What’s Better Than Just A Game? A Brain Training Game.
Brain training games are all the rage and it’s easy to see why that is.
Here at Peak we aim to deliver fun, challenging and stimulating games to help our beloved users push their cognition to the max and train their brains.
Now, you may be wondering as a long-time or new Peak player, how we actually come up with ideas and make these wonderful games that you see on the app. Which is why we have decided to sit down with our games team and ask them the questions everyone wants to know the answers to and let them reveal all when it comes to making Peak’s games.
So we sat down with Hervé – Head of Game Team, Adam – Lead Unity Engineer, Miguel – Senior Game Designer, Chiara – Game Artist and Nathan – Unity Engineer, to find out more.
Here’s what they told us:
Q: So guys, how exactly do you make the games, from the initial idea to the screens of our users?
A: Well, it all begins with an idea, the concept has to be fun, engaging and have elements of science. This is how we do it..
Step 1: The Idea
The games we make have to follow a particular criteria:
- They have to be smart to challenge the users’ brains
- Science also plays a role in this stage, either there needs to be an element of science or science as a base, such as our game Decoder
- The games need to be accessible, with easy to understand rules
- They must have deep and rich content to keep the user entertained
- And be based on data, such as what kind of games people like and don’t like.
We often develop our game ideas with our in-house neuroscientist, Sally Sheldon. This is a pretty important part of the process as Sally plays an active and vital role in assuring some of our games are backed by scientific research and concepts.
Step 2: Prototype
Once we’ve come up with a challenging and fun idea (and sometimes science-backed), we then create a prototype of the game. This enables us to see how the concept translates to reality, evaluate the design – see what works and doesn’t, and most importantly, make sure the game is actually fun to play!
Now the prototype is ready to test and be passed on to our QA team (quality assurance). This is where we see if the game works and how people interact with it.
Step 3: Specs
The next step in the process is to create the specifications of the game, this includes the necessary features of the game, design and instructions. Depending on the complexity of the game, this usually takes Miguel about a day to produce.
Step 4: Development
Once the specs are done, we pass it on to our amazing Android and iOS developers to make the game come to life and write the necessary code.
It’s time to test the game again, so we pass it back to our dedicated QA team and ask them to try and break it! As the creators, we often struggle to play our games from the perspective of first time users, which makes it difficult for us to understand where we may need to improve or change features.
Step 5: Release
When we’re sure everything works and we’re happy with the game we’ve made, we then release the game onto the Peak app for all our users to enjoy and challenge their brains.
It’s a process of trial and error and requires different teams working together to make it possible.
Q: Roughly speaking, how long does it take to develop a game from paper to screen?
A: Again, this really depends on the complexity of the game, but in most cases, it takes a month. Two weeks to develop and two weeks to go back and forth with testing. A spec can be produced in a day.
Q: What kind of issues do you encounter when creating games?
A: Our biggest issue at times is users not understanding the game and having difficulty playing it. As the creators who develop the game from concept to product, we struggle to play the game in a way it shouldnt be played, to gain insight into a first time users’ experience. This is why we do a lot of testing, both company wide and user testing, to make sure our instructions are clear and the user really gets what they’re supposed to do.
Q: What’s your favourite game that the team has made?
A: Adam: For me it would be Jump Control, at the time of making it, it was so different to any other game we had on the app.
Hervé: My favourite game would be Unique, it’s fun to play and there are so many different variations and it really gets you thinking.
Chiara: Pixel Logic! It’s everyone’s favourite.
Miguel: Word Fresh.
Nathan: Word Fresh or Pixel Logic.
Q: What’s the worst game that you guys have made?
A: We have never made a bad game, only misunderstood games…
Q: Is there anything you would like to tell our users?
A: The only thing we want from our users is feedback. We love receiving suggestions and ways to improve the games. Whether you enjoyed it, didn’t enjoy it or have some interesting features you think we should add.
We care about what users think and their experience, we always try to use their feedback to improve the games.
As you can see, we take gaming very seriously here. Our games’ team is always brainstorming and coming up with fun, exciting and challenging games with the help of neuroscientist Sally. And, as a company we jump at the chance to test games on Friday afternoons whenever QA needs more testers (gamers)!
We hope you enjoyed a little insight into what goes on behind-the-scenes at the Peak Labs. We love the work we do here and the games we create, and we hope you do too.