Online gamers and visitors to the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition are today being invited to vote for their favourite science inspired game. Gamers will be able to play and then vote for one of four games developed at a 12 hour Game Jam hosted by the Royal Society in May. The Game Jam saw scientists taking part in this year’s Summer Science Exhibition team up with experienced games development studios to bring the science behind their exhibits to life.
The games can be played online on the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition website or found as free PC downloads via the IndieCity website. They will also be available to play at special games stations throughout the Summer Science Exhibition at the Royal Society.
Players will be encouraged to vote for the game that they think is the most fun, playable and explains the science best. The game with the most votes will receive funding to be developed further – perhaps by adding another level or extra characters or making it available on more devices. Voting closes on Sunday 7th July. The games competing for further funding are:
- A Pinch of Salt: an ocean set 3D game which sees players pilot an ocean glider and measuring sea salt and trying to cover as much ground as possible in a limited time, developed by Kanko and the University of East Anglia.
- Cell Invaders: a puzzle-action game exploring the complex life of sugars, developed by Robin Baumgarten, Gorm Lai, Benjamin Donoghue and the University of Manchester.
- Out Both Ends: a biomedical puzzle game about identifying the source of an outbreak of disease, developed by Opposable Games, Force of Habit and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.
- Quantum Revolution: an excitement packed space shooter game based on quantum physics, developed by Bossa Studios and Toshiba Research Europe Ltd.
Professor Peter Sadler FRS, chair of the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition selecting committee, said: “We’re delighted that our first ever Summer Science Exhibition Game Jam was such a success. It was great to see the enthusiasm with which scientists and developers alike approached the gruelling 12 hour Game Jam. The games that they were able to develop in such a short time are absolutely fantastic. The Summer Science Exhibition is all about communicating the wonders of science to the public in new and exciting ways. I’ve certainly had a wonderful time trying out all of the games and I look forward to seeing which game triumphs in the public vote!”
Unity Technologies, a games development software company, has supported the Royal Society in designing and running the Game Jam, through Unity, the flexible and high-performance development platform used to make creative and intelligent interactive 3D and 2D experiences. The Royal Society is partnering with indie game distribution portal, IndieCity, to share the games produced at the jam. The vote’s Twitter hashtag is #RSgamejam
Auroch Digital produced the event and also developed a game for one of the exhibitions, Zombeetle & The Fossil Colour Quest.
Zombeetle and the Fossil Colour Quest
Some links to this:
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
NarcoGuerra – Can you End the Unending War?
“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
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
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.
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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
Card Changes in Endgame:Syria
Some of the coverage of this release includes:
The Wellcome Trust and Develop Conference have a new scheme to develop game ideas inspired by biomedical science into mass market games! If you are successful in applying you get £10K to develop the idea, mentoring during the process and take part in a live pitch at Develop to a panel of experts including publishers. You’ve got until the 26th April to get your submissions in, so best to get moving now!
Develop in Brighton in partnership with the Wellcome Trust brings a Live Pitch event to this year’s conference. Apply for Development Funding and Pitch Your Game at the Develop in Brighton Conference 2013.
Do you have an idea for the next ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’, ‘Pandemic’ or ‘Splice’?
Developers are invited to apply for the chance to receive up to £10,000 each to develop a high-impact pitch for their game to help secure a distribution platform and funding. The ideas for your game need to draw on or be inspired by contemporary or historical biological or medical science in an innovative and accessible way. The games can be developed for any mass-appeal genre, platform or business model. Those who are successful will go on to pitch their developed game ideas to a panel of publishers and funders at a live event at Develop in Brighton on Wednesday 10 July 2013. Panellists joining the Wellcome Trust include Sony XDev and crowd-funding platform Indiegogo. Participating developers will be invited to receive additional pitch training ahead of the live event.
More information and details of how to apply are here: http://bit.ly/Zqvzj1
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Upgrade Image
BRISTOL, UK MARCH 4th, 2013: The creators of Endgame:Syria have turned their development attention to the ongoing horse-meat scandal in their latest release. In ‘Cow Crusher‘ the player runs their own meat processing plant and must ensure that its output is 100% beef, in an irreverent comment on the speed and mechanisation of our food production process. Players need to hit the right button to squish the animal into the right meat product and keep the quality high; while making sure they don’t process any horses in the works. Cow Crusher is the latest game by GameTheNews.net with the development taking around 3 days to create it’s newest newsgame. GameTheNews’s design and production director Tomas Rawlings commented, “Cow Crusher is part of an ongoing experiment into how games can play a role in news and current affairs and this time we’ve opted for a more fun approach to the topic.” The game is out now to play for free online as HTML5 and for Android devices via Google Play.
GameTheNews became a global talking-point following the release of ‘Endgame:Syria’ a game covering the ongoing war. The developer says they are still “in process” with an Apple version of Endgame:Syria and also have another serious title in production themed around the War on Drugs in Mexico.
Cow Crusher by GameTheNews.net – click to play.
“As soon as I saw this game I had to get it, one; For the humor, and two; Because it actually looked like a great game with continuous playability and that’s just what it is!” n3rdabl3.co.uk
BRISTOL, UK JANUARY 18th, 2013: Having made waves worldwide by covering the brutal Syrian civil war in the form of a game, the developers behind Endgame:Syria have released their latest ‘news game’ and this time the subject is not war, but carbon. Titled ‘Climate Defense‘ the free game released today for Android devices, offers the player the chance to stop CO2 emissions from reaching the atmosphere by capturing it in nature’s carbon sinks, trees. However there is a twist – before the game begins the player is offered a choice, if they want to play the game for fun or as a more realistic simulation – a choice that will lead to a very different gameplay experience. The games designer, Tomas Rawlings, explained more; “Normally with a video game, the developers will have made huge concessions to ensure the game is fun so with a shooting game you may be able to be shot and recover many times over which is not realistic, but does make the game fun. In Climate Defense, that distinction is apparent so you can have fun playing the game or you can choose a more realistic experience and see how our continued emissions will impact our world.” The game is free to download from the Google Play store or from the GameTheNews website.
The creators of both games, GameTheNews, became a global talking point over their release of a game covering an ongoing war, have clearly decided that making games about difficult and controversial topics is not something they are willing to shy away from. There is no sign of them turning to the more traditional topics of gaming such as zombies or aliens and they are currently developing a game about the ‘War on Drugs’.
Screenshot from ‘Climate Defense’ Click to Download from Google Play.