Toby Murray Wins the Coast Capital Savings Entrepreneurship Co-op Award with RAM and Xylem Studios

Toby and Andrew at the 2024 Independent Games Festival
Toby and Andrew at the 2024 Independent Games Festival

“Being chosen by people I know and respect, and with so many amazing students, means a lot. It’s an honor to stand out among them.” – Toby Murray on winning the CCIC Entrepreneurship Award

In 2021, amidst COVID-19, Toby Murray joined the Uvic GameDev club to make friends with like-minded people. They participated in game jams, like 72-hour hack-a-thons based on different themes. He and fellow club member Andrew Cunningham devised a concept where you could play as the enemies and swap between them at will. They worked on it during Ludum Dare. This global game jam competition happens twice annually, attracting around 4000 participants. Of the varied metrics, their game ranked in the top 5% for innovation. Inspired by this feedback, Toby and Andrew agreed to continue fleshing out what is now called Random Access Mayhem (RAM). In his 4th year at UVic in Software Engineering, Toby Murray developed and produced RAM, and founded the indie game studio Xylem Studios with Andrew Cunningham. Overseeing a team of eight, Toby and his team’s public demo has resulted in more than 22,500 downloads.

Toby’s participation and wins with Coast Capital Innovation Centre’s PitchIt and PlanIt were beneficial for the remuneration. But also, “the requirement to put down in words what is in your head and having to understand it, make it all concrete—that was the sleeper hit of having participated,” he reflects. The Entrepreneurial Co-op also taught Toby about time management and the critical function of processes. Using platforms such as Trello, Jira, and GitHub reinforced his thoughts on their importance in software development. Now, focusing on the game and studio’s organizational aspects, they keep the collaboration between the two artists, designers, composers, and developers smooth and on-task.

Toby and Xylem Studios’ have a RAM public demo out on Steam and are into production for early access in late-2024. The next few months will be spent creating new characters and building on and improving their foundation. Toby credits Andrew’s YouTube launch of RAM for their fanbase, whose feedback has been key. RAM recently won the Audience Award at the 2024 Independent Games Festival and Xylem Studios also participated in the Seattle Indies Expo, where they showed off RAM in public and also spent time with developers and people who make the games they enjoy. Attending the expo represented the “culmination of the co-op – and capstone on the program,” Toby shares.

Toby and Andrew at the 2024 Independent Games Festival
RAM took home the Audience Award at IGF

Written by Gillie Easdon and edited by Tyler West

The Coast Capital Innovation Centre has been made possible through a partnership between the University of Victoria and the Coast Capital Federal Credit Union. Since 2016, Coast Capital has committed over $1.5 million to support entrepreneurs and innovators at UVic.

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