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Skills & Training

MiniGame


MiniGame is a programme for video game companies in Northern Ireland aimed at supporting new teams coming together to develop their first game.

The focus of MiniGame is creating mini/short games that can be published within 5 months. These can be narrative games that can be completed in less than an hour, an endless runner with unique mechanics, a turn based strategy with interesting gameplay loops. Concise games that players can pick-up and enjoy in an afternoon.

MiniGame aims to support new teams coming together for the first time, so that they can build credibility and develop the internal knowledge/workflows needed to create, develop and release engaging video games.

Successful MiniGame companies will receive a full induction to the facilities and the programme on Monday 26th September.

Induction will include:

  • Intros to mentors and key Northern Ireland Screen staff
  • Talks from experienced local video game studios
  • Intro to Prototyping

Resources

The Pixel Mill will offer a cross-section of expertise and resources which MiniGame companies will have access to. Expertise/resources will cover the breath of the creative and business disciplines needed to run a modern-day video game company.

Mentors will be available throughout the programme to provide advice and guidance to companies on areas such as:

  • Publishing
  • Marketing
  • Programming
  • Game Design
  • Business/Business Development
  • Legal

MiniGame will be hosted in The Pixel Mill based at the Ormeau Baths in Belfast, or remotely if teams are not based in Belfast, where companies will have access to facilities and mentors. (If companies are not based in Belfast but are close to one of our regional partners there may be the option to offer access to office space outside of Belfast). Those interested in applying to MiniGame and who would like to have an informal chat can arrange to meet with our Interactive Manager, Rory Clifford by emailing [email protected].

Programme

MiniGame is split into 2 phases, where companies will be challenged with developing an idea for a game, validating the market opportunity for that idea and taking it into production. The stages will be as follows:

  • Prototyping/Vertical Slice: 4 weeks of idea generation and prototyping. Companies will be challenged to come up with 2 game concepts, creating a prototype for each. They will choose one prototype to develop into a vertical slice from which they can create and release a finished game, validating the business case and market opportunity for each.
  • Production: Based on the market validation carried out by companies, they will select a game which they will take into full production for 16 weeks with the goal of self-publishing the finished game by February 2023.

By the end of the production phase companies will be expected to have published a game which is within the scope of the budget and time allowed. It is important that companies have a concerted focus on marketing and community building around their games throughout the programme.

During the programme companies will have milestones/deliverables which they will be required to meet in order to move on to the next stage of development. Summary as per below.

Phase Time Deliverable Funding Available
1. Prototyping/Vertical Slice 4 Weeks

w/c 3rd Oct – w/c 24th Oct

2 Prototypes and Vertical Slice Up to £10,000
2.   Production 16 Weeks

w/c 31st Oct – w/c 20th Feb

Fully developed and published game Up to £15,000

Application process

MiniGame is open to companies that meet the following criteria:

  • Legally incorporated independent game companies. The company does not need to have been registered with companies house prior to the submission of the expression of interest but must be registered with Companies House should the team progress to Stage 3 and be required to submit a Screen Fund application form.
  • Companies must consist of 2 or more team members (ideally 3) with the key roles of programming, art and business development covered within the team.
  • Companies and team members must be committed to participating for the duration of the programme – 26th September 2022 – 24th February 2023
  • The company must be a new studio with no previous titles released, however team members can have worked on games that have been previously released by other studios.
  • Company, including its team members, is able to join MiniGame on Monday 26th September.

 Application Process

The application process will contain three stages:

  • Stage 1: Complete Expression of Interest – this is an online form (alternative formats available) and all companies interested in applying to MiniGame must complete it.
  • Stage 2: Interview Stage – Companies will be shortlisted based on the expression of interest forms and those shortlisted will be invited to attend an interview with Northern Ireland Screen. The interview will involve a presentation and questions from a panel.
  • Stage 3: Screen Fund Application – this is an online form and a link will be sent to the successful companies following interview stage.

As the budget is limited we anticipate that up to 3 successful companies will be supported to develop their business and build their teams.

Evaluation criteria

Your expression of interest will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  1. Knowledge of the team of game production
    • This can be through student projects, modding in your own time or taking part in game jams
  2. Company can demonstrate that key roles are covered by team members;
    • Programming
    • Art
    • Game Design
    • Business Development/Marketing
  3. Ability to concisely pitch a video game

Timeline

Date Detail – dates are indicative
Deadline for submission of Expression of Interest 04/08/22
Shortlisting 08/08/22
Interviews 16/08/22 – 17/08/22
Notification to successful Companies 19/08/22
Submission of applications to Screen Fund for funding 24/08/22
Letter of offer issued 12/09/22
Start of MiniGame 26/09/22
Prototype/Vertical Slice 28/10/22
Production 05/12/22

Click HERE to read the FAQs.

The deadline to apply is Thursday 4th August.

Click HERE to apply.

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