Friday, 23 December 2011

Friday, 23 December 2011

Kempt Games of 2011

In no particular order here are the games that have caught our attention and eaten into our social lives in 2011. Highlights include Minecraft, the beautifully blocky time sink which has given us our best multiplayer iOS experience of the year and Steel Battalion which was actually released way back in the pre-HD era (2002!). This giant robot sim is notable for its extraordinary controller (no, you can’t plug in a joypad instead) and the fact that dying in the game loses your save file (yes, that’s what the eject button’s for). In typical Kempt fashion we bought two complete set ups. Hardcore.

  • Minecraft
  • Steel Battalion
  • Super Crossfire
  • Zelda: Skyward Sword
  • RAGE
  • Portal 2
  • Orcs Must Die
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns
  • Escape Goat
  • Jetpack Joyride
  • NinjaTrials
  • Great Little War Game
  • Skyrim
  • Sword and Sworcery EP

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

World’s Biggest Seeding Database Goes Public

Kempt reveal (some) secrets of their success

In a stunning gesture of largesse, Kempt are opening up their Games Sites Database to all, offering anyone in the business of  promoting Flash content a level of insight unheard of this side of a hefty comScore subscription. This list features almost every site generating significant Flash games traffic and has been regularly revised, edited & updated over many years.
So why are Kempt revealing these trade secrets? MD and owner Chris Kempt puts across the thinking behind the move:

“Clearly this information will be of enormous value to both new and established Flash games producers & promoters, however, we think the key benefit will be to the industry as a whole. Previously - and understandably - such databases have been jealously guarded, confidential business assets. The unfortunate by-product of this has been a perception that the industry is impenetrable and arcane.”

With a masterful use of spin Chris concludes,

"With this move we can finally all be totally transparent and focus on what REALLY makes a successful campaign - quality content.”

So what is the Games Sites Database?
The core database consists of listings for hundreds of games sites and portals; site-specific detail is supplied by MemeCounter’s powerful analytics as well as aggregated demographic data and anecdotal information from other games promoters or the sites themselves. The database therefore provides an invaluable tool for those who want to promote their content to the hundreds of Flash games portals that make up the browser games ecosystem.

Key features of the Games Sites Database:
  • Search by country or select target territories most relevant to you
  • Set which demographic you want to target from gender and age options
  • Browse results ordered by traffic volume
  • Drill down for more detail on each site
For more information on the Flash games ecosystem we recommend reading Chris Kempt’s theory piece from Contagious Magazine, the Games Sites Database can be accessed on MemeCounter.com
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Friday, 11 November 2011

Friday, 11 November 2011

Good Grief - We Finally Won!

*** UPDATE - In all the excitement of having actually won an award I totally forgot to mention below that we also recieved a "Highly Commended" in the Multi-Platform category (which means we were within 3% of the win!) - awesome huh! ***

Well, it's time for an admission...

In the 8 years that Kempt has been running (6 of those specialising solely in games) we've been horrifically unlucky with awards. We've had something in excess of 40 serious nominations (i.e. in proper, credible national/international awards) and, I can now admit, we've never won a single one.

UNTIL NOW THAT IS!!!

Yes, finally, the curse has been been broken! Last night we picked up our first proper award at the BIMAs for our magnum opus Red Bull Kart Fighter in the "Engagement" category. Our awards shelf now looks like this:

It would be really hard for me to overstate how much this means to me and, I hope, all of the team. Although we all love what we do and feel privileged to do it I think it's fair to say that it's been a bit of a labour of love too. Having been the bridesmaid on so many occasions was beginning to get a bit wearing on the team - despite having more nominations than we've ever had, I don't think any of them really expected us to win! So... this feels good, finally a stamp of approval from our peers that what we do is genuinely brilliant. I'm therefore hugely grateful to BIMA and the esteemed judges for giving us this recognition.
The night itself was also a triumph, the event followed the informal format which we introduced in 2009 when I chaired the awards and gives, I think, the event a really unique edge (although I'm also sure it creates a few issues for the events team, sorry Jim).

Thanks to our good friends at Red Bull we had a special version of Red Bull Kart Fighter at the event running on a touch screen. It allowed users to pick a kart to play as and then if their kart won then £10 was donated to BIMA's schools initiatives. At the end of the night it had raised just under £800, thanks to Tim et al for that!

Finally, at the end of the night, 50-60 of us adjourned to Karaoke Box just across the road to see out the night in style (and very, very noisily indeed) This felt like a really fitting end to the evening and I was really pleased to see so many of my good friends from the industry there. I feel very grateful for having met so many amazing people through my career and to have such a large number of them in one place to celebrate with us was truly an honour, thanks to all of you that came.

Finally, my personal highlight has to be the rendition of "Rusty Cage" Mr Fryer and I belted out at about ten to three just before jumping in a cab home, job done I think, can't wait for the next one!

Hungry for more info? Check us out winning our award here. Will update with our own photo gallery soon!
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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Awards Nerves and Faster than an MR2!

So... crikey... the BIMA awards are tomorrow night we knew we were nominated for five of them (actually six if you include the project that we didn't officially do!) but now we've picked up an additional nomination for the most effective campaign! We've had a few nominations in the past but never this many and, embarrassingly, we've never actually won any! I'm pretty nervous to be honest but at the end of the day, getting this number of nominations is quite a big deal for a company of our size so I'm well chuffed.

Also... in other news... I'm faster than an MR2 - which is quite a big deal given that my car (a standard Smart Roadster) has about half the power! Check out: http://www.howfast.co.uk/leaderboard.aspx for the proof.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Friday, 14 October 2011

Fanstastic Tavern - Fantastic!

Last night I had the immense pleasure of being invited to The Fantastic Tavern, a regular event run about every 6 weeks by the amazing people at EMC Consulting and hosted by the inimitable Mr Matt Bagwell. Over the last few years TFT has taken on a wide variety of subject matters but this time round the team showed remarkable bravery in tackling "The ROI of Social"... no mean feat indeed.
It was a great event, packed with lots of intimidatingly clever people, inspiring content, great food and plenty of liquid lubricant. Highlights included the inspiring story of the socially operated mobile network GiffGaff, Freud spanking and Social Genomics (essentially a Haynes manual of the mechanics of social interaction). I'm certain to be digesting it all for quite some time to come!

The event concluded with a panel session which made a valiant attempt to tackle some of the burning issues within Social which I was invited to be part of (thanks Matt!) there was some amazing debate around such issues as how a business can move towards being more social, the power of "like"-ing and so on. The best question however was saved until last - Within a business, who should have ownership over social.

It fell to me to answer this first and, I'm slightly ashamed to admit, I made a bit of a hash of it. Unfortunately it's not something I'd ever thought about before and so I ended up mumbling some rubbish about empowering the young people in the business and that all parts of the business should have some kind of vested interest.

As I say, I'm not particularly proud of this answer, and although I still think that there is some truth to be found within it I acknowledge that it neglects much more - as was eloquently pointed out to me by the rather brilliant Jo from B&Q after the panel.

So... who should own Social within an organisation then? PR, Web, Marketing...? Unfortunately I don't actually think there's a proper answer for this... the reality is that social media can have relevancy for almost any part of a business and as such it's unlikely to ever have a standard home within one particular team. In some larger organisations this might mean that there will be a social department who have ownership over the company's social activities and act as enablers for the rest of the business's functions, in others it might mean that it's owned by one person within a particular team and in others still (such as King of Shaves) it might even be owned by the founder or one of the executives of the company, it all depends on the needs, makeup and objectives of the company concerned.

Ultimately I think there's only one thing that's important - that social has a champion within the business and that the champion is someone who has the knowledge - but most of all - enthusiasm to drive social forwards within the business - something that B&Q clearly don't need to worry about.

So... embarrassingly... I stand corrected... but no worries, isn't that what these things are all about?!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Friday, 7 October 2011

Back on Board and Five Award Nominations!

Last night was the BIMA AGM and the official announcement of the shortlist for the 2011 BIMA Awards. It was a big night for Kempt, not only did I get re-elected back on to the BIMA Exec (a role that I'm hugely proud of holding and therefore I'm hugely grateful to the membership for allowing me to retain) but also I'm hugely pleased to announce that Kempt have appear to have done rather well in the BIMA awards this year. Our smash hit iOS/Social Game - Red Bull - Kart Fighter which we released in June has been nominated no less than five categories!

The categories concerned are: Advertising, Consumer Goods & Services, Engagement, Content & Blogging, Multi-Platform, Social Media, Viral & PR. To say that we were chuffed with this would be the understatement of the decade, we all worked stupidly hard on the campaign and so this recognition means the world to all of us. We're also hugely grateful to our amazing clients at Red Bull for giving us the opportunity to work on the project.

I do have to confess to a degree of discomfort in making this announcement - given my involvement with BIMA and the fuss I've made over the last few years about ensuring the awards were as fair and impartial as possible - but I totally didn't rig it honest!

Anyway, there are loads of fantastic projects nominated this year so, if you're interested, you can see the full shortlist over on the BIMA awards site. The awards themselves are on the 10th Nov at Fabric London, wish us luck and hope to see you there!

Check out Red Bull Kart Fighter on the Red Bull site and on the UK App Store.
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Friday, 16 September 2011

Friday, 16 September 2011

Massive Update for NinjaTrials - and a Clever Twist


Earlier this year we launched our debut iOS game, NinjaTrials, a platform puzzler like nothing else on the App Store. It was well received, even featuring in Apple’s Hot New Games section, and the consensus from the public was “brilliant, but give us more”.

We listened, of course, and are very happy to say that a major new update has hit the App Store featuring refined controls, more levels, and some fiendish new characters and obstacles. Take a look at the trailer to see just what craziness lies in store for our apprentice ninja: http://bit.ly/nttrailer

The Twist
These new additions will hopefully confirm what a joyous game NinjaTrials is, an ethos that extends to the unique payment model. The game is now free, meaning you can play the whole game without spending a bean but after four levels something happens - something fundamental, surprising and rather magical. A small in-app purchase restores order to the game but for now we’re going to tease you as to what this is - why not try it yourself?
Get NinjaTrials for free: http://bit.ly/ninjatrials


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Gamification - Inside Out Magazine

This morning I was hugely pleased to receive a copy of the article that I contributed to for "Inside Out" - the (rather brilliant, as you might expect) magazine published by the Institute of Internal Communication. I think it's a brilliant piece and I'm hugely excited about the potential in the area of internal comms - particularly as that's where this all started 12 years ago! Anyway hope you enjoy the article, I'm off to try and find a way to get my head through the door...

Monday, 5 September 2011

Monday, 5 September 2011

Success for Red Bull Speed Jam!

Well, after months of hard work the big day came, Saturday (3rd Sept) saw a host of Red Bull Athletes, some of the UK’s top karting talent, oh… and 15,000 spectators descend on Cardiff Bay for Red Bull Speed Jam.


The day kicked off with a spectacular aerial display by the Red Bull Matadors and then we were treated (for example) with displays featuring The Red Bull F1 Car, Nascar, motorbike stunts, burnouts by the bucketful and of course the semi-finals and final of Red Bull Kart Fight (on which Kart Fighter is based), as you might expect the event was non-stop adrenaline from beginning to end.

All in all it was a wonderful day. I for one can’t wait until next year!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Kempt Enter Kart Fight!

By now you’ve hopefully seen our recent game “Kart Fighter” for Red Bull (if not, grab it from the App Store or play at redbull.co.uk now!). What you might not realise is that the game is only one part of a much bigger campaign which centres on the Kart Fight championship - currently being run at Kart centres around the UK. Today I took a team of five drivers to the Teamsport track in North London to chance our arm as it were.

The Teamsport staff were amazing throughout our visit, however they were slightly surprised when we informed them that we wanted to enter the competition since we’d have to do pretty well to beat the qualifying time of 26.5 seconds and none of us had ever been there before. It was with a little trepidation therefore that we made our way out onto the track for our first session.

15 minutes/30-ish laps of good (and largely clean) racing later we came in to inspect our performance. Staggeringly, every one of us had beaten the qualifying time by a pretty decent margin. It was with much gusto therefore that we went out for our second, third and fourth sessions! Session by session our lap times were improved, by the end of it even our slowest entrant (me) was a whole second faster than the target time (no mean feat with my weight on board!), three of us managed to get under 24.5 and our fastest time overall was 24.28, set by the amazing Mr Fryer.

So… unless there are some staggeringly good drives over the weekend it looks rather like some/all of us will be in the semi-finals and with a little luck one or more of us will be competing at the Kart Fight final in September! You can grab tickets by playing the game, hope to see you there!

Play the web game here: http://redbull.co.uk/kartfighter
Download the App from: http://bit.ly/kartfighter
Check out the chart success at: http://bit.ly/VCKartFighter

Monday, 11 July 2011

Monday, 11 July 2011

Manshead Highly Commended at SDC.

As I mentioned in my previous post, last week was a big week at Kempt, it featured top 10 apps, conference attendance, public speaking slots (Alex at the Fantastic Tavern) and a hell of a lot of Red Bull!

Top of my personal list though was the final of the BIMA Schools Challenge which was held at C4. Two of the schools that we mentored were in the final five - Manshead Upper in Dunstable and Aylward Academy in Edmondton. Both teams did brilliantly so huge congratulations to both of them but in particular to the team from Manshead who walked away with the Highly Commended award and presented brilliantly.

Both teams have said that they'd like to continue with the project next year but we're certain they won't need much help from us this time around, in fact... it won't be long before they're after our jobs!


Awesome stuff eh?! If you'd like to find out more about the 2011 BIMA SDC check it out at the BIMA site: http://www.bima.co.uk/future-talent/2011-final.asp. or alternatively check out the Manshead mSlup project here: http://mslup.wordpress.com/
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Friday, 8 July 2011

Friday, 8 July 2011

Top 10 App for Red Bull

Whoa what a week it's been at Kempt HQ! We had the BIMA schools challenge final where our schools came second and fourth, we've been at the very excellent Children's Media Conference in Sheffield and to top it all off, our new game "Red Bull Kart Fighter" which we released on monday has stormed straight into the charts and is currently sitting pretty in the top ten! It's a great game, grab it free now from: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/red-bull-kart-fighter/id443752900?mt=8

Wot no iPhone? No problem, you can play the flash version over at the Red Bull site: http://www.redbull.co.uk/cs/Satellite/en_UK/Speed-Jam---Kart-Fight-Game/001243037847705

Enjoy!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Monday, 27 June 2011

Urban Computing

Today I realised just how far mobile computing has come in the last 12 months. This time last year I was on my way to the GameHorizon conference in Newcastle as I am now. The trip was memorable for a number of reasons but in no small way because I'd recently bought an iPhone and the trip was the first time I'd had a chance to sit down and spend some serious time with it. It was at that point that the penny dropped for me and I realised what the device was all about, I still maintain there are much better... well, phones... out there but the thing with the iPhone and iOS/iTunes generally, is the flexibility they provide their user with. It really comes back to a Swiss army knife thing, there are almost always better tools for the job but if they're not to hand then the knife is a brilliant alternative. It's the same way with iOS.

Anyway, while waiting on the platform at Peterborough I happened to spot the scene pictured here, Sara (I introduced myself afterwards!) perched on a yellow bin at the end of the platform, touch-typing like a dervish in her iPad.




13 months ago this scene would have been unthinkable, true very occasionally you might have seen a stressed-out salesman swearing at a battle-worn Thinkpad, but a smart, attractive female... much less likely.
Such is the change that iOS devices have sparked in our way of life, they're allowing us to fill every last minute of our lives with correspondence, media consumption and play (at least until the batteries run out) and what's more, for the first time, it's socially acceptable - even fashionable - to do so.

Whether this is a good thing I can't say for sure so I'll have to leave you to decide that, It's a long journey and I've got a film to watch and email to reply to...



Location:Peterborough,United Kingdom

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Manshead School are finalists, whoohoo!!!

I had some rather brilliant news last night, both of the schools we worked with on the BIMA Schools Challenge reached the shortlist and one of them, Manshead School, has reached the final three!

We now have nail-biting time of it until the beginning of July when the final event is and decision will be made... crikey... If you haven't seen the site then check it out here: http://mslup.wordpress.com/ please do tweet/post/whatever to wish them luck.

Cheers

C
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Friday, 27 May 2011

Friday, 27 May 2011

Manshead Complete BIMA Schools Challenge


The mSlup Blog
Over the last few months we've been working with one of our local schools, Manshead School in Dunstable, supporting them to enter the BIMA Schools Challenge. Basically, the idea of the competition is that school kids undertake a project that uses digital tech/platforms in order to solve an issue faced by thier local community.

The team from Manshead came up with a fascinating idea to run a series of workshops with children from a nearby primary school which I have to say, has produced some quite astonishing results.

The experience of working with Manshead on the project has been extremely valuable for Kempt too - more on that later - however, for the time being I'd like to share one of my favourite animations from the workshops: the epic "Sky High Spinning":



If you liked that, check out their site/blog on http://mslup.wordpress.com/blog/ for more info and the rest of the animations!

Programmer Fuel...

Who would live in a place like this?
We got a rather lovely surprise from our awsome mates at Red Bull this morning... two whole crates of programmer fuel! We're working on a pretty tight deadline at the moment so I imagine this will come in handy - assuming I can also resist the urge to pop out for a couple of bottles of tequilla/vodka ;o)

As an added bonus, it appears that the bottom of a Red Bull crate is the perfect riser for a Macbook Pro... we're still working on a use for the second one though, answers on a post card...



Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Casual Games Comittee Launch

Friday the 13th May 2011 was indeed a day to remember... not did it see the launch of the TIGA Casual Games Committee - an excellent initiative that I am proud to back but also, I managed to go to an industry event that started at 1pm and finished at half past late without ending up completely battered! I know... frightening isn't it.

Check out CasualGaming.biz's coverage of the event for more info.
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Thursday, 12 May 2011

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Interview on Casualgaming.biz

Lat week Aaron from casualgaming.biz contacted me and asked some pretty dangerous questions... dangerous in the sense that he had to wade through a huge amount of waffle from me as a result! The end result is, I think, rather good! I appear to have made a small amount of sense for once.

Check out the interview on the rather brilliant casualgaming.biz site.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Monday, 18 April 2011

Guardian Live Q&A: Getting a job in the games industry

From 1pm 'til 4pm on Tuesday the 19th (tomorrow!) I'll be participating in a live Q&A on the Guardian site with the aim of offering some  incite into careers in the fairly impenetrable games industry.

Obviously I'm extremely well qualified to advise on this as I myself have been *trying* to get into the games industry for about the last 14 years!

Please do come along if you're interested, it's running here: http://careers.guardian.co.uk/careers-blog/games-industry-careers
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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Thursday, 14 April 2011

NinjaTrials is a Hot New Game*

* according to Apple :)

Launching your debut iOS game is a nervous time as you wait to see how your baby is received by the world at large. Well, today sees a real milestone in that process as NinjaTrials (our puzzle-platformer featuring a ninja on a Zen balance ball) has been featured by Apple in their Hot New Games section.

If you'd like to see what all the fuss is about take a look in the App Store: http://bit.ly/ninjatrials

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

NinjaTrials - Gameplay Footage Live!

Hi All, as you may know we recently took the plunge and entered the world of paid-for apps with NinjaTrials on the iPhone which extends the world of TinyTrials (our legendary flash, and now facebook, game). The game features our hapless Ninja and his sadistic Sensei who has set him his toughest challenge yet: Collect all the bubbles that have escaped from the washing up... what a git.

Anyway... as many people have asked for it, here's a little video showing some of the gameplay, enjoy!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Quarterly Round-up

With the first quarter of the year done and dusted we’re looking back with some degree of pride. Why's that? Well, we have been...


...in the App Store
We’re very excited about our just-launched debut iPhone game NinjaTrials. This unique and characterful puzzle platformer is a real labour of love and we hope you’ll take it to your hearts too: http://bit.ly/ninjatrials


...on Facebook
Our latest Facebook apps are going from strength to strength thanks to some deep feature integration. The Nation’s Noggin - http://bit.ly/nogginfb - and TinyTrials - http://bit.ly/ttrials - are great case studies for the power of Facebook to achieve sustained, targeted engagement. We’d be happy to tell you more.


...with popstars
With precision timing we released a game for Tinie Tempah, coinciding with his double win at the Brits. It incorporates fan-suggested gameplay elements and bespoke audio recorded by Tinie himself. We love him and we hope you’ll love his game: http://bit.ly/tiniegame


...nominated by peers
Yes, our work with Microsoft Advertising has been officially recognised as awesome: the suite of games produced for Pepsi Football Hero has been nominated for a Revolution award in the Best Viral category. We are humbled and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for this Thursday: http://bit.ly/revkempt


...geeking out
A little insight into our world: our “Show & Tell” sessions are an opportunity for us to share whatever’s rocking our world and to geek out constructively. You can read Paul’s write up of one such session here: http://bit.ly/hMqHPC


And finally, keep 'em peeled for our forthcoming project - it's a biggy for a rather large drinks company.


Monday, 28 February 2011

Monday, 28 February 2011

The King (Of Shaves) Speech...

King of Shaves are very definitely one of my favourite clients, even if they don't get us to build anywhere near as many games as they should :O)... however, when they do other things they come up with some real gold like this parody which... dare I say... is a moment of utter genius:



If you happen to have been living in a cave in Afghanistan for the last few months, this is a parody of "The Kings Speech" which is also a fantastic movie: http://www.kingsspeech.com/

Long live the King!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Friday, 18 February 2011

It's time for Tinie

The wheels of production keep turning here at Kempt and I'm thrilled to announce our latest release: Tinie Tempah - The Game. It's been a huge week for the young rapper from Plumstead, what with scooping two Brit Awards for Best Breakthrough Act and Best Single, and now he's got his own game! Does life get any better?

The game itself is an "endless runner" in which you guide Tinie over rooftops and smash obstacles out of his path. Working on this has put a big smile on everyone's face and a lot of that has been down to the fan-submitted gameplay ideas that have been incorporated and the bespoke SFX that the man himself recorded especially. Nicest man in showbiz? Quite possibly.

The game has been very well received (check out some of the reviews on Newgrounds.com) but I'll leave the last word to Mr. T. Tempah:

“The game is f**king amazing!”

Show 'n' Tell - Rampart

Here we are with the very first Kempt Show'n'Tell. Let the games begin!

RAMPART

What it is

Paul chose Rampart because it is, in his own words, "it's own genre" - a Multiplayer Puzzle-Shooter! The game begins with all 3 (three!) players choosing a starting castle, surrounded by walls. These walls are then shot at with cannons by the players, who then try to repair the damage in a tetris-style minigame.

If you manage to encapsulate your castle with tetris blocks; well done, you're still alive! If not, then you lose your castle and must try again.

The bigger you make your castle, the more cannons you can get in it and the more damage you can do to everyone else, but watch out! Larger castles are harder to repair afterwards, and often leave you with little fiddly bits that you won't know what to do with.

What happened

We got confused. I remember lots of shouting, accusations of Paul not telling us ALL the rules and accusations of the game just being a b*stard. This gave way as we learned how the game worked, and we were soon directing our abuse at other players, as it should be!

The game began revealing its depth; cannons can be destroyed if shot enough, secret bonus squares give rewards when built on, and small castles with no cannons make an effective secret hiding place.

We also noticed this could be the most pro-british game we'd ever played. The target cursors are little Union Jacks and the player colours are the same as the major political parties, the leaders of the losing sides being beheaded at the end of every game, complete with digitised "AGGH"s! Political accountability, awesome!


What we learnt
  • That our games philosophy here at Kempt is solid! Gameplay is key. The graphics of Rampart could be better (for me personally the main reason I hadn't played the game earlier), but they do the job and once it had begun the game's personality completely won us over.
  • The simple choices players have to make (do I build to expand for points, or for cannons, or for defense? And where DO I put that "S" shape?)...
  • ...and the cripplingly short amount of time the players get to make them! The pacing is a major part of the game's success. Too much of any of the sections of the game would quickly become boring, but when rationed out in short supply they're compelling.
Where can we get it?
Everywhere! Originally Rampart was an arcade game, so you might find it skulking in a corner somewhere in Great Yarmouth. It's also been ported to most computers and consoles right up to the original Xbox.

In conclusion, mashing together two unlikely genres can produce a surprising and multifaceted multiplayer masterpiece. Thank you Mr. Pepper!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

How to Create a Brilliant Casual/Social/Advergame

I often get asked what the secret of our success is, which (apart from the fact that we're brilliant!) is a tricky question to answer. I think a lot of it however comes down to our approach to game design, therefore I thought it might be useful to share a few pointers which I recently put together for a pitch:

Things to remember when designing your game:
  • The best/most successful games are often based on very simple ideas/principles.
  • Find a unique “take” which will help to make it stand out from the crowd.
  • Your audience are looking for a snack, not a meal, cater accordingly.
  • Make sure any important messages are clearly communicated within the first 3-5 mins.
  • Only 10% of your audience are actually good at games, build your game for the 90% that aren't!
  • Reward failure almost as much as success.
Those points might sound really obvious but as with all things, it's the simple things that make the difference between failure and success. Bear them in mind and you won't go far wrong.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Tim Smit (Eden Project) On Radio 4

This morning I was very lucky to catch Tim Smit from the Eden Project on Saturday Live - Radio 4,  I'd urge you to listen to the show on the iPlayer if you catch this in time, but in case you don't I'd like to share a couple of quotes with you:

"part of the reason that we're a risk averse country is that most of the politicians that we have in charge of us have never had a day job and most of the people in charge of distributing money have only ever made their money on the backs of speculation, betting against their own currencies and so on, and have given up the tradition of investing in people who make things with their hands. This countries wealth was actually built on the back of men and women who made things that matched the imagination of our people..."

I think Tim hit the nail on the head here and his further thoughts on challenges we face for the future are as inspirational as they are frightening (since we currently seem to be doing the exact opposite!) however there was one point of Tim's that I found particularly interesting:

"the trouble is, if you're ruled by an accountancy fear of knowing the cost of things without knowing the cost of not doing things you can bring yourself to your knees - anyone who's ever run a company knows that very often you can kill a company in your desire to constrict access to money because you think that's prudent - the 'mumsy' way to success."

As someone that started a business from the point of view of making things, as opposed to making money, I can totally relate to his points. I have to say, I find the highly conservative attitude to business in the UK infuriating to say the least.

For example, over the last seven or eight years I've occasionally received criticism from (in my opinion) stupid people for stupid reasons: "you don't have a business plan? Tsk tsk", "You can't quote your profit margin on a per project basis? Tut tut" "you don't have a clear exit strategy? Huff huff huff" "call yourself an entrepreneur?..."

For a long time I took these criticisms seriously and quite personally and it's only relatively recently, with the right support and having done a lot of thinking/research, that I've been able to see things more clearly. The reality is that Kempt, much like our produce, is a work in progress. It's true that there are some areas that need to (and will) develop but the bits that are finished work quite exceptionally well. I started this company on my own with nothing but a laptop on buy now pay next year and the trust of a couple friends who gave us business. Seven/eight years later we have a company that's always been profitable, has an exceptionally low staff turnover, owns significant IP and somehow found the time to create some of the most successful interactive marketing material ever produced...

I have no doubt that over the next few years our business practices will continue to tighten up, but in the meantime I am proud to say that our priorities will always be our company and the remarkable things we produce. Kempt will never accused of the "mumsy" way to success!

You and find out more about the genius Tim Smit on the BBC 4 site and on Wikipedia

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Announcing Kempt Show'n'Tell!

To shoo in the new year we've instigated Monday Morning Show'n'Tell, where every fortnight a nominated Kempter brings in one of their favourite games and attempts to explain to the rest of us just what we've been missing. And Muggins 'ere has been tasked with blogging about it! :D I dunno, you turn 30 and people think you're responsible...

Our first week's victim, erm nominee, erm volunteer is Paul Pepper, our Chief Spartan Programmer! Stay tuned.
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Monday, 7 February 2011

Monday, 7 February 2011

Kempt Showreel Hits 150k views (well nearly!)

Today I was flabbergasted to notice that our showreel has received nearly 150k views on YouTube alone!

I'm hugely grateful to all of our clients friends and fans for taking an interest and I'm hugely pleased to see that a simple video like this could attract far more traffic than your typical commercially produced viral video ad... viva games, viva democracy of content! viva virals (as long as they're games)!!!
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Monday, 31 January 2011

Monday, 31 January 2011

Revolution Nomination for Pepsi Football Hero

Another week, another award... well, nomination..

So... what a fantastic start to the week! This morning we found out that we've been shortlisted in the annual Revolution Awards for Pepsi Football Hero which we produced in partnership with our awesome clients at Microsoft Advertising. As you can see from the list of nominees on the Revolution site, we're in exceptional company again this year so a win is far from assured but personally I'm very proud to be even in the mix.

Needless to say though, most of the credit should go to the team at Microsoft whose creative vision drove the campaign. Whatever the result in the awards, I think we'd all agree that the powerful targeting delivered by the Microsoft platform combined with the explosive force provided by our viral network delivered one of the year's most remarkable campaigns.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Thursday, 27 January 2011

High Honours for Kempt in the Neopies!

This week we were hugely pleased to hear that we'd received the honour of "Best New Game" in the third annual Neopies - the Neopets.com equivalent to the Oscars! Our game "Jumpin' Gem Heist" took the top spot in the category and one of our other recent Neopets games "Hannah and the Kreludor Caves" came in joint third.

We'd like to take the opportunity to thank the users of Neopets.com for playing our games and voting for us but most importantly thank our wonderful, wonderful clients there. We've massively enjoyed working with you all over the last couple of years and are very appreciative for your support.

You can check out these awards and more on the Neopies page.