Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
“David has been dreaming up cute and fantastical creatures for most of his life,” Ryu explains, “so when we
started diving into Hatch, it felt like we were finally letting some of those monsters out of his head. He star-
ted by sketching a bunch of different ideas for monsters, and probably came up with enough distinct creature
designs and concepts to fill a Pokemon game. We whittled those down to a few promising ones, then filtered
them some more until we had the start of our current design. It's only gotten cuter since.”
Designing the pet also involved choosing between two approaches for animating it: “[A] more hand-drawn
look for the creature,” says Ryu, “or a modular design that would be more customizable, kind of like South
Park characters or a puppet.” If they chose the latter option, it would be easier to create many different kinds of
creatures. “But being literally a collection of parts, none of them ended up looking nearly as adorable as David's
hand-animated tests.” In the end, the team chose a middle ground, “going with the hand-animated style and one
overall look for the creature,” explains Ryu, “but with each frame done as a series of layers instead of just a
flat image. That way, we can change the color and spots of your Fugu to make it unique.” Doing this reflected
a key design goal for the game: “It was important to make sure everyone's pet would be really cute, but just as
important, they would be unique in some way to each user.”
Prototype Sketch for Player Backpack UI
This sketch shows Impending's early thoughts on the user interface for the player's backpack, where pet items
are stored. (See Figure A-2 . ) They also demonstrate the thought process needed to develop an intuitive, user-
friendly UI that works well with the game's specific platform (iOS, in this case):
“We went through a lot of designs for item management in the game,” says Ryu, “and, in general, it pro-
gressively became more and more focused on direct manipulation. I think it started as floating icons for food
items running along the bottom of the screen to drag out, but as we removed abstract menu elements, it moved
into the notebook as an inventory list. There was a disconnect, though, between managing items on a list and
the items themselves, so we gravitated to the visual bag you drag items out of. People know how that works,
so it's pretty self explanatory. Three-year-olds can figure it out now.” This reflects Ryu's design goal to remove
abstraction from the user interface, as covered in Chapter 13.
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