Making of Islands
When we started making this game, we had no idea how big a bamboo structure we could fit on the screen. We also didn't know yet from which perspective the structure should be shown or how should it be drawn to make it look good, clear and functional.
We had to start from somewhere, so we created this simple mockup screenshot to see what the game could look like.
Here is a quick test which was made to have some kind of an idea what kind of backgrounds could work in the game.
The mockup screenshots weren't enough to give us a clear vision how the game would feel like when you actually tried building something on the screen. This is why we made a quick prototype of the game. The physics weren't final, but the structure could already bend and break in a really interesting, realistic and nice way. We also added the builder monkey in the prototype to see if it would work or if it was just irritating. It was kind of OK'ish in the prototype so we kept it for some time.
The game prototype let our lead designer's imagination loose when he started playing with the physics engine to find out it's limitations...
When we had decided how big the structures and monkeys should be, we moved forward and started experimenting on different kinds of dangerous things that could be found from the game level. These dangerous things would break the bamboo tower on contact.
By this time the coders had already made an advanced version of the game engine. This helped our graphic designers when they were creating different kinds of visualization tests of the test game levels. They took a screen shot of the game and added backgrounds to them to see if they would work or not.
Soon it became obvious that the game would look much better if we added some 3D like depth to the background graphics. This image was created to test how many different parallax layers we would need in the background. The result looks nice and full of trees and vegetation.
One day we received a brief e-mail from our lead graphic designer:
June 10th, 2008 - 3:48 PM
TOPIC: "Lets Next Gen!"
Lets not this (boring) gen with monkey.
Lets Next Gen With First Person Monkeys!
Needles to say, he can actually write perfect english, this day he just chose not to.
These are the phases the jungle background went through during the development. The last three images show the backgrounds in action.
Here is a test on what one of the islands could look like during different times of the day. We ended up using just one of them in the game. Can you tell which one?
Here are five sketches what kind of cave environment might work in the game. Can you tell which one was used in the game? (Hint: every good game has to have some lava in it!)
And here are some more of the background tests which we created before the final looks of the islands were chosen.