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Speaking at Newsgame Club on #Syria

September 30, 2015

I’ve pleased to have been invited to Newsgame Club held at The Guardian in London, it’s Syria focused topic:

A meetup for people who work in or around newsrooms and make (or want to make) games. The format for the event will be a short presentations about 3 newsgames followed by a discussion. We have Mamdouh Akbiek and Eloise Dicker from the BBC talking about Syrian Journey, Harriet Grant from the Guardian talking about Fortress Europe, and Dr Tomas Rawlings from GameTheNews (an initiative of Auroch Digital) talking about Endgame:Syria. There will be light snacks and tea/coffee. The Guardian office is located at Kings Place, just 150 metres from King’s Cross and St Pancras Stations, one of the most connected locations in London and now the biggest transport hub in Europe. More details on how to get there. We’ll be on the 2nd floor in the Morning Conference room. Take the elevator up to the 1st floor reception to check in.

If about, come along!

Endgame:Syria Screenshot


Playing and Talking About Games for Good

August 28, 2015

I’m going to be at Soho House in London on the 1st of September along with a great line up of fellow speakers talking about positive uses for games. Here’s the info:

Also please do check out the new game Big Pharma – it looks great and it’s by the talented Tim Wicksteed.

Play 'Big Pharma'

Recent Activity Links Round-up…

August 15, 2015
tags: ,

We’ve been super-busy of late and I’ve not been able to update here as much as I’d like so here’s a few that I’ve meant to post about what we’ve been up to…

We (Auroch Digital) announced our new title, Dark Future: Blood Red States – much more on that to come. I recently did an interview for Red Thirst. For now, here’s the trailer..

Over with our other Games Workshop co-production, we’ve been busy telling the world about Chainsaw Warrior:

Gaming and Authenticity – Talk at Respawn 2015

July 26, 2015

I’m going to be at Respawn 2015, then Gamescom. At Respawn I’m doing a talk on 4th 10am to 10.45am...

Games are fiction – they are simulations of the real world. Yet gamers crave authentic experiences – hence IP like ‘Call of Duty’ hire military experts. So is this approach just PR or can turning to the real world really give your games design something extra? We’re been rebooting a Games Workshop IP and as part of the process we got a games writer and a group of scientists together with our developers, locked them up and didn’t let them out until they had produced amazing ideas!

If there, come along!  Also…

On the way to Respawn 2015 then Gamescom, we’re swinging by Game Initiative 2015 at the amazing Dutch Game Garden to talk about our work at Bristol Games Hub.

The IP Ecosystem: Develop Fringe Sessions

June 29, 2015

I’ve been helping out with organizing an event on the 15th July, running around Develop in Brighton organised by people at Brighton University who are studying how creative industries use IP. We’ve got two panel discussions and one set of consultation slots that you can get – all for FREE! It’s a fringe event, so even if you don’t have a Develop ticket – it’s free to attend. Note; you can go to one or both of the panels and add a one-to-one if you want – your choice! Also if you do, we’re running the panels around the sessions, so it’s convenient to attend. Plus it’s 4 mins away from Develop. Finally the 1pm session comes with free lunch! Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch ;)

The IP Lunch: Top 5 IP Management Tips @ Clearleft Ltd, 68 Middle Street, BN1 1AL Brighton
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM

This session will feature a panel of experts from across the media industries, each offering their top tips for indie game developers to maintain, enhance, and protect their own intellectual property. Particularly for indies without access to guidance or mentorship in this area, the session will provide a chance to dialogue and ask questions of IP experts from different creative industries. From those just starting out and looking for the basics, to those with a growing IP and wondering what to do next, this session offers a fantastic learning opportunity for indie game developers.

Mo Ali (IP Co-ordinator, UKIE)
Professor Charlotte Waelde (Professor of IP Law, University of Exeter)
Jon Gillard, Head of Licensing for Games Workshop
Ella Romanos, Co-Founder, Strike Game Labs & columnist for Develop (creating new IP now!)
Phil Gaskell – Former Sony Senior Producer, now co-founder of indie publisher Ripstone
Chair: Dr. Tomas Rawlings (Auroch Digital/Bristol Games Hub)

Session is free to attend, however places are limited so you’ll need to sign up for a ticket. Lunch is provided free for attendees too.

Then following on you can get a one-to-one with an expert;

The IP Surgery @ Clearleft Ltd, 68 Middle Street, BN1 1AL Brighton
Book sessions between 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM, Wed 15th July.

This workshop gives indie developers the chance to begin working through any specific IP challenges they are facing at the moment. Developers can come with a particular question or issue and find out, from legal experts and those who have faced similar issues, how best to resolve their problems. The surgery will also provide practical advice in how to navigate the common roadblocks for IP in the gaming industry today. Professor Charlotte Wealde will host this surgery. This is organised with short face-to-face slots with an expert and are free!

It’s free, however places are limited, so please book your slot asap…

Note you can hang out at the venue before if you’re waiting for the next session, so don’t need to rush off if had a IP Surgery session or just arrive early. Then the final session is:

Navigating the IP Eco System @ Clearleft Ltd, 68 Middle Street, BN1 1AL Brighton
Wednesday, July 15, 2015 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM

For developers looking to adapt an existing IP, or for those looking to transfer their game IP to another medium, this session provides advice for how developers can begin to actively work with other creative industries such as publishing, television, and film. From putting together a tender bid, to finding the right gatekeepers to approach, this session identifies best practice for indie developers to flourish within the contemporary creative sectors.

Panel includes:
Colin Macdonald (Games Commissioner, Channel 4)
Professor Charlotte Waelde (Professor of IP Law, University of Exeter)
Alison Sterling Film producer, Ignition Films)
Alexander Birke, Indie Developer of aclimed ‘Adventures of Bertram Fiddle’ and creating new IP now!
Chair: Dr. Tomas Rawlings (Auroch Digital/Bristol Games Hub)

Session is free to attend, however places are limited so you’ll need to sign up for a ticket.

See you there! :) Tweet me if you have any questions…Places are going fast… so sign up asap!


Autopsy – Lessons from Failed Startups

June 9, 2015

We all know that failing is part of life. We have to fail to learn what works and what does not. Trying to do you own thing is a stark example of failure as often we’re the ones in the frame for why it did not work. I’m had a number of start-up ideas and ventures go the way of the dodo, so it was with great interest I was alerted to this amazing collection of links; – Autopsy: Lessons from Failed Startups – and it’s stuffed with links. Here’s a few that caught my eye…


The sad truth is that it’s very hard to make money on something that deserves to be free. Freedom of information is a core tenet of our democracy and something that shouldn’t be monetized. People shouldn’t have to fight for a transparent government: it should be innate to its existence. We believe it’s the responsibility of the media to hold our government accountable and to do so with honesty and integrity (and a spine). Even though we felt the vast majority of major media outlets didn’t do that responsibly, it simply was not worth gaming to our financial advantage, even if we were just making enough to keep the lights on (or the lights of the servers somewhere in Virginia “on”). We just kept asking ourselves: “how in the hell could we ever justify charging for something like this?”

Traps for Friends

We were developing Traps for Friends in Kiev, Ukraine by a mixed team of Russians and Ukrainians during last year’s upheaval. Then, the Russian government annexed Crimea, and the war started. This has led to colossal currency falls, so we lost our investors right before the soft launch and couldn’t find any others. No one in Russia and Ukraine had money in the middle of the crisis, and American and European investors weren’t too willing to fund a company from a region near an ongoing military conflict.

Well, we just found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time!


It turns out there was another app that shared a similar vision called Burbn. They were building yet another check-in type service loaded with every feature but the kitchen sink. But early user feedback, coupled with a desire to avoid the check-in battle shitshow already in progress, led them to drop everything to focus on one simple feature: photos.

They made the act of taking and sharing photos (many of which just happened to be location-tagged) fast, simple, and fun.

They made their own rules. They called it Instagram.

That whole see the world through the eyes of their friends thing?
Turns out Instagram did a pretty good job of this.

#Newsgames – Playing the Headlines (Article on

May 14, 2015

I’ve got an article in GamesIndustry.Biz with contributions from Professor Janet Jones (LSBU) & Tom Phillips & Paul Curry of BuzzFeed on newsgames. It’s a reflection on our gamejam at LSBU;

We recently took part in a newsgame jam at London South Bank Universityalongside developers from BuzzFeed; in that room were people who’d collectively made something like 80 newsgames in the last couple of years. That’s a lot of development in a short space of time. Back in my days as a developer at a bigger studio I spend around 3 years on a single game. By contrast we’ve made a newsgame in a single working day. What was interesting about this gathering of developers is how much we had in common about how we created games, even though we’d arrived at those same methodologies from very different directions… (and I should thank Paul Curry of BuzzFeed, as his presentation on the day was what inspired this article!) So this article gives you some advice from the frontlines of super rapid game creation with some ideas you can try, even if you don’t create newsgames yourself.

Past articles for them are here.


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