Since we wanted someone skilled to work on Star Swapper’s look we reached out to Artists Entertainment for help. It was a good decision.
After discussing initial conditions we began working out the details of our game’s look. Our whole team wanted the game to be as clear as possible, so we were aiming at a minimalistic look. The trick was making it look friendly and unusual at the same time. As Star Swapper is targeted to mid-core and casual gamers, we did not want the game to look too much cyber-sci-fi-like.
The first concept of the gameplay screen was promising.
It was something we could begin with and iterate along the way.
Besides the main gameplay screen we had to design what we call the Space Map. The Space Map is the place where you can choose your next level or replay previous levels in order to get a better score. You can also track your progress and watch how many levels you still need to max out in order to complete a chapter and unlock an achievement.
After a few iterations we came up with an interactive and responsive screen where you could literally ‘touch’ each level. The Chapter Map looked like this:
Once we had the foundations of the look of our game we begun working on animations, timing and responsiveness. We had quickly learned many details we had to improve to make the game more user-friendly.
We made the Stars move faster & add ‘drag’ mechanic. Then made the UI elements more responsive. We worked hard on the Space Map to make moving around it as smooth as possible. We had taken out some obsolete animations and toned down the rest. Star Swapper became a really pleasant game to enjoy. The last thing missing was the soundtrack.
I had been working with Grzegorz Włodarski on my previous HOPA projects, so I knew he could handle games larger than Star Swapper. I had no idea how the game supposed to sound so it was difficult for me to directly tell him what the project needed. Fortunately, Grzegorz is an experienced composer and sound designer, so he managed to catch the vibe of the game pretty fast and created cool space-like sounds. The project was very tight on budget, and we did not have the resources to create a space opera kind of soundtrack. We had to think of something.
We went with synths, a pleasant beat and a progressive kind of track. The challenge always lays in creating something that can accompany the game and is enjoyable even after hours of gameplay.
Finally, we were ready for the final part of the development which are tests and polish.
See you in the next blog post.