Four of the UK’s most talented coders are taking over Develop for one weekend only as the JournoDevswap begins starting now.
These hugely talented developers will be posting news, interviews, reviews and opinion pieces as the game jam unfolds – Hopefully speaking positively about our Journalist-come-developers’ efforts in game creation.
The event is being hosted by Ukie, games consultant Will Luton, Develop and MCV.
The developers taking over are Spilt Milk’s Andrew Smith, Lionhead's Mark Backler, Blitz's Peter Theophilus-Bevis and Mediatonic's Jim Griffiths.
The journalist-come-developers meanwhile are CVG’s Rob Crossley, The Guardian’s Keith Stuart, Savy Gamer’s Lewie Procter and freelance writer for Rock, Paper, Shotgun and IGN Dan Griliopoulos.
That’s not to forget the hugely talented student programmers and artists who will be lending their expertise to our journalist. Those kind enough to lend their time and put up with the millions of questions and unrealistic expectations from these journos are:
Theo Chin, Chris Barnes, Karn Bianco, Luc Shelton and Kevin Chandler, Jake Woodruff and Dave Jones.
Keep posted on Develop throughout the weekend for the latest news, and follow us on Twitter for all the latest updates, gossip and abuse.
You can also follow their experiences on Twitter through hashtag #journodevswap.
For text, photos, MP3s or videos from the event follow: http://journodevswap.tumblr.com.
All the relevant dev stories will be prefixed with 'DevJournoSwap'.
You can view profiles of our four developers below.
Andrew Smith – Spilt Milk
An experienced and Scottish Bafta-winning games designer with 7 years of industry experience developing games for companies such as Visual Science, Realtime Worlds and Proper Games. I started out making mods for Half Life aged 15 and soon found out I could actually get a job making games - graduating from Abertay University helped and I honed my craft in Dundee.
I moved back to Essex to set up my own as Spilt Milk Studios 2 years ago and haven't looked back since. I'm focused on iPhone games, with a view to moving onto PC in the near future. Our releases so far have been Crunch: The Game & Hard Lines, with Smash the Block & Lazarus coming this year.
I come from a design-focused perspective when creating games, and am a firm believer that content is king. Everything else should be in support of that original vision.
I've often written opinion pieces for Develop-Online, Gamasutra, GamesBRIEF, and have been featured in the Develop 30-under-30 two years in a row.
Jim Griffiths - Mediatonic
Jim Griffiths, 32, started as a writer and producer at online game company Mediatonic in 2008, creating the story and characters for Flash title “Amateur Surgeon”, which was about a pizza-delivery boy performing surgery with a pizza cutter.
It turned out to be a success, with over 65 million plays on adultswim.com; even better, rapper T-Pain announced the iPhone version was his favourite ever app. (Really).
Since then Jim has worked on dozens of titles of varying sizes, including PSP minis “Who’s That Flying?!” and “Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess!”. He was very, very happy when the latter won an award for being funny.
Jim is currently working on updates for the recently-released Facebook game “Amateur Surgeon Hospital”, which is the fifth title in the “Amateur Surgeon” series that Mediatonic has released. He hopes their on-going popularity confirms his belief that character-driven games and high-brow toilet humour is an evergreen recipe for success.
Before joining Mediatonic, Jim wrote about cars and studied English and Drama at University.
Peter Theophilus-Bevis – Blitz Games Studios
Peter joined Blitz Games Studios in 2005 and since then has acquired extensive game development experience with six shipped titles under his belt, including Dead to Rights: Retribution, Kinect AR title Fantastic Pets and numerous SpongeBob Squarepants titles. His vast amount of knowledge and experience in game content creation across varied platforms and genres now underpins his role as Lead Designer.
Peter is an essential member of TruSim, the studio’s Serious Games division and is currently working on Vitalize, a research project in association with the American Department of Defense designed to promote adherence in physiotherapy via video game technology.
A key member of the design discipline, Peter is actively involved with Blitz Academy, the studio’s academic outreach programme. He has also given numerous guest lectures on games theory and production methodology at various universities throughout the UK.
In his spare time, Peter is the principle designer for small iOS indie developer Team Vegetable Patch.
Mark Backler - Lionhead
I studied Games Computing at Lincoln University and got my first job in the industry as a scripter at EA in 2006 working on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
I later worked as a game designer at Kuju’s Guildford studio, Nik Nak and am now a designer at Lionhead Studios, where I have worked on Fable 2, Milo and Kate and most recently, Fable: The Journey.
I’ve loved video games since I was old enough to play on our Commodore 64 and still play as many games as I can find time to.
I have recently been playing about with Unity 3D in my spare time, and was a technical reviewer on Will Goldstone’s Unity Development essentials (which you should totally check out if you’re interested in learning Unity!).
But without further ado, we’re officially handing over the reigns of the Develop website for the next 48 hours.
The winners of the competition will be announced on Sunday.
On Monday we’ll offer a round-up of all the news form this weekend. That is, if I haven’t been replaced by then.
Good luck everyone!