Monday, 26 January 2015

Behind the scenes of Uni Leap

In 2014 we launched our first ever mobile game, Uni Leap (if you haven’t already played it you can download it for free for Android devices here and iOS here). The object is to jump your way through the levels to reach the end goal – university. But there are plenty of hazards to avoid along the way.

Lots of development and illustration work took place behind the scenes to get Uni Leap off the ground, and with thousands of new mobile apps and games being launched every day, there’s an incredible amount of this work going on! This got us thinking about the different careers in the world of mobile apps, so we caught up with Rory and Keiron from Koko, the agency that developed Uni Leap, to find out how they came to work on projects like ours.

Rory, Multimedia Developer

1. What is your job title and what does it involve?
I’m a multimedia developer – that means I get involved in the development of projects of all kinds from websites to mobile apps and games. I code in languages such as AS3, JavaScript and HTML5 and I am constantly expanding my knowledge of these languages. 

2. How did you get to where you are now? 
Before I finished school I had a part-time job at Koko, albeit my main role was making brews! But from there I was always interested in what was going on in the studio and I started to try and make websites and games in my own time. Since then I’ve proved myself a worthy programmer and have worked on some cool projects for big brands and KoKo has helped me build my skill set. 

3. When did you become interested in games development?
I had always been interested in playing games, but never really considered that I could be making them! Once I started testing the games at KoKo I started to get really interested in understanding how they were developed and wanted to have a try myself.

4. What’s the best part of your job?
That feeling of satisfaction when I fix a bug that I’ve spent hours (sometimes days) trying to find. Also knowing that something I helped create will be played by lots of people from around the world.

5. What advice do you have for anyone who’s interested in game development?
You should keep a close eye on the industry and the technologies you are using, everything is constantly progressing and it doesn’t take long to fall behind! I never switch off and am constantly thinking of innovative ideas that could be brought into the games I develop.

6. What’s your highest score on Uni Leap?
I don’t know my exact score but I know I spent a long time testing it whilst developing it and I’ve completed all 30 levels!

Keiron, Games Artist

1. What is your job title and what does it involve?
I’m a games artist and that basically involves anything to do with character designs and animations, in-game artwork, and concept art for the games.

2. How did you get to where you are now? 
I studied animation at university. During the final year, the directors at Koko were looking for animators to join them since the company was still rather new at the time. They’d seen my work and took interest, and once I had graduated I had a job waiting for me. I’ve now been with them for seven years and I’ve developed my skills considerably.

As for qualifications, I have a BA Honours degree in Animation – but for art-based jobs there’s a lot of emphasis on your portfolio and having good quality work that you can show to potential employers.

3. When did you become interested in games design?
I’d say from around sixth form, though it was more of a general interest in animation as a whole. I’d always enjoyed animation and how it’s made, but it was around that time that I started to seriously consider a career in it. 

The games development and design industry had also been of interest to me. Games need animators and artists, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to consider that as an option. 

4. What’s the best part of your job?
Getting to see the final product come together, and getting the validation that all the effort that went into it is paying off visually.

5. What advice do you have for anyone who’s interested in game design?
Take an interest in what’s going on in the industry and keep an eye out for cool concept art and animation. Also anything from games, TV shows, cartoons and anime, and various internet artists might trigger an idea or help solve a visual or animation problem you’re having, so keep a wide range of interests to take in a lot of good ideas.

6. What’s your highest score on Uni Leap? 
Honestly? I’m terrible at it! I don’t have any scores to hand, but I’m sure they weren’t that high, ha-ha!



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