The Making of Snowball Run
The development of Snowball Run was an interesting journey for all of us in Alegrium, since our background was all in web and Adobe Flash development. Each and every one of us had to learn mostly everything from scratch.
We have to admit that it was not a smooth sailing ride, but the experience is definitely rewarding. Level up, for everybody.
Since this is our first attempt on iOS, it took quite some times to wrap it up. It took around 8 months, where the first two months we took our time to conceptualize and learn the new platform, four months of design, illustration, animation and coding, then the rest is finishing touches.
We were really focusing on the simple interaction, and the story came along a bit later in the process. Some says inspiration came from anywhere, and this time iPhone "slide to unlock" button struck us. We thought, at least we should be able to replicate the event and make a fun game out of it.
We took the concept and sketch it out into something that we call wireframe, just so we got the idea what needs to be around.
Based on the concept, the initial story came up a couple of month before December 2010; which explains the snowy mountain setting in the game. The project was due to launch on the Christmas (apparently we were over optimistic), the initially proposed characters were Santa, Rudolf the deer and the Elfs, with the whole event took place in North Pole.
We quickly built the super ugly prototype using Adobe Flash and port it to the iPod, then gathered everybody up to play around with it.
This was when our illustrator coined a change of direction that we gratefully embraced.
He proposed to moved the set to Himalaya and changed the main character to Yeti, so that the game is not just Christmas-themed. After all – Yeti's rarely get to play a part as a main character!
For the design and illustration we wanted this game to look unique. Most of the game that we encounter during our research were in vector or pixel style. We were imagining a playable oil painted picture. After asking around for a little while, we finally got introduced to Aaron Randy, an amazing artist with the exact style of drawing that we are looking for.
After a brief research on the topic and brainstorming on the story, he quickly sketched 15 Yetis for audition.
As we have mentioned earlier, that this is our first attempt on iOS, the development proccess were somewhat bumpy. We decided not to use Adobe Flash, we took the though route to learn new language. There were many sleepless night for sure.
After three months baking the game, we finally came up with a working final product.
Just before we put it up to the App Store, we decided to take our chances and shoot an email to Chillingo/Clickgamer and show them Snowball Run.
We were surprised for their quick response and even more surprised that they were eager to adopt our first game. We were delighted that such a respectable game publisher took interest in our very first project.
We soon exchanged emails, and apparently what we thought to be final product is not so in their terms.
We then spent another two months ironing out the creases of the project towards perfection.
Working along side with Clickgamer was definitely the right move that we took. Their support was really superb and very, very constructive, it brings out the true potential of the Snowball Run.
The implementation of their Crystal environment is also a good move for leader board solution.
The custom skin design made the whole experience of the game seamless. It might be a small thing, but the devil is in the detail.
Oh, and don't forget to rate it :)