news

Games design students secure funding

Four Huddersfield University students running Ocean Speak Studios have landed five-figure funding to develop their business

The Ocean Spark team (from left) Helen Andrzejowska, Daniel Jones, Zachray Cundall and Ellie Brown

FIve-figure funding has been awarded to a small games studio created by four young entrepreneurs from the University of Huddersfield.

Ocean Spark Studios Ltd was set up in October last year by games design students Helen Andrzejowska, Ellie Brown, Zachray Cundall and Daniel Jones.

They were awarded £23,000 from not-for-profit organisation Creative England to support their endeavours after Rob Crossley, head of game development at Creative England, met the team at game showcasing event EGX Rezzed, where independent game studios had the chance to talk to big publishers and investors.

He was so impressed by the team’s in-house game, Tetra – Elemental Awakening, that he awarded the studio £23,000 to aid its development.

The role-playing adventure game sees the player take control of four “guardians” who possess elemental powers. The aim is to help the local villagers while travelling from one island to another by completing quests and winning battles with a multitude of fantastical creatures.

Helen, creative director and 3D artist at Ocean Spark Studios, said the funding gave the group the financial freedom to concentrate on developing the game full-time for the next six to eight months.

The team has also represented the university and won University Alliance’s Innovating Future Business competition. Entrepreneurs representing 11 universities pitched to a panel for the chance to win cash prizes from a pool of £5,000. Ocean Spark won the investors over to secure the most funds totalling £1,150.

Dan, 3D artist and branding manager, said: “We were particularly nervous about the Innovating Future Business competition. We have never officially pitched to anyone outside of the university and the other pitches were so good, we couldn’t believe it when they called our name.”

The four set up Ocean Spark Studios during their Enterprise Placement Year – an alternative placement year run by the university’s Enterprise Team at The Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Centre. With the help of the Enterprise Team, the studio has secured additional investment of £1,500 from Santander Universities and £300 from the Kirklees Alternative Market.

Although the team said a lot of work still had to be done before the game could be fully released on to PC, they are seeking further investment to make their dream a reality. They also hope to offer students from the university work-experience so they can find out what it’s like to work on the development of a game for an independent studio.

View full mobile page