Break The Bully launches Outsider Junior

We’ve launched Outsider Junior, on iOS and Google Play, as imprint to publish our all-ages titles.

Our first release is Break The Bully, designed by two 11-year school school kids, and winners of the School’s App Challenge!

Winner of the Northern Ireland Creative Schools App Challenge 2014.

Award Winning game design from 1st year students Mollie Massie and Grace McDermot! Break the Bully combines arcade action with an interactive quiz and anti-bullying facts that open the conversation about bullying.

Check it out and Download fro FREE now on iOS and Android to help Break the Bully Cycle!


MIP 2014


Outsider Games have been chosen by Northern Ireland Screen to represent the Northern Ireland screen economy as part of their trip to MIP 2014. We will be attending MIPTV and MIP Digital Fronts in Cannes between the 6th- 10th April. To set up a meeting or chat, contact stephen@outsidergames.com


BBC Radio 1 Academy – Get Your Game On!


UPDATE: View and play the participant designed games HERE

 Outsider Games hosts Get Your Game On! – a two part workshop as part of BBC’s Radio 1’s Academy in the run-up to the  to BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Derry~Londonderry 2013.

On the 16th and 17th May Scott Grandison and Stephen Downey will take control of the Nerve Centre, Derry and lead participants through the challenge of creating a game in just four hours.

The developing duo behind Magic Mike: The Moves (Lionsgate), UFOStomp (BBC) and Shaking Safari (iOS/Android) welcome all budding coders, artists and sound designers to sign up for the FREE event via the Academy Website.


Nerve Centre

7-8 Magazine Street

Derry – Londonderry

BT48 6HJ


Workshop Times:

Part 1: Thursday 16th May 14:00 – 16:00

Part 2: Friday 17th May 14:00 – 16:00


For additional details or press opportunities contact stephen@outsidergames.com

The entire Radio 1  Academy schedule can be viewed as a PDF  and updates are frequent on the BBC Academy Facebook Page 

The Radio 1 Academy 2013 Partners

Outsider Games is a Northern Ireland game studio, set up in 2011 by Stephen Downey. The aim is to bring together creative cross-media talent in order to create innovative and entertaining mobile games. Their first mobile game, Shaking Safari is available on iOS and Android. A custom game, UFOStomp, built for the BBC will be played on the ‘Big Screens’ later this year. Their latest game Magic Mike: The Moves is based on the Channing Tatum movie from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Visit their website at OutsiderGames.com, like them on Facebook or follow at Twitter

Outsider Games develops Magic Mike app with LionsGate UK and Northern Ireland Screen


Outsider Games and Lionsgate UK launch MAGIC MIKE: THE MOVES app to celebrate release of MAGIC MIKE on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download to own on 26th November 2012

Belfast based Outsider Gamesin partnership with Lionsgate UK and Northern Ireland Screen,is pleased to announce development of MAGIC MIKE: THE MOVESThe promotional mobile game will support the Home Entertainment release of MAGIC MIKE in the UK on DVD, BLU-RAY and Digital download on November 26th, 2012.

MAGIC MIKE features Channing Tatum, who sizzles in the role of the irresistible Mike, the shining star act in a steamy men’s dance show. The game develops the stripping theme as the player becomes an ‘Endless Dancer’, performing touch-screen gestures in time with music, enabling their dancer to perform provocative dance routines. Increasing the Strip Power and completing achievements will allow the dancer to strip off items of clothing, revealing their hunky forms! forthcoming update will also allow the player to customise their dancer in the ‘Xquisite Shop’ with virtual cash collected in-game.

MAGIC MIKE: The Moves translates perfectly to the casual gaming market with its edgy concept, interesting visuals,and signature dance moves”, says Outsider Games’ CEO Stephen Downey. Working with Lionsgate UK was fantastic. They are extremely open to new and interesting ideas, with their refined approval and feedback process creating smooth and fun development environment that we think will be evident while playing MAGIC MIKE: THE MOVES

Lionsgate’s Nicola Pearcey, Managing Director of Home Entertainment and New Media, commented, MAGIC MIKE is one of the most fun and entertaining movies of the year. MAGIC MIKE: THE MOVES provides fantastic content to further the immersive experience for fans – and will create exposure to a new audience for the film. Outsider Games have been a pleasure to work with and this app demonstrates their innovation, creativity and understanding of what our audience wants.”

MAGIC MIKE: THE MOVES will be available on the Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon App Store from November 26th2012.

For more details on Magic Mike: The Moves, please visit Outsidergames.com/MagicMikeTheMoves

For more details on Lionsgate UK’s Home Entertainment release, visit www.facebook.com/MagicMikeMovieUK

Also available: MAGICMIKEonDVD, Blu-ray & Digital Download fromNovember26th,2012.

For further press information on the Home Entertainment release of Magic Mike, please contact:

Chloe Chubb and Mike Hird at Premier PR

T: 020 7292 5071 / 020 7292 8384

E: chloe.chubb@premiercomms.com / mike.hird@premiercomms.com

Outsider Games is Northern Ireland game studio, set up in 2011 by Stephen Downey. The aim is to bring together creative cross-media talent in order to create innovative and entertaining mobile games. Their first mobile game, Shaking Safari is available on iOS and Android. custom game built for the BBC will be played on theBig Screenslater this year.

Lions Gate Home Entertainment, a Lionsgate company (NYSE and TSX:LGF). Lionsgate is the premier independent producer and distributor of motion pictures, television programming, home entertainment, family entertainment and video-on-demand content. Its prestigious and prolific library is a valuable source of stable, recurring revenue and is a foundation for the growth of the Company’s core businesses. The Lionsgate brand name is synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the globe. Lionsgate can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.lionsgatefilms.co.uk


Shaking Safari swings onto iOS and Android

We’re very excited to announce  Shaking Safari, our first  mobile game. is now available on iOS (IPhone/iPad/iPod Touch) and Android (Google Play/Kindle).


The animals of Africa are hungry!

Help them collect food by swiping it into their baskets. Balance the scales and stay upright with tilt control or they’ll fall over! Featuring 10 levels to unlock, each with 3 different playing modes. Will you stay up the longest and who can collect the most food?

• Feed and balance different animals over 10 African levels.
• Use tilt control while balancing the baskets to keep your animals uptight.
• Learn interesting facts about African wildlife

Designed for all-ages, Shaking Safari is available FREE to download in the Apple App Store, with an optional in-app purchase of $0.99 (£0.69/€0.79) to unlock the 2nd Safari Trial.

The Amazon App Store and Google Play host a FREE Lite version letting users play the the 1st Trial, alongside the fully featured app with both trails for $0.99 (£0.69/€0.79).

The game is aimed at all ages, so we hope animal lovers young and old can keep the African animals well fed. Collect the food, keep balanced and most importantly: Don’t Fall Over!
If you want to keep up and learn more about Outsider Games you can join our Facebook page, follow Outsider Games on Twitter or get in touch via email.

Outsider Games

Shaking Safari was created by Stephen Downey (Art), Scott Grandison (code), Priya Mistry (Animations) and Stephen O’Hagan of WFT-On the Air! (Sound). They are eternally grateful to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) for their support through the Creative Industries Innovation Fund which made Shakin’ Safari possible.
Ousider Games is a new Northern Ireland game studio, set up in 2011 by Stephen Downey. The aim is to bring together bright creative talent working across various sectors in order to create innovative and entertaining mobile games. Their first mobile game, Shaking Shaking safari is available on iOS and Android on 14th October 2012. A custom game built for the BBC will be played on the ‘Big Screens’ later this year.


Built with Corona SDK

Mapping Africa

Possibly the part of the game that remained the most static throughout the design of Shaking Safari, yet went through the biggest number of different iterations what the map of Africa.  Particularly how the zooming in and out effect was achieved.

Because the map zooms in quite some distance we decided that the resolution required would be greater than that which we could hold as a single texture.  So Stephen created a large PNG image with a high-resolution version of the complete Africa map and I wrote some Python code to split the entire map up into a 4×4 grid which is then stitched together when the map loads.

The Python code is here:

from PIL import Image
import math
bigmap = Image.open(“mapLarge.png”)
print “Image size:”,bigmap.size
xsize = bigmap.size[0];ysize = bigmap.size[1]
xres = int(math.ceil(xsize/4.0));yres = int(math.ceil(ysize/4.0))
print ‘Xres:’,xres,’ Yres:’,yres
xtiles = int(math.ceil(xsize/xres))+1;ytiles = int(math.ceil(ysize/yres))+1
print “X tiles:”,xtiles;print “Y tiles:”,ytiles

for x in range(xtiles):
for y in range(ytiles):
xstart = x*xres;xend = min((x+1)*xres – 1,xsize)
ystart = y*yres;yend = min((y+1)*yres – 1,ysize)
print x*ytiles+y+1,xstart,xend,ystart,yend
tilenum = x*ytiles+y+1
tile = bigmap.copy()
tile = tile.crop((xstart,ystart,xend,yend))

Feel free to use it yourself, but this was only ever intended as a quick bit of code to solve a problem rather than a piece of polished code.

This solved the resolution problem but we, as well as our alpha testers, noted that it look a long time to load in the maps and since nothing displayed during that time it made the game feel like it was hanging.

Iteration 2

In the next version of the map we instantly loaded a low res version of the map and overlaid the Shaking Safari jeep over the top with an animated ‘Lets Go…’ to give the user a bit more feedback.  Although the transition from the low-res map to the high res-map was far from smooth we did quite a good job of hiding this by zooming the jeep towards the car as we faded between the two.

The code had to be rewritten to animate the letters as no animation events occur until the running block of code frees itself, so we would load in a single map sprite below the low-res image then pause for 10 miliseconds before calling an event to load the next segment.

This was a more satisfying solution, and although it took the same amount of time to load the map it made the user a feel a little less frustrated by telling them that something was going on.

Iteration 3

The previous version with the high-res split map and the loading screen was the version we were happy with that we planned to send to Google, Apple and Amazon.  However upon submission we found out the Google Play had a 50Mb submission limit and we were way way over that (close to double!).

After a frantic two evenings work we managed to get almost all the way down to 50Mb by removing redundant files, rescaling images and reformatting some sounds.  However a bit sticking point was the size of the map images – by far the largest graphics asset in the whole game.

It turns out that when we re-examined the map we discovered that we were actually zooming in far less that we had originally anticipated and it was perfectly reasonable for us to make do with a single 2048 pixel texture (and on devices with lower texture memory 1024).  So after overcoming some challenges to get the best version of the map that we could we ended up with by far the simplest solution!

Graphic Gaming: Submitting graphic assets to iOS and Android

Shaking Safari will be live on iOS and Android apps store in just two days. Submitting to Apple, Google and Amazon  simultaneously requires a variety of screen shots, icons and promotional images. Here is a run-through of images we submitted for Shaking Safari and a few streamlined processes we discovered in the process.


To build simultaneously for iOS and Android devices (as well as avoid Android fragmentation problems) we are building Shaking Safari to iPhone 4 screen resolution, using a black border to frame the game on other devices.


Although I was screencapturing on a Galaxy S2,  (saving in my Dropbox, which synched to my laptop) and I was able to crop neatly and minimally scale in Photoshop to submit Iphone/Ipod Touch screenshots at 960×640 and iPad 1024 x 748. The iPad screenshots had some top and bottom letterboxing, but I didn’t feel the widescreen appearance detracted too much from the images.



Amazon and Google have specific and varied screenshot resolutions requirements. Although each store has individual higher resolutions available, creating screenshots at 800 x 400px will allow you to submit the same images to both stores.

To avoid having to include black side bars in our promotional screenshots, or cropping/stretching to 800 x 480, I instead used white side bars for the screenshots, allowing the white to blend into the design of the Amazon and Google product pages.

If you are submitting to both stores you will need a minimum of 3 screenshots and a maximum of 8.



When we originally submitted, we needed to provide an app icon at 512 x 512px. This is additional to the icon sizes that are provided within your game build. We submitted a new build (1.01)  shortly after the release of iPhone 5, and Apple now requires a 1024x1024px icon. For expediency we scaled the 512px icon x2. We simply provided a square, Apple automatically rounds the corners and adds the dropshadow to match their iOS style. 


You will need a PNG file at 512 x 512px, as well as 114 x 114px. It is recommended by Google that you take advantage of the transparency/alpha channel to differentiate your icon from others.


Promotional Images (Optional):

Both Amazon and Google Play will take promotional/feature images at 1024 x 500px. These may be used if your game ends up in a ‘featured’ section of the store, so I imagined this as a cover image, game box, or online advertisement. Bare in mind that the images may be cropped to fit tile space, so a 50px bleed is needed. Amazon also takes an additional and optional promotional image at 180 x 120px


Have a look on The Apple, Google Play and Amazon App stores from Sunday (14th October) to see how it looks in action.

Helpful Links:



I believe art in games should be more than just functional, and atmospheric graphics can really enhance the players enjoyment. Good art will always be subjective, and for me it’s often trial and error to find a colour scheme and level of detail that works for a given level, while keeping the gaming elements as distinct as possible.

Draft 1

Using a colour wheel can help find complimentary and analogous colours to prevent levels from looking too garish. The greens, yellow and browns worked well in this first draft, with the background colours taking cues from the monkeys. I thought the blue was a little over-used throughout the game though, and while the main character elements stood out against the sky, the background also lacked detail, and didn’t establish a distinct environment for the scene.

Draft 2

I’ve added a lot more detail to the background, but it’s starting to feel a little cluttered and using the same green for the background and foreground is starting to blur the distinction, making the scene look a little flat.

Draft 3

I add layers of mist using a photoshop airbrush (white low opacity) to separate the plains, and fiddle with the background so the more dense foliage doesn’t fall directly behind the monkeys. I also change the colour of the sky to further reflect the monkey’s colour scheme and to provide more variation to the levels.

As I mentioned, it’s mostly trial and error, but hopefully I’m making some progress at making Shaking Safari visually appealing and fun.

Creative Coding #2 : The development workflow

One of the things that I find fascinating when I see someone else at a computer is looking at all the different tools and utilities that they use to do their work.  I think they there’s a lot that we could all learn from each other about the way’s we’ve all found to be more efficient and maximise our productivity.

With that in mind then I though I would share with you some of the main things that I use to work on Shaking Safari.

To start with here’s a picture of my desk:


Mac Mini 2GHz, 2GB RAM, running OSX Lion

MacBook Pro laptop

First generation iPad, 64GB

iPhone 4


Editor: Emacs.  There’s no better way to cause a fight between programmers than to ask them what editor they use, but the two most popular are vi and Emacs and I use the latter.  To say that Emacs has a steep learning curve is somewhat of an understatement but when you get the hang of it it’s simply the most productive editor you could ever use.  You can do virtually everything with it, as well as editing you can use it as a debugger, a command line terminal, to read email, browse the web and many other things.  There’s an investment involved in getting experienced with it, but once you’ve learned how to use it you’ll never look back!

Development Platform: Shaking Safari is being developed using Corona SDK.  There are lots of advantages (and a few disadvantages) of using a third party development platform like this.  The main advantage for us is that we’re able to develop simultaneously for iOS and Android and to use a scripting language like Lua allows for very rapid development.  Another great reason to use Corona is that it enables all the members of the development team to test every version of the game as it’s developed.

Version Control: A key component of application development is proper version control.  This makes sure that everything gets back up correctly, but even more than that it also allows you to go back to any snapshot during development and get hold of that version, and also to check all of the changes made between versions. Shaking Safari uses Git with hosting provided by bitbucket.

Scripting Tool: The game itself is being written in Lua, via Corona SDK.  But a number of small tools have been created in Python.  These perform such tasks as splitting up the map screen into smaller sprites in order that we don’t overrun the iPhone texture memory.

Other handy tools:

Of course a whole bunch of other tools get used that aren’t necessarily core to the development of the code but still come in handy.  These include:

Mathematica (for performing calculations), GMail and Google Reader, Adobe Photoshop, Quicksilver (as a replacement for Spotlight), Skype (for chatting with Stephen), Dropbox (for sharing files between the team).


So I hope you found the development environment interesting.  I’d love to know how everyone else reading the blog works, so please do let me know in the comments below!  Stephen will be back in a couple of weeks to tell you more about the development of the graphics.