In this second article of our focus on the UK gaming industry we spoke to Pete Low of Rhizome Games about the UK Games Fund, his experience of the gaming industry and where inspiration hits.
Pete started his company in January of 2015 at The Whisky Bond in Glasgow. Since then Rhizome Games have released their first title, a PC game called Loot Hound onto Steam. They have also, in collaboration with ISO Design, helped to develop two digital exhibits at the new Epic Ireland museum in Dublin. Currently, they are developing a second title with the help of a £25k grant from the UK Games Fund they were awarded this past August.
How have you found the process of applying for funding?
“Our experience with available grants has been very good so far. In particular, the process of applying for the UK Games Fund encouraged us to form robust strategies and analyse the PC game’s market in far more depth than we may have otherwise. Whether we had won the grant or not, by approaching the application in a professional manner, it provided insight and experience that we wouldn’t’ have otherwise gained. Of course, we were extremely happy to be one of 22 or so companies selected in the second round of funding.”
“Whether we had won the grant or not, by approaching the application in a professional manner, it provided insight and experience that we wouldn’t’ have otherwise gained.”
What are the benefits of the fund?
“It’s invaluable to small studios such as ours as it gives us the ability to hire UK based talent that we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to afford, and create a fully playable demo of our new game that we can then use to showcase our idea. This in turn will help to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the game.”
What is your experience in applying for Video Game Tax Credits?
“This is our first time submitting a claim for the credits, in fact, it was the prospect of applying for them that led us to contact WardWilliams Creative as our accounting partner. The process has been relatively straightforward and now, having been certified by the BFI, WardWilliams Creative is in the final stages of getting our claim ready for submission.
“it was the prospect of applying for (Video Game Tax Credits) that led us to contact WardWilliams Creative as our accounting partner.”
What are your sources of inspiration? Do you have any creativity rituals?
“As with any creative endeavour, the ideas or seeds that spark a project can come from anywhere or anyone. My creative side appears mostly just before bed, first thing in the morning or when I’m out, riding my bike or just enjoying the outdoors. It may seem cliché but I keep my ‘ideas’ book next to the bed and write them down when they happen. Most of them turn out to be pretty terrible but occasionally something comes out of it.”
The seed for Rhizome’s first game, Loot Hound, came from that book. Pete explains:
“I had been to the park that day with my kids and was watching someone walking their dog with one of those extendable/retractable leashes. I wondered how it might feel to control something like that using the nice spring-like triggers on a game controller. We proto-typed walking a dog with one of these types of leashes and it felt really good so we made a game around it.”
What do you find unique about working it the games industry?
“It constantly provides new challenges. Whether it’s new technology, people, processes, ideas or even business models, the industry is constantly pushing into new areas and boundaries of what we know. Hardly a day goes by where we don’t learn something new about what is being done or attempted in our industry. It’s invigorating, intimidating, rewarding and best of all, assuming everything falls into place, you have the opportunity to showcase your work to a truly massive audience.”
Make sure you check out Rhizome and we will keep you posted on their upcoming news.
As we detailed last month, WardWilliams Creative can help with fund claims for new gaming technologies via research and development relief available. There are also creative industry tax credits just for video gaming, not as generous as the R&D but still a big help in getting cash back into your company. As Pete mentioned we can also help with smaller grants available via UK Games Fund. We can help process, manage and advise on claims, so please do get in touch.