunities in the three days following the conference (9th – 11th September). Contact trademission@german-irish.ie if you are interested in this opportunity.

Participants so far include (click here for one-page overview of all companies, or click on the company names below for their respective profiles):

Beardshaker Game – Educational Online-Gaming: Beardshaker Game’s product portfolio contains solutions to promote education and further training among young to middle aged children as well as grown-ups. They have specialised on software to learn languages in a having fun way. Especially in the English speaking area they already have successfully completed some projects. Beardshaker Game offers everything, from the development over implementation and conception to continuous support.

Bittner+Krull – System solutions for mobile workforce: The company develops and sells complete solutions for mobile workforce management, remote reading and smart metering in the energy sector. B+K specializes in holistic solution concepts built on the Argos standard software: backed up with a comprehensive range of performance offerings in consulting, infrastructure, support and the development of add-ons for SAP systems.

B-interaktive – Mobile-Gaming: The enterprise designs mobile games in cooperation with renowned brands and partners. The current portfolio consists of two mobile gaming products suitable for the Irish market. The German game KNIFFEL (English title: Dice Duel) as well as the social music quiz called Emoji Stars.

Experimental Game – Software and Gaming: They are focusing on the development and market launch of a new kind of process management tool for producing interactive series concepts. This technology makes it possible to transfer analogue serial content such as a book, magazine, script or even television series formats quickly and cost-effectively into the digital world.

Kunst-Stoff – Videogames and Gaming: It is an independent gaming creator and producer, with a longstanding experience in the entertainment sector, and focusing on mobile games. They are actively doing research and development in sector of serious games and having several projects in process in this area.

Pfeffermind – Gaming developer: Besides developing its own cross-platform projects from mobile to real world gaming, the company works as a gamification consultant for business customers, advising them on employing game mechanics in non-games contexts. Pfeffermind is currently working with leading players from the insurance, health care and transportation sectors in Germany.

SemKnox – IT and semantic language software: It offers a Smart Semantic Product Search to its customers. SEMKNOX understands complex search queries in everyday language and thereby offers your visitors a completely new shopping experience.

The Good Evil GmbH – Gaming developer: The company offers interactive experiences and transmedia solutions for clients ranging from educational institutions, media companies, NGOs to private enterprises. Its product portfolio includes serious games, especially game-based learning and news games.

Tutorize GmbH – Software and video training systems: Their overall solution, the Talent Development Suite, combines the modules learning, talent, recruitment and knowledge management in one system. It is the best tool available on the market, to manage a company’s personnel cycle: Employee Recruitment, Employee Development, Employee Training, and Employee Retainment.

Zeitland – Media and videogames: Specialized in the development of games and apps for iOS, Android and the web the company provides conception of apps and interactive experiences, game design for videogames and hybrid games, user experience design and graphical interface design, software development of frontends and server backends for games and apps, and transmedia storytelling and storyworld development.

guild of dungeoneering

Guild of Dungeoneering Launches

Distinctive Indie Developed Role-playing Game Now Available for PC

 

We are delighted to announce that indie developer Gambrinous, in partnership with indie publishing powerhouse Versus Evil, released Guild of Dungeoneering for PC in July. The innovative and entertaining new card driven dungeon-crawler combines dungeon building, exploration and combat mechanics with nostalgic ‘hand drawn’ style graphics on graph paper and is now available to buy on Steam and GoG.com for €14.99/£10.99 and Deluxe Edition for €19.99/£14.99.

Guild of Dungeoneering turns traditional dungeon crawling on its head by putting a new spin on classic game play – rather than controlling a dungeoneer, players build their dungeon around him (or her). Using a random deck of cards, players can expand the dungeon and strategically place loot and monsters to lure their dungeoneer in the direction they want him to go.  When their dungeoneer confronts a monster (either willingly or not), battle lines are drawn and the victor will be decided on how cunning a player is with the hand that’s been dealt to them.

“We’re incredibly excited to share Guild of Dungeoneering with the world,” said Colm Larkin of Gambrinous. “What started as a weekend project has blossomed and become something beautiful. I think the game taps into a pretty unique blend of tabletop and role playing nostalgia. I’m really proud of what we’ve made and can’t wait to see what everyone thinks.”

Over time, as players collect enough gold and gain more experience, they will be able to build out their own Guild by adding rooms to attract more-powerful adventurers and unlock better weapons and special cards for their Guild deck all in the name of fame and fortune.

“Guild of Dungeoneering brings to life the dungen crawler in such a unique, fun way through cards that ooze character,” said General Manager Steve Escalante. “Through its nostalgic, hand drawn look, its clever use of music and deep adventures, Guild of Dungeoneering has captured the TCG and Roleplaying gamers in the Versus Evil team.  We are so excited you can now all play this wonderful indie title.”

For more information about Guild of Dungeoneering, visit www.guildofdungeoneering.com.

Check out the launch trailer here:

 

About Gambrinous

Gambrinous is an independent studio based primarily in Dublin, Ireland. Initially a kind of one-man-band run by founder Colm Larkin, it has now grown to a hefty five people as they work on their first commercial release, Guild of Dungeoneering.

 

About Versus Evil

Versus Evil, LLC is a US based independent video game publisher.  The company was founded on the principles of helping independent game developers be financially and creatively successful in the highly competitive video games market.  Led by group of AAA games industry veterans, Versus Evil’s services include the full suite of publishing support including brand marketing, community, social, PR, creative, production, QA, legal, distribution and other general business support.  As a global publisher, the Versus Evil team is strategically placed around the world with presences in California, Texas, Maryland, New York, and London and works with indie studios in North America, South America, and Europe. For more information visit: http://vsevil.net/

Guild of Dungeoneering
Developer: Gambrinous
Price: 14,99 €

PyCon Ireland 2015 – Call for Proposals

Python Ireland community is hosting Pycon Ireland at Radisson Blu Royal Hotel (Dublin) on Sat 24th – Sun 25th October.

This is a two-day conferences with talks, tutorials and workshops.

We would like to invite game devs in the creative/game industry to submit talks to PyCon Ireland. Deadline for proposals is 31st July.

If you are interested, please submit your proposal via http://python.ie/pycon-2015/call-proposals/

If you have any questions, please email us at contact@python.ie.

DIGIT logo

Long live the Kings

D-DIGIT-GS_logo_black_white_HR

After developing mobile hit Kings of the Realm, DIGIT Game Studios is planning its next offence with a recruitment campaign and a AAA title based on a “huge” IP. CEO Richard Barnwell talks to Pavel Barter about how the company became the biggest developer in Ireland, why a multi-platform approach suits its free to play strategy MMO games, and how working on RuneScape gave him a vision of the future.

In a warehouse on Dublin’s City Quay, game developers are working at their desks in the unlikeliest of surroundings. This 18th Century building has wooden beams, low doorways and archways. There are large open plan areas, designated for prototyping and commercial work, white board plots, formal spaces and comfortable areas with pool tables.

It’s like the Google of game development. That’s the desired effect, explains Richard Barnwell, founder and CEO of DIGIT Game Studios. “When we founded the business, there was an understanding we would have to compete with Google and Facebook for engineering talent. But we could never compete with those guys on salary alone.”digit-office_01_HR

DIGIT could compete on office environment, however, so they forged an environment that encourages creative thought. “We’re trying to create an ethos – if you want to make great games, you have to enable people’s brain power. You don’t do that by putting them in a formal environment – it just doesn’t work.”

The DIGIT workspace is spread across three floors and the business is now re-kitting the premises to make it even less formal. The surplus of space is fortunate. DIGIT, Ireland’s largest game developer, is on a recruitment campaign for 40 new development jobs – ranging from character artists, concept artists, to visual effects artists. Unlike some development studios, DIGIT has no desire to divide its talents in studios across the world, or have its developers work remotely. The company ethos is to work together, brainstorm together, and communicate face to face. That way, productivity and pace can be maintained.

Most of the current 20-strong development team is Irish. But DIGIT thinks global when it comes to recruitment. “We’ve been fortunate relocating Irish people back home who moved abroad and were working in the UK or U.S.,” says Barnwell. “We’ve had hundreds of applications already, so we are working our way through them. There is a big chunk [of talent] already in Ireland. From a business perspective, it’s more cost effective for us to hire locally.”


 

Kings of the Realm

Kings 1
DIGIT is riding the crest of a wave due to the success of its free to play strategy MMO Kings of the Realm (KOTR), launched September 2014. In this fantasy game – financed through in-app purchases and micro transactions – players build fortresses, develop armies and battle creatures andrival human players. Free to play games are usually brightly coloured casual puzzlers, but DIGIT’s developers bring a love of strategy to the business.

“We like hardcore strategy games,” explains the CEO. “We appreciate casual games, but we don’t hire people who want to make them. If you were to ask someone in the studio about their favourite game, no one is going to say Candy Crush. It’s Age of Empires or Command and Conquer.”

DIGIT’s greatest challenge has been to marry traditional game mechanics with new mobile monetisation mechanics. The studio wants to make hardcore games that suit touch devices. This strategy has worked so far for KOTR. Although the game is niche, many fans sink 10 to 12 hours per day into the game. Administrators have to watch players to ensure they’re not consuming too much content in too many big stints. What makes this MMO particularly unusual is its transmedia approach. Players can compete on browser, iOS, Android, and Windows devices. KOTR also appears as a series of books published by Penguin.

“We were intrigued by what would happen when you took away device specific barriers,” explains Barnwell.  “You can play with friends, no matter what device they have, in one central game world. What’s fascinating is the amount of people who happily switch between devices. People playing on mobile will often play on the browser, and bigger screens, once they get fully engaged.”

Developing the infrastructure to facilitate multiple platforms was not easy. Cross platform game engine Unity helped, but it can only do so much in an expansive MMO world. Each platform has its own unique behaviours – different billing providers, security, account management systems, etc. – so the developers built an entire operating system for KOTR.

However, the studio lacked the marketing budget, or resources to understand analytics and app store optimisation, that would bring more players to the game. They also needed specialist help on licensing and IP issues. So for the first six months of 2015, Barnwell met companies to discuss expansion options. Serious conversations kicked off with Scopely, a U.S.-based publisher and strategic investor. Numerous U.S. trips later, contracts were signed.


 

Mini Golf MatchUpScopely DealYahtzee With Buddies

 

 

 

 

“They made a multi-million investment into DIGIT,” says Barnwell. “As part of that, they have exclusive rights to publish our titles. DIGIT is going to release multiple titles over the next few years and Scopely will bring them to market. That gives us the best of both worlds. They can focus on what they’re good at – publishing, media relations, relations with IP holders – while we focus purely on building games. Our entire operation is games development. There will be no call centres, marketing, or user acquisition here in Ireland. Scopely will handle all that.”

Scopely also develops casual games in-house – many of which have gone viral – so there is a common bond between the two companies. Scopely games include Mini Golf MatchUp (2013), which was number one in the Apple App Store in 28 countries and Yahtzee With Buddies (2015), an officially-licensed Yahtzee game  which saw 1 million downloads in the first four days and over 10,000 downloads an hour.

 


 

From Jagex to Jolt to Digit

 

DIGIT, however, is also the culmination of Barnwell’s experience in the industry. Hailing from the Cambridge area of England, he left college in 2004 to work for Jagex, the independent games developer and publisher behind RuneScape, one of the world’s largest free to play online games. “Traditionally, I liked to play session-based strategy games. Command and Conquer was huge for me. I was also an FPS fan: Goldeneye is one of my fondest memories. But I began thinking about where the games industry was going. I spent a lot of time travelling the globe with Jagex and seeing what was going on. Free to play was thriving in Asia.” Over his four year tenure at Jagex, as part of the senior management team, the company grew from a small band of developers to a cast of hundreds.

“I think RuneScape still holds the record for being the biggest free to play game. It was mind blowing. I think it’s now hit about 250m registered accounts. Back then, the only game that was outdoing us was World of Warcraft. RuneScape was initially a subscription model. There was free content and if you wanted more you had to pay to become a subscriber. It was a little different to today’s in app purchase model.”digit_richard_barnwell

In 2010, after a stint outside the games industry with a cloud hosting company, Barnwell moved to Ireland to become CEO of Jolt Online Gaming. However, the online game company, which was partially owned by U.S. retailer GameStop, closed its doors two years later. “The business wasn’t profitable – it wasn’t covering its costs,” reasons Barnwell of Jolt, which produced titles such as Legends of Zork.

“The parent company decided it was no longer a viable investment and closed the subsidiary. GameStop is a €13bn a year a business so, of course, it has shrewd approaches to ensuring it keeps its share value at a certain level. There were quite a few titles out before [the business closed] that were not hits. It was very sad. There were lovely people at Jolt and I’m glad to see nearly all of them stayed in the industry. We’ve a few here at DIGIT…”

Jolt’s demise did not dissuade Barnwell from founding DIGIT in Ireland in 2012. The reasons for basing the studio in Dublin went beyond financial incentives, development talent, or three-storey warehouses.

“There is a massive lack of competition here for us,” he explains. “We quickly became the largest developer in the country. Other studios are mostly community based. This is a country that has a very educated workforce, great access to Europe, some interesting finance structures. Furthermore, Enterprise Ireland are unsung heroes.”

Barnwell’s vision for DIGIT involves assisting the gaming eco system in Ireland through incubation projects. It is a good time for mobile games, he believes, as “86% of all app installs are for games, which is just crazy. However, I think only the top games will succeed.”

DIGIT has big plans for the future. Work is continuing on KOTR, which will see its “ultimate vision” come to fruition over the next 18 months. The studio is also developing a AAA title, based on an existing IP, which Barnwell describes as “huge”, due for launch in summer 2016. “If it’s not the biggest mobile launch next year, I’d be surprised. The marketing budgets alone are staggering. It’s going to be the largest AAA quality game ever built in this country.”

DIGIT wants to pave the way for a new wave of Irish game development, but Barnwell is thinking long term. “When we first started DIGIT, we wanted to ensure we ran the business in a safe, stable way, while remaining creative. Our team can rely on us as founders to keep the business stable. Some start-ups spend all their money on office space and buy everybody €10,000 worth of laptops. Six months later they go bankrupt. We have a traditional approach, focusing on profitability and running the business sensibly. Any excess we decide to spend, we ask ourselves, How does it affect the company’s stability?'”

The company is not shy about its vision of the future, though, with DIGIT recruitment advertisements appearing on the sides of buses around Dublin. “We’re over three years old and in a great position financially,” says the CEO. “We’ll be around for years to come.”

Much like players in Kings of the Realm, DIGIT has built a fortress and created strategic alliances. Now it is setting out on a mission to conquer the mobile games industry.

DIGIT logo

 

www.digitgaming.com

 

Kings 4

 

 

 

www.kingsoftherealm.com

Variable State Scan Lines

Contract Animator, Variable State, (Dublin)

Variable State White

Variable State is looking for a contract animator to work on Virginia. The start date is flexible, to begin any time between now and September, and will last for 6 months.

Applicants should ideally be based in Ireland, or failing that the UK.

This is a fixed term contract and will not lead to a full time position I’m afraid, even if you are entirely lovely. This is a paid position.

Responsibilities:

– Working with Terry, our art director on look and style
– Creation and implementation of high quality character animation
– Be a strong key frame animator with a good eye for performance
– Be able to create believable animations for a stylised, but not cartoony world
– Deliver work via Perforce

You must be able to:

– Provide a showreel displaying strong character animation
– Work in 3ds Max and Character Studio
– Export animations into Unity
– Have some skinning and rigging ability
– Work remotely, using your own hardware and software
– Participate in web-based company chat and video conference
– Be available for normal business hours in UK time / GMT+0
– Work independently with confidence, own your tasks and deliver to quality and to deadline, while providing your own embellishments

Added bonuses:

– You’ve experience creating cut scenes or or have worked in film and TV
– You have shipped PC or console titles before
– You’re familiar with Unity
– You live in or near Dublin, Ireland

We welcome applications from everyone irrespective of age, gender and ethnicity, but, as women, LGBTQs and members of ethnic minorities are under-represented in game development, we would encourage applications from members of these groups.

Our ideal collaborator is someone who is patient in their dealings with others and who is thoughtful and conscientious in their approach to work. We like people who are open and communicative about what they do, who like sharing knowledge and enjoy educating team members about their field of expertise.

Interested? Please drop us a line with your CV and showreel to jobs@variablestate.com

Thanks!


 

More info

Virginia Bird

Oh yeah! Just to give you a bit more information about the game and the people you could be working with.

Variable State is a virtual studio based in the UK and Ireland. It was set up by myself, Jon Burroughs, and my friend Terry Kenny back in January of 2014. We each have over a decade of experience working in studio game development, which is partly why we’ve decided to do something a little different. I’ve worked at various times for companies like EA and Rare, Terry’s worked for Rockstar on the GTA games. We’re collaborating with composer Lyndon Holland, programmer Kieran Keegan, artist Matt Wilde and, from time to time, with artist Wayne Peters.

Virginia is our first game. It’s a first person interactive story, equal parts inspired by Twin Peaks and Thirty Flights of Loving. We’ve shown off a limited demo at trade shows and plan to release a full length version at some point next year. You can read some of the press coverage of the game here: Link!

If this tickles you and the job spec seems like your kind of thing please do get in touch. A word of warning: even though we’re a virtual studio and work remotely, we can only consider applications from people based in Ireland or the UK who are able to work during business hours in UK / GMT+0 time.

Thanks for reading. And thank you to anyone who has got in touch so far. I’ll try to get back to everyone in due course!

 

http://variablestate.com/

http://variablestate.com/virginia/

MUSP

KamaGames to expand in Ireland

A Dublin-based company that makes social video games for a range of different devices is to create 100 jobs over the next three years. KamaGames has said the new roles will include positions in game design, marketing, finance, HR and business development.

The first 50 roles will come on stream in the next 12 months.

The company was founded in 2009 and its games are currently played by more than one million people around the world every day, and more than 80 million people have played their games.

It opened its global headquarters in Dublin in 2013.

This story was posted on RTE.ie. To read more go to http://www.rte.ie/news/2015/0701/711907-jobs/ 


 

 

For the KamaGames press release go to http://kamagames.com/announces-growth-strategy-new-jobs 

This states that ‘The roles will cover multiple disciplines including all phases of game design, marketing, finance, HR and business development, and will be the first stage of a much larger hiring plan.’

http://kamagames.com/