Farnham, Surrey (PRWEB UK) 26 April 2014 -- A group of students from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) have taken a novel approach to raising money for the victims of February’s devastating flooding by using their game making skills.
“During the floods we thought, ‘if Flappy Birds can make so many thousands of pounds from a very basic game, just on adverts, then how much money can we make as a charity?’” said Martin Garnett, who along with his team of Paul Sims, Michael Hill, Ricardo Costa and Monika Milkova, study BA (Hons) Computer Games Arts at UCA Farnham.
“I think there are so many charities doing so much across the world, I thought someone should do something for the flooding in the UK, and I thought ‘why not us?!’ and we went from there,” said Ricardo, 25, who is originally from Portugal but now lives in Surrey.
The game, Flood Rush, which was built on the Unity engine and is currently available on Android and iOS for 69p and on Windows Phone for 79p, will see any profits distributed through UK Community Foundations, an umbrella organisation for a number of community-run charities.
“Some of the charities in those foundations have little goals they want to reach – we want to help them reach their goals,” said Martin, 21, from Hampshire, who says he tends to prefer Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) like World of Warcraft and Elder Scrolls Online.
“Obviously the floods are mostly dried up now, but what’s to say it won’t happen again next year? After pushing and shoving, the government has started to come around and say ‘yeah, we’ll give you a bit of money towards it now,’ but it’s not going to be enough, not for the massive amounts that needs to be done. So with any luck, if we become popular enough, maybe we can raise a substantial amount to make a change in a few areas.”
Flood Rush, which sees the player take on the role of a leaping monkey attempting to avoid an oncoming flood, was initially the product of a two-day ‘games jam,’ although the team were so pleased with the results that they decided to continue working on it.
“We grabbed all of our gear and set up in Paul and Monika's living room; for the next two days, we just threw ideas around the group, coming up with game designs and all the while we were producing things that we all really liked and agreed on,” said Michael, 24, from Luton.
“By the end of the second day, we were exhausted but extremely excited; none of us had expected to produce something so quickly and to such a good quality. We quickly realized we were on to something and decided to continue pushing, refining each detail as we went.”
Problems began to arise for Black Feather Games when it came to publishing the game, however, as they became buried by forms and company bureaucracy.
“The hardest bit was exporting the game for the different platforms, like Windows phone and iOS, because we don’t have a lot of experience with doing that,” said Ricardo, 25, who worked as the main programmer on the project.
“We were quite surprised with having to set up all the accounts that we’d never dealt with before, there are so many accounts out there that we’ve had to set up, every account requires different images, different screenshots of different resolutions and different sizes, before you know it you’re spending a day just setting up one account.”
Despite this, Black Feather Games were still forced to make changes after falling foul to Apple’s strict rules on the use of a ‘Donate’ button.
“For Apple’s release, we’ve had to change one of the buttons. On the other two platforms it says ‘Donate,’ but Apple’s terms and conditions states that if there’s a button that links externally to donate towards a charity, you can’t charge for the app, so we wouldn’t have been able to release the app if it had a button in there for people to donate, so we’ve had to change it to say ‘website,’” said Martin.
The progress of Black Feather Games’ charitable campaign can be followed on their website Floodrush.co.uk, although they caution that people shouldn’t expect the total to be updated on a daily basis.
“At the moment, the total is currently set to £0, the reason for that is because we’re only updating it when we physically hand over money to our charity, because we don’t want people to think we’ve given it away until we take into account all the fees and transfers and things.
We want to say ‘this is exactly how much we’ve given to our charities,’ so we’re just waiting for a big enough allowance, that’ll be given to them and the figure will be updated,” said Martin.
“It’s taken up a lot of our uni time to be honest with you, over the next few weeks we’re going to be playing catch-up with our work, but off the back of Flood Rush were hoping to set up a company to release future games. We want to make quality games as well as try to help people.”
Note to Editors:
For interviews, free redeem codes, and high resolution images, please contact Tim Pilgrim – 01252 892939 – tpilgrim2(at)ucreative(dot)ac.uk.
Further reading: http://www.floodrush.co.uk/
About the University for the Creative Arts (UCA)
UCA is a specialist university with over 150 years of experience in supporting and developing creative arts students.
With access to the latest industry standard facilities and thinking, our unique student communities share and inspire one another in creative disciplines.
About Black Feather Games
Martin Garnett, 22, from Hampshire
Ricardo Costa, 25, from Portugal, now lives Surrey
Paul Sims, 21, from Bishops Stortford
Monika Milkova, 21, from Bulgaria, now lives in Surrey
Michael Hill, 24, from Luton
About UK Community Foundations
UKCF is the umbrella organisation for all community foundations, providing philanthropic advice to clients and delivering UK-wide grant-making programmes. They provide advice and support to member foundations and have one simple objective: to help build thriving communities.
Tim Pilgrim, University for the Creative Arts, http://www.ucreative.ac.uk, +44 1252892939, [email protected]