Hulan is the only gamedeveloper on High Tech Campus Eindhoven. If they were to produce a game based on campus it would be about parking. Co-founder Rob Hulsen (38) “I can never remember where I left my car at the end of a work day.” Other co-founder Jeffrey Lanters (22): “Or we should produce a campus-version of Sim City, everybody likes to be in charge.”
Hulan produces educational games. That started at home, where Rob Hulsen tirelessly tried to educate his children on grammar. “A book can be a very dull thing to children, because they don’t see what they have to gain from it. The moment you turn it into a game, all of a sudden grammar becomes a number one priority for them.”
Upon founding Hulan, the step from a Maastricht living room to an office on High Tech Campus in Eindhoven and elementary schools was made. Soon, Hulan drew interest from a party that educated a group as old as 20 to 25 years. Fontys contacted the developer.
We could create a Sim City type campus-game.”
The next step was to create games specifically designed for university students. One of those: ‘Ready For Class’, placed teacher students in front of class, letting them manage all the things that come with educating a large group of children. Hulsen: “We suddenly saw that 20-something men and women were open to being educated through games.”
The assignment and content for a game, always comes from the client. Like the time a fast-food company contacted Hulan. Asking them to create a game that would re-educate their pizza-delivery people. Hulsen and Lanters took the assignment from the fast-food company and let their nine-headed team think the game through. Result: A game every new delivery driver has to complete before starting work.
They are a somewhat strange duo: Lanters: 22, wearing large earrings with a background in game-development, and Hulsen: 38, with a background in business, looking very much like all other businessmen on campus. His checkered shirt tucked into his pants.
The two of them came to campus because of the density of companies on a square mile. “There’s a lot of knowledge to be found so close toe ach other, that benefits us as a startup”, Hulsen says. But even with interaction as a strong point for campus, this could be improved. “On this floor (4th floor on HTC 32) there’s a lot of interaction. But other than here, we don’t really know any of the companies.”
The square mile sometimes can feel like a jungle, that should be a good aproach to start designing a game, according to the two. “A good start to a game is to select a problem, or a challenge, and make it fun to solve. Sometimes it can be hard to connect to other companies on campus, we could solve that with a game”, Hulsen says.
Hulsen: “We could create some sort of who’s who-game, which would automatically let you get to know each other better. Every time a player connects the right anecdote to the right person, bonus points will be received.” “Or”, Lanters says while repositioning to the edge of his seat: “We could create a Sim City type campus-game.” Hulsen replies: “Sure, we but then we need to use the original logo’s and lay-out. It’s important for players to identify with a game.”
It’s a love for gaming that connects the businessman and the game developer. “We were able to turn a hobby into a profession”, says Lanters. A process with a unexpected downside. “At the time we finally were able to be a full-time game developer, we had no time left to play other games. That, I must say, was a bit anticlimactic.”