Alacrity Falmouth student Chris Nobbs on building his own game studio, Polygrammatic
Alacrity Falmouth has been an exhilarating journey for me to say the least. I came to be here as a programmer with very little formal experience under my belt, no degree in game development, no coding qualifications; only years of self-directed interest towards the accessibility and art form of the indie community.
I was a bedroom programmer with a core of friends, ideas and commitments, the kind that would write- off a weekend to jump head first into a game jam, emerging on Monday bleary eyed but satisfied with an idea made playable. The rows of days on my calendar at work were always insignificant to the lines of code in my head.
One year on and I can say with confidence that, while my core passion for developing games is the same, my entire methodology and mindset has changed for the better.
As a 2011 Photography Graduate from Falmouth University, I paid heed to the ethos of the institution to “retain graduate talent”, and watched from a near distance as the Tremough Innovation Centre (TIC) and Academy for Innovation and Research (AIR) were constructed before my eyes on the campus where I had spent three years of academic life. As soon as the call out for pilot project Alacrity was made, I knew this was one of life’s little blessings you have to grab by the proverbial cojones.
The staff and management at Alacrity showed a lot of faith and commitment to my cause upon application, and I will remain grateful to them for their continued support, teaching and industry knowledge that has found me on the cusp of initiating my own game studio, Polygrammatic. Building a company from the ground up within Alacrity has taken me from the early stages of business education, to the conception of an exciting multi-platform game, now in steady development and garnering interest from the likes of Sony, Green Man Gaming and industry professionals such as Imre Jele from Bossa Studios.
Alacrity Falmouth essentially recognised and encouraged my fledgling experiences within the industry and provided the business mindset and project planning to form the roots for what is a truly exciting future in game development for me.
All the hard graft and work leave from stale jobs spent travelling out to indie game conventions in Europe like AMaze in Berlin and Indievelopment in Utrecht have come to fruition through this incubation project, and I feel the scattered pockets of knowledge slowly set down over the years of bedroom programming pulling together through a clear studio ethos where redefining games through play will always be at the heart of the matter.
On one side, my passion and motivation for games development has been allowed to flourish and grow from a bedrock of business acumen, a Masters in Entrepreneurship and a wealth of education to the process of developing a unique and exciting game studio. Teachings on agile ideologies have allowed me to construct hybrid business frameworks that give freedom to my character and creativity within Polygrammatic.
On the other hand, my own interest in game development as a creative pursuit alongside a clear objective towards remixing retro playability for the modern gamer has fed consistently and creatively into upcoming pilot project SMT. Alacrity Falmouth has confidently allowed me to set down the roots of an exciting business built on commissioning a talented pool of local freelancers alongside a transparency of ideas and communication.
It has been an immense effort on behalf of every team here at Alacrity Falmouth, but I am certain the diversity of studios and games emerging in this small yet dedicated digital movement in South West Cornwall will be making some waves in the months and years to come.
Chris Nobbs is director of new start-up games studio Polygrammatic, with pilot project #SMT in steady development. Follow @ChrisNobbs and @Polygrammatic on Twitter and visit www.polygrammatic.com for updates.