AN ACTION-PACKED computer game that takes the sport of badminton to a whole new level created by graduates at the University of Huddersfield has proved a smash-hit with the gaming community after coming top in a national games showcase competition.

Daniel Haynes, Harlow Grinney, May Thornborrow, and Shaun Kennie are company directors of Head Empty Studios which has been set up with the help of the University’s Enterprise Team. Their game titled Shuttle Revolution soared to success beating competitors from across the UK to become a winner of the latest Tranzfuser competition.  Their prize is a £20k grant from the UK Games Fund to continue the commercial development of their game.

Shuttle Revolution is described as ‘a stylist 2.5D badminton fighting game’.  Players can choose a character from a diverse cast of ten up-and-coming badminton champions, each with a unique twist to master that ranges from psychic energy manipulation and bionic grappling hooks to long-dormant ancient spirits with unfinished badminton business.

Through the streets of ‘Euron’ players can battle waves of AI on the badminton court travelling down branching story paths depending on what decisions they make after each victory, allowing for different endings per character.  Or they can take on formidable opponents in online battles to become the supreme Badminton champion.

Head Empty Co-director Daniel Haynes graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in Computer Science with Games Programming from the University in 2022.  He said the Tranzfuser competition has provided the team with a valuable ‘foot in the door’ to the game development industry and the motivation to explore careers as ‘indie devs’ from their own indie games studio.

He added the assistance of the University’s Enterprise Team was also invaluable and that he couldn’t imagine how difficult the process would have been to set up a business without their involvement, especially if like them, you’re entering the business world completely blind with no prior experience.

The University’s Enterprise Team educates and advises current students and graduates on all thing’s enterprise and entrepreneurship. Their services include 1:1 business support, workshops to develop enterprise and employability skills, boot camps, access to the business incubation hub, grant funding and more.

“The provision of the 3M building to act as a correspondence address was also a really convenient feature that would otherwise be unavailable to those who can’t access an entire dedicated building for business. This was even more so for us due to the team being spread out all over the country and working primarily from home.,” he said.

Since launching in 2016, Tranzfuser has seen hundreds of passionate and talented graduate game developers take an idea for a game and make it into a playable reality. Many teams from the programme have gone on to achieve commercial success, whilst others have secured lucrative positions within the highly competitive games industry.

This year saw the return to the in-person culmination of the competition as 21 teams took to the floor at London’s ExCeL Arena as part of the UK’s biggest consumer-facing games show, EGX.  Each studio had their games played and tested by the enthusiastic game-playing public and were invited to deliver a pitch to the UK Games Fund during the event.

If the game is successful Daniel says the Studio plans to make another and support the previous one with paid content post-launch. “Securing stable funding from a publisher or platform holder is now our next step to ensure we can continue with the company and game,” he added.