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Northern Ireland Screen at GDC 2019


A delegation of game developers from Northern Ireland is set to attend the upcoming Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco with the support of Northern Ireland Screen.

Representatives from eight Northern Ireland-based companies will join the estimated 28,000 attendees at GDC to connect with international publishers and showcase their projects to a global audience.

The companies attending GDC as part of the Northern Ireland Screen Delegation:

  1. Italic Pig
  2. BillyGoat Entertainment
  3. Northern Softworks
  4. Rocket Flair Studios
  5. Testify
  6. Humaine
  7. Boomclap Play
  8. Blackstaff Games

Four companies in particular will also participate in GDC Play including Italic Pig (Booth number N3033); Billygoat Entertainment (Booth number N3037); Northern Softworks (Booth number N3039) and Rocket Flair Studios (Booth number N3041).

Ahead of the conference, Italic Pig was selected as a winner of GDC Best in Play; a prestigious accolade presented to only eight companies attending the event. The Best in Play award is judged by a panel of expert game developers who play each project demoed at GDC. Italic Pig received the award for its project The Infinite Hotel, a VR narrative adventure game.

Belfast-based studio Blackstaff Games will also attend GDC as part of the delegation. Blackstaff Games was invited to showcase its project Buildings Have Feelings Too! as part of a stand operated by Microsoft. Buildings Have Feelings Too!, received production funding through Northern Ireland Screen’s Assembler programme in 2018, which aims to supports local interactive content companies with lottery funding for early stage game development.

Michael O’Kane from Northern Softworks will also feature on the Dolby Stand on Friday 22 March at 12pm. Michael will be discussing the topic of ‘Dolby Atmos on an Indie Budget’. Northern Softworks will be presenting its game Inertial Drift at GDC Play, a head to head racing game, which has been developed with funding support from Northern Ireland Screen.

Donal Phillips, Interactive Executive, Northern Ireland Screen said: “We are excited to attend GDC for the fourth time this year with a strong delegation representing the Northern Ireland Game sector, which is home to a world-class indie game development community. While attending GDC, we want to highlight Northern Ireland Screen’s latest initiative, The Pixel Mill, which offers a unique opportunity for international publishers to connect, collaborate and work with games developers in Northern Ireland.”

In Northern Ireland there are over 30 companies developing video game projects. These range from a ‘point and click’ adventure starring the ghost of Oscar Wilde to a ‘beat-em-up’ game based on a tough London inner city estate. The diversity on offer is vast and spans genre, technology and themes. Many of these games and studios have won awards and deals with publishers and hardware platforms have already started rolling in.

Northern Ireland boasts the UK’s best funded region to make games in. Grants, combined with tax relief and other nationally available schemes, make developing games in the area attractive to publishers and investors. For further information on what we fund, click here.

The Northern Ireland Support network boasts excellent academic courses, service companies from audio design to product testing and the ‘Immersive Lab’ and ‘Writer’s Room’s programs. Furthermore, the indie game development community is known for being collaborative, with knowledge sharing being accelerated by regular social events and shared spaces like The Pixel Mill.

If you would like to make contact with our Northern Ireland Screen representative at GDC, please email Donal Phillips.

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