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Young games developers score a smash hit

Young games developers from Banbury are riding high in the indie games world after their first release went straight to the top of an online hot list.

The three Banbury and Bicester College students designed, developed and launched Realm of Rulers - a PC adventure-style game - during their Christmas holiday.

Having uploaded it to Game Jolt, an online community for indie games, they were staggered to receive 4,000 plays and nearly 7,000 views in just two days. The game went straight to the top of the site’s ‘hot games’ list and has attracted comments from gamers around the world.

Mathew Hill, aged 17, who developed the game along with classmates Lewis Taylor and Oliver Coulling-Green, said: “Realm of Rulers is a medieval fantasy city building game, where players manage the city’s resources and population to create a world that will control itself.

“We began to create the game in December, as we had already completed our college assignments in the run-up to Christmas. Over the break we worked on making it as presentable and playable as possible, and uploaded it to Game Jolt just to see what kind of reaction it got.

“You can upload games with early access, which means they aren’t yet complete but are open for people to try and give feedback on. We weren’t expecting much but it has just exploded. Seeing the number of plays and views go up so rapidly was amazing. People have also recorded themselves playing it, and posted it to their You Tube channels, which has helped to spread the word.

“The best bit is getting feedback from people, which will help us improve and develop it. We plan to keep issuing updates every one to two weeks to keep it fresh and to maintain interest. We are now busy building new elements.”

Players, including a large number of gamers in Russia, have given the game an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5, making it one of the best ranking games on the Game Jolt website.

The extra-curricular project looks set to help the students with their next steps after college.

Oliver, aged 18, said: “We all want to go to university to continue to study games design and development, so having this as part of our portfolio is a big bonus. The most valuable thing is being able to show that you have had so much engagement from players, beyond your own friends and family, and been able to take on board feedback to make improvements.”

The students are all studying an extended diploma in games development at the Banbury campus of Banbury and Bicester College.

You can find and play the game at http://gamejolt.com/games/realm-of-rulers/222904