Biker Mice from Mars lands

More Galway related news. Irish game developers, 9th Impact (based in Galway) have this week launched the official Biker Mice from Mars game on iPhone and Android.

The game is based on the smash hit 90’s animated TV series of the same name which was a staple of “The Den” programming on Network 2 from 1993 to 1996.

The Galway-based company won the licence to develop the game following a competitive selection process during which they beat off larger international game studios to clinch the deal.

The show’s creator, Rick Ungar, is confident that the game will be well received by the large fan base of the cult classic series. “I think Biker Mice Fans will enjoy the snappy banter, classic catchphrases and irreverent satire that they would expect from the series, in addition to the non-stop action.”


iPad_Map Screen

Players choose one of the Biker Mice characters and ride through the streets of Chicago, following trails or battling enemies.  Each level completed reveals the next instalment of the story of that episode.

There are currently 2 episodes available, one clearly poking fun at a recent movie franchise and the other featuring a billionaire character running for President.  There is an endless mode available for each episode to compete for highscores or to earn coins which can be spent on upgrades.

Biker Mice from Mars uses the usual swipe and tap controls from the endless runner genre but the lazer shooting, pursuits, boss fights and heavy use of story throughout make it a richer experience than the typical endless runners.

The producers, artists and developers behind the game were all fans of the show since childhood.  “I think the fact that we are huge fans is evident in the attention to small details throughout the game” says producer Mark Quick.

Players unlock cards, trivia and mini-games as they complete levels or certain objectives in the endless mode.  These cards are rich in detail from the show which will appeal to fans or newcomers seeking to learn what all the nostalgic fuss is about.


About Biker Mice from Mars

Biker Mice from Mars is an animated series created by Rick Ungar which first aired in 1993.  The series features 3 motorcycle-riding mice who escape a war on their home planet of Mars and arrive on Earth, crash landing in Chicago.  Earth is in danger from the same fish-like race who destroyed Mars.  One of the Plutarkian race, Lawrence Limburger, is disguised as a human business magnate and is trying to steal Earth’s resources but the Biker Mice are on hand to foil his evil plans.  The show was hugely popular in many countries at the time of broadcast and gained a dedicated worldwide cult following over the years. The series spawned two previous games – one on the Super Nintendo console (1994) and the other on Play Station 2 (2006).

9th Impact Game Development Team

About 9th Impact

9th Impact is an award winning independent game development studio based in Galway, Ireland.  The team of artists, engineers and producers are huge fans of Biker Mice from Mars and dreamed about building an awesome endless runner game for mobile.  In 2014 the studio secured the licence to make the official Biker Mice from Mars game for mobile.

The studio is currently working on new episodes to extend the action runner game and intends to develop an adventure style game based on the same series in 2016.


Biker Mice from Mars is available on App Store and Google Play:

‎Biker Mice from Mars
‎Biker Mice from Mars
Developer: 9th Impact
Price: Free+
Biker Mice from Mars
Biker Mice from Mars
Developer: 9th Impact
Price: Free+



Richard Barnwell at StartUp Grind Dublin – reader offer

Richard Barnwell from DIGIT is speaking at Startup Grind Dublin next week.

Richard is CEO and founder of DIGIT Game Studios, based in Dublin. He was interviewed for recently. digit_richard_barnwell

StartUp Grind Dublin events are focused on delivering an inspirational and educational meetup for aspiring entrepreneurs, or those looking for an insight into a particular industry – the format of the meetup is a one-to-one fireside chat between Richard and David Scanlon, director of StartUp Grind Dublin. It’s unscripted, no slides or pitching, and is intended to celebrate and explore the grind of being an entrepreneur.

Tickets cost €15 (plus fee) but, if you follow this link or use the access code “gamedevelopers”  you can get a 2-for-1 discount code!!

Any tickets bought will include a 50% discount for the SUXmas party ( which takes place after Startup Grind.

The event takes place in Google’s Barrow St offices, from 5.30pm on Wednesday 16th.

More info at



Romero news

As many of our readers already know Brenda and John Romero moved to Galway in the West of Ireland this Autumn, just in time for our torrential rain and floods. When did they last see rain like that!

They have been busy. They have established Romero Games Ltd.IT Carlow visit by John & Brenda RomeroPicture Credit Brian Gavin Press 22

Brenda was also elected to the board of Imirt, the new association representing game makers in Ireland. See

And now we hear that John Romero has had the 1988 game Dangerous Dave translated into Irish!. Well we are presuming he didn’t do it himself.

It has also been announced that they both will speak at Inspirefest 2016 in Dublin, 30th June- 2nd July.  Inspirefest is an annual science, technology and arts festival which celebrates diversity and inclusion in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). More info on their website

They were both in Ireland last year when Brenda came on a Fulbright Tech Impact Award and visited nearly every educational institution in the country that taught game design.

They probably know more about the West of Ireland than most of the Dubs on here!! (Joke)


Imirt Scholarship Winners Announced

Imirt, The Irish Game Makers Association has announced that it has awarded €46,150 in tuition scholarships to 25 of its members in partnership with the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and UBM Tech.

The Game Developers Conference ( is the premiere conference for game developers in the world and is held each Spring in San Francisco, CA. The conference attracts 30,000 attendees from all over the world and offers workshops, talks and opportunities for game developers to network with international game developers, prospective partners, publishers and hardware manufacturers.

“GDC is the single-most important event of the year for the game industry,” said Brenda Romero, chairperson of Imirt. “By providing these scholarships, we not only increase the Irish presence at the show, but increase the knowledge base within the country as well. We’re grateful to GDC for making this possible.” Romero also serves on the GDC Game Design Advisory Board.

The scholarship provides attendees with an all-access pass to GDC, normally valued at €1845. Recipients will be able to attend the main GDC conference as well as the two days of tutorials and summits that precede the main event.

Winners were selected based on answers submitted to the review committee which was composed of Romero, Laralyn McWilliams and Llaura NicAodh.

For winner Jen Carey, a Dublin-based game writer and designer, the GDC scholarship provides a great chance to network with international game developers she would not otherwise meet. “Since collaboration is such a big part of creative industries, the opportunity to get to know so many amazing people is invaluable,” said Carey. “I’m hoping to learn from everybody there and in turn let them know about the brilliant work done in Ireland by so many talented people.”

Imirt: The Irish Game Makers Association represents game makers from all disciplines throughout Ireland, both analog and digital. Among Imirt’s members are thirty nine company founders based in Ireland as well as developers from thirty four game companies developing games on consoles, PC, mobile, VR and tabletop. Imirt members come from all sectors of the game industry including developers, educators, middleware and support services.

Well done all!

GDC scholarships

There are currently two ways to try and reduce your costs for getting to GDC in San Francisco next year.

IGDA scholarships

The IGDA Scholarships program have announced that 18 scholarship recipients to GDC will receive a travel reimbursement stipend courtesy of the IGDA Foundation’s generous donors and recent fundraising efforts including being featured in the recent Steam Humble Jumbo Bundle. This stipend amount will be based on the university location where the student is based.

-Only full-time undergraduate, graduate or doctoral (or similar) students, or former students who graduated in the 6 months prior to the event they are applying for, are eligible

– Applicants must be 18 years of age or older as of the date of the event. (Also note that certain aspects of some events may carry higher age restrictions).

-Applicants must be IGDA members in good standing. If you are not currently an IGDA Member, you must join the IGDA before applying for the scholarship. All applications will be verified. If you aren’t currently a member, you can join today.

Just a few weeks remain to apply for GDC IGDA Scholarships, now Including Travel Stipend!
Applications due 15 December 2015!
Learn more at

Imirt Scholarships 

Imirt, the Irish game makers associated also has 10 scholarships available for members. Their scholarship do not include flights and accommodation.

The judges will prioritise applications that:

  • emphasize diversity in the Irish game maker community.
  • highlight those who are under represented.
  • enable knowledge sharing between different locations, creative mediums, backgrounds or skills.
  • benefit the applicant’s experience and/or skills.
  • inform the wider games community as to what’s happening in Ireland.
  • contribute back to the Irish game maker community.
Applications due 3rd Dec.

Zap that Code


A new book aimed at younger coders will provide source code for twenty classic game types. Young coders can type in the code directly and then run it. “I wanted to createa book that would get non-coders interested and allow them to have fun creating games using code.” – Gary Plowman, Gazzapper Games.

Gary Plowman is the Founder of Gazzapper Games (, an Indie Game Studio based out of Dublin, Ireland.  They have several titles available on Google Play and over a million downloads. Gary got his first computer in the eighties, a ZX Spectrum, which he used to learn Sir Clive Sinclair’s BASIC. Gary says that learning early and using a simple language like Sinclair BASIC was the key to keeping him interested in coding at such a young age.

“I wasn’t the kind of kid to spend all my time coding, and computer games were a huge distraction. Playing soccer with my mates meant I didn’t have the time to devote to learning machine code. So learning BASIC was the compromise and it does provide a great basis for coding – There are many more high performing high-level languages now than there was back then and most new languages try to be simple and easier to understand. I still feel that BASIC is a great starting point for younger coders that need more time to develop.”

Gary decided to write a book containing up to twenty games in code form, which he wrote especially for this book. These Type-In Listings are full games (including rudimentary graphics) in code form. The code consists of line numbers and the coding instructions. The BASIC language that is used is very similar to English and similar to logical task it performs making it ideal for new coders. In the eighties, before high street shops sold games directly, many magazines would publish games for the user to type in directly. Many of the top developers got their start coding using BASIC before moving into professional development.

The book is called ZX Spectrum Games Code Club and it contains many different game types including a clone of Flappy Bird, ZX Breakout, Astral Invaders, Numbers Game (math-based) and simplified Tetris-type game plus many more.

Many countries including the UK, Europe and United States are looking to boost interest in coding with younger pupils and trying to get the parents to help encourage them to join code clubs and similar initiatives.

More information on the book can be found at 

About Us:

Gazzapper Games is Indie Mobile Gaming Studio from Ireland. They have many titles in Google Play Store and have more in development. Gary Plowman has been involved in games and technology businesses for many years and has a varied background of knowledge. He is also a web application entrepreneur and also the Founder of Testimonial Robot.

Imirt Game Showcase

In the last two weeks Imirt, the new organisation representing analogue and digital game makers in Ireland, have put together a showcase of some of the great games being developed by talented game developers in Ireland.

Editing was done by EndLife Studios and Geoff Newman and Vinny McCreith did the music.

Visit for more information.




Execution Labs is looking for indies

Execution labs

Execution Labs in Montreal, Canada is now taking applications for the winter 2016 cohort of the Execution Labs Accelerator programme. The deadline is  November 22nd.

Execution Labs is run by a team including Jason Della Rocca and it brings indie teams with a commercial orientation into a three month mentorship and development programme. All of the games/teams they get involved with are cool, innovative, fun games, but the emphasis is on commerciality and building sustainable studios. When visited the space last year they had teams from Canada, North American and Europe.

Full details on key dates etc. at:

Companies which have ‘graduated’ include Outerminds, who had huge success with Legend of the Brofist, hitting top grossing mobile charts within 24hrs this Autumn! Kitfox, is also a graduate and they were on stage with Moon Hunters at Sony’s booth in E3. They also helped 9dots score nearly $1m in production funding from CMF. The Steam version of Secret Ponchos was launched by Switchblade Monkeys to rave reviews. Etc, etc.

They have a fancy promo video featuring several alumni:

Teams only stay in Montreal for 3 months, after which they ship you back home. They are NOT backed by the Canadian government and they are NOT a scheme to attract studios to move to Canada. In case you were wondering.


IGDA Scholarships now open


The IGDA and the IGDA Scholarship Committee are delighted to announce that the 2016 IGDA Scholarship Program is kicking off with applications for the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in 2016. The program is open to all students and recent graduates in fields related to game development. Applications should be submitted by 15 December 2015, please see for further information.

GDC will take place 14-18 March 2016 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, USA. The world’s largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event features over 400 lectures, panels, tutorials and round-table discussions on a comprehensive selection of game development topics taught by leading industry experts. Awarded to the best and brightest students in game development disciplines, the IGDA Scholars program gives recipients an unforgettable experience including an all-access pass, industry mentorship, and local studio tours.

IGDA Scholars in the past few years have had incredible opportunities above and beyond the awarded event passes as part of our program, including private Q&As with industry luminaries such as Jenova Chen, Brenda and John Romero, and Kellee Santiago. They’ve also toured game studios such as Zynga and Double Fine Productions and made connections with their mentors and fellow Scholars that last well after the conferences.

You can learn more about the program, its history and find out how to apply at Please help us spread the word about this excellent opportunity for students from around the world by following and retweeting us on Twitter @IGDA_Scholars.

Check out this new video about the scholarships and please share with a talented game dev student today!


Grandpa Pip’s Birthday released

Some well know local devs have just announced the release of ‘Grandpa Pip’s Birthday’.


Made with the Fungus SDK and Unity3d, Grandpa Pip’s Birthday is a short and light 2d, side scrolling, point and click adventure game.


“Welcome to Pipsville, a back water town at the far flung corners of a distant land. Things are very quiet because it’s Samhain, a sleepy time in Autumn when not much happens. But as always, someone is creating a drama. This time its a birthday party and an unexpected visit from an undead army. Tisk, how typical, mountains out of molehills I say. How about you pop in and see if you can set things right?”



Name your own price. Available on Windows, Mac and Linux.


Well done all.

Follow the key devs @johnokane @snozbot


Free Course in Games & Interactive Technologies

Pulse College launches FREE Course in Gaming & Interactive Technologies for long term unemployed


Pulse College, the education faculty of world renowned Windmill Lane Studios, specialising in education programmes in Music, Audio, Filming, Gaming and Animation announced a FREE 33 Week Course in Self Employment for Gaming & Interactive Technologies.


Supported by Solas, this course is offered through Momentum Skills who fund free education projects to allow 6,500 jobseekers (who are unemployed for 12 months or more) to gain skills and to access work opportunities in identified growing sectors.

Pulse College aim to educate and incubate new gaming and technology entrepreneurs through a 3 stage approach:

 – Elevation: educating participants with the required skills in Gaming & Interactive Technologies

 – Acceleration: coaching and mentoring participants on their new profound skills in commercialising their ideas

 – Incubation: providing support and resources for new entrepreneurial start-ups


Speaking about the course, Head of Gaming & Animation at Pulse College David Williams stated ‘on completion of the course students will have developed their own business, bringing it from an idea into a real venture, with a large pool of talent readily available from other students in the college, people within the incubation and from those within the community that is present here at Pulse College, participants will be supported from an all round approach.’

Pulse College has been educating students for more than 20 years in audio, film and gaming. ‘If you want to become part of one of the most inspiring and exciting industries in Ireland, now is your opportunity’. – Naomi Moore, CEO of Gaming at Pulse College.

For more see:

Contact Sarah Walsh – Momentum Project Manager. E:

Imirt Board elected


Imirt: The Irish Game Makers Association represents game makers from all disciplines throughout Ireland, both analog and digital. They have just held online elections to elect their first board.

The board members are:

  • Chris Gregan – has worked in the games industry for 13 years. He is currently a founder at Fungus Games Ltd. and is the author of Fungus, a free open source tool for easily creating storytelling games in Unity 3D.
  • John Halloran – has been working in the games industry for over 10 years. Currently, he is the CEO of SixMinute, a Dublin games studio which he co-founded in 2013. He led SixMinute’s most recent funding round and their ongoing partnership with Finnish game developer Fingersoft. Before SixMinute, he was a founding member of PopCap’s Dublin studio set up in 2004.
  • Owen Harris – Game Designer, Lecturer and lover of all things playful. When not working on DEEP, he is the studio head of the award winning bitSmith Games and is the course head of DIT’s new BA in Game Design.
  • Stephen Kelly – Stephen has worked in the games and animation industry for over 8 years and is Co-Founder, Head of Games and Interactive at Studio POWWOW.
  • Colm Larkin – Colm is a programmer, game designer and board game enthusiast. He launched his first commercial game ‘Guild of Dungeoneering’ in 2015. He also helps run 1GAM Dublin, a gamedev meetup where you are encouraged to share rough prototypes, which has been held monthly since April 2013.
  • John O’Kane – John O’Kane has worked in the games industry for 8 years. He was previously Co-Founder, Designer, and Lead Programmer at SnowGlobe Games and a Programmer at Instinct Technology. John helps to run Inis Spraoi, a yearly game maker festival retreat. He is currently a founder at Snozbot and Fungus and he develops small free and paid games.
  • Brenda Romero – award-winning game designer, artist and Fulbright scholar who entered the video game industry in 1981. Romero co-owns Loot Drop and Romero Games. would like to congratulate everyone who was elected and wish them well in their role supporting the Irish game development community.

There will be an AGM in November for all members which will be a great opportunity to hear from the new board.

If you would like to join Imirt you can do so online at

It costs €20.

TIGA Game Industry Awards 2015

Tiga logo2

Two Irish companies have been nominated for the 2015 Game Industry Awards.

TIGA is the non-profit trade association representing the UK’s games industry. Members include independent games developers, in-house publisher-owned developers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities.

Each year they organise the TIGA’s Games Industry Awards to focus on the best games in the industry over the last 12 months as well as highlighting and rewarding best practice from those contributing to its long-term success.

This year there are two Irish nominees –

GameSparks  has been nominated in the best middleware, engines, tools and technology

–  Hay Ewe by Rocket Rainbow has been nominated for best game of the year, 2015.

We see that Havok is also a sponsor!

The results will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on Thursday 12th November attended by national and trade press media. See all the nominees here.

Havok acquired by Microsoft


It has been announced this month that Microsoft has acquired Havok, the Dublin based physics company, from Intel.

Below is the press release.


As we welcome Havok to the Microsoft family, we will continue to work with developers to create great games experiences, and continue to license Havok’s development tools to third party partners. We believe that Havok is a fantastic addition to Microsoft’s existing tools and platform components for developers, including DirectX 12, Visual Studio, and Microsoft Azure.

Havok is a fantastic technology supplier in the games industry and the leading real time physics creator. We saw an opportunity to partner together to deliver great experiences for our fans. Throughout the company’s history, they’ve partnered with Activision, EA, Ubisoft, Nintendo, Sony and many others to create more than 600 games including Halo, Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Destiny, Dark Souls and The Elder Scrolls.

Microsoft’s acquisition of Havok continues our tradition of empowering developers by providing them with the tools to unleash their creativity to the world.   We will continue to innovate for the benefit of development partners. Part of this innovation will include building the most complete cloud service, which we’ve just started to show through games like “Crackdown 3.”

Havok shares Microsoft’s vision for empowering people to create worlds and experiences that have never been seen before, and we look forward to sharing more of this vision in the near future.

Method in the madness

Pavel Barter talks to Drogheda’s John Fuller, producer of Mad Max the game.


In 2002, John Fuller travelled from Dublin to Finland to meet Remedy, the studio working on ‘Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne’. As part of the team for Havok, the Irish physics middleware company, his task was to help the developers upgrade from Havok’s first iteration to Havok 2. This required breaking the game’s engine, so tensions ran high.

“After the first hour, Remedy’s team was going ‘This is never going to work. We should never have started this’,” recalls Fuller. “I convinced everyone that we should stick it out and give it a chance. Markus Maki, Remedy CEO at the time, agreed. We took the computers into a large conference room in the studio and sat there all day and night. On the evening of the fifth day, we started to get systems back online.” Havok’s integration had worked.

As one of Havok’s earliest recruits, Fuller had plenty of experience working on games with big budgets for big publishers. “I probably saw 40 AAA game engines,” he says. “On some of them, I sat with the team and coded Havok integration into parts of the game.”

This experience primed the Drogheda-born developer for a career in the AAA industry. As senior producer at Avalanche, the studio behind the open world Avalanche Engine, he shepherded one of this year’s biggest blockbuster releases: Mad Max. Avalanche Studios, which is based in Stockholm, Sweden, is renowned for open world games such as the Just Cause franchise and specialises in sandbox adventures.Just Cause 3



“It doesn’t have to be literally sand,” jests the producer about his desert-set post-apocalyptic adventure. “We have a strong emphasis on physics. We have a credo in the studio ‘If you can see it, you can go there. If you poke it, it reacts’. We want to make large, immersive worlds, filled with potential for exploration. Just Cause and Just Cause 2 was the birthplace of that style.”



Mad Max – released for PS4, Xbox One, and PC – stays true to these values. The company worked on various projects set in post-apocalyptic environments before landing the Mad Max IP. Fuller started the project as technical director before moving into the position of senior producer; he was part of the creative and the business process.

Initially, the team consulted with Mad Max director George Miller. “It was very important that we faithfully represented his vision of the world. It was important that we understood the mind-set of the character. We wanted to understand George’s aesthetic vision too. We’ve tried to capture that in the game. It’s not a bleached, worn-out monochromatic wasteland. It’s full of colour and life – as much as is possible in that desolate landscape.”

Avalanche sent a team to Costa Rica to research vegetation and landscape materials, and Namibia to study desert environments. The game began to take shape. “In conjunction with George Miller, we had a new vision of what the world should be, how horrific the regime is, and what kind of life exists there,” says Fuller. “We also re-imagined the gameplay. Max is much more Mad Max game 2of a skilled fighter. He’s not necessarily a ninja or elite fighter, but he’s definitely an accomplished hand-to-hand fighter in our game and the Fury Road movie, whereas I don’t know if that was the case in the first three films.”

Avalanche’s game is not a spin-off of this year’s blockbuster movie Mad Max: Fury Road. Fuller is not even sure if that film’s success helped the studio. “It’s a double-edged sword for a game based on a film licence. Every developer wants to be evaluated on the merits of their game – and only that. From a critical point of view there are plusses and minuses. From a consumer point of view, it has been so long since the previous Mad Max films were released, the film did a lot to reawaken love and enthusiasm for the character and franchise.”

Fuller is one of the few Irish developers to have experienced the highs and lows of leading a AAA game. With bigger budgets, investment and development time span, the potential loss is always greater.

“The worst thing you can do is start second guessing yourself and changing direction. Our team peaked at just over 100. Ultimately, I’m the manager of all those people. It’s like a little company. You have to focus not just on the game’s content, but also team dynamics, individual interactions, making sure communication flows, keeping people enthusiastic, making sure everybody understands the vision, and disseminating information.”

In Ireland, where the industry is mostly made up of smaller teams, such problems rarely arise. But the producer knows how huge operations can bloom from tiny start-ups.



He began his career with a  Computer Science degree at Trinity College during the mid-1990’s, when there was a large pool of talent emerging from Ireland but not much of a development scene. “It was a bit like the English Premiership League – most people had gone to England where there were big studios,” he recalls. “I remember going to the Core Design office when theJohn Fuller, Senior Producer, Avalanche Studiosy were working on a Tomb Raider game. Half the accents were Irish. There was definitely grassroots talent.”

Havok, the physics middleware company, began as a research project in Trinity before Steve Collins and Hugh Reynolds set up a business in Dublin. In October 1999, Fuller jumped on board, initially as a coder to research networked physics.

Around that time, there had been some middleware success stories in the games industry, including graphics engine RenderWare. However, physics was a problem for game developers, often leading to project delays or cancellations. Fuller contends that Havok was initially “a lot less business savvy” than some of its competitors. “I remember at one stage doing an analysis and projecting we were losing money for every new sale,” he says. “It wouldn’t be profitable to take on any new customers, which came as a shock to everyone.”

But the start-up’s naivety contributed to its success. Whenever a customer suggested changes to the middleware, the team promptly responded. Over time, Havok built up a loyal customer base and became an integral part of the industry. Soon many AAA studios were inserting Newtonian laws into their games, courtesy of the Dublin developer.

Meanwhile, Fuller moved from engineering to sales. “We wanted to ensure Havok was never the scapegoat for projects that suffered problems. After Havok 1 [the middleware’s first iteration] most of my time was spent visiting customers and integrating Havok, assessing their needs. On several occasions I said ‘I don’t think Havok is what you’re looking for. Havok won’t provide for your ambitions’.”




In the mid 2000’s, Fuller moved to Sweden to marry his fiancée, start a family, and spearhead Havok’s European developer relations team. By the time Intel acquired the Irish company in 2007, he had worked with Sweden’s DICE (Battlefield, Mirror’s Edge) and Massive Entertainment (World In Conflict). But Avalanche Studios, founded in 2003, seemed a perfect fit.

“Their ambition with respect to physics was really exciting. They were prepared to experiment. Lots of other developers were afraid of opening up physics as a toolbox. Avalanche wanted to be playful with physics; they wanted to experiment, not remove the highs for fear of the potential lows. That was proven with the Just Cause games. As long as you give people a new toolset, and systemic rules that allow them to experiment, they are prepared to give you a little bit of licence and even tolerate certain bugs.”Avalanche logo

In 2007, Fuller joined Avalanche as a system architect. According to the developer, Sweden has always been a hotbed of development talent. For example, Andreas Tadic, creator of classic 1991 game Alien Breed, was a senior engine programmer on Mad Max,  “That was one of the first games that I played,” says Fuller. “People like him are legends. They had a high level of technical education and were active in the high tech underground demo scene.”

Sweden also has a healthy tradition of cutting edge engine development. The Frostbite engine, created by DICE, is the de facto standard within EA. Avalanche’s engine is world renowned, and the engine behind Ubisoft Massive’s new game, The Division, is also well respected. But despite its heritage in the industry, Sweden does not necessarily have more going for it than Ireland.



What would it take for an Irish studio to produce a AAA hit?

“You could probably put one together if the right team, with the certain amount of experience, was to gather top tier Irish talent that already has experience of AAA games,” muses Fuller. “Unfortunately, there’s a threshold. You’ve got to get up to a certain critical mass of technology, toolsets and processes, to get a team working productively. Now the Unreal engine and other suites are available, with the right publisher backing, a studio could minimise any initial investment. There’s a huge amount of Irish talent in the game development diaspora. You need to balance harvesting that talent and complimenting it with home grown grassroots talent – people fresh from school with a lot of new ideas.”

In 2011, Avalanche opened a development office in Manhattan, New York. “There are very few AAA developers in New York. It’s an expensive city to have an office in, but a huge amount of developers come from New York.” A similar venture could easily work in Ireland, he contends.

Fuller might have left the Irish games industry behind him, but with Havok physics an integral part of Mad Max and Avalanche’s upcoming Just Cause 3, which is released in December 2015, he has not drifted too far from where he started.

“When I jumped on board to Avalanche, it was already a foregone conclusion I would continue to evangelise Havok within Avalanche and we would continue to further develop it. With my unique knowledge of the Havok engine, we’ve been able to develop parts of it for our own use that Havok have factored back into their own tech.”

Irish talent continues to play a major part in the global games industry. The next step, surely, is to see a AAA hit being developed on our own shores.


Mad Max is out now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC

Help Biker Mike from Mars come back to Earth!

Biker Mice from Mars Rock n Ride Official Game


Wave of 90’s nostalgia forecast, following announcement of a new Biker Mice from Mars smartphone game. If you grew up in the early 90’s in Ireland, chances are you tuned into ‘The Den’ on Network 2 to watch Lawrence Limburger’s latest plot to wreak havoc on Chicago and the efforts of a motorbike-riding trio of extraterrestrial mice to stop him.

Today Irish game development studio, 9th Impact, has announced that they have been working with the creators of the original Biker Mice series for the past year. The resultant Biker Mice from Mars game is set to debut on the App store and Google Play Store in December this year.

Get Involved

9th Impact have now launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking the financial and creative support of Biker Mice fans in order to complete the game.

Fans who contribute to the campaign will receive rewards ranging from special edition digital wallpapers to actually becoming a character in the game. Hardcore fans and gamers alike, will be excited to know there is an option to become one of the beta testers and play the game before anyone else.

Finn Krewer, who is the lead game developer, says he is honoured to be building the game, “Biker Mice was my absolute favourite show as a kid and developing a Biker Mice game is dream come true. For me, working with the models of Throttle, Modo and Vinny every day is like getting to hang out with your favourite celebrities.”

With great honour comes great responsibility and the developer is keenly aware of this, “I now have to ensure that the game is deserving of the Biker Mice name and captures the magic that made the original series so great.” Krewer explains that this is why he wants to get fans involved, “The best way for us to know that we’re getting things right is to ask the real fans. We are asking for their input now and together we’ll make this an awesome game.”

The Kickstarter campaign runs from September 22nd until October 20th. Go to the Kickstarter Campaign:


iPad_Map Screen


About Biker Mice from Mars


Biker Mice from Mars is an animated series created by Rick Ungar which first aired in 1993. The series features 3 motorcycle-riding mice who escape a war on their home planet of Mars and arrive on Earth, specifically Chicago. Earth is in danger from the Plutarkians (the same fish-like race who destroyed Mars) and particularly Lawrence Limburger, a Plutarkian disguised as a human business magnate. Limburger is trying to steal Earth’s resources but the Biker Mice are on hand to foil his evil plans. The show was a mix of action, comedy (particularly satire) and cheesy 90s catchphrases. It was popular in many countries at the time of broadcast and gained a dedicated worldwide nostalgic cult following over the years, who view it as iconic of the era.


About 9th Impact

9th Impact Game Development Team 9th Impact is an award winning indie game development studio based in Galway, Ireland. The team are huge fans of Biker Mice from Mars and dreamed about building an awesome endless runner game for mobile. In 2014 the studio secured the official licence to make the official Biker Mice from Mars game for mobile.

Contact for Info: Mark Quick



Games Fleadh 2016 dates

Games Fleadh 2016 will take place on Wednesday March 9th 2016 in LIT Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Supported by Microsoft Ireland, EA Games and the Irish Computer Society, the 13th annual Games Fleadh will feature Robocode and the Game Studio ‘Tower Defence’ competitions.

Games Fleadh will also feature games development and research talks by industry veterans and researchers.

Games Fleadh 2016 is open to the public for free.

For more follow @gamesfleadh on twitter or the hashtag #gamesfleadh. See also

Brenda Laurel skypes into Games Fleadh, 2015.

Brenda Romero on screen as she skypes into Games Fleadh, March, 2015. Dr Liam Noonan, Lecturer, LIT, at podium. Photo: Aphra Kerr.


Hay Ewe nominated for Game of the Year, 2015.

Public Vote now open! 

Rocket Rainbow is an independent games studio founded by experienced game developers who grew up in the mobile space. Some of them were based in the Dublin PopCap office until that closed.

Their game Hay Ewe has been nominated for a TIGA Games Industry Award, 2015.

Voting is currently open to the public and you have one day left to vote at

TIGA’s Games Industry Awards focus on the best games in the industry over the last 12 months as well as highlighting and rewarding best practice from those contributing to its long-term success.

TIGA is a not-for-profit association representing the games industry in the UK.

Go Vote!

Visit Rocket Rainbow. 

Imirt elections


Imirt, The Irish Game Makers Association, represents game makers from all disciplines throughout Ireland, both analog and digital.

They are currently holding elections for their first board. Voting will take place from Monday 21st to Friday 25th September (voting closes at midnight on the 25th).

Anyone who is a member (costs €20) can vote. All members who sign up before midnight on THURSDAY 24th September will be eligible to vote.

Details of how to vote will be sent to members by the 21st. It’ll all be online so doesn’t matter where in the world you are.

Take a look here to find out more about the 15 nominees and why they are running for election:


Games Ireland GIG 2015 – speakers

games ireland logoWith new speakers being added all the time there is now an extensive list of speakers for the Sept. 10th event in the Mansion House, Dublin which this year has a focus on product innovation.

Games Ireland, Riot, Digit, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA are co-organising the event.

Tickets (€49) and an up to date list of speakers are available at




 doc norton

Keynote: Doc Norton, Former Global Director of Engineering Culture at Groupon, Founder & CEO at CTO2

Coach, mentor, advocate, facilitator. 25+ years in creation of software. Adept at working with teams to improve their processes from inception to delivery, with a special focus on engineering practices and team dynamics.



travis george


Keynote: Travis George, Director of Product, EU at Riot Games

Over 7+ years at Riot Games, George has played a key role in the product development of League of Legends.

He is focused on identifying key opportunities for deep and meaningful experiences that are tailored to the unique needs of players in the EU region.





Keynote: Emmi Kuusikko, Director of Business and Product Management at Microsoft Studios

Emmi has over 10 years of experience in the video games industry, focusing on service based game development and a variety of business models.

Before recently moving to her new position at Microsoft she was Director, Head of Strategy and Business Management at Lionhead Studios.







Andrew Bowell, Head of Product at Unity Technologies

Unity’s new VP of Product Management will be joining us as part of our Cultures of Innovation panel. Bowell had previously blazed a trail for over 15 years at Havok in the areas of engineering and sales and became their worldwide Head of Product in 2010.


Chris Less, CEO at En Masse Entertainment

Gamer and games industry veteran Chris Lee has successfully managed and delivered creative marketing programs for blockbuster franchises like Halo, Need for Speed, Age of Empires, and Aion at companies including Electronic Arts, Microsoft, and NCsoft.


Marc Chambers, Service Providers Manager at YouTube Live

Marc works with third-party service providers, developers and device manufacturers to provide best-in-class solutions for creators on YouTube Live.


Toby Moore, Founder & CTO at Space Ape Games

Toby has spent the last 12 years in lead technical roles, designing and building products from start-up to successful global businesses across a number of sectors, most recently in gaming and entertainment as Founder and CTO at Space Ape Games.


Thomas Paincon, Marketing Director Digital Publishing at Ubisoft

Managed marketing and communication for console and mobile titles like Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed and Settlers Online. Thomas has also setup marketing strategy for PC and Console titles like Scarface, Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, and Blizzard titles World of Warcraft, Diablo 2 & Warcraft 3.


Jason Robar, Director of Product at Goodgame Studios

Goodgame Studios’ new Director of Product is a games industry veteran having worked for Vivendi, AisA Group and Sierra Online and consulted for some of the top games companies in the world.


James Adams, Director of Technology at Amazon

Twenty years of experience leading, developing and operating high-risk, mission critical projects and services across diverse private, government and military organizations. Repeatedly builds high performing organizations who have successfully delivered projects ranging from NASA spacecraft to video games.


Khaleeq Aziz, Co Founder & Managing Director at Symanto Research

Symanto Research bring psychometric research to social media for market research. Designed to uncover intrinsic motives through unique psychological profiling their unique technology uses an innovative method based on semantic analyses.


Paddy Benson, CTO EMEA at Groupon

Groupon’s new CTO in the EMEA region has 25 years experience building high quality software, systems and teams for big players like IONA Technologies, Newbay Software and Synchronoss Technologies while also taking an important mentoring role with Irish startup Soundwave.


Eric Bowman, VP of Engineering at Zalando

Through a combination of team empowerment and cutting edge architecture — what Zalando call Radical Agility — Bowman is helping Zalando transform how people everywhere connect with fashion.


Jeff Dixon, R&D, Senior Software Engineer at Riot Games

While he is now working on R&D for League of Legends at Riot Games’ Dublin offices, Dixon was previously Co-Founder and Lead Programmer at Magic Pixel Games and a Senior Software Engineer at EA.


Sean Fee, Co-Founder and CEO at

Sean co-founded, a social discovery platform for connecting the gaming community. He has also held top commercial roles at companies like TV3, and Mist Media.


Theo Goyvaerts, CEO at G-Series

Goyvaerts’ interest in eSport and Gaming has led him to champion the eSport industry in Ireland, creating more opportunities for Irish gamers to compete in eSport competitions and events. He is moving aggressively to secure Pro Gaming Leagues in Ireland within the next 5 years.


Bruce Grove, Co-Founder and CEO at Polystream

More than 15 years engineering management and team leadership in fast paced, cross geographic environments. Specialist in cloud gaming and virtual desktop platforms, unique insight to all aspects from engineering architecture to business models and future directions.


Christian-Peter Heimbach, Senior Manager Digital Publishing International at Warner Bros. Entertainment

Heimbach is the key point of communication between Warner Bros. Entertainment’s US digital marketing and local teams in the EMEA and APAC regions. He ensures consistency in metrics and stategy for the digital games markets – from hardcore to online and free-to-play


Lars Hoogweg, CTO at Lebara Digital Factory

Current CTO at Lebara Digital Factory in the Netherlands, Lars was previously CTO at Nimbuzz BV and the owner of Zendu.


Kaypea, Live Streamer as KayPea

KayPea has built a massive following in the gaming community live streaming her activity on League of Legends. She joins an already stellar Streaming panel to offer her comments on the role live streaming has to play in developing a rewarding community experience.


Ian Massingham, Technical Evangelist at Amazon Web Services

Joined Amazon Web Services in December 2013 as a Technical Evangelist covering the UK & Ireland. Prior to joining AWS Massingham spent just over 3 years at EMC building out the technology components of EMC’s Service Provider Alliances Program across the EMEA region.


Marcella “Nysira” De Bie, Live Streamer and Content Creator as NYSIRA

NYSIRA is a gamer, vlogger and live streamer based in Amsterdam who has grown a massive following on Twitch and YouTube. She will be joining our Streamer panel discussing community driven content creation.


Sebastian Pacetti, CCO at Warhorse Studios

Senior executive with 12+ years of experience in the media/entertainment industry, specialist in gaming, market penetration, digital distribution, customer retention and engagement.


Matthew Seaborn, Director of Software Engineering at Perform Group

A highly experienced and skilled developer, architect, leader and technologist, Seaborn has spent the last 15 years designing and developing innovative IT systems for companies like Categoric Software, Smart Media, and most recently, Perform Group.


Mark Turpin, CEO at The Yogscast

Mark Turpin joined The Yogscast, a network of talented and entertaining YouTube creators, at the beginning of 2012 and is now the CEO. Turpin ensures that The Yogscast continues to bring the best in gaming entertainment to the world whilst simultaneously running his own channel.


Melikshah Uenver, Founder at StartupCVs & MCUBATE

MCUBATE is a company-builder which focuses on building HR/Recruitment companies. Through MCUBATE Uenver has built ‘Shah Recruiting – Digital Leaders’ and StartupCVs – two recruitment companies which assist companies in the digital field with their recruitment efforts.

Keywords (Dublin) Czech & German Translators LoL

German Translator for League of Legends (DUBLIN)
Contract Type:Permanent, Full Time
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Reporting To: Localisation Operations Manager


Company Profile

Keywords is an international technical services provider to the global games industry.
Established in 1998 in Dublin and now with operations in 13 studios across 10 countries, it provides integrated services for localisation, testing, audio, art creation and customer support in over 40 languages and 12 game platforms to the world’s largest games publishers and developers.

Role Overview

This German translator position will be based at our HQ in Dublin, Ireland. You will join a team of 300+ highly dedicated professionals providing world class language services and testing to the video games industry internationally. This is a unique opportunity to be part of a team focusing on League of Legends. We are passionate about providing high quality translations to our clients. You will be part of that, translating for this world renowned MOBA title.

Skills Required

– Native German Speaker
– Passion for the interactive entertainment space and close familiarity with the games industry.
– Passion for MOBA games (League of Legends, etc…)
– Educational qualification in linguistics
– Experience as a German linguist
– Experience in language, literature, linguistics, or related humanistic fields.
– Excellent verbal and written communication & presentation skills both in German and English.
– Must be self-motivated and able to operate in a dynamic and fast-paced environment
– Strong interpersonal skills

Duties and Responsibilities

– Translate, review and proofread texts in German to a high quality standard
– Work closely with other linguists, Project Managers and the Translation team to ensure high standards of linguistic quality in all projects.
– Create and continually improve glossaries, manage terminology and create guidelines for German
– Perform Quality Assurance tasks.
– Be responsible for all linguistic aspects of the translations you are assigned to ensure the best possible quality is delivered to Keywords’ customers.
– Provide support and leadership to junior members of the team to achieve the department objectives and goals.
– Suggest process improvements that will help achieve goal of optimal translation quality
– Collaborate with linguists in other languages on cross group objectives.
– Support Vendor management on reviewing test translations
– Support the Testing Department on linguist standards and questions in your language


Our employees are our most valuable resource; therefore we provide them with a competitive compensation package commensurate with skills and experience, excellent benefits, high level of job satisfaction and a casual and fun work environment.

Keywords International is dedicated to following a well-established Equal Opportunities Policy. We endeavour to create a workplace which provides for equal opportunities for all employees and potential employees

To Apply:

Applicants should apply here



Czech Translator for League of Legends (DUBLIN)

Contract Type:Permanent, Full Time

Location:Dublin, Ireland

Reporting To:Localisation Operations Manager

Company Profile

Keywords is an international technical services provider to the global games industry.
Established in 1998 in Dublin and now with operations in 13 studios across 10 countries, it provides integrated services for localisation, testing, audio, art creation and customer support in over 40 languages and 12 game platforms to the world’s largest games publishers and developers.

Role Overview

This Czech translator position will be based at our HQ in Dublin, Ireland. You will join a team of 300+ highly dedicated professionals providing world class language services and testing to the video games industry internationally. This is a unique opportunity to be part of a team focusing on League of Legends. We are passionate about providing high quality translations to our clients. You will be part of that, translating for this world renowned MOBA title.

Skills Required

– Native Czech Speaker
– Passion for the interactive entertainment space and close familiarity with the games industry.
– Passion for MOBA games (League of Legends, etc…)
– Educational qualification in linguistics
– Experience as a Czech linguist
– Experience in language, literature, linguistics, or related humanistic fields.
– Excellent verbal and written communication & presentation skills both in Czech and English.
– Must be self-motivated and able to operate in a dynamic and fast-paced environment
– Strong interpersonal skills

Duties and Responsibilities

– Translate, review and proofread texts in Czech to a high quality standard
– Work closely with other linguists, Project Managers and the Translation team to ensure high standards of linguistic quality in all projects.
– Create and continually improve glossaries, manage terminology and create guidelines for Czech
– Perform Quality Assurance tasks.
– Be responsible for all linguistic aspects of the translations you are assigned to ensure the best possible quality is delivered to Keywords’ customers.
– Provide support and leadership to junior members of the team to achieve the department objectives and goals.
– Suggest process improvements that will help achieve goal of optimal translation quality
– Collaborate with linguists in other languages on cross group objectives.
– Support Vendor management on reviewing test translations
– Support the Testing Department on linguist standards and questions in your language


Our employees are our most valuable resource; therefore we provide them with a competitive compensation package commensurate with skills and experience, excellent benefits, high level of job satisfaction and a casual and fun work environment.
Keywords International is dedicated to following a well-established Equal Opportunities Policy. We endeavour to create a workplace which provides for equal opportunities for all employees and potential employees.

To apply:

Applicants should apply here

Software Engineers/ Tool Engineers Havok (Dublin)

Havok has been at the cutting edge of innovation in game development for over a decade. We provide cross platform game engine technology, mainly on AAA titles, with top clients such as EA, Sony, Activision, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Bungie, Guerrilla, and DICE. We have a unique environment made up of talented, small, stable teams. We provide each of our engineers with an opportunity to make a real impact on our environment, our business and the direction of our industry standard products.

We are now hiring:



You will work in small focused teams of highly motivated and talented developers
You will be part of a professional stable development environment that is not subject to the long periods of crunch time typically associated with game development
Each developer/programmer will be expected to take responsibility for, and strongly influence the products they develop and the customers they work with at Havok
You will have the opportunity to work on and gain experience with the expanding range of hardware platforms we support
You will have the opportunity to work with some of the best games teams in the industry


– Developing optimized code in C/C++ for the very latest hardware platforms e.g. (PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Wii U, Wii, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Android, iOS, Windows)
– Writing cross-platform, multithreaded engine code
– Leading and participating in code reviews with other members of the engineering team
– Working on all aspects of Software Development including implementation, testing, documentation and delivery
– Working directly with product management and customers to understand their requirements and implement software solutions
– Developing and maintaining one of the most respected codebases in the games industry
– Drafting tutorials, white papers and speaking at technical meetings / conferences
– Taking ownership of more general projects/responsibilities within the development team such as recruitment initiatives, presentations and technical relationships with partner companies
– Working directly with customers, often on-site, to ensure they are getting the most from Havok products


– Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or equivalent
– Exceptional C++ skills and experience
– Strong knowledge of 3D math and linear algebra
– Proven ability to work in a team environment on a shared code base


– Background in game development
– Experience developing 3D graphics applications and tools
– Low level optimisation skills, experience in middleware and physics
– Experience working with established, large-scale software architectures
– Experience working within and extending one or more scripting languages (e.g. Python, Perl and/or LUA)

At Havok, we offer a unique environment and opportunity to work alongside talented colleagues in a challenging role with real job satisfaction.We have a supportive environment where you will have career, travel and research opportunities. We operate in high spec, relaxed offices in some of the most exciting cities around the world. Our salaries are competitive and we provide excellent benefit and relocation packages. We at Havok are very proud of who we are and what we do. We hire people based on their talent and potential to contribute so if you think you have what it takes we want to hear from you! Havok is an equal opportunity employer

Apply Online at




Location: Dublin

Havok currently provides a full range of Tools for game studios to create content. Now we are searching for Tools programmers with a strong desire to empower users further. We are in the process of building up a new team of highly focused, exceptional Tools engineers to work on a new project from the ground up. This is a great opportunity to come in at the ground level, and help shape tech that will be used by developers worldwide to build the next generation of games.


– Developing high-quality, cross-platform, multithreaded tools and infrastructure used by leading studios across the games industry
– Developing reusable and flexible tools framework
– Working on all aspects of software development including design, implementation, testing, documentation, and delivery
– Leading and participating in code reviews with other members of the engineering team
– Working directly with product management and customers to understand their requirements and implement software solutions
– Drafting tutorials, white papers and speaking at technical meetings / conferences
– Taking ownership of more general projects/responsibilities within the development team such as recruitment initiatives and technical relationships with partner companies
– Working directly with customers, to ensure they are getting the most from Havok products


– Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or equivalent
– 3+ years industry in gaming, visual effects, or content creation
– Exceptional skills in C++ and Object Oriented Programming
– Experience developing interactive tools and maintaining content pipelines
– Passion for designing and implementing user interfaces with a strong emphasis on end-user experience
– Experience with Qt, .NET, or similar GUI frameworks
– Experience writing highly reusable components and libraries
– Strong communication and interpersonal skills
– Proven ability to work in a team environment on a shared code base
– Knowledge of 3d math/linear algebra highly desirable
– Experience working with scripting languages desirable (e.g. Python, Perl, Lua)

At Havok, we offer a unique environment and opportunity to work alongside talented colleagues in a challenging role with real job satisfaction. We have a supportive environment where you will have career, travel and research opportunities. We operate in high spec, relaxed offices in some of the most exciting cities around the world. Our salaries are competitive and we provide excellent benefit and relocation packages. We at Havok are very proud of who we are and what we do. We hire people based on their talent and potential to contribute so if you think you have what it takes we want to hear from you! Havok is an equal opportunity employer.

Apply online at

New animation short courses



Animation Skillnet provides subsidised training solutions to the animation, games and VFX sectors in Ireland. They run high-end, bespoke training courses designed and delivered by industry specialists and they organise and support professional networking events and conferences for these sectors in Ireland and internationally.


Check them out here:


The following are the forthcoming courses:




1) Storyboarding with Storyboard Pro (5 Monday Evenings) –


2) After Effects for the Visual Effects, Animation and Motion Graphics Industries (5 Tuesday Evenings) –


3) Gesture Drawing for Animation (5 Wednesday Evenings) –


4) Toonboom Harmony Training (5 Wednesday Evenings) –





1) Business & Production Skills for Animation & Digital Media (Galway – 3 Days) –


Onikira: Demon Killer out 27th August

Dublin based Digital Furnace Games has announced the release of Onikira: Demon Killer for PC. Onikira will launch across Steam and other digital stores on Thursday 27th August priced $13.99, £10.59 or €13.99.

Launched in association with Headup Games and Merge Games (Germany and UK respectively), Onikira: Demon Killer is a 2D side-scrolling, beat’em-up set in a fantasy feudal Japan. Players assume the role of Yamazaki Jiro, a lone samurai battling to prevent the forces of the Japanese underworld, Yomi, from taking over the world of the living.

Onikira: Demon Killer blends together complex deep fighting mechanics of traditional 3D beat-em’ups and merges them with classic 2D platformer mechanics. Some will prefer to go toe-to toe with heavy weapons and mash some buttons while other players will prefer a ranged game, avoiding heavy melee encounters and the game’s expressive fighting system enables each player to engage in the way that suits them best.

Onikira: Demon Killer will boast seven challenging areas and players will be able to express themselves with over 40 uber-cool moves and using four devastating weapons. Each level is littered with foul demons that players must dispatch back to the underworld. Players must also face two mini-bosses and two epic mega bosses.


Cover Art



Key Features:

Unique high-level combat – Onikira mixes 2D platform game elements into the combat system to make something special. Moving platforms, wall jumping, wall running and grappling all serve to make for dynamic and emergent combat encounters.

Seven Areas – the narrative unfolds over highly polished and gorgeous hand-painted levels featuring rain drenched villages, destroyed opulent cities, mountaintop locations and an erupting volcano.

Master unique weapons – Each weapon – sword, tetsubo, naginata or arm blades – has multiple unlockable moves which can result in massive combo chains when moves are strung together. Combo chains turn directly into score multipliers.

Responsive and Expressive Combat System – players are rewarded for strategic and skill-based fighting. Play flows naturally from move to move, allowing the player to create new combos that haven’t been designed explicitly by the developers.

Soul Shop – souls are the currency of Onikira. Use them to revive your health and trade them. At certain points inside each level, the player will find rifts into Yomi where benevolent spirits will trade moves for collected souls.

Challenge Arenas – players complete combat related challenges and improve their score and skill to gain achievements. The arenas are fully integrated into Steam’s online leaderboards.

Specific enemy types – with their own unique vulnerabilities, every enemy emphasises a particular fighting style, like a floating, possessed Mempo mask that encourages the use of air game or a monstrously twisted high-ranking samurai, where hit and run tactics are the best way to stay alive.


About Merge Games

Merge Games is an independent video game publisher and distributor based in Manchester, UK. The company publishes and distributes interactive software worldwide for personal computers, video games consoles and mobile devices. Merge Games also specializes in publishing collectable games for retail and worldwide digital distribution for independent developers. More information about Merge Games products can be found at

About Headup Games

We are an independent games publisher located near Cologne in Germany and have recently been awarded Best German Publisher in 2012 and 2013 by the German Developers Association. Together with our partners, we focus on the contentment of our customers and the best gameplay experience delivered at the fairest price-quality ratio. Since our foundation, we have published over 70 SKU’s, including many projects from highly talented developers that are known for their potential and creativity. Our portfolio features high-quality games such as Super Meat Boy, The Inner World, The Binding of Isaac, Terraria, Limbo, The Basement Collection, Grotesque Tactics, Q.U.B.E., Frozen Synapse and many more as well as the million sellers #1 iOS Hits The Inner World, Bridge Constructor and Bridge Constructor Playground. Furthermore, we offer internationally growing companies the possibility to enter the German or European market with an honest and experienced partner on location. Fair and transparent relationships with our business partners are the basis of our company’s mission statement. More information can be found here

About Digital Furnace Games

Digital Furnace Games is an independant game developer based in Dublin, Ireland. We specialise in independent games that use the latest hardware and state of the art software to create visually stunning experiences. For more information, click here.  They are active on the local Dublin indie scene and involved in Gamecraft.




Onikira - Demon Killer
Onikira - Demon Killer
Developer: Digital Furnace Games
Price: 13,99 €

Pitch for investment at Game Connection

Early stage games companies have until 4th September to submit their application and get a chance to pitch in front of 10-12 high level international equity investors with a track record of investing in the video games industry or who have a financial interest in the sector (business angels, family offices, venture capital funds).

The contest is open to console, mobile, social, casual, and online game companies with no restriction on genre, platform, or distribution method. Middle-ware, publishing and distribution companies are also eligible.

Application requirements:
– You must be a European games company with an innovative and scalable business model
– You are looking to raise early stage equity investment to support your company’s growth (up to €2M)

Successful candidates will be offered:
• Free ticket to the Investment Session taking place on the 29th October during Game Connection Europe 2015 as well as one-to-one meetings with invited international investors on the 30th October.
• Privileged access to Game Connection Europe and use of the meeting application system which enables you to organise meetings with potential partners well in advance of the event (and so optimise your time there). You will also get access to a meeting stand to be shared with all 15 selected companies so that you have an area where you can bring potential partners to meet in comfort.

All submissions will be assessed by the Judging Committee of international industry experts.

Stipends (covering hotel nights in Paris) will be awarded to 2 applicants from MEDIA countries with low-production capacities: Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, IRELAND, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland.

The event is organised as part of the European Games Boost Programme supported by the Creative Europe Programme. It is organised by French games cluster Capital Games with the support of peacefulfish and Connection Events.


Speakers announced for German Trade Mission



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.

On the 8th of September there will be a “German-Irish Digital Innovation Summit”. Speakers include:

1 – Paul Sweetman, Director of the Irish Software Association, will give an insight into the Irish software industry.
2 – Thierry Baujard, founder and CEO of Media Deals, which focuses on cross-border investments in the media tech sector, is giving a presentation on the funding opportunities in the software & online-gaming sector.
3- [update] Thorsten Unger, CEO of Wegesrand & GAME – German Association for Computer Gaming will provide an outlook on the German Gaming Market.
4 – The ten visiting German companies, from the areas of educational and online gaming and software development, are in Ireland for the whole week on a trade mission and in addition to presenting at the Summit, they are also available for private meetings with Irish companies to discuss business opportunities.

Date: Tuesday 8th September 2015
Time: 09.00 – 17.00 h
Venue: Guinness Enterprise Centre (GEC), Taylor’s Lane, Dublin 8

See the preliminary program

Attendance is free but registration is necessary.

The event will bring together German and Irish expertise in the area of software development, online-gaming and educational gaming through a discussion panel following each experts talk.

Please feel free to provide the organisers with any “hot topics” related to software development, online/ educational gaming in an international context that you would like to see featured.

In addition, they still have free places to participate on a discussion panel if you are interested.


Explore business opportunities: Individual Business Meetings

As part of this event, Irish companies have the opportunity to meet the visiting German companies and gain insight into their product portfolios to explore new business opportunities. The individual business meetings will take place in the three days following the conference (9th – 11th September). Their profiles are available on our website.

Information about the summit and trade mission will be available on the German-Irish Chamber website and updated on a regular basis.

This trade mission is funded by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy.

Zombie Ablockalypse entry for IGMC 2015



Zombie Ablockalypse, by Gazzapper Games, is a fast arcade action game with colourful cartoon graphics. The premise of the game is that your civilians are under threat from a Zombie Virus that is spreading fast throughout the towns. The game is an entry for the 2015 IGMC (Indie Game Maker Contest) in the action category and runs on a Windows PC.

This is the second year of the IGMC, brought to you by Game Dev Fort in cooperation with Humble Bundle, where indie’s are challenged to make the best game they can in just one month, July 7th-Aug 7th, throw that game in the ring with its peers and see whose game shall emerge victorious.

Zombie Ablockalypse, by Gazzapper Games, and Irish based indie is an addictive game and suitable for younger family members too as there are no deaths in the game! That’s right you heard right, no one dies, the Hero’s only task is to cure all the infected using state-of-the-art pellet guns before he himself catches the Zombie virus.

The gameplay is contagious and lots of fun as Private Joe Blockhead (our Hero) of the Block Marine Corp has to collect many different types of equipment to help him succeed.

Along with the shooter action strategy there are other game dynamics at play here, the hero can recruit other civilians to fight along-side him or to protect a specific area of the playing field. The new recruits will continue to cure Zombies until they too are infected with the virus.

A small building blocks feature is also present in the game, this allows you to drop mini blocks from the materials you collect. The blocks can act as a cordon to segregate the Zombies from healthy civilians thus helping to contain the infection.

The features combined allow varied tactics to be employed and mean there is more than one way to play the game. Shooter fans can just go all Gung-Ho, while the more tactical players can choose smarter management of the infection using the resources to seal off areas of infection.

The game has a Global High Score table for players to compete against one another to reach the top and also has two game modes comprising of Level clearance mode and Survival mode.

Level clearance mode is the mode that you are expected to implement clever tactics, strategy or brute force to win.

Survival mode is faster and more difficult, as the Zombies are more aggressive and the game only ends when your character has been infected! Plus is survival mode is also scored on time as the longer you survive the higher your chances of getting onto the Survival mode high score table.

A future update for the game will also include Co-op and Versus play with a second player. The game can be played using the keyboard or a dual stick gamepad controller similar to Xbox 360 pad or Logitech F310 (preferred).

All assets are original and were created solely for this project. All sound effects were made using only human vocals and a high quality cardiod microphone.


To play the IGMC version of the game visit this link below and if you enjoy it share with others –

Gazzapper Games are an Irish indie game studio that focuses on retro-styled games. Setup around late 2013, they have a number of titles available on Google Play. Downloads for their games to date are nearing the 1 million mark.


Contemporary art and mathematical data in Cork

Recently Lord David Puttnam opened the exhibition BOOLEAN EXPRESSIONS which is currently at the Glucksman Gallery in University College Cork. 

This exhibition explores the ways in which artists use mathematical concepts and systems in their work. Inviting audiences to investigate ideas of Boolean algebra, the impact of ‘big data’ on contemporary life, and how systems and codes support creative production, the exhibition captures the ways in which artists have used logic and technology in their artistic practices.

BOOLEAN EXPRESSIONS also commemorates the legacy of George Boole, the first Professor of Mathematics at Queen’s College Cork and a pivotal figure who can be described as the ‘father of the information age’. His invention of Boolean algebra and symbolic logic pioneered a new mathematics, and his legacy surrounds us everywhere, in the computers, information storage and retrieval, electronic circuits and controls that support life, learning and
communications in the 21st century.

Throughout BOOLEAN EXPRESSIONS, the processes of calculation and computation utilised by mathematicians – and by conceptual artists – are realized through physical and performative gestures. In Boolean algebra, values are designated either 1 or 0, true or false, and this binary logic structures all computer programming. John Gerrard’s three-screen work Exercise (Dunhuang) portrays a simulated maze-like desert landscape populated with the avatars of Chinese factory workers, setting off in different directions according to the algorithms used in GPS systems. Occasionally, two of these characters meet, and the participant closest to his/her goal continues as the other retires from the exercise. John Gerrard, Exercise (Dunhuang), 2014, Simulation, 3 screen installation view
There will be work on show by artists including John Gerrard, Darren Almond, Aram Bartholl, Mel Bochner, Hanne Darboven, Sol LeWitt, Tatsuo Miyajima, Aisling O’Beirn, Matthew Ritchie, and Lynne Woods Turner.

Fiona Kearney, Director of the Lewis Glucksman Gallery, curated the exhibition in collaboration with the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science at UCC and you may be interested in interviews with Fiona/ John Gerrard/ Aisling O’Beirn, as this synergy between art and science could make a good fit for one of your articles.

Contemporary art and mathematical data
25 July – 8 November 2015
Lewis Glucksman Gallery
University College Cork

BOOLEAN EXPRESSIONS: Contemporary art and mathematical data is supported by University College Cork, The Arts Council Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and private philanthropy through Cork University Foundation.

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 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 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 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

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:

Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition
Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition
Developer: Gambrinous
Price: 19,99 €

Long live the Kings


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


Kings 4

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.


– 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



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!

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 To read more go to 



For the KamaGames press release go to 

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.’

9th Impact releases Robotory on App store


Galway-based 9th Impact, who build games for mobile phones, have released their newest game to the App Store today, July 1st.

Robotory is an endless arcade game, exclusively on iOS, which features a group of Robots who are trying to escape their factory as the floodwaters rise. They must jump through layers of pipes and moving floors while avoiding the drones and electric fences in their way.

Inspired by the classic Jumping Jack game which older gamers will remember from the ZX Spectrum and with some Crossy Road influences and an almost Machinarium graphic style, the game features super simple controls and endless free gameplay which makes it perfect for a pick-up-and-play mobile game.

“It takes some vision and skill to time the jumps through the levels correctly, especially as more obstacles and enemies are introduced the higher you get,” says Finn Krewer, Head of Games at 9th Impact. “Players are competing against their own high score but also can compete for a spot on the leaderboard or share their scores with friends.”

Every few games there is a casino type slot machine which players can spin for the chance to unlock new characters (which they can otherwise purchase) or win golden nuts, which are the game’s currency. The golden nuts are used to revive the robots when they’ve met their end, so you can keep playing although there is a maximum of 3 revives allowed per game.

“Our small team are big fans of classic games and we’re always thinking of ways to make them better suited to the smartphone conditions,” explains Fabio Stara whose official title at the company is MasterChef. “We’re obsessive about the small details in games and spend hours philosophising why things would be happening in the context rather than just inserting random stuff which is often the case in endless runners.”

The first game made by the outfit at the Galway Technology Centre, was called NinjaGo Endless Runner and has been played more than three million times in six months. We featured it on last year.

Robotory is now on the App Store.

See trailer.


Developer: 9th Impact
Price: Free+


Endlife Studios presents #IrishGameDev 2014

In December 2014 Geoff Newman of Endlife Studios interviewed some members of the Irish game development community about how 2014 was for them and what they expected from 2015. He has now published and shared this work with everyone.

He will be doing another one too – so if you are missing here and want to get involved contact him via @john_geoffrey

GamImage10esparks 1: 04 – 4:26
Digital Furnace Games 4:2711:53
Eoghan Kidney 11:5817:52
DoomCube 17:5324:03
Gambrinous 24:0427:59
LoPoly Games 28:0033:45
Pewter Games 33:4639:58
Rocket Rainbow Studios 39:5944:12
Tribal City Interactive 44:1547:25


Good Times by Artificial.Music

Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)











Poke the Bear releases Chameleon Falls

Poke the Bear has just released Chameleon Falls on Google Play.

Poke The Bear is a new Irish “Studio” based in Bray, Co. Wicklow. To date, our focus has been on developing educational content and games.

Chameleon Falls is our first casual game and its totally FREE!

Prepare to blister your thumbs and pull your hair out. Chameleon Falls will challenge your reflexes and your will.

This unique Runner game challenges you the player with obstacle negotiation on one hand and colour matching on the other.

– 9 Completely different story levels plus a beginner Introduction level.
– 4 Unlockable Randomly generated practice challenge runs, including an infinite runner.
– A store where you can top up on Coins and other Inventory, and also purchase add-ons like “Ad Removal”.


Chameleon Falls
Chameleon Falls
Developer: Poke The Bear
Price: Free+

Dub Ludo & Imirt


The first general meeting of Imirt, The Irish Game Makers Association, will be held on the 30th of June in Odessa at 5.30pm (before DubLudo).

This is a chance to get talking about Imirt directly. We’re going to gather the seats around to create a comfy and open meeting for anyone who wants to attend. We will also use GoToMeeting for online participation too!

The plan is to present some slides for 15 minutes. These will cover the last few months of steering committee happenings (also covered in the public minutes), from formulating the goals from the public survey, to the legals of the new organisation, as well as future steps and announcements. Then we’ll switch to Q&A for the rest of the event. Questions can come from the room or from people watching online.

Ahead of the meeting we’re sharing the document we’ve been using to figure out the legal side of things. Please read as a primer if you’re interested in the details of that sort of thing:

We will also share the slides ahead of the meeting. Finally, on the night we’ll be doing the first member sign-ups for the organisation. The annual cost is €20 and is open to anyone interested.

Hope to see you there!


Gazzapper releases WimblePong Tennis

Gazzapper Games has just shared their latest game – just in time for Wimbledon. Tennis game in Retro form using Real Pro Tennis Scoring system. Play tennis against CPU or second player!


A lightweight tennis game for your tablet. Play it during French or US Open or Wimbledon events! Best played on larger phones and tablets. Just like playing a retro tennis game.


WimblePong Features

★ Retro Styled Graphics
★ Excellent 2 Player mode also
★ Choose different Player Paddle style colors
★ Awesome addictive game play
★ Blend of Table Tennis (Pong) and Real Tennis
★ Realistic Scoring Tennis Game
★ Select amount of Games and Sets to play
★ Great family game for grown-ups and kids / children alike


Follow us @Gazzapper

Shindig – informal summer meetup logo

Occasionally organises informal social gatherings.

What is infrequent is special – and on Thurs the 25th we aim to bring all the different groups together for a summer meet up, some drinks and if you wish, some food.

Find out what is happening, see who is hiring, discuss courses and games.

Venue is the DTwo Beer Garden in the Harcourt Hotel on Harcourt Street in Dublin. It is quite near to the Odeon on the same side of the street.

Head out to the back beer garden. We have reserved an area on the left hand side with long benches. Look for our logo as above – to find the group. This should be clearly visible on the night.

Kickoff is at 7 pm on Thurs the 25th of June.

We know that Animation Skillnet is having a Summer Cookoff in the Odeon that evening from 6pm so hopefully there will be some crossover and people can make both if necessary!.

Tell us you are coming so we can reserve enough space – see our page on event brite.

Free to attend.





#IrishGameDev Timeline

Timeline of Irish Game Development

We created a new section on to provide a home for an alpha timeline of the Irish Games Industry. Find out when Atari was in Ireland, or Sony launched its GAA game. Watch videos, check dates.

This was originally compiled by Jamie McCormick to show visitors that Ireland has a relatively long history in various aspects of the games industry and culture. The timeline breaks out events in the history of the Irish games industry into industry events/policy decisions and company/team formation split into Game & App development, Games technology/middleware, industry services, publishing and retail/consumer services.

The timeline uses information released in Jamie’s Games Industry in Ireland 2012 report, plus associated lists in our forums, combined with company formation dates from CRO or Companies House, or if unavailable, the date a website was registered. ~70% of entries were formally registered as companies in some shape or form.

To date the project has had valued input from across the Irish game development community, Games Fleadh, State of Play, Dr. Aphra Kerr, Mr Phil Bourke, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland. The project stalled in May 2014 when Scraggly Dog Games and GetIrishGames closed down. Now we have resurrected it and we want you to get involved.

We would like you to help improve it?

You can use the contact form here on to send us information. Just put [timeline project] in the message header. We’re also interested in videos, photographs, screen shots related to each company and team. Happy to correct things too.

Volunteer with

 Update August 12th, 2015

Thanks to everyone who has volunteered to date.

We have been a bit slow on organising volunteers what with holidays etc. but we are gearing up now.

We have sufficient technical and web skills now in our team. But we are always looking for more folks to write. Feel free to drop us a line.

Volunteer with is a non-profit, volunteer run site that has been supporting the Irish games scene for thirteen years now.

We aim to provide an openly accessibly source of information on what is happening in the local game scene, amateur and professional, and an archive of what has happened. A few people have put in a lot of work into having a platform that provides the local community, students, hobbyists and industry, with coverage of games and play related news, a free place to advertise jobs and Irish made games, and feature articles for more in-depth stories.

Need for Volunteers


Overtime volunteers have moved on, emigrated, or got very busy in work, and the number of people actively running the website has dwindled. We usually have to renew things every couple of years. This is where you come in.

Firstly, there are still bugs with the new wordpress site and we need to fix the site to work on mobile devices. So we need some more technical volunteers who can help with that.

Second, we have a massive archive of material from our thirteen year archive we need to have properly categorised. We have to compare and contrast current content with the old site, so we can make sure that all the features and articles are back online again, in a fully searchable format. (This could be interesting for someone looking to explore the scene over the past decade in more detail).

So, we need self-starting volunteers with the following skills or interests.

– 1. Web developers, preferably with experience with WordPress (CSS/HTML/PHP)
– 2. Graphic designers for article images/social media – intermittant
– 3. Security specialist, who can do a full security audit of systems, so we can make sure a hack doesn’t happen again.
– 4. Content curators who can go through our content, removing duplicates, and doing some minor editing, tagging, categorisation, descriptions, and work through bringing our archive back online
– 5. News writers, who can write short reports on local events around #IrishGameDev and write short news pieces on breaking Irish games news – this could also be short video pieces.
– 6. Feature writers, who can write in-depth pieces and interviews with people in the local industry.
– 7. Co-ordinator, who can help project manage the above people


This is not a lifetime commitment – if you can only do stuff for a couple of months or less that is okay.

So if you can help, we want to hear from you! Please get in touch with aphra [at] gamedevelopers [dot] ie with the subject “ Volunteer – AREA”

Sponsorship Opportunities

A benefit of the new site is that we have better statistics and a more secure structure.

So in addition to the above we are currently starting to look for sponsorship from companies in #IrishGameDev.

There are two types of sponsorship we’re considering. We have space for one primary sponsor on the homepage, and three secondary sponsors, which will be prominently featured across the site.

You can promote a company/product/event, or if you are releasing a game, you can have a game logo to drive traffic to the game page.

If you would like more information, please get in touch with aphra [at] gamedevelopers [dot] ie with the subject “ Sponsorship”.

New Havok FX tech in Rainbow Six Siege

Ubisoft Montreal the first to adopt new Havok FX technology in upcoming shooter – Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege


Havok needs little introduction on this site. The award winning Irish technology company based in Dublin and leading provider of interactive 3D game development technology, has launched a new product Havok FX, a brand new CPU-driven software product that will deliver unprecedented levels of detail and physics to particle effects.

The result of extensive research into massive scale high performance Physics simulation, Havok FX allows developers to physically enable particle systems and to add a new gameplay dimension to previously aesthetic visual effects. Leading publisher Ubisoft is one of the first publishers to announce their support of this new product through their adoption of Havok FX within Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege arriving in October 2015 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Havok FX - Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege


Through its focus on CPU processing, Havok FX offers a lightweight, cross platform solution to creating dynamic and persistent particle effects across all next gen platforms and PCs.

Shrapnel, dust, goo, debris and smoke will interact with both the player and the environment, increasing the fidelity of the game world while also offering designers the ability to deliver gameplay altering effects. Artists now have the freedom to create the richer and more dynamic environments at a scale that modern AAA gaming demands.

“Havok FX brought all we needed to push the realism of Realblast, our procedural destruction engine, to a whole new level. With each explosion you see debris, shrapnel and fragments all flying through the environment and reacting dynamically, making each assault even more tense and realistic,” says Mark Besner, Lead Programmer at Ubisoft Montreal.

Havok FX - Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege 2


“Havok FX isn’t just a software package; it’s technology that takes advantage of the step-up from the previous console platforms toward the incredible power of next-gen hardware,” says David Coghlan, President and Managing Director of Havok. “This was the perfect opportunity to roll up our sleeves and collaborate with the Rainbow Six Siege team to demonstrate the ability and power of Havok FX. This incredible title showcases the future of particle physics and debris effects on CPU, and we believe the industry as a whole will demand the same high level of fidelity by leveraging Havok FX in future games. Once consumers see Rainbow Six Siege in action, gamers are going to demand this level of quality and immersion from the games industry.”

For more information about Havok’s technology, developers can visit



Fungus available on Unity Asset Store

As presented at State of Play 2015 in Dublin by Chris Gregan, Fungus is an open source tool and we are delighted to hear that it is now available via the Unity Asset Store.

Add colourful characters and craft gripping storylines for your game – for free and with no programming!

Fungus is 100% free, so it’s an ideal tool for teaching game development and use in game jams. Join the growing community of storytellers around the world using Fungus!

Get it here –!/content/34184

More about Fungus Games

Not sure how you get the hats, but clearly there is a revenue stream right there!

Chris Gregan

Chris Gregan

Pre-purchase Guild of Dungeoneering on STEAM

guild of dungeoneering

Exciting news for Colm Larkin, Gambrinous and the Irish indie game dev scene. Gambrinous, an independent game development studio located in Dublin, Ireland and indie publishing powerhouse Versus Evil have announced a July 14 release date for the highly anticipated dungeon-building role-playing game (RPG) Guild of Dungeoneering. The game will be available for $14.99 and is available for PC and Mac.

Eager Dungeoneers who pre-order before the launch date can secure a bounty of booty in the form of the Pirates Cove Adventure Pack . This swashbuckling DLC pack includes one new region, two new dungeoneer classes and five additional adventures that all have separate, unique quests. The Pirates Cove Adventure Pack will become available after the game is released, date to be announced, with a regular purchase price of $4.99.

Guild of Dungeoneering is not your average dungeon crawler. In the game, players build a dungeon around a wandering hero with cards dealt from a deck. This leaves the dungeoneer to makes his own choices based on the world that is being constructed around him, his personality traits and the monsters he has to face. Between building and conquering dungeons, players will manage their guild and expand their guild decks to create more powerful items and attract new classes of dungeoneers.

Gambrinous is an indie development studio headed up by Colm Larkin who has been making games since 2008 and has been developing the unique and stylish dungeon-creator RPG Guild of Dungeoneering over the last two years. Guild of Dungeoneering offers hours of dungeon-building and a different experience each time, thanks to the game’s different worlds and variety of deck-building options and its reverse rogue-like gameplay.

Watch the new Guild of Dungeoneering trailer



This game won an indie most promising game award in Europe in 2015. See the game’s blog.

Guild of Dungeoneering can be pre-ordered from: Steam, GOG, Humble Bundle, Gamers Gate, Direct to Drive, Green Man Gaming and Uplay.

Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition
Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition
Developer: Gambrinous
Price: 19,99 €




Scopely deal leads to new jobs at Digit


In the past week there have been two major news statements from Digit Game Studios in Dublin.

First, we heard that they had signed a strategic partnership with Scopely, a leading touchscreen entertainment network. The deal is described as ‘a multi-million dollar investment in Ireland’s largest game developer as part of the multi-game publishing deal’.

“Scopely is the partner of choice for the world’s leading free to play game developers,” said Tim O’Brien, Chief Revenue Officer, Scopely. “We are looking to partner with the world’s leading mobile game developers of specific genres, and see DIGIT as an emerging market leader in strategy games. We are excited about helping accelerate the studio team on their path to success with this multi-game publishing partnership.”

The partnership with Scopely will marry Digit Game Studios’ development experience and focus on strategy games with Scopely’s proven track record of launching successful, chart-topping apps on both the App Store and Google Play.

“We’ve gotten to know many well-known publishers and chose to work with Scopely because we believe they give us the best chance to build the games we aspire to make and turn them into huge commercial successes,” said Richard Barnwell, founder and CEO, DIGIT Game Studios. “Partnering with Scopely enables us to quickly grow our team and focus on building incredible strategy games with the confidence that Scopely can bring them to a large audience. Currently, we’re adding new features to Kings of the Realm and scaling up our studio to launch an all-new title together, with iconic, world-leading AAA IP, that we feel has a chance to be huge.”

DIGIT Game Studios debuted its first title, Kings of the Realm, in September 2014. Kings of the Realm is an engaging fantasy strategy MMO with innovative 3D gameplay and is the world’s first truly cross-platform game.

New Jobs

Secondly, on the back of this deal we heard that Digit is now hiring an extra 40 staff acro02_DIGIT-office_LRss a range of areas.

Indeed given that the company currently employs 20 people, this is a really significant development.

On the right you can see an image of their offices near the quays in Dublin City Centre.

To learn more, please visit


About Scopely

Scopely is the leading touchscreen entertainment network. Founded in 2011, Scopely partners and collaborates with elite game developers and global entertainment companies to bring industry leading distribution and monetization technology to free to play games. Scopely oversees marketing, analytics, ads, business development, live ops, quality assurance, community management, and more, empowering developers to focus on building and refining great gameplay experiences to earn the loyalty and love of millions of players around the world.


DIGIT launched their first game – Kings of the Realm – in September 2014. Kings of the Realm is a free-to-play, fantasy, strategy MMO with AAA caliber artwork and innovative 3D gameplay. It is the world’s first game seamlessly cross-platform MMO with a global community competing in ‘one big world’ on browser, Apple, Android and Windows devices.

DIGIT is backed by Delta Partners, ACT Venture Capital and Enterprise Ireland.



Curtain wins more awards


We have just heard that ‘Curtain’ by Llaura McGee ( ) has won the 2015 Best Game Script Award from the Writers Guild of Ireland for ‘Curtain’.

This comes on the back of  the Grand Prize for The Most Amazing Game at Amaze, Berlin, 2015.

‘Curtain is a first person narrative that deals with a complex and ultimately abusive relationship, as expressed through the art, sound, mechanics, UI and text.

Explore the game’s spaces and piece together the story from what you find: diaries, newspapers, text messages. At the same time an ever present narrator watches and comments on every thought, and the player is coercively subsumed into their world.’

Well done.

Download it here…


State of Play 2015 review


DIT, Aungier Street, played host to the annual indie games festival, State of Play 2015 on Wednesday 20th May. (Watch back at

During the afternoon students and indies demoed their projects and for the first time there was an academic session for showing research. However we the authors, were really only at the evening talks so we will have to get feedback from others on the afternoon sessions. The images from Bryan Duggan of DIT show a good crowd though.

stateofplay 4

When we arrived at 6pm the room at the top of Aungier Street was almost full with at least one hundred people. A mix of students, lecturers and industry representatives from the cream of #IrishGameDev were in attendance. bitSmith, Simteractive, SixMinute, Fungus games, and a number of other indie games developers joined an enthusiastic crowd. Seats were at a premium as latecomers streamed in filling up the space, helping give a great atmosphere before the talks even began.

Hugh McAtamney, Head of School of Media in DIT introducing the event, the fifth state of play. He thanked everyone who participated in the games demos earlier in the day. After a brief talk about some of the mechanics of games, in the context of his own children, Elaine Reynolds of Simteractive took to the stage.



Elaine’s talk looked at the day to day aspects of running a games company, looking at everything from running a games company, to the basic office management stuff such as ordering bin tags. As a person running a company, she talk about the importance of prioritising tasks, while also juggling all the day to day components of running a live team. She spoke about tensions that can cause problems in a game, such as the balance between improving a game versus shipping a game, or quality versus quantity, or learning to say no. She mentioned the opportunity cost of doing everything, time effort and money.

The decisions theme continued, looking at all of the different decisions needed in game design; in her case making a game where you run a holiday resort. Elaine then showed off some screenshots of her new game, and asked the crowd for playtesters, who can sign up at


Next up was Colm Larkin of Gambrinous, who are making the game Guild of Dungeoneering. He said that he had announced his game “embarassingly early”, but then went on to talk about the positive side effects, such as getting feedback early from critics, players, peers. He mentioned sharing early also helped build a portfolio, take on board feedback, and make deep changes to the game. It allows you to rapidly prototype lots of concepts before trying to focus on a guild of dungeoneeringbigger project.  He then went onto places you can talk online, starting with a blog on Tumblr and posting articles on Gamasutra.

He also mentioned sharing in person, standing there, watching people play the game, take feedback and make a better game because of it. He highlighted events like State of Play and gamejams. At gamejams he noted the shared deadline was a great way to force you to deliver and share your work. He wrapped up “saying create, but also share.” (Editor: of course it has been a great year for Guild of Dungeoneering given that it was nominated for Casual Connect Indie this year in Amsterdam and won most promising game in development. See also recent article in Irish Times).

Rapidly following him was Chris Gregan of Fungus Games. Having previously worked at Playfirst and Instinct Technology, he talked about putting in lots of unpaid time into IP that the company owns, and the day you leave them company (even if you are a founder), you lose all the access to it. “After twelve years of sweat, I had zero access to the hundreds of thousands of lines of code I wrote”. He mentioned two proprietary game engines he worked on, which have gone obsolete and disappeared. Based on this, he has moved towards open source. Fungus, is an open source engine for making story driven games.

Fungus took inspiration from twine and redpipe, and the communities around them. Fungus hopes to attract lots of users, remain open soufungus headerrce and sell training programs. An open source business model is not easy, or a path to riches, but a way for a developer to eliminate barriers to adoption. You don’t need to open source everything, maybe certain scripts and other parts of the game, while keeping the rest proprietary.

When it came to education, he advised attendees to keep things open source, using something like github.  This is especially important with group projects which means future employers can see how a team works together and who has committed code. He also mentioned that a license, such as the Creative Commons, should be added. If it’s not there, others can’t use it as you have the copyright. He mentioned the overwhelming support he’s received from the local Irish industry including help with code, workshops, documentation, promotion, and advice. (Editor: See recent article on Fungus in the Irish Times)


Chris Gregan

Chris Gregan




Next up was Andrew Deegan of Sugra Games. Andrew has seven years of experience, across a range of projects in toys, games, free to play, starting up two companies, raising €350,000 in funding and winning several awards. He noted that there are only about 200 paid development roles in Ireland, with many companies not making much money, and many in it for the passion. When he is hiring he is more interested in specialists, rather than generalists. For him a key question people should ask themselves is do I want to be an entrepreneur or an employee? He has worked in four games companies, two as an employee and two as an entrepreneur. Having been both, what has he learned?

When you work for yourself, you have a huge amount of responsibility and multiple roles. When you are an employee you have a specific role.  When it comes to work hours, people do lots of hours in all companies, but more so in your own companies. In terms of acclaim and critical reception?. In Breakout, he got lots of critical acclaim, working with lots of companies such as Acclaim and Hasbro. In Jolt, there wasn’t much acclaim, the market didn’t like the game, the media didn’t like it. In Megazebra, they had over 8 million people play the game, with continued demand with people looking for new content. With Sugra, he said that they haven’t made a hit (yet!), making two versions of one game, and then publishing games from Japan, but not having hit critical acclaim.ArticleImage_01_1280x720

He then looked at his income. In his first job despite getting support from DIT, patents and Enterprise Ireland, he made little to no money. Then he talked about working for another company, having low responsibility, but making more money. When it came to his second company, as an entrepreneur, he had to give himself a paycut to keep things going. If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you need to be prepared to earn nothing.

Finally he talked about stress. There was more stress as an entrepreneur, having to build the product, attend events and get on with things. Working for people, there was less stress with more money. Back into stress as an entrepreneur, which shoots up when you get investment, take on a team, and run the company, or chase sales. He then talked about love for the project, with the first year being fun and new, and over time, interest was lost in both types of companies. So overall things were happier working for a company, with less stress, more money and more fun. However in both types of companies the fun tapers off.


Next up was Louise McKeown who spoke about the potential of Radical Heterogenous Game Spaces. For her there were a lack of characters in her gaming history that she could identify with. She tried to look back at times in her teens when she played a game, and connected to a strong female character, but couldn’t find one. While she enjoyed characters in games such as Final Fantasy 7, she couldn’t relate to them, she would never be like them, or look like them, or be the protagonist in the game.

A recurring theme was that stories very rarely go outside of the heteronormative masculine norm. She talked about Super Metroid, and her experience playing the game, knowing she was female, and how that helped her feel empowered. She spoke about Gone Home by Fullbright company, as a space where female characters felt comfortable, even though in that game it portrays a world where women love and respect each other, all within the house and no external masculine influence to make the environment hostile.


 bitSmith Games’s Owen Harris, a veteran of state of play and lecturer on the BA in Game Design in DIT then took the stage. His talk was about the journey of finding his voice as a game designer. He talked about messing with game engines and technologies for a decade, and that four years ago he dedicated himself to being a game designer, which he thought were all mysterious wizards with archaic knowledge, formulas and information. He found it very intimidating, looking at how different games were there, and tried to emulate it himself. He tried to think, speak and make games the way he thought others did, from a disciplined, analytic space. He wasn’t happy, ending up lost, unhappy and thinking it would never happen.

Then he went to a fantasy writing convention and listened to a Neil Gaimen talk. Neil spoke about his early career as a writer, balancing the tension between what you want to do, and what you need to do to get by, and the importance of finding your own voice.Deep

Owen found this inspirational and this informed an experience he is designing called Deep, which is a project controlled by breathing. The project is very difficult, needing a VR headset which isn’t out, and a controller he’s only made one of, which can only be played at events.

Despite this, it’s gotten a lot of positive critical reception, including lots of emails from people asking him for emotional help.

If you feel scared and intimidated by the towering titans of game design masters, perhaps all you need to is step out of their shadows. You don’t need to be a mighty wizard, instead looking at the fool for inspiration. Drop the desire to be smart and successful, and instead approach game design in a way that’s fun, silly and weird.


After an interval, Mitu Khandaker-Kokoris took the stage, an independent game developer (at the one woman The Tiniest Shark) and videogames PhD researcher (at University of Portsmouth, UK). mituHer talk focused on play, caring about people, and the player.

She recounted how she had loved games since the commodore 64 and the Amstrad PCW. She discovered a game called Jinxter, a British text based adventure game. It taught her about comedy in games. Other influences were more from TV and film.  

When she was 13/14, she saw an X Files episode about a  super intelligent virus let loose on the internet. A key figure in the episode was Invisigoth, a female hacker, and entertainment software developer. This was the first time she realised that you could work at making games. That was the moment that set her on the path of game developement as a career option.

She also had an interest in space, having been brought to a planetarium in London, and realised the scale of the universe, and how tiny earth was. This affected her thinking when it came to making video games, being tiny but connected to other things. Her game design has reflected this, looking at how things are connected, and how people interact, or self reflect.  Games can be represented in many ways, from abstract to comedic.

She looked at games from the context of art through play. Play puts us at odds with ourself, at least interesting play does. As we play, we confront different realities, which is similar to plays, painting and other types of media. Games or other artfowms are a perfect vehicle for exploring the world around you.

Her talk then moved onto diversity, and how women are represented in games, and the vocabulary that has emerged. She discussed diversity, inherent (gender, race, sexuality etc) vs acquired (life experiences, habits that set you apart, communities you’ve engaged with, places you’ve been).  She discussed Miyomoto’s work, and how this has been about recapturing childhood experiences, and putting them into his game design. 


Next up was Zuraida Buter from the Netherlands, executive director of Global Game Jam (GJJ) and curator of numerous play festivals. With no laptop we were treated to audience participation. She had five wooden shoes, and brought several members of the crowd to the front to play Turtle Wushu. Last person standing wins (Vicky Lee did in the end). zuraida

After that, she began talking about GJJ. In 2009, there were 53 locations worldwide which ran gamejams, compared to today where Brazil has over 70 venues. This year, over 25,000 people across over 70 countries participated in game jams and collaborating and making new things in digital and board games. Year on year, numbers are increading, and used the example of Egypt where over 2,000 people are participating, in countries where they don’t have a legacy of making games, and even where there is conflict ongoing in the countries.

She then spoke about the Dutch Game Garden, a business centre/incubator in Utrecht for games. Starting with a team of three people, and supported by local government who saw some economic benefit and backed it. Six or seven companies started, and it began growing and growing. They started aiming to support students who wanted to set up a studio after graduation, but in 2010 they moved to a bigger building, with five floors with nearly fifty games companies, some established, others starting off from scratch.

People went to shows like GDC, Tokyo Game Show, and met each other and networked. It allowed people from the same country to meet, who hadn’t met in the Netherlands. They started to run different events to let people to network with other developers, and showcase their talent. On the back of this, they set up Indigo, which has 36 teams showcasing their games, letting students mix with professionals, and offering a gallery which is open to the public. Year on year, the numbers participating are rising, and year on year the quality is rising.

Calling herself a playful culture advisor, she talked about the interaction between participation, creativity, performance, encounters, curiosity and spectatorship. In this, she’s attended a lot of different festivals and groups, such as the Copenhagen Game Collective, Nordic Games Indie nights, and talked about play culture in the context of real-life events, getting people to interact and have fun together, reworking old classic games, or just making fun games up on the spot. She also mentioned Amaze in Berlin, Inis Spraoi in Ireland and the Playful Arts Festival. You can see more about these events at the Playful Culture tumblr.





Next up was RICHARD LEMARCHMANDlecturer at the Interactive Media & Games Division of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, and former Lead and Co-Lead Game Designer of the award-winning Uncharted series for the Sony PlayStation 3 at Naughty Dog studio. Previous to that, he worked in Crystal Dynamix where he worked on Gex, Soul Reaver and Pandemonian.richard

His first start was MicroProse where he helped start up their console game division. He counts himself lucky for becoming a game designer, and got a lot of help from mentors along the way. He loves the thrill of making a game, and then seeing someone play it. Games have the potential to combine the best of culture, and are a meta art form as you can combine different types of artforms into once place. Games are also interactive systems, which can respond to players when they make inputs.

Overall his talk looked at Systems, Games and Balance.  Devising the systems of games is the main goal. We’re at the brink of a revolution of creativity and innovation, which comes to a head in games. Examples such as biometric inputs, new displays, robotics, small affordable CPU’s and touch screens will lead to new types of arts, such as mixed hybrid interactive performances. The tech is a candy shop of tools for scientists and artists. Although without ideas, all the tech counts for nothing, but right now there is a renaissance in game design, with lots of different types of games, from triple A to games like Monument Valley, and all the other indie games. These cater for all sorts of different styles and spaces. He also name checked a lot of new innovative Irish games, such as Guild of Dungeoneering, Curtain, Darkside Detective and Owen’s game, Deep.

For him games are an incredibly ancient form of human culture, possibly pre-dating language and writing. Referring to the work of games sociologist, Roger Caillois, he discussed Caillois’ categorisation of four primary types of games –  games of competition, games of  chance, games of make believe/ mimicry, and games of vertigo, which temporarily change your perception (roller coasters, spinning in a circle to get dizzy).

Soul Reaver was inspired by painters, books and German expressionist films. Uncharted, tried to referencuncharted3e different forms of culture, in an era of blockbuster type games like Indiana Jones, Die Hard, King Solomons mines etc., and now they are working on games that connect with different forms of culture.

On systems, he said they’re all around in the physical world. Made up of interconnected elements, that cause patterns to emerge. Humans often see beauty in the things made my processes (i.e. basalt columns at the Giant’s Causeway, geometrics, or supernovas, snowflake crystals, or images showing fractal patterns in nature. ) Systemic structure are in nature, with fractals and symmetry in flowers, and weird beauty in complex structures like a termite mound, or structural beauty of objects humans build, such as engineering that makes new or old architecture.

With the advent of digital communities, this has changed, with mathemetical models which look like organic structures. Over the course of the 20th century, artists followed sets of rules, that allowed others to create different types of art, or systems of geometry, or 3D structures. By the middle of the 20th century, scholars founded a discipline of cybernetics, now known as systems dynamics. Systems are governed by feedback loops, such as stabilisiing feedback loops, like a thermostat, or a runaway loop, like compound interest. Emergence is where larger entities arise through the result of interactions among smaller or simpler entities, such as ants making a complex anthill.

He moved on to talking about games as systems. Of numbers, logic, relationships of space and time, interactions and vertigo, and feedback loops. Emergence in game design allow events, a holy grail in game design, and seen more in sandbox games, emerge. Games have elements of players, objectives, rules, procedures, resources, conflict, boundaries and outcome, and the interconnections between them. Talking about Last of Us, he talked about Control systems as important, helping bring the players close to their character. Game systems such as health, ammo, gameplay systems controlling NPC’s and enemies in the game. Multi pass rendering brings the environment to life, and light. TLOU_BAFTA_5

He talked about the nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor, which generates the interactions between different Orcs, and they change how they react to you. He then talked about Game Feel by Steve Swink, talking about how controls feel in racing games, or environmental games. He talks about the Game Feel, bringing together players, ideas, beliefs, generalisations, fantasies, memories, and the world around them. This has inputs, response, metaphors, context, polish and rules, which create feedback loop that affect interaction, sound. All give a perceptual field, taken from psychology.

He then talked about balance in games, and how feedback loops work in mechanics, code and the experience points system in games. The more you destroy, get experience, level up. A runaway feedback loop. As you get better,  opponents get more difficult, giving a balancing feedback loop.  He then showed the telemetrics system in Uncharted, which let them see difficulty spikes from play testers, or to confirm that the game was as challenging as they wanted it to be.



In concluding Richard started to talk about work life balance for game developers. If you don’t get the right life balance, games can be very dangerous. Game development crunch is working from morning to night, week on week, with no respite, to finish some crucially important spike. Crunch can do damage to people’s lives, especially in triple A. In the indie community, while there aren’t some of these issues, there is a tendency to put crunch on a pedestal to stay up till dawn day after day. It’s a seductive thing, making you feel cool, creative and brave, or that crunch is okay if you’re doing it on a game you own, on your own term, as opposed to working for someone as an employee.

He said there were many artists living on the breadline,  struggling to pay rent and feed themselves. It may be romantic, but it’s a failure to recognise the seriousness of the situation Crunch can do physical harm by not getting enough exercise, eating right, getting a repetitive stress injury. It can do psychological harm, not keeping in touch with friends, not getting mental downtime. It becomes unsustainable to the point where you can’t do your job. When game devs leave the industry, they take all the hard won knowledge with them out of the industry and those left behind have to reinvent the wheel over and over. Crunch can be addictive, and it can be dangerous to let it become a habit.stateofplay gd

His message was that crunch is counter productive. Management studies show after 4-6 weeks of a 60/80 hour week, you’re less productive than someone working a 40 hours week. Looking at how to tackle the problem, you can look at how you make a game. “Making games is hard”. Game developement takes longer than you think, especially when you start. Something that has an hour allocated in the plan, takes a day. There’s lots of stuff that comes along that couldn’t be foreseen, and most of this work is never scheduled, making the project a lot bigger than it is. Projects are often not planned well, or at all, or there’s no overreaching arc, or wing it and hope for the best, but don’t plan for the worst. These can lead to crunch. There is a myth of infinite time, such as the first day of a project, which very quickly runs out. He referenced the Cerny model of game design, which has a set of best practices similar to AGILE, but specifically for games.

Studios like Naughty Dog or Insomniac use the method to have a proper pre-production phase and to explore game design, designing prototypes, and having a simple plan for a well scoped project. There needs to be space at the end to polish, find and fix bugs, and continue improving. You can avoid crunch by working less, but more productively.

He gave some tips. Plan work, stop working when you’re finished. Don’t keep working because you enjoy it, or because you are in the middle of a problem. Passion can cause a problem that leads to crunch, but go to sleep so you have something exciting to get back to, when you’re refreshed after a good night’s sleep. he also looked at your desk situation, making sure that your ergonomics of your workstation are correct for you. Studies show that sitting for a long time, your body and brain do things that are bad for you, so if you can stand up regularly, this can interrupt you so you can move and feel better. Try and control your sleep patterns, i.e. don’t drink caffeine after a certain times, or light emitting screens in the hour before you go to sleep. Try go to bed at the same fixed time. Make sure you’re eating fresh fruit and vegetables, and most important get face to face social time, and try and see them once or twice a week. Once you’re working passionately, you can get socially isolated, and getting real-life contact can help get emotional and mental benefits. Happy developers are as important as happy players. If you’re not happy in your work, it’ll show in your game.

Crunch can happen, but it’s about finding the balance. When you’re working extra hard, make sure it’s sustainable. balanced sustainable methods in business practices in games keep people around. If business cultures are welcoming, more diverse people will join, and this can only benefit the general development community. In other sectors such as writing, film, reading, people work till their 70’s. This doesn’t happen in games, but some day it will.

The evening wrapped up with Hugh thanking all the speakers, and a few words from DIT President Prof. Brian Norton. He was happy for DIT to host State of Play, an education in many ways for him and referred to the diversity and maturity of games. He talked about new DIT campus in development in Grangegorman in Dublin which would help bring games together with other artforms in new facilities, and thanked the crowd.

Afterwards people moved to 4 Dame Lane for some food, drink and tunes.



Notes written by Jamie McCormick. Edited by Aphra Kerr.
If you spot any errors or would like us to rephrase something just get in touch.

Share your pictures on our forums or @gamedev_ie

State of Play 2015

 It is that time of year again and the, by now annual, State Of Play is almost upon us.The ‘State Of Play’ is a chance for new and experienced game developers to network with each other, demonstrate and showcase their work to their peers and get a sense of whats happening in the industry.Options to demonstrate, present or merely attend exist. The full details of which can be found on the schedule page.

In addition to the demos there are three great speakers including RICHARD LEMARCHMAND, MITU KHANDAKER-KOKORIS and ZURAIDA BUTER. See their bios.

The event is organized by the staff and students of the school of media, DIT, Dublin and the Indie Game Community.

For tickets see.

See videos on from State of Play special in Sept 2014.

Next Page »