Games Development Academy

The Northern Ireland Screen Games Development Academy is a unique training and experience programme, which focuses on core technical skills around computer game development and production.

If you are aged 16-19 and are interested in finding out more about creating games and the Games Industry in Northern Ireland then this is the Academy for you.

About the Academy

You will be introduced to the core facets of the games development process, from idea generation, understanding game play, problem solving and refinement through to technical skills, under the guidance of industry professionals.

This is a great opportunity to find out more about the careers of those already working within the games industry in Northern Ireland and develop the skills that are needed to create games. You do not need any previous experience to apply.

How do I apply?

The Academy will run on Saturday’s in Belfast from 11th January and finishing in March. If you are interested in attending, please complete an application form and you will be provided with more information about the programme and dates.

Click HERE to apply.

Applications close at midnight on Monday 16th December.

Future Screens NI host free storytelling workshop for interactive sector

Future Screens NI is running a free workshop on storytelling in the interactive sector (VR/AR/Gaming). Super Story World will take place on Saturday 30th November from 2-5pm in the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queens University and will be lead by author, Stephen Sexton.

In this workshop, you will analyse video games’ relationship to narrative, and the ways in which concepts of narrative might be used to invigorate and transform games. The discussion will consider relationships of text and image as well as plot, character and perspective as well as the potential of the video game to tell new and uniquely realised stories.

The workshop is open to anyone with a professional background in gaming and has limited spaces so attendance will be on a first come first serve basis. Please RSVP to

Creative Europe Video Game Development Fund – Information Session

Creative Europe is holding an information session about its Video Game Development Fund in The Pixel Mill on Friday 6th December 2019 from 10:00 – 11:30. The session will go through the opportunity in detail and those who attend will hear from companies who have received the funding in the past. To register for the session click HERE

The Creative Europe fund for ‘Development: Video Games’ is open! Through the MEDIA programme, Creative Europe offers grants between €10,000 and €150,000 for the development of narrative video games.The UK can fully participate in Creative Europe until it leaves the EU and our advice is to continue applications for the current calls.  For more information on Creative Europe and BREXIT see here.  Further information on the call itself including a handy eligibility check list can be found here.   If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Rosie at the MEDIA desk in Northern Ireland –

What does this funding support?

The development of narrative video games (from concept to the first version of a playable prototype), regardless of platform or expected distribution method, which are intended for commercial exploitation.

Who is this funding for?

Be registered for a minimum of 12 months and have video game production as their main business activity.

Own the majority of the rights to the project for which support is being sought.

Must also be able to demonstrate that they have developed/produced one previous eligible video game that has been commercially distributed.

What types of games are eligible for support?

Narrative storytelling video games regardless of platform or expected distribution method. The story must be told or shown throughout the whole game (in-game storytelling) and not only as an introduction or an ending to the game. In all cases the video game must be intended for commercial exploitation.

When is the deadline for applications?

The deadline to apply for the next round of funding is on the 12th February 2020.

Italic Pig and The Irregular Corporation are About to Embark on a Jurassic Journey of Prehistoric Proportions

Northern Ireland’s game development studio Italic Pig, UK publishers The Irregular Corporation, and Northern Ireland Screen have just joined forces on the largest video game production deal in Northern Ireland history.

Paleo Pines is a casual social/management sim where players can become dinosaur ranchers. In a wholesome, friendly environment, dozens of dinosaur species are befriended, cared for and ridden into the wild to search for more and expand the ranch. The game takes inspiration from the relaxing, nurturing gameplay of titles such as Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon and mixes it with the insanely popular collect-them-all compulsion of Pokémon.

The initial idea for Paleo Pines was first conceived at Global Game Jam back in January of this year by Jordan Bradley, concept artist at Holywood indie studio Italic Pig: “I was tired of dinosaurs always being portrayed in film as ‘monsters’. I thought, surely I can’t be the only one who just wants to pet one on the nose!”

As it turns out, she was right.

Jordan posted several of her concept drawings on Twitter, and they instantly gained a tremendous following. The response was immensely positive and the public’s desire to see the idea realised as a full game was overwhelming and impossible to ignore.

Italic Pig’s Creative Director Kevin Beimers immediately saw the appeal in the characters and concepts, as well as how quickly the social media following was growing. He signed Jordan’s game concept as a studio development and began to put studio funds and resources toward more concepts and a playable prototype.

“Everything we do at Italic Pig is a little bit different. It needs a passion behind it, not to mention a quirkiness and a twist on the every day,” added Kevin. “Jordan’s passion for dinosaurs as a life-long paleo artist, combined with the epic flair for storytelling and outrageous local talent of the studio will undoubtedly create something incredible.”

Italic Pig’s previous developments include Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark, a quantum physics action-adventure game, Mona Lisa, a Renaissance heist and forgery adventure, and The Infinite Hotel, a character-driven VR experience about an elevator operator in a hotel with an infinite number of floors.

In Paleo Pines, players turn neglected meadows into bountiful dinosaur pastures and explore vast worlds. Players can tame and care for their new friends, befriend townsfolk, plant gardens, and encounter amazing creatures. Far from movie monsters, the dinosaurs in the game are adorably-stylised versions of real dinosaur species, and all of them are pettable, ridable, and lovable, which seems to be exactly what the social media audience is crying out for.

It was this public interest that drew UK based game publisher The Irregular Corporation to get involved.

“When we saw Jordan’s dinosaur designs show up in our Twitter feed, we saw an amazing hit was on the horizon,” said Stuart Morton, Publishing Director of the Irregular Corporation. “We knew we had to be first to the table with an offer if we wanted to be a part of a potentially huge new property.”

The Irregular Corporation, a publishing sister-company of international game developer Mediatonic, has seen huge success in recent years through partnering with indie studios. Most recently, they have focused their portfolio on the Simulation genre, including the very popular PC Building Simulator and Good Company, a tycoon simulator.

The majority of the development for Paleo Pines will take place in Northern Ireland at Italic Pig studios in Holywood, County Down. Italic Pig has ramped up its team to more than double the size to recruit new 3D artists, riggers and programmers from throughout the UK, bringing them to Northern Ireland for the duration of the 18-month production. It is hoped that the team will continue to grow following on from a successful launch expected in 2021.

The production, which also has the financial support of Northern Ireland Screen, is the largest investment into the game development industry in Northern Ireland to date.

Richard Williams, CEO at Northern Ireland Screen said: “As the first seven-figure game to be produced locally, Paleo Pines is hugely important to the development of the video games industry in Northern Ireland. It’s a real step up for significant finance and distribution to be attracted to a game and company almost from the start of development. We’re very excited to see what this game can do for both Italic Pig and for the video games industry here generally.”

Within the UK, the gaming industry makes up 50% of entertainment revenue. When coupled with the support provided by Northern Ireland Screen, both financially and to assist in brokering deals with larger publishers, it is a fertile environment for companies such as Italic Pig who have the creative talent and track record to begin to take on larger projects.

“The gaming industry in Northern Ireland has always been small, passionate and collaborative, but the truth is, we’re not so small anymore,” added Kevin, who is also the Chair of Games NI, “Last month we had 175 people turn up to a Belfast games industry meet up, and the community just keeps growing. With Paleo Pines being the largest game deal ever made in the region, we can only hope that the spotlight brings with it the attention and means for more local creators to get their stories told.”