Out In the wilderness!

*biggest sigh of relief*

31st of August marks the day launch of my first game under Hybrid Humans studio! What a frakkin awesome feeling, and terrifying at the same time. I’ve worked on the game for quite a while, about 15 months. ACHIEVEMENT 02 UNLOCKED!

The game is Hop Hop Away, read more about it here. It’s fully ready to be experienced right now on your favorite mobile app store. Play on iOS and Android. And watch our launch trailer

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In this game I wanted to shed some light on the animals abuse that happens in some entertainment venues like circuses. It’s a light-hearted game though, with challenging puzzles. It progressively gets harder, some people may be tricked because of the cutesy look of the game. I’ve heard that a few times. My team and I have worked our butts off to create an interesting game experience in Hop Hop Away. I hope it translates well in the public’s reception.

We’ve added some localization options in the game, one of which being Arabic, but in Emirati dialect. I thought it’s best to go that route, to personalize it. It’s rare to find games that speak your tongue, and not some generic Arabic words thrown into it so it “appeals” to a broader audience. Being an Emirati I felt the big gap in this, and I don’t care for games that try the localization option but it being so generic. English gets a different treatment in the localization, and I believe Arabic should as well. If we did get enough attention from a certain market that required to have their own Arabic dialect in the game, we’d be happy to implement it. It feels like it’s a tiny part of you reflected in that game, at least it felt that way for me.

And some updates on another front, we’ve got a few events coming up in the few months. We’ll be at GAMES15 in Dubai (starts 10th of Sept.) and in IGN con in Abu Dhabi (starts sometime in October). Check out our social media page (twitter/Instagram @HybridHumans) for more updates.

Also, in the words of Hop Hop Away, I bunny you! lol AND go get the game now and tell me how awesome or shitty you think it is.

Cheers,
Fakhra

Chaos Theory: Butterfly Effect

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That is the title for the latest game I worked on for a 72hrs game jam event, titled Game Zanga. I collaborated with Nayef to make this one, and this is a little dev diary post about the game.

The theme of the jam was announced last Thursday, 12:00am, which was “CHAOS”. I thought of some “typical” chaos themed games, but I wanted to go with something abstract and unusual with a one/two action based game. Easy to handle and can produce something with decent gameplay for the time given. So, one of the ideas was to make a game about Chaos Theory, and part of that is the Butterfly Effect. In my head, I pictured a possible game out of that. So, I read up more on the subject and slept on it. I met up with my teammate on the next day, and we started our brainstorming session, we had some pretty cool game concepts and we eventually decided for the time constraints to go with the butterfly effect game.

The game was done in Construct2, I’ve taken a liking to this engine. It’s a breeze to develop game prototypes on it. I had a playable prototype of the game on Friday evening and then I started polishing up the game and on Saturday art was integrated into the game, and I submitted the game [give it a go here] on Saturday, the 16th before 12:00am. because I thought.. it was a 48hrs game jam. I was mistaken. But it was all good, the game was like a beta release, lol. I got some good feedback. With the extra time, we had, I took in the feedback of the players, which was basically it was fun and simple. So, I thought of ways to add to the gameplay, and the thought of “What comes before a butterfly?” came to mind, and this video, I watched a while back, of a cocoon transformation was embedded in my head. It’s amazing and kind of disturbing. So based on that, a new level was designed into the game, that comes before the original butterfly level. I had a few hours only before the deadline on Sunday to get the new level in, and to test if it was actually fun.

The game plays, with helping the cocoon transform by pressing the arrow keys appearing on the screen, timed actions. And then it proceeds to the butterfly level, where the player need to help the butterfly flap its wings, by pressing Space key, and this level is timed for 5 seconds. So pressing the key as fast as you can within the time set, and there’s a gauge that measures how many clicks are made, and depending on that, players get different endings “effects” to the butterfly flapping its wings. There are four different consequences. I won’t spoil them.

Oh and the Arabic integration is, something else. I didn’t know how to properly add “formal” Arabic, it was hard enough to get the Arabic description of the game out. So instead of butchering the language, I went with my Emirati Arabic instead, so you’re in for a treat. lol

Play the game here. Leave us your feedback =D

 

The art was done by Nayef. It was all done on paper, scanned and digitally cleaned up for the game.

The spoken SFX were voiced by yours truly. Lol I thought it’ll add more character to the game, plus it was quicker to record it myself than find the right recording online.

The other SFX were found on SoundBible.com, and the cocoon art was found on Clker.com.

 

I love challenges, and this was a really fun one. It was a weekend of game devving, and very little of anything else. Thanks a lot to everyone to who has given me their feedback, with the early release of the game. It has helped make the game better, I think.

 

Cheers,
Fakhra

Dev Diaries: KaramelLand

Heya,

Back in May this year, I entered my UDK game, KaramelLand in IndieCade, it’s an International Festival of Independent Game. And it went through *Yay* and the finalist will be contacted by August 30th, so bsmellah =D

In this post I wanna talk more about the design iterations the map went through, so I’ve made the following collage to showcase just that.

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( 1 ) [first paper prototype, far left] I initially designed a single platform for Death Match map, I imagined it to be on a mountain top, with the rivers in blue swirls and black squiggly line as rock walls part, all to work as separators between the pods where players spawn. The pods were 2-story and they had bridges to connected them all on the roofs. The colored dots represent health, and ammo packs and spawn points. The mountain top would have 3 levels in height difference. The pods in the lowest level of the mountain top, and the orange platform is central and on the highest level. An exposed vantage point. I pictured the aesthetics to be foggy, and nature focused.

[second paper prototype, second to the left] I’ve redesigned the map to be a Team Death Match map, I thought It was more suitable for the original idea, and I also wanted to add jumps and gravity mechanics. I was messing around with the physics in UDK with my professor and we had jumps. I loved the feeling of the jumps so I integrated them in the game. Two mountain tops connected via underground tunnels. And a central exposed platform, that was placed higher than the mountain ground level. Each island has 3 pods for each team, 2 holes for jumps and gravity pull holes. Gravitating holes *I still can’t think of a better name lol, any suggestions?* to pull the players down to the underground tunnels/room. Jump holes to propel the players to the central platforms, and that was the only way to get to it. Mid-air kills were fun when testing this. For this one, I pictured it in a remote planet, deserted by some civilization, that can be seen in the underground tunnels, and the player pods are of the robotic aliens that landed on that planet. Very red/orange for the world with blue and grey for the objects. The underground tunnels were to be observatory tunnels, you can see the outside world.

( 2 ) I was happy with the paper prototype, so I built it in the game engine. After a few testing rounds, I realized I’ve built a huge map in comparison to the UDK default robots characters.

( 3 ) I’ve cut down a lot of excess fat from the map, shrunk it down. At this point, I was inspired to create a totally different world theme from the I originally planned and researched for. It started with when I dragged the underground room box up in the sky to clean up, and I tested the map for something, then I noticed the box in the sky floating, I thought Jack-in-the-Box! I can do a bizarre toys/circus/candy world, and it was like a flood gate opened with ideas. I was pretty excited to create such a world. So I did my research, created the 3D models of the world in Maya.

( 4 ) The awesome process of polishing started, notice the fine lines of pink, those are the physics areas. I experimented with so many textures, for some objects I had a clear idea of what I wanted but for the ground texture, that was tricky. At some point, the game was radioactive, everything was glowing and dizzying lol. I wanted the players to feel slightly disoriented so I integrated optical illusions in the textures and had them move every so slightly. And in the Jack-in-the-Box, the creep factor were the clowns. I used some of these, I wish I know who took them so I can credit them properly. Kudos to whoever did, and to the models. Along with the images, I added sounds the portrays, whisper-y voices and shouts.

( 5 ) Final iteration of the map. I toned down the radioactive-ness by reducing the glow in the world. And ta-da! That’s it.

Download the game here. And for instructions on who to play it on UDK player follow the instructions at the end of this post.

 

Thanks for reading. =D

Cheers,
F