Most people are surprised to hear that I'm interested in things like computer games, and often even more surprised to find out I'm a sci-fi fan too. My favourite childhood shows were Star Trek and Deep Space 9 and I'd much rather watch Battlestar Galactica than a rom-com. When negotiating who got what after the break up of an old boyfriend I didn't mind if he got the TV and the furniture just as soon as I got the DS and all the games with it too.
It's funny that being interested in these kind of things is usually considered a bit surprising because I'm a girl.
Click below to read on (and win an iPad Mini!)
I suppose in the past few years my interests in games have been taken over quite a bit by blogging and being immersed in this world, which I think probably makes me just as geeky. I've had less time to play games since becoming a mum but I have to confess to owning a couple on my iPad.
I'm interested in girls in technology especially gaming as it's a world that is usually dominated by men. I was recently asked to play a new game on the market called 'Bake Escape' (I know, I have such a tough job right?). The idea behind the game is that the character 'Victoria Sponge' needs to get to Paris by completing puzzles. By moving and matching sugary cakes you can score points and complete levels to get you closer to your goal. I have to warn you, it's highly addictive!
The artist behind Bake Escape is 24 year old Becky Smout and I was interested in hearing what she said about the process and about being a girl in gaming.
How did you get into games?
I initially started out in the animation industry, even have a degree in it. But always had a battle with myself ‘Animation?’ ‘Games?’ ‘Illustration?’ even throughout studying, with the mobile game market getting bigger and more independent companies popping up, I realised that I could actually put all these things together! I’m just over a year into my first year of being in the games industry now, and hands down the best decision I ever made.
What is it like working in the games industry?
Really fun! I think there is a slight misconception that because we work in the games industry that we all sit around and play games all day (which my parents think I do). Which in some aspects are true, especially at lunch times and sometimes after, y’know, research purposes. But in the midst of all that, we all work really hard to get the best product we can, we all want the game we’re working on to succeed and I think a huge part of making a fun game is having fun while making it.
What is it like working in such a male dominated industry? Best bits? Worst bits?
The reason why we’ve brought together is our passion for games, we’ve all worked really hard to get where we are and want the best product we can achieve in the time we have to create it. I’ve never been treated any differently because I’m female and I want to keep it that way.
What influences your designs?
A difficult one really, as a lot inspires me! Even though a lot of my work is digital now a days, traditional media will always hold a huge part of my heart so I always try to weave a bit of a traditional process in. I’m always on the lookout for something new and try to keep an open mind about trying new styles and processes. I think as an artist it’s inbuilt and you’re not really sure when inspiration might strike, but when it does you have to grab it by the horns and run with it. Normally the use of shape and colour are the big players for catching my eye, I think that’s part of my animation degree allowing me to appreciate that more. The internet is a great thing, social media even more so! I get to follow a lot of inspiring artists which is good for a quick fix of inspiration (we all have our artist block days! It’s knowing how to recover from them!) Lois Van Baarle and Jon Klassen to name a few favourites. But saying that, nothing beats a well illustrated book , that’s always a winner too!
Can you describe the process of coming up with the characters for a game?
I like to make them little stories, what is their purpose, how did they get to where they are today and what’s their personality like? This normally is a really good framework to start creating a character, visual language should give a lot away without them moving or having to say anything and I find knowing a little about them before I start the drawing process really helps. For our first independent title ‘Bake Escape’ we did a lot of research, I mean a huge amount of research! Mood boards where almost the wallpaper for the office. We got a few character ideas from that, after a bit of market research we narrowed it down to a handful. We made up a few crazy stories (one involving a travelling circus, I still want to revisit that one!), after a few runs of designs focusing on their shapes and colour we whittled it down to the characters you see in game today.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about working in games?
Do it. Follow your passions, set goals for yourself and work hard. It all pays off in the end! I don’t think there is a right way of getting into the games industry, as everyone has their own story, just don’t get remembered for the wrong reasons, it’s a small industry, everyone knows each other!
Do you play games yourself? If so what?
Yes, although I never really marked myself as a ‘gamer’ as I don’t play anything religiously, I’ve always owned a console but I go through fazes of being really into a game, my drawing has always taken over in the end and I’ve let it, it means I don’t think I’ve ever finished a game 100%. I’m pretty nifty at Mario Kart and I still hold a place in my heart for the games I played as a child (Spyro and Crash Bandicoot to name a few!). With games being so accessible now, I play a lot of little games on my phone, which suits me as I can have a few in circulation at once and delete them when I get bored without feeling guilty of never finishing it.
You can download and try the game out here and you can win an iPad Mini by entering the below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
UK entrants aged 18 and over only. Correct entries will be submitted to the random draw. Incomplete or Duplicate entries will be deleted. All times are in GMT. Blog Owner not responsible for non-delivery of prize. Entrants must leave a means of contact: either twitter handle or email address. Prizes must be claimed within 2 days, otherwise another winner will be selected to replace the non-claimant. The prize is the item featured in the post, and there is no cash alternative.
It ends midnight on the 31st Dec 2014.
In association with Bake Escape