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Digital games trade publication MCV has named four industry luminaries with connections with Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) in its Top 100 Women in Games ranking. The annual list of high-flying women working in the UK games industry, which is selected by a panel of over 50 UK games industry executives, includes Marie-Claire Isaaman, Course Leader of BA Games Art and Design at NUA; Dr Maria Stukoff, Head of Academic Development at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and recipient of an honorary doctorate from NUA in 2014; Gina Jackson, games consultant and Visiting Professor in Games at the University; and Sophia George, games designer in residence at the V&A museum and an NUA 2011 graduate. Read the press release.
Games studio Future Fossil Studios, which was co-founded by NUA graduate Phil Barrowclough, has released a game for iOS via the Apple Store. High Steaks! is a game about a monster and his love of steak. Players can compete against friends through Facebook and purchase upgrades for their creature with a premium currency which can be collected in the game world or through the completion of objectives.
A personal project to re-imagine the popular Assassin’s Creed franchise in a 19th century Japanese setting by Vin Hill (2012 graduate) has been picked up by games blog Kotaku. See more concept art on Vin’s blog.
New Zealand software developer Ambient Design has selected NUA Lecturer Lothar Zhou as the featured artist for its core product, ArtRage. ArtRage is a computer painting package which provides a set of natural painting and drawing tools that simulate familiar, real world tools. Lothar’s work will be featured on the front page of the ArtRage website and included in its showcase gallery.
Graduate Sophia George (2012) has launched ‘The Strawberry Thief’, a game exclusively for iPad. She developed the game at the V&A while serving as the museum’s first game artist and designer in residence.The Strawberry Thief is an interactive experience which allows the player to explore the way William Morris’s famous ‘Strawberry Thief’ pattern is constructed. The experience is designed not just to open the world of ‘The Strawberry Thief’ itself, but also that of the experience of playing a game, to a diverse audience, many of which may never have had the experience before.
Video game industry trade group TIGA has shortlisted NUA’s BA Games Art and Design course for the Best Education Initiative award in its 2014 Games Industry Awards. See the full shortlist on the TIGA website.
2014 graduate Bradley Johnson has been named as one of 21 students to receive funding through the British Academy of Film and Television Arts scholarship programmes. Bradley will receive £3,000 towards studying MA Moving Image and Sound at NUA. Bradley’s work can be viewed at www.bradleymj.com.
The European Women in Games Hall of Fame has inducted Course Leader Marie-Claire Isaaman, who received the accolade alongside King Studio Head Catharina Lavers Mallet at the European Women in Games Conference. Read more about this award.
One of the three student teams from NUA to make the final 15 of international games development competition Dare to be Digital was awarded the Design in Action award for their game prototype Baum. Team A Fox Wot I Drew, which includes graduates Dominic Littler, Kai Creedon and Cian McNabola, will receive financial support and mentoring to bring their game to market by the end of the year.
An independent studio co-founded by 2011 graduate Phil Barrowclough has been awarded The Creative Scotland Ground-Breaking Innovative Game Award. Future Fossil Studios was awarded a prize worth £25,000 toward the development of The Climb, due for release in 2015, at the Dare to Be Digital games festival in Dundee. Read more about the innovation prize.
Of the 15 teams of students to reach the finals of international video games development competition Dare to be Digital, three are made up of students from NUA. The teams successfully pitched their innovative video game concepts to game industry panels and are now in the running to win the competition and a prestigious BAFTA award. Read a press release about the Dare to be Digital finalists.
Sophia George (2011 graduate) has been announced as the winner of the Banquo Award for the Spirit of Scottish Gaming (2014). A computer games designer and co-founder of Swallowtail Games, Sophia was awarded in recognition of her work as the V&A’s first ever games designer in residence, in which she championed outreach to schools and encouraged young people, and especially young women, to engage with the games industry. She has also been invited to sit on BAFTA’s Working Group on encouraging equality in the industry.
Swallotail Games, a company formed by three Games Art and Design graduates, has had ‘Tick Tock Toys’ nominated by the Pocket Gamer Awards 2014 for best puzzle game. The award will be held to a popular vote through the Pocket Gamer website.
BA (Hons) Games Art and Design at Norwich University of the Arts is part of the PlayStation®First Academic Partnership Programme offered by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE). The course has been awarded PlayStation®First status by fostering best practices in game related art and design.
Chris Goodswen, 3D/character artist with major games studio Crytek, spoke to students as part of NUA’s Media Lecture Series. An NUA alumnus, Goodswen discussed his role at Crytek and offered guidance on preparing a portfolio to secure placements/employment.
Final year students at NUA have been provided by the University with student membership of the UK Interactive Entertainment Association (UKIE). The recently launched membership scheme benefits include access to industry players, exclusive networking opportunities, market information, careers advice and placement opportunities. Course Leader Marie-Claire Isaaman says: “The UKIE student membership scheme is an excellent example of how developing strategic partners within the sector can bring considerable additional advantages to our students. We are certain this initiative will enhance the student experience.”
NUA students and graduates, and the University itself, received a credit on Playstation Vita game Killzone: Mercenary, published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The students and graduates included Paul Verblis, Michael Elphick, Chris Jarvis, Dermot Sweeney and Sam Westall, who spent internships at the studio organised by their course during the development of the game.
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