Monday, March 1, 2010

Smogout - Flash Game Post Mortem

A few weeks back The Basement released Smogout for

It is hard to make an educational environmental game sexy... With the help of Squize we took a crack at it last year for Zoneout with mixed results.

The results of our second attempt is not much different thus far. The kids on Kongregate ripped us a new one w/ insightful comments including my favorite: "fking retarted". Newsground reviews seemed high but ratings were mediocre. Similar to Zoneout, it seems we get a few quick bursts of hits from the main portals and then longer lasting tail of hits from sites I have never heard of spread across the globe (Thank you Flash Game Distribution!).

The client asked for a game that was casual, simple, included bad air particles and 8 clean air tips. We took some inspiration from Filler with the idea of instead of avoiding the particles we want to capture them and remove them from the screen.

Our scope only allowed for 6 levels, yet we wanted replay value to be high. Therefore, we made a few of the levels very difficult. This topic seemed to be the most polarizing during testing. Either people loved it, were addicted to it OR they hated it and didn't want to play again because level ? pissed them off. We debated picking a middle ground, but I was afraid it would make those addicted to it, feel less challenged and inclined to replay AND it would be too easy so those who were challenged before could breeze through it and not have a reason to come back.

After some serious debate (mostly internal), we tweaked the levels somewhat, but not drastically. We knew we had found a niche of people who truly enjoyed the game and we did not want to ruin it for the sake of trying to please everyone. Right or wrong, that is the path we chose.

As with the previous game, I think one of the strongest areas the Basement has to offer is its design team. Great work by Brian, Amy, and Dan. Even though Dan would not put in the forest fire I requested that would wipe out the entire city... I still love the illustrations he did for the main menu.

The game came a long way from beta to completion... we had a great amount of excellent feedback from a variety of sources: Michael James Williams, Ryan Creighton, Richard Davey, Joseph Cross, and Eric Grossnickle... to name a few. We didn't listen to all of it... maybe I should have ;)... but regardless I greatly appreciate your help. I also appreciated "Deebs" spending countless hours ensuring his name was on top of the leaderboards in both the beta and the final. However, it seems someone found a glitch in the game because there is now a ridiculous score on there... trying to figure out how that was possible.

Anyways, the game is out there. It is in the wild. Check it out here.


MichaelJW said...

Hey, awesome to see this released!

I think your tweaks really nailed it. I didn't get stuck on level two (er, I mean, two THOUSAND) this time, and I saw a lot more of the strategy.

Also, love how you made the air get cleaner as you get rid of more of the particles! Great touch :)

Ickydime said...

Thanks Michael. You added a great deal of help to get it to where it is today. I think you wrote an entire book of feedback ;) which I appreciated greatly.

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Ursula Corner, I play fast said...

Congratulations on the making of this game.
I felt the dificulty to be a little off, it got hard a little too early, other than that, fun game.

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Wink said...

Appreciations, Michael! Your invaluable contributions have played a significant role in bringing it to its current state. Your extensive feedback, akin to a comprehensive book, has been immensely appreciated and has greatly contributed to the project's progress. Thank you for your thoughtful and thorough input.

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