I have been playing the sliding games for years now, the first one was Bejewelled and I learnt to make rows of three, that fours were even better and fives were ace. I love sliding games and have one on my phone and on my iPad. I often sit watching TV that doesn’t require my attention, like SCD or I’m a s’leb. I while away the time going up levels and smashing as much as I can. It’s really therapeutic.
When I learnt that Exient were looking for players for their brand new game Bake Escape I put my name forward. Exient from Leamington Spa are the producers of Angry Birds: Transformers and Bake Escape is the studio’s first self published title.
Victoria Sponge is the person we are helping on her journey to Paris and beyond, we take the car from level to level and smash cookies, splat jam and crack chocolate until the level has been completed. You soon get the hang of moving the entire row of cakes, muffins and tasty treats to smash, splat and crack. I’m stuck in a sticky jam above and have to choose options to get out of it. Use my stars, use my coins or wait 24 hours!
Find Bake Escape on social media
Facebook – @BakeEscape
Instagram – @BakeEscapeGame
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Interview with Becky Smout, age 24 Bake Escape Artist
How did you get into games?
I initially started out in the animation industry, even have a degree in it. But always had a battle with myself ‘Animation?’ ‘Games?’ ‘Illustration?’ even throughout studying, with the mobile game market getting bigger and more independent companies popping up, I realised that I could actually put all these things together! I’m just over a year into my first year of being in the games industry now, and hands down the best decision I ever made.
What is it like working in the games industry?
Really fun! I think there is a slight misconception that because we work in the games industry that we all sit around and play games all day (which my parents think I do). Which in some aspects are true, especially at lunch times and sometimes after, y’know, research purposes. But in the midst of all that, we all work really hard to get the best product we can, we all want the game we’re working on to succeed and I think a huge part of making a fun game is having fun while making it.
What is it like working in such a male dominated industry? Best bits? Worst bits?
The reason why we’ve brought together is our passion for games, we’ve all worked really hard to get where we are and want the best product we can achieve in the time we have to create it. I’ve never been treated any differently because I’m female and I want to keep it that way.
What influences your designs?
A difficult one really, as a lot inspires me! Even though a lot of my work is digital now a days, traditional media will always hold a huge part of my heart so I always try to weave a bit of a traditional process in. I’m always on the lookout for something new and try to keep an open mind about trying new styles and processes. I think as an artist it’s inbuilt and you’re not really sure when inspiration might strike, but when it does you have to grab it by the horns and run with it. Normally the use of shape and colour are the big players for catching my eye, I think that’s part of my animation degree allowing me to appreciate that more. The internet is a great thing, social media even more so! I get to follow a lot of inspiring artists which is good for a quick fix of inspiration (we all have our artist block days! It’s knowing how to recover from them!) Lois Van Baarle and Jon Klassen to name a few favourites. But saying that, nothing beats a well illustrated book , that’s always a winner too!
Can you describe the process of coming up with the characters for a game?
I like to make them little stories, what is their purpose, how did they get to where they are today and what’s their personality like? This normally is a really good framework to start creating a character, visual language should give a lot away without them moving or having to say anything and I find knowing a little about them before I start the drawing process really helps. For our first independent title ‘Bake Escape’ we did a lot of research, I mean a huge amount of research! Mood boards where almost the wallpaper for the office. We got a few character ideas from that, after a bit of market research we narrowed it down to a handful. We made up a few crazy stories (one involving a travelling circus, I still want to revisit that one!), after a few runs of designs focusing on their shapes and colour we whittled it down to the characters you see in game today.
What advice would you give to other women thinking about working in games?
Do it. Follow your passions, set goals for yourself and work hard. It all pays off in the end! I don’t think there is a right way of getting into the games industry, as everyone has their own story, just don’t get remembered for the wrong reasons, it’s a small industry, everyone knows each other!
Do you play games yourself? If so what?
Yes, although I never really marked myself as a ‘gamer’ as I don’t play anything religiously, I’ve always owned a console but I go through fazes of being really into a game, my drawing has always taken over in the end and I’ve let it, it means I don’t think I’ve ever finished a game 100%. I’m pretty nifty at Mario Kart and I still hold a place in my heart for the games I played as a child (Spyro and Crash Bandicoot to name a few!). With games being so accessible now, I play a lot of little games on my phone, which suits me as I can have a few in circulation at once and delete them when I get bored without feeling guilty of never finishing it.
Disclosure: I am being compensated for playing and talking about Bake Escape!