by Simon Smith
28th January 2016, SpaceportX, Manchester
Our first full Gameopolis meet-up since October’s launch was very successful with around 100 people packing out SpaceportX’s event space to hear the BBC children’s games keynote. We also had playable in-development versions of Unbox from Prospect Games, and Flat Heroes from new team InspectorRoar and LemonBits.
We welcomed Richard Badger, Executive Product Manager BBC Children’s Games, and Mark Owen is the Digital Lead, BBC Children’s In-House to talk about the BBC Children’s Games team and how external developers can work with them.
They took us through their preferred platforms and mentioned their in-house engine IVOR, which caused giggles for those in the audience old enough to be in the know. Richard spoke about how they love the Unity technology but unfortunately parents do not like their children downloading plugins so this causes a barrier to using Unity in BBC games. He went on to speak about how much they like HTML5 as it’s a high-quality open standard that allows the BBC to embed great games in their website that can also be played on mobile devices without the user needing to download a plugin or App.
For the second part of the talk Mark spoke about how they work with external developers and the relationships they build together. He also went through some of the great games they have on the BBC website, notably the fantastic Danger Mouse Returns game which links into the new hit cartoon series on CBBC. Try it out, I have and its great and does some lovely stuff all in HTML5.
Both BBC representatives are based at Media City in Salford with the entire games team and were very keen to highlight how much they want to work with local developers. This is a great business opportunity for Gameopolis members and should be seriously considered. You can register for BBC tendering opportunities here.
UKTI GDC ‘Northern Powerhouse’ Mission
After the BBC we were joined by Ajay Desai who had kindly come up from Coventry to talk about the UKTI’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ mission to GDC. Ajay is administering some grants to give GDC passes and £500 to companies in northern England who are going to GDC in San Francisco this year. He spoke about the application process and answered questions. More information is available here.
Jamchester – the UK’s Biggest Game Jam
To round off the evening Simon spoke about Jamchester – the UK’s Biggest Game Jam – which Gamepolis is organising in conjunction with HackManchester. We have created an event for over 200 people in central Manchester from 20-22nd May 2016 which is sponsored by Tech North and Chillingo. You can find initial details and early bird tickets here: www.jamchester.org.uk with a full website coming soon.