Monthly Archives: January 2015

A Massive Thank You to my Sponsors!

Recently I ran a campaign Help Olly Make Games at the NFTS to try to raise funds to study an innovative course in Game Design and Development at the National Film and Television School. Sadly my campaign was not successful. However, I will be continuing my studies in Advanced Spatial Analysis and Visualisation at CASA and look forward to completing my dissertation later in the year. In the meantime I’d like to extend my thanks to all of the great people who personally pledged their support and sponsored me:

A massive thank you to…

  • Luke Hebblethwaite (@LF_Uncertainly)
  • Dan Tilley (@BlackEel) – Black Eel
  • Surge (@ercansurge)
  • Kathryn Simpson (@its_so_fancy)
  • Alex Charilaou (@acalculatedrisk) – Ever Photography
  • Tim Hall
  • Marta Brebner (@martabeeeee)
  • Mark Oliver – M. Oliver
  • Preet (@preetmumbles)
  • Munchkin
  • Ben Hickman
  • Robert Chung (@dj_chug)
  • Robert Finlay (@RobFinlayMusic) – Rob Finlay
  • Kevin Kaighin
  • Dean Denton Giles
  • Colin Edwardson
  • Holly Finlay
  • Jude McArdle (@JudeAbides)
  • Flora Roumpani (@en_topia) – en-topia
  • David Wabel (@thewabel)
  • Genevieve McMahon (@genga)
  • Mia Mirr
  • Lauren Bush

A special thanks too to my good friends Neil Copland along with Robert Finlay and Sam at Elstree Film Design who helped me put together my crowdfunding campaign video.

The NFTS Game Design and Development team (@NFTS_Games) also gave me a great deal of support during my campaign. The Bartlett Centre for Spatial Analysis (@CASAUCL) where I currently study were also fantastic.

During the campaign I also received plenty of likes on Facebook, retweets on Twitter and some great new connection via LinkedIn as a result of my campaign. Ana who conceived the excellent virtual reality game Pixel Rift while studying at the NFTS last year was really kind to lend her support on social media. She’s been there so she knew the score. It was also particularly great to get retweets from leading London-based virtual reality companies Inition and Amplified Robot. I was also particularly pleased that philosopher, critic, and head of Persuasive Games, Ian Bogost took time to give me a tweet as well.

Thanks to all who supported my campaign. The game will have to wait for now but…

Watch this space!


Crowdfunding: Help Olly Make Games At The NFTS

Exciting News! I’ve been offered a place to study the MA in Game Development and Design at the National Film & Television School (NFTS) later this month. In order to be able to take my place I still need to raise £4,500 by the 16th of January. In a last effort to achieve this I’ve started a crowd funding campaign Help Olly Make Games At The NFTS with hubbub.

Please don’t hesitate to check out my campaign page as I’m offering a range of rewards including posters, exclusive prints of game artwork and even introductory workshops creating game environments. I’d also be very interested in speaking to any companies who might be interested in sponsoring me in return for work. If you’d like to discuss further don’t hesitate to contact me.

It goes without saying that participating in this course would be like a dream come true for someone who grew up as an avid gamer. Not only will I learn advanced techniques in 3D modelling, animation and programming but I’ll also be given the opportunity to work with film makers and sound designers and learn a wider range of skills in interactive story-telling. This will provide me with all the skills and connections necessary to allow me to develop, lead and successfully promote digital projects in a range of different contexts whether that be games, architectural visualisations, exhibits and interactive artworks. This opportunity is really important to me because I have a firm belief in the value of this technology as a means for engaging the public in a way that can both entertain, stimulate debate and promote participation in a wide range of social contexts. Any help you can provide by pledging your support or spreading the word would be much appreciated.

The Game Project

As part of my application I had to propose a game. I was really encouraged by the quality, high production values, innovative gameplay and strong narrative focus exhibited in previous projects from the NFTS course. Many of these games have gone on to receive nominations for gaming awards and further funding. Such games include Off Grid, Pixel Rift, and Sandman which are all very different but each share that NFTS signature care for quality gameplay and thoughtful story telling.

For my game I’d really like to explore my interests in psychology, technology, architecture and cities by developing a story based on the ideas of supporters and critics alike concerning the current movement in urban planning for Smart Cities. To that end I proposed the story of an architect struggling to create the perfect city. While dealing with intrigue amongst the powers-that-be the protagonist starts to lose their own grip on reality as the city they are creating starts making decisions of its own. In this way I hope to set the stage for a conspiracy adventure played out equally across the futuristic spaces of the newly sentient city as well as the warped spaces of the increasingly paranoid architect’s imagination. I hope this will offer novel and exciting opportunities for gameplay within an environment inspired equally by the corporate and avant-garde architectures of today and of the past; the paradoxical and labyrinthine spaces depicted by artists like MC Escher and Piranesi; and the near-future science fiction of writers like J.G. Ballard. In order to immerse the player in the experience I’m really keen to make the game compatible with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset because I love the idea of immersing the player in the role of the architect protagonist.

At the same time the story simply that of the architect, but equally that of the city. I’m keen to see if I can incorporate elements of the ‘Science of Cities’ that I’ve been learning in my studies at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) to create unusual puzzles and challenges for the player. Most experimentally I’d like to attempt to use live data generated by actual cities and social networks within the game. Although this is the most challenging and speculative part of my proposal it would be fascinating to see if I could use these techniques to break down the boundary between the game and everyday life by bringing the actual city into my game. Whether I can achieve this and what form that might take I can’t be sure at this point.

This is just the barest sketch but I hope that sounds exciting. I would really appreciate any help you can offer in making it happen. Please don’t hesitate to get involved with my campaign Help Olly Make Games At The NFTS and follow my progress on twitter @virt_arch.

Any and all help is appreciated!