NewsNorthern Ireland

Science cat makes leap to global game

Gamer Kevin Beimers
Gamer Kevin Beimers

The most famous cat in science has inspired the first game from Northern Ireland to get bought up by Xbox and PlayStation.

Schrodinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark was created by a team from Magherafelt, Groomsport and Crawfordsburn via Dublin.

They work together as Italic Pig, whose boss Kevin Beimers originally dreamt up the game for iPhones and tablets.

When it got too big he hooked up with a UK digital publisher who got an instant ‘yes’ when they pitched the game to Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Schrodinger’s Cat is well known to science boffins and Big Bang Theory fans, but Kevin says players don’t need to know anything about physics.

“It’s like Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory came up with a game, but people who like cats can play it, and people who like physics can play it,” says Kevin.

“If you know anything about physics you can see I’ve slipped in little jokes that are just for you, but I want it to be played by anyone – my eight-year-old daughter and my six-year-old son love the game and love the character.

“Their main frustration is when it’s on my screen at home I’m working on it.”

Canadian-born Kevin says it’s significant for gaming in Northern Ireland because everything was done locally. 

“It was developed here, made here with a team from here. Other companies from here have been involved with development for businesses from outside Northern Ireland but to my knowledge this is a first.

“The Northern Ireland games industry is great. There is not enough going on that anyone is in direct competition and as a result everyone in games here are friends. We all help each other to succeed.

“I would hope this will give us all a little more exposure.”

The game was released for PC, Mac and Linux last year when it was nominated for awards in the UK and Ireland for 2015 Best Game Script. 

It stepped up a global gear when Kevin joined forces with Team 17 Digital, which created the blockbusting Worms franchise.

“They handpick new companies they think will go the distance and they opened the door to Xbox and PlayStation. By myself it would have taken another three years,” says the 38-year-old.

In the game, set in the Particle Zoo, all the atoms have escaped after a catastrophe and Schrodinger’s Cat is called in to calm the chaos. He commands an army of cuddly quarks and can create gadgets to subdue the leptons, gluons and bosons.

Computer science and physics graduate Kevin says it was his love of science that inspired the game.

The feline formula was dreamt up in1935 by Austrian Erwin Schrodinger that a cat in a box with a poison could be dead and alive at the same time until the box is opened.

“The basic concept is that at atomic level two opposite things can happen to something at the same time.

“At sub-atomic particle level all the rules break down. I thought if I wanted to make a game that was influenced by some of the rules of particle physics the only visual that people can grab on to is Schrodinger’s cat.”

Kevin, who moved from London to Northern Ireland nine years ago is proudest of the local team.

“There is no office; we do a lot of stuff on Skype. There is an animator in Antrim, two developers and a background artist in Dublin, a concept artist in Magherafelt, a sound guy in Groomsport, and I’m in Crawfordsburn.

“Everything was assembled and built and produced in my kitchen,” says Kevin.

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