Yesterday afternoon I went up to Sussex University to assist in reviewing Msc students' game design projects. I accompanied Richard Vahrman from Locomatrix as the University had partnered with his company for the project, which was heartening in itself.
I believe that the Universities in Brighton and Hove have so far done a poor job of working with local New Media companies. They have the classic 'science park' approach where low-cost offices are offered as an incubator. However, Sussex Uni is a bit too far out of town for this action to make this a bridge between business (town) and University (campus). Some of the companies there seem to have been round for quite a while (which in itself does indicate some success), so it's 'incubator' credentials may be questionable.
This project was a great example of how it can work and work well. The students were tasked with designing a game based around the Locomatrix, a gps game platform built by Future Platforms for a Brighton-based business. They could build simple prototypes, but the focus was on designing a game rather than building it. I was very impressed by the projects and a large number of them had thought of an original angle. Hilights for me were:
Some of the games are being developed further and I may be involved with prototyping them on the Locomatrix Platform. Also, we have 'Bogfest', a Real-Life Gaming event coming up as part of the Brighton Festival Fringe, where we could play some of the games as a simulation to see how they play out.