Applications for Games Development Academy now open

The Northern Ireland Screen Games Development Academy is now open for applications! This Academy is a unique training and experience programme, which focuses on core technical skills around computer game development and production. For the first time this course will be running in Derry~Londonderry at Nerve Centre, Magazine Street. If you are aged 16-19 and interested in finding out more about the Games Industry in Northern Ireland then this is the Academy for you.


The Academy is a free course and will run each Saturday starting on Saturday 8th February 2020 and finishing with a weekend of activities joining with the Belfast Games Development Academy on the March 28-29th weekend at the Nerve Centre, Derry~Londonderry. You will be introduced to the core facets of the games development process, from idea generation and character design, understanding game play, problem solving and refinement through to technical skills, under the guidance of industry professionals.

Whether you have experience with Games Development or not this Academy is a great place to get started. It is a great opportunity to find out more about the careers from those already working within the Games Industry in Northern Ireland and develop the skills that are needed to get into this growing industry.


The deadline for applications is Wednesday 5th February 2020.

You can apply via the online form in the link below. Please keep an eye on your email, you will be contacted once the applications have closed.


Italic Pig Nominated for Best Indie Developer at Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards 2020

Northern Ireland video game company Italic Pig is thrilled to have been nominated as one of ten companies throughout the UK for the Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards “Best Indie Developer 2020” award at this week’s PG Connects event in London.

The Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards are a prestigious awards established to celebrate the very best businesses and individuals who are driving the $60 billion mobile games industry forward.

The “Best Indie Developer” accolade recognises the achievements of a team of up to 10 developers that have released a game, or successfully grown an existing game, during the last year. Italic Pig’s recent successes in both mobile and VR gaming caught the attention of the panel amongst the 185 indie studios that were shortlisted, with the finalists being described as the “cream of the crop” from every facet of the mobile games industry.

The full list of nominated companies are:

  • Agens
  • Ant Workshop
  • Airraport
  • Crescent Moon Games
  • Hidden Layer
  • Italic Pig
  • Noodlecake Studios
  • Starberry Games
  • Stave Studios
  • ThroughLine Games
  • Thoughtfish
  • Triband

The awards are voted on during the final quarter of the year by a panel of industry judges and the Pocket Gamer Mobile Games Awards presentation evening will take place on the second night of Pocket Gamer Connects London 2020 on Tuesday 21st January 2020.

Italic Pig’s CEO Kevin Beimers is also honoured to be a judge for the Big Indie Pitch this year, having won the Big Indie Pitch twice previously in 2019 for VR project The Infinite Hotel and 2017 for Mona Lisa, a stealth-platformer and speed-painting game.

The Big Indie Pitch is arguably the highlight of the Pocket Gamer Connects conference. Each participant has no more than three minutes to showcase his or her game to a staggered panel of 15 judges, composed of industry veterans, journalists, enthusiasts and evangelists.

Applications for Platform at The Pixel Mill is now open

Platform is the new accelerator programme for video game companies in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Screen is seeking teams that are passionate about video games and are motivated to establish/grow their company.  We want teams that can bring fresh ideas to video game development with the goal of self-publishing a game based on an original IP within 12 months.

Working out of The Pixel Mill based at the Ormeau Baths in Belfast, companies will have access to facilities, mentors, training and funding as well as the opportunity to attend markets to build their business network and meet consumers.

Northern Ireland Screen is inviting applications from companies to take part with support for up to 3 successful companies to develop their business and build their teams. As part of Platform, companies will receive:

  • Up to £60,000 in development funding per company across 3 stages;
  • Up to 12 Months Office Space and access to meeting space;
  • Market Attendance – Gamescom and EGX;
  • Access to mentors covering game design, marketing and production; and
  • Access to QA and user testing facilities to gather feedback for project.

Interested companies will initially be invited to complete an online assessment.  From there, shortlisted companies will be invited to attend an interview and pitch presentation.

For further information please click here.

Please click HERE to apply.

Deadline for applications is Wednesday 12th February 2020 at 12 noon.

For further information please email Rory Clifford, Interactive Manager.

Ukie Hub Crawl coming to Belfast

The Hub Crawl is back! Come and join fellow games developers and publishers and identify new opportunities and strategies to support the growth of your business.

This year’s Hub Crawl will focus on educating local businesses on how to raise the profile of their games business and games. This will consist of a series of free events, located all around the UK, bringing games businesses together to learn about marketing, PR, community management, IP, along with products and services that can help enhance their own products.

The Hub Crawl will be in Belfast on Thursday 5th March from 17:45 – 21:00 at The Pixel Mill. 

The event will feature a series of short, informative sessions from industry experts and this will be followed by a games panel featuring companies from the local area.

After each session there’ll be a chance to network, share ideas and have a drink with your peers.

This is a free event open to anyone involved in the games industry. Please feel free to invite your colleagues, friends and associates.

Speakers announced: 

  • Jon Paterson, Creative Technologies Innovation Lead, Barclays – “Introduction to Eagle Labs”
  • Alex Tutty, Partner, Sheridans – “Building your brand: why IP is your studio’s most valuable asset in creating a unique identity”
  • Simon Callaghan, Director, Johnny Atom – “Standing Out: why PR is essential as a 21st century game developer”

More TBA soon.

To register for the Belfast Hub Crawl click HERE. 

Supermarket Shriek nominated for MCV/Develop Award

Billy Goat Entertainment’s Supermarket Shriek has been nominated for the Audio Innovation of the Year award at the 2020 MCV/Develop awards.

A culmination of the former individual MCV Awards and Develop Awards, the new awards will recognise talent, innovation, achievement, growth and cultural impact across development, publishing, retail, marketing, communications and media.

Supermarket Shriek is a unique and amusing co-operative experience in which players assume the role of a man and their screaming goat positioned in a shopping cart. Players ‘shriek’ to manoeuvre their cart around a series of stores, racing to the checkout while collecting groceries, solving riddles and occasionally avoiding large swinging axes, spike traps and/ or fire pits. Supermarket Shriek received development funding from Northern Ireland Screen.

Industry experts have built the shortlist in every category – using their knowledge to identify the teams that have had outstanding success in 2019.

To cast a vote for the MCV/Develop Awards 2020, you must be a subscriber to the MCV/Develop magazine and will need your subscription number which is at the top of each magazine.

The awards ceremony will take place at The Brewery, London on Thursday 5th March. 

UK Games Fund round 6 now open for applications

Applications are now being taken for round 6 of the UK Games Fund. Round 6 is open to all UK-based game developers with less than 50 employees who are developing early-stage projects.

Applicants can apply for an initial support package valued at £10,000 (including £5,000 of grant funding) to refine and improve pitching skills, whilst also developing a playable demo for showcasing at a major consumer games show in the Autumn.

A further opportunity to pitch in-person to the UK Games Fund will be provided at the Autumn show, where successful teams can secure an additional grant of up to £20,000.

Support and Opportunity

An initial support package will be provided to the value of £10,000 of cash and in-kind support comprising:

  • An award of £5,000 paid in two £2,500 installments (the first in June, the second in August)
  • Involvement in UK Games Fund community of funded companies, along with pitch guidance and informative webinar sessions
  • Face-to-face meetings in July to explore your pitch with the UK Games Fund team (plus invited publishers, platform holders, and investors)
  • An opportunity to showcase your project at a large-scale consumer games show in Autumn this year

Supported applicants who participate in the showcase at the consumer games show in the Autumn will also be required to pitch for further funding from the UK Games Fund.

  • Pitches will take place in a private meeting room at the show
  • Grants of up to £20,000 from the UK Games Fund will be available
  • These grants must be spent between November 2020 and March 2021

Some pre-approved accommodation costs will be covered for the key events mentioned above where attendance is required. This is at the discretion of the UK Games Fund, and will be limited to a fixed number of team members.

Who should apply?

The standard programme is designed to support early-stage projects that need further time for the development of ideas and pitching materials. Participation in the consumer games show later in the year provides a clear deadline, as well as the opportunity to gain all-important feedback from the public and industry, while also meeting publishers and funders who regularly attend the event.

In your application you will be expected to be able to clearly explain the benefit that this programme will bring to your project and company.

This may differ depending on your circumstances:

  • Smaller companies and newly formed teams frequently have a need for early stage funding, support, and visibility – but beyond simple development goals you should have an eye on what the next step is in terms of the business, and how UK Games Fund can help get you there, or
  • More established companies and teams will need to show a direct benefit or opportunity they might not otherwise be able to pursue – perhaps the help would support growth of a new project team or work in a new area, or perhaps mitigate specific risks around a new project or IP.

Games that are already in full-scale development (or where the majority of funding is already secure) may not be appropriate for this programme – if in doubt then send a short paragraph about the project and UK Games Fund will endeavour to help.

Applicant Information

The application process has three parts, and is expected to be complete by April 2020:

  • All applicants are asked to complete a full written application by Monday 3rd February
  • All applicants are asked to provide a short video pitch, with links to upload provided in February
  • Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a live video meeting with the UK Games Fund team in the first week of March

Application support seminars will take place on Monday 13th and Tuesday 14th January. These sessions give detailed advice on what to include in your pitch video, along with suggested timings. It is highly recommended that you attend one of these support sessions if you have not applied before. Register HERE.

If you feel you need special support in making your application, email or indicate via the written application form. In addition, you can also elect to participate in information sharing regarding under-representation.

For more information and to apply for round 6 funding click HERE. 

Global Game Jam 2020 to take place at Farset Labs

Farset Labs will be hosting the Belfast site of the international hackathon Global Game Jam for its 8th year, with support from Northern Ireland Screen.

The Game Jam will run from Friday 31st January to Sunday 2nd February 2020, and is a great chance to meet people from the local games industry while making interesting games and experiences in a weekend.

Global Games Jam is a global simultaneous hackathon making games of all sorts, from full-scale console productions to mobile, web-based and embedded games, as well as table-top board and card-games. Some will be just for fun, others for charitable causes such as ‘Games For Change’, and none of them exist before this weekend!

The first Global Game Jam was run in 2009, and this year Northern Ireland’s Farset Labs joins over 100 other countries taking part for 2020. Some of Northern Ireland’s most notable games projects such as Supermarket Shriek and Paelo Pines were born out of previous Game Jams.

There will be live streaming video from sites all over the world during the weekend, and there will also be an opportunity to see and play other teams’ games at the end of the event.

There is no required skill level to take part – programmers, artists, musicians and enthusiasts are all welcome and are asked to bring whatever tools or experience they need to create games.

Registration is £6 per person which will reserve your seat for the weekend as well as providing you with catered meals for the full weekend and unique Global Game Jam Belfast goodies.

To register directly for the event click HERE.

More details and tips on the event and venue can be found HERE. 

StoryFutures to run Immersive Bootcamp

‘How to Become an Immersive Creator’ is a bootcamp from The National Centre for Immersive Storytelling, in association with TRC. The bootcamp takes place on 26th and 27th February 2020 at InGAME, Dundee and is an exciting opportunity for creative professionals working in film, television, theatre or games who are keen to explore immersive storytelling. It will be a fast-paced intensive 2-day introduction to the skills and knowledge required to become an Immersive Creative. 

What’s on offer?

  • Gain an understanding of the landscape and what is happening in immersive production
  • Get up to speed with the potentials of VR/AR and MR, and the technologies, workflows, models and skills involved in production
  • Experience and discuss some of the best examples of 360 and room scale VR pieces
  • Examine how different immersive production companies approach building their teams and creating working models for new projects
  • Get a flavour of how projects are both financed and marketed

The bootcamp will be a mix of presentations, simultaneous viewing of VR and immersive pieces followed by discussion and interactive exercises, along with industry experts sharing their insights and case studies.

Previous Bootcamps have led to creatives being funded to work at Maze Theory on Peaky Blinders’ venture into VR, on Top Gear’s first immersive stunt at REWIND and on a range of exciting immersive productions at Nexus Studios, Passion Pictures and Surround Vision.


The Bootcamp is for writers, producers and directors working in film, television, theatre and games who are interested in VR/AR/MR and are looking for an opportunity to move into immersive storytelling.
Participants must have at least 2 production credits, be keen to work in immersive and, if working with a company, be strategically placed to influence. Selected delegates will have the opportunity to go on a paid placement (for up to 10 weeks) with an immersive company. Priority in the application process will be given to those who are interested in going on to a paid placement.

Applications close 20th January 2020.

For more information and how to apply click HERE.