Huddersfield graduate wins national games competition

Rob Potter, graduate of the University of Huddersfield’s Computer Games Design degree, has taken first place at the PC Indie Pitch Competition

A winter woodland fantasy adventure game, created by a University of Huddersfield graduate, has caught the eye of journalists and digital games industry experts after winning one of the UK’s largest competitions for independent PC games.

Rob Potter, 23, is an indie-games developer, who graduated in Computer Games Programming in 2017. His creation This Dead Winter has won the PC Indie Pitch competition which took place at the global PC games industry conference, PC Connects London 2018.

This Dead Winter is an adventure game centred around a red fox who loses his cub to an evil spirit in a lonely land gripped by an eternal winter. To be reunited, the fox must take part in puzzles and challenges hidden among the ruins of a lost civilisation and complete the journey through the heart of an ‘otherworldly forest’.

The competition was open to all independent developers working on digital PC games. A total of ten developers were chosen from the wealth of entries to compete in the final at PC Connects London 2018 for the chance of winning a marketing campaign worth $3,000 and a unique PC Indie Pitch baseball bat trophy.

Rob, who lives in Linthwaite, was told he had made it through to the final and was challenged with creating a pitch lasting no longer than four minutes and to allow one minute for questions. This was then repeated to five pairs of judges in a ‘speed-dating’ style competition.

Rob began designing his game during the final year of the BSc degree in Computer Games Design and when he was given the opportunity to take part in the national Tranzfuser challenge sponsored by the UK Games Fund, he seized the opportunity to develop the game into a fully working prototype and succeeded. He then exhibited his game at the major gaming conference EGX in Birmingham and received excellent feedback from the gamers.

This Dead Winter creator, Rob Potter

Tranzfuser is funded by the UK Games Fund as part of a drive by the Government to encourage the UK games industry and stimulate innovative potential from a grass roots level. Last year, 23 entries were each given £5,000 to create a prototype of a game in ten weeks and it was a group of Huddersfield graduates who won with their virtual reality game VR Party Ware, thus proving the quality of the talent being developed at the University of Huddersfield.

Rob is now going to concentrate on obtaining funding for This Dead Winter by raising awareness of the games credibility and will be appearing at as many gaming conferences and exhibitions as possible.

Helping him achieve this is the University’s Enterprise Team in the University’s Duke of York Young Entrepreneur Centre. They offer students and recent graduates who want to start up a business the use of free hot-desk office facilities, on-site business support and advice on accessing start-up funds and proof-of-concept grants.

Rob, who’s hometown is Bromyard in Herefordshire, has been particularly impressed with the gaming hub that has amassed in the North of England.

“The Northern independent gaming community is extremely robust, and I want to make the most of the strong industry links the university has, so Huddersfield will be my base,” he said.

His long-term aspirations are to open his own Northern games design studio, but in the meantime, as well as exhibiting This Dead Winter around the country, Rob will be taking part in the new Tranzfuser Accelerator. This is a unique programme where each runner-up from the 2017 Tranzfuser competition will receive a tailor-made consultancy package to give them the best chance possible of successfully applying to the UK Games Fund.

You can talk to Rob and play a demo of This Dead Winter when he appears in April at one of the UK’s biggest gaming conferences, EGX Rezzed in London.