Runick – From Idea to Prototype

Well met,
as a recent newcomer I think an introduction is necessary. So here we go, my name is Toni and I joined forces with Black Trumpet Games to bring you a new puzzle game called Runick.

Runick - LogoRunick is a 3D isometric simple, yet challenging puzzle game. The idea is to use the available shapes to adequately mark all the tiles on a given board. The shapes the user interacts with adhere to certain geometric principles and are as follows:

cuboids, which can be flipped over and mark all the tiles they cover

spheres, which can be rolled in a certain direction and mark all the tiles they roll over

Spherepyramids, which can teleport over tiles and mark the tiles they cover, since we all know pyramids can teleport in real life too ☺ (the capsule is used as a placeholder)

Pyramid

The player has to mark all the tiles appropriately to complete the level. Sounds quite simple right? It certainly can be, but also doesn’t have to be!

If you want to try out the game and experience it first-hand, before we go in a more detailed overview of the design, check it out on this link:
https://kiphla.gamejolt.io/runick

I challenge you to complete all the levels in the demo. Who doesn’t love a challenge, now you have to give it a try.

As you have noticed each shape can have a different rune (color) which makes things interesting and in the later levels more difficult. Shapes can change the rune (color) of an already solved tile turning it into an unsolved tile, this forces the player to think about each move ahead.

The Idea

So why this idea and how did I come up with it.

I am already a full-time game developer in Exordium Games and I love to make games so much that I also wanted to make even more games. That means I would have to make a game in my limited free time.

I built my idea on two constraints. First, the game must be simple, with easy to understand rules. And secondly, it should use geometric shapes and colors to communicate the rules to the player.

Games with geometric shapes and colors, as indicators of how the game should be played, always fascinated me. Those two constraints were used as the basics of the initial idea.

On top of all that I wanted the player to have the luxury to play the game whenever and wherever, that meant no time constraints and the ability to take a break anytime and pick it back up without penalties.

All of this resulted in these limitations:

– a small scope
– simple but interesting and challenging
– uses geometric shapes and colors
– can be played anytime, anywhere without pressure

The more constraints I had, the more my imagination flourished (weird, right?). At the beginning, I got the idea of a cuboid flipping on a board trying to mark all the tiles on it. This resulted in me making a prototype and testing it out. Then came the idea of 2 cuboids with different colors and markable tiles. The ideas just kept on coming and it seemed like the game was designing itself. Once I had a couple of levels I immediately uploaded it to my smartphone and showcased it around for feedback. And that’s how Runick was born!

I hope you liked the introduction of our new game, the next blog entry will cover level design, and boy do I love to talk about the level design of Runick. So be sure to follow us for more updates.

Toni
(@kiphla)

Team Black Trumpet Games visits SGC 2017

Our team made it!

Wow! Where to start? We have so many cool stuff to report! Maja, Hrvoje, Karlo, Filip and yours truly, that is our whole team, made it in one piece. The goal, Slovenian Game Conference 2017 in Ljubljana. Read all about it here!

First of all, SGC is a constantly growing, friendly and intimate game development conference run by Črtomir Drofenik and his passionate team, every year in Ljubljana, Slovenia. SGC team were kind enough to let us in on their info expo based on a gameplay video for the 2D prototype of Getaway Garden and some pretty bold promises that we will show much cooler version when the day of the conference comes… how cool is that?! It means a lot for young teams like us. Once there, we were greeted by the quick responding team, who made sure we got everything we need to set up our little “booth”, and the show could start. So before we go into nitty gritty we must really recommend SGC to all game dev teams, big or small, that can get to Ljubljana. You will not be disappointed.

In between our shifts with the visitors playing Getaway Garden we also got the chance to see some cool talks by great speakers with a wide gamut of themes. Wise words are always worthwhile.

Here is a video report through the lens of Karlo Vuković our music composer on Getaway Garden:

The sprint

Phew! And what a sprint it was! We had a little bit over two weeks of our free post-daily-job hours to try and assemble a meaningful and presentable build of Getaway Garden. At the start of the sprint, all we had was Filip’s gameplay mechanics working in Unity3d and the custom built level editor. On the art asset side, we had a decent set of assets to represent the “Water World”, as we call it, to show the direction we were taking with art. We also gave our best when it came to producing basic promo materials, we had T-shirts printed for the team, some basic generic business cards with Black Trumpet Games website and email addresses.

All in all, we had decent foundations that gave us the confidence to take up the challenge, and we made it… sort of, read on.

The result

We managed to have a working demo of the game. Demo needed no menu, so there was none. The audio was not implemented whatsoever. That is why our gameplay video has Karlo’s custom music for the “Water world” simply playing over it.

We did our best to implement Blue’s test animations, with different levels of success. Setting up character animations in Unity, and designing final animations is something we will definitely have to reiterate.

Filip chose nine puzzles that represented the game mechanics well, but we had only about five or six treated with art assets properly.

That being said, we are super happy with the result. We successfully presented the core mechanics. The visitors seem to have understood them pretty well, pretty fast. We made our presence as a team visible and got the chance to get great and useful feedback.

 

The feedback

The feedback from the experienced colleagues is probably the most valuable takeaway from events like SGC. Here, you get to show your game to other professionals.

As we quickly prepared our demo, we were fully aware that there will be plenty to comment on once we show it and that is perfectly ok. We just did not solve some things in time for the conference. The team allocated more time to some important issues, therefore giving less time for some details.

Nitty, gritty

Almost all visitors noticed that the angle of the camera was not the most helpful one. For instance, cubes obscured some important features of the puzzles. We got great suggestions how to solve this cardinal problem but the consensus was that the view needs changing to a more top-down one.

Another thing most visitors commented was that although our camera view angle was cool looking it helped little or nothing to get the overview of the level. Most suggestions went in the direction of adding a feature that would one way or another allow the player to get an overview of the puzzle, probably binding a set of controls (or the stick on the gamepad) for a free camera look or at least a top-down overview of the whole puzzle area.

A couple of visitors were concerned that present core game mechanics could get old pretty fast. They suggested adding some twists in core mechanics or adding new mechanics to the game.

Generally, visitors received the art style very good. We will have to address animations and cube design much more seriously. We used animation and modeling test results as placeholders but they were sticking out enough to get noticed.

All in all, we are really happy that the feedback we gathered is in fact pretty uniform. Even better it consists mostly of the things we were conscious about even before we arrived. This gives a great boost to continue even harder, as it confirms that the direction we are taking is clear.

Future plans

Next, comes Reboot Infogamer expo in our hometown Zagreb. An enormous gaming expo event. We are hoping that the Reboot team will continue their great tradition and support small indie teams. They did it last year by making expo spots for them VERY accessible.

We will try to bring Getaway Garden demo on another level, and do more to promote it.

Be sure to check us in the meantime, as there will surely be some updates.

Until then,

Cheers, and don’t forget to comment!

Nikola