It can be very hard for indie studios to make money in the videogame industry from a fully released title, let alone trying to get an idea off the ground, which is why grant programmes like those run by Unreal Engine and the UK Games Fund. The latter has just award grants to eleven UK studios, three of which have or are developing virtual reality (VR) products.
The UK Games Fund provides grants up to £25,000 GBP to help new and young videogame development businesses create working prototype titles. Chosen in this fourth round were FuturLab, Sigtrap and Slacker Games, with Brighton-based FuturLab having previously made Tiny Trax and upcoming VR experience Mini-Mech Mayhem chosen because of an unannounced project which the studio claims: “is a radical departure from our previous games, whilst still retaining the studio’s core design principles.”
Sigtrap is the studio behind Sublevel Zero Redux, receiving the grant for a new VR title called The Crystal Curse (working title), a local co-op VR boardgame style experience.
Having been inspired by classics like The Crystal Maze, Knightmare and Jumanji, The Crystal Curse requires one player to enter VR to play minigames which also require the team’s help. This is achieved by the other players using their mobile devices to solve clues, guide the player and complete AR activities.
Slacker Games’ title is Private Eye, a cinematic, first-person psychological thriller, crafted exclusively for VR. Evolving the point and click genre for VR, Private Eye is set in the 1950s, with players taking on the role of Sam Sutherland, a detective in Dunton City. Sutherland suffers a serious accident resulting in dissociative amnesia, and must recover lost memories from his hospital bed, whilst delving into the case of the execution of a local trouble maker and a spate of killings.
Paul Durrant, Managing Director, UK Games Talent and Finance CIC said in a statement: “Our aim is to grow the UK’s early-stage games development ecosystem using a community-led approach and these new grant recipients have all agreed to give back significant time to support other companies through various peer-to-peer activities as part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal. Sharing knowledge and experience in this way adds significant value to the investment.”
VRFocus will continue to report on the latest grants available for VR companies and those that successfully secure them.