During our first year we offered a programme of ’52 Things’ made with and for the city’s creative community to showcase the fantastic people and places in our city. You can find the full 52 here.

Richard Hurford from Games Wales is helping to organise Cardiff's contribution to the Global Game Jam later this month. The event spans a weekend in which groups across the world work to a common brief. Richard is a Senior Lecturer in Games at the University of South Wales, based in the Atrium. He teaches across several courses which have produced award-winning games and game creators who work with companies such as Rockstar North, Electronic Arts, Lionhead, Rare and Codemasters.

Can you tell us a bit about your work?

I teach on a range of courses which provide our students with the opportunity to explore and learn about the process of designing and making games. We aim to challenge our students right from the outset, involving them in individual and group projects and getting them to collaborate as they would do when working in the industry. 

I have been involved with Games Wales for the last 5 years. It was set up to champion Wales as a place to make games and to help support the growing Welsh games industry. We aim to represent the industry’s interests, and act as an advocate. As part of this we organise monthly meet ups, quarterly talks, occasional game jams and an annual show.

Why have you chosen to work in Cardiff? What inspires you about being here?

I am a born and bred Cardiff lad so I have a particular fondness for Cardiff and what it has to offer! I find Cardiff's rich cultural history very inspirational. The current growth and development in the city and surrounding area is really exciting. It looks like the city's creative culture will continue to grow even in the current tough climate of funding cutbacks for the arts.

You’re helping to run Cardiff's contribution to the Global Game Jam at the end of the month. What is it? And why did you want to get involved?

A game jam is an event where games are conceived and developed around a theme within a short period of time, usually over a weekend or a week (but sometimes they are longer). The Global Game Jam is an annual international event. Everyone involved receives the theme on Friday evening. They then form teams and work furiously on their game for the rest of the weekend. The games are submitted on Sunday evening and are made available for everyone to play.

Game jams are a great way to meet and work with new people and to learn new skills - both creative and technical. For me it is great to be able to offer these opportunities to the local games community and to people who want to find out more about making games. It's wonderful to see sound engineers, filmmakers, animators and people from other creative disciplines turning up to get involved and to find out what making games is all about.

If anyone wants to come along to the Cardiff jam they can find out more on the Cardiff event page.

How successful has Cardiff been at making itself a creative capital city, particularly in your area of work?

Historically I think that Cardiff has done a good job at making itself a creative capital city, but this requires continuous attention in order to maintain that position. There are some great creative people in the area that really drive this forward.

Cardiff has been identified in a NESTA report as being an "entrepreneurial hub" for games. It was great to see that the hard work of all the small games companies in and around Cardiff has been recognised at a national level. This gives us a great platform to continue growing the sector.  

Which 3 things need to happen to make Cardiff a more creative city?

From the perspective of the games sector: 

  • More active investment and support in local companies and start-ups, especially seed and early stage funding. 
  • Continued inward investment to help grow the games sector with larger more established companies who can bring additional experience and know-how to the area.

And more generally:

  • An increased profile both nationally and internationally of creative projects/organisation/people to show off the massive talent in Cardiff and the surrounding region. 

Describe your favourite creative place in Cardiff

I am slightly biased on this but the Atrium is an amazing place full of creative talent, both the students and staff. There is brilliant work being produced across all the courses. With the new extension to the building due for completion later this year we will be seeing even more creative courses arriving in Cardiff. 

What’s next for you? What projects are on the horizon?

There are a few things in the pipeline, first of all some of our students are about to embark on completing their final projects. All of their work will be on display at the Graduate Show which will take place in May/June this year.

Secondly Games Wales has another game jam planned for the first weekend of March - more details on this will be available soon via Games Wales.

Lastly I have just got involved in the organisation of the Wales Games Development Show which is now in its 5th year. This year the show will be bigger and better with more exhibitors, talks and workshops.

What do you think Creative Cardiff should try to achieve?

Creative Cardiff should continue connecting the many creative networks in Cardiff together encouraging collaboration and supporting the creative community. The creative sector in Cardiff is diverse (which is a wonderful thing) so bringing the different parts into contact with one another will be key going forward.