A group of independent film makers hope to tell the story of the Britsh video games industry, from the bedrooms of 1979 to the huge, global, billion dollar industry it’s grown into today. Their new film - Bedrooms to Billions - will feature interviews with “virtually every major UK contributor in game development, art, music, publishing and journalism over the last 30 years” including a nice long interview with our very own Mark Healey, and the story of LittleBigPlanet.
The film is currently seeking funding via Kickstarter, and whilst they have reached their initial goal, they are now hoping to reach their stretch goals so the can make the film even better!
‘From Bedrooms to Billions’ is a two hour feature length documentary film telling the remarkable, true story of the British Video Games Industry from 1979 to the present day and how the creativity and vision of a relatively small number of individuals allowed the UK to play a key, pioneering role in the shaping of the billion dollar video games industry which today, dominates the modern world’s entertainment landscape.
If you want to hear the rest of the interview with Mark, and learn the story of the British video games industry, then check out the Bedrooms to Billions Kickstarter.
We’re looking for someone with strong visual design ability and the level of technical ability you’d expect from years of experience working on the web. The traditional Web Designer: Part front-end designer, part front-end developer.
As a web designer, you’ll have many loves. Primarily, you’ll love creating visually stunning, thoroughly enjoyable experiences on the web. The web is a passion for you, it’s massive potential and constantly evolving limits help drive you, and because of that you’re in tune with what’s happening in the bleeding edge of web technology – knowing what else you can play with excites you!
Hey everyone, we *really* need to hire for a very specific role here at Mm Towers; a gameplay programmer - someone who can code, but is also a designer. and can code gameplay that feels great to play!
To better explain what we’re looking for in this role, we asked one of our existing gameplay programer, and also technical director, Dave to talk about it into a video camera, so we could spread the word!
If this sounds like you then you should apply for a job! If it sounds like someone you know, then please can you share it with them? In fact, could you please share it around for us just in case someone sees it and is the exact person we are looking for? Thank you, you’re the best!
Media Molecule is looking for an incredible UI designer to help us make more amazing games!
This is a senior role, working across different projects on different platforms you will be responsible for promoting a human centred design approach throughout all aspects of Media Molecule’s prodigious output. Although primarily focussed on game UI, expect to get involved in all aspects of the creative process from pitching through to tools development and games design.
As a passionate but pragmatic advocate of all things UX you will be able to suggest and deliver solutions that will make our games better. This will involve being thoughtful, flexible and able to collaborate in a small, tightly knit and ambitious team. You are an engaging talker, designer and presenter who will be able to nurture the fleck of an idea, getting buy in from your peers and then developing it into something that might just revolutionise the world of games.
On Friday 8th March 2013 (International Women’s Day), three very excited ladies from Media Molecule attended the Little Miss Geek ICT School Takeover Event held at Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School and St. Saviour’s & St. Olave’s in London. The purpose of the day was to inspire and provide an insight to girls in year seven about what it’s like to work in technology.
But what is Little Miss Geek I hear you shout?
“The aim is to do for the tech industry what Jamie Oliver did for school dinners; to cause a nationwide change from the ground up.”
The problem we have is that the technology industry is suffering from a gender imbalance at the moment and the numbers of women involved are declining every year.
At Media Molecule 22% of the workforce is female, 12% of which work hands-on with the games it makes which is actually a higher number than other development studios have. Little Miss Geek has provided some scary but true facts about the technology industry:
“Women only make up 17% of the UK’s tech workforce and this has been falling by 0.5% each year = we need to encourage more women to want to work in the tech industry.
There was only 1 girl for every 11 boys in the average UK A-Level computing class in 2011. Girls account for 56% of high education applicants but only make up 14% of Computer Science and I.T. subjects = we need to excite girls to want to study computing, so they are more knowledgeable about tech.”
At Media Molecule, we’re hard at work bringing the papery world of Tearaway into people’s homes, not only on the PlayStation Vita, but also through papercraft! As you explore the game world, you will unlock a treasure trove of different papercraft plans for you to print and build. We’re looking for someone to join us for six months, and help us bring the papercraft world in to the real world, ensuring that our papercraft is just as fun for players to make, as the game is to play.
Who are you?
As a Wizard of Papercraft, you will naturally be a lover of all things Paper. There’s nothing you enjoy more than spending the day with your head buried in a box of card and paper scraps, or cutting, folding, and gluing a sheet of plain A4 paper into anything you can think of; from a paper plane, to a pop-up fire breathing T-Rex, which wags its tail when you pull its little finger.
On Wednesday we had the exciting opportunity to put Alex up on stage at the Playstation 4 event, to show you what our second team has been fiddling about with for the last while. If you missed it then be sure to check out the live stream of the event, or just watch our part below…
We’re very excited about the work we’re doing, and we can’t wait to be able to talk about the actual project, let alone for people to get their hands on it and start recording & sharing their dreams!
We had a lot of fun pulling together our R&D presentation, and so I thought it would be fun to share some of the behind the scenes moments which show just how we put this all together. We’ll be sharing more of these with you in the coming weeks, there were some very funny moments!
Come and work for us!
ALSO, we are missing some vital Molecules here at Mm, people we need to help us advance our new experiment. If what you have seen turns you on, then please get in touch! See our jobs page for more details.
We’re sure everyone has a load questions for us, and we’ll really enjoy revealing more about our dream for you throughout this year :)
Lots of love,
Siobhan, Mark, Alex, Dave, Kareem and everyone else at Mm :)
We’re nearly done with 2012, and the festive season is upon us. But before we all hang up our socks for Santa and take a break for a few weeks, we wanted to wish all of you a very merry Christmas!
It’s not much, but we’ve got you all a little Christmas pressie, ooh excite! To give you all a little creative challenge, perfect for the holidays, we’ve given the Tearaway Papercraft Elk a little festive makeover! Once made, we think it makes for a rather unique Christmas ornament, take a look…
So grab your scissors and glue, and build yourself a Tearaway Reindeer to add some Christmas sparkle to your home - the pattern is here. If you do happen to make one, please send us a picture to our twitter account - @mediamolecule - or post them in the comments below, so we can collect them all for a nice festive gallery.
Thank you all for your continued support of us and our games, and for the constant friendly smiles. It’s been a fairly quiet year from us this year, but next year you’ll be hearing a lot more from us, oh yes!
Merry Christmas you lot,
Love and kisses, Mm xxx
Download the Tearaway Papercraft Reindeer.
Edge have published an article about us entitled ‘big things from little beginnings’. Offering a little glimpse inside Mm towers, Edge cover our history, our future, and speak to some of the team about what makes us, us!
Back when Media Molecule was at work on the first LittleBigPlanet, its offices were a congregation of dark, sweaty rooms above a shop in the suburbs of Guildford. It was a dingy, poorly ventilated place befitting a software startup, but the 27-strong team still decorated, covering the walls with gaudy art and stringing fairy lights across the lobby, spelling out ‘hello’ in crazy joined-up writing.
Six years and a sequel later, Media Molecule is now owned by Sony and boasts a team of 47, split across two projects. Its new workspace is located in a plushly impersonal office block in the centre of town. If the team’s old digs resembled a ramshackle tree house, the new ones look like, well, a development studio. There’s decent lighting and functioning air conditioning, and there are meeting rooms decked out with whiteboards and teleconferencing equipment.
Move in close, though, and the handicraft – and perhaps hand-to-mouth – spirit of the early days survives.
A few weeks ago I heard that an all-women game jam was happening somewhere in London. In a game jam you make a game from scratch in a certain time period, this one was 24 hours.
Many people use Unity or similar tools so that you can get something up and running quickly then iterate. I’m more used to traditional games development, writing code in C++, and taking months or even years to make a game. I had never considered taking part in a game jam before, despite being a programmer in the games industry for 11 years, mainly because I wasn’t sure I had much to offer. But this one seemed different, for this Game Jam I did have something to offer.
I’m a woman and I’ve worked within the industry for years; I’ve made a good career of it, I’ve had a child, and am currently working part time. I’m living proof that despite all the talk of crunch and long hours culture, it is possible to balance a family life and a career in games, which I think is a very positive message to be able to tell any aspiring gamedev students, especially women.
The games industry is very male-dominated (in the 2012 Develop Salary Survey only 6% of developers were female) and I wish it wasn’t so. At Media Molecule we have a better gender split at 22%, and a female director, both of which I believe are contributing factors towards the relaxed and fun atmosphere in the office, and the success of our games. I was keen to meet more women in the industry, find out if their stories were similar to mine, do what I could to help promote women in games… oh and make a kick-ass game with them too!
The lack of gender balance in games is not just about the fairness of women fulfilling their potential either. It’s about profitability and business success. In her recent BBC2 program ‘Women at the Top’ Hilary Devey showed that departments with a balance of genders generated more profit than those with a heavy bias one way or the other. So, if you’re recruiting for your company that’s worth bearing in mind…
So, why are there so few women in games? One possible deterrent to those without a really thick skin are the outpourings of misogyny and hate that you get on any internet site tackling sexism or women in games. For example the reaction to Anita Sarkeesian’s YouTube video, or the commentary defending the derogatory comic featuring Jade Raymond, or the treatment of Miranda Pakozdi when she entered a Cross Assault video game tournament. It makes it look like a very uninviting environment, and is a complete misrepresentation of working in the industry, at least in my experience.
However, I feel the primary reason is society’s differing expectations of girls and boys as they grow up. For instance, I’m already seeing my two year old son being steered towards certain toys, whilst a friend’s daughter is steered towards others. The pinkification of girls toys is a real pity. I think that we need to be far more supportive of girls who want to play with ‘boys’ toys and boys who want to play with ‘girls’ toys. In fact I really don’t see any need to separate the toys at all. My son loves playing at cooking. At first my Dad wasn’t sure whether to encourage him or not. Of course I want him to be interested in cooking, and just because he’s a boy he shouldn’t miss out on the joy that is cooking and sharing a delicious meal.
Thinking back, I remember a few instances where I was steered away from what I saw as the ‘fun’ toys and games when was young – at one point my Mum was summoned to my Primary school because my teacher was very concerned that as a girl I was playing with Lego. Luckily my Mum has always supported me to choose the things I enjoy rather than going along with what is expected of me. At secondary school I had careers advice at 16. I expressed an interest in computers and programming and was told that my options were data entry or maybe teaching. Again, I ignored them, and went on to get a first class degree from Cambridge in Computer Science – in your face, careers advisor! There are many more examples of bad advice, or subtle influences that could so easily have steered me away from what has turned out to be my dream job, and whilst It’s a long time since I was I school, I suspect that not too much has changed. The pity is that there’s only so much we can do in the games industry to attract women in, because we’ve already lost them in school.
Having said that I don’t think we should throw our hands up in the air and give up. There are still steps we can take to help! There’s some great work going on making sure that the women we do have in the industry are visible - I think that female role models can be a very positive influence. And there are efforts to bring the women in games together, to unite us, provide support, and make us a stronger presence within the industry. This game jam seemed like something very positive that could help with both, and so off I went.
After a general introduction to the people organising and running the jam our first task was to form into teams. There were lots of introductions, and I was surprised and very pleased to find that there were plenty of other programmers. I formed a team with Sarah, Huda, and Jo. I learnt a huge amount from Huda, a very talented Unity programmer who has just finished her master’s degree. Our artist Sarah worked through the night to create some awesome steampunk style textures. And Jo organised us into a cohesive team; she made sure we had a design that we all bought into, and were not too madly ambitious.
We made a game called Android Grim Reaper – you play the Grim Reaper and have to find and harvest souls as their timer runs out. About 30 minutes before the end of the jam we didn’t have a game that ran, but with a lot of head scratching, and plenty of ingenuity, we pulled together and got a build limping towards functionality. Of course we were over ambitious, tried to do far too much in the 24 hours available, but that’s half the fun and makes for a tense and exciting finish! We’ll be polishing the game and hopefully in a week or so it’ll still be fun, but will also be vaguely understandable to players other than the dev team :)
It was an awesome day, so inspiring and a lot of fun! I’m pregnant which makes you pretty tired at the drop of a hat, so it has taken a week or so to recover from the late nights, but it was SO worth it. I’ll definitely be GameJamming again soon!
Photos courtesy of Zo-ii, thank you!