Student computer game developers wow Microsoft judges

University of Salford students impressed judges at the national final of a Microsoft-run global student technology competition

Third year BSc (Hons) Computer and Video Games students Warren Burke, Erik Le Good, Robert Harrison and Lewis Markey, who together with three fellow undergraduates make up computer games company Triple Ox, scooped the runners-up award at the Imagine Cup UK final with an entirely new genre of game based on ‘speed running’.

Flatliners is a first-person game in which the player aims to run between two locations in a surreal alternative world in the quickest time possible while fixing cleverly-designed game glitches and exploiting built in ‘cheats’.

Building on thousands of hours of development work last year as part of their degree course, the team released a demo of the game on in January before entering the Imagine Cup last month.

After finding out they had made the final, the teammates pitched their concept to a panel of industry experts at Microsoft’s London office including leading developers Mike Bithell and Byron Atkinson-Jones, and Microsoft UK’s Managing Director Michel van der Bel. More than 200 gamers, bloggers and computer game start-up owners then had the chance to try out Flatliners at a stall at the event.

And, following its Imagine Cup UK final success, Triple Ox has been given an Xbox developers’ account, allowing the students to create games for the Xbox platform worldwide, and received very positive feedback on the game from visitors to their stall at Insomnia, the UK’s largest gaming festival. The team plan to launch Flatliners officially for PC and Xbox in early January 2016.

Said Warren: “Making the Imagine Cup UK final in itself was a shock and then to be runners-up was crazy. On our course we’ve always understood that you only get out what you’ve put in so we’ve worked really hard on Flatliners, treating the project in our final year of study at MediaCityUK as the first year of a start-up company.

“With our mobile phone game Rotri being picked up by two game publishers and our local game developers’ network Game Hub going from strength to strength, it’s been a fantastic year for Triple Ox and we’re really looking forward to the next 12 months.”

Mick Lockwood, Lecturer in Digital Design at the University of Salford, added: “All the Computer and Video Games course team here at the University are proud to see Triple Ox finish runner-up in the UK leg of Microsoft’s Imagine Cup with Flatliners.

“The team has come out of the one of the strongest year groups we’ve ever seen. Their motivation, drive, creative spirit and technical ability are an inspiration. The team’s entrepreneurial ambition is developing at an astonishing pace and we look forward to following their inevitable commercial success in the very near future.”

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