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The first annual Norwich Gaming Festival is taking place in The Forum, Norwich, co-ordinated by NUA student Robin Silcock with the support of course staff. All Games Art and Design students and alumni will have the opportunity to take part in the festival through an exhibition of their conceptual work in a specially curated Games Art Exhibition. The Festival is the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment, Sony, software developer Unity and a selection of UK-based games studios. Workshops and lectures will be held from 7 – 16 April.
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.”
The Independent Game Developers’ Association (TIGA) nominated Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) in the Best Educational Institution category for its Games Industry Awards 2013. The award nomination recognised the quality of graduates from the University’s BA Games Art and Design course, who in recent years have included three BAFTA Video Games Award winners, the V&A’s first Games Designer in Residence, three teams that have reached the finals of the Dare to be Digital student games competition and employees at Apple, Sony and EA. Keith Bartlett, Dean of Media at NUA, said: “We’re delighted that TIGA has highlighted the quality of graduates from our Games Art and Design course, which received a 94% satisfaction rating from graduating students this year. Our close relationships with industry assist in maintaining a curriculum that produces talented graduates who are well prepared for the world of work.” Read the full press release ‘NUA nominated as best educational institution for games’.
Marie-Claire Isaaman, Course Leader for BA Games Art & Design is one of four nominees for the European Women in Games Hall of Fame Award. She has been nominated as ‘An education industry champion, supporting the need for gender diversity’. Only two girls were on the degree course six years ago when Marie-Claire took up the post, now 40% are female and two graduates have gone on to win BAFTAs.
Lecturer Kim Pace curated an exhibition for Wimbledon Space at UAL in October. ‘Self Made Worlds’ comprised artists and designers who depict tableaux, artificial environments and alternative realities, constructed either as sculpture, props and models, or as subjects for photography, painting and animated film.
2011 graduate Sophia George has begun her 6 month stint as Games Designer in Residence at the V&A Museum. Read an interview with Sophia on IGN.
NUA alumnus Sophia George has been named among 17 BAFTA Breakthrough Brits in a new talent showcase highlighting people making a name for themselves within film, television or games. The awards were chosen by a jury of industry experts including Miles Jacobson (Studio Director, Sports Interactive), Jo Twist (CEO, UKIE) and Rob Yescombe (games and film writer). John Willis, Chairman of BAFTA, said: “Through BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, we want to turbocharge the careers of really talented people right across the spectrum of the creative industries; people who are just at the point of breaking through to the next level and becoming really serious players in their industry, and could benefit from the help, support, encouragement and nurturing that an organisation like BAFTA can give them.” Read an interview with Sophia in the Eastern Daily Press.
Crytek’s blog has profiled work by 2013 alumnus Michael Elphick. Michael’s 3D environment featuring an ancient ruined temple is praised for its “high quality detail…a superbly executed piece.”
A team of Games Art and Design students won the Wacom Artistic Achievement Award for their game entry ‘Cosmic Couch’, a “surreal and atmospheric” iPad game prototype they showcased at the recent Dare ProtoPlay games festival in Dundee. The team also came top in the Teams’ Choice Award, voted for by fellow contestants. Read the full press release: Students win two international game awards.
A team of students will showcase a prototype of a video game they have designed and made to the public in Dundee as part of the finals of Dare to be Digital 2013. This is the third year running that NUA has had a team of students reach the finals of Dare to be Digital. In 2011 NUA’s Team Swallowtail won the competition and went on to pick up the BAFTA Video Games Ones to Watch Award in 2012.
Professionals from the film, animation and games industries travelled to Norwich’s Cinema City to view a screening of the final work of students in June. Part of the Degree Shows 2013, the NUA industry screening showed selected work to a specially invited audience of professionals from the film, TV, animation and games industries.
BAFTA-winning student game Tick Tock Toys has become a global hit for its creators, receiving promotional features on Apple’s App Store in 40 countries worldwide including Australia, France, Germany, Mexico, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand. Sophia George, NUA alumnus and co-founder of the games creator Swallowtail Games, said: “I really want to get families playing games together, and to let as many young women as possible know that they too can get into the games industry. I just hope that people of all ages downloading and playing Tick Tock Toys helps to spread that important message all over the world.” Read an interview with the students by the Eastern Daily Press.
A team of six Games Art and Design students have won Brainchild, NUA’s annual student enterprise competition. The group now plan to start up a new independent games studio to develop their side-scrolling 3D platformer game ‘The Wanderer: Tears of Irrigo’. Read the NUA press release on Brainchild 2013.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) selected Norwich University of the Arts to host a video games lecture as part of its Creative Skillset Guest Lecture programme. Guest speaker Siobhan Reddy, Studio Director at games studio Media Molecule, addressed an audience of NUA students about her career in the games industry, which started as a Production Assistant on DiscWorld Noir at Perfect Entertainment before joining Criterion Games where she produced popular titles including Burnout 3 and Burnout 4. Siobhan joined newly founded Media Molecule in 2006, winning dozens of awards for LittleBigPlanet 1 and 2. In 2012 Media Molecule announced that it was working on its first Vita project, Tearaway, which continues Media Molecule’s focus on creative gaming.
2012 graduate Ollie Hoff has had his work selected for the Creative Bloq free Monday wallpaper giveaway. Ollie provided an illustration for the blog, which interviewed him about his budding design career which has seen him selling his work through the Society 6 website.
The Creative Boom blog has featured the work of 2012 graduate Jordan Andrew Carter, who is operating as a freelance illustrator and will take part in the Inkygoodness and Ammo magazine character exhibition at the Coningsby Galery in London in May.
Marie-Claire Isaaman, course leader of BA Games Art and Design at NUA, has been named as one of the top 100 women in games by MCV, the leading trade news and community site for all professionals working within the UK and international video games market. Marie-Claire is an active supporter of the Women in Games Jobs and spoke at the 2012 European Women in Games conference in Brighton. Also named in the list is NUA graduate Sophia George, who is a co-founder of games development company Swallowtail Games.
Two NUA students have given a 15 minute talk at the Maltepe University International Fine Arts Student Congress 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. Samantha Pillow (Year Two BA Games Art and Design) and Phillipa Bradley (Year Two BA Illustration) delivered a paper on ’Newly emerging topics in the future of art and design’.
NUA graduates Bryn Morrison Elliot and Sam Gross are among a team of six that have formed a games development company called Secret Lunch and are working on their first release, a 2.5D platformer called Shu. The company was formed with a grant from Abertay University’s Prototype fund.
Alumni Kristian Francis and Sophia George visited NUA’s Media Lab to talk to students about the launch of their iPad game Tick Tock Toys. The game won Dare to be Digital, the student games development competition, in 2011 and received promotional features on Apple’s App Store in 40 countries worldwide on its day of release in February. Kristian and Sophia were part of the team which went on to win the BAFTA Video Games Ones to Watch Award in 2012. Download Tick Tock Toys.
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