HotterKeys — A Game for Learning Keyboard Shortcuts

HotterKeys is a game for Mac and PC that teaches keyboard shortcuts on an adventure through spacetime as Olivia, an otter who’s trying to protect Otterspace from its slow menu driven destruction.

Las Vegas native and VegasTech community member Mark Johnson and his team at Motel are behind the creation of the game, which launched on Kickstarter on May 19, 2015.

Mark Johnson“Motel is a team of remote designers and developers working together to build great things with great people,” Johnson said. “Whether it’s for others or ourselves, we’re passionate about building products that matter. HotterKeys is the our first product we’re building for ourselves, that we think others will dig.”

Johnson says he uses keyboard shortcuts religiously, which sparked the idea for the game. The team describes the game as a bit like Mavis Beacon meets Katamari Damacy.

“One of the first things I do when I’m learning a new application, or getting frustrated doing the same thing multiple times in an application I use daily is search for keyboard shortcuts,” he explained. “It’s the fastest way to be faster that I know of without writing a script to do your job for you. The thing that is a bummer is it takes forever to learn these things, or you’re reading like…a table on the internet to learn them. I thought it’d be easy to just make a flash card game to learn it. But then I thought, well it’d be more fun if it was a game game, not just a flash cards all day. It needs some fun, music, sounds, all that kind of stuff. So I chatted with the team about it and thought it’d be a great thing to build together if we could find the time and money to do it.”

Hotter Keys

The team at Motel chose Kickstarter because of the unique benefits crowdfunding offers to entrepreneurs at a small agency.

“As a development and design consulting shop, we need to be responsible in what we spend our time on,” Johnson said. “So this is effectively raising enough to charge ourselves to work on something we want to work on, rather than taking on additional client work. If the idea is bad, then we don’t work on it. If it’s good and people like it, we get to work on it.”

Johnson said that the biggest challenge to date was getting the Kickstarter campaign ready to launch.

“Turns out, getting stuff ready for Kickstarter is not easy. It is a lot of work,” he explained. “When I say a lot, I mean a lot. Not a little. So much.”

He cautions entrepreneurs in the VegasTech community to be ready to put in the work to launch a Kickstarter campaign. He points to Skillshare.com as a place to find tips and tricks from those who have launched successful campaigns.

“There’s a pretty great Skillshare class I took that isn’t totally eye opening, but helped me create a good playbook for how to prepare, and operate once the project went live,” he suggests.

The team at Motel hopes to get the campaign funded so they can begin building the game. They want to put the game out into the world for others to use to learn things faster and become better at the applications they use easy day. In fact, become a backer at $25+ and you’ll get to help select the applications to include in the game.

“I’d love for anyone interested to become a backer,” said Johnson. “Outside of that, any tweets, Facebook shares, or feedback in general would be great!”

One response to “HotterKeys — A Game for Learning Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. This looks fantastic! I’m looking for exactly this sort of game to help train my team…it drives me crazy watching them use their mouse or hunt and peck to navigate around their machines.
    I’m really sad this didn’t make its Kickstarter goal. Does anyone have any recommendations for something else like it?

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