Nathan Egner, a programmer and game designer at Alacrity Falmouth, reflects on his experience with the academic incubation initiaitve

Diaries From Alacrity Falmouth: London’s calling

Only a few days after completing my BSc Computer Games, I found myself packing and moving to Cornwall to embark on a new exciting opportunity, the Alacrity digital games incubation programme at Falmouth University.

On arrival, I was introduced to my team who I was to spend the year working with. I was really inspired by Alacrity’s industry links and I immediately engaged with the projects, keen to get to work.

Amongst a variety of team-building and coaching exercises in the initial weeks, all twenty Alacrity students took part in an intense two-day game jam around the chosen topic of ‘Shadow’. We quickly got to work creating what we felt was a unique take on an old arcade-style formula of cat-and-mouse gameplay, using the exciting new Unreal Engine 4.

Once the jam was over we were left feeling very proud and decided to submit our game to an Unreal Engine competition to compete against games from all over the world for a space on the Epic Games booth at EGX, the UKs “biggest and best games show” held in London. We returned our focus to our main Alacrity project, the competition was put to the back of our minds until we were contacted by Epic Games and asked if we could attend.

With EGX just around the corner and feeling very excited, we proceeded to polish the game, improving everything from basic controls to graphics and level design to ensure the public could enjoy what we only ever envisioned the Alacrity Falmouth Studio would see.

Arriving at Earls Court at the end of September, we couldn’t help but smile, thinking about what we had achieved in the last four months. We found ourselves starstruck, rubbing shoulders with people we look up to and meeting like-minded thinkers and developers. The event had an inspiring atmosphere with developers from all over the world excited to show off their newest projects. Having people play and enjoy our game felt incredibly rewarding and has only increased our hunger to make it in the industry.

What’s next for us? You’d think that after EGX we’d be landing back on earth with a bump but if anything… it’s quite the opposite. We are continuing to work closely with our Alacrity project partner Goonhilly Earth Station. Our team is in full production on a key attraction at the new visitor centre opening in Spring 2015; a multiplayer space simulator aimed at putting teams of all ages into a mission control room setting where they compete to remove debris from orbit and reduce the threat of collisions around Earth. We are really excited about the future and look forward to launching our product in 2015.

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