Goorillas are little monkeys made of goo. They stretch, get stuck to things and sometimes they splat!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Goorillas Match 3 Game Release

Goorillas have come a long way from starting out as a joke with a kid, on a boat, in a swamp.

Creating the match 3 game starting with these characters and their story has resulted in gameplay that's different and a bit zany.

During the last few weeks of play-testing I've started to have this feeling as I play. It reminds me a bit of trying to spin plates, trying to match the Goorillas before they splat. So hopefully you will enjoy it.

Let me know what you think via Facebook @Goorillas and please share the game with your friends.

Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Googar up to mischief

There have been a few small changes to the game during this testing phase, which followed creation of the alpha version on the DevTrek.

I've played the game a lot myself, when I get a spare moment, and I've also watched a few people play it and gained some useful feedback.

If Googar is next to Goobriella he gets up to mischief and makes her jump. Then she gets stuck. Also Goorillas move on to the next step of their journey by matching them, or if all their parts are powered up.

There are a few bugs still left to fix. The game is heading towards a beta release shortly.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

DevTrek Week 8 - Gameplay and DevTrek finished

My DevTrek is now complete, and the game is pretty much done.

I hope it's different from other matching games and immersive with the special moves and features that's come from developing character driven gameplay.

I've attempted to create the sense of achievement coin-op games deliver with a set number of lives to complete a game that becomes progressively more difficult.

Some of the later levels can get quite tough and players might want to share their replay on social media. So I'll add a level replay and share feature in before the game is released, in a month or so, if the play testing goes well.

I've enjoyed experiencing the culture and traveling from north to south the last eight weeks flash-packing. It felt a bit Bohemian doing graphics and the odd animation in a cafe here and there along the way. I've been occupied most evenings, chipping away, creating the game. Now the DevTrek is over, play testing can begin.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

DevTrek Week 7 - Special Moves

I'm nearly at the end of my Trek, only one week left and the game should be done in the timeframe. This week I've been working on the bottom part of the screen writing the special moves. If Goobert gets stuck then you can collect up the banoffe pie and give it to him as a treat, then he becomes unstuck.

The rest of this week was mainly spent exploring beaches. A pretty good week.

If you have any thoughts or feedback about the game you can reach me on Facebook @Goorillas

Thursday, February 19, 2015

DevTrek Week 6 - Game Feedback and Animation

I've mainly been working on the animations this week, this is what the end of level animation looks like.

The Goorilla family holding hands ready to move on to the next step of their journey was a suggestion from Rich after reading this blog, so thanks for that. Goobriella has had a few tweeks also as a result of feedback, so I'm glad I've done this blog. All of the Goorillas are on to their third iteration and hopefully that is enough for the first release of the game.

I have met several nice people on this trek who have taken an interest in what I'm doing and given constructive criticism. For example yesterday I was in a restaurant waiting for my dinner so I thought I'd do a bit of animation to fill the time. The waiters were chuckling as they were standing behind me whilst I was working. I explained I was on this DevTrek and they took a look at the animations I was working on. They mostly liked my animations and laughed a few times, which was really uplifting for me because this is my first go at it. They didn't really like the splat animation though, so that is good to know. I'll have another go at that tomorrow.

Next week is almost the end of this DevTrek. I've got a few more places to see and plenty of development to keep me busy.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

DevTrek Week 5 - Coding and Levels

I've spent quite a lot of time on the road this week, so the trek part has been good. I'm roughly in the middle of the country and am heading south tomorrow.

Sticking with an agile inspired development routine, here is what the game looks like this week. I've mainly been coding, and started working out the levels.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

DevTrek Week 4 - Story Development

At the end of week 4 I've got a basic matching game developed, that was a good exercise to get a better understanding of Unity, ready to start making the game work the way I've designed. In the video below you can see Goobert stretching over 2 tiles.

To develop the stories for each character I started looking at the drawings and a few things sprung to mind. Googar only has one tooth for example because he is about six years old and that's why he's always up to mischief. Goobriella rarely gets stuck, except when Googar is up to his antics. Gooby is only small so he builds up to his first big stretch, a bit like his first day at school, and he learns not to splat without his dummy.

One story for Goobert I came up with for children is "I have a plan to get out of this jam!" Where he gets stuck to things, in between trees, under a hedge, in a muddy puddle, and he has to work out how to get unstuck. Does he back out, go under or stretch over? Goobert repeats the same line "I have a plan to get out of this jam!" before he escapes his predicament. And at the end of the story he gets stuck in a pot of jam! Might be a fun one to read with a kid. So Goorillas are small, about the size of a jam pot.

Googar is part of the Goorilla family because they are nice creatures. They are small and a bit timid and when they get scared, they splat. If they splat then given a bit of time, they pull themselves back together.

Thinking about these creatures now and their short journey through the strange land, reminded me a bit of little blue penguins that dash across a beach. They almost make it to the other side, then one gets scared and they all run back. It is quite a funny thing to see them running backwards and forwards before they finally make it. So I'm going to try that idea in this game, instead of focusing on score and levels, it will be about getting the Goorillas to the next step of their journey.

I've tuned my initial design and taken out the concentration element, because it doesn't suit the characters or this game-play, it also reflects earlier feedback. Maybe I'll come back to that idea in a future game.

I can answer my questions from last week about what should fall down for sure now. I hope this game will be different, maybe even zany!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

DevTrek Week 3 - Goobriella and Game Development

I've made a few adjustments to Goobriella, a bit of a makeover and any feedback would be appreciated. I've stopped tweaking the graphics for now and will see how the prototype goes. I'm looking forward to doing the animations soon, but I have a bit of code to write before I can get to that.

Doing my own play testing yesterday I thought, this game is 'a bit different' :)

But where do I go from here? I'm stuck! What else should fall down, not just fruit and veg. There should be a reason for each thing, whatever it is, falling down.

Next week I'm going to do some brainstorming, bit tough on your own, so I will try to think about the Goorillas and their journey and come up with a few ideas for short stories for children. Then I may be able to answer my own question, and hopefully make this game 'different'. Not just a match 3 game that features Goorillas, but the Goorillas matching game.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

DevTrek Week 2 - Goobert, Input and Movement

This week I've done the first draft of Goobert's stretching movement. Goobert is the oldest and largest of the Goorillas. He can stretch the furthest but sometimes he gets stuck to things when he tries to squeeze his way through. So in this game he can stretch over more than one space to make a group of matching Gooberts.

I've used Unity's Mecanim for the animation and I've used the smooth step formula to ease the movement of the sprites, which now move when you swipe them.

Here's a video I made on my Android phone to show the movement and animation.

I'm trying to get regular feedback during this game development process. Luckily you meet people as you travel and, if someone seems interested in what I'm doing, I try to get their opinion of the development to date.

I've had a suggestion this week that there could be more variation in what you can match, so not just fruit and vegetables, which sounds good to me.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

DevTrek Week 1 - Characters and Game Board

So the first week of the Goorillas game DevTrek has flown by. I've seen the sights, found a few nice restaurants and been on a decent walk everyday. At the same time I've done some work starting to build the game.

The first thing I did was finalise the characters for this game. Each character has their own attributes and motivations so they have their own story as well as being together on the journey to ShanGoori-La. That was a lot of fun to do.

The next thing I did was compare the Goorilla characters line up with characters from many cartoons and video games we all know and love. I've tried to make them stand out as something new.

Finally I made the game board and populated it with the assets, the characters and things a player can match in the game, like bananas and pineapples.

Here's a screenshot taken on my Android phone.

The graphics are pretty simple so they didn't take long to make. What has taken a while, and continues to do so, is the iterative process of 'look at it, decide what could be better, make the change, then look at it again'. I've spent ages looking at this screen asking myself questions like; 'Do the colours work together?', 'Is the banana thick enough?', 'Is the strawberry too big?'

The first time I liked the visual I took it outside to see what it looked like in daylight, then came back in with more changes in mind.

Any feedback about the characters, the other assets, colours etc. is appreciated.

For now I'm going to remember those questions, I'll ask them to potential players when the prototype is ready.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Meet the Goorillas

Meet the Goorillas - Goobert, Goobriella, Googar & Gooby!

Goorillas Goobert Goobriella Googar Gooby

Goorillas are made out of goo. They can stretch and squeeze and sometimes they get stuck to things. Occasionally they splat! Goorillas come from the planet Goo where the laws of physics are sometimes different to our own, and there is just a little hint of magic about them.

Goobert is the dad, the oldest and largest of the Goorillas. He can stretch the furthest but sometimes he gets stuck to things when he tries to squeeze his way through.

Goobriella is the mom, she rarely splats as she likes to keep her cool.

Googar is a cougar made from goo. He follows the Goorillas around and is always up to mischief.

Gooby can't stretch as far as his dad yet as he is only little and he often splats.

Join the Goorillas on their journey to their new home in ShanGoori-La.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Let the Goorillas #DevTrek begin!

Happy New Year! I had a great Christmas break with my family and friends. Now I'm off on what I'm calling a DevTrek (Dev short for development and trek for a long journey).

I have a bit of time to spare between contracts so I plan to fill it doing things I enjoy like traveling somewhere new and doing something creative. These interests combine pretty well as I often find I'm a bit bored in the evenings when I travel, so developing a game makes good use of that time. I'll carry my laptop with me and do and hour here and there during the day most days also. I hope to be fairly productive and really enjoy the trek. There are also fewer distractions when you travel, so it is easier to focus on the task at hand.

Before starting to develop this idea I bounced a few ideas around and asked people what they thought and "Goorillas are monkeys made of goo" got the best response. Over the break I've done a litmus test by getting a simple test animation in front of several potential players and received positive feedback and a few useful suggestions which I can think about before I really get going.

Also in my run up to this DevTrek, during my spare time, I've done a few art courses online, experimented with the technology, and done some research into trying to understand the craft of making a game.

Hopefully I'll create something that is fun and different, a bit zany.

Thanks for reading my blog, any comments or suggestions about the game are welcome via Facebook @Goorillas.