29 Making progress

In the past two weeks I was busy wrapping up my last freelance job. Currently I am enjoying 2 weeks off, and then on to a new job!

While all this is happening, I am still working on Find the Gnome. It is coming a long very nicely, if I may say so. A few interesting things are happening, so that is what I will talk about in this post.

Find the Gnome – Update

The video fragment of this blog is about that latest update on Find the Gnome.

Here you can see the improved camera, animations, level design and gameplay. Still working out the details on the final gameplay, and the UI is fully placeholders only, but its quite a fun game to play already!

Sound design

How a game feels is graphics on one hand, and sounds on the other hand. A good ambience can amplify the experience and really add to it.

On the previous installment of Find the Gnome I did all of this myself. And this wasn’t easy for me to do. For instance a month just before release I did not have the music in yet. That is because I had a hard time understanding what kind of ambiance I wanted to get with my music. And on top of that, finding the music on itself was very hard. Same with the sounds: the gnomes screaming are fun, but there could be so much more that makes a sound that adds to the experience.

So that is why I am working together with Theo from Daydream Sound to get professional sounds and musics on Find the Gnome. I just got his first set of samples so I am very curious of what he has come up with. A game like this, a hidden object game, really needs good sound design. That is a trademark for this genre. So I am probably going to need his services a few times during the development of Find the Gnome.

User interface

The user interface is another part of the game I really underestimated in the previous installment of Find the Gnome.

I didn’t think that I lacked experience creating user interfaces back then. However since then I did encounter a few very good ‘front end’ designers that really knew how to create compelling and clean/clear user interfaces. I am just not that good at this haha.

So with that knowledge I now look at other games to borrow concepts from them instead. For instance, I really liked the way the latest Hitman and Hitman 2 (basically the same game) told the player about possible objectives. You wouldn’t say that on first sight, but this game is a sandbox game with a lot of hidden objectives and possibilities. The way their user interface did give away some kind of hints on what to do while not spoiling the experience of discovering it yourself too much… yeah that is what I was looking for!

But another inspiration was to look at the competitors. They are more simplistic in things to do in the game, but their user interface layout is very similar across the genre. Hidden Folks, Hidden Paws, Out of Sight: all minimalist interfaces with a few components along the edges or, if applicable, an objective list in the bottom middle.

With this knowledge I designed the interface you see in the video at the start of the blog. But this is just the start of this interface: it still needs the touch of a professional. So as with the sound design, I am going to look for a prof to help me on the user interface to draw/design.

Next

So I am looking at my competitors on where I should aim for. What kind of gameplay is expected, what are characteristics (sound, UI, drawing style), how do tutorials in this genre, how much content per level, how many levels in general.

My goal is to get 3 levels fully working and the gameplay flushed out and release this on Steam. From there on I will start adding content incrementally. Releasing early will give me the necessary input needed to make the game even better, and above all keep motivated.

This is is where I am at on my own progress chart. Read the chart like this: “Phase name. At the end of this phase, I have the things mentioned in the bullet points.”

I am trying to get the most out of my free time currently while I don’t have another consultancy job. So expect some more progress in the coming two weeks, but after that its probably going to slow down a bit. So that is why I really want to have at least my alpha ready by then so I can start working on the first Release version.

Published by Erik_de_Roos

Erik de Roos is a Freelance software developer.

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