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Judges of the renowned TIGA games industry awards have crowned Norwich University of the Arts the UK’s Best Educational Institution 2017. The accolade was announced at an awards ceremony at the V&A in London in November as TIGA played host to big name brands, studios and professionals from across industry.
Now in their fifth year, the awards honour the best games, businesses and practitioners in the UK games sector. The judges were looking for a “world-leading” educational institution with a track record of “delivering high proportions of its students into graduate level jobs” and with “strong links with industry”. NUA was one of eight universities around the UK in the running for the best institution award, and was also a finalist in the Best Education Initiative and Talent Development category.
Games Art & Design Course Leader Mark Wickham said: “TIGA was looking for a ‘world-leading’ education institution for this award and we’re delighted that Norwich University of the Arts was the judges’ choice. We’re really proud of the innovative work by both NUA staff and students. Most of all, this award is welcome recognition of our track record in helping graduates launch successful careers in the games industry.” TIGA Chief Executive Officer Richard Wilson added: “At the largest TIGA awards ceremony so far we highlighted excellence in games and business, education and technology, diversity and creativity. I would like to offer huge congratulations to all of our winners and finalists, whose innovation, creativity and excellence is driving the games industry forward.”
The work of NUA staff and students has been shortlisted for two honours at the prestigious TIGA Games Industry Awards. NUA has been shortlisted for both the Education Initiative and Talent Development Award and Educational Institution Award. The university’s bid to win the Education Initiative and Talent Development category revolves around Norwich Gaming Festival, which was founded in 2013 by a then NUA Games Art & Design student, Robin Milton.
An estimated 50,000 people took part in the 2017 programme of events – from retro-gaming to virtual reality – and a week-long programme of educational events organised by the hosts, The Forum Trust, was a key feature of the festival for the first time this year. As the festival’s lead education partner, NUA encourages its Games Art & Design students to play full and active roles – running a variety of workshops, game demos and talks – to help build their skills and experience, and raise awareness of different career opportunities in the gaming industry.
The Education Institution Award will honour the university judged to be to making the biggest impact in helping students to find graduate-level jobs, with strong links with industry, and a track-record or research and innovation. TIGA, the network for video games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, will reveal the winners at a ceremony at the V&A Museum in London on November 2nd.
Graduate-run company, OddBug Studios have launched their first game. Martin Reimann, Dan Robinson and Jack Bennett (all BA Games Art and Design, 2013) have created The Lost Bear, a cinematic 2D VR platformer, with a hand painted art style. Set in a strange, abandoned world, the story follows a little girl called Walnut, who has to venture out to save her teddy from the clutches of the Toy Snatcher. Watch the trailer of The Lost Bear.
Image credit: OddBug Studios
Third year BA (Hons) Games Art & Design student Adam Kiraly has had his Virtual Reality game ‘Caelum: Into the Sky’ greenlit on ‘Steam’, a platform considered to be the largest digital distribution platform for PC gaming. The Virtual Reality game created by Adam is described as ‘an adventure exploration above the clouds, where the player explores the shattered world of Caelum, solving puzzles and riddles on the way’. “Getting on Steam has been my goal since day one of this project, it was just a matter of time and a lot of effort to get there” said Adam, who aims for the game to be released on Steam by the end of June 2017. Adam is currently exhibiting the game at the Norwich Gaming Festival, and will also exhibit at Develop, Brighton in July.
The BA (Hons) Games Art & Design course recently carried out an ‘art test’ with Year One students, aimed to test the students’ knowledge of creating 3D assets for Games. Art tests are a common recruitment method used in the Games industry to validate applicant CVs and assess the suitability for a position within a company. As part of the mock up art test, students were given a set brief and were tasked with producing a 3D video game character. The course team were delighted with the outcome, the image above shows the array of unique characters created by our first year Games students, a great achievement!
Aardvark Swift, an award winning recruitment agency is on the hunt for this year’s winners of their ‘Search for a Star’ and ‘Rising Star’ competitions, both International competitions offer a unique opportunity for the lucky winners to gain valuable work experience at one of the top UK games studios. Thomas Russell, Year Three BA (Hons) Games Art & Design student has made it into stage two of ‘Search for a Star’, one of Europe’s biggest student game dev competition which is aimed to ‘highlight and reward the most promising young video games, programmers, 3D artists and animators, and help them break into the industry with a bang’.
Tomas Ellis, Year Two BA (Hons) Games Art & Design student has also made in into stage two of the ‘Sumo Digital Rising Star’ competition, a big competition in Europe for students who are not yet in their final year of study. The process of both competitions aims to prepare students for what lies ahead in the Industry. Should our students make it into the final five, they will be invited to a panel interview with leading industry representatives. We wish our students the best of luck!
Scott Grandison, Teaching Fellow for Digital Transformation and Creative Coding has been shortlisted for a ‘TIGA’ gaming award for his work as Producer of computer adventure game, ‘Wailing Heights’. The game, developed at Outsider Studios is shortlisted in the Visual Design category alongside leading industry games Batman: Arkham Knight and Unchartered 4. Wailing Heights is described as ‘A coffin-rocking, body-hopping, musical adventure game, set in with a horrific hamlet of monsters, with a story by Kevin Beimers (Hector: Badge of Carnage) and glorious 2D artwork from a host of illustrious comic book talent.’ Wailing Heights is also nominated for Game of the Year with both winners announced at the TIGA Games Industry Awards on 10 November 2016 in Shoreditch, London. The game has recently been announced to be released on both PS4 and Xbox One.
Image credit: Wailing Heights – Outsider Studios.
Wednesday 23 November – 10am-4pm
As part of William Latham’s Mutator VR exhibition, which opens in East GalleryNUA on 15 November 2016 running until 14 January 2017, Norwich University of the Arts will host a one day symposium exploring potential research and innovation themes stemming from the exhibition including: generative and evolutionary art; artificial intelligence; data, design and play; virtual reality; and the implications of living in a world where the boundaries between the analogue and the digital are ever-shifting.
Games development studio, Shark Infested Custard, founded by NUA Lecturer Steven Huckle has been selected as one of the 10 Future Leaders; a list that Creative England believe showcases some of the best creative talent in England’s regions. Ten companies from this year’s CE 50 report have been voted by a panel of creative industry judges to be part of Creative England’s Future Leaders list.
These companies are leading the charge for the creative industries, showcasing the best of what England’s regions have to offer and transforming the country’s economic future. As part of the report Creative England asked a panel of judges to choose their 10 Future Leaders, who have demonstrated innovation, strong growth promise and the potential to disrupt their sector with true innovation. The Judges were Nicola Mendelsohn (Facebook), Saul Klein, Rory Cellan-Jones (BBC), Rebecca Burn-Callander (Telegraph), Julie Richards (Deloitte), Isaac Densu (Channel 4) and Stuart Rock from the Business is Great government campaign. Read a report about the news on the Telegraph website.
A team of graduates who as students reached the 2014 final of Dare to be Digital with their game idea Baum are set to release their game in 14 different languages via Apple’s App store. Baum was designed and developed by the NUA graduate collective A fox Wot I Drew. The collective won the Design in Action for Commercial Potential Award that enabled them to form a company and develop the game which they started whilst studying on the course. You can find out more via their website and blog.
The Norwich Gaming Festival is returning to The Forum for its third year and organisers have today announced the festival dates for 2016: Monday 28 March to Saturday 2 April. Organised and hosted by The Forum with support from local partners, the festival celebrates all aspects of video games and their development, bringing a mix of education, entertainment and technology to Norwich. Find out more.
Norwich University of the Arts has been nominated for the Educational Institution award in the TIGA Games Industry Awards 2015. The award recognises institutions that delivers high proportions of students into graduate level jobs, have strong links with industry, have a track record in research and innovation and are world leading. The winner will be announced on Thursday 12 November.
Year Two student Jamie Bell has been awarded an International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Scholarship, which will fully fund her attendance of GDC Europe and gamescom in Cologne, Germany (5–9 August). Jamie was named alongside seven other students from Norway, Netherlands, Finland, Canada, France and Scotlant as a recipient of this award.
An team of NUA students has been shortlisted in the top six out of 22 teams in the Brains Eden 2015 Gaming Festival, an annual competition in which teams of students make original games in 48 hours. Jamie Bell, Alex Clark, Marcell Rideg, Jan de Graaf and Guus Waals competed for NUA in the competition which is supported by some of the biggest games companies in the world, including Guerrilla Cambridge, PlayStation First, ARM, Unity and Jagex.
Graduate Natalie Martin (2015) has won sponsorship to work with the Ukie stand at gamescom, in Cologne, Germany (5–9 August). Natalie will work with the Ukie team, getting one-on-one time with experts from the games industry with all travel, accommodation and conference pass paid for.
Alumnus Ryan Courtier, who works as a Producer at Kuala Studios, has been appointed as a Ukie Video Games Ambassador. As part of the role Ryan will run activities in local schools, careers fairs and workshops to inspire young people pursue a career in the games industry. Read an interview with Ryan on the Ukie website.
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.
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 here.
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.
Read older news stories about this course.