We do a lot of playtesting here at Budge, making sure that the apps we work hard to create are enjoyed and understood by the kids we make them for. The best part of my job is getting feedback from my kids when I bring apps home for them to play. Their feedback is essential as kids, especially our own kids, are often our harshest critics exposing a pattern of play or a way of interacting with the app that we might not expect or have predicted.
One of my favorite ways for viewing what we do at Budge is “making magic”. We take art, code, animation and design and throw it into a cauldron…and what comes out is an almost intangible magical experience. When we see kids faces light up during a playtest, that’s when we know that our recipe is pretty good. It’s a magical moment for us as well…when we’ve taken an idea and sculpted it to fashion something from nothing.
What can often prove to be the most magical of all is when we offer kids something surprising, something they didn’t expect. With the addition of Augmented Reality within Thomas Minis, we took that magic to another level. When I play-tested the app with my kids, they literally thought I was performing some sort of conjuring trick when they saw the trainset they’d built come to life right in front of them! These are the powerful and memorable moments we try to engineer with every app we make.
Ollie Sykes is the Creative Director here at Budge Studios and is also a father of two little gamers. He’s been making video game magic for over 20 years and also teaches game design at a local university.
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