Category Archives: press release

Fun, Frantic and Free, Camelina Caper Releases Today on iOS and Android Tablets

Take control of Gerald, a fish living in dangerous, jellyfish infested waters, desperately collecting chains of algae to keep the timer running and the score counter ticking, and grab the Camelina flowers for a quick boost. You’ll need speed and precision to achieve high scores, so challenge your friends to see if they’ve got what it takes to beat you!

Camelina Caper Screenshot

Camelina Caper, the latest project from GameTheNews.net, is a light hearted glimpse into the work of Rothamsted Research, produced for the BBSRC Great British Bioscience Festival exhibit Alpha & Omega; making fish oils in GM plants. The exhibit will be first showcased at Cheltenham Science Festival Explore Zone on the 7th-8th of June 2014.

Omega-3 fish oils are beneficial for our health and can help reduce our risk of heart attacks. However, they are a finite and limited resource. Looking into solutions for sustainable sources of omega-3 fish oils, Rothamsted Research scientists have modified Camelina plants to accumulate omega-3 fish oils in their seeds.

Camelina Caper is now available for free on Apple and Android tablets.

Coverage so far…

Camelina Caper Screenshot

GameTheNews to Join Europe‘s First Newsgames Hackathon

The New York Times’ most popular story of 2013 was not an article. It was an interactive quiz. The Times They Are A-Changin. Games as the defining medium of the 21st century are obviously starting to disrupt journalism.

In order to accelerate this process the independent game studio, the Good Evil and the Cologne Game Lab are organising Europe‘s first Newsgames Hackathon in Cologne, Germany this spring.

Journalists, programmers and game designers are invited to conceptualise and produce working prototypes in 48 hours. The results will then be presented during this years Clash of Realities, an international acclaimed computer game conference.

The young genre has already been tried out worldwide by innovative media companies like The New York Times, Huffington Post, Wired, BBC, Channel 4, The Guardian and Le Monde.

“In a clear distinction to classical linear approaches Newsgames allow the interactive experience of content and are very well suited to explain systems“, says Marcus Bösch. The german journalist and co-founder of the Good Evil is the Hackathon’s initiator.

For several years he has been busy exploring Newsgames. After having given workshops, talks and media appearances on the topic he, together with his game studio, has designed PRISM – The Game: Germany‘s very first Newsgame, published by Arte Future.

Now the Good Evil in cooperation with the Cologne Game Lab, an institute of the Cologne University of Applied Science, wants to bring together journalists, game designers and programmers on May 6th and 7th.  Dr. Tomas Rawlings from GameTheNews, shortlisted for a GamesIndustry.biz Innovation Award, will hold a keynote,“We see newsgames as a means of talking to gamers about the world around them in a language they understand. Games as a form has expanded and we’re seeing them being put to use for everything from curing cancer to teaching maths. When it comes to news and current affairs we’re right at the start of an exciting journey.“

Attendance to the event is free of charge. Anyone interested can apply online until March 20th: http://newsgames-hackathon.tumblr.com/applyhttp://newsgames-hackathon.tumblr.com/apply Participants from Austria or Switzerland can apply for a scholarship that covers travel and hotel costs thanks to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the Forum Journalismus und Medien in Vienna. Deutsche Welle, Germany‘s international broadcaster is the main media partner of the event.

Newsgames Hackathon. May 6th and 7th in Cologne, Germany. The results will be presented during this years Clash of Realities Conference on May 8th.

Coverage:

Gamifying ‘Jack the Ripper’?

9th November, 2013: On the 125th anniversary of the murder of Mary Jane Kelly, Bristol based indie GameTheNews announces a new title based on the infamous ‘Jack the Ripper’ murders.

Today, Friday 8 November 2013, Bristol-based indie GameTheNews.net announces its latest development, a new title based on the infamous ‘Jack the Ripper’ murders called JtR125, one of six new collaborations between filmmakers, academic researchers and creative companies as part of the REACT Future Documentary Sandbox, a nationwide programme to explore the theme of Future Documentary funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

jtr5

125 years ago Mary Jane Kelly was murdered, her badly mutilated body found by a rent collector seeking her arrears on the morning of November 9, 1888. The terrible nature of the murders by Jack The Ripper, who himself was never brought to justice, has ensured the ‘Ripper’ killings remain a mystery that still repulses, contests, fascinates and resonates today.

GameTheNews.net, known for taking a bold approach to difficult subjects using games to address tough news stories, is applying game and documentary mechanics to their latest subject, Jack the Ripper, to find out what lessons are still to be learned. The lead developer on JtR125, Tomas Rawlings of Auroch Digital who produces GamesTheNews, says, “we’re not going to make a first-person Ripper game about the killer – we’re much more interested in the society that created the conditions that allowed this to happen and the plight of his victims. The fact that 125 years later we’re still talking about this suggests to me that there are lessons still to be learned. The events themselves were a catalyst for social change. It was also a key time in the birth of a number of areas of our society, notably the tabloid newspapers and forensic science. We’re keen to create an interactive documentary using the medium of games and allow the player to explore the issues and events themselves.”

As part of the Future Documentary Sandbox Rawlings has been paired with Patrick Crogan, games and digital media expert, University of the West of England, and Professor of Media and Journalism at Middlesex, Janet Jones.

Dr Crogan commented, “JtR125 is certainly pushing the envelope of both documentary and game formats. There are some risks with treating historical material the wrong way, and we don’t want to simply repeat the way many commercial games bolster their realism with bits of archival footage of war or other major historical events. With the development of apps other interactive forms there’s real potential to make a powerful and thoughtful experience that opens up new perspectives for people about something like the Ripper mystery.”

Professor Jones remarked, “The idea with JtR125 is to test the break-down of generic boundaries between games and serious documentary so that the world can be reported in a potentially more dynamic and investigative way that might better engage younger audiences accustomed to finding things out through digital play. Maybe in five or ten years time, every BBC newsroom will have a gaming desk alongside Radio, TV and online. We’re focusing on how we might create acceptable templates for merging archive, talking head (all the traditional factual production conventions) within a game framework without destroying the experience or breaking the creative paradigm. There are undoubtedly lines to be drawn here and as we develop the Jack the Ripper game we hope to be able to draw those lines more clearly.”

Related Links/Tweets:

Chainsaw Warrior Rips onto Steam

Chainsaw Warrior link

7th October 2013, Bristol, UK: Games Workshop’s classic boardgame ‘Chainsaw Warrior’ launches today on PC via Steam with other PC stores to follow soon. The game was originally released in its physical form back in 1987 and has been recreated as a PC title by Bristol based indie developer, Auroch Digital.

Char_Creation

PC Screenshot of Chainsaw Warrior – now on Steam!

The PC version was announced back in July and it caused excitement and nostalgia with fans who fondly remembered playing it and interest in those new to the game. In ‘Chainsaw Warrior’ the player takes on the role of the eponymous cybernetic soldier as he attempts against all odds, to save New York from dire peril. The city is under threat from the twisted forces spewing forth from a strange spatial rift which has opened up in the heart of New York. This extreme warping power is attempting to rip the city from this reality into its parallel nightmare realm.

The original was noted for its challenging solo gameplay – an aspect that has been preserved in the version as Auroch Digital’s Design & Production Director, Tomas Rawlings notes: “When I first played this game in the ’80s, I knew of its reputation as a seriously challenging game and that’s why I wanted to take it on, to win where others had failed. We’ve kept that level of challenge and added to it in this version that both references the original styling and refreshes it for PC.”

The Steam version of the game comes with Steam achievements, a new leaderboard system and exclusive Steam trading cards.

It’s wonderful to see this great game re-worked for today’s platforms’ said Jon Gillard, GW Head of Licensing ‘I can’t wait to get my pistol grip chainsaw revved up and stuck into some zombies’.

The game launched on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Google Play and Amazon Appstore for Android to an enthusiastic fan reception and is expected to follow suit on PC. The game is out on Steam for $4.99/€4.99/£3.99 To keep in the loop with the project you can like Auroch Digital on Facebook or follow them onTwitter. The game’s information page can be found at chainsawwarrior.net

Time go get moving as you only have 60 minutes to save New York! #ChainsawWarrior

Coverage so far:

Chainsaw Warrior Launches on Mobile

Chainsaw Warrior link23rd September 2013, Bristol, UK: The classic boardgame ‘Chainsaw Warrior’ first published by Games Workshop in 1987 and converted into a digital title by Auroch Digital launches today on iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch and follows on Samsung Samsung Devices via Chillingo’s 100% Indie later this week. (Update: Also now on Google Play & Amazon Apps)

Announced in July, it caused excitement with those new to the game interested in discovering a classic, and nostalgia with fans who fondly remembered playing it. The game sees players trying to save New York from dire peril as twisted forces spewing from a spatial rift attempt to rip the city from this reality into theirs. The fate of the city rests solely in the hands of a lone cybernetic solider known as the ‘Chainsaw Warrior’. As the eponymous hero, the player must battle through a zombie infested Manhattan tenement in order to locate the controlling intelligence behind the dark army swarming from the spatial rift. The game was renowned as a tough challenge and this new version remains so.

The digital version of the game has been created by Bristol based indie developer Auroch Digital. Auroch Digital’s Design & Production Director, Tomas Rawlings announced the release: “We’re really pleased with what we’ve created. The team has done an amazing job in creating a brilliant mix of the best of the boardgame with the possibilities of digital. I feel it’s both a fresh and nostalgic take on a classic game. We hope our fellow gamers enjoy facing the thrilling challenge of trying to save New York. Not all will succeed!”

It’s wonderful to see this great game re-worked for today’s platforms,” said Jon Gillard, GW Head of Licensing ‘I can’t wait to get my pistol grip chainsaw revved up and stuck into some zombies.”

“It’s always great when a game comes to Samsung Apps as an exclusive,” says 100% Indie co-founder Chris Byatte, “but when it’s got such a dynamic legacy as Chainsaw Warrior, it’s especially exciting. We’re all classic gamers here, and to see important titles like this reborn through the smartphone platforms for a new generation of players is one of the reasons we love working in this dynamic industry.”

The game is out on iPad, iPhone for $4.99/€3.99/£2.99 and follows on Samsung Samsung Devices via Chillingo’s 100% Indie later this week at the same price point. A wider Android, PC and Mac release is set to follow soon after. To keep in the loop with the project you can like Auroch Digital on Facebook or follow them onTwitter. The game’s information page can be found at chainsawwarrior.net

Time go get moving as you only have #60mins to save New York!

Chainsaw Warrior screenshot (iOS)

Chainsaw Warrior screenshot (iOS)

If you’re a games journalist or blogger, please contact debbie a-t aurochdigital.com for a review pack.

Coverage so far (iOS version):

Android version Converge:

Games Workshop’s 80s Classic Chainsaw Warrior is Back

Chainsaw Warrior link22nd July, 2013, Bristol, UK: The seminal hit board game Chainsaw Warrior, made by Games Workshop back in 1987 is set to return this year in a digital form. The original 80s game was a notable rarity in that it was a solo board game that pitted the player not against others but against the clock. The game saw New York balancing on the precipice of darkness as twisted forces from another reality attempted to rip the city from this world into theirs. Standing between them and the destruction of the city was a lone figure, the brutal and mysterious Chainsaw Warrior. As the eponymous hero, the player had to delve into a zombie infested New York tenement to locate the source of the evil spewing through the spatial rift and destroy it before he was destroyed. The game is being created by Bristol based indie developer Auroch Digital for mobile and desktop platforms.

Chainsaw Warrior Main Image

Chainsaw Warrior Main Image (Click for larger image)

Auroch Digital’s Design & Production Director, Tomas Rawlings explained why they are resurrecting this mutant and zombie infested classic; “It’s a game I played as a kid and loved. I see it as the pre-cursor of First Person Shooters when video games technology could not really do the first person or the shooting. For me this is not only a great game, but a classic of board game design – a solo shooter that really challenges the player. When we spoke to Games Workshop about developing a game this was the top of my list. I loved the 80s style of the game and we’ve kept much of that in our design as well as faithfully translating the gameplay. Don’t expect to win the game easily. This was the Dark Souls or Super Meat Boy of its day. Players didn’t want to buy the game and run out of challenge at first play. The game has many ways to kill you and is unafraid to use them – which makes it all the sweeter when you finally win.”

As well as its challenge, it also flies in the face of current trends in social aspects in games. Chainsaw Warrior is firmly an individual experience, Rawlings explains, “This is about you against the tide of darkness. Chainsaw Warrior is the last hope for the city and time is running out. Ultimately I wanted to make this game because it is one that needs to be brought to digital with all guns blazing and chainsaw-blades revving, and that is what we’re going to do!”

“Chainsaw Warrior is a classic fantasy solo board game experience that established itself as one of Games Workshop’s best sellers from that era of our history” said Jon Gillard, Games Workshop’s Head of Licensing. “It was actually the first game I bought when I joined the company, and like many other enthusiastic gamers, I enjoyed playing it for years. We can’t wait to see it being brought to a whole new generation of digital gamers who can enjoy the dramatic struggle against seemingly unwinnable odds, as well as the remorseless ticking of the clock.”

The game is due to release on iPad, iPhone and Android at the end of summer at a price point and date to be announced soon. The PC and Mac versions will follow soon after. To keep in the loop with the project you can like Auroch Digital on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. The game’s information page can be found at chainsawwarrior.net

News coverage of this includes:

Our favourite tweet about the game so far!

Banned War Game is Now Shakespeare Themed Fun for Kids

Auroch Digital has just completed 3 games for Shakespeare’s Globe. Here is the press release about them:

GameTheNews, the developer of topical newsgames such as Endgame:Syria and NarcoGuerra has turned its development skills into a different area; kids games. The GameTheNews’s hosting company, Auroch Digital has developed three titles for the launch of a new digital games site at Shakespeare’s Globe, which has commissioned a number of fun activities for children in their new online ‘Playground‘ area.

What people may find a little surprising about one of the contributions to new site is that one of the games, Hemmings Play Company, is based on the gameplay engine of their controversial release Endgame:Syria. This latter title focused on the ongoing civil war in Syria. The game was banned from the Apple Store, ultimately only finding it’s way onto the market place re-branded as Endgame:Eurasia. In Hemmings Play Company the player is tasked with helping Hemmings, a bear in charge of a theatre troupe of other animals, with earning enough money to rebuild the theatre after it’s inevitable destruction. The tanks and assassins of End Game have been replaced with the Globe’s own colourful cartoon characters striving to give a good performance for their audience and deal with the daily challenges of running a theatre.

GameTheNews’s other contributions include Lute Hero; a music based rhythm game where you assist Sly the fox in playing popular old English songs such as Greensleeves and the Grand Old Duke of York. And Kit’s Wardrobe Challenge a fast paced arcade game where the player attempts to rapidly clean and repair the various costumes used during a period performance. This game is an adaptation of GameTheNews’s other popular comment on the house-meat scandal, Cow Crusher. GameTheNews’s Tomas Rawlings said, “These bold adaptations of our existing titles show how the dynamics of a game should not be confused with its subject matter. If the core functionally is robust and game play intuitive, they can become the canvass for a variety of great projects. That is just what we were able to show while working on the Globe Playground.”

Hemmings Play Company Screenshot

Hemmings Play Company Screenshot

Some of the links to this story:

Endgame:Syria Developer Turns from Civil War to Drug War with NarcoGuerra

Newsgame developer GameTheNews.net, today released it’s latest offering; a game about the War on Drugs in Mexico entitled NarcoGuerra. GameTheNews.net caused a huge debate following Apple’s controversial decision to reject Endgame:Syria from the App Store. This new game examines the ongoing conflict from the perspective of the Mexican authorities trying to stamp out the drug trade within their borders. In NarcoGuerra the player must attempt to retake Mexico’s regions from cartels while also dealing with corruption within the police force itself.

As part of the global War on Drugs, the conflict in Mexico escalated around 2008 and since that point the human cost has been very high, with over 80,000 people having been killed. Rawlings defends the use of this as subject matter for a game, “Better that we are talking about this topic and why it is happening, whatever the medium being used, than we turn a blind eye and pretend it is not going on. Games are part of the way we understand the world we live in and I’m really proud of the work we’ve done on this game as it engages people while expanding that global conversation.” The game’s designer, Tomas Rawlings remarked, “The War on Drugs has been going for over 40 years now and we wanted to explore why that is. In reflecting the world around us a singer might write a song, a filmmaker produces a documentary and a journalist writes an article, as games developers we express our interest via games. But just because our form of expression is through games, this doesn’t mean we take the subject any less seriously. This game aims to engage players in the issue and get them to think about why this war is still going on despite the billion spent on it.”

NarcoGuerra is now out on iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android, PC and Mac for $0.99/£0.59/€0.79. This is the first newsgame that GameTheNews.net have charged for, with all their past titles having been released for free. Rawlings commented on this decision, “This game is the biggest newsgame we’ve created which has taken a lot of time, effort and expense. Charging a small amount for this title helps us cover the costs of our highly talented development team and funds us to continue creating newsgames, many of which will be free. This is a premium newsgame and I think it is right that its price reflects the efforts to create it. All news organisations have to make income to pay staff – we’re no different in that respect.”

Screenshot from NarcoGuerra

Screenshot from NarcoGuerra

NarcoGuerra - Can you End the Unending War?

NarcoGuerra – Can you End the Unending War?

NarcoGuerra Screenshot

Press Coverage:

“Game the News is one of the more interesting indie game developers working at the moment: specialising in games based on topical news stories and campaigns.” Stuart Dredge, The Guardian

Royal Society invites game developers to bring research to life at Summer Science Exhibition

The Royal Society is looking for experienced games development studios to take part in new initiative that will turn some of the research on show at its annual Summer Science Exhibition into video games. The Royal Society will host a 12 hour game jam on 24th May that will see developers work with the scientists behind exhibits to produce five exciting new games.

Royal Society Game Jam 2013

Royal Society Game Jam 2013

Unity Technologies, a games development software company, will support the Royal Society in creating fun interpretations of the science that will be on show at this year’s Exhibition. Of the 23 exhibits taking part this year, 5 will be selected to take part in the game jam. The Royal Society is partnering with indie game distribution portal, IndieCity, to share the games produced at the jam.

The game jam will take place at the Royal Society in London. Five development teams of up to 4 developers will be partnered with the selected exhibitors for an all-day game jamathon from 10am – 10pm. Each development team will receive £2,000 to further develop their games after the game jam so that they are ready to be played at the Summer Science Exhibition which runs from 1st – 7th July. The games will be available free online and at the exhibition itself so that the public can cast votes for their favourite game. The team that receives the most votes will receive an additional £2,000 to further develop the games once the Exhibition closes.

Professor Peter Sadler, chair of the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition selecting committee, said:

“The Summer Science Exhibition is one of the highlights of the Royal Society’s year. It provides a unique opportunity for members of the public to interact with scientists and ask them questions about their work. We’re very excited to be introducing a new element to the Exhibition this year in the form of the Games Jam. An increasing number of exhibitors have used games as a way of communicating their science over the last few years and we’re hoping that by giving some of them an opportunity to be part of the Games Jam it will bring state-of-the-art creativity and innovation to their video games and some fantastic news ways of bringing their cutting-edge research to life for our visitors. I’m really looking forward to playing with what’s created on the day!”

The Royal Society invites the UK’s talented games development sector to join it in communicating the fun and fascination of science. Interested developers can find out more about the competition and how to apply from the Royal Society’s website at bit.ly/RSgamejam .The event’s Twitter hashtag is #RSgamejam

This project is being produced for the Royal Society by Auroch Digital (aurochdigital.com) in conjunction with Unity 3D and IndieCity.   The accompanying image for the event can be found here.

Links to articles:

Endgame Syria launched on Apple without reference to ‘Syria’, also updated on Android and Released on Facebook and PC

21st MARCH 2012, BRISTOL, UK: The controversial newsgame, Endgame Syria, has been updated on Android and released on two new platforms - PC and Facebook and yet the developer is still struggling to release the original title on Apple’s App Store.  After three rejections, the developer has had to not only remove references to specific groups that are part of the conflict, but  any reference to aswell as the actual word ‘Syria’ too.  As a result the much-amended version of Endgame:Syria has made it past Apple’s approval process as ‘Endgame:Eurasia‘.

The developer, GameTheNews.net’s Tomas Rawlings remarked, “We’ve come to the end of three rejections and one appeal and the only way we’ve been able to get Endgame:Syria out on iOS was to remove all references to the real world and sadly that changes it from a ‘newsgame’ into just a ‘game’.  We’ve released this game version so at least players with Apple devices can get a feel for what we originally intended for the platform.  We are of course disappointed to not be able to release the game and hope that our experience informs a wider debate about how games have matured into a form that would benefit from a reappraisal by some.”  To help players using the App Store version to get a feel for the original title they have released a conversion guide to explain how the wording of the game has had to be changed.  By contrast to Apple’s policy decision, Endgame:Syria has been recognized by Games For Change, one of the world’s leading exponents of how games can be used beyond play.

The updated version on Android and for PC adds newer events from the ongoing war including Scud Missile strikes and the enhanced fears over WMDs.  The game is free and available now from Google Play.  It is also free on PC and can be downloaded from Desura, GamersGate, IndieCity, Indievania, and GameJolt.

Endgame:Syria was launched last year and allows players to explore the difficulties and options open to the rebel side in the ongoing Syrian civil war. The game attracted wide coverage for not only its subject matter but how it was received by gaming and non-gaming audiences.  The developer, GameTheNews.net, has released a wide variety of games that explore current affairs from a commentary on the horse-meat scandal to covering science and technology news.

Endgame Syria to Eurasia

Endgame Syria to Eurasia

Card Changes in Endgame:Syria

Card Changes in Endgame:Syria

Some of the coverage of this release includes: