Mutants @ Reasons To Be Creative

Mutant Labs took a trip to ‘Reasons To Be Creative‘ conference, an evolution of the Flash focussed Flash on the Beach.  So Tom, Ben and Andy, alongside Plymouth based graphic designer/illustrator Drew Turner and Cardiff based graphic designer Dan Jones, set off in search of creative inspiration, subsidised drinks and pebble beaches.

Escape The Coop and Free-Range That Sh*t

Tom spoke to a packed theatre about Mutant Labs’ Free-Range Friday initiative.  His talk showed how taking time away from the regular project/deadline cycle of the everyday can improve the morale of the employees, introduce new intellectual property to the company and upskill everyone that works there, without sacrificing the integrity of the ongoing projects.

From the desk of Tom:

It was really interesting to meet the people who had already tried to integrate some form of Free-Range into their work…  Surprisingly, for whatever reason,  most got caught up in client projects and sacked it off.

Hopefully, the session will convince those who have tried before that with a bit of fine tuning, Free-Range Fridays can actually invigorate and get you excited about client projects. This works best when we give the brain a good dose of creative energy – via the the medium of making, learning and having fun in the process.

Tom’s talk was well received by a multitude of humans that work in a range of disciplines from the creative industry as he spanned a wide variety of subjects from splash proof notebooks and sitting on the toilet to building a workshop culture and grave robbing.

Ken McLoone @kenmcloone : Ingredient no.3 The Graveyard where projects die. Remember #graverobbing can be good #reasonsto @_tomph reasons.to/speakers/index…

Game-Jam Wellbeing: Mind, Body and Code

Photo courtesy of Pete Hotchkin: @headloose : How to look after yourself when working through the night by @andrewsargeant #reasonsto #elevatorpitch pic.twitter.com/ftkoph8fpA

I took part in this years Elevator Pitch, a session where 20 people have 3 minutes each to talk to over 900 people about a subject of their choice. I hoped to enrich peoples lives by showing them some simple ways they can stay happy, stay inspired and stay awake when working through the night or trying to hit a deadline.

My talk was titled “GameJam wellbeing: mind, body & code” and I shared a few key lessons that I have learnt over the years.

1. Breaks are a really useful tool for any creatives arsenal.  Use them to alleviate stress, find bugs and look after your eyesight.

2. What you eat and drink is important.  Consuming the right things can biologically effect your mood, your thinking power and your overall health.

3. Keep yourself prepared and consider using tools to ensure you can complete your work quickly and easily.

We had a great experience at Reasons To Be Creative, and returned to work on 5th September inspired and recharged, pumped to get back into work and continue making cool stuff!

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September 5, 2013

Posted by: Andy Sargeant in Business, Events, Free-Range Friday, News

 
 

Mutant Labs is hiring

We are looking for a talented web developer to join our team. We are looking for a candidate who is interested in learning new skills, can build high-quality web experiences and join in with our close-knit team.

Core Skills

  • HTML / CSS / JavaScript (some experience with frameworks such as JQuery desired)
  • PHP / MySQL
  • Eye for detail & clean code.
  • Easy going attitude, focused, independent and able to work with a close-knit team.

Preferred Skills

  • Interest in mobile web development (e.g. css media queries and responsive layouts)
  • Have an interest in games and/or mobile Apps.
  • A keen interest in the industry, emerging technology and practices, and a passion for experimenting with cool new stuff!

For more information and to learn more about what it is like working with Mutant Labs, please see the job spec.

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August 7, 2013

Posted by: Alex Ryley in News, Uncategorized

 
 

Reading Blue Coat Gets Mutated

15 years old was the age that a lot changed for me.  I went on work placement at a computer games development company called Mucky Foot (Urban Chaos, Startopia, Blade II).  This week long insight gave me an opportunity to test games and experiment with 3DS Max, my first venture into the other side of video games.  Those ingredients were swiftly added to the cosmic mixing bowl that would later become my career pie.

It was with this in mind that I got on a train to talk to Reading Blue Coat school, situated in deepest darkest Berkshire in a small town called (you guessed it) Reading.  I spoke to these 100 attentive students for an hour about the other side of the games industry, speaking from the heart about game science, entrepreneurship and Half-Inch Heist.  They followed by asking some rather insightful questions.  We all learnt something that day, they learnt about the games industry and I learnt that hurling inspiration and passion at 15 year olds is a thoroughly rewarding experience.

Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day development of games and apps, but every now and then you find yourself thinking about where you came from, and how to give back to those who helped you get to where you are.  Props to Mr. Gandy (head of careers at RBCS / my Step-Pa) for organising the trip.

Also, the same weekend my Mum got a puppy called Ludo, cue aww’s.

7 Week Old Italian Spinone

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March 15, 2013

Posted by: Andy Sargeant in Free-Range Friday, News

 
 

Leap Motion Game Experiment #2

If you haven’t heard of it already, Leap Motion is a revolutionary new device that allows you to interact with your computer using individual hand and finger movements. We were lucky enough to be sent a few Leap Dev kits to play with, and we’ve been working on some demos during our Free-range Fridays (personal project time).

After our initial Leap game demo we wanted to try something a bit different, and having recently released our first iOS game Half-Inch Heist, we realised that some of the game mechanics might work well using the Leap as the controller.

Enter Half-Inch Heist Leap Prototype..

The game

  • Avoid the falling rubble.
  • Last as long as you can

Slow-motion using the Leap

We stumbled across a control feature that works really well, mapping the Z-Axis of your finger to the timescale. This gives the effect of slow-motion when you ‘push’ your finger in, and the opposite when you pull your finger out!

Controls

The Leap can track really accurate finger movements, which makes it perfect for avoider style gameplay where quick reactions and fast movements are required. I think the controller also has a novelty value, making it a good match for short, digestible arcade/action games. It opens up some great opportunities for creating secondary game mechanics, and more engaging experiences for games based on traditional controls (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WY9NO4GQJRk – just kidding!).

Tech

Leap Motion AS3 Library - https://github.com/logotype/LeapMotionAS3
Axel 2D game framework – http://axgl.org/

Keep your eyes peeled for more Leap stuff.

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March 5, 2013

Posted by: Ben in Development, Free-Range Friday, Games

 
 

Leap Motion R&D

here’s a little R & D project we’ve been working on @mutantlabs.

Leap Motion kindly sent us a couple of dev unit’s for their Leap motion device, for more on the leap motion see leapmotion.com.

We developed a library (AIR Native Extension) that allows us to access data from the Leap in AIR projects. (If there’s interest we’ll happily release it!) We often use AIR for game development at Mutant Labs. This is a small game to test and demonstrate the functionality of the Leap & Extension working together.

THE GAME..

Match the colours up by moving your finger or hand around a RGB colour-space cube, once you match a colour for 2 seconds you cut the corresponding wire of a bomb.

As the game progresses, the defusal time decreases and number of wires to cut increases, making the game challenging and frantic.

We also chucked in a little generative sound tech in the game that dynamically generates a funky sounds track based on your bomb disposing techniques.

Voice overs and some of the graphics done by our good friend @_DrewTurner.

stay tuned for an in-depth blog post coming next week!

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December 6, 2012

Posted by: Rich in Design, Development, Games