Dec 02
Written by

Troll The Galaxy!

Star Troll has been out a few months now and it's cool to see the reviews and video guides popping up online.

In case you've missed any of my thousands of Facebook, Twitter and Google+ updates, here's a quick look at some of the reviews, mentions and videos.

As well as these, we have received a lot of reviews on each of the individual marketplaces, thanks to all of you who took time to share feedback with us!

PocketGamer 
"In other words, Star Troll has a retro, good-time arcade feel to it. So if that's what you want with your si-fi, consider download it for free."

"Star Troll has an arcade heart."

TheArcade.ie
"Star Troll provides a smooth, interesting, retro feeling shooter with terrifically varied enemies, obstacles and boss battles with ruthless gameplay making for hours of rage and entertainment."

Jupi Plays Indie Games

5 Intriguing Apps for Windows

Dec 02
Written by

Christmas Presents and Gaming Goodies!

December is here and it's gone a bit festive all over the internet! With advent calendars, special offers and free games available, 'tis the season to be jolly indeed!

Iglu Media have a cool advent calendar with games to be won! For a chance to win today's prize follow and retweet this!

Advent of Indies is also running now, featuring daily freebies and recommendations for indie gaming goodness! With Amplitude Studios yesterday and Nifflas today, this is shaping up to be something special for fans and fellow indie devs alike! Follow Advent of Indies on Twitter for a handy link to the daily treats!

Theres been a load of local developers with some impressive things to show off recently too. Atoms NG by Six Echo Studios is available free on iOS. An addictive turn-based strategy for 1-4 players, this one will have you laughing and crying and the overloads and explosions 'cause you to go from top to bottom in a few brightly coloured seconds! Perfect for family game time over Christmas!

Another local team, Digital Furnace Games have the gorgeous Onikira: Demon Killer on Steam Early Access (also available half price for another few hours). This side-scrolling 2D beat 'em up features God Of War style combat in feudal Japanese setting. Follow Onikira: Demon Killer on Twitter for updates, videos and all their latest news!

Another goodie is the brilliant Schrodinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark (also half price for another few hours) by Italic Pig, a "platformer-puzzler-punch up of subatomic proportions" what more could you want?

That's a good start to the festive season, I'll be sure to add more sales, deals and goodies as they become available! Let me know of any games you think should be added!

Nov 24
Written by

Star Troll is Out Now on Android, iOS and Windows Phone

After weeks of waiting it's Star Troll time!

Available for free on Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Windows Store so there's no escaping the action packed alien destruction!

  • Retro style pixel graphics and addictive survival based gameplay!
  • Hazardous obstacles to overcome as you power your way through the nebulae of space!
  • Different weapon levels awarded by defeating the menace and activating your power up system!
  • Epic boss battles with shifting mechanics and behaviours!
  • Troll the Galaxy!

How long can you survive? Well, what are you waiting for?

Press Kit available here!

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Nov 20
Written by

Democracy: The Social Justice Board Game Now on iOS

Board game fans will be happy to know that Democracy is now available on iOS, a handy way to experience the full game in any setting.

Up to 6 players can join a game and let social justice ruin the dictatorship! Or play as the Dictator and decide how you'll play to gain votes!

  • With climate change, human rights, the economy, civil unrest, social stability and elections!
  • Control and develop education, health, agriculture, housing and military.
  • Manage economic collapse and natural disasters.
  • Play for votes and power! How will you fare in elections?
  • Will you use domination or co-operation to gain votes?

Democracy - the fate of the world is in your hands.

Democracy by Geepy Games available now on iOS for £1.99 (2.49EUR).

 

 

Nov 12
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Hour Of Code: Northern Ireland Workshops

Computer Science Education Week is 8th - 14th December, and Hour of Code is back!

Stephen Hawking said "Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you just want to pursue a career in the 21st century, basic computer programming is an essential skill to learn."

Hour of Code is an initiative to bring code into every school, to allow all children to try it at least once. This year we are offering quick fire Hour of Code workshops where kids can make their own Flappy Bird game! If you'd like to book a space for the week of 8-14 December drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. now!

We can accommodate up to 20 students at a time and have a selection of hour workshops to choose from depending on the age and experience of the students.

We will also have a few spaces available for more intense sessions with small groups, maybe Young Enterprise teams with a game or app as part of their project, or afterschool clubs already involved in programming who want some added expertise to take their projects a bit further. These will be available in hour blocks or as full morning/afternoon sessions but the availability is limited.

Feedback from some of our previous workshops:

"The most valuable part of the course was talking to experienced instructors!"
"I liked the step by step guidance."
Participant on Troll Inc Advanced Unity Workshop for Honeycomb Creative Works

"The workshops were extremely professional, well organised, appropriately pitched and backed up with suitable materials and follow on advice. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone who was thinking about using their services."
Clare Melaugh, Head of ICT, St. Mary's College

"Troll Inc devised curriculum linked workshops for 11 to 18 year olds. They have the ability to adapt work to specific age groups in both content and delivery."
Vivienne Kerr, School Employer Connections

Nov 04
Written by

Troll the Galaxy with Star Troll Trailer

Trailer for Star Troll on Android, iOS and Windows. #TrollTheGalaxy

Available Monday 24th November!

STAR TROLL has returned! Returned from his trip to the space supermarket for groceries. But what's this!? ALIENS are on the attack!
Have you got what it takes to defeat the evil alien army and navigate through dangerous asteroid fields?
 
Nov 04
Written by

Announcing Star Troll for iOS, Android and Windows Phone!

STAR TROLL has returned! Returned from his trip to the space supermarket for groceries. But what's this!? ALIENS are on the attack!
 
Star Troll is our fun pixel space shooter, developed after our artist repeatedly threatened to spend all his days remaking all our games with pixels. Due for release in a few weeks, Star Troll will be available free on iOS, Android and Window Phone.
 
 
Here's a sneak peek at the lovely pixels, more to come over the next few weeks!
 
 
 
Oct 20
Written by

Young Enterprise Digital Industry Masterclass

Last week I was invited to take part in two Young Enterprise Digital Industry Masterclasses in Lumem Christi School. Following a talk from a local entrepreneur, the kids had to then design an app or game and work out how they would finance, develop and market it. Each group had to complete a business plan and do a two minute pitch to myself and the other app buddies. It was really fun, both days were full of creative kids, brilliant app ideas and some great pitches!

Day 1 saw Padraig Canavan from Kofax giving a great talk on how and why he started his software development company. As well as being insightful, his brief history of computers (from taking up half a room to fitting in your pocket) was brilliant. His story about how 5 double glazers showed up for interview after he placed a Windows Developer advertisement was also brilliant.

Day 2 had Paul Brown, a former Lumen Christi pupil who now runs a media company as well as managing music acts, talk about how important it is to follow your dreams and enjoy what you do for a living, telling students, "You're not too young to do it!"

Here's a list of the app ideas presented as well as a note of the winners from each day!

Day 1:

Study Buddy - An app for students and teachers to exchange notes and start discussions about school work. Integrates with cloud storage for easy file management. Looking to partner with universities to help fund and promote the app.

Skinternational - An innovative beauty app, personalise with your own skin, eye and hair colour and get recommendations on what products and make up are best for you. Integrates with YouTube to offer tutorials on how to use the products. Looking to take advantage of a growing male grooming market, and planned 3 launch events at spas and beauty shops to reach target audience.

Shuffle - A handy management app for all your social networks, allowing you to quickly check all your updates in the one place. Especially handy for the limited time a student might get to check their mobile phone during the day. They worked hard to justify all development and marketing decisions by conducting their own market research within their group.

Snap & Compare - A quick and easy way to find products online and compare prices. Planning to integrate with eBay's search by image function to allow users to snap pics of any products and quickly find matches across the web. Planned to get sponsorship from big brands to get their products featured in selected searches.

V-Lapse - Another innovative way to use your phone to record special memories and automatically make videos to share to YouTube and social media sites. Users can set a reminder to take a picture at a certain time the create a video from all pictures taken. The group identified a few different target markets, new parents, gardeners, health and fitness gurus, and developed different marketing strategies for each group.

Bingo Wings - A just for fun app developed for older fans of bingo and puzzle games. A great way to open up technology to a market not traditionally targets by games, with a really fun presentation. Also focused on in-app purchases to increase revenue streams for the app.

I Can Calm - Want to ensure you don't send angry messages in the heat of the moment? This app will block you from texting or posting online for 5 minutes, and provide fun and distracting games such as darts, to give you time to calm down and avoid you doing something you regret. Designed to help prevent spur of the moment messages that could lead to cyber bullying, it was great to see students willing to tackle issues like this,

The Drop - A game were users can selfie to create a character which they then have to control as they dropped through a series of obstacles. Taking inspiration from popular game Flappy Bird, this game features simple controls but tough challenges to ensure that 'one more go' feeling keep users playing longer.

It was tough to pick only 2 winners from this selection so the app buddies and I asked if we could pick 3, and even that was tough. We eventually settled on:
Best Pitch - Skinternational
Best App - V-Lapse
Best All Rounder - Study Buddy

On day 2 we had:

Banter Bus - A racing game where the driver of a bus has to negotiate 3 lanes of traffic while collecting students. With a few objectives to complete along the way the game is all about getting the highest score. Integration with social media sites allows for sharing of scores, you can also challenge your friends to increase competition.

Moviemood - A cool app to help you decide what to watch based on your mood. With a few input choices you can easily filter content to avoid having to browse for ages and still not finding something you want to watch. They talked about how they would sell the app then drop the price after a time to help increase profits in year 2 and 3 of the business.

Gigglegram - A handy video editing tool for you phone that allows you use content already available to make jokes and funny videos. Integrating with Vine and other social media sites, this app allows videos of different lengths to be quickly uploaded to your own social media sites.

Demo Sound - This app allows bands and artists to manage all their own music for sharing on social media and with record companies. Additional revenue comes from charging record companies to access the content available allowing them to keep costs down for the musicians. This app was very well designed with loads of user friendly features. This was the most inventive pitch of the day with one student tearing up his speech and speaking to us from the heart about his brilliant app!

Instaworkout - A fun app to keep track of progress as you get fit, users can take pics of their progress, select from loads of workout videos and add content from personal trainers to keep track of all their health and fitness stuff in one place. Integrating with YouTube to offer additional workout videos, this would be a handy tool for anyone starting or already in the middle of a workout program.

Turn It Off - This app comes with a filter for sockets in your home to allow you to control plugs and power from your mobile phone. This stops the worry of wondering if you remembered to turn off the oven, or worse still, your hair straighteners, and saves you from burning your house down! As it was sold with the filter, this team was really conscious of price, coming up with ways of keeping it low to attract the most customers.

Buff Buddy - This app is for people who prefer to work out alone rather than at a gym, but still want some help and support on their get fit journey. Featuring an animated avatar that is customised to match the users appearance, and that changes as the user changes. There was also some great ideas to integrate with sports clothing brands to allow users to get digital versions of clothes they buy for themselves, further customising the avatar to look like themselves.

Again, the competition was tough and again we picked 3 winners instead of 2. Day 2 winners were:
Best Pitch - DemoSound
Best App - Turn It Off
Best All Rounder - Buff Buddy

Both days ended with Vincent from Invest NI telling the students how they can make their ideas into business. His inspiring talk of teenage entrepreneurs further enhanced the message that you're never too young to do something you are passionate about. And Invest NI can help - get in touch with them here - http://www.investni.com/

I would highly recommend taking part in the Young Enterprise Industry Masterclass, whether as a student who wants a chance to do something fun and creative in school, or as someone in the creative digital industries who wants to see how inventive students can be in such a short time. Both days were fun and full of creativity, I'm looking forward to the next one already!

For more information visit http://www.yeni.co.uk/

Oct 20
Written by

I'm No Good Without The Evil Within

Horror is back, with a vengeance. Yep, after 9 years of Shinji-less Resident Evil, we finally get a game that remembers what horror is all about. Take Resident Evil 4’s strengths, mash in Silent Hill and add a sprinkle of Dead Space gore. That’s The Evil Within.

Gameplay
The game basically plays as a 3rd person shooter. The shooting controls are tight and well done and the enemy AIs act smart and unpredictable. Tension is also built up through random monster encounters that help to keep the player on their toes.

Sound
Sound plays a vital role in The Evil Within in order to create anxiety, paranoia and tension. The character dialogue is also excellent, with talented actors such as Jennifer Carpenter from Dexter and Jackie Earle Haley from Watchmen.

Story
Although the story is very well done, often it can be confusing. Without giving anything away, the game hiccups a few times, not enough to ruin the story, but just enough to invoke multiple head scratches.

So in the end, the game excels at what it was created for: Survival Horror. No hand holding and no safety in infinite ammo capacities. This is what horror is supposed to be.

Oct 13
Written by

Advanced Unity Workshops with Troll Inc and Honeycomb

Looking to add to existing Unity3D skills? Troll Inc are delivering Advanced Unity workshops as part of Honeycomb Creative Works.

First up is Advanced Programming and Animation - a 2 day workshop with day 1 taking place on Saturday 18th October, day 2 is Saturday 25th October.
Both days take place in Coleraine campus of University of Ulster.

Also running is Advanced Animation and Visual Effects, a 1 day workshops on Saturday 8th November, taking place in Magee campus of University of Ulster.

Sign up at the links above and check #HCSkills on Twitter for any updates or news!

We look forward to seeing you there.

Feedback from previous workshops:

"Gavin's experience was evident."

"I liked ... step-by-step guidance."

"Course was ... very well times and prepared."

"The most valuable part of this course was ... talking to experienced instructors."

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