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From Dare to publishing a game

1 June 2015

Dare to be Digital 2012 contestants Lamplight Studios have just released their first game. A Pixel Story was nominated for a BAFTA Ones to Watch and also won the Channel 4 award, giving the team £25,000 and support to complete and publish their game.

The team have been hard at work for almost three years on their game, completely restarting the project three times in pursuit of gaming perfection.

We caught up with team leader Martin Cosens to find out about their journey from Dare to be Digital to launching their game on Steam for PC.

Can you describe your journey from Dare to launching your first game?

The journey itself has been a much longer one than we would’ve expected. Our initial plan for release was three months after Dare finished, just in time for Christmas 2012.

Since October 2012, we’ve been at our office in Salford, working as many hours as we can muster on the project to get it to a state we’re happy to release to the world. This is our first impression, so we wanted to try and make it a good one.

We’ve completely restarted the project three times, missed countless deadlines, and even welcomed a baby into the world in that time!

So it’s been a very long process, filled with a lot of ups and downs, but we’ve finally come out the other side and the whole team are very proud of what we’ve made.

A Pixel Story - 1

Why should gamers be excited about A Pixel Story?

I think in part this game can be taken as a sign that anyone can make games if they try hard enough. You don’t need to have some secret industry know-how, though I’m sure that would help!

Our game has some interesting themes, as it’s a game that actually looks at games themselves. We like to think that our game is an ode to all the games we used to love playing and looking at how they changed over time. But it’s also a great puzzle platforming game, with some fiendishly hard challenges.

How important was taking part in Dare to be Digital?

To fund myself during the time of development I began lecturing at a college teaching game design and programming.

I think the most telling thing about my experience of Dare to be Digital is that I will take absolutely every opportunity to talk about it to the students. It was genuinely life changing, and an experience that I think I gained more in regards to my game development career than any other I’ve had.

A Pixel Story - 2

What support has Channel 4 provided to make this dream come true?

When we started Dare, Channel 4 let the 15 teams that attended know that one of them would have the opportunity to take a £25,000 commission to take the game they had made and turn it into a full title.

During development Channel 4 has been a very easy going publisher, leaving a huge amount of the control and target setting in our hands, more interested in us making a game we’re happy with and we want to make, than ticking some box and shoving the title out the door.

As well as the initial investment, they’ve also been a great source for connections to other areas of the industry, as well as providing the incredibly vital quality assurance testing and marketing.

What’s next for your studio?

You don’t work on one project for almost three years without churning out hundreds of other ideas that you could work on.

Plenty of those could be taken somewhere and may well be the seed of a new game, but for now we want to focus on getting A Pixel Story out there to the public and letting people see it, in as many places as we can.

For more information about Dare to be Digital, please see the official website

Channel 4 is again supporting Dare to be Digital this year, looking for another student game to publish.

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