Tag Archives: games

BBC Radio 1xtra Game by Auroch Digital Launches

Tuesday 18th March saw the release of new game by Radio 1xtra ‘Fire in the Booth’, developed by Auroch Digital. Released as part of the 1xtra ‘MC Week’ event and featuring voiceover by Radio 1xtra DJ Charlie Sloth and cameos from several other of the station’s DJs. Fire in the Booth’ was announced live on air on Wednesday 19th March and is available to play free at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/1xtra/games/rapbattle/.

Huge thanks to Force of Habit and Infinite Playground for their assistance with this project.

Fire in the Booth - Title Screen

Fire in the Booth – Title Screen

Fire in the Booth - Ingame Action!

Fire in the Booth – Ingame Action!

Fire in the Booth - Player vs Sarah Jane Crawford in a rap battle!

Fire in the Booth – Player vs Sarah Jane Crawford in a rap battle!

Ndemic Creations brings Plague Inc. onto Steam with help from Auroch Digital

Updated! The game is now out on Steam Early Access. There is much more info on the game’s official page. Also see this article on Polygon. The trailer is below:

Twitter and Facebook have been a-buzz with the recent news that the developer of smash hit mobile title Plague Inc will be releasing the much anticipated desktop version, Plague Inc: Evolved very soon. Auroch Digital is proud to announce that we have been working with Ndemic Creations to help make Plague Inc. on desktop a reality. The new version will see the same captivating gameplay with the addition of multiplayer, user-generated content and much more. Plague Inc: Evolved launches to Steam Early Access on the 20th February. The game’s official page can be found at plagueincevolved.com and can be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

Plague Inc: Evolved Announcement Image

REACT: Jack the Ripper 125 (JtR125)

We’re pleased to say that we’re part of the collaborative project exploring the interactive documentary form as part of REACT, called JtR125:

November 8th 2013 will be the 125th anniversary of the murder of Mary Jane Kelly by an unknown assailant known as ‘Jack the Ripper’. This project uses original photography and 3D game elements to experiment with making a ‘playable documentary’. Exploring notions of crime, news reporting and ethics, players will interact with characters, discover clues and piece together the story, drawing parallels between contemporary society and this infamous crime.

JtR125 Image

Royal Society invites online gamers to vote for their favourite science inspired game

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

Zombeetle and the Fossil Colour Quest

Some links to this:

Do you have an idea for the next ‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’, ‘Pandemic’ or ‘Splice’? Get £10K To Make it Happen!

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

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Upgrade Image

First Syria, now Climate Change: Controversial Game Developers Explore Global Warming in New Game

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.

Game Exposes Cruelty of Child Labor in Uzbekistan

BRISTOL, UK DECEMBER 18th, 2012: GameTheNews.net, the team turning news into games have released their latest offerings; ‘My Cotton Picking Life‘ a game about the cruelty of child labor in Uzbekistan. The game puts the player in the role of a cotton-picker in the former Soviet state of Uzbekistan, where vast amounts of men, women and children are forced into picking cotton for the enrichment of the regime and to supply cheap material that ends up on the shelves of western stores. The game’s designer, Tomas Rawlings remarked, “The game replicates the monotony of the work these children have to do – we challenge the player to see how long they can last as a cotton picker and point out that while they can quit at any time, those forced into doing this sort of work don’t have that luxury.” The game is free and available now on the Google Playstore and on their website at http://bit.ly/mycottonpickinglife

The game took only a day to create and continues the developers direction of making games that target difficult issues, their previous game being an exploration of the Syrian conflict titled, ‘Endgame Syria‘. Both projects were created using GameMaker Studio development technology. Game the News is supported by the University of Abertay Dundee’s Prototype Fund with additional help from the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol.



GameTheNews Launches Endgame Syria

Our GameTheNews.net project looking at creating games from news an current affairs has launched with a game about the war in Syria, Endgame Syria.  Here is the press release:

New Game Explores War in Syria

BRISTOL, UK DECEMBER 13th, 2012: Games have been growing in force as a medium but still tend to be seen as pure entertainment. That perception is being challenged by a new release that explores the war in Syria in an interactive form, titled ‘Endgame Syria’. Developed as part of the new project GameTheNews.net, creators Auroch Digital are using rapid-game development methods to build games quickly in response to real-world events. Created in a development time of two weeks, the game allows users to explore the options open to the rebels as they push the conflict to its endgame. Each choice the user makes has consequences – the types of military units deployed, the political paths trodden. Not only does each choice impact the current situation but they also affect the final outcome. While the game was made rapidly, the developers report that even over the two weeks of development, they still had to change elements to reflect events happening in the real-world. “We wanted the events and actions in the game to mirror the real situation,” the game’s designer Tomas Rawlings explained, “So while creating this experience, we were also continually looking at the news and adding or removing components to keep the content current.” Endgame Syria is free to download.

Some may think that the choice of a game as a medium for this subject is questionable, but Tomas is adamant this is not the case, “As game developers, games are a natural way for us to express our thoughts on the world around us. Games don’t have to be frivolous or lightweight; they can and do take on serious issues and open them up to new audiences.”

Objections to the medium might be an issue of understanding the form, Tomas continues, “If the word ‘game’ is troubling then we’re happy for this to be called a ‘simulation’ or an ‘interactive experience’. For us, the point is that we’re using this medium as a means to express and explore the uncertainties of this situation. A game allows you to re-explore the same territory and see how different choices play out and understand that those choices have far-reaching consequences.”

The developers say that if this game brings the issues of the war to an audience who might otherwise not have engaged with it, then the risk of making something controversial rather than playing it safe will have been worthwhile. The game free to download for Android via Google Play and is available to play on the GameTheNews.net website as a HTML5 game and also due out on iPhone, iPad and iPad Touch imminently. Full details can be found at http://bit.ly/endgamesyria.

The project was created using GameMaker Studio development technology. Game the News is supported by the University of Abertay Dundee’s Prototype Fund with additional help from the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol.

We also launched with an article on GamesIndustry.biz looking at games, war and news:

By making Endgame Syria I hope that we’ve encouraged some people who didn’t know much about the situation in Syria, to find out more. After all, the chances are your taxes are going into this war in one form or another. We also hope that we’ve joined the ranks of other games that have been unafraid to take on serious subjects and cover them with sensitivity. If either of these are the case, then the risk of making something controversial rather than playing it safe and making games about shooting Nazis or grumpy avians will have been worthwhile.

Endgame Syria Screenshot

Endgame Syria Screenshot

Our Creative Director, Tomas has been looking at reactions to the game over on his blog.  We’ve also been getting coverage of the launch online:

Endgame: Syria is a neat little game that does not deserve being shackled to a small window in the browser. The game oozes quite some quality and is actually fun to play. Players familiar with card games like Magic: The Gathering should have no problems playing this game as the rules are very much simpler here.

The subject matter for Endgame: Syria should not however be looked on from a trivialized angle; people and civilian casualties are dying everyday over in Syria. Hopefully with this unique gamification approach, it will make more people aware of what is happening today in the beleaguered country of Syria.
Source: gameswarp.com

The iOS version of the game was rejected by Apple, which generated a lot of press interest in the project:

Amy from MM on XX Game Jam

Amy from Media Molecule has written a great blog post all about the XX Game Jam, which is well worth a read:

We made a game called Android Grim Reaper – you play the Grim Reaper and have to find and harvest souls as their timer runs out. About 30 minutes before the end of the jam we didn’t have a game that ran, but with a lot of head scratching, and plenty of ingenuity, we pulled together and got a build limping towards functionality. Of course we were over ambitious, tried to do far too much in the 24 hours available, but that’s half the fun and makes for a tense and exciting finish! We’ll be polishing the game and hopefully in a week or so it’ll still be fun, but will also be vaguely understandable to players other than the dev team :)

It was an awesome day, so inspiring and a lot of fun! I’m pregnant which makes you pretty tired at the drop of a hat, so it has taken a week or so to recover from the late nights, but it was SO worth it.  I’ll definitely be GameJamming again soon!

Android Grim Reaper game concept from XX Game Jam

Winning Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam Entries now Online to Enjoy!

A busy audience assembled at the ExPlay event in Bath on the 2nd of November to hear the winning games announced from the eight short-listed titles. After much anticipation Professor Bruce Hood awarded the winning teams their prizes:

First Prize: HIVe (Java download, video)

In HIVe the deception moves to a molecular level, where one player is a HIV infected cell disguised as a normal cell, seeking to infect other cells. The second player is an antiretroviral seeking to find and destroy the infection. The developers write, “The objective of the HIV player is to infect as many cells as possible before being caught by the antiretroviral drug player. We felt that the lifecycle of a virus is a constant battle of deception with the body and our game tries to capture this whilst at heart still being a game and being fun. We felt using HIV as the virus was important for its relation to scientific research and global social issues.”

HIVe screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

Second Prize: Qualit-eye Control (iPad, video)

Based around the structure of the human eye and using the inspiration of the Thatcher Illusion, where it becomes hard to detect changes in an upside-down face. In this puzzle game, the player must select if a given object is really the same as its mirrored counterpart. The developers wrote of their game; “Given the theme of deception in science, we began thinking about how the human eye is an astoundingly amazing tool – yet deceptive. The human brain has to process a lot of data continually, so will occasionally make assumptions and take shortcuts, meaning we occasionally interpret false images in line with our expectations… So we developed Qualiteye Control, a game that puts the player in the position of a miniature scientist acting as a controller between the eyeball and the brain of Prototype X1.”

QualiteyeControl screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

Wildcard Prize: InCogNeto (Android download)

A two-player game in which each player must connect cogs to a top wheel and at each turn select it to mask their actions or advance their plans. The developer wrote of their game, “…inspired by the idea of subterfuge, how we deceive ourselves and create false realities when we don’t have all the information… Strategy and tactics play an important role as you read your opponent’s body language, listen for audible clues (i.e. the rack moving) and use spatial memory to spot changes in the playspace. While your body is performing quality control of a widgetoid factory – you must decide what widgetoids are correct, and which ones are being falsely interpreted and need to be rejected quickly.”

InCogNeto screenshot (Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam 2012)

The judging was based around the balance of the gameplay and the science so the judges looked for great games that integrated the science into the gameplay.

The judging was based around the balance of the gameplay and the science so the judges, Professor Hood, Dr John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust and Dan Efergan, Creative Director at Aardman Digital, looked for great games that integrated the science into the gameplay. The games needed to be fun to play; they were not looking to develop a ‘worthy’ game, it needed to be fun in its own right. The aim was to make the combination of the science and the gameplay engage the player; those that did scored well.

The games were created on the 5th and 6th of October during the Wellcome Trust ExPlay Game Jam. The event, held over two locations, the Science Museum in London and the Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol, saw over 100 developers create 22 entries around the theme of Deception. Where possible, the games from the event are available online at: explay.co.uk/gamesjam and are free to play.

Links to this story: