A One Stop Digital Shop: Data Design Interactive and Artworld UK

by Paul Younghusband

For around 18 years Birmingham-based Data Design Interactive has been churning out top-notch games for some of the industry's most prestigious publishers. Working for Sony, Millennium, PSS, Psygnosis, Ocean and Infogrames on projects such as Pegasus Bridge, ROBOCOD, Rise of the Robots and Water World to name a few, Data Design has earned a reputation as one of the UK's top games developers. Their experience developing for the Spectrum, Amstrad, Amiga, Game Boy, PC, Sega Megadrive and, of course, the Playstation, put them in the perfect position to take advantage of the games industry's soaring popularity. But as we found out, the folks at Data Design have more than video games on their mind...

Two scenes from WW2, the upcoming game being developed by Artworld UK. © Artworld UK.

Expanding Horizons
When Lego Media International approached Data Design to create their Lego Rock Raiders game the company knew that they would require a dedicated animation team. "That's when we set up Artworld UK, our sister company," says Rob Dorney, Head of Art Department. "We have a very good working environment here — Data Design handles the game code, and Artworld handles the graphics and animation."

And they "handle" it very well indeed. For the last four years Artworld has been producing some of the best game and game-related animation in the UK. But they haven't just stuck with game animation -- the company has a wide range of TV commercials, Websites and even comic books that they've produced as a result of their astounding animation for games. "We've built up a great relationship with Lego Media," says Dorney, "in total we must have competed more than 8 projects for them."

When Lego Media International approached Data Design to create their Lego Rock Raiders game, the company set up Artworld UK, a sister company, to handle the graphics and animation. © Artworld UK.

Building a Company with Lego Bricks
Artworld's work with the Lego brand has established them as a force to be reckoned with. After they completed the animation for the Lego Rock Raiders game, Lego was so impressed that they commissioned Artworld to create the animation for the television commercial too. Then the work started flooding in: Lego Racers, Lego Alpha Team, Lego Creator, Legoland introduction animation, Lego motion simulator rides, Lego comics and more. "Lego were so impressed with our work that they actually asked us to help design some of the actual Lego sets that were going to go on sale," Dorney recalls. "It was really great to see our work in plastic on the shelves at Toys R Us."

So why does international toy giant Lego keep coming back to Artworld? "I think it's because they trust us with their intellectual properties," explains Dorney. "Their brand is the core of their business -- it's the key to their success. Everyone knows Lego. They feel that we portray their brand in a way that works for them. The character that we put into the characters and the way we tell stories about them obviously works. We seem to be on the same wavelength. We know what they want. And we get it right the first time."


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