The Pixel Mill’s Platform success

The Pixel Mill is saying goodbye to this year’s Platform companies and is delighted to announce that Infosoft NISilverstream and Pigs in Blankets are the successful companies that will be part of Platform 2021, the accelerator programme for video game companies in Northern Ireland.

As part of Platform companies will have access to mentors, training and funding as well as the opportunity to attend virtual markets to build their business network and meet consumers. Each company will self-publish a game based on an original IP within its 12 months at The Pixel Mill.

Far Few GiantsOut of Tune Games and Coffee Box Games complete their time as part of the Platform programme at the end of March 2021. The teams have excelled and produced a number of games during their 12 months of development.

Far Few Giants released several short games, including the Sacrifices Series (The Night FishermanOutcast LoversThe Change Architect) and Locked In. They are currently working towards the launch of their first full release later this year; The Imagined Leviathans, a scavenger tale set in Britain’s arctic future. Explore the English tundra as you gather survivors frozen by fear, evade the mysterious leviathans stalking them, and thaw out the truth. Gamers can download and play the Prologue HERE.

Out of Tune Games formed in early 2020 have been developing Crooks Like Us – A chaotic online party game that drops players into riotous robbery scenarios where the goal is to collect as many valuables as possible and get back to the escape van before time runs out. Crooks Like Us is currently available to play in early access and gamers can also play the demo HERE.

Coffee Box Games developed narrative Sci-Fi adventure Galactic Impasse, inspired by the 90’s sci-fi TV shows. The team is currently moving into development on a new IP.

To find out more about The Pixel Mill, Platform and the Northern Ireland interactive sector visit The Pixel Mill website. The Pixel Mill is funded by Northern Ireland Screen with support from the Department for the Economy.

Leadership workshops for the interactive sector

We are running a series of workshops on leadership skills within the interactive sector. The workshops are aimed at company leaders, individuals with team lead roles or junior team members that want to take on more responsibility.

The workshops are ideal for individuals who want to develop skills to support and communicate with colleagues more effectively to deliver projects while encouraging a positive and inclusive work environment.

The workshops will be held across four days and delivered online. Details of each session can be found below:

Personal Effectiveness
Thursday 15th April, 1pm – 5pm

The personal effectiveness workshop examines behaviours that make collaborative working more successful. This workshop challenges your thinking to assess the communication habits you have developed and identify where you want to make progress. Becoming more self-aware increases your ability to empathise with colleagues. The workshop will cover:

  • How to take responsibility for what being prepared for work really means.
  • The ability to reflect on inputs and make adjustments.
  • How to increase your confidence in group settings.

Thursday 22nd April, 1pm – 5pm

The leadership workshop is aimed at individuals who want to develop their skills to positively engage a diverse group of individuals and get them to work collaboratively towards a set of goals. The workshop will cover:

  • Understanding the required skills necessary to lead effectively.
  • Understanding your own personal SWOT analysis.
  • Increasing confidence in your ability to lead with integrity.

Thursday 29th April, 1pm – 5pm

The communication workshop aims to support the development of great communication by understanding your audience and being able to develop mutually beneficial relationships.

Presentation Skills
Thursday 6th May, 1pm – 3pm

The presentation skills workshop will enable you to gain the skills to know what your focus points should be to ensure your presentation engages, illuminates and influences your audience. The workshop aims to support participants to develop their presentation skills across a variety of business settings as well as learn how to quickly construct and deliver persuasive presentations. The workshop will cover:

  • How to have the ability to apply presentation techniques to any subject matter.
  • Gain an increased confidence in presentation skills.
  • Ability to analyse diverse presentation styles.

The workshops will be delivered by Mindfitness Training, who deliver Mental Health, Wellbeing and Personal Effectiveness training to creative and education sector.

There are limited number of spaces available for the workshop series and will given out on a first come, first serve basis. In the event that the workshop series are oversubscribed we may limit the number of participants from individual companies.

If you would like to sign up to the workshops please email Rory Clifford, Interactive Manager,

Deadline to register is the Thursday 8th April.

The Tranzfuser Enterprise pathway is open for applications

The Tranzfuser Enterprise Pathway is open for applications. Enterprise Pathway is for aspiring professional games developers (graduates only) that have an original idea for a game and are looking to set up as an independent development studio.

Successful applicants will demonstrate their passion for games development with a willingness to hone their business skills; enrolment on the Enterprise Pathway includes the support – both financial and ancillary – to set up for success.

Entrepreneurial graduate teams of games developers have until Monday 19th April to put their application together. In that time they will need to assemble their team, decide on a game idea, submit their text-based application and create an inspiring video pitch in order to wow our Local Hubs and the Tranzfuser team to secure their place on the Pathway.

During the development phase over the summer, teams will have access to interactive sessions via the Games Biz Academy. The Enterprise Pathway will support professional development as a studio, with pitching skills being refined and put into practice at virtual pitching sessions.

Teams will be invited to showcase their games at the annual public-facing ProtoPlay event, where they will also pitch to the UK Games Fund for grant support of up to £20,000 for the further commercial development of their project.

Online Application Information Sessions will be held on Wednesday 17th March and Wednesday 7th April – applicants are strongly advised to attend.

These events are free but space is limited. Sign up now to avoid disappointment!

For more information, click HERE.

NI Game Awards 2021: Winners

Last weekend saw the first ever virtual NI Game Awards take place live from Farset Labs in Belfast, celebrating two years of creativity and excellence in the growing games industry in Northern Ireland. Presented by the NI Game Dev Network with support from Northern Ireland Screen, the event featured awards across six categories, presented by special guests from the local industry.

The awards also featured a special collaboration with local games composer Richard Campbell and the Irish Video Game Orchestra to create a medley of soundtracks from video games developed by local studios. Many of these games have received nominations in the NI Games Awards. The video game industry is growing in NI, and this awards event is an opportunity to showcase the variety of talent that exists in the sector. Richard composed, arranged, and orchestrated the piece, and engaged with orchestra conductor Robert Martin to create the unique performance, now available to view on youtube.

Level 91 Entertainment walked away with Best Game for Inertial Drift, meanwhile Hortalius developer Brain & Nerd, who became one of the last Northern Ireland-based studios to gain funding from Creative Europe before Brexit, won Best Studio in an award accepted by studio head Tina Lauro Pollock.

Hypixel Studios won Most Anticipated Game with its upcoming project Hytale, while Outsider Games won Best Art Direction for Jennifer Wilde: Unlikely Revolutionaries.

Twitch streamer and The Pixel Mill Restart program member Lisa Cooney took home the Rising Star award, with the judging panel additionally awarding special distinctions to Naoimh Murchan of Italic Pig and Amber Barnett of The Pixel Mill. The Community Choice Award was also awarded to Caolan McKendry, co-ordinator of the NI Game Dev Network.

You can find a full list of winners at this year’s NI Game Awards below and you can rewatch the ceremony here

Best Art Direction
: Jennifer Wilde: Unlikely Revolutionaries (Outsider Games)
Before the Blood (Rewind Play Games)
Intertial Drift (Level 91 Entertainment)
The Imagined Leviathan (Far Few Giants)
Stargazing (Whitepot Studios)

Rising Star
: Lisa Cooney (The Pixel Mill)
Judge’s Choice: Amber Barnett (The Pixel Mill)
Judge’s Choice: Naoimh Murchan (Italic Pig)
Abigail Gelston (The Pixel Mill)
Aisling McElroy (Italic Pig)
Amy Seaman (Whitepot Studios)
Caoilfhionn Fox (The Pixel Mill)
James Brown (The Pixel Mill)
Jordan Bradley (Ambertail Games)
Stuart Winton (Far Few Giants)

Most Anticipated Game
Winner: Hytale (Hypixel Studios)
Ambertale (Ambertail Games)
Before the Blood (Rewind Play Games)
Buildings Have Feelings Too (Blackstaff Games)
Dynasty of the Sands (Rocketflair Games)
Paleo Pines (Italic Pig)
The Pale Beyond (Coffeebox Games)

Community Choice
: Caolan McKendry (NI Game Dev Network)
Amber Barnett (The Pixel Mill)
James Brown (The Pixel Mill)
Johnny Cullen (Play Diaries)
Lisa Cooney (The Pixel Mill)
Stuart Neil (How To Make A Game Podcast)

Best Studio
: Brain & Nerd
Italic Pig
Level 91 Entertainment
Soft Leaf Studios
Whitepot Studios

Best Game
: Inertial Drift (Level 91 Entertainment)
Ho-Ho-Home Invasion (Whitepot Studios)
Supermarket Shriek (BillyGoat Entertainment)
The Imagined Leviathan (Far Few Giants)

Out of Tune Games launch its first ever game: Crooks Like Us

Out of Tune Games first ever game, Crooks Like Us, will be available for early access on PC and Mac via Steam on Wednesday 17th March.

Crooks Like Us is a chaotic online multiplayer game, where players get to steal everything they see! Players must carry as many items as they can to their getaway van before time runs out – a higher stack results in more points. Players can fight their way to first1st place by using gadgets like anvils, ice, earthquakes to mess with other players!

There will be a stream-a-thon event of Crooks Like Us from 12noon on launch day for 24-hours, consisting of 24 different Twitch streamers from around the world playing the game on their channel. Details can be found HERE.

Streamers an also connect their Twitch account to enable an interactive chat feature. This gives viewers he ability to type commands into the chat while the streamer is playing to launch some of the crazy gadgets at them in real time.

Out of Tune Games’ Mal Duffin said: “We’ve been actively testing the game via Betas and demos all through development and we are so happy to unleash the game on the public via Early Access. The Twitch functions make it even more fun and we’ve watched plenty of streams where viewers seem to be having as much of a laugh as the streamers themselves.”

Matt McCrum of Out of Tune Games added: “We really wanted to create a game that gave you lots of options, so you can be the field of play and make lots of cash or jump into the van and mastermind your menace from there. Either way, you’ll have a lot of fun.”

Out of Tune Games was supported by The Pixel Mill’s accelerator programme, Platform, in the creation of the game. The programme provides gaming companies with access to the The Pixel Mill’s facilities, mentors, training, and funding as well as the opportunity to attend markets to build their business network and meet consumers.

To download a demo of Crooks Like Us click HERE.