Dublin Gamecraft perfects platform for Ireland’s gaming developers

28 Feb 2012

Eight hours to produce a video game seems tough enough, but when you add a theme of ‘Dinosaur Angst’ to the mix it seems even tougher. Siliconrepublic.com’s resident gaming nerd Adam Renardson went along to Dublin Gamecraft this past weekend to see some of Ireland’s top gaming developers in action.

After the major success in recent months of State of Play and Games Ireland Gathering, the spotlight is firmly fixed on the Irish gaming development community. This was the first Dublin Gamecraft, organised by software developer and part-time DIT lecturer Andrea Magnorsky.

Magnorsky, along with Sean McDermott and Andrew O’Connor, form the Batcat Games team, whose P3 title (a shooter very reminiscent of 3D Realms classic Raptor) is now available on XBox Live Indie Games.

Thirty-four teams in total entered the jam from varying backgrounds, all with a common goal – to create a game and have fun in the process. The format was simple: eight hours to produce a game, on any platform, using any development method necessary provided they stuck to the theme of Dinosaur Angst. From the offset it was clear that eight hours was a very refined timeline in which to produce a fully functioning game. A number of developers went with Microsoft’s XNA development platform and Unity 3D to produce their efforts.

The finished games were judged on five categories – Gameplay, Innovation, Polish, Graphics/Style and Narrative/Story, with a maximum total of 50 points available for each entry.

Big winners on the day were the Dine-O-Sour team comprised of Mariano Di Murro, Zafer Balbous and Brendan Marsh, whose platform-puzzle game A Nasty Glutton for Sour Taste (clever use of the word ANGST) found favour with all the judges.

Runners-up by the narrowest of margins were Maeve Landers and Conor Lynch, two DCU computer applications students, with their game AngstySaurus, a Sims-esq text-based RPG. In third place was Cian McNabola for his stunning graphical adventure Henry Come Home. McNabola is studying games design in Norwich, England, and flew home especially for the games jam.

The award for innovation went to fourth-year DIT students Sean O’Donoghue and Jean Finley together with their lecturer Brian Duggan, who developed a pterodactyl flying simulator with Kinect integration. And finally, an award for the best one-man-army went to Daniel Elliott for his MMO Hungry Dinosaur.

Special thanks goes to Vicky Twomey-Lee who helped organise the event, David McCabe who helped everything run smoothly, and all the judges for the games.

Some photographs of the day can be seen on Siliconrepublic’s Flickr page