While developing the original Find the Gnome I tried to do it all on my own. I did publish the game in 2018, but I was not satisfied. Fast forward to 2021: I wanted to revisit this game and incorporate the idea’s and learnings I got as years came by.
I got in touch with a few artists that wanted to help me out. To pay for them I have another job in software consultancy where I spend my majority of hours (and concentration) on. I spend at least 1 day a week on the production, art direction, game design and coding of Find the Gnome 2.
Its a hidden object game where you have to find garden gnomes in low poly diorama’s. These gnomes hide behind or in objects. And you have to catch all of them in a level to complete the level and continue.
The official game page is on https://gamefeelings.com/games/find-the-gnome-2/ and you can find it on Steam https://store.steampowered.com/app/1855160/Find_the_Gnome_2/
The main gameplay consists of the player interacting with the environment, in the hopes to see a gnome. This gnome can then be caught by clicking on it. This in turn will dispatching a drone. There are multiple ways the gnomes interact with the environment and/or drone, to stimulate emergent behavior.
The story is told by showing cartoons with a parallax effect. These cartoons give purpose and answers the ‘why’ to make the world feel more immersive.
There is a map scene where the player can replay the levels. This map also is themed correctly to help with immersion.
All the assets, levels and cartoons are hand-drawn. Repetition is kept to a minimum.
There are 4 themes with 3 levels each. Each theme has an introduction cartoon. Each theme has a collectible set with a ‘completion’ cartoon.
The levels start small and increase in size. With the advancement of levels, the complexity also increases.
I worked on this from Spring 2021 up to now. The main release was on 12 December 2022. Currently I am releasing regular updates and improvements.
I post regularly blog updates on my progress of this game, you can find them in their category.
My part of the game development:
- Production (Planning, budget, talent procurement)
- Marketing (Blogging, Steam page)
- Art direction (Inspiration and providing rough guidelines for concept artist/cartoonist, same for the modellers, keeping art consistent between different people and different art forms)
- Team management (Workflow management, tracking tasks, slicing up work, delegating work)
- Game design (Designing and implementing all mechanics, balancing difficulty, importing all assets, scripting)
- UI (mainly implementation, but did supply artists with directions on theming, genre specifics, accessibility)
- Architecture (Additive scene loading, game flow state machine, consistent event flow, load/save level state on saveslots, combination of ScriptableObjects to feature easy component based systems, using DI framework)
- Technical support (Azure DevOps Build server, multiple build types and targets, automatic QA and Steam releases)
- Bugfixing (Processing QA testresults and bugreports)
I worked together with a few people on this title. Since I am the one paying for their services its a bit harder to judge them, but I tried to keep them as independent as possible. I first established the amount of responsibility and freedom they needed to get the best out of our relationship, and then provided them with input and boundaries. For example: I tell what I want, listen to what they bring to the table, incorporate their idea’s that match my vision. Most of the time up to 50% of the idea is mine, 50% or more is theirs. If they produce something that is within the boundaries I did set, of good quality and consistent with their other works: it gets approved. This way the ownership of the product is shared and their work is valued more.
Freelancers that helped out on certain parts of the game:
- Meinder: concept artist (mainly for level designs), storyboard, cartoonist, UI illustrator, Steam page assets illustrator.
- Syoma: diorama modeller (all levels).
- mac7ua: character models and animations, (almost all) map scene assets, chicken AI.
- Tobias Weiss: music and sounds
- Roan: QA testing.
Random order, tooling used
- Azure DevOps: projectplanning and automated build pipe
- Steam steamworks
- GIT: sourcecontrol
Steam (and I) are still learning…