main

Game DevelopmentPostmortem

Skelewton: Persistence Pays Off

December 7, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

Promo-image-копіювати-960x540.jpg

Youmaku Games is a small indie game development team, with only three members who are all passionate gamers at heart, based in Egypt. The co-founders of the team, Ashraf Abou-Heikal and Gurin Jaw, two childhood friends, started the company in 2013, having a common goal of creating indie games. The team is currently working on their first game, an endless survival 2D platformer called Skelewton’s First Law, and this is their story of how the game was formed over time. The developers call it a bizarre one.

By Gurin Jaw and Ashraf Abou-Heikal from Youmaku Games


There was first a skeleton…

Our graphics designer, Ashraf, started his journey by practicing pixel art, and one of his early works was a skull.  Later on, he drew a body for it, and we decided to make it an enemy in a dungeon crawler game.

Both of the team members had no experience back then, so this game was more of a learning thing than an actual project. Our developer, Gurin, was creating the game using Adobe Flash Professional. We ended up making the skeleton our protagonist, and started our development, or rather, learning process. After working for months, part-time along with college, the game was something like this:

The iconic typo

Then the most iconic accident in our team’s history happened, Gurin was inspired by one of his favorite games, VVVVVV, and thought of adding a gravity mechanic to the game, but with a twist of letting the skeleton switch gravity between four directions, instead of up/down only (like in VVVVVV).
While Gurin was telling our third team member, Abdelrahman, also known as Beta, about how the game is going, Beta made a typo in the chat, and typed “skelwton” instead of “skeleton,” as the “w” is next to the “e” on the keyboard. That’s when it hit Beta: gravity + apples + skeleton = “Skelewton”, Newton’s skeleton, – and so, our beloved character was born.

“We made the skeleton more iconic by giving him a wig like Newton’s”.

Two years of development in the trash

After two years in development, the game was glitchy, it looked bad, the levels were shallow, and uploading a Flash game to the internet didn’t seem like a bright idea by then.

That’s when we decided to redo the game using a game engine, Unity.
And so, we re-created the physics more efficiently, we made better animations, and things were finally looking neat. We decided to make the game specifically for the mobile platform, and that’s where we didn’t really think it through.
We lacked knowledge of the mobile market, and we didn’t study game design at all.
We were trying to put a 2D side-scrolling level-based game on mobile, where you need to walk, jump and change gravity. That was a very bad idea.

The final Flash build for Skelewton.
“The swimsuit was the first costume we made!”

Our control scheme ended up like this: walking by touching the right/left side of the screen, jumping by touching the screen with two fingers at the same time, and you control the gravity with motion controls.
We started attending local gaming events in Egypt, which were very few, to collect feedback from gamers, and that changed a lot of things for the better.

We decided to go for an endless survival approach, rather than a level-based one (that was mainly due to our lack of experience in game design), as well as it was more suitable for the mobile platform. So, we decided that Skelewton should just collect as many apples as he can in each level till he dies.
Later on, Gurin’s little cousins suggested adding costumes to collect for Skelewton, which was indeed a great addition for the game.

RDJ 2016

We went to our first local event specifically for game developers. That was, Run Double Jump 2016, and despite it being the show we failed at most, it was also one that benefited us the most.
Gurin didn’t learn from others’ failures, and made one big common mistake: adding new features on the night before the event.
We wanted to get a new decent tutorial for the game ready for the show, but things took a bad turn. We didn’t sleep, the tutorial wasn’t done, and we were running out of time. By the time we reached the event, the game was literally broken, nothing was functioning correctly.

Surprisingly, despite the game being broken, people genuinely loved it, and gave us a lot of great feedback! Furthermore, we got to meet up with the country’s best developers and got to know many amazing people working in the industry.

Not ready? attend events anyway!

During Run Double Jump 2016, we found out about Indie Prize and Casual Connect as well. And decided to submit Skelewton’s First Law for Indie Prize Berlin 2017, despite being far from complete.
We got rejected as expected, but Gurin decided to apply as a volunteer, which would give us a free pass for the event, in exchange for helping out at the event for a day. Thankfully, Gurin got accepted as a volunteer and was able to attend.

At the show Gurin met countless professionals in the gaming industry, and got to know some wonderful people who were all willing to help and give feedback. On the first day, while volunteering, Gurin met some amazing game developers who were part of the volunteers team as well, and they gave a lot of valuable comments.
Special thanks to two teams, Traptics and Amused Sloth, for all their great help and support, they were truly kind and helpful!

Gurin also got to spend some great time with Egypt’s RDJ 2016 winner, Abdallah AlSayed from BNOO Games.
Three days at the event were far from enough to try out every single game showcased at Indie Prize, but it was the most amazing experience ever.

“During the event, with the feedback collected, we were able to take the game into a much better direction”.

After that we attended a local event, Geek Fictions 2017, where we were invited to showcase our game along with other developers we know from across the country.
At this event, we saw how great the changes in gameplay improved the game. All feedback we received was positive and people were telling us we are in the right direction.

Logo evolution.

When the RDJ 2017 date was announced, we knew this will be a decisive factor for the future of the game. We worked every day the entire summer with no breaks at all until the day of the event, as if our lives depended on it, because they really did.

“Gurin didn’t shave their hair ever since RDJ 2016!”

The day had come, and it was the best experience in our entire lives, we were genuinely surprised by how much people enjoyed the game and wanted to play again; this was when we felt the true joy of making a game that makes people happy.
What made that day even better was that all our friends and family were able to make it to the event.

We met some amazing game developers again, as well as hard-working, passionate people eager to learn game development.
The day was coming to an end, it was time to announce the winners, and we really didn’t see it coming, because it was a dream coming true: Skelewton making it to Indie Prize.

“Now, we are aiming to finish the game during Q1 2018 and are preparing for Indie Prize USA 2018. We hope to find a publisher for our game. While we don’t know whether the game will be a success or a failure, we agree that spending 4 years on a first game has to be the greatest learning experience ever”.

Game DevelopmentPostmortem

Fhacktions: Sailing through uncharted waters

September 11, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

04-The-beta-launch-960x540.jpg
By Juan de Urraza, CEO of Posibillian Tech

Posibillian Tech is the game development studio behind Fhacktions, a location-based MOBA mobile game set in a future world ruled by factions of hackers. The studio is based in Asunción, Paraguay, with 12 full time employees. It was founded in 2015 by two software engineers and lifetime gamers, Juan de Urraza and Gabriel Villalba, who previously developed some small games while studying at university, but never as professionals.

The beginning of all

Game Development

Digital Melody: “Never Borrow Money to Develop Your Game.”

June 22, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

feature-2-960x540.jpg

“Indie Games Polska is a developers organization, like many in Europe, only for Poland”, founder and board member Jakub Marszalkowski explains. “We are working to help developers, mostly indies, as they need support the most. IGP is quite new, formally it exists since the end of 2015. You could find some of our earlier activities, but this still would be 2015.”

Indie Games Polska has been involved in IGJAM 2016 as well. The winner in the Best Mobile Game Category, a game called Masky by Digital Melody Games, participated in Indie Prize at Casual Connect in Berlin.

DevelopmentExclusive InterviewsGame DevelopmentIndie

Alice In Cube: New Angle Of Puzzles

April 7, 2017 — by Orchid

12-960x469.jpg

A director, 2 programmers, an artist and a musician – they’re all from the team of 5 students from Ajou University in Korea, who made the puzzle game of Alice in Cube that would challenge even a seasoned puzzle games player.

“The reason why I created this team was so simple: I just wanted to make games. I was seeking for friends who were passionate about games, like myself, and four months later I finally found them all”, says director and project manager Kim TaeWoo.

Exclusive InterviewsGame DevelopmentPostmortem

Madness Road: Showcase (in Life), Destroy (in Game)

December 3, 2016 — by Orchid

6-New-копіювати-960x540.jpg

Cells Games is a small indie team of professionals that got together a few years ago. But it was just in the beginning of this year that they found time to focus on a project. The team got even more tight-knit when they started preparing for the Game Jam Kanobu 2016 contest where they eventually won the  Unity Special Award there.

“We work remotely, everyone being in different parts of the world: I’m in Kyiv, our programmer Sasha is in Krasnoyarsk, another programmer Misha and artist Andriy are in Dnipro, and sound designer Anton is in St. Petersburg. So yes, it’s all remote, but this doesn’t get in our way to communicate and have good workflow”, says the studio’s CEO Eugene Lavrinenko as he shares the story of Madness Road, a mobile racing game inspired by post-apocalyptic movies about total destruction.


Game DevelopmentPostmortem

Cognition: An Iterative Process

November 10, 2016 — by Industry Contributions

intro-960x519.png

LunaFive is an indie studio from the USA, consisting of (surprise!) five members, who came out of the New York University Game Center’s MFA & Incubator program with the goal of making memorable and satisfying indie games. Their debut game, Cognition, is a “tapformer,” a platformer where you move by tapping. Guide Click and Cogsworth, two perpetually rotating cogs, through a series of surreal and increasingly dangerous maze-like environments. With a simple movement system and endearing, whimsical characters, Cognition is designed to be played by anyone, anywhere; the team is happy to shed some light on their development process and the decisions that took the game where it is now from a drastically different beginning.

ContributionsDevelopmentGame DevelopmentIndiePostmortem

Blades of Revenge: Let the AI Test

August 12, 2016 — by Industry Contributions

pic1-960x720.jpg

Infinity Levels Studio, the winner of Indie Prize Best Mobile Game nomination at Casual Connect USA 2016, is a small Thai-based games studio that focuses on building differentiated gameplay and amazing artwork. Coming from a not-so well-known place to produce innovative mobile games, and due to the competitive nature of the category, Nikki Assavathorn, the head of the studio, was pretty sure they wouldn’t win anything. So she sat at the back of the room and didn’t realize her studio has won the award, and only an hour later, when she chatted with the other gamers, she found out that Blades of Revenge has won.


ContributionsDevelopmentGame DevelopmentIndieOnlinePostmortem

MagiCraft: A 3D Version Turned Into A Franchise

December 15, 2015 — by Industry Contributions

51.png

Storm Bringer Studios is a Georgian game company (Founded in Estonia in 2013). It’s based in Tbilisi, and the team was working on various games long before that, releasing PC and console titles mostly as outsource projects. By the end of 2013 Storm Bringer founders participated in the GameFounders program and that changed them forever: they started thinking BIG! The company’s CEO and founder Irakli Kokrashvili shares the story of one of their recent creations, MagiCraft. Meanwhile, the team is now preparing the VR game called Warlock VR that they’re planning to bring to Indie Showcase at Casual Connect 2016 in Amsterdam.

ContributionsDevelopmentGame DevelopmentIndieOnlinePostmortem

Skatelander: How To Make The Most of a Showcase

November 5, 2015 — by Industry Contributions

1-960x469.png

Founded back in September 2011 by 4 friends and gamers, underDOGS Gaming Studio is one of India’s most lean game development and publishing companies. With already 6 games for Android, they have released their latest game Skatelander on iOS and are doing quite good. It’s a game that started as a 2D project and turned into an endless 2.5D experience. It was nominated for “Best Game Art” at Indie Prize Casual Connect Singapore, and UnderDOGS’ founder Vaibhav Chavan now tells how this influenced his studio and the game. 


ContributionsDevelopmentGame DevelopmentIndieOnlinePostmortem

Zygobot’s Accidental Odyssey: The Divey Jones Series

September 30, 2015 — by Industry Contributions

image00_title-960x469.png

The story of Divey Jones: Bitey Shark (and, more specifically, the entire line of Divey Jones games) stems from one of those circumstances where you really don’t know you’re making a game until it’s almost done. You think you’re just prototyping an idea, you think you’re just tinkering and learning new tools and skills…and suddenly you have a viable product. You look at your teammates and say, “Hey, with a little push, this could be a shippable game!” –  Zygobot founders and developers Roy Papp and John Amos thought. John tells what happened next.

logo
SUPPORTED BY