Abertay Prototype Fund invests £225,000 in small games companies

- Round 2 sees nine companies awarded £25,000 each

- Round 3 now open for applications

The £5 million Prototype Fund run by the University of Abertay Dundee has awarded £225,000 across nine young computer games companies with high growth potential.

Successful recipients of the £25,000 grants include brand new companies run by graduates, mobile phone and social game specialists, and firms who provide audio engineering and voiceover recording services.

All 47 applicants for second round funding were assessed against tough commercial criteria, with the nine successful firms based in Dundee, London and Liverpool. Five of the companies have chosen to work in Abertay University’s prototyping studio space.

Applications are also now open for the third round of funding – full application details are available at http://prototypefund.abertay.ac.uk/. Applications are open until Wednesday 14th December.

Paul Durrant, Director of Business Development at Abertay University, said: “We’re delighted to award £225,000 from the Abertay University Prototype Fund to nine very promising up-and-coming companies.

“By investing directly in these businesses, Abertay University is giving them the opportunity to develop a prototype – either to take to market, or to secure additional private investment.

“This is a very different and very important role for Abertay University to take, further developing our support for the computer games industry which has such enormous economic potential for the UK. The Prototype Fund is part of our continuing campaign to improve the availability of working capital and grow the talent base.”

One of the recipients of a £25,000 investment from the first round of the Prototype Fund has now secured a significant six-figure publishing deal, proving that these small investments can attract much larger funding and help stimulate economic growth.

Khaled Al-Hurby, Lead Designer at Adamant Studios, said: “This funding is a godsend, allowing our team of graduates to quit their jobs and focus on launching the company. It’s also very rewarding to receive the endorsement that our idea is commercially viable.

“We’re looking to create a fun, casual game which picks up the music you’re listening to and changes the visuals to match it. There’s a great opportunity here to do something different with a music-based platformer – which just wouldn’t be possible without this initial investment from the Abertay Prototype Fund.”

Mark Estdale, Managing Director of voice casting and recording company Outsource Media UK, said: “We're delighted to win this £25,000 grant. This Prototype Fund grant and the support from Abertay University is so empowering for us.

“We've been working for five years on innovative recording studio technology that empowers directors and actors towards greater subtlety and connected performances in games, as well as cutting up to 50% off the necessary production time and audio integration. This grant will enable us to take the technology to market.”

The Prototype Fund is financially backed by three partners: the European Regional Development Fund, the UK Government (administered by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department of Culture Media and Sport), and Abertay University.

The fund is based at Abertay University and is open to applications from new and young small and medium-sized enterprises across Britain.

More details are available at http://prototypefund.abertay.ac.uk/

(Ends)

For media enquiries, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Officer) – T: 01382 308522 M: 07837 250284 E: chris.wilson@abertay.ac.uk

ABOUT THE COMPANIES

- Adamant Studios

Adamant Studios consists of aspiring graduates of Abertay University looking to create beautifully crafted interactive experiences that touch and inspire players around the world. Founded in 2010, we are developing products ranging from addictive, abstract, indie arcade games to immersive, interactive cinematic products for YouTube, tablet devices and consoles.

The grant-funded game Asphodel is a music-orientated side-scrolling platformer for iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices, with the use of beat detection and our ‘creative jumping’ control feature. The player can dynamically create freestyle jumps throughout the game, with beautiful visualisations created by recognition of whatever music the player is listening to.

- Atomicom

Founded in 2010, the company is focused on the development of gaming apps for mobile devices and currently has a range of titles in development. The company’s first title will be released in October which it has developed in partnership with one of the world’s leading iOS publishers.

The Abertay grant will be used to develop a prototype of an off-road racing game designed as a freemium-based product for iOS and Android devices. The game will feature lengthy A–B tracks, online leader boards and achievements and also allow players to buy extra content such as new cars, tracks and upgrades.

- Bigyama

Bigyama is a new start-up with a background in social and console gaming. The intersection of traditional console games and social games is an exciting and interesting place to be and one we’re looking forward to developing in! We’re eager to develop our own original intellectual property and acquire third party work in order to build up capital and hire developers.

The prototype we’re developing is set on a cruise ship called the Sanctuary 50 years in the future. Sanctuary is a product of our interest in the cross-section between social games and console development. The Sanctuary is a persistent online space that players can log into and spend time relaxing and enjoying the activities on-board. Players can play mini-games, earn coins and unravel some of the ship’s mysteries and enigmas.

- Euphonious

Euphonious Limited is a game audio production company founded by former Realtime Worlds Audio Director and double ‘Use of Audio’ BAFTA-winning Raymond Usher. 

Established in January 2011, Euphonious specialises in all aspects of game audio development including sound design, music composition and licensing, audio programming, independent audio direction, consultation, and management. In its first nine months Euphonious has worked on over 16 titles ranging from mobile phone titles right up to AAA multiplatform titles such as LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean.  

- NoodlFroot

NoodlFroot, a London-based games company, started in 2010 and released its first game - Stoopid Sandwich for iOS - last year. Jonathan Alpine, Design Director, is now heading north to set up a new NoodlFroot studio in Dundee with Code and Art counterparts from the area.

The funded game is still in super-secret mode but we can confirm that it’s browser-based and brings something very fresh to the free-to-play space. The concept mixes rich 3D gameplay, an innovative user-generated contest element and the very latest in social features to create a compelling new online game world. We’re aiming to go live in 2012!

- Outsource Media UK

The funding will be used to further develop Outsource Media UK’s proprietary software, Interactive Dialogue Recording (IDR), which represents a paradigm shift in the recording of dialogue. The internal prototypes have been a great success on Driver San Francisco, the Book of Unwritten Tales and Risen 2. 

Voice recording for games has always been shoehorned into traditional recording methods yet the needs are radically different. The studio technology used for voiceovers and film post actually constrain the creative process towards mediocrity. OM’s work has been to break the constraints. The grant will enable the technology to be turned from an in-house only toolset into a commercial prototype.

- Proper Games

Proper Games Ltd was founded in 2006 and is now in its sixth year of business.  As one of the leading independent game development studios in the UK, Proper Games is registered as an official developer across all major home console and mobile gaming formats. 

Utilising the Abertay prototype funding, Proper Games is looking at the feasibility of taking the award-winning iOS puzzle game, Yo Deshi™, into the social gaming space.  This project outcome will result in not only adding valuable understanding of social platforms and server technology to the Proper Games’ technical experience, but will also bring the Yo Deshi experience a step closer to a larger market of new fans.

- two other grant projects are still undergoing due diligence

ABOUT THE PROTOTYPE FUND

Abertay University’s Prototype Fund is specially designed for start-up and small, established developers requiring additional working capital up to £25,000 to cover the staff costs to produce a prototype for a new intellectual property.

The grant funding does not dilute equity ownership or create a balance sheet liability. The development team for the prototype can also be supplemented with graduates from any UK university and funded within the grant budget.

Students and graduates can register now for work experience as part of the Talent Pool at the Prototype Fund website - http://prototypefund.abertay.ac.uk/

ABOUT ABERTAY

Abertay University launched the world’s first ever computer games degree in 1997. This postgraduate Master’s course was followed by a complementary undergraduate course, and later by specialist courses in production management and game applications development.

Abertay has the highest number of Skillset accreditations for computer games courses (four out of ten across the UK) as well as holding full Skillset Media Academy status, a recognition of the important industry skills that are developed on our courses.  


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