Designers inspiring students as gaming industry booms

Designers inspiring students as gaming industry booms name


The next generation of video game designers will learn from some of the best in the business at an event in Carlisle this week.

Two leading figures are visiting the University of Cumbria’s Institute of the Arts on Friday (18 January), when the winners of its GameJam competition will be announced.

Sheffield-based Sumo Digital is one of the UK’s largest independent developers of AAA-rated video games, with titles including Forza Motorsport 7, Disney Infinity, Hitman: Episode 5, Colorado and Snake Pass among its successes.

Zi Peters, a level designer with Sumo Digital, will be joining Neil Millstone, co-founder of the independent game design company Solar Sail, to meet around 200 students and enthusiasts at the Brampton Road campus, Carlisle.

New figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) this month reveal that the UK gaming industry is one of the biggest in the world.

Games accounted for more than half of the entire UK entertainment market in 2018, the ERA said. The games market is now worth £3.86bn – more than video and music combined – with digital developments behind the boom.

Katy Little, senior lecturer in Games Design at the University of Cumbria, said: “It is wonderful to welcome both Neil and Zi to the University of Cumbria.

“Our students are starting out on their journey and experiences like this provide inspiration and an opportunity for them to discover more about the industry and careers their passion for gaming and design can lead on to.”

More than 260 people from across northern England and Europe took part in the university’s third annual GameJam last month. Participants had 96 hours to create their own video or paper-based games.

Teams included students on the university’s games design degree course along with others from further education colleges in Carlisle, Kendal and Gateshead.

First-year university games design students Danny Black, Archie Grant, Jamie Bates and Jordan Armstrong called themselves The Dead Inside Boys (pictured) and devised ‘Inverse Traverse’, a board game.

Danny, 20, from Appleby in north Cumbria, said: “We’ve been able to work out characters and prototypes. It has been creative and I’ve really enjoyed the drawing and illustration, the visual aspects.”

Find out more about GameJam at