Developers gearing up to create a game from scratch this weekend

Picture: Tim Winterburn

Teams of budding game developers are gearing up to create a digital or board game over this weekend in Elgin. For the fourth year in a row, Moray College UHI is the venue for the Moray Game Jam (MGJ). The event, which sees teams of game developers make a game from scratch in 48 hours, beginning at midday on Friday.

The event is being organised by a partnership comprised of XpoNorth’s Screen and Broadcast Network, ScreenHI, Moray College UHI and Elgin-based games studio, Hunted Cow Studio. The public is also being offered the opportunity to participate in the weekend’s activity. A full day of workshops, offering students, school pupils and the public the chance to gain insight into the different aspects of game development and art, will take place on Saturday. A pop-up gaming playground which will offer gamers the chance to test the games the teams have been creating will be set up at Moray College UHI on Sunday.

“Moray Game Jam has become one of the go-to events in Scotland for game developers.  It opens doors and widens knowledge about how to forge a career in this hugely competitive and exciting creative industry,” said Amanda Millen, director of XpoNorth’s Screen and Broadcast network, ScreenHI, which is co-organising the event. “Scotland is a world-leader in games development, and the existence of companies like Hunted Cow Studios in Elgin, and the growing interest in the Moray Game Jam reinforces the fact there is a vibrant scene in the Highlands and Islands region. The event will provide a key opportunity to gain valuable experience and network with like-minded individuals and leading industry figures.”

Moray College UHI principal, David Patterson said: “We are delighted to be the host for this increasingly popular event. This year we have seen a record number of applications from across the country and it is clear that the Moray Game Jam is here to stay. The Alexander Graham Bell Centre for Digital Health, situated on our Moray Street campus, lends itself perfectly to this event. The Centre aims to stimulate interest and the development of expertise in all aspects of digital health, and the development of apps and other digital ways of working is an integral part of this, and a priority for our wider region.”

Last year’s digital winners were a group from Abertay University in Dundee called Peacock Dreams. They went on to release their game Everything is Peachy after an intense six-week mentoring period last summer in Elgin with Hunted Cow Studios. The board game category was won in 2016 by a group of three Abertay University students, all originally from Moray, who came together as the Marvellous Axe Giants. Their horror board game, Lantern, Lost in the Dark, is now in development.

Scotland’s premier creative industries conference and showcase, XpoNorth, is set to shine a spotlight on building creative businesses in the Highlands and Islands by using old-fashioned storytelling laced with cutting-edge digital power. XpoNorth, which takes place this year on 7 and 8 June in Inverness, has become the go-to event for creative industry insiders from the UK and beyond to meet and mingle with creative businesses and individuals throughout the region. The festival, funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is free to attend.

Register for workshops (registration closes tomorrow)

Game Development Tools for Rapid Prototyping Gary Groves, Managing Director, Strange High House.

How NOT to make a game… by Brian Baglow, Founder and Director, Scottish Games Network.

The Logic of Interactive Storytelling by Sam Davidson, Developer, Hunted Cow Studios.

Crafting a Great Game Art Portfolio by Louisa Gallie, Senior 2D Artist, Hunted Cow Studios.

Engaging Play by Phil Harris, Senior Narrative Designer, Bigpoint.

Augmented Reality: A Real World View? Craig Barron, Studio Manager, HexWar Games.

How to Create a Mobile VR game in Unity Stuart Gray, Programmer, Hunted Cow Studios.