The Games Students from Huddersfield Uni once again dominate the Yorkshire and Humberside Game Republic Student Showcase. Last year we won three of the four 1st Prizes and this year we’ve done the same.
Each year, for the last 10 years, Jamie Sefton and Game Republic have been running a competition between the Yorkshire and Humberside universities to showcase student talent – the Game Republic Student Showcase website 2017. The Showcase provides a competitive spirit to all the programmers, designers and artists on the various games degrees in the area.
Teams from the universities of York, Bradford, Leeds, Leeds Beckett, Sheffield Hallam… and of course The University of Huddersfield. This year was the biggest event so far with 26 teams competing, with lots of floor space given over to VR. Last year, there was only one VR project (our own Nathan Boxhall-Burnett and the VIVE Dr Who Tardis experience- Nathan Boxhall-Burnett winning 1st Prize Games Technology, 2016).
This year there were five VR installations, all very different. We were very well accommodated across five rooms at Leeds University in the Sadler Building, with Dr Hamish Carr being our very friendly and congenial host.
All the GR Educational Partners are able to take six teams and ours were:
Shutter Shade Heroes were arguably the most-visited and actively-enjoyed team offering. They were showing their VR Partyware game – a very active VR version of party games and exercises… including cracking a safe, all via the VIVE. Here they are with the set-up.
Games within VR Partyware include baseball, darts, throw a ball in a bin, sqat thrusts and crack a safe. As players succeed at each game they return to play the same series in a more demanding manner. The team members comprise: Parampal Singh; Kiera Hayman; Joe Cooper; Marcus Nichols; Liam Ford and Chris Vickery.
Out of Mana – navigate a dungeon with all the usual (and some unexpected) dangers and get to the end to fight the Boss. Play as a 2-person game and decide to work together …or kill them and play it alone.
The team of: Dan Schofield, Angel Petkov, Alyson Sjardijn, Gage Bolton, Martin Barker, Dean Ford and Natalie Hirst… completed thew game. Well done on making a really playable game!
Reaper’s Rampage team with… you guessed it, the Reaper’s Rampage game at Game Republic 2017 – a 3rd person fight game where the Grim Reaper (our hero’s father) is testing his son’s skills (the player) against all sorts of ghouls to see if he is good enough to take his place when he meets his maker. |Fighting the devil’s minions, or more graphically, “Fighting Satan’s spawn”, as the team nicely put it. Great game!
The team are: Rob Potter, Max Zazulak, Jake Brown. Here are Redkite Games playing the game.
So how can we make a simple game of Pong as complicated as possible? Well, you need to do it over the web using the user’s smartphone. Here’s Kiera demoing her game with users’ playing via their phones. A variety of internal algorithms choose which way to proceed to minimise latency. All clever stuff.
Robert Potter with This Dead Winter – a mesmerising fox-runs-through-snow-leaving-footprints game, currently at concept stage, and with some gamification targets built in. However, just watching the footprints and tail swooshes in the snow is enough for most people as the untiring fox makes its way through the wilderness.
Rob is very generous with information and provides a fairly good trail of what he’s up to and how his experiments in coding are going on his Twitter feed: @Rob_Potter. Join him there and follow one of the UK’s future games programming stars.
Max’s Game Character Art was on show including the much talked-about ogre with dangly bits plus fighting dragons breathing fire. Here is Max with his characters – posters, monitor and TV – what a spread! Max was also one of three Finalists in the 2017 Search for a Star Games Character Art – so well done Max! A star of the future and one to watch.
The work that I have developed for my final year is all inspired by games that I have played, my heritage and other visually interesting elements. The year started out as pretty average, however by becoming involved in competitions such as Search for a Star and Game Republic, a sense of push allowed me to develop my assets through iteration; improving the pieces vastly each time.
Whilst the picture below shows only one, Max’s showreel was shown on a large TV and had a rotating models of two dragons fighting – the one below breathing fire.
Of course, the A1 colour pictures on the wall show his three character poses better than the amalgamation below.
I am a 3D Character Artist and aim to work in the Games Industry developing 3D models for major games studios. I am very passionate about my work and I am extremely focused on achieving this goal.
See more at his own website: Maxim Zazulak website – Games Character Artist.
The Huddersfield wins are a fabulous testament to the work and dedication of the games teaching team at The University of Huddersfield and also to the brilliant students we have the pleasure of spending time with. All the best to them in their new careers as they leave us for pastures new in the games industry.
1st Prize. VR Partyware by Shutter Shade Heroes
3rd Prize. This Dead Winter by Rob Potter
2nd Prize. VR Partyware by Shutter Shade Heroes
1st Prize. This Dead Winter by Rob Potter
1st Prize. VR Partyware by Shutter Shade Heroes
Name: Dayna Davison
Job: Lead Artist at Neonia Games (start-up business in the Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Centre)
“I’m an undergraduate on placement year in the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre. I’ve been creating “stuff” for as long as I can remember, but only in recent years have I combined my passion for both art and video games. I currently have an art role in a startup games company!”
“I always used to “design” my own games as a kid, based off the actual games I’d play on the PS1, they obviously never went anywhere but that’s where it first started! In terms of education, I started pursuing a career in games development when I enrolled on a Games Development course. It prepared me enough to continue it on at higher education.”
“The university had great an extremely high employment rate after graduation, which was a big draw for me because I really wanted it to be a worthwhile investment. Furthermore, I liked what the course offered and the freedom it gave to choose between both design and art.”
“I’d like to gain a solid understanding of how self-employment works and learn business skills that I can take with me. I understand that it’s unlikely I’ll finish an entire game in the space of 9 months, but learning the groundwork for the business itself is just as important. I genuinely enjoy learning about the ins and outs of entrepreneurialism and so far, it’s been great!”
I was also the artist in the Blind Panic Game Jam last year, that won best art! Here’s some of the things I worked on – log cabin, rocks, bridge and some trees!
“My programming skills leave something to be desired, but I love designing small games. Something that can be completed in a few hours, but generally has one unique mechanic!”
“Zbrush! It’s such a versatile software and offers so much. It’s like an all in one software; you can model, sculpt, UV, bake out normals, and has tablet support. That’s always a selling point for game artists.”
“Undertale; at first glance it’s a simple bullet hell with a story, but the longer you play, the more you realise how much more there is. Average gameplay is about 8 hours, but for full completionists, there are so many combinations of playthroughs you could have. It’s a game that actually reminds you it’s a game, but not to discredit itself. Thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it!”
“Just some concept art I’ve been working on for the game we’re developing! Various ideas, some scrapped, some kept!
And last but not least, this singular crate that I just find charming for some reason. It’s the little things!”
Name: Luke Kilby
Job: Web Content Producer
“I’m Luke Kilby, a Popular Music Production student at the University of Huddersfield. I’m currently on placement at Canalside Studios where I work with Tom to produce content for the website… and build the website itself!”
“I just sort of fell into it. I started getting into rock music in high school when I bought Guitar Hero 3, and ended up teaching myself to play a real guitar. From there I started to develop an interest in electronic music and went to college to study Popular Music Performance. I played in quite a few bands, but found I was pretty good when it came to the production side of things too.”
“When I left college I didn’t really know what to do with myself. I applied for a Music Performance course at another university, but decided to cancel my interview and take a year out to improve my musical abilities and production skills. After a few months I spoke to a student studying Music Technology and Audio Systems at the University of Huddersfield and it sounded really interesting. I had a look on the website and found the Popular Music Production course, which had a performance module. It was exactly what I was looking for.”
“While working at the studio, I’m hoping to build up a portfolio of work that I can show to potential employers after I leave university. I’m also going to be creating the audio for the games we make this year. I think I’ll learn a lot about sound design and I’m really looking forward to releasing a product with my own sound effects and music attached to it!”
“I love producing Drum & Bass – especially if I can make room in the mix for a guitar. It’s the powerful drums and fast tempo that attracted me at first, but I find the more subtle aspects such as the little intricacies that transform the synthesizers, fascinating.”
“I quite like Native Instruments’ “Massive”. It’s a plugin that allows me to build synthesizer patches. I can spend hours just playing around with different combinations and learning which waveforms work well together. My Digital Audio Workstation of choice is Logic Pro X. I was taught the basics of using it at college and learned the rest through trial and error and YouTube tutorials. I love how intuitive everything is.”
“My favourite video game is probably Portal 2. I enjoy games with a good story and games that make me think, so picking up Portal 2 was a no-brainer. The game has a great sense of humour and brilliant voice acting too… I actually named my cat Wheatley!
I also enjoy playing Rust. It’s still in early access right now but it’s really fun. I’ve had some great nights going out on tense raids with friends, running away from bears, running away from helicopters… we run a lot.”
“I upload music to my SoundCloud profile occasionally. Most of the tracks on there are quite old now, but I like to leave them on there so I can listen to them from time to time and see how much progression I’ve made.
I also have a YouTube channel. I don’t upload that often, but there are a couple of videos on there that I made for University, so you can check those out if you like.”
Name: Elliott Welsh
Course: Games Design
“I’m Elliott Welsh, a designer obsessed with game mechanics and experimenting how to make games enjoyable and culturally impactful. I’m optimistic about all games, and always look for the best in them to better understand the judgement behind how they were designed.”
“Between interest in playing with LEGO, K’NEX and Meccano as a kid to create characters and worlds, and then a growing interest in game mechanics and physics in order to establish the rules of these worlds, I became interested in making a variety of games for many different mediums to bring players into the same environments I created.”
“The experience of the staff and the wealth of resources for all aspects of game development was a big factor in choosing Huddersfield. I was even more interested in Canalside Studios, and getting to see first-hand how game development can work in a studio, and seeing the product come together.”
“Immersive games with unique and groundbreaking mechanics have always been especially appealing to me, and I love working out creative solutions for using these unique mechanics to fulfil their greatest potential in order to make games that are fun and interesting.”
“I enjoy using game engines the most; for 2D, I like using Flash Develop with the Flashpunk engine to prototype 2D games and test mechanics or demonstrate my ideas and abilities. For 3D work I’m most familiar with UE4. I enjoy its flexible features for building large and engaging game worlds bit by bit, and seeing it all come together.”
“It’s hard to say that I have a single favourite video game, because whenever I play a game I always look out for why the designer behind it made the decisions they did, and how every small element contributes to the overall experience. Currently my favourite game would be Xenoblade Chronicles, because of its amazing use of game mechanics that become involved in the story and expand the world, as well as functioning for game balance and overall just making the game exciting to play.”
This was a game prototype that I made during my first year of university as part of my team project module. This was primarily used for a skills audit between the group and to the module leaders, as we had only just began university. I was ahead of the curve with experience in game design, programming and mathematics, allowing me to create algorithms that permitted engaging gameplay with solidified mechanics.
This is another game prototype I made during my first year of university as part of my team project module. While the gameplay is relatively simple, it was used to demonstrate complex mechanics such as buoyancy in water and controlling two characters in tandem, each with individual attributes and abilities. This prototype was of a high enough quality to be used as a final submission and earning an A in the module.
I made this game in college using the Flashpunk game engine with the ActionScript 3 language. It allowed for me to quickly and easily prototype and outline core game mechanics, which proved to be an incredibly useful tool over the years for game design.
This game was made in Unreal Engine 4 as part of my 2nd year studio module, which allowed me to show off my knowledge of the engine. I created everything shown in the game, from the landscape which was sculpted within the engine, to the models and textures for the plants, and the UI is fully functional using the widget tools within the engine. The high point of this game was the peaceful and mysterious atmosphere I tried to create with the juxtaposition of the barren desert environments, and the six garden domes.
This was a personal project that I did out of term time to further my abilities with Unreal Engine 4’s scripting tools. I wanted to see whether I could create dialog and text actions, including different text effects such as proper formatting and typewriter text animations. The overall game is a small demonstration of a text-heavy ‘escape the room’-genre game.
Name: Samuel Dickinson
“I’m Samuel Dickinson, a games design student at the University of Huddersfield, currently on a placement year at Canalside Studios. I’m an aspiring 3D environmental artist, hoping to push my abilities further.”
“I first got into video games development through my love for playing games and wanting to understand how the worlds were built within those games. After teaching myself a modelling program in my own time and enjoying it, I started to pursue it as a career.”
“I felt the university of Huddersfield was the correct place to study, as the course focused more heavily on 3D, while also giving us the freedom to work on projects we chose.”
“I hope to further myself within games design and to get to know the process of how games are made to a more in depth understanding. I also wish to push my environmental art further at any given opportunity.”
“My favourite thing to design would be large environments, figuring out how they would be constructed and also what elements help make them stand out.”
“My favourite software to use is Substance Painter, mainly because it gives me the ability to paint directly onto 3d models, while also being easy to use. I also enjoy using Maya to build my assets, as its very user friendly while also featuring some very powerful tools.”
“My favourite video game is Final Fantasy, due to its massive open worlds and engaging stories.”
“This was a piece I designed for a university module. It’s a large cathedral that has been re-purposed into a grand library for the three species who inhabit the world.”
Name: Harry Kay
“I work at Canalside Studios. I’m currently studying Computer Games Design at the University of Huddersfield.”
“I have always loved playing games and I wasn’t sure what course to take at college. A friend saw the course at Manchester and I decided to go to the open day. I’ve loved the course ever since.”
“I mostly use 3DS Max as I personally believe it is easier than Maya as Max’s edit poly uses text buttons compared to Maya which mostly uses icons for buttons. My favourite software would have to be Unreal Engine 4 as this is the part where you compose your scene. UE4 also has great lighting and the material editor can drastically improve your textures.”
“I was accepted into all of the universities I applied for and had a look around all of them. Huddersfield stood out the most as it focused more on having fun and making games compared to other universities which have you sat in Microsoft word for a year. Also the teachers and students were nice and very passionate about the course.”
“To learn more about the industry, I’ve made games before but never released them to the general public and I also want to become a stronger artist as I believe my current work isn’t yet up to a professional standard.”
“I don’t really have a specific favourite game. I like to play a variety of games/genres. The game I probably have the most hours on is Counter Strike or World of Warcraft.”
“My favourite thing to design is something new. This can vary from an art style I have never tried before or a mechanic that requires heavy design. I like to learn new things which hopefully I can learn from my mistakes and become a better designer.”
Name: Dimitar Dimitrov
Job: Game Designer
“Hi! My name is Dimitar Dimitrov and I came to study 3D Games Design in the UK almost three years ago. My hobbies include games, watching movies and reading.”
“I’ve always been interested in how games are made. I remember watching videos on Discovery Channel when I was small and they were all talking about modelling software. I decided to try one and signed up for a quick course on 3DSM. After that I just couldn’t stop!”
“The software I use the most is 3D Studio Max. It is the first 3D modelling software I ever used and my favourite one to this day. Its reliable, strong and sort of easy to use when you get the hang of it.”
“When I was searching for universities, Huddersfield was one that always came up on the topic of “games design”. It also helped a lot that in that year the University of Huddersfield won the University of the Year award. A good university with a good games design course. It was a no-brainer for me.”
“I hope to learn the dynamics of teamwork in a professional environment, obtain new skills in game development and, of course, release a game that I can be proud of.”
“There a lot of games that I like a lot. It is a bit hard to choose my favourite one but if I had to choose then it is Assassin’s Creed 1 – the first game that I just couldn’t stop playing. It was fun, engaging and had a great story and gameplay. I loved it. It was particularly helpful at the time because I was learning about the Templars in school (I thought it helped me for my history lessons).”
“Tanks, tanks and more tanks. I have a thing about world war 2 machinery, so I always loved modelling tanks but from a design perspective, I really like designing levels. How are they going to be played? How are they going to look? This was always interesting to me.”
Name: Matthew Oldfield
“I am an avid gamer, I mostly play eve online now but used to play World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and used to be very in to Forza before I got my gaming pc.”
“I always wanted to program as a kid and was always good with computers. I didn’t really start programming until I was in collage but it came naturally to me. It took a bit of getting used to when I started at university but I now it’s just like speaking another language to me.”
“As I lived in Huddersfield and had a job it made sense to stay local. It ended up better in the end as all my friends who went to other Universities have dropped out.”
“I hope to broaden my knowledge and find my expertise and well as come out with a product at the end of my placement.”
“Artificial Intelligence because it requires a lot of logic.”
“Visual studio as it had a dark mode and IntelliSense is useful when it works.”
“Eve online as they balance the risk-reward very well, and there are so many mechanics, even though I have played for 3+ years there is still new stuff for me to do.”
In this project I mostly worked on the physics in the game. It was difficult as this was the first time that I used Unity at a professional level but in the end I got it “working”. I then moved on to the UI and audio, creating engine sounds from scratch and implementing them in Unity. Finally, I had a little time left over to add some particle effects for polish.
Name: Reuben Briggs
Job: Games Programming
“Before coming to the University of Huddersfield I lived in a small village in Cheshire. At college I studied Maths, Physics and Psychology at A-level so I didn’t have much programming experience prior to university but I feel I have learned a lot during my time here. In my spare time I enjoy reading, meeting up with friends and watching films, as well as playing games of course.”
“I’ve been interested in games development for as long as I can remember really, ever since I got a Gameboy for Christmas when I was young. This was further developed as I grew up and played a larger variety of games, I began to think more about the decisions made by the developer and create my own ideas for mechanics that I would put in a game often inspired by my other interests.”
“The main thing that made me choose the University of Huddersfield was the placement service as the games industry seems to value experience highly, so getting a placement will hopefully give me a head start when looking for jobs post-graduation.”
“During the placement I am looking forward to seeing what we can produce within a year. Over the year I am aiming to gain experience working as part of a team, particularly working in collaboration with other programmers, and also continuing to develop my technical skills as a programmer.”
“Personally I enjoy programming the mechanics of gameplay the most as it is the part of the game which you often notice first when you play a game such as the movement and other parts of the game that the player directly interacts with. However, I enjoy a challenge so if I need to do something outside of these areas I’m happy to try and learn something new.”
“Unity is definitely my favourite software to use when developing games. It is quite easy to pick up and create something, which makes it great when you want to test things out quickly, then develop your ideas further once you’ve done some testing. There are also a lot of resources available to help you when you are unsure how to do something in Unity, whether it’s video tutorials or message boards, which makes it easier to learn to program for than a more complex engine such as Unreal.”
“Tricky question. Although I’ve played a variety of different games it’s hard to pick one that stands out. However I would probably say that despite its flaws, Magicka is probably my favourite due to its unique spell system and the chaos of it’s co-op gameplay. Some other contenders include Rogue Legacy, Guild Wars 2, Guacamelee and many more.”
“Outside of university, the majority of what I’ve made in my spare time has mostly just been tests, so my example would have to be the space tower defence game that I created as part of team project during my second year. This project was the first one that I completed using Unity but as we worked on the project I could see a noticeable improvement in my skills in Unity so I was quite happy with what I managed to accomplish.”
Name: Liam Hughes
“Hi, I’m Liam Hughes and I’m currently studying Computer Games programming at the University of Huddersfield. I have a deep interest in playing video games and that interest has driven me to pursue a career in the games industry.”
“I got into games development straight after high school, as I went to Wakefield College studying computer games design. This course taught me a lot about industry practices along with using various industry grade software (Photoshop, 3DS Max etc.). Towards the end of my diploma I was introduced to programming and from there everything else is history.”
“I chose to study computer games programming at the University of Huddersfield primarily because its the closest university to me (I live at home). Additionally, on the open days the staff and students were really informative about the course I was planning on studying.”
“Whilst on placement I’m planning on further developing my skill-set involving communication in a team and learning new technical skills. I’m also going to be adding the work completed this year to my portfolio. The big goal this year is to have a commercial product released to the public.”
“I don’t really have a favourite thing to programme, usually my favourite thing is to do a “Liam” implementation (which involves special code (i.e. bad code)) and somehow it compiles and works as intended. When that happens I feel good about myself, until someone else read my code.”
“My favourite engine to develop in is Unity, due to the simplicity of the engine, mechanics can be quickly prototyped and developed. Visual Studio is great piece of software to use for programming due to the helpful tools it provides.
I like dabbling in Photoshop from time to time as well. I enjoy image correction and manipulation, in other words messing around with images of friends for a laugh.”
“That’s a difficult question. I’d say my favourite game that I’ve clocked countless hours into and still keep coming back to is Rock Band. My general interest in music and the pick up and play gameplay allows for any length sessions with it, from 5 minutes to 10 hours.
Some other games I have enjoyed over long periods of time include Runescape (I’ve been playing it for over 10 years now), Earth Defence Force 2025 (nothing beats a B-movie video game) and Resident Evil 5 – I had some of the best co-op experiences playing that game!”
“Yeah I’ve worked on numerous projects during my time college and at university.
Loch Ness was my 2nd year team project game. The game was a twin stick shooter themed around Grimm Fairy tales. The project was built in Unity, my role was to do the engine work and the scripting.
Squirrel invasions was a college project that required me to do the asset generation and the coding to create a small title. The coding of this game was done within Flashpunk, an actionscript3 specialised engine. The graphics and animation were created through Flash Professional.”
Name: Jonathan Cotterill
“My name is Jonathan Cotterill, I originally come from Birmingham, but I grew up in Wakefield. Before coming to Huddersfield I went to Wakefield College and studied Games Design for 2 years, during my time there I found my niche in programming after learning Flash and ActionScript, releasing my first game “Halberd” online.”
“I have always loved playing games, however I hadn’t really considered the possibility of working in the games industry until a taster day for Games Design at my local college. During that day, I got an opportunity to work with industry standard software to model and animate. Although it was not the area I went into, that experience made me realise that games development was a viable path I could go down and was what I wanted to do in my future.”
“During my time at college, I went on a tour of the University to see the games course here, it was during that time that I saw Canalside Studios as it was at the time, the opportunity to work at an in house games studio was really appealing to me. The staff and students at the University seemed really enthusiastic about the course and made me want to be a part of it.”
“While at the studio, I want to start my career in the games industry. I hope to improve my portfolio with work I produce and get a game released. I am also hoping to l familiarise myself with the dynamics of a team in a real games studio and be involved in the entire development cycle of a game.”
“I like to mess around with mechanics in general, however I enjoy making things involving physics the most. While at college I created my own gravity system which I ended up sharing with my friends and since then I have enjoyed making mechanics which make use of gravity like gravity flipping.”
“I most enjoy using Unity with Visual Studio, because I find the engine most versatile and easy to use. The modular programming system makes code reuse a lot more straightforward and development much quicker. Visual Studio is also a very useful tool and provides lots of features to help development like debugging and finding errors.”
“It’s difficult to choose one in particular, however I would probably say that my favourite game is currently The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I have really enjoyed the Elder Scrolls series and in particular, I have played more than my fair share of Skyrim. I enjoy open world games especially when there is so much to do and even after playing Skyrim as much as I have, I still enjoy playing the game and find new things to do and new ways to play.”
“Here is a game I made in college called Halberd, I made this game in 2 weeks for an assignment. It is a space based top down shooter where you fight progressively difficult waves of enemies to achieve your high score. In this project, I was responsible for almost everything in this project from generating the sound effects to designing and creating the art assets in Flash and in particular programming the game in ActionScript using the FlashPunk engine.”
“During one of my team projects, I worked on a mobile game called
. This game was an endless runner based around an Ostrich that can flip gravity escaping from a lab in space. This project was also my first time using Unity, so it was a learning experience as well as an opportunity to deploy a game to Android. For this game, I was responsible for creating the main gameplay and building the game within the engine.”