How 8 months in Early Access got our game done!
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How 8 months in Early Access got our game done!

Jul 10 Crazy Dreamz  

Thanks to you guys, we made it !

Hey guys, what’s up ?

I’m so excite, today is the release of MagiCats Builder. After 8 months of Early Access here we are release our free-to-play on Steam, iOS and Android! That was a lot of work but thanks to all of you and all your support we made it through.

Now that it’s done, I would like to let you know guy how I lived the situation from my perspective – I actually got on the train in a middle of a rush.
Indeed, I joined Dreamz Studio quite recently and I’ve been catching up on a lot of things they’ve been doing until now. And that’s where I’ve realized that the studio has developed a game literally based on players’ feedback.

As you know, MagiCats Builder is basically a 2D sandbox platformer that allows players to create their own levels. Nothing new, right? But wait for it. Beside the fact that it’s a beautiful free to play with this intuitive coding interface the real innovation is the whole concept behind it: the game has been developed according you guys with all your observations.

Ok, let me tell you that during the first week that I worked at Dreamz, I felt like everybody in our team was able to make games but none of them was into this kind of game nor knew how to work it out! I started freaking out thinking: “Omg, there’s no way you’ll create a good game if you’re not 100% into this kind of game. This will never go well – what have I signed for ?!”. Then I tried the game and surprisingly discovered a well done and beautiful game with both funny and technical aspects well balanced. So… How come?

 

 

Well, talking individually to my colleagues I figured out that there’s no need to be a former Chef to make innovating pretty little tasty meals. As a matter of fact, you just have to know the basics and then let you guide by the taste of your customers, right? This is exactly what our Indie Studio has been doing for the past 8 months. Through the Early Access period, we’ve been matching the knowledge of our members with the game experience expected by players.

By the way, I would like to thank all the players involved in gamer communities that help developers and studios finding bugs and more generally improving their games. I think that a lot of companies tend to create games regardless of what people and players want. This is actually sad. This is sad because gamers are the ones going to the heart of games. They are the ones games are made for, isn’t it? So why not fully rely on them and produce a video game that will provide them the best gaming experience: theirs.

I didn’t know but there are several platforms allowing exchanges between players and developers. The studio I work in uses social media, reviews on the different stores we’re proposing our game on and online platforms such as Discord. Punctually they met players in real life during events – like going out, real life stuff.

Thanks to their feedback, we managed to improve both visual and technical aspects of our game.

Visual aspects:

Starting with the most obvious, the game design has been deeply reworked. We kept the main idea, the dreamlike atmosphere but changed so much tings.

 

First and foremost, the main character: The MagiCats. At first it was a dog but it evolved to something more charismatic, a cat. We went from the little space Corgi to our actual badass Nathan Drake-like epic cat.

The MagiCat Kingdom has strongly changed too. Thanks to players’ feedback and our own observations, we’re presenting with a game that has a strong and simple to read visual identity. We integrated graphic rules that help the reading of the game. Indeed, as you can see on the first picture the red environment was what we started with, but it turned out that the drawing outlines were too confusing. Because of the outlines, people thought that certain elements were interactive while they were in the background and not supposed to have any interaction with elements on the first plan. We also desaturated the colors and changed them for less flashy ones, so less confusing and more harmonious. As a result, with a desaturated and outlines-free background, elements on the first plan began to stand out naturally.

The coding interface of MagiCats Builder allowing people to customize their levels got more and more simplified and illustrated to become a more intuitive coding engine. It helped new users interact quite easily with the coding part of the game.

Technical aspects

The gameplay of the game evolved according to what players expected. We integrated movements such as the dash or the possibility of hanging on walls for several reasons. The main one would probably be the fact that adding these two abilities made the game more interesting. Dashing and hanging on walls provided players with so many ways to finish levels, which feels so much better gameplay and design-wise when playing tricky levels designed by other players. Also, dashing for whatever reason and hanging on walls are characteristics that we believed to be representative of cats.

A multiplayer mode has been integrated too. This one has been requested by our gamer community on every event we did and we kind of rushed for make it happened, but we made it and it works pretty well actually.

Beside it there is an upcoming online mode we’re working on, there is an item we put in the game that reverse the gravity… So many things in this game added thanks to you guys, level up the game! There are so much things that our studio improved through these 8 months in Early Access that I can’t mention it all. The list simply goes for ever but the result worth it. The perfect balance between developers’ knowledge and gamers’ expectations ended up in a pretty cute easy to pick up game.

So yeah, I would like to thank all gamers involved in such communities. I didn’t know before working here that their point of view could bring so much. I didn’t actually realize that some of them could be relevant enough to deeply change the structure of a game.

Well I think that I’m going to stop here. That was my experience, I hope that you guys enjoyed reading it.

Bye!

 

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