Game on for students as they load up their first programming firm


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An entrepreneurship programme run by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) for former students has helped a Computer Games Programming BSc (Hons) graduate get his business off the ground.

DMU’s Crucible Project – which provides a package of mentoring, funding and support for alumni to turn their business ideas into reality – has enabled graduate Chris Allen and his business partner Chris Ebbs to launch a new games development studio called CapDragon.

CapDragon
Chris Ebbs (left) and Chris Allen have co-founded CapDragon

As two lifelong gamers themselves, the duo wanted to develop their own mobile games that adapt and combine existing genres and mechanics to offer something new.

Their first game, called ‘Night of the Thieving Drones’, sees players fend off enemy drones to protect their treasure, using two virtual joysticks on the screen. It is due to be released on Google Play Store and Apple Store in the Spring. 

“We are probably a year further ahead with our business than we would have been without the Crucible Project,” explained Chris Allen.

“Thanks to the scheme we’ve got our own office space at The Innovation Centre on DMU’s campus and we’ve also received some really useful advice about things like social media, marketing and taxes.”

Now in its fifth year, the Crucible Project helps a number of entrepreneurial individuals each year bring their idea or product concept to life.

Successful applicants receive free shared office space at The Innovation Centre, which runs a co-working café and regular free business sessions for start-ups. They also get expert mentoring and training workshops, as well as access to funding and university expertise and facilities.

Since 2014, the programme has generated a number of successful start-ups, with some even receiving investment worth up £150,000.

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“We get to work with experts at the university and there are also opportunities to exchange skills and services with other businesses on the programme,” explained Chris.

Chris and Chris teamed up with Lead Balloon Studios – another company launched through the Crucible Project – for the design of their CapDragon branding, mascot and logo.

Lead Balloon Studios is run by DMU Animation graduates Darrell Wright and Lois Cockerill, who specialise in 3D character and mascot animation.

“It’s been great working with CapDragon and bringing their branding to life,” said Darrell. “The Crucible Project provides opportunities to exchange skills and services with other companies, and we’re now in talks for Chris and Chris to develop an app for our business in the future.”

Posted on Wednesday 18th December 2019

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