THE D11 BAFTA ROUNDUP!

By | Double Eleven | No Comments

As I am sure many of you know, Double Eleven put on their best suits and dresses and headed to the BAFTAs in London on Tuesday night. We would love to tell you that it wasn’t as glamorous as you’d think, but it actually was!

So the champagne reception started at 6pm and we all made our way down the red carpet; thankfully no one fell and there were no wardrobe malfunctions so the night was off to a great start. The night began with champagne and catching up with old friends in the games industry, as well as making some new acquaintances along the way. As much as we would love to give you a blow-by-blow account of how amazing the food was, we will keep it short and sweet and tell you that we all got a “Mini BAFTA” from the famous chocolatier Hotel Chocolat. So in that respect, everyone was a winner!

Now onto the awards!

Comedian and causal gamer Dara O’Briain hosted the night and he did a fantastic job of it, keeping the jokes flowing throughout. There were obviously a host of guest celebrities as well, including Mark Wright, Boris Becker and Jonathan Ross who added to the sparkle of the evening overall. Let’s give you a rundown of this year’s winners by category:

Action – Far Cry 3
Game Innovation – The Unfinished Swan
Artistic Achievement – Journey
Mobile & Handheld – The Walking Dead
Audio Achievement – Journey
Online – Browser – SongPop
BAFTA Ones to Watch Award in association with Dare to be Digital – Starcrossed
Online – Multiplayer – Journey
Best Game – Dishonored
Original Music – Journey
British Game – The Room
Performer – Danny Wallace
Debut Game – The Unfinished Swan
Sports/Fitness – New Star Soccer (one of our favourites!)
Family Game – LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Story – The Walking Dead
Games Strategy – XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Games Design – Journey

Games Luminary and founder of Valve Gabe Newell was there to receive a Fellowship and gave an epic speech to accompany his award. Everyone had a fantastic night and it was a real pleasure to be there. It was also a privilege to meet some of the brains behind some of the biggest games in the industry at the moment. Naturally we were disappointed that LBP lost out to The Walking Dead, but competition was stiff and we were honored to have been nominated for a BAFTA in the first place. That said, we hope to bring one home next year….watch this space!

DOUBLE 1-TO-1s – ROB

By | Double Eleven | No Comments

Hi Rob. So, to start off, what do you do at Double Eleven?

I’m Technical Director, but most of my day is spent hands-on coding.

And have you been in the games industry long?

Just working it out; it’ll be 11 years in May.

That’s quite a stint. How much of that has been with Double Eleven?

It will be 2 years in July if I remember correctly.

And where else have you worked in the remainder of that time?

Well, back in 2002 I moved from the south coast to the Midlands after I bagged a job at Rare, where I learnt a lot over the next seven years. In 2009 I moved up to Leeds for a stint at Rockstar, so by that time I knew both Lee [Hutchinson, CEO] and Matt [Shepcar, Technical Director] well and the rest is history really.

What made you decide to get into the games industry in the first place, and how did you secure a job at Rare?

It was all an accident really. I loved computers from an early age and was programming as a hobby. I can remember spending weeks writing a “Red Dwarf” text adventure in Basic. I think that was 1990 or 1991, so I was around 10. This continued through my teens, but I mostly studied other things. I went off to university to study economics. That didn’t really work out and I didn’t finish it, but that turned out to be quite fortunate. I sent off a speculative application to Rare with a bunch of demos I’d written for the Gameboy Advance, and they were kind enough to give me a chance, which I took with both hands!

A Rare opportunity! Ha ha…. sorry. So, knowing Lee and Matt from working with them in the past, you must have been happy to jump over to the Double Eleven ship. What would you say you like about working here, with them, the most?

I think for me it’s been about getting involved with something early on and hopefully being able to make a big difference. That’s exciting and scary in equal measures. Creating software is like alchemy, except that it actually works. So if you can get great people together in that field you can do great things. I think that’s what we’re on the road to achieving here at Double Eleven.

You were part of the team for ‘LittleBigPlanet PS Vita’. What was your involvement on the project?

That project was a bit of a Herculean optimisation effort and that’s what I spent a fair bit of my time on the project doing. We had to multi-thread all sorts of code that programmers often shy away from attempting, such as all the game logic that you can put together in Create Mode. So I spent a lot of time trying to make sure I hadn’t broken anything (or finding out that I had and fixing it!) I also did a fair bit of work on the networking code and then lots of general bug fixing.

And now you’re working on ‘Frozen Synapse: Tactics’. Obviously you can’t say much right now, but can you give us a quick summary of your role on that?

Indeed. For Frozen Synapse I’ve taken on the lead programmer role and that basically involves overseeing all the software, putting processes and pipelines into place, and problem solving whatever comes up as the project goes on.

Moving away from work, do you find much time for gaming outside of the job? What would you say was your most recently enjoyed game?

I love the more experimental indie games and I’m glad that scene is doing so well. Braid, Fez, VVVVVV are some obvious favourites from the last few years, and of course Frozen Synapse. I recently spent half the day selling newspapers in Cart Life, which was quite a profound experience. I’m really looking forward to Spy Party and must get around to trying Prison Architect. That said, I still play quite a lot of good old Tetris too. Aside from that you can find me running quite long distances or playing with my two dogs.

Indeed, it is certainly good to see so much attention on great indie games at the moment. Do you have any closing comments?

Closing comments, well…I should really take the opportunity to say ‘send us your CVs’, if you think you can enhance the team here at Double Eleven. And with that, there is work to do so I’ll say goodbye!

Well, thank you for the interview, Rob. Good luck with your work on ‘Frozen Synapse: Tactics’.

DOUBLE ELEVEN NEEDS YOU! INTRIGUED? READ ON…

By | Double Eleven, Jobs | No Comments

Have you ever played a game and thought “Wow, that character/location looks amazing, I wonder what it took to design that” or “I wish that character had X, Y or Z to make them perform/look better!” If you look at a game on a creative level as well as technical and you love the idea of being part of a successful game, carry on reading.

Double Eleven is on the hunt for an Art Manager to add to our awesome team of creative geniuses. Remember in the movie “Taken”, where Liam Neeson is giving that epic speech and he says, “I do not have money, but what I do have is a very particular set of skills….”? Well, here at Double Eleven, we have a very specific set of skills that we would like our new Art Manager to embody. In a nutshell, this is what we are after:

We want a creative thinker with vast art and project manager experience and a gift for communication both in writing and in person. The ideal candidate would be a team player who demonstrates critical thinking and problem solving abilities. At Double Eleven, passion is key, so putting your heart and soul into everything is absolutely essential, as is the ability to work in a high-pressure environment; everyone loves the adrenaline though, right?

We are really looking forward to adding another valuable addition to our awesome team. If, after reading this, you think you’re the right person for Double Eleven, a detailed job description is available on our website so check it out; you could be exactly what we’re looking for!

Do YOU have what it takes?

BEST NEW BUSINESS AWARDS

By | Double Eleven | No Comments

Time to roll out the red carpet again! This time last year, Double Eleven picked up an award at the Best New Business Awards in the Creative Industries category. We were also selected as the overall winner of the Best New Business, so it was a fantastic night for us! We really appreciated the recognition that we received last year, which is why we sponsored the Creative Industry award for the 2013 ceremony. The ceremony was last night and the winner for our category was CoatSink Software Ltd!

For us it is important to recognize talent within the creative industry and the massive amount of work and effort that goes into establishing a successful and sustainable business. We wanted to select a company that was really going somewhere with their fresh ideas and innovative take on what they do. The nominees had all achieved this through their own means, so it was actually really hard to pick a winner. We wish them all a wealth of success in their future growth and development as companies.

As a company, Double Eleven has grown immensely in the last year, with an increase in turnover of more than a third, a lot of exciting new projects on an international scale and most importantly, more fantastic people to help us produce the most amazing, high quality games around. With all of the success and awards nominations in the past few years, you’d think it would have gone to our head, but we remain focused on moving forward and doing everything bigger and better! We aim to keep our team happy and let them grow at Double Eleven; we want them to love working for us and help us to grow the company into something awesome (or should that be more awesome than it already is?).

We were honored to receive the award last year and the Double Eleven team were thrilled that all of their hard work had been recognized, so we were excited to pass it on to another deserving company. It was a really good night, with the passion of the North East really shining through; there are so many businesses working to make the North East into a real empire. Sam Fletcher did a wonderful job organizing the event and made sure that everything went smoothly. We had a fantastic time and want to say congratulations to all of last night’s winners!!

COMPANY OF THE YEAR

By | Double Eleven | No Comments

It’s another exciting year for Double Eleven and it’s showing no sign of slowing down any time soon. We have just received news that Double Eleven has been nominated for Company of the Year at the North East Business Awards so we are loving this euphoric wave of recognition that is sweeping across Double Eleven. It is very humbling to us that people regard us so highly as a company, but as a company that remains strongly tied to its roots in the North East, it also makes us extremely proud.

Whilst any award is obviously an honour to receive, Company of the Year is one close to our hearts. We work hard to ensure that our staff enjoy – scratch that – they love working for us. We encourage personal development that satisfies them to such a degree that it makes them appreciate how much we value them as individuals, as well as wanting to enhance the skill set of our growing team. Our working environment is like any other, with boardrooms and office areas, but we also have other, more informal areas for casual meetings and brainstorming that encourage the creativity and fresh ideas to emerge from within the innermost genius of our developers and other team members. Most importantly, Double Eleven owes this nomination to the three pillars on which the company rests; Hard Work, Integrity and Solidarity.

No job is too big or too small, we put our heart and soul into everything that we do and as a team we have an excellent synergy that allows us to produce the results that we do. Great games don’t just happen overnight; there’s always a story (and an army of talented developers, artists and other creative individuals) behind them. Good Synergy leads to great energy and even better games. Company of the Year? Let’s do this!

BAFTA for Double Eleven?

By | Double Eleven | No Comments

Ladies and Gentlemen, raise your glasses and join us in celebrating our first BAFTA nomination for LittleBigPlanet Vita. As many of you know, the Double Eleven team have worked extremely hard to ensure that LBP Vita was the epitome of perfection when it came to the big release in September 2012. The team worked tirelessly in collaboration with Tarsier Studiosin Sweden to make LBP Vita surpass the expectations of its ever growing fan base.

Let’s take a look back over the beginnings of LittleBigPlanet; the first edition of the game was created with the aim of encouraging users to build their own communities and customise their own planets around the loveable character Sackboy. The first edition was a great success and it picked up multiple BAFTAs. LittleBigPlanet 2 picked up 2 BAFTA awards in the Family and Game Innovation categories, so to hear that our work on LittleBigPlanet Vita was also to be recognised with the same glitz, glamour and prestige of the 2 previous games, we felt truly honoured! LBP sales worldwide have remained consistently high since the release of the first game, again confirming that this game’s story has truly taken the games world by storm.

The meta scores for each release of LBP have been consistently impressive, a trend that continued with LBP Vita. The Vita version received a white-hot reception from gamers the world over, making all of our hard work worth it to see the positive response that it received following its release. Whilst we obviously enjoy the awards and recognition for developing such an amazing game for Vita, the positive feedback from the people who play the game really makes us proud of what we have achieved. At the end of the day, we are also extremely proud that we managed to attain a meta score of that level in line with those of the previous games.

As it stands, LBP Vita has received the best response so far. Everyone involved in the development of the game feels an overwhelming sense of pride when it comes down to the final result and they feel honoured that their efforts have culminated in a BAFTA nomination. The ceremony is on 5th March and at Double Eleven we could not be more excited!!

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes one hell of a group of developers to create such a successful game. Needless to say, we are keeping everything crossed for the big day!

Double Eleven Launch Publishing Venture

By | Double Eleven | No Comments

Double Eleven have launched a new venture into video games publishing. We will be expanding into marketing and distributing of our own games, and of other indie studios’ games. Initially, we will be using the PlayStation Network (PSN) as our main digital distribution platform, supporting both the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita formats.

Amazing independent games are available for the PC, iPhone and Android markets, but are missing out on the huge 100 million strong PSN membership. We can greatly expand the audience size that these titles reach by bringing them to this platform. This helps them to succeed in the crowded and popular indie battle, and brings a new strategic partner for us too.

We believe we have the talent, industry connections and the passion to find and develop great games. Being sympathetic to the process of making a game allows us to work with developers in a more fair and reasonable manner than they may have experienced elsewhere. Self-publishing our own titles also allows us to pick the projects our staff would like to work on; which is great for them and ourselves.

We will be announcing our current games in development shortly, as well as the developers we are working with to make them happen.

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Scoops Game of the Year for Double Eleven

By | Double Eleven, LittleBigPlanet | No Comments

Last night’s Tiga Awards 2012 celebrated the successes within the UK games industry over the last twelve months. Categories stretched from specific game genres, all the way to best publisher, service provider and game of the year, amongst several others.

Double Eleven were shortlisted for the Leadership award under Lee Hutchinson, CEO, and best Debut Game and Game of the Year for LittleBigPlanet PlayStation Vita. Competition featured some truly excellent games and companies, but we are absolutely delighted to announce that we scooped the prizes for Leadership and Game of the Year.

Congratulations to all the winners in the other categories and thanks to Tiga for hosting a brilliant event. You can see all the winners on Tiga’s website.