Games Dev North Wales

A recap, because I haven’t been blogging as often as I should…

Shortly before Christmas my colleague Ralph and I founded Games Dev North Wales – a social meetup for North Wales students and developers to discuss the art, science and industry of games. It’s growing steadily, and we were recently invited to visit Cardiff to speak at our more well-established partner group Games Dev South Wales. We talked about the differences between working in small teams and large “AAA” studios, and had a chat with some South Wales students about their projects.

We were also lucky enough to attend a meeting of the Games Wales Group, a think tank of many parties all keen to develop the Welsh digital media industry. We heard from BAFTA Cymru, the Film Agency, S4C, Creative Skillset, local universities, local government and others. There’s a lot going on!

It’s nice to lift my head from the keyboard now and then to see what’s going on in the outside world. It’s even nicer to find that over the years I’ve picked up some tips that are useful to the students who are going to drive the next era of games development.

And so, the plug: the next Games Dev North Wales event is on Tuesday the 11th Feb – always the 11th – and it’s a quiz this time, as a change from the debate format we’ve established so far. Do drop in if you work in or study games and can get to Wrexham that evening!

BAFTA voting excitement

Towards the end of last year I was lucky enough to be able to join BAFTA, as a result of all the work my colleagues at TT and I have done over the years. I’m pretty chuffed with that 🙂

One of the perks is that I get to vote in the Games Awards, so in the run-up to Christmas I had an awful lot of games I needed to play in order to make an informed decision. It was a very interesting experience – I played a whole lot of games I would normally have ignored, and most I enjoyed much more than I expected to.

Voting is still ongoing – the results of the first round have gone to the juries, who will spend another month or two playing the shortlisted titles in depth so that THEY can make an even more informed decision. I get one more vote for the Best Game, but the other awards are now up to those juries. It’s not going to be easy for them, as this has been an excellent year with a multitude of great titles.

Maybe next year I’ll volunteer for a jury. I’m really enjoying the opportunity to acknowledge the best work of the industry.

Breaking another quiet spell

I really need to post more often…

So…you probably noticed that our ambitious Kickstarter didn’t reach it’s target. Disappointing, but we’ve learned a lot from our mistakes. We’re looking at a number of alternative ways forward – more detail as and when…

On the plus side, LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes won a BAFTA for the Best Children’s Game…which was nice!

And I recently did another Ludum Dare game jam, producing this shallow but reasonably elegant effort: Winter’s Bane. As usual, I spent a lot of time on feel and polish, but not enough on content – nevertheless, it was thoroughly enjoyable to make. I’m working on a post-compo version incorporating some of the features that didn’t make it into the 48 hour version.