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The Brief

Channel 4


How far would you go to avoid a fashion disaster?

Sweatshop's strapline

Launch Sweatshop

Easily the highest-profile and most talked about game I worked on during my time at Littleloud, Sweatshop is a tower defence game with a difference, and a serious message to boot.

A free browser-based offering, the game puts you in the shows of a middle manager tasked with increasing the profits at a sweatshop, producing quality (or not) goods for such high-profile conglomerates as Top Sham and Crymark. Whether you're willing to sacrifice the welfare of your workers in pursuit of that lucrative profit is entirely your call, and forms the crux of the morality system that underpins the entire game. As its strapline shows, Sweatshop asks "How far would you go to avoid a fashion disaster?"



As the interface designer on the project, I had a large hand in its production, producing and animating all menu screens, the in-game HUD and the animations for the factories in the Level Select screen. I also created the original logo and designed the website in which the game sits.

Early development, with alternative logos and stats-based HUD menus.

RPG-like stats were soon scrapped for the sake of simplicity.

With the theme of the game all about cheap labour and knock-off clothing, it was a natural fit for the UI to ape the aesthetic of thread and clothing materials. Many of the assets were hand-drawn in Photoshop, with the logo in particular being an exercise in patience and precision use of my Wacom tablet.

The tactile-feeling HUD was agreed upon fairly on in the project.

The Level Select screen, complete with deceptively tropical factory scene.

Just in case you wanted to tell people you were causing worker deaths...

The Stats screen; it was a challenge to convey a lot of information in a small space.

The in-game HUD needed to convey a lot of information quickly, with this being a real-time strategy game, but there was still room to add some details - such as the prices of the units being displayed on red or green buttons. Such was the success of Sweatshop that the client commissioned Littleloud to port it across to the iPad.

Launch Sweatshop