“Donut Blast was the 2nd project that I worked on with Mike, and once again, I was thrilled with the results. The artwork turned out great, and Mike was very easy to communicate with during the entire project. He even went above what was required to provide valuable feedback about the actual gameplay in Donut Blast, which led to a more fun game. I definetly plan on working with him on future projects.” -Naveen, PixelCUBE Studios
Cute content and short dev cycle.
Easily the most fun I’ve had making art for a game.
After doing the art for Ballooned! along with regular updates since its launch last summer, I was excited to hear from @naveen_pcs that he had a couple prototypes ready to go, and he wanted me to do all the art for them.
“I basically just need three donuts and a background…”
Naveen said the project was really simple, mentioning that he’s been inspired by One Game a Month — particularly @retrodreamer‘s first three months, successfully knocking out several small-scale games in a very short time period. It really is amazing what that kind of time crunch can do for your dev cycle. It forces a few important things on you:
- laser focus
- an attainable feature set
- core gameplay that is both simple and fun
These are all things that can make game dev even more enjoyable.
This is the first thing I saw when Naveen (PixelCUBE Studios) sent me the art request for Donut Blast.
The functionality of the game was pretty much complete; it was just waiting for some art. I had a hard time seeing how fun the game would be, based solely on this video. But I hadn’t played it yet…
Naveen asked for three different types of donuts; one regular, one special and one bad. Getting the look for the first one took a few small iterations, but came together very quickly.
I wanted to keep the short dev cycle in mind, so for the special donut I kept the same “base”; I recoloured it a bit to make it lighter, and rotated it some so that it wouldn’t look like a copy, but it’s essentially the same. It’s almost completely covered by the icing, so you’d never know. This is another one of those things that you might not do if you weren’t trying to go as fast as you can, but you quickly learn which kinds of things matter, and where you can take some shortcuts.
The only change we made from the first version of the pink donut was to add a different mouth.
The bad donut is the only one I actually did any kind of pencil sketching for, ahead of time. I wanted to give him some Oscar-the-Grouch-style eyebrows and some kind of mouldy grossness on him without it looking *actually* gross.
The logo was quite fun, with several iterations based on feedback from many kind friends on Twitter. It definitely came out a lot better in the end, so thanks for all your help, everyone!
The background went through a few iterations. The original request was to have a shot of a donut shop, with a counter and display case, etc. I proposed the top-down view to more align with the view of the donuts themselves, as though the donuts might actually be sliding across a table. I didn’t want the background to be distracting, but also wanted it to be very obvious that it was a tabletop. We added and removed a few common items before settling on the background as it is in game:
During this project, I made a template in Illustrator for making backgrounds for Universal games. It accommodates the goal of making a single background image for the iPhone 4, 5 and iPad. Download it here.
Making games is fun (…remember?)
The game ended up needing a bit more than 4 graphics (3 donuts and a background), but the final count was just 29 PNGs for everything in the whole game. This barely takes a bite out of the number of PNGs required to just do UI for most games.
The bright, fun content of the game definitely made it a fun game to make, but it was also very exciting to make a game so darn *quickly*. All the art was done in less than a week, with Naveen integrating everything I made almost instantly. We spent some more time after that, tweaking the scoring mechanism and particles — and I’m sure Naveen spent more time than I know, tweaking many other things! Be sure to give Donut Blast a try (App Store link), it’s free, and the whole “fastest fingers” thing is super fun.
Making a game this quickly was so… refreshing.
You should try it. This #1GAM thing is such a great experiment for so many reasons, and I’m so glad to be able to participate in it.