My First Children’s Game Released!

We just released the first children’s game I worked on for my new job in China. I was especially excited about this game because I took some risks pushing the boundaries. What risks, you ask? Read to find out!

Our new character Toto introducing himself

The moment I heard that our new game will be played in a treehouse, I knew it will be a big success. What child doesn’t wish he had a treehouse?

All too often in the games industry we’ll receive an uninspired design document with the explanation that some other aspect (like graphics or marketing) will make it great. Most of the games industry has yet to learn the wonderful motto of Hollywood; “If a movie requires perfect execution to be interesting, then it’s just not a good screenplay”.

So I was excited to see a design document that could catch my interest with only few words.

“Take care of a baby turtle living in a giant treehouse”

Since I saw such potential in this game, there was one experimental aspect outside of my usual duties that I wanted to push for.

Lighting

In our previous games we’ve gone for a style similar to TV cartoons; the occational shadow but with ambient lighting. Personally being more of a fan of Pixar-style cartoons, I wanted to push for a fancier lighting style.

Toto sleeping in his giant treehouse. An example of the lighting in our newest game

In a TV cartoon the lighting might be totally ambient, but I wanted to push a little bit towards light coming in and bouncing from the windows.

At previous attempts, any attempt of actual lighting had been met with instant complaints. The moment any light had been tinted towards anything but pure white the artists would complain that it’s ruining the colors they’d so carefully crafted. This time I wanted to work discreetly on a prototype successful enough to get solid approval yet simplistic enough that I would still have time for my other responsibilities as Technical Artist.

The result

Although the prototype for my lighting received high praise, the final result in game was received less favorably among the team. The fun and creative part of prototyping lighting styles was one thing, but actually implementing it in-game for all scenes under tight deadlines was a different beast, forcing me to shamelessly cut corners.

Toto sleeping in his giant treehouse. An example of the lighting in our newest game

A major review of the game points out that “Especially the lighting effects are spectacular…”

The hurried results had me worried that my short stay on this project had ruined the game my team-mates had worked so long on. But all I could do was try my best under the time I had and to allow the resulting product to be as it would turn out.

As the product finally hit the market I didn’t feel like reading the reviews at first, but was happily surprised when my colleagues sent me quotes from various reviewers specifically mentioning how much they liked the new lighting!

That was it for this game but there will be many interesting projects ahead so make sure to sign up to blog updates by email! Until next time, let me know what you think of the game in MY comments, as I’m too lazy to read through the comments on the App Store.

2 thoughts on “My First Children’s Game Released!

  1. Hey, Niber, I came here from your thread in Chengdu living forum.

    I’m also a game designer in Chengdu-Tap4fun, if you heard about it- but only work on Game mechanics and GDD.

    Interested in what u said, so maybe i’ll play ur game recently.

    R u still doing game in Tribeplay in Chengdu?

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