Latest Event Updates
Next Games Hub Anti-Social: 30th April, 7.30pm
This month we’ve got:
Special Effect – How they are making games accessible for all!
Check this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uhsUKFDiso – and see the joy that Ben (who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy) gets from being able to play games. We can help that happen for more people!
Special Effect‘s Barry Floyd is coming along to talk about their important work and how we can help in their mission. Special Effect’s mission is, “…to enable anyone, whatever their physical disability, to enjoy video games and leisure technology. But we’re not just doing it for the sake of fun. By giving people the means to participate, we’re kick-starting rehabilitation, self-esteem and, most importantly, inclusion.”
So join us on the 30th April at 7.30pm – we’ve got a buzzer! The entrance is off Thomas Street, just up from the junction of Thomas St/Stokes Croft, above what was DHS Heating. After the chat, the usual rounds of networking, socialising and chatting video games!
Games Hub News:
April Unity meetup – D- D- Double the talks!
We are back and this time around we have not one but two talks lined up for you to enjoy. In the first talk Tim Wicksteed from Twice Circled will talk about how to achieve a resolution independent interface for your Unity game. In the second one Pretty Pixel will give demo their crowd funded Unity game Lux and the Shadowmaker. The meetup is talking place the 22nd of April at the Bristol Games Hub and starts at 7.30. As always signup is through our meetup page.
SW Freelancer/Company Dev Directory
If you’re looking for people to help on a project, or you are available for work – put your details in. Please only list info you’re happy to have in the public domain: http://bit.ly/bghdirectory
SW Game Dev Jobs Facebook page – Find roles and post new openings here…
Dev Scene News
Looking for Investment? Apply for VentureFest!
Venture Fest is now welcoming applications to exhibit at the Engine Shed event on the 9th June. The events sees a wide range of tech entrepreneurs and investors converging on Bristol to discover what’s next and who to invest in. They have 20 slots for the Start-Up Village and 10-12 slots for the Investor Pitches. They’re estimating over 1000 visitors on the day. If you wish to exhibit there, then the deadline for applications is 24th April. Apply for the Start-Up Village here, and the Investor Showcase here, both can be accessed from their website.
Green Capital Digital Challenge
See how this event is shaping up and learn about the three games groups who’ve been flying the flag for gameplay in the competition! Watch short film here.
Free Game Book!
A new academic book covering how to apply a wide range of research methods to games and game culture has just been published. It includes one chapter written by Bristol-based game academic and designer Nathan Hook. The book is published as a free download, with print-on-demand hard copy also available. More info can be foundhere.
It’s been a busy month for us – as well as releasing the mobile version of Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night with Games Workshop, we’ve also been working with BBC Radio 1 (along with amazing help from Force of Habit & Peter Simon) on a newsgame for the election. You can check that out here. We’ve going to have even more cool news coming soon, so sign up here if you want to be among the first to know!
The Opposable Games team have been incredibly busy beavering away developing our tactical sci-fi action game Salvaged, and boy is it looking good. It’s a little unconventional in terms of how the game is played (single screen, dual screen, dual monitor or VR), and after our initial testing, we decided to have a pretty big rethink about exactly how the game works. Our resident writer-designer Daniel Dowsing has detailed our thought process in a couple of new blog posts, which you’ll find below:
‘Lost and Found’: New Salvaged Part 1
‘A Place in the Universe': New Salvaged Part 2
One of our rather awesome 2D artists, Lewis Gilliard, has been creating some pretty special pieces of Salvaged promo art, which we’ll be releasing on a weekly basis. Make sure you like us on Facebook and sign up to the Salvaged Newsletter to keep up and as they’re sure as heck rather purrdy.
If you don’t know much about the game already then a good place to start would be to meet Salvaged protagonist Alex Pieterson. Finally, we’re getting into the Instagram thing, so do give us a follow for a few exclusive bits and bobs of concept art (and most likely some stupid photos of Joe Blakeston).
PS – LASER QUEST PHOTO
Nathan Hook has self-published his board game Magus
Jobs & Opportunities
Are looking for a junior Unity programmer to help out with SkyScrappers and more. Take a look here: http://groundshatter.com/jobs.html
Any freelance developers on here with experience of making games or interactives with three.js / WebGL and available soon? Please get in touch ASAPgeorge.email@example.com
Play Nicely are looking for a Unity developer to work on a mobile app. If interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a CV and links to any relevant work. Thanks!
Hi! Here at Rancon we’ve got lots of exciting Unity and C# based projects coming up, with the I additional Flash and Xamarin project for good measure. Check outrancon.co.uk for details. So we’re after any freelancers in and around Cheltenham who might have availability across the next 6 months for a few days at a time. Emailrob.email@example.com to find out more.
Have paid tutor posts in camps for kids learning tech including game dev; https://firetechcamp.com/camp-instructor-job-application
Unity Meetup (22nd April, 7.30pm)
Next Unity meetup will take place the 22nd at 7.30pm. See above for full info. Sign up page is here!
Anti-Social (30th April, 7.30pm)
Special Effect are coming along. See above for full info.
This is a great opportunity peeps! Need to email them by the 31st March if interested!
THE WELLCOME TRUST AND EPIC GAMES LAUNCH: THE BIG DATA VR CHALLENGE
The Evolution of Data Visualisation – Taking Research to the Next Level
Tuesday, March 24th 2015 – For many, the collision of the video games world with the serious business of biomedical and humanities research seems like an unlikely event, but that’s exactly what the Big Data VR Challenge is designed to facilitate.
By harnessing some of the brightest minds in interactive entertainment, the Challenge is attempting to solve an ever-present problem in research – how to sift through huge data sets to find connections, trends and solutions in order to unlock hidden meanings.
The Challenge is a joint initiative from the Wellcome Trust and Epic Games, and today marks the call for submissions. At stake is a $20,000 prize for the winning team, whilst all six participating teams will each receive $5,000 to cover out of pocket expenses. The selected teams will be invited to participate in the first workshop at the Wellcome Trust on Thursday 9th April when three research topics will be unveiled.
Dr. John Williams, Head of Science Strategy, Performance and Impact at the Wellcome Trust, said: “We are lucky to live in a world where we are surrounded by an astonishing amount of data in all its various, sometimes nebulous, forms. Researchers need to be able to handle data better – to follow threads, play with connections and immerse themselves – without feeling overwhelmed. This is where the skills of the games industry can really help. The Big Data VR Challenge has the potential to convert that information into knowledge for the wider benefit of the research community, and that is hugely exciting.”
The highly immersive nature of virtual reality provides the best format in which to explore the potential threads and connections that may present themselves within huge data sets. The Challenge will explore how skills like intuitive UI development, management and manipulation
of large data sets and the creation of immersive, inherently understandable worlds can be usefully applied to the scientific community. Game developers are familiar with working with large data sets.
A modern open world game, for example, is built from a huge amount of data, combining massive geometry, textures and sounds and a lot of effort goes into building processes to transform, load and validate all of that data.
The Challenge will also explore how entertainment-focused game design skills can impact the handling of big scientific data sets which are not necessarily innately engaging, easily understandable, or traditionally entertaining.
“Year on year, the games industry continues to improve the science behind these amazing pieces of entertainment. The calculations required to recreate a lifelike environment are enormous. Our latest demo enables a player to explore more than 250 square kilometers of open terrain which is all generated in real time, something that would have been unthinkable as little as two years ago. Game developers are continually pushing the boundaries of what is possible, which in a way gives them a strong affinity with science researchers who are trying to define the unknown,” commented Mike Gamble, European Territory Manager, Epic Games.
Teams with an interest in creating immersive VR experiences are invited to apply to take part in the Big Data VR Challenge, which will be run with peer review during the development stage, and a jury to determine the overall outcome. The Challenge will culminate at this year’s Develop Conference in Brighton. In the first instance, studios should register an interest in participating by sending an email to bigdataVR@bastion.co.uk. Applications to participate will close at midnight on Tuesday 31st March.
About Unreal Engine
Developed by Epic Games, the award-winning Unreal Engine is known for bringing high-fidelity experiences to PC, console, mobile, Web and VR. Unreal Engine accelerates the creation of games, applications, simulations, visualizations and cinematic content. Download Unreal Engine for free at unrealengine.com, and follow @UnrealEngine for updates.
About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. We provide more than £700 million a year to support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine.
A couple more bits of news! First is this…
Helping you to raise finance for your creative business
Turning a bright idea into a commercial success can be a challenge, especially for a creative business. Creative England and the Creative Industries Council are running a free event to help you learn how to access different forms of finance and grow your company.
The event features:
Revolution Software’s Charles Cecil MBE. Find out how he raised £100,000s through crowd funding.
- Panellists include:
Phil Geraghty – MD, Crowdfunder – Crowdfunder has raised £1.5m for campaigns since launching, and has the potential to help you too.
- Darren Westlake – CEO, Crowdcube – With Crowdcube, Darren is determined to solve the lack of financing options for small businesses. He started his first company aged 26 and has since successful built and sold two companies
- Jenny Tooth – CEO, of the UK Business Angels Association. Jenny has over 20 years’ experience in helping SMEs access investment.
- Irene Graham – MD of the British Banking Association. Irene works specifically with SMEs to help them navigate the financial landscape.
- Caroline Norbury MBE – CEO of Creative England, an organisation that has invested over £14,400,000 into the games, TV, film and digital media industries.
- Sarah Thirtle – Head of Business and lending programmes for Creative United, specialist in finance for the creative industry.
Taking place at Facebook, London, on March 19th. Click here to see the full schedule and to book your place: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/finance-your-creative-business-tickets-15974293542
Bristol Media have a survey up – help them out if you can by completing it! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BristolMediaBarometer
Hi all, a couple of bits of news you might be interested in…
Firstly: Creative England are looking for a person/organisation to deliver services to the SW games development community. Deadline is 13th March to submit a tender. Full info and contact for questions is in the PDF here.
Second: Invest Bristol+Bath (IBB) in partnership with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have got a survey for freelancers and companies in the region. Please help them by filling it out!
PS. Board games night tonight at the hub, 7.30pm for all us GDC no-gos.
PPS. News update from GDC yesterday is here.
Next Games Hub Anti-Social: 26th Feb, 7.30pm
We’ve got two demos! Infinite State Games and Lukas Roper from Opposable Games.
Lukas will be showing a short presentation (or possibly a demo) on a VR hardware, technical side project that he’s been working on.
Mike from Infinite State Games is going to show us his Frutorious HD on iOS. It is a completely re-designed and re-polished remaster of Frutorious SD. The SD version released in 2012 was nominated for two TIGA awards. This version has totally HD art, every single level has been polished and re-balanced to within an inch of its life, and has had innumerable tweaks and improvements made over the last 3 years. It has 144 levels of goofy puzzle platforming action and NO IAP! Oh also, the voice of Frutorious F.I.G. is provided by Bristol based rapper ChetMega. Come and have a play and give feedback & ask questions….
So join us on the 26th Feb at 7.30pm – we’ve got a buzzer! The entrance is off Thomas Street, just up from the junction of Thomas St/Stokes Croft, above what was DHS Heating.
Games Hub News:
We’ve got the new board games night on 4th March at 7.30pm – full info below in ‘Diary’ section…
Dev Scene News
Knowle West Media Centre – Visible You
A group of 8 Junior Digital Producers at KWMC are creating a documentary to address the issue of reported increased numbers of 13 – 19 year olds who are socially isolated. The team has started a Made Open crowd funding campaign here to contribute towards equipment that they need and promoting the project. You can read more about it here and get in touch with them on Twitter and Facebook.
Bristol based Allicorn Games proudly launches their first title this month. “Heckabomb”, a twin-stick shooter for PC, will be available on Steam and other stores from Feb 27th.
Auroch Digital – Chainsaw Warrior: Lords of the Night hits Steam!
Our 2nd title with Games Workshop has just hit Steam. It can be found here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/307600/ – if you are a reviewer and want a review copy, drop us an email to geoff at aurochdigital.com. We’d appreciate if you could Like this Facebook post, Upvote this Reddit post and/or RT this tweet! Thanks :)
Barbara-ian Hits Greenlight
Barbara-ian is a super fast paced twin-stick dungeon crawler focused on pure action. Using a physics-based combat system where 1 hit kills kills anything and everyone (including you), collect randomised weapons and master the procedurally generated dungeons. Unlike other dungeon crawler heroes, Barbara-ian has no inventory, no skill system, no health bars. She doesn’t want to duel with her enemies, doesn’t want to carry a bag full of calipers OR tongs, and she doesn’t need a spreadsheet to tell her how to kick ass. She just wants to smash. Our greenlight page is here. There’s a beta-testing build available here (which everyone is welcome to) Aaaaand the trailer, featuring a beautiful rendition of O Fortuna with the lyrics… adjusted, performed by myself, Sam Chester & colleague Kristian Andrews, is here (Watch the volume on that one). Follow us on twitter for more updates! @SamChesterD & @KristianAndrews
Force of Habit
Busy busy busy! Let’s go with bullet points…
- We released a mobile mini Sinking Feeling to iOS and Android. It was featured for a bit, which was awesome.
- Our long-awaited bullet hell party game Friendship Club is coming to Steam Early Access very soon!
- Finally, we’ve been working on a tool to help indie devs and small studios (like you!) manage their PR and marketing. More info on that in the next newsletter!
Jobs & Opportunities
2 Roles at Play Nicely
Play Nicely (www.playnicely.co.uk) are looking for an experienced freelance Unity 3D developer & a3D character animator. Experienced freelance Unity 3D developer to work in-house for an exciting project starting in the next couple of weeks. 3D character animator for rigging and animating high res human characters, AAA game quality. Can anyone interested in this role email megan at playnicely.co.uk with your availability, day rate and a link to your most recent portfolio please?
Unreal Offers Dev Grants
More info here.
EU Fund for Games is Open
More info here.
Bristol Anime & Gaming Con – Looking for Devs
…to show their games off at the event. Find out more and get in touch…
24th Feb: South West VR Conference
On Tuesday, 24th February, Opposable Games will be hosting the SouthWest VR Conference. Tickets have now sold out and the office is buzzing with excitement. We’ve got some incredible speakers coming to talk about aspects of narrative, storytelling and the way virtual reality will shake up the entertainment industry. After three months of hard work, planning and late nights, the team is almost ready for the event. As you can imagine, the event’s organiser Dan Page is over the moon! All the hard work is now paying off and in just under 4 days time, the fruits of the team’s labour will be realised.
Recently additions to the lineup include local tech start up Ultrahaptics, which has been continuously making headlines with its award-winning tactile technology. Delegates of the South West VR Conference will be given the chance to try out this impressive technology. Another recent addition is the mindbogglingly impressive company Nozon, who’ve somehow managed to add positional tracking to 360 videos.
Adding to our great features, exhibitors and speakers, we will be live streaming the event in virtual reality in Riftmax Theatre! This means viewers can put on their DK1 and DK2 Oculus Rifts, meet up with the rest of our virtual reality community and watch the event’s talks for themselves. In addition to this, we’ll be filming the event in 360 with the help of immersiv.ly, and making the talks available and viewable in VR at a later date.
During the day we will also be fundraising for UK charity GamesAid, a great organisation that helps disadvantaged and disabled children and young people. We’re on the lookout for volunteers to help out with the running of the conference. If you’re interested in virtual reality and want a chance to brush shoulders with some of the most influential people in the industry, this weekend is your last chance to contact us! It’s going to be an amazing day, we’re looking forward to seeing you.
26th Feb: 7.30pm – Games Hub Anti-Social
See above for details.
26th Feb: New European Media Meeting
New European Media is an industry association that advises the European Commission on its funding programmes. Its constituency includes all major European organisations working in the networked and electronic media area: content providers, creative businesses, broadcasters, network equipment manufacturers, network operators and service providers, academia, standardisation bodies and government institutions. NEM is currently developing a proposal for a major European fund to accelerate the development of ‘immersive entertainment technologies’. On February 26th the organisation is hosting its General Assembly in the UK for the first time. This will be a major event, featuring leading figures in the fields of media and entertainment technology including a presentation by Colin Davidson, Chief Scientist at The Imaginarium Studios. Colin is a double Academy Award winner and a world expert on 3D, computer vision, VFX, performance capture, and image-based modelling. You can get more information and register for the event here: http://nem-initiative.org/19th-nem-general-assembly/
4th March: BGH Board Games Night
Join us on 4th March from 7.30pm at Bristol Games Hub to play board games! We’ll have a few here but also bring yours along to play. Last event was great fun and lots of new and classic games were played… Email tom at aurochdigital dot com if any queries…
4-6th March: GDC
- Valve’s economist has become Greece’s new Finance Minister. Fear the hat event horizon
- Could Godus’ failure fuel a crowdfunding backlash?
- Video games in museums: fine art or just fun?
Bristol Games Hub Newsletter
Below is news from the hub, news from Bristol & SW developers, jobs, opportunities & events.
Bristol Games Hub is a non-profit space for games and play. We run this news letter, host events and also rent desk space at a cost price with no strings attached so you can get on and create amazing games. Contact geoff at aurochdigital.com for more information or with news items for the next newsletter and let us know news for the next one by 15th February please!
SW Freelancer/Company Dev Directory
If you’re looking for people to help on a project, or you are available for work – put your details in. Please only list info you’re happy to have your information in the public domain: http://bit.ly/bghdirectory
SW Game Dev Jobs Facebook page – Find roles and post new openings here…
Next Games Hub Anti-Social: 29th January, 7.30pm
This month we’ve got:
Jack the Ripper: Shadow Over Whitechapel – An Anatomy of our Crowdfunding Campaign so far..
Auroch Digital and their GameTheNews.net project are about to launch their crowd-funding campaign for the playable documentary title on the Jack the Ripper murders. Auroch’s community manager @AurochJake & designer @TomasRawlings will give a tour through the extensive prep work that has gone into the campaign and the particular challenges with launching a campaign based on real events.
So join us on the 29th January at 7.30pm – we’ve got a buzzer! The entrance is off Thomas Street, just up from the junction of Thomas St/Stokes Croft, above what was DHS Heating.
Plus – if people are good, there will be a special post-social bit of gaming (shhh)…
Unity Developers Group
The first Unity meetup of the year is to take place on 28th January 7.30pm. A new year awaits and with Unity 5 looming in the horizon it is going to be an exiting one. The meetup will follow the traditional format with us gathering at the Games Hub, showcases of what people have made or a chance to ask for questions to the problems the members are facing in their current development. Signup for the meetup can be found here: http://www.meetup.com/Bristol-Unity-Game-Developers-Meetup/events/219916255/
We hope to see a lot of cool prototypes since the meetup lies after the Global Game Jam. As always we will be heading to a nearby pub at around 10pm after we finish..
Dev Scene News
On 24th February, 2015, Opposable Games will host the SouthWest VR Conference at the At-Bristol Science Centre
SouthWest VR Conference is a one-day event with a focus on narrative and storytelling within virtual reality. The format will consist of quick-fire talks from significant industry-leading figures with plenty of time to network and try out the hardware, software and 360 degree movies on show.
Taking place at the At-Bristol Science Centre in Bristol on February 24, the conference has already attracted big-name official guests such as Oculus, the developer of the Oculus Rift virtual reality head-mounted display, Aardman, Pinewood, The Imaginarium and Yogscast, with quick-fire talks by Atlantic Productions’ Alchemy VR, Unity 3D, nDreams and Innerspace lined up. Other high profile speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. We’ll touch upon the challenges and lessons learnt telling stories and making games, experiences and films for virtual reality devices, but don’t plan to be too hung up on the technical side of things in the main track. For those that would like to talk tech however, a second track will feature demos and talks on VR input, gesture, facial recognition and more from some of the smartest minds in the business.
SouthWest VR, which is to be hosted by renowned games journalist Will Freeman, will also provide delegates with a chance to try out the latest in virtual reality technology including the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 and Samsung’s Gear VR Innovator Edition, powered by Oculus along with a few special surprises. The line-up of speakers and guests at SouthWest VR includes: Callum Underwood, European developer relations manager at Oculus; Phil Harper, creative director at Atlantic Productions’ Alchemy VR; Patrick O’Luanaigh, CEO of virtual reality-focused games studio nDreams; and Nick Pittom, director of critically acclaimed VR studio Fire Panda.
SouthWest VR will be fundraising for UK charity GamesAid, which will be running a GamesAid Tenner collection. Attendees are asked to bring £10 with them to donate to GamesAid.
The conference is supported by Invest Bristol & Bath, Creative Skillset, the Digital Cultures Research Centre, Webstart Bristol, the Centre for Digital Entertainment, the BMT Group and Unity 3D. For more information, tickets and links to our social media visit www.southwestvr.com
Skills empowerment workshop for women working in the games industry – 3rd Fed 10am-5pm in Bristol
Following on from the UK Gender Balanced Workforce Survey last month, which had an overwhelming response of over 300, this series of workshops across the UK supported by renowned industry speakers is set to empower women involved in the games industry by focusing on the skill areas women identified as wanting to advance in more… Sign up to take part here:
Global Games Jam 2015
We’ve had this at the Watershed, Creative England and Bristol Games Hub. This year UWE is hosting the event and it’s FREE to enter! – UWE is hosting GGJ15 Bristol! Registrations are now open! The Global Game Jam 2015 is taking place around the world on the 23rd January with UWE as a registered site. Doors open from 4pm at Frenchay Campus. It is a chance to come together, be creative, share experiences and express ourselves in a multitude of ways using video games. Be it programming, iterative design, narrative exploration or artistic expression, after a 48-hour development cycle you will have taken part in the world’s largest game creation event. Many participants have gone on to release their titles, but taking part is also an excellent way to expand your portfolio of work. We encourage people with all kinds of backgrounds in game development and creativity so if you are interested please register at the UWE Global Game Jam Site with your team details at the following link: http://globalgamejam.org/2015/jam-sites/gamestech-university-west-england
First off we’d like to say congratulations to our Director of Operations (and hub director) Debbie Rawlings as she’s been listed in the Top 100 Women in Games! Also we’re gearing up to launch our first Kickstarter in Feb – our project on the Jack the Ripper murders. You can get a flavor of it here. We’re also giving a talk about the project at the next anti-social to share our planning process.
Have been awarded support by Creative England after successfully meeting the crowdfunding targets in the Queen of Code competition. Work on their first game has begun! http://www.prettydigital.co.uk/
Jobs & Opportunities
Aardman Digital are looking for talented Flash Animators and HTML5 Developers to work on a number of exciting new projects looking to kick off around early February! If this sounds like your cup of tea, and you’re interested in joining the best team EVER, please contact digital at aardman.com for more information.
Game Jam Co-ordinator
As part of the GamesLab South West programme, Creative England are looking for a delivery partner to organise a 2-day Game Hack for indie devs in the region. If you are interested in applying to run the jams, please email ella.waving atcreativeengland.co.uk for more info. Do so quick as the final deadline for completed applications is 30th Jan.
Our Game Simulation Post for Bloodhound SSC is now live, and has a closing date of19th January, so if this is of interest, act quickly. £24k / 1 year fixed term with possibility of extension. Looking for experience of making things pretty and go FAST in Unity. Click through to Computer Science & Creative Technology. See here: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AKH006/games-technologist-vehicle-educational-simulator-project/
23rd Jan, 4pm+ GGJ15
Global Games Jam! It’s at UWE – see above.
28th Jan, 7.30pm Unity Developer Group
At the hub – see above.
29th Jan, 7.30pm – Games Hub Anti-Social:
Auroch Digital will give a tour though the extensive prep work that has gone into their new crowdfunding campaign – see above.
30th Jan, 1pm: Syncself 2 – How Tech can enhance the Storytelling Experience (PM Studio)
Friday, 30 January 2015 13:00 to 14:00: Karen Palmer will introduce us to SYNCSELF 2, a Transmedia Parkour Neurogame, an immersive storytelling experience in which the obstacles that the freerunners face within a film are determined by the user’s mental focus. http://www.watershed.co.uk/pmstudio/events/fri-30012015-100pm
24th Feb – SouthWest VR Conference
Full info is above!
- Games Hub type space launches in London
- Lyst – an event about love, sex & relationships in games…
- Unity adds analytics.
- How console publishers are trying to break into mobile.