Local startup company hopes for computer gaming success

editorial image
0
Have your say

Troll Inc, a new videogame development team operating out of the city’s North West Regional College is one of many startup companies hoping to inject new life into some of Northern Ireland’s most overlooked business avenues.

Troll Inc, a new videogame development team operating out of the city’s North West Regional College is one of many startup companies hoping to inject new life into some of Northern Ireland’s most overlooked business avenues.

Mark Quinn, Tim Murray and Velia Millian from Troll inc who received the Enterprising Derry Fast Forward Award for Best Overall Start-up from Paul Casey, DETI with awards host Mark Carruthers. Picture Martin McKeown.

Mark Quinn, Tim Murray and Velia Millian from Troll inc who received the Enterprising Derry Fast Forward Award for Best Overall Start-up from Paul Casey, DETI with awards host Mark Carruthers. Picture Martin McKeown.

The team, founded by Jim Murray, Mark Quinn, Gavin McLaughlin and Delia Millan, have been operating out of the NORIBIC incubation centre in the College since September 2010, and are mere months away from releasing their debut game for the ever-expanding App Market.

Jim Murray, the company’s CEO said “We’d all graduated from Magee and had been working at the university in different kinds of research roles when we noticed a competition for people at Magee to enter, the 25k Awards. We’d always wanted to set up a company anyway, so we thought we’d use that as a springboard into developing a company. We entered, got through and ended up winning the Digital section of it with our game idea.”

In little over a year since establishing the company, Troll Inc have also won the Enterprising Derry Fast Forward Award for Best Overall Startup, solidifying their reputation as an up and coming company to watch, and now find themselves nearing ever closer to the commercial release of their first title; Jellyflug.

“Jellyflug is a game based on Bacteria” said Jim, “You play as Bacteria yourself and you travel through different places in a human house like the kitchen cuttingboards, the sink and even teeth and the human body. Basically, it’s a platformer, similar to Mario. You explore the worlds and from that you see the different ways bacteria actually works. it’s all very cartoony, though. We try to keep it more fun than anything else but we’ve also put a little bit of a learning element into the game as well. We’re shooting for a May release.”

Jim is no stranger to the gaming world, having been interested in them for quite a while now: “Originally, in Magee I was doing a foundation year course and from that I heard about a new game development course starting up. I joined it and from that point it was always games-related then. Even in university, when I was doing my research role over there, it was still very games-based. So I’ve been doing games-related stuff for about 6 or 7 years now.”

The company, however, is just one of many new startup companies, embarked upon by the city’s new generation of would-be entrepreneurs.

It is a noticeable increase in homegrown talent bringing new ideas to the city and one that has not escaped Jim’s attention, he said: “Yeah, even in the past year especially, there’s been a lot. I think it’s because a lot of bodies in Derry are trying to push for more startups and it makes a big difference. Especially, in digital startups.

“Most startups aren’t going to be successful. That’s just the truth. But even if most of them aren’t, if a few do become successful then that’s all that matters. If 9 companies fail out of 10, if that one company succeeds, it’s worth it in the end up. If we, or any other company, end up not being successful then you still learn from it and it means the next time you’ll have learned from experience and you’ll know what to change and what to do better.”

Perhaps, one of the most postive contributions startup companies such as Troll Inc could make to the city is the potential, in time, to provide jobs for those skilled in specialist areas who would otherwise have to leave the country in search of employment in their field.

“There’s a lot of graduates, a lot of people out there who are qualified and there’s no industry there for them” said Jim “It’ll take a while but in a few years time when some of these businesses start taking off, there’s going to be actual jobs there for people when they graduate from university. Like, right now if I wanted a job in Games Development, I’d have to go to maybe, Scotland or Dublin. But in Northern Ireland? There wouldn’t be a whole lot, so hopefully it means people don’t necessarily have to go a couple of hundred miles to find the closest job.

“I would like to build up a strong brand for the company were we can keep growing and growing and from that build a strong games industry in the area.

“Other than that” added Jim “Basically, we just want to make the games we want to make and if they’re successful, hopefully people will like them.”

If you’re interested in Troll Inc, you can visit the TrollInc website

or find them on Facebook.