Monday, 20 December 2010

The making of Crimbo - Part 1: What went right

Now that Crimbo has been out for a little while, it's a good time to look back over Crimbo's development.

The idea for doing a Christmas themed popped up in October. We had taken a small break from developing Gloop Troops 2, when Andy came up with the idea of doing a Spectrum game for Christmas! We loved the idea of a Christmas game but we had to act fast! With only two months to put the game together, we had to take a very critical look at what was needed.

We decided not to deviate too far from the Gloop Troops formula and would keep the game a single screen platformer. We we also wanted to use this opportunity to take the feedback from Gloop Troops and apply it to Crimbo where possible. We had previously toyed with the idea of releasing a Gloop Troops 1.5, but this had it's own problems ( to be discussed in a future post! ).

We narrowed down the scope of the game quickly. We kept with the idea of collecting pickups to clear a level, as it is a popular theme in Spectrum games, and is easy to communicate to the player. But with Crimbo we would remove the ability to defeat enemies. This would easily make the game alot tougher! We also knew we wouldn't be able to create many polished levels within the time limit, so instead we opted to only a handful of very tough levels. We took inspiration mostly from Manic Miner for Crimbo:

Like Manic Miner the game should be short and sweet. Also like Manic Miner we wanted to give each room a name to help give it some character. Before settling on having the player control Santa, we had toyed with the idea of the player controlling an Elf gone rogue! The working title for the game was "Elfish little b@stard" until quite late in development.

Andy had previously created all the levels for Gloop Troops, so was in the best position to create most of the levels for the game. We were originally going to have all of us chip in a few levels but this didn't end up occurring ( more on this in a later post ). Andy put a lot of time and effort on both the level design and look of Crimbo! With the results being both excellent and extremely well received!

Tech wise we didn't want to over commit on new features. With only two months to develop ther game, there woiuld be a high risk of trying to cram in a feature which would end up broken. major additions to the game's code was the snow effect used on the frontend, the new intro sequence and integrating the Arkos music player into the code base.

AJH has been working with us on Gloop Troops 2's design but this was his first opportunity to compose some music for the Spectrum! He did an amazing job with the short amount of time available, and really hit the ground running!

Next time we'll cover what didn't go to plan with Crimbo!

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