Bedtime Digital Games are one of the most known and respected game developers in Denmark. Their student project grew into well-known game Back to Bed 3 years ago, was translated into 9 languages, was top downloaded game amongst different platforms and has unique art style reminiscent of paintings of Dali.
Now the studio is at the stage of finalizing production on their game Figment – a beautiful surrealistic experience with music and game sounds that are an essential part of the gameplay. Visitors of Game Scope Expo 2017 will be able to experience it themselves before the game goes out on Steam and other platforms.
To accommodate all staff Bedtime Digital Games switched locations a few times in the last few years, though all offices were located in Aalborg.
Bedtime Digital Games gave a fair share of interviews and got asked all sorts of questions so instead of asking more questions we decided on an office tour and just to have a chit chat with lovely Emelie Mavel and later on Jonas Byrresen.
Right now they are located in one of the old houses at Ved Stranden where they are renting a quite charming loft space. To get there you will have to take stairs up and that is a quite a workout already. At the entrance to the office, before opening the door, there are a lot of shoes and coat stand for visitors and members of the studio which already gave an impression like we were entering flat rather than the office. Inside we were greeted by producer of Bedtime Digital Games Emilie and she showed us around.
The office is right under the roof and has two levels of open working space. Later on, we were told that currently there are two teams working on two projects, one of which is Figment and another one will be announced quite soon. Each team occupies their own level and then if a person is transferred to another team, they move to the level their team is on. Entrance is located on the second level and right next to it is small and cozy meeting room where Bedtime Digital Games has meetings with visitors. Behind the open working space, there is a small project meeting room with the impressive white board covered in colorful sticky notes that seem to be easiest and most useful way of buzzing ideas and plans.
Stairs to the first level have some Back to Bed artwork on the walls, as a reminder of the first successful project. Figment level has more people than the other projects and people are working hard on polishing the game. At this point, the game is at bug tracking and fixing stage, so everyone is focused and very busy. Some desks on both floors are empty, but not as much as you would expect during Danish vacation season. No one is held there against their will, studio members are very against people overworking themselves because that not only negatively influences studio culture, but in the end, there is very little gain from it.
Here is where we met lead Game Designer & Co-Founder Jonas Byrrensen who joined us on our little office tour and was a very engaging in conversation. While having a nice chit chat we were shown a big blue sofa with consoles where on Fridays studio members play games not only for entertainment but also for research purposes. It does look like once a game developer – always a game developer.
Another notable part of this level is the dining area which is a big long table for all members to sit together at and enjoy a meal. A little fireplace close to has trophies and awards for Figment and Back to Bed on it. There is no wall of fame or place dedicated to trophies. Some awards are on the fireplace mentioned before, some on the window behind Jonas desk.
I couldn’t help but still ask Jonas few questions by the end of the visit before letting him and Emilie get back to work on their projects.
Do you have design manual or document for your games with unique style?
Jonas: We have a game design manual. But it is not as extended as it could be, I have all games details and development details in my head, so it is easy for me from the get go to give the reasoning behind some decisions or tell why a thing was done in that particular way. New interns and people who join project later seem to pick up the overall game direction by themselves. We are going to make extended design manual, it just seems there no need for it now.
A studio like yours are invited to different conventions, why did you decide to go to the yet not so well known Game Scope last year?
Jonas: I really like the idea of the convention that is about gaming culture in general. We already have big conventions like E3 that are about games only. Actually, me and Thomas ( editor’s note: Thomas Lykke Larsen – Game Scope project manager ) were the ones who came up with Game Scope festival idea. When he decided to go with this idea to Business Aalborg he invited me to the meeting as a game developer who would be pretty much interested in a festival like Game Scope.
You’ve been at different conventions around the world and I bet you answered this question many times, but let me ask again. What advice do you give to young game devs?
Jonas: Don’t work too much on your project. I mean Back to Bed was our student project. I would go back to change a lot of things and rework it. Situations like these are tricky, you can end up working on your game so long that instead of improving it, you are going to make something that is completely different from what you intended in the beginning.
I better let you back to work work. Thank you for your time, Emilie and Jonas!
We spent some time taking photos and talking a bit more before leaving, which was quite hard since the place and people were very hyggelige and seeing their work was quite mesmerizing.
Figment is going to be available at Game Scope 2017 expo grounds, the development team will be busy improving the game before release on Steam and Nintendo Switch, but they will find a time to attend our festival, which we do appreciate a lot!