Greetings, fellow alpacas!
We launched our latest game, Zodiac Pop!, 2 weeks ago — if you haven’t checked it out yet, you can play it for free here. Today, we’re going behind the scenes with the development team: Benjo (Game Designer), Erwin (Game Engineer), Dax (UI and Graphics), and Eveth (Game Artist). Find out how they made Zodiac Pop! and what’s in store for the next update.
Keeping it Casual
Erwin: “Zodiac Pop! began as an interesting exercise for the team. We had an existing framework for a bubble shooting game that we made for Xurpas — what can we do with it? Can we make something cool, fresh, and engaging out of it? We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, so we wanted to maximize the potential of our existing framework.”
Benjo: “The game framework that we had at that point was definitely more casual, so we dove right into it. Many of us on the team came from a more midcore background, so going full casual was definitely fun (at least for me)! We had to think of how those players played, how long they played, what they valued, and what was fundamentally ‘fun’ for them. Casual doesn’t mean easy, and easy doesn’t mean fun, so balancing it all out to make something our target market would love was refreshing and engaging.”
The theme: Horoscopes!
Erwin: “Our brainstorming involved juggling through themes, while trying to nail down a demographic. The bubble shooter genre is a notoriously crowded space, so we needed to find a niche that we can cater to — all while keeping our previous constraints in mind. “
Benjo: “What came out in the end was simple: Horoscopes have an audience, but do they have a game audience? Attaching horoscopes to a game was a relatively new idea.
“One major concern we had was possibly splitting players into two camps: people who wanted to read their horoscope and people who just wanted to play. We had to be able to bring these two together. So we offered multiple horoscope types as rewards for game content completion, letting players play further if they wanted more than their basic daily horoscope (which wasn’t gated). You can also share your horoscope to friends, or match your sign with other people. We tried to give the horoscope lover as much as they wanted while still being integrated to the game.”
The art: Zoe and her jelly pals in space
Eveth: “We played with various art styles while we were still trying to figure out the look for Zodiac Pop!. But eventually, we picked a style that’s inspired by Alphabear and Sanrio. It is a lot closer to graphic design and vector illustrations compared to our other games.
“Since it is a game that is predominantly aimed to cater to female players, we went with characters that are cute and appealing.The colors of our bubbles and power ups are really saturated to make it pop against the dark background. The bubbles, the characters, the UI and the other in-game graphics share the same elements and treatment, making the overall look of the game harmonious and consistent.”
Dax: “Zodiac Pop! also sports a cleaner, smoother aesthetic than other Altitude games.The approach to the UI/UX was more app than game. The style is heavily influenced by modern minimalist graphic design.”
Zodiac Pop! has just begun! There’s a lot more tweaking to be done and levels to be made. It’s a never ending process and we’re in this for the long haul! Thanks to everyone who has played the game, and we’ll continue monitoring all your feedback.