Inspirations for our Game

We found a name! At least a temporary one- Ufology (pronounced Yufology)!!

As I mentioned in my first blog post, both Oscar (@spacepluk) and I grew up when video games first started becoming popular in arcades, consoles and home computers in the early 80s. I used to spend hours playing on our Atari and Mac (later Nintendo/Sega and PC) with our friends and family. Oscar even remembers playing games on his Amiga (!!). Every stop at the mall or errand-run was accompanied by my brother and I begging my parents to stop at our favorite arcade. Games like Space Invaders, Galaga, Ms. Pacman, Frogger, Super Mario Bros, Tetris and other classics have a warm and fuzzy place in our hearts. So naturally, when we started thinking of making our own games, we wanted to make a tribute to those amazing pioneer games.

After the initial brainstorming phase (you can read more about that here), the idea we decided to go ahead with was a mobile F2P retro-style arcade space shooter. We wanted the graphics and gameplay to be based on early arcade games but with a modern look. In addition, we wanted Ufology to be in 3D, while most of the games we were inspired by were in 2D. A retro-but-modern looking 3D-but-based-on-2D game was a big challenge for me, as this is my first project as a game designer and CG artist.

The main inspirations for Ufology were Galaga, Gradius, R-Type, Axelay and Xenon 2. Many of the enemies in Ufology are based on the enemies from those games. Here are some of the adaptations, would love to hear what you think!

 

Gradius by Konami, 1985

 

Our version of Gradius' Moai
Our version of Gradius’ Moai

 

Galaga by Namco, 1981
Galaga by Namco, 1981

 

Our version of Galaga's Deathmite
Our version of Galaga’s Deathmite

 

Xenon 2 Megablast by The Assembly Line- 1989
Xenon 2: Megablast by The Assembly Line- 1989

 

Our version of Xenon-2’s horseshoe-crab-looking-alien

 

Let us know what you think in the comments below- suggestions are always welcome 🙂 We would love to hear about the inspirations for your games!

Stay tuned for some more development logs coming up in the following weeks.

And don’t forget to subscribe in the upper right menu!

Liran

 

Inspirations for our Game

How to Kill Your Babies. Or: Letting Go of Ideas That Don’t Work

When sitting down to brainstorm for game ideas, you are sure to come up with dozens. Easily. When we brainstorm, we usually start with relatively “normal” ideas and as we warm up and let our creativity loose the ideas get wackier and wackier. It’s tons of fun and we laugh our asses off. The truth is this is my favourite part of the long and complex creative process called game design. Well, I’m sure having millions of people play your game beats that, but I’ll have to get back to you on that matter. But putting the fun (which is very important!) aside, finding a viable idea for a game among those dozens is not that easy, and almost all of them are discarded immediately or shortly after the initial brainstorm. Deciding to throw an idea away or put it aside takes a lot of willpower as we get emotionally attached to our ideas. But it is very important to be able to do that. You can’t possibly develop them all!!

We started developing our current game idea along with a couple other ideas we had. We really wanted to do something with sheep (who doesn’t love sheep?), so all of the ideas had that element in them in different shapes and forms. This is our first game as Mooi Studios (and my first game ever as I mentioned in the last blog post), so we wanted to keep it simple. We made a couple of simple prototypes on paper and noticed that all of the ideas were relatively complex, except one: Sheep in Space. I really liked the name “Space Sheep” (like spaceship, but sheep, right??!!). So we started developing a space shooter with sheep, and left the rest of the ideas on the side burner.

Sheep prototypes
Some of the first sketches and prototypes of the sheep

We developed the idea of “Space Sheep” for a while. We decided that we wanted to make a retro-style space shooter (more on that decision in next week’s post) with top view. The sheep floating in space looked kind of ridiculous in that camera view, and we just couldn’t make it work. Putting the sheep in a spaceship or UFO didn’t help because then the player couldn’t really see the sheep. That is how the sheep became obsolete. It doesn’t really make sense to have the main theme of a game unnecessary for the actual gameplay. So somehow “Space Sheep” became just “Space”, and my beloved “baby”- the concept of making a game about sheep- disappeared. It wasn’t easy letting “Space Sheep” go, but common sense won. The sheep will have to wait.

Example of the top view and spaceship, as they look today
Example of the top view and spaceship, as they look today

It is very important to be able to let your ideas go if they aren’t solid enough, as much as you love them! Many people get stuck trying to find a way to make their idea work. But like they say- it’s like trying to milk a dead cow. The sooner you realise that your idea has too many holes in it, the better. Don’t throw the idea away- you might find a way to fill those holes in the future, but now you should focus your energy on an idea that has more chance of becoming a fun and playable game.

In next week’s post I will talk about the inspiration for the look & feel and gameplay of our Space Shooter (still nameless after the departure of the sheep). Sign up for update emails in the top right menu and stay tuned!

Written by Liran, one half of Mooi Studios

How to Kill Your Babies. Or: Letting Go of Ideas That Don’t Work