Tech City: Mobile games maker sees bright future

Isaac Dart and Dean Gifford

Isaac Dart and Dean Gifford - Credit: Archant

A Tech City games developer has predicted a surge in serious mobile gaming next year as the gadgets get more sophisticated.

Dean Gifford, co-founded the independent company, Preliminal Games, two years ago to hone, manage and create games and game-building tools.

He said: “It’s a very interesting time. I think the key thing we should be seeing is mobile games becoming a little bit more serious and more of a desire for people to have mobile games that are deeper.

“I think it is a combination of tools becoming better, hardware being more capable and mature and also people understanding what they can demand from hardware and software.

“Ultimately, from an indie’s perspective, we have lower risk to do crazier things.”

Dean and his business partner Isaac Dart, both 36, are based in the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane.

They developed their ambitious upcoming game harnessing these elements.

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Dean said: “I’m a huge location geek. I like maps and exploring London, discovering new places. I like the idea that we could potentially build a city the players care about as a reflection of their real world.

“As a result, we have built quite a lot of new tech for the game.”

Fractured Skyline is a cyber punk strategy game in which users are cast as the CEO of a small business, trying to become the biggest global corporation.

Players interact with the real world to unlock the virtual world of the game.

It is one of the first games for mobile phones to focus so heavily on a narrative story and building complex environments to aid gameplay.

Preliminal Games hopes to sell the new technology developed for the game as a main source of income to create games full time.

The team was one of few to have been granted £25,000 funding from a prestigious university programme but Dean said funding was the key challenge for independent games developers.

He said: “In London, it is interesting, there are some options but we’ve been incredibly lucky. I think the biggest expense is probably keeping yourself alive while you are spending lots of energy building a game and not doing anything else.

“Also, game design - trying to come up with a game that’s fun and that your idea is something you can test which other people will like before putting in too much work.”

Dean added: “Our general inspiration is the indie game scene and community. It’s the nicest community you could ever hope to meet you just don’t get that level of unfettered idea generation anywhere else. Especially with gaming, London is very, very giving and entirely unguarded.”

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