A group of BA Games Design & Development students currently studying at the University Centre Grimsby (UCG), have seen success with a puzzle game, Between Heartbeats, that has recently been launched on the Windows Phone Store, and will be launched on all other platforms, including Android phones, within the next month.
The group has set up their own company, Blimbu Games, after first exploring the possibility of the game at Global Game Jam 2013, a competition that took place in Hull and saw students designing their own games over a weekend.
The students then pitched the game to, Jon Hare, a leading Games Designer and BAFTA Panel Member, with over 150 published titles. Eighteen-year-old, Jake Willey, former pupil at Havelock Academy, who is Blimbu Games’ Creative Director and Programming Lead, said: “We’ve been working on Between Heartbeats for the past 18 months, ever since we came up with the idea at the Global Game Jam competition. It’s been a lot of hard work, but really worthwhile.
“We’ve had a lot of support from the industry and from our tutors and UCG. It’s nice to see what we’ve been done has been recognised on this level. It has really taught us how to work as a team and being a student at the college we have learnt things like game balance; some of Between Heartbeats was just too hard when we first developed it so we’ve had to balance it out to make it more playable.”
Between Heartbeats is a simple, yet addictively fun, puzzle game, where you travel through veins in the human body as you fight an armada of viruses. Touted as ‘Vein Poppingly Fun!’ the game is free to download and Blimbu Games are already planning to release more levels in the future.
Sound Design Lead for Blimbu Games, Sam Hockaday, is an eighteen-year-old former pupil from Oasis Academy Wintringham, who was surprised by how quickly the students had seen success. Sam said: “We never thought we would have reached this stage of our development so soon. It’s taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to this point but it has definitely been worth it. We thought it would take the whole course before we had the ability to publish a game, but look at where we are already.”
Graham Raddings, Programme Leader for BA Games Design & Development at UCG, added: “This is a fantastic achievement for Blimbu Games. They came to to the Grimsby Institute at Level 3 and in the last three years we have given them the skills they need to succeed in the industry, these guys have really pushed it to another level.
“The Grimsby Institute Group is also one of the founding members of the Business and University Games Syndicate (BUGS) and at the syndicate’s recent launch, Jon Hare included the Between Heartbeats promo in his presentation. There were a lot of high-profile industry members there and since then word of mouth has been phenomenal.
“We’re trying to teach young people how to release a finished product, and this is proof that it really works. These guys are now the envy of the other students, but it is also driving the others forward as they have seen what is possible. The Blimbu Games team consists of the following;
- Jake Willey – Creative Director and Programming Lead
- Sam Hockaday – Sound Design Lead
- Dayne Oram – Art Lead Holly Andrews – Art
- Daniel Willey – Level Design Lead
- John Oswin – Level Designer
- David Copley – Level Designer
- Steven Bell – Level Designer
- Josh Orr – Animation Lead
- Bob Guest – Music Lead