Ask the App inventors
We have been lucky enough to talk to Kris Turvey from Kuato Studios, the game developers who are revolutionising the industry with fun and engaging games loved by children around the world. Kris is the Creative Director at Kuato Studios and has worked in the education and games sector for 10 years and has worked at Kuato Studios since it started 5 years ago.
Here’s what he had to say:
What made you want to become an app developer?
“I didn’t set out to become an app developer especially. My background is in art and education and I became interested in the possibilities that games had for learning. One of the things I love most about the games industry is that it takes a really wide range of people and skills to make a game, including 2D and 3D artists, game designers, writers, programmers, musicians and producers, so there are many ways to get involved in making apps. It’s great fun working with such a wide range and keeps things interesting!”
What advice would you give to any kids thinking about entering the industry?
“If you want to make your own games, the best advice is just to start! You don’t need lots of expensive equipment to make a game, even the most complicated ones usually start out first as paper prototypes and you can learn a lot by trying out your creative ideas this way. If you’re feeling a bit more ambitious and want to try your hand at some programming there are lots of different tools online that can help you get started. You could also try finding out about all the different roles I mentioned, and seeing which of those you might be interested in. You could even try teaming up with some friends who have other skills and try creating something together!”
Throughout your career you have had many achievements but what would be your number 1 above all others?
“I will be cheeky if that’s ok and name two. Our first game, CodeWarriors, was recognised by President Obama and the White House as helping more children take up STEMH subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), which was a great achievement. We also recently made a game, Dinosaur Train, for the Jim Henson Studio based on their popular TV show of the same name. As someone who grew up adoring the Muppets, meeting Kermit in person was a real highlight!”
All of the games you produce have a story telling element, how important do you think this is for young children?
“Storytelling is hugely important and a real focus for us at Kuato Studios.
Stories are how we as humans understand and explain the world around us, pass on knowledge and imagine new futures for ourselves. Stories help us develop empathy and appreciation of other points of view, and open up our creative imaginations. Through our Tales Maker series of games, which turn each play session into a unique storybook, we try to help children share what they imagine and unlock the storytelling they do so naturally. The world needs more stories and children are the purest source of creativity.”
With this in mind what have you found to be your biggest challenge within the children’s gaming sector?
“One of the biggest challenges for children’s game is providing parents and guardians with products they can trust. Parents are rightly concerned that when they buy and app they know they are getting a quality product that will not bombard their child with advertisements or ask for constant micro-purchases. At Kuato, all our games are premium purchases only, with no ads or in-app purchases.”
Are there any changes you would like to see implemented in the Gaming industry?
“Traditionally there’s been quite a distinction between games made for ‘entertainment’ and ‘education’, with educational games often being approached as subject matter with a little bit of gamification added. That’s a distinction we are trying to break down, by approaching things in the opposite way: we try to start with fun game experience and fill it with learning opportunities.
We’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what games and learning can do, and I think there’s a very exciting future ahead.”
There has been a lot of talk about how long kids spend on their electronic devices. Do you think this is something parents should be concerned about?
“I think most people would agree that screen time, like any activity in a child’s life, should be part of a healthy and varied mix of activities. We recognise parents concerns about this and all our games come with a special ‘Grown Ups’ corner, where parents can set the length of a play session in advance. We also offer other parental tools such as setting up email notifications when the child has created a new story to read together.”
Working in the games industry we would assume you like playing games yourself, what’s your favourite game?
“I will always have a soft spot for the original Secret of Monkey Island game, which I played endlessly as a kid. It was one of the first games I played that had fantastic cinematic storytelling and humour.”
What’s next for Kuato Studios?
“We’re hard at work on an adaption of the classic Enid Blyton Famous Five stories which will be coming out at the end of the summer as part of the 75th Anniversary of the books. It’s been wonderful to have been entrusted with bringing these classic characters to life and we can’t wait to share it with the world!”
To find out more about Kuato Studios visit it’s website www.kuatostudios.com
**** KUATO SUMMER SALE ****
To celebrate Kuato taking over UKMums.tv all Kuato Games apps are now FREE ( with the exception of Noddy Toyland Detective which is reduced to 99p) on the App store until midnight on Sunday 23rd July 2017. Now is the perfect time to test them out with your children!