Story #22 Tino

We were graduated, yet still at the halls of NHTV working on our project

  • 03.10.16

Tino van der Kraan (alumnus) is Creative Director at Sassybot and this is his #NHTVStory:

”When I was young, in third grade I belief, I have been always playing games; on the DOS, and Windows. It was until my dad had brought in an even more powerful computer where we played Duke Nukem and Grand Theft Auto. I even once brought it to my dad’s work, he worked in a hospital. There was quite some irony in it, to steel a car in Grand Theft Auto and use an ambulance for example to drive over some thing fictionally in that game. I played games from age seven, and up.

After I got out of highschool I started looking for a higher education and I started applying for IGAD at NHTV, back then it was still Art and Technology. Initially I wanted to apply for Visual Arts but I got rejected because my arts look like ‘cave trunks’. I landed in Art and Technology which is now known as Independent Game Development. Four years later I graduated and immediately started my business.

At Sassybot I am the creative director, I basically give direction to creation. I create all day every day, that is basically what I do. Most recently we released ‘Fragments of Him’ for PC and also on Xbox 1, later this year we also intend to release it for Playstation 4.

Fragments of Him is an interactive narrative about a young man, named Will. And very early on in the story he gets into a tragic accident and the story is still very much about this character named Will, but you get to know who we was from the perspective of the people he leaves behind; the grandmother, the ex-girlfriend, the partner in his life. It is very much a story about empathy, a very touching story. It does land in a niche, you can not really describe it as mainstream, although is gaining popularity. It is very much different from blowing up cars or defending the planet against aliens. I would not describe the experience as fun, but more as compelling. The experience is unique to what is out there currently out there.

I studied Independent Game Development for the majority of my time there. That is basically learning about visual arts, creating artistic things trough art animations, a little bit about programming; scripting, web development and a little bit about designer production; how do you create a world, set up the characters and create a nice experience for the players. That is in a nutshell what Independent Game Development is: programming, visual arts, design and production all in one.

No one of our team is ‘him’ in Fragments of him, although we do work together with a formal lecturer of NHTV. In his past time he helped us to write to story and gave us some design advice to bring the story to life. The story does reflect some of his own experiences, it is not an autobiography but it is very much sourced from his life.

The purpose of the game is to tell a good compelling story, it is the same purpose as if you would make a movie about a certain subject; give the player that would hopefully grow the player or the audience – in the case of a movie- after seeing it or playing it.

When we graduated from NHTV we really wanted to start a company but we did not have any office space yet and we were also looking for a project to undertake. After graduating we actually spent most of our summer still at NHTV. Employees were wondering what we were still doing there, because we were graduated yet we were still at the halls of NHTV working on our project. After that project was finished, we started Fragments of Him, we received funding and got some office space of our own. That has involved to having this office we have now.

The next step is unclear we are exploring our options. We are talking to several people and partners to see what we can do next. We would very much like to make a new game, a new experience, but we haven’t nailed down yet what that is. It is too premature to announce anything yet.”

If you look at NHTV from the national or European level, it delivers students of a very high caliber in all kinds of fields; programming, art, design. They end up all over the world as well; EA, Dice, Ubisoft, very big studios pick up students from NHTV.