John Esslemont and his team are designing a game for online training provider LDP-Online as part of a paid contract. The art of Japanese organisation is combining with the modern phenomenon of videogames (and pizza), as Appatier Limited design an app to teach employees about management. John also used the opportunity to say he supports Train2Game and the work it does for students.
The team is currently working on a pizza game that teaches people about ‘Kaizan’ which is Japanese for organisation. The educational game lets people learn about management and perfect running a team. It sounds simple but designing a game where multiple actions have to time together to the second, has been a challenge. It’s the first game of its kind that John is aware of, but he expects lots more in the future.
John has had a good experience with Train2Game and loves the staff; he learnt lots about games development and self-motivation. Says some students don’t get the most out of Train2Game and they are to blame for not applying themselves. That many students have gone on to setup indie studios and work at AAA Developers. Extremely appreciative of the staff at Train2Game and grateful to them for getting him where he is today.
John is using all his own project management skills to get the job done, and working with his team on the project. The job came through his Train2Game network of contacts. His advice to other students looking to get professional contracts is get out there and ‘work your butt off.’
John Esslemont, Director, Appatier Limited: ‘The experience was good with Train2Game and the staff that work for them are amazing! With Train2Game I learnt a lot of aspects of game development through the course and other students along with a load of self-study which is essential to learning in any field.’
‘I see some people feeling disgruntled with Train2Game that they haven’t learnt anything or haven’t progressed and feel the need to blame Train2Game. That is complete rubbish, I know a tonne of students who are now into AAA games, or indie games studios, it all takes self-discipline to get anywhere in this field. Sorry just felt like I needed to get that in there.’
‘Without train2Game and I sincerely mean this, I doubt I would be where I am, the staff there I have got to know over the past couple years have been amazing with me, especially Harry & Eric, those guys are the boyo’s.’
‘Right now we are working on a restaurant style game that is designed to help people learn Kaizan, which is a Japanese term for organisation essentially. The client is LDP-Online. It will but will be available via LDP-Online and the App Stores. We hope this will be the first of many projects.’
‘The point of the game is for you to think like a manager, you must position your staff and give them jobs to complete. The app will be used for training purposes on the Kaizan principle.
‘If your staff do a terrible job that is of course down to you, and you must learn how to adapt to this fast to get your staff in a rhythm, which will in turn generate you more profit and help you complete the game. It is in terms of thought a small game, turns out all the inner workings like timings, staff jobs, etc are a little more complicated than we first thought.’
‘The job came through a contact of Train2Game, part of the training providers network. As a student they were aware of me and then I got put forward for the job, and was lucky enough to get it. I haven’t seen very many of games like this, mostly because I haven’t searched for them, but I 100% believe that this sort of thing will grow exponentially in the training markets.’
‘The biggest thing I feel that is helping me personally is my ability to manage a team and understand the whole process while being involved in every aspect of the game’s design and development. I am a programmer, but also project manager along with the director so I have to organise everything and make sure everyone is working to deadlines and plans, if they are not that needs to be changed or adapted to the current situation.’
‘I’ve not worked on anything like this at all, in fact it was our first 2D game so we had to learn a lot of the basics and setups to get this right. Once you feel comfortable making games you tend to throw yourself into it really. It has gone really good up to now, some hiccups but nothing serious which is always good.’
‘The timings and how everything is structured has been difficult, the game is designed in such a way that the timings need to be near perfect for it to work. For example is a guy is walking from point A to point B but he needs to take 7 seconds to arrive there, we then need to dynamically change his speed so that it only takes him 7 seconds to get there. Simple math but lots of things like this piling up and all intertwining can become a bit of a brain dead moment.’
‘My advice for other students looking for their first paying client: Put yourself out there; go to the Unity forums, Unreal forums, UpWork and more. Honestly apply for everything within your skill set or what you think you can do. Do not ever be put off by someone asking for something you don’t know what to do right now as that is part of learning. So if you see a job you like the look off and have say a basic understanding of what needs to be done and how you would roughly do it, then go for it!’
‘Once you have your client, work your butt off for them, but also remember to not let them think they own you, define what your work will involve and work to what you both agreed. If they want changes, that is fine, if they want more features or something similar charge them for your time!’
‘I learnt that the hard way!’