Winkeltje: The Little Shop

Technical & Gameplay Designer
Game Summary

In Winkeltje you play as a shopkeeper in the days of old, inheriting the old family shop along with your family's debt. It's up to you to pay off the debt and turn the shop into a booming business, by buying low, selling high and selling crafted items. Build and decorate to transform your shop into the shop of your dreams.

Project Details
Project Type:
Commercial Project
Dev Type:
Management Simulation
9 months
Google Suite, Maya, Visual Studio, Perforce
Team Size:
Early Access
Project Summary

Winkeltje is a shopkeeper management game in development by Sassybot and is currently in early access on steam. Joining the project during my second internship in the fourth year of university, the game had been in development for around 8 months and there had been several Technical Design predecessors.

The project had a special branch on steam that any and all changes were immediately pushed to. This allowed us to get feedback on new features and changes, and roll out bug fixes to people as soon as possible. Under normal circumstances the main release branch would be updated with the changes on unstable every so many weeks.

As the game had been in early access with active players a specific gamefeel had been established with the players having gotten accustomed to this. Any developments therefor needed to build on this or gradually change it whenever an improvement was found.

After a succesful internship and graduation, I stayed as part of the team as a contractor for 4 more months, during which I continued performing the tasks and responsibilities given during the internship.

Responsibilities and contributions


  • Balancing items, events, objectives, placeables; 

  • Expanding gameplay with established mechanics; 

  • Providing feedback on concepts; 

  • Prototyping gameplay features; 

  • Content creation; 

  • Bug testing; 

  • Bug fixing; 

  • Tool creation; 

  • Placing myself in the shoes of the end user and being their voice; 

  • Finding ways to improving user experience; 

  • Community Management; 

  • Bring issues/improvements from community to the attention of other devs; 

  • Sticking to scope vision and theme when designing; 

  • Supporting smooth rollouts of updates  

Contributions to game: 

  • Event blocking tool (Read more below); 

  • Commission balancing tool (Read more below); 

  • Rebalances of items, decorations (Read more below); 

  • Commissionboard design;

  • End game designs; 

  • Designing crafting mechanic update (Read more below); 

  • Writing update posts; 

  • Bug fixes; 

  • Represented developers towards community


© 2020 by Dennis van der Harst.