The Future Is Bright For Game Development In Galway

John RomeroJohn Romero

Over the past few years, the amount of computer game-related activity around Galway has exploded, and we now have a really supportive, tight-knit but also very varied community.

While we do not have any large game development studios, several do stand out due to their recent expansions and funding successes.

Romero Games, headed by John and Brenda Romero, was established here in the last 2 years, following the move of these two world-famous game designers to Galway. Their development team has been growing fast in 2017, with top designers, artists and programmers attracted to Galway from Dublin and further afield.

Tribal City Interactive – one of the longest-established Galway games studios, has also been expanding following successful bids for European funding.

9th Impact has also been doing well, with its licensing of a popular cartoon series for its smartphone games.

We also have quite a few smaller companies with successful game launches under their belts. My own Psychic Software has released more than 10 games over the past 10 years, on smartphone and PC – including an MMO called Darkwind (2007), and more recently (2016), a comedy platformer called Goblins and Grottos.

Earlier this year Peripheral Labs released a multiplayer shooter called HitBox.

Also this year, Spooky Doorway released a very successful point-and-click adventure called Darkside Detective.

Successful releases have also been made recently by Howling Hamster and Dunbar Games.

Many other local teams are also developing games – including Starcave Studios, Hot Cereal, Squid Monkey Studios, Wired Games, Recursive Studios, and others. We even have a specialist graphics outsourcing company (DoomCube.com – Video Game Art) who have contributed to a number of internationally successful games.

A number of education providers in the city offer courses in game development – Pulse College and GTI College have dedicated games-development courses, while both GMIT (Official) and NUI Galwayoffer games development modules as components of wider degree courses.

There is also a short game development course aimed at teenagers, taught at ‘Just Art It’ on Dominick Street.

Earlier this month, GMIT hosted the Galway Games Gathering – an event which boasted an impressive list of national and international speakers, a number of whom have had key roles in the development of huge games such as Skyrim or Quake, as well as indie hits such as Thomas Was Alone and Guild of Dungeoneering.

Our wider community is very rich, and this is an important aspect of our success. We have a dedicated gamer radio show “The Galway Gamer” regularly on Flirt FM; we have a weekly board games/computer game players meetup run byGalway Gaming Tribes.

We also have a monthly “show-and-tell” meeting (called “1 Game a Month”) where developers discuss their work and help each other with testing and moral support.

Various members of the community have also hosted Game Jams – whereby small teams develop prototype games in a short period (typically 12 – 48 hour).

All of these community efforts are very important, and we’re particularly grateful for the assistance given by PorterShed, Pulse College, GMIT, Bank Of Ireland Workbench, and CompSoc NUIG. Various other local events & festivals have provided an indie games room as part of their wider event.

If you’d like to get involved in any capacity (even just socially), we’d love to see you at one of our meetups.

The best place to start is probably the Galway Games Developers page on Facebook –
https://www.facebook.com/groups/galwaygamesdev

About the Author

Sam Redfern
Sam Redfern is an NUI Galway lecturer in Computer Science (mostly programming and graphics). He has worked at the university since the late 1990s and has a varied research career spanning archaeology, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. Mostly he loves making computer games but people keep making him do other stuff 🙁 [We are confident he’s not referring to us – Ed.] Sometimes he writes about his own games, or the games industry, or other random things related to games. The Galway Eye has enjoyed playing some of Sam’s games in recent times. For more on those check out Psychic Software at http://www.psychicsoftware.com Sam informs us that the axe in his bio picture is rated at 2d6 damage. Not having a clue what he is talking about, we’re gonna take his word for it.