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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’.
As part of a programme of lectures by the brightest creative and technical ‘behind the scenes talent’ from the worlds of film, television and games, BAFTA and Creative Skillset co-organised a talk by Media Molecule studio director Siobhan Reddy at Norwich University of the Arts. The University was selected as one of the “top media universities across the country” to host the event, which aimed to inspire students to develop their creativity alongside their business and technical skills.
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’.
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.
Games Art and Design students enjoyed a presentation on the smartphone and tablet games of development company Lady Shotgun by Design Director Anna Marsh. Anna has 14 years games industry experience as a games designer in both development and publishing, working Psygnosis, Sony, Creative Assembly/Sega, Eidos, Crystal Dynamics, Rebellion, iO, Disney and Mediatonic. She is former Executive Designer on the Tomb Raider franchise and has also worked on the Hitman and Aliens franchises, Rogue Trooper and Dropship.
Course leader Marie-Claire Isaaman was invited to speak at the 2012 European Women in Games conference which was held in Brighton in September. Over 150 people attended from more than 9 countries. Marie-Claire participated in a breakout panel session titles ‘How to get into the games industry’ with representatives from Blast Furnace, The Picture Production Company, Blitz Games Studio and Codemasters. Watch this short film report from the conference (Marie-Claire speaks at 02:35).
BA Games Art and Design graduate Jordan Grimmer’s concept art is splashed across a double page spread in this month’s ImagineFX magazine’s fxPose feature.
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has awarded internships to NUA students through its relationship with the Games Art and Design course. Year Three student Chris Green is currently in his placement alongside 2012 graduates Chris Jarvis and Paul Verblis, who will shortly be joined by Year Three student Michael Elphick at the company’s Cambridge Studio. Their roles are centred around integrating and preparing Environment Assets for review in Killzone Mercenary for the PlayStation Vita.
The NUA students and graduates who we’ve been working with have been a revelation to us. They’ve taken to the work quickly and have shown just the right blend of enthusiasm and professionalism.
Sony Computer Entertainment Senior Producer & NUA Industry Liaison Group member
A game co-created by 2012 NUA graduate Matthew Jillings is now available to buy from the App Store. Matthew created all of the artwork for the Jimbo Jet, which features a small plane trying to make its way to an unknown destination. Matthew worked as a team with his brother who was responsible for the graphics and text and another friend who did the coding. The game took about six months to develop.
Two NUA graduates have launched a company called Swallowtail Games. Sophia George and Kristian Francis, who were part of Team Swallowtail which won the ‘Ones to Watch’ prize at the 2012 BAFTA Video Games Awards, have been awarded up to £25,000 to develop and test a complete prototype game by the Abertay University Prototype Fund. Read the BBC story.
The BA Games Art and Design course has received official accreditation from Creative Skillset, the industry body that supports skills and training for people in the creative industries. The accreditation represents an endorsement by industry panels in recognition of the course’s links to the creative sectors and track record in securing employment for their graduates.
Jay Hurren of British drum and bass group E-Z Rollers visited NUA to provide one-to-one tutorials for students on sound design. E-Z Rollers have been featured on the soundtracks for Grand Theft Auto 2 by Rockstar Games, Sled Storm by Electronic Arts, Rollcage and Rollcage Stage II by Psygnosis, as well as on the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
The Chief Executive of Women in Games Jobs (WIGJ), a ‘not for profit’” company that works to recruit more women into the games industry, visited NUA’s Media Lab to talk to Games Art and Design students about her organisation. Gina Jackson, who has worked for Ocean Software, Kuju, Eidos and Nokia, was invited to visit after Course Leader Marie-Claire Isaaman sat on the ‘How to get into the games industry’ panel at the recent European Women in Games Conference in Kensington, London. After touring the Media Lab facilities Gina met with recent graduates Sophia George and Kristian Francis, who have founded their own studio after winning the BAFTA Ones to Watch award at the BAFTA Video Games Awards 2012. She then met further groups of current students to discuss careers in the games industry.
A NUA-led team of students has are finalists in this year’s Dare to be Digital competition. This follows a victory last year by Team Swallowtail, led by three NUA graduates. This year’s entrant Team Fortify is led by BA Games Art and Design graduate Felix Green and includes BA Animation student Andrew Jackson. The competition is run by Abertay University and attracts entries from universities across the country as well as internationally. Felix, Andrew and their three team mates will spend two months using the facilities and technical support at Abertay as well as being mentored by professionals from the games industry to develop their proposal into a prototype game which will be exhibited at the Dare ProtoPlay event in Dundee in August. The three winners of Dare to be Digital will be shortlisted for an award in the BAFTA Video Games Awards in 2013.
NUA graduates are being hailed as the future of the digital games industry after picking up a BAFTA at the British Academy Video Games Awards. Kristian Francis, Sophia George and Rosie Ball, who all graduated from NUA’s BA Games Art and Design course in 2010 and 2011, won the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award for developing a game app called ‘Tick Tock Toys’. The game was a winning entry in the national student game development competition Dare To Be Digital and the graduates are in the process of releasing it commercially. Read the press release about NUA’s success at the BAFTAs
Publishing group Dorling Kindersley has purchased an illustration from Year Three student Kamil Jadczak, which will be published in its forthcoming title ‘Children’s Book of Mythical Beasts and Magical Monsters’. ‘The Berserker’ shows a Viking berserker and is the dominating image in a 2 page layout which opens the section about warrior heroes.
Three NUA graduates have won £2,500 and a nomination for a BAFTA after being named in the final three of games development competition Dare to be Digital. Kristian Francis, Sophia George and Rosie Ball will now wait until the British Academy Video Games Awards in March 2012 to find out if they will win the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award.
TIGA has announced NUA as its newest member. NUA’s BA Games Art and Design course provides a vocational focus with the opportunity for academic progression.
NUA is a great example of an academic institution that is wholly committed to imbuing their students with the skills to not only work in the industry, but also to innovate, challenge and potentially shape the industry in the future.
Dr Richard Wilson