Alphaputt

Creating a No.1 game for the whole family

Inspired by our love of typography and the idea of 'games as art', we created a premium experience the whole family could enjoy — without the annoying ads and hidden in-app purchases.

The concept

From A for Airport to Z for Zen

Alphaputt is that beautiful place where typography meets crazy golf. As you putt your way through the alphabet, you can complete your own wordy course, challenge your friends and share your best shots. Just watch out for the UFOs. And the vacuum cleaners.

The process

Prototyping the game mechanics

From our starting point of "mini-golf meets snakes and ladders" we spent months sketching, prototyping, playtesting and iterating to arrive at a decidedly more refined and focused concept — a concept that celebrates one of our true loves; "typographic mini-golf". This gave us the necessary design constraints and focus to move from concept to production.

Games as art

Developing the visual style

Pouring our passion for beautiful typography into the project, we designed visually rich artworks to look as good in print as they do in the game. This resulted in a suite of typographic dioramas that could stand alone as mini moving artworks in their own right. We drew inspiration from everywhere – film, pop culture, sports — and a heavy dose of childhood nostalgia.

User interface

A seamless typographic interface that slots right into the heart of the game

The 3D animated mini-worlds are the most compelling visual aspect of the game, so it was only right to champion them in the navigation. The letters provide the backdrop as the player moves around the app, while the UI sits seamlessly on top, guiding them through the different modes. Bespoke keyboards, scorecards, game summaries and messaging were all designed to integrate with the experience. There's nothing more annoying than feeling like you have to leave the game to go to a separate menu.

SONIC IDENTITY

Atmospheric sounds for each mini-world

A strong sonic identity is crucial to making an interactive experience more realistic. To breathe life into every corner of our mini-worlds, we developed an underlying soundtrack and interaction sounds for each hole. The audio programming, designed by Coda to Coda, responds in realtime to the physical interactions of the ball in its environment.

But perhaps most excitingly of all, it's the theme tune that gives Alphabutt its most distinctive identity. A twist on the classic ABC nursery rhyme, it's been described by the sound designers as an Acid House meets Run-DMC meets Aphex Twin remix.

The launch

Creative, low-cost ways to promote an indie game

With only a tiny budget left to promote the game, we focused on creating few assets and maximising their reach. Our promotional video was featured by Instagram, WeTransfer and Apple, which helped drive awareness. Connecting with the creative community also got us to 100k+ views across various social channels. Finally, we put out a 'Making Of' video in partnership with Made by Folk, as well as a podcast and framed prints for their online shop.

Apple – Game of the Day

“Gorgeous typography meets bonkers mini-golf in this miniature design masterpiece.”

It’s a lovingly made game from beginning to end, and one with the high-end production values you’d expect from the maker of App Store classic OLO Game. So, if you’re seeking a uniquely beautiful and inventive game of crazy golf, the answer’s as easy as ABC.

— App Store Editor

Launching Alphaputt created opportunities to collaborate with brands that embrace the potential of games to engage with people on a deep and emotional level.

Alphaputt + Movember

Raising money for men’s health

Backing Movember – a men’s health charity – we created a bespoke M and donated 100% of the game sales for November 2019 to the charity. The stubbly golf course has become a permanent feature of the game, continuing to raise awareness for Movember.

Alphaputt + London Games Festival

Bringing video games to the iconic Somerset House

In conversations with London Games Festival leading up to the annual event, we decided to create three new letters for Alphaputt. L for London, G for Games and F for Festival, to promote both the game and the festival. The letters were an instant hit with LGF and were made into 5x5 meter prints to cover the height of Somerset House’s walls.

Kicking off the festival with a series of interviews, our Creative Director Matt talked to Alex Calvin on the Founders Stage. And with 100,000 visitors, the festival was a great success. Even the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, popped his head in.

Alphaputt + apple + procreate

Workshop at Apple’s flagship store in London

Building on our relationship with Apple, we held a ‘Today at Apple’ workshop at their Regent Street flagship store. Our Creative Director Matt talked about the process of making Alphaputt, and how he used the software Procreate to develop all the letter concepts on his iPad.

Following the talk, Apple handed out iPads with letter templates and Procreate pre-installed so the audience could create their own letter concepts and display them on the big screen.

“If you're seeking a uniquely beautiful and inventive game of crazy golf, the answer's as easy as abc.”

App store – Game of the day

“Just a delightful app, with a ton of invention, beautiful physics and quirky artwork. A real joy to play!”

Phillip Tiongson (Comm Arts | Awards Juror)

Lovie Awards

Best Visual Design | Gold
Apps & Mobile - Games | Bronze
Apps & Mobile - Games | People's Choice

D&AD Awards

Digital Design | Games, Wood Pencil

ADC*E Awards

Interactive and Mobile | Silver

Comm Arts

Typography Annual 2020 (Motion Design)
Interactive Annual 2020 (Interactive: Tablet)

Brand Impact

Self-Branding - Winner
Best of Show - Shortlisted

Webby Awards

Games: Best Visual Design - Nominee
Games: Best Art Direction - Official Honoree

Services

  • Game concept & design
  • Visual identity
  • Art direction
  • UI & UX design
  • Prototyping
  • Technical development
  • Motion design
  • Marketing assets

Sennep Team

  • Matt Rice | Creative director
  • Christoph Lorenzi | Technical director
  • Aaron Williams | Unity developer
  • Sofia Carobbio | Project manager
  • Claudia Thomas | Researcher
  • Everyone at Sennep | Support

Collaborators

  • Jonathan Lindgren | 3D artist
  • Coda to Coda | Sound designers
  • Igor Dall'Avanzi | Audio programmer
  • Nick Asbury | Copywriter
  • Moving Studio | Motion designers