How Tranzfuser is helping the next generation of game developers

Alexandra takes a look at how Tranzfuser is helping the next generation of game developers within the UK as part of PauseResumeQ4.

At one point or another we’ve all thought about creating the next big game. Whether it’s a new platformer, a twist on an FPS or even a simple puzzle game that rockets skyward on the App Store, for many of us creating a game is a pipe dream. For some, it’s a realistic proposition though.

The Tranzfuser programme in the UK was set up to give developers the support and funding that they needed to go from initial concept ideas all the way through to not just creating a fully fledged game but also publishing it. Set up by founder Paul Durrant, the main focus is to give help to develop leaders for the future.

The Tranzfuser programme allows networking with other groups of developers and people who have already gone through the system and are working within the gaming industry. It allows people to share their experiences and to ask the questions that, as a new developer coming into the industry, you’re going to have.

During our time at EGX a few weeks ago we met a number of developers who had taken advantage of the help that the Tranzfuser programme offers. Whilst talking to one of the developers, he told me that he hadn’t imagined that a year after finishing University that he would be at EGX presenting a game he had developed and that it was thanks to this programme that he was there today. We spoke to a number of others at EGX and the story was echoed. The UK’s Tranzfuser programme is consistently helping young developers to create games in an environment that allows them to flourish. Allow for ideas to transfer from paper or ruffled notes to being published and consumed by the masses.

One team of developers who have successfully been through the programme are the Draw & Code team with Swap Bots. Swap Bots was a little different to what the team normally do, working with clients and partners to bring their ideas to life. This time, Draw & Code have come up with Swap Bots, Swap Bots uses AR to bring simple, yet colourful blocks to life. Although not quite on our shelves yet, the help that the team have had from the Tranzfuser programme has really helped to make Swap Bots known.

To get some insight into how developers have used the programme and how other developers think it will help future generations, we spoke to one of the developers of Honeypot Espionage, Pocket Sized Hands’ Gary McCartan.

Firstly, what got you into video games and developing them?

I have always been captivated by games. We had a BBC Micro at home when I was younger and games like Repton and Castle Quest had me hooked on playing games. But game development wasn’t my initial choice for a career. My background is actually in nursing and I’ve been working in the NHS over the last 6 years. But that passion for games has always been there. After a few years working full time as a nurse I decided I wanted to take my passion further and went to Abertay University to study games programming.

Can you tell us a bit about Honeypot Espionage and the choice to use VR?

When we first tried out VR we were all blown away by the tech. It opened up a new set of design ideas and design challenges for us. We knew we had to make a VR game. And that is when we came up with Honeypot Espionage. It is an online VR multiplayer shooter, focused on stealth combat, in which you are put against other Spies in a combat arena. The last man standing wins. As a Spy, you are completely invisible, but you will begin to materialize if you move, fire a weapon or set a trap. We wanted to take one of the core selling points of VR, movement, and make a game that was entirely based on it.

How and why did you get involved with the Tranzfuser program and how did they help you to create Honeypot Espionage?

We heard of Tranzfuser through previous applicants who also went to Abertay University. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for us, to get a little funding for our game. This was the big sell for us to get involved with Tranzfuser, but they offered much more than just that. We had dedicated development space over summer as well as getting feedback from industry mentors. Not only did they help with the game but also helped us in preparation in terms of forming a company and taking the early steps to become successful.

Has Tranzfuser allowed you to do things that you may not have been able to do so otherwise? If so, what things?

Tranzfuser allowed us to show off our own game at EGX. It is still overwhelming looking back on this. It was such an amazing experience for us. We had our booth right beside Gaming giants, like Destiny and Sony. It’s crazy to think about. We were humbled by the number of people that took the time to come and play Honeypot Espionage. It was great getting feedback and seeing everyone enjoy the game.

How do you think the program will help future developers?

Tranzfuser is perfect for student developers looking to form an indie game company. The team at UK Games Talent want everyone to succeed in what they are doing, and the program is set up to allow for it. As well as this, it is a great opportunity to get some really impressive experience for a portfolio. Not only will developers have a finished prototype, but they will have experience in pitching for funding, community engagement as well as presenting to the public at large events.

What’s next for Pocket Sized Hands?

We are establishing ourselves as bespoke AR and VR software creators. We have finished up our first bit of client work and have already secured our next two contracts. It’s a great way for us to get a steady cash flow into the business and allows us to work with some exciting partners. It also allows us to continue to work on Honeypot Espionage as well as a few other titles we haven’t announced yet that we are excited to soon tell everyone about.

If you want to become a part of the programme teams can apply via a form on the Tranzfuser website with their initial conceptual ideas, the programme is now closed for 2017 applicants but we’re sure it won’t be long until the 2018 intake starts.

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