Within the South West’s amazing tech cluster, we have a top tier VR and Gaming community, so we’ve put together a list of some exciting organisations to watch!
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Ranging from specialisms in Augmented Reality (AR) for enhancing entertainment to Virtual Reality (VR) in health tech and immersive experiences to gaming storytellers, the South West is home to a truly unique and varied selection of CreaTech organisations.
Auroch Digital is a world-leading independent development studio and gaming consultant. They design, develop and consult on games on a range of platforms, from HTML5 to mobile and desktop, from large projects to smaller rapid-prototypes.
Based at the Bristol Games Hub, which they co-founded, he team are “gamers at heart”, giving them a fundamental edge to their work. Their latest release is Mars Horizon, an adventure game created with support from the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency. You can lead a major space agency as you guide humanity to Mars in this strategy simulation game. Construct a base, design and build rockets, conduct missions throughout the Solar System, and write your own history of Space exploration. If this sounds up your street, you can purchase the game here!
Auroch Digital also boasts an award winning team, with Debbie Rawlings winning a ‘Brand You’ award for the creation of Bristol Games Hub and being listed in MCV’s Top 100 Women in Games. Tomas Rawlings has also won several awards for the design of Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land and is an accomplished keynote speaker. And of course, Auroch Digital was nominated for “Best Place to Work in Tech” at The SPARKies Awards 2017.
Complete Control is a double BAFTA winning children’s interactive production company based in Bath, specialising in creating original online content for children’s entertainment. They are a creative development studio producing HTML5 games, native Apps for the most loveable children’s brands.
Complete Control is experts in what they do, having been in the business for 20 years. They involve children at every stage of development and production, taking on board their feedback and adjusting storylines, characters and sound accordingly – which perhaps is one of the fundamental reasons behind their success. Complete Control explains, “They are our most important consumers, so we put them at the forefront of everything we do.”
Condense Reality is a Bristol-based virtual reality (VR) startup developing technology to transform how viewers watch live entertainment and sports. They’ve developed a system for streaming hologram-style 3D “volumetric video” of live events alongside a normal television broadcast, with the potential to bring entertainment and sport to life on the tabletop to complement the on-screen action.
For 3D application developers, such as games studios, getting realistic animated content into a 3D scene is extremely difficult and expensive. It can be done easily for static objects using photo scanning and for static scenes using photogrammetry, but moving scenes cannot be easily captured without going to a studio.
The team recently celebrated an £800k seed round raise the investment has seen Condense Reality increase its R&D capabilities and commercialise its technology over the past year. They’ve also been working closely with BT in a DCMS funded project that includes the University of Bristol, The Grid Factory and Salsa Sound on the broadcaster’s 5G Edge XR trial to demonstrate the potential of 5G to deliver more immersive live sport viewing experiences through augmented and virtual reality.
Bristol-based Kaedim is a deep tech startup developing AI technology to make it simpler, faster and cheaper to create high quality 3D assets for gaming, films, and other productions. Kaedim’s AI technology enables 3D artists to create 3D assets in seconds, achieving more than a 100x speedup compared to existing methods
The team has been been developing its product and running trials with pilot customers throughout 2021 after successfully raising their substantial pre-seed round only 6 months after it was awarded top prize in the University of Bristol’s New Enterprise Competition.
Co-founder and CEO, Konstantina Psoma, says on the raise: “It is important to show that success (most of the time) does not come easily. From my own experience, women are underrepresented in the (deep) tech industry as founders but also as investors. During a 6 month fundraise process of continuous meetings with new angels and VCs I only met one female investor for both the gaming and deep tech industries.
“I want to see more young females stepping up, following their dreams, noticing opportunities and claiming them. And I want to help them do that.”
The company has an impressive repertoire of clinets, including Rebellion, makers of Sniper Elite, Aardman Animations, creators of Wallace and Gromit, double BAFTA winning Complete Control, Oakfield DC, and Super DNA 3D Lab.
Ndemic Creations is a leading, independent gaming studio dedicated to making intelligent, sophisticated and high-quality strategy games. Based in Bristol, UK, Ndemic achieved extreme success with its first game, Plague Inc. – a global hit with over 160 million players which is one of the top five most successful paid mobile games ever. Ndemic’s latest game is Rebel Inc., a political/military simulation inspired by events in Afghanistan.
Plague Inc. is a unique mix of high strategy and terrifyingly realistic simulation with over 700 million games played. The premise of the game may seem eerily familiar, but from the other side of the fence: “Your pathogen has just infected ‘Patient Zero’ – now you must bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global Plague whilst adapting against everything humanity can do to defend itself.
“Plague Inc. evolves the strategy genre and pushes mobile gaming (and you) to new levels. It’s You vs. the world – only the strongest can survive!”
The team has a host of impressive achievements, namely winning the UK’s most prestigious business award in 2018, , being recognised as in the Top 100 Sunday Times lists Fasting Growing Tech Companies in the UK (2016) and Fastest Growing Exporting Companies in the UK (2017).
Opposable Games create games that connect across platforms and devices in an inventive and compelling way. Their focus is on seizing the potential of second screen and other emerging technologies, designing new gameplay experiences underpinned by our OneTouchConnect connectivity software.
Also known as Opposable VR and based in the Bristol VR Lab (BVRL), the team has worked with the likes of Channel 4, CITV, Cartoon Network and the University of Bristol to create award winning games. Opposable has won two SPARKies Awards, nominated for a Children’s BAFTA for it’s Adventure Time Game and won IC Tomorrow Digital Innovation Contest Award for second-screen use in a game to just name a few.
Most recently, the team has developed BVRL 2.0 – a virtual reality world that emulates Bristol to host events in whilst Covid restrictions still apply.
Opposable VR is dedicated to helping companies leverage the benefits of Virtual Reality today and in the future for the entertainment industry, business solutions and events – they encourage you to get in touch!
Rocketmakers design, develop and deploy award-winning apps, websites and software for new startups, growing scaleups and large corporate innovators. The team has a passion for making new, innovative products using their bespoke expertise – there’s no limitation to what Rocketmaker’s can achieve for your business. Rocketmakers was even recognised for its ground breaking work by Her Majesty with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Innovation. You can read more about their journey in this Scaleup Story here.
ARiVR is a partnership between Virtual View Productions and Rocketmakers that allows for passive marketing in virtual reality environments through product placement. For this project, Rocketmakers designed and built the 3D environments as well as an interface for populating the environments with 3D models of real life products and advertising media.
Stuart Gallop, Product Partner, tells us, “Rocketmakers has been an excellent partner in bringing the concept of ARiVR to life and helping take it from prototype to an eventual product.
“Through their mix of technical skillsets and approach to design, Rocketmakers allows me to focus on content to complete the product user cycle.”
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The West of England Growth Map started out as a print project to design a poster showcasing businesses in the South West plotted on a tube map, where each line represented an industry type.
The concept was there, but Rocketmakers wanted to enhance the idea and create a truly interactive tool. So, the team worked their magic and built an AR app that could be downloaded for free and used alongside the poster, allowing a great deal more information and clearer connections between organisations to be visible to the user.
Virti’s mission is to make experiential education affordable and accessible for everyone on the planet to improve human performance. They’re starting off in healthcare as medical error is one of the major causes of avoidable death in healthcare systems.
Lukas Roper, Lead Engineer at Virti tells us, “We are tackling this big problem by using virtual and augmented reality combined with artificial intelligence to transport users into realistic, hard-to-access environments and assessing them to improve performance.
“We have had a huge amount of traction in a small space of time selling into the NHS and also scaling into the United States within 18 months of trading. We are the only education and training company to be selected onto the NHS’ national innovation programme and have won a number of high profile awards including The VR Healthcare Award, The Mayor of London’s MedTech Award and most recently The SPARKies Best Startup Award.”
You can read more about Virti’s journey in their Startup for 10 here. Since this feature, Virti has also been named as a TIME Best Invention of 2020!