First Computer Game Launched by Newport Graduates' Company Aims to Put Wales on the Map

18 August 2008

A company determined to put Wales on the map in the computer games industry has launched its first game - an action-packed space adventure entitled‘Cosmic Sunder’. Dark Rock Games was set up by Adam Griffiths, a graduate of the University of Wales, Newport, in an effort to provide employment for Wales’ talented games designers and help the country to profit from this multi-million pound industry.

In partnership with three other graduates of the Games Development and Artificial Intelligence course at Newport Business School, Adam has created the retro game - in which players control a futuristic vessel smashing through the gallery to reclaim stolen Earth elements– and tested the game out on two keen gamers– his young sons, Asher and Eden.

Their verdict is that it’s a winner.“We’ve played the game a lot and think it’s five star! It’s got over 80 levels and the final one is really hard when you have to blow up fireballs that are coming at you,” said eight -year-old Asher.

“We’re all pleased with the game and hoping for a good response now it’s on sale at our website,” said 31-year-old Adam.“We currently have two more games in various stages of production, and hope to start creating more sophisticated 3D games that will put Wales on the map in the computer games industry.”

Adam set up Dark Rock Games with fellow graduates Rob Simmonds, Cameron Coles and Matthew Clark because he wanted to stay in Newport and avoid the stress of relocating his wife, Debbie, and young children to find a job making computer games.

"The computer games industry is one of the biggest in the world yet there are very few companies in Wales making games. As a result, many people like myself who are gaining degrees in computer game design are having to leave the country in order to find jobs.

“Newport’s University has two excellent computer games development courses producing talented students with lots of potential. It seems ludicrous that Wales is losing them to other countries because we have no computer games industry.”

Dr Mike Reddy, Senior Lecturer in Computing at Newport Business School, said,“The release of this game represents a considerable success for Adam and his team at Dark Rock. He was always determined to create job opportunities for games developers in Wales and he has put his money where his mouth is with this game which is an imaginative version of the classic retro Breakout game.

“At Newport, we believe it’s essential to maintain close links with the computer games industry to enable our students to successfully find jobs when they graduate. We already have graduates working for major games companies such as Sega and Blitz, and this year sees the first woman graduate from the course.”

Dark Rock Games was set up with funding from the Knowledge Exploitation Fund (KEF) which has provided£20,000 to help the company become established.

“The University has now helped more than 65 graduates set up their own business,” said Emma Williams of the Research and Enterprise (RED) department.“We have many enterprising students who posses a diverse range of talent, and we help them by providing funding and the business skills necessary to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, and ensure the future growth and prosperity of Wales.”

The‘Cosmic Sunder’ game is available from www.darkrockgames.com.

For details of the computer games development, and all other courses at the University of Wales, Newport phone 01633 432432 or visit www.newport.ac.uk.

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

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Adam has tested‘Cosmic Sunder’ out on two keen gamers– his young sons, Asher and Eden who said,“It’s five star!”.

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The Games Development and Artificial Intelligence graduates behind Dark Rock Games (left to right): Matthew Clark, Adam Griffiths, Cameron Coles and Rob Simmonds.

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