We’ve mentioned Quartic Llama several times in the last few months. The company received Prototype funding for its first title, lit up Abertay University as part of the NEoN festival and has participated in every opportunity to show their games off and talk to the public.
It’s as though they’re excited and enthusiastic about what they do.
We like that a lot. So it’s good to hear that the company has just completed work on a new project with the National Museum of Scotland, designed to help visitors enjoy the organisation’s new viking exhibit.
Vikings! Training School helps would be Norse invaders to hone their skills and learn the ways of Viking warriors, craftspeople and navigators. Players choose from a variety of tasks to help them sail to Scotland, practice axe throwing, or make combs and other items to confuse Time Team in centuries to come.
We spoke to Mal Abbas, from Quartic Llama to find out more about the company’s work and their plans for 2013…
Scottish Games Network: Describe the game for us
Malath Abbas: Vikings! Training School is a collection of mini games aimed at children and go alongside the Vikings exhibition currently on display at the National Museum in Edinburgh. The game lets you play 3 mini games and test your warrior, craftsmanship and navigation skills to prove yourself as a Viking. If you prove yourself you can get a certificate and be remembered in Viking myth and legend! The game features a number of artefacts that are being displayed in exhibition which we had the pleasure of viewing. We highly recommend a visit!
SGN: How did you end up working with the museum
MA: It all started by a chance meeting in Edinburgh over the summer. We were there to do a presentation for the NESTA ‘Digital Makers’ road show and met the Digital Media team from the Museum who later asked us to pitch for the contract. We were honoured to be asked and after a few design meetings we collectively put together a tender that won us the contract. We enjoyed working on the project and the 6 week turnaround suited us perfectly.
SGN: Did the museum come to you with the idea for the game, or did you do the concept and design?
MA: We did everything really, but it was all based on specific aims and requirements set out by National Museums Scotland. We have a wide skillset within Quartic Llama that lets us go from concept to development fairly easily without the need to use external resources. Throughout development we worked closely with the Digital Media team by sharing frequent builds and they helped us with resources from the exhibition as well as setting up testing with school children who asked for the game to be harder!
SGN: Was the focus for the game on the entertainment or education elements?
MA: The focus was really to get a good balance between the two. The overall objective was to show that Vikings were not just axe wielding raiders, and that they were also very skilled craftspeople and great navigators too. The best way to get this across was to engage the player and for that you need an entertaining game. We tried not to force anything and so we show rather than tell facts and information, such as the surprising fact that Vikings did not have horns on their helmets!
SGN: Do you think looking outwith the mainstream ‘games’ business will be a significant part of the company’s future?
MA: Our independence gives us flexibility and we aim to be innovative and push the boundaries of mainstream games and take games to a wider audience. The business side is always changing and we can adapt to it as necessary to help us be sustainable. Being a small creative team of gamers, our focus will always be to make fun, interesting and beautiful games and we can accomplish this ourselves or along with partners. Nothing beats complete control over a project but there are great benefits with working on external projects such as tackling new problems and opportunity to meet and work alongside interesting people.
SGN: What are your plans for the rest of 2013?
MA: Over the coming year we will continue to focus on developing our own games while working alongside interesting partners on external projects. In the last 6 months since we started Quartic Llama, we’ve made tremendous progress on both Moeba and Dama while also successfully delivering Vikings! Training School. Our own games have started to attract interest from publishers and possible partners and we look forward to getting them to market. We are always on the lookout for interesting and challenging work for hire projects and we look forward to announcing our next big project soon.
Thanks to Mal and the Quartic Llama team. You can find Vikings! Training School on the National Museum Of Scotland website. Quartic Llama can be found online, on Facebook and Twitter.