The Queen of Code campaign is currently under way. Creative England have partnered with Crowdfunder to give female game developers the opportunity to raise funds.
Gamer and developer Bianka Kovacs creator of Pocket Drakes, a unique game based on the personalisation of dragons tells us why she decided to get involved with the Queen of Code and how the finance she hopes to raise will help to develop her game…
Tell us a bit about your background and how you got involved with game development…
I have always been a gamer my whole life, I started to play games in the ’90’s like Super Mario Bros, Bomberman and the Incredible Machine. Ever since I played all sorts of games on all kinds of platforms but I never thought about actually making them. I graduated from a business university majoring in Arts Management but I was never very passionate about what I learnt and what my parents would have wanted to see me to become.
A little bit more than a year ago in 2013 I realised that I could actually spend the rest of my life working in a field I love so I went to an open day at the University of Greenwich. After talking to Darrenlloyd Gent, the senior lecturer on game design, I decided that it is exactly what I wanted to do. All the games he showed me and the way he talked about the industry and the university was so motivating that I had no more second thoughts so I applied and got enrolled with an unconditional offer. I started to get involved with the beautiful aspects of game development from September 2013.
Pocket Drakes started off as my idea last year for my first coursework for university. First I wanted to make a game that has a customisable dragon feature then during a London Unity User Group meeting at Facebook my mind started to wander off and I came up with loads of new ideas and features I can add to my game.
The idea was great but as my first experience in game design and programming, I didn’t know that it was much more complex than I thought. I didn’t have enough knowledge and experience to finish the game so I put it aside and decided maybe one day I make it happen but I will need a team.
About a month ago when Darrenlloyd pointed out the Queen Of Code competition I realised that it’s my chance! I talked to the most passionate and talented game designer and developer students in the university and I found my team! They all knew about my idea before and they all loved it. We gathered and formed Picnic Gaming to make Pocket Drakes happen!
What was it about dragons that made you choose them as the focus of your game?
Dragons are awesome! Who doesn’t like dragons? They are cool and cute. There are endless possibilities when it comes to dragons. These magical creatures had been in mythologies of all societies and people adore them and so do I. A tiny bit of the human mind rationalises that they might have existed and this makes them so irresistible and mysterious.
Your game has a customizing element – is this something you’d like to progress further with funding?
Personalisation is a very important feature of the game. It lets you create your ultimate dragon with cool visual elements but you can also use these to enhance your gameplay. Our current project focuses on one current basic mechanics system. There is a lot to be done and it’s becoming more complex day by day. With the current funding we are willing to develop these core functions and 10 fully playable levels with a fully functioning personalisation feature. In further development we will add lot more chapters, levels and features to the game.
Pocket Drakes features a lot of mini games – how challenging has it been to create these?
The mini games are the best! We have so many ideas that sometimes our one hour brainstorming meetings turn into a whole night of gathering and every single team member is coming up with the greatest new ideas. It will be very challenging especially to decide which of these great ideas to implement first. We have a working prototype from my first year coursework which is used as a guideline so we don’t wander off too much.
How did you get involved with our Queen of Code Crowdfunder project?
My university tutor, Darrenlloyd Gent told me about the competition. He is amazing. He helps a lot to all students when it comes to great opportunities like this. We are always updates with all the events and competition which, I think, is one of the most important aspects of starting a career in any field.
What will the funds you may receive from Queen of Code allow you to achieve?
Most of the budget is to be spent on licenses for software that we use for the development as unfortunately we cannot use student versions when it comes to publishing. Also we are planning to save half of the budget for marketing so when we are ready we can make sure that Pocket Drakes gets to as many people as possible.
Game Development is a complex process especially when you are a student. You need to manage to get your duties done in university while making sure that you have enough time for your dream project. Most of us also have part time jobs but many are willing to quit to put full-time effort into the project. Some of us need also additional equipment for development such graphic tablets, sound equipment and a tablet that we can test the game on.
And finally, why should people fund your game?
Pocket Drakes is designed to entertain all ages of people in all cultures from all backgrounds. We want to achieve to people to believe in us and our project. Funding the game will help us to create the game faster and to add lots of additional features. Also we have awesome rewards for those who help us such as limited edition dragons for backers only and Pocket Drakes T-shirt with customisable dragon.
Support Pocket Drakes by pledging on their #QueenofCode campaign: