Jet Set

Member Article

Moving to Middlesbrough

IT may have been described as ‘desolate’ by a former government minister but for a pair of friends keen to get on in education and business, moving up North was their chief ambition.

Ben Morris and Lewis Sanderson, both 24, set up their own digital game design business in Middlesbrough after moving to the town from Corsham, near Bath, Somerset.

The pair, founders alongside Rex Hancox of Jet Stone Studios, originally came to Middlesbrough to study Computer Games Programming and Computer Games Art at Teesside University.

After graduation Ben and Lewis decided to stay in Middlesbrough and set up Jet Stone Studios.

The company was originally formed in August 2012 after the founders were accepted onto Teesside University’s DigitalCity Fellowship Programme.

Ben, who has been making computer games since he was 13, said: “Coming to study in Middlesbrough was the only option for me, the university course is probably the best in the country and I was determined to be on it.

“Once I graduated I knew I wanted to stay on in the town and set up my own business.

“There is a thriving network of people here all involved in digital industries and all willing to share advice and support.”

Based in Teesside University’s Victoria Building, Jet Stone Studios develop games for smartphones and tablet computers.

The company released its first game, Fuz Rush, in the summer and is currently working on a game as part of a worldwide competition to win $200,000 from electronic giants Samsung and Intel.

The competition is designed to encourage developers to produce content for the new Tizen platform. Similar to the Android platform, it will host games and apps for people to download on their smartphones and tablets.

Ben said: “The game we’re creating for the competition is called Crystal Caster. It’s a colour-matching game with a magical vibe where you cast spells at shiny gems to destroy them.

“It’s good fun with a social element. The aim is to become the wealthiest wizard.

“Sometime after the game has been entered into the Tizen competition we will be releasing it on all platforms such as iOS, Android and Facebook.

“It’s a really exciting time for us at Jet Stone Studios and we’ve benefitted hugely from Teesside University’s DigitalCity Fellowship Programme.”

Laura Woods, Director of Academic Enterprise at Teesside University, said: “The fact we have people moving to Middlesbrough from the other side of the country is a sign of the vibrancy and growing economic importance of the town’s digital sector.

“The work carried out by DigitalCity Business and DigitalCity Innovation is helping drive this growth. It’s been a huge success.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ian Benet .

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