Uni-based start-up gaming business wins £25,000 prize in national ‘talent of the future’ competition
Virtual Reality game, Hyper Party Ware VR, takes top prize at Tranzfuser 2017 competition and the company’s iPhone game achieves front page status on Apple’s App Store
A VIRTUAL Reality game, developed by a group of games design graduates from the University of Huddersfield, has beaten entries from across the country to be awarded first prize of £25,000 at a graduate talent competition funded by the Government and UK Games Fund (UKGF).
Hyper Party Ware VR has been created by Marcus Nichols, Parampal Singh and Chris Vickery. The trio, who are all directors of Shuttershade Studios, battled 23 entries to become joint winners of Tranzfuser 2017, a unique competition designed to provide a platform for showcasing creative leaders of the future. Now in its second year, the previous winner is now a major player in the games market.
Hyper Party Ware VR, for now a working title, is a collection of mini-games including basketball, darts, ping-pong and more and was created with the aim of bringing people together to experience Virtual Reality gaming in a less isolated way than the standard format.
Shuttershade Studios’s Co-Director Marcus, originally from Lowestoft in Suffolk, initially thought of the idea for the game after he watched his younger brother playing a VR game together with this friends and noticed that while one had the headset on and was enjoying the game, the rest of the group lost interest and started to play games on their mobile phones.
Marcus explained the variety and speed of the mini-games in Hyper Party Ware VR were the reason why gamers found the experience more engaging than other VR games currently available on the market.
“Everyone can become involved whether they have the headset on or not,” said Marcus. “The game allows other players waiting their turn to interfere and distract the main player, causing them to make mistakes.”
Tranzfuser 2017 officially began with each of the 23 competitors receiving a £5,000 grant from the UK Games Fund to develop a prototype of a game. This was then to be demonstrated to the 75,000 gaming enthusiasts attending EGX 2017, the UK’s biggest gaming event of the year and is held in Birmingham.
“The success of Hyper Party Ware VR at EGX was overwhelming,” said Marcus. “As we showcased the game, the queues became really long. We even witnessed people arguing over queue-jumping!”
The final challenge of the day was to deliver a pitch in front of leading industry experts about the game’s concept and its development followed by a series of questions.
The success for Shuttershade Studios didn’t stop there. Their recent win spurred them on to finish an iPhone game, entitled Pocket Galaxy, whose origins began when Marcus and Parampal were third year Computing Games Design students. They were completing their year-long internships working for the award-winning Canalside Studios, the University’s in-house games development company.
After the game was officially released it immediately achieved front page status on Apple’s App Store, an accolade reserved for the most accomplished of games and in just four days received over 50,000 downloads.
Pocket Galaxy is described as being ‘planetary bubble wrap all sealed and packaged for your phone’, and is being developed for a variety of formats including Android.
Due to the unprecedented amount of success Shuttershade Studios received, Marcus, Parampal and Chris sought the help of the University’s Enterprise Team in the Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Centre to officially set-up the business.
Marcus, Parmapal and Chris will spend the next few months carefully planning on how use the Tranzfuser prize money to further develop the business and will be working on developing their games for a variety of formats.