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Micro Blog Ep. 1 - What happened with our first release?

Updated: Nov 30, 2022





In this micro blog I want to talk about a small list of things related to our first title: Monster Factory.

  • How the idea formed

  • The timeline

  • Release expectations vs time invested

  • Postmortem

  • Next steps

How the idea formed

I got the idea for the game from a few different sources. The first being an animated series called Monster VS Aliens. In the movie Seth Rogan voices a character called Bob, a mutated jello product that became sentient. His character had one eye ball that could freely move around its body. I didn't want to directly rip off the movie so I thought of Angler fish light to hang in front of its face. Now anyone who has played ARK will know these fish, granted they became majorly irrelevant in later expansions. This is a fish that uses phosphorescence in extremely dark places under water to hunt its pray. The blobs in our game have a light source on them but for simplicity they never got a light put on them in game. Now the speed blob was inspired by Turbo, another animated movie that had a snail with extreme speed. I've always thought slugs were a better character, which became the basis for the speed abilities movement. Lastly the jump ability has a 3D angle to it, since it can jump and has a floaty personality to it.


The pickups in the game are jokingly donuts, they originally were rings inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog, which aside from Pokemon on the Gameboy was one of my top played games in my childhood. Donuts came in as a building asset but quickly became a collectable object, and a bakers dozen seemed fitting. Sadly after I had created the concept and pushed forward on production, someone told me of a game called "Katamari Damacy", so we had to make sure our game was different.


The timeline

We gave ourselves a deadline of two weeks; ambitious to say the least, we finished in five and even then it wasn't complete as far as I was concerned. The pressure of finishing in two weeks was overwhelming and I worked 14 hours some nights, only to wake up the following day and do it again. If I didn't suffer from mental health I would work even longer, but sleep is important to me and I won't burn myself out at my own company. Game development is something I enjoy, and is my passion. I COULD work more hours, but balancing a relationship, and two cats, requires time spent with them. If I can find a way to get more hours in a day I'll let you know.



Release expectations vs Time invested

Five week of development in my mind was worth 2$ on a platform. Players did not seem to agree, however itch isn't necessarily where gamers go to purchase titles. I think I clocked in 125 hours on this version alone. Much of the idea had been previously fleshed out, and for a game with solely collision mechanics, it was easy to put in place.


Postmortem

The biggest take away from this game was expectations. We had hopes the game would be well received, and the feedback mostly came from being present during game play. Most others left no feedback whatsoever, and that affected our ability to gauge the public's reaction. I think more emphasis needed to be placed on feedback during the process itself instead of retroactively changing parts of the game after its release.


Balancing however was a harder task. Placing 80+ assets in a way that isn't repetitive and was still enjoyable was a challenge. Luckily the music was just right, and added a bubbly feel. Missing though was any real inclination to climb. One of the abilities is to jump onto things. A poor mechanic, maybe, but the character felt better without 3D movement.


The default blob rolls, and it felt better having just a roll, coupled with the music and the angle of attack it seemed right.


Speed blob moved like lightning, and if you played it right you could cover the entire map three times in the time limit. Strategy wise playing as speed was the smartest bet.


Tank blob was just too heavy to jump, his entire being was to play in traffic, so why would he be able to jump in the first place.


While jump's sole purpose is to climb and navigate above the map, adding in 3D movement was a pain, as there as so many methods to accomplish that.





Eventually it was decided to re-release the game on a more robust platform, with the game fully fleshed out. Three levels as originally intended, updated animations and mechanics, more collectables, and more areas to explore. Thoroughly play test with a set number of hours of feedback, and some sort of proper feedback mechanism like sending an email and becoming part of a Patreon tier for free. Local call outs for new members in our weekly micro blogs. Something to think about.


As a first release we never expected it to be AAA, we just wanted something on the internet we could point to when people ask "what have you made." Our next version of the game will just be better.


As mentioned above, we are remaking Monster Factory for a proper release some time after Christmas. Potentially sooner, but there's no need to rush it before it's finished. Once we have a better idea of a release date then we will start marketing harder. Future micro blogs will likely be about the updated version.


Here's a quick peak at what our Modeler is up to.

On that same note I wanted to give a shout out to our Modeler Ian, from Incite Games, who has been with the company since shortly after its inception. With his unique 2D art style, and amazing 3D models/animations, Ian has been a huge part of the process and his talent is well appreciated. We look forward to seeing what else he brings to the company.


Post Script

If you have any issues, questions, or comments about this post please let me know, you can reach me at mitchell@slothfulmedia.com and I'd be happy to engage in a conversation with you about any of the above. Your time is appreciated! You can find the game here

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nice post, good luck

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