Hyper Luminal Games Awarded £35,000 Through Inclusive Design Accelerator

Hyper Luminal Games Awarded £35,000 Through Inclusive Design Accelerator

Dundee-based games studio Hyper Luminal Games is one of two studios to receive funding of £35,000 from the Inclusive Design for Immersive Experiences Challenge, alongside Sugar Creative.

The challenge enables small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to work with InGAME, the StoryFutures Academy, Open Inclusion and XR Access, to create experimental inclusive innovation processes and pilots.

Immersion For All

The goal of the programme is to apply innovative approaches and toolkits to design, test and deliver immersive content that provides better experiences for every user. The funded studios will create immersive content that is more accessible, useful and ‘delightful’ for those with permanent lived experiences of disability, or anyone who temporarily or situationally moves, senses, thinks or feels differently. This focus upon inclusive design will improve the reach, user experience and consistency of immersive experiences for those all too often overlooked, excluded or neglected.

With access to cutting-edge expertise in inclusive design, immersive production, commercialisation support, audience insights and user testing, this opportunity will include focused workshops to help the developers upskill in and embed innovative user-centred design practises into their productions. near-to-market IP (during May & June 2022).

Hyper Luminal Games

  • Searra Dodds – Senior UX/UI Designer
  • Lewis Cannon – UX/UI Designer
  • Billy Fletcher – Lead Programmer
  • Ali Oram – Game Designer
  • Rob Madden – Creative Director & Co-Founder

Since it was founded seven years ago, Hyper Luminal Games has grown from four honours students from Abertay University, to over forty full time staff working across programming, art, design, quality assurance, and management.

The studio puts staff growth and support at the heart of their business which has led to them becoming one of the fastest growing development studios in Scotland, with a keen focus on establishing robust processes to ‘make games better’ – a core value in the quality of the work that they produce and in how they produce it.

Searra Dodds, Senior UX/UI Designer at Hyper Luminal Games, said:

Our aspiration is to create a Hyper Luminal ‘Standard of Excellence’ for inclusive and accessible games for all. With this fantastic opportunity, from InGame, we will be able to focus efforts on improving our internal communication and guidelines around inclusive design. Allowing us to build better pipelines and processes, which include vital user testing and feedback with inclusive communities.  We will also invest time in including more diverse characters, stories and customisation options into Pine Hearts, so players of all backgrounds can feel represented in the story. All of this will be supported with an innovative inhouse accessibility toolkit which we hope to improve sustainably from project to project.

Sugar Creative

Sugar Creative is an award-winning multi-skilled innovation studio based in the UK  which specialises in delivering projects for global clients that focus on emerging, advanced, and immersive technologies.  

With partners including Ubisoft, Toyota, Allianz, Kingspan, BBC and OSMO they have created projects ranging from entertainment, learning, research, diagnostic tools, and marketing, they are regarded as one of the UKs leading creative innovators. They recently  launched the cutting edge AR experience Dr.Seuss ABC: An amazing AR alphabet in collaboration with Dr.Seuss Enterprises and Wallace and Gromit: The Big Fix Up in collaboration with Aardman both to critical acclaim and app store success.  

As part of a multi million UK government backed partnership with national Theatre Wales Sugar Creative are currently in the process of developing GALWAD, an transmedia cultural experience rooted in STEM and designed to inspire a generation of creatives. Alongside this Sugar have recently partnered with Ubisoft and HCT in the creation of a global first of kind immersive experience that will bring the world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla to life in a UK city. 

In the past year Sugar has received a number of accolades including being awarded a BIMA10, being shortlisted for two Cannes Lions, and being selected as one of the Createch 100 Ones to Watch. 

Sugar Creative is developing a visual language integration toolkit and BSL content for XR which will be demonstrated in its soon-to-be-released VR story experience.

Sugar Creative Project Team:

  • Will Humphrey – Project Lead / Creative & Innovation Director 
  • Jason Veal – Managing Director 
  • Faye Allen – AR/VR Developer  
  • Matt Robinson – AR/VR Developer
  • Chris Barnes – Technical Artist  
  • Fern Dunn – Marketing Executive

Fiona Kilkelly, Acting Head of Immersive, StoryFutures Academy told the Scottish Games Network:

We created the Inclusive Design Challenge to help develop confidence, understanding and capabilities in the practice of inclusive innovation for immersive content.  Embedding inclusive design practices improves UX quality, consistency and durability. A growing number of UK immersive content creators want to create more open and accessible experiences. But many find it hard to connect with the right communities, experience and know how to do this.  This programme has helped  companies overcome barriers and fears when engaging with more diverse users to identify opportunities and improve solutions.  And it will ultimately empower companies to do better business by creating better things as well as creating immersive experiences that are enjoyable and accessible to everyone.

Dr Chris Lowthorpe, the Head of Collaborative R&D at InGAME, said:

A growing number of UK game and immersive content creators want to widen their audience and market by creating more open and accessible experiences. But most lack the specific competencies to do so. This competition will empower participating SMEs to develop the required inclusive design and innovation knowledge, skills and networks. Many people living with disabilities are excluded from fully enjoying immersive experiences. We want this competition to raise awareness of the importance of inclusive design and innovation, ultimately delivering more accessible immersive experiences that are fun and engaging for everyone.

Christine Hemphill, the Managing Director of Open Inclusion said:

It has been an absolute privilege to work with the very strong cohort of immersive game and storytelling design and development studios brought together by InGame and the StoryFutures Academy for the Immersive Inclusion Lab Open Inclusion delivered in April. The quality of engagement through the 4 days was exceptional and provided a very rich and interactive learning space for us all. Congratulations to Hyper Luminal (immersive gaming) and Sugar Creative (immersive storytelling) Studios for winning the opportunity to progress their ideas into action in a very competitive environment. We are enjoying supporting each of you as you work to raise the bar in inclusive game design and storytelling that better supports the needs of the one in five people who live with disability or one in three who have a specific access need at any moment in time.

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