Experience of players top of mind

Runaway Play staff (from left) Libby Guthrie, Sam Watson and Stef Peacock enjoy a casual and...
Runaway Play staff (from left) Libby Guthrie, Sam Watson and Stef Peacock enjoy a casual and friendly atmosphere at the Dunedin company. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
In a series for The Star, reporter Simon Henderson is discovering how technology and creativity are coming together in a cluster of video game companies in Dunedin. This week he finds out how education and entertainment go hand-in-hand at Dunedin company Runaway Play. 

Sometimes it is the simple things that spell success for an employee.

Being able to work in socks is a draw card for platform developer Sam Watson.

She works in the background, making sure the games always work well.

Her skills include programming, problem solving and patience, she said.

Working across the multitude of games produced by Runaway Play ensured there was a variety of challenges each day.

"You are not always in one part of the code."

The environment was very friendly and relaxed.

"It’s great, and I’m in socks," she said.

Junior community manager Libby Guthrie said she loved interacting with players enjoying games including Flutter, Splash and Furistas Cat Cafe.

"We are really focused on being there for the players and listening to what they want to say, and what they want in the games."

A genuine relationship was able to develop, with players sharing in real time their ideas and experiences.

"There's like some players who you get to know really well."

"It's like, really important to us that we make those relationships with those players ... all across the world."

User interface artist and designer Stef Peacock said his job was to ensure the game was laid out in a way that was really usable and not frustrating for the players.

"Making sure it is all presented really cleanly and clearly."

He moved from Wellington to Dunedin for the role and part of the motivation was knowing there was a growing cluster of video game companies here.

"I'm relatively involved in the industry community nationally, so it was cool to kind of see that growing down here and have a place to move to."

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