Today, we had an interesting talk from the lovely people at Sennep London. It was really intriguing going into a design studio and seeing the set-up; it has definitely inspired me to push forward to either join a small studio or maybe even build one of my own.
There were many key things that were said in their presentation including the idea of ‘Sennep Seeds’. An evolving collection of experiments which allowed the team to freely experiment, ‘stay fresh’ and learn new skills. Having allotted time to work on personal projects and to improve or gain new skills is key to having a diverse, strong team; it can also help to refresh the mind when you’re working on something else other than your current project. This is definitely something to bear in mind with my work this current semester. Already, I have neglected everything else and just worked on the game I’m currently working on, so maybe I should dedicate at least an hour each Friday or on the weekend to learn something new or work on something else.
From the Sennep Seed experiments came OLO which was turned into a technical test and developed into a prototype. They put it out on the web and got feedback from the players. Getting feedback is key and they mentioned that if the internet like it, they tell you, they don’t normally tell you what they don’t like. One thing that I found when looking at the feedback they received was also that they used Twitter as a major feedback system. It seems to be good for short feedback but maybe not everything can be said in 140 characters. It’s given me the idea that once we change the name of Bell Jar and have the branding and identity worked out, I may start up a Twitter account and possibly Instagram in order to get the game out there.
In terms of internal testing, they normally used a handful of people in their studio to test the games. This makes me feel better as often we test things in-house with people on our course across years and felt it has worked well; having it reaffirmed that having a small group of internal testers is a good way to start before furthering the game feels reassuring.
“If someone wants to play it again and again, you’ve obviously done something right.” Something to definitely consider…
Sennep also used Google analytics in order to track feedback which I thought was really interesting. It enables you to see how long people play for, what device etc. This could really help whilst we prototype and test mechanics and such in the game. This will definitely be something that I will look into more next semester to help further improve and develop our game.
They also touched on the idea of having easter eggs within your games. They are a cool way to get people more drawn into what you’re doing. For example, they used music to play out the moves in their 10th-anniversary game TEN. It was a really fun and interesting feature which people would end up finding and think that this golden treasure was awesome. These sorts of things help to build a portfolio of things to show clients as well in order to show your creative, fun side. I think that we could possibly have some fun with this in Bell Jar, but it could be something that is discussed and developed next semester as at the moment we have a lot of work on our plate in the upcoming deadline till after Christmas.
A final key point, if I ever think about developing a phone app with bouncing ball type things in it, the Netherlands are massive on this so would be worth checking out releasing over there!
Overall, good tips, great burgers and amazing dog.