December 23, 2019
It’s been a busy, exciting year here at Pocket Sized Hands! We’ve worked on a bunch of awesome new projects, welcomed new members into our wonderful team, and so much more – and hopefully 2020 is an even bigger, better year. But before that, let’s take a look back at our 2019…
Growing Our Team
Over the course of 2019, we expanded from having 3 full-time and 3 part-time employees at the start of the year, to 6 full-time and 1 part-time employee by the end! Our formerly part-time artists Dan and Robin, and part-time programmer Rory, all came onboard full-time, after graduating throughout the year, and we welcomed our part-time design intern Connie in November.
And of course, we had to celebrate our team expanding…by getting some sweet Pocket Sized hoodies and shirts!
We also welcome one non-human addition to the team – our Pocket Sized pup, Dug, who is a very good boy.
It Could be Important
One of the first projects we began working on in 2019 was ‘It Could Be Important’, a VR experience developed as part of a Northumbria Police campaign aiming to raise awareness and educate the public on recognising vulnerable people in potentially dangerous situations.
We made three different games as part of the project, each focused on a different type of danger. The first scene revolved around the night-time economy, and had the player step into the dancing shoes of a woman on a night out clubbing with friends. Players were required to keep an eye out for risks such as drinks being spiked, fake taxis, and other clubbers who may have been in danger or at risk of harm as a result of being blackout drunk. The next situation tackled the issue of child sexual exploitation, with the player taking the role of a concerned brother worried that his younger sister was being exploited by an older man. Players explored the sisters room, looking for clues relating to the sisters relationship with this man, such as a secret second mobile phone he had bought for her, expensive gifts, letters from the school informing the parents of the sister missing classes, and so on. The final situation looked at coercive control, a type of domestic abuse in which a partner is extremely controlling and obsessive. Playing as a woman visiting her friend for a cuppa, the player discovers that all is not right with her relationship with her husband – bank statements on the table have notes from him demanding to know where every penny was spent, he phones multiple times during the players visit, getting increasingly more aggressive each time, and the wife tells the player she never joins her friends on nights out because her husband doesn’t like her going out without him.
Handling such serious topics was something we made sure to take a great deal of care with. We worked very closely with the police force throughout the entire project, ensuring our representations of these situations were accurate and thoughtful.
The reception ‘It Could Be Important’ received was fantastic – it was featured in stories on BBC and TayFm, and in several newspapers such as The Courier.
In June, we started work on ‘Milo’s World’, an AR companion app for the 2019⁄20 course prospectus for Stockton Riverside College, Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training, The Skills Academy and Redcar & Cleveland College. The app, available on iOS and Android, serves as an accompaniment to the colleges prospectus – by scanning QR codes found throughout the prospectus, users can view fun, vibrant animations on their devices and learn more about each course.
The app features Milo, the cheeky little robot mascot of the family of colleges, who we designed in collaboration with the colleges. Milo and their robot buddies feature in the animations, showing users what they can expect to get up to on each course…though with mixed results, as they’re a bit ditzy.
Working with the National Air Traffic Services (NATS), we developed ‘Location Indicators’, a training app designed to help air traffic controllers learn the different ICAO airport codes.
The app is a simple gamified learning tool – users are presented with a code, guess which airport it is, and swipe to reveal the answer. The app remembers which answers users struggle with, and adapts based on this, to reinforce positive learning.
2019 has been a fantastic year for us, and we just can’t wait to see what new adventures await us in 2020.
Happy new year from all of us here at Pocket Sized Hands! Roll on 2020!
As always If you have an idea you want created get in touch with us and we can bring it to life. Whether it’s a quick prototype, a full product or even just to brainstorm, our team will be here to help. From the beginnings of your prototype to the final product we can support you with professional advice and delivery.