Shaz Yousaf – CV

Shaz Yousaf: Game Designer & Producer

Available for part or full time positions. Based in London. British.

[email protected] | www.HoneyTribeStudios.com

I founded Honey Tribe Studios, under which we’ve released a number of games on iOS and Android with total downloads at around 100,000. In taking the games from concept to release with follow-up support my role has been multidisciplinary covering design, development, audio and marketing. In addition I’ve worked on several games/app projects on a freelance basis. Having programmed some of the games myself I’m able to effectively communicate with experienced coders. I’m also active in the local developer community in London through attending and organising events and participating in game jams.

Game Engines

Game Salad 2D

Unity 3D

Scripting

Javascript, basic.

HTML, basic.

Tools

Open Office/Word/Google Docs

Photoshop Elements

GitHub

 

Honey Tribe Studios. Owner. Sep ‘10 – Present

Design

  • Plan and write design documents.
  • Create quick game prototypes either alone or collaboratively.
  • Design original gameplay mechanics.
  • Make original music and sound effects, both linear and dynamic.
  • Work with artists to create original characters.
  • Write and edit narrative and dialogue text.
  • Fuse game mechanics with the “message” of the game.
  • Build game systems enabling level designers to work efficiently.
  • Rapid iteration based on QA.

 

Project Management

  • Keep teams enthusiastic and productive.
  • Participate in and oversee QA.
  • Write and maintain a development schedule.
  • Assign tasks to team members.
  • Apply to and attend game events.
  • Communicate with clients and develop projects based on their specifications.
  • Prepare marketing kits and contact games press.
  • Products to market.

 

Gametrade Online. Web Design and product stocking (freelance), Oct ‘12 – July ‘13

Set up and write content for the web site.

Manage stock for incoming and outgoing deliveries.

Recommend upcoming games to stock based on an estimation of popularity.

 

Healthy Dessert Kitchen. Owner. July ‘08 – Sep ‘10

R&D of novel recipes. Product testing with intended audience. Production.

Sell at local businesses, events and markets. Meet and pitch to manufacturers including Premier and Gu.

 

Asquith-Trafalgar Nursery & After School Club. Room supervisor, May ‘06 – June ‘09

Lead a team of four. Make regular assessments of the club within the team.

Adhere to company policies, Ofsted guidelines and government legislation.

Maintain good communication with management. Risk assessment.

Observe how the children play and learn and plan with child and staff input.

 

Invest Now Turkey. Web design and events rep (freelance), June ‘07 – Feb ‘09

Design and code a web site in a team of two. Create photographs, videos and content.

Travel to different countries and attend investment expos as a sales rep.

 

Asquith-Trafalgar Nursery & After School Club. Room assistant, Sep ’04 – April ’06

Improvise games with children, encourage play to be child led.

Teach skills and games in manageable chunks e.g chess.

Activities to encourage social, physical, intellectual, communicational and emotional development.

 

R Muzik. Musician, composer and producer (freelance), Feb 01 – May ‘04

Write and record music designed for use in media.

Create loops and excerpts for music composers to be used in TV and film.

Meet with and pitch to music library publishers, adjust music according to feedback.

 

Roadrunner Records. Alternative licensing (unpaid). May ‘01 – Aug ‘02

Present particular songs and artists as music suitable for video games.

Design and print appropriate promotion material.

Contact UK video games companies and send promo info to people in charge of licensing.

 

Education

NVQ Level 3: Children’s Care, Learning & Development, Richmond College. Sep‘06 – July ‘08

BA Hons 2.1: Commercial Music, University of Westminster. Sep ‘99 – June ‘02

 

Developer Events Organised

VR Night: Virtual Indie-ality. Details. Article. | Indie Launch Party. Photos. Details. Article.

 

Game Jams

Global Game Jam 2014: And Then You Die | MolyJam 2013: Monetzing Children

Indie Speed Run 2013: Keep Going | Global Game Jam 2013: Disaster Mode

Game Hack 2012: Captain Obvious | Molyjam 2012: Little Ms Left Behind

 

Game Events

Radius Festival | Insomnia Gaming Festival | MultiClash & London Indies (local events)

 

 

______________

Ashley AoAshley Ao

Status: Unreleased Team: Two. Myself and artist/musician Ryan Jackson. My role: Co-design, programming, co-audio, PR and marketing.

Notable Previews: GameTrailers, IGM, iFanzine, Pocket Gamer

A video is here

As yet unfinished and unreleased. Many other developers I show it to respond to it very well and seem think it has a lot of appeal. Using the lessons I’ve learned from the other games I hope to make it into a very intuitive and engaging gameplay experience that fans of mobile action games can look forward to.

 

Salamanda EP1: Music + VisualSantaRama: Christmas Mania

Released: Dec 2013

Development Time: 11 days

Team: Two. Myself and artist Joshua Condison

My role: Programming, Design & Audio

Notable Reviews & Posts: AppAdvice, TouchMyApps, Gamemoir, HeyUGuysGaming

A video is here.

SantaRama is a satirical and comical game that pokes fun at the modern mass consumerism and greed that surrounds the Christmas of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The main design principle I had in mind was “Whatever you are trying to communicate, have this as the way you beat the game”. As it was a game made on a short time scale I focused on simplicity, both with the gameplay and with the concept I was trying to communicate.

I feel it was successful in playfully putting forward the view that a love of “things” is a misguided affliction of modern society. The most limiting factor of the game is that there is not a huge amount of replay factor. Although the algorithm for the different waves of hazards create a good sense of tension and release, there needed to be more gameplay variety to keep the player interested for repeat play.

YamYamIconWebCropYam Yam: Puzzle Guardians

Released: May 2013

Development Time: 6 months

Team: Four. Myself, artist Freddie Fosh, fellow indie Marcin Makaj and maths adviser Alex Nasrallah.

My roles: Concept and design, programming, audio, PR and marketing.

Notable reviews/posts: Indie Game Magazine, 148Apps, AppAdvice, iFanzine

A video is here.

Yam Yam started from a very simple concept. What if I merged a projectile game with an auto scroller? This is something I’d not seen before as all other projectile games I’ve seen have a static screen. This is combined with a colour switching mechanic and set in a fantasy ‘magic forest’ setting.

Lessons

The main lesson I take away from Yam Yam is to not commit to any gameplay aspect too soon. The initial art, theme and gameplay were all developed at the same time in a very rapid fashion. Although this has the advantage of creating a very energetic working environment which enables fast and enjoyable development it also pushed me down certain gameplay paths before I’d had a chance to properly evaluate them. Many aspects I ended up removing or changing quite late into the process when I went through an extended testing phase.

For this kind of game I now think a better approach would be to test and iterate rapidly from the very start before the artwork is in place. Then, when the core controls and gameplay are solid I would start to think about theme and characters and what would best suit effective player communication. For example, elements taken from a normal daily life will be understood with no effort for the player whereas fantastical elements will have to be taught. One example in the game is that there is an in-game currency. Instead of using an image of money there is a seed as this fits the game world. Although this is much nicer aesthetically it is something that not all playesr will understand instantly but instead have to realize.

Once again, making this game makes me very conscious of simplicity. There is quite a lot going on in Yam Yam. Part of that is due to the rapid decision making process eluded to above. For future games I will be thinking about what is essential to communicate core gameplay mechanics. And what communicates the game world and atmosphere. And then what should the priority and balance of focus be?

 

McBank Icon

 

McBank: The Puzzle of Money and Freedom

Released: November 2012

Development Time: 3 months

Team: Three. Myself, artist Joshua Condison and fellow indie William Robinson.

My roles: Concept and design, programming, audio, PR and marketing.

Notable reviews/posts: Jayisgames, Cnet, AppAdvice, Develop Magazine, SlideToPlay, Beefjack

A video is here.

McBank is a game that blends puzzle gameplay with social commentary with the feel of an adventure game. It’s very much a personal game as it communicates part of my world view. The player has different choices to make and they affect the 5 possible game endings. I feel it uses story telling in an interesting and unusual way. This is possibly the most ‘uncommercial’ game ever! But creatively it was very satisfying to create a game which says something I want to say.

Lessons

Visually McBank is very busy. Part of that was to purposefully create an oppressive atmosphere. However, in future releases I will be more conscious of thinking ‘where do I want the player to be looking 1st – what should they be focused on next?

There is no abstract HUD – I wanted everything to be in-game and did not wanted the player to be instructed but rather feel slightly disorientated and enjoy figuring things out for themselves. However, the solution I came up with to interact with the game and link the scenes is not perfect. Although more experiences and intelligent gamers can understand and appreciate the uniqueness of McBank, less sophisticated gamers are easily confused by it and inevitably dislike it. Balancing the artistic vision with inclusiveness is something I’ll be more focused on in future games.

I decided I wanted a very rapid production time of 3 months for McBank and was pleased to achieve that. Although I did various testing phases I probably didn’t test it enough on ‘normal gamers’ but had other developers test much of the time. This is something I will address in future games.

 

Salamanda EP1: Music + VisualSalamanda EP1: Music + Visual

Released: July 2012 Development Time: 3 weeks Team: Two. Myself and artist/musician Ryan Jackson My role: Programming In late 2011 I started working on a new game (as yet unreleased) with artist & musician Ryan Jackson. We also had a couple of small side projects and this is one of them. Salamanda is Ryan’s latest music project and this is an interactive music EP to showcase some of his songs.

 

Honey Tribe: Colony CollapseHoney Tribe: Colony Collapse

Released: July 2011

Development Time: 7 months (part time).

Team: Two. Myself and artist Guy Jones.

My roles: Concept and design, programming, audio, PR and marketing.

Notable reviews: Pocket Gamer, 148apps, AppAdvice, iLounge, Touch Reviews A video is here.

I decided to make something relatively simple for my first game although I still wanted to make something interesting and unique. Honey Tribe blends fact and fiction. The story of the game tells the player about a real world environmental issue – colony collapse disorder (CCD) which is reducing populations of honey bees all over the world. Other stand out features are the hand drawn art and the dynamic soundtrack.

Lessons Although I focused on simplicity because of necessity this ended up working as a positive. Although I am now able to make more complicated games I will be focusing on simplicity again in future releases. Dynamic audio design is another aspect I want to explore again as it can greatly contribute to player immersion. For this style of game, in future, I’d probably be inclined to use less text.

 

Game Jam Details

Molyjam 2013 “Monetizing Children’. My role: Co-design, writing & music. Team 3. A satirical turn based game where you have to addict as many children o your games as possible.

MolyJam 2012. ‘Little Miss left Behind’. My role: Dynamic audio design. Team: 3. Based on the comical tweets of spoof twitter account Peter Molydeux our game was a Kinect controlled, PC flash game where you have to balance holding on to you mum’s hand with picking up presents.

GameHack 2012. “Captain Obvious’. My role: Co-design & co-programming. Team: 3. A funny little mobile action game with an excellent art style.

Global Game Jam 2013 ‘Disaster Mode’. My role: Dynamic audio and co-design. Team: 5. An interesting PC game that is based on the real world experiences of one of the team members of working with governments in the field of disaster relief.

Indie Speed Run 2013 ‘Keep Going’ My role: Concept, design & programming. Team: 3. A scrolling breakout game for mac that has the theme of motivation and persistence.