Aero Attack: Game Design Process
With AeroAttack finally being released on the Play Store, and in the final steps of the App Store review, there's thousands of words to share.
We're the visual types, so we think the best way to deliver our message is to share a couple of interesting graphics instead.
Almost overnight, we have founded an indie game development studio, started working on our first game, and now we're here. What a feeling!
When beginning, there were just the two of us. Renato opened up his Unity and started working on the game physics. Check out how we handle physics.
Meanwhile, I created the initial visual identity and game UI concept.
To be completely honest, the first version sucked. It was even a bit disappointing, but Rome wasn't built in a day, right?
Day after day, we were testing, fixing and polishing existing gameplay and features.
On many occasions, new code we have added completely messed up our current design and functionality.
In the end, when comparing it to the restaurant business, something 'breaking' doesn't involve anyone getting burned, or losing their finger... Good enough for me.
Let me begin by showing you a comparison of our first Aero Attack game logo, and the version we are using now:
Although we also liked the first one, it wasn't a good fit for the type of game we were creating. We had to make it stand out more.
With different colors, bordering, and text transformation, our logo now fits better, and stands out in almost every environment.
The first character we created was our space hero - Bob.
When it comes to the concept phase, it really wasn't the brightest in his short life, so let's take a look:
There are many minor defects such as missing part of the last wing, alignment of lines or borders, and general balance issues that can barely be seen, but affect the overall picture.
The most visible detail is colors. Besides them being too similar to our game background, they are not complementary, and Bob is too pale.
He was definitely ready for a makeover (and a sunbath).
Bob 2.0 has improved, higher-contrast color palette that easily fits into our (or any other) background.
He also bought new glasses, went under general service, got some tan and finally changed the ugly decals on his plane.
You can also see how us adding a propeller to the front end of the plane improved the balance:
At this point, our main hero had simple animations. When he was jumping, he would raise a bit, and when falling, he would dive below.
With our latest addition, the propeller, we figured out we can animate Bob further, so we created this:
We have accomplished a better 'feel' for the game when jumping and moving through space.
Rest of the crew
No matter how friendly, or great you are, not everyone will like you, but we hoped you'll like the minions Bob fights against.
In this case, rather than being minimalistic, we figured it would be more interesting if not all minions were the same.
They share similarities, but are all different in shapes, sizes, colours, and functionality. Check out our game character design:
For example, small minions will spawn the most, hover over the screen, and you can easily shoot and bounce them out of your way.
Cow behaves very much like minions, except she's larger by size and moves slower. She's also mooing when shot.
Jeff, the big alien, cannot be bounced (at first). When shot, he will shrink in size. After 7 bullets hit him, he will share the size and the functionality of smaller minions.
We have also added another, not so much an enemy as an obstacle, to change the dynamic a little.
You cannot shoot the satellite. Neither through, because it will eat your bullets, making it harder to hit the enemies behind it.
Point of the satellite is to create a 'fixed' enemy, and the only way is to avoid it. The fact that it's rotating makes it a bit harder.
When it comes to the user interface design, the logical thing to begin with would be the game's icon, as it's the first thing the player sees.
It's not enough just to have a beautiful gameplay - you need a nice menu you can easily navigate.
You also need nice buttons and icons for that menu, so that's what we will share next.
After polishing the buttons, and changing some icons to improve the UX, we have implemented everything into the main menu.
This is the outcome:
Needless to say, we were not satisfied. It wasn't even responsive, and everything was kinda out of space. Pun intended.
Days, even weeks spent on redesigning everything, fitting into place, and this is the result:
Missing the shop, but pretty satisfied with the result. Now it came to designing each additional menu option following the same style.
When the 'gear' button is clicked, settings menu pops up, and it looks like this:
If you clicked on 'targeted ads' tab, it would show this window:
Here, we have added the 'switch' button, which turns 'off' when clicked, and changes its colour to red.
The only thing that's missing is shop and inventory, or at least that's what we thought so.
After more than a couple of tweaks, this is what the menu looks now:
We have introduced a Reward System here, which was more time-consuming for the development than the design, but it was worth it.
After each game, the player will win a number of coins proportional to the score, and every day, players are rewarded with a random number of coins, skins and/or boosts for being active.
Users can see how much coins they have earned on the main menu and the game over screen, and when the Coins Badge is clicked, the window to Shop will open.
Coins can be spent in Shop afterwards in exchange for skins and boosts, or various special packs we offer.
When the player buys skins or boosts, the items can be found in the Inventory.
Unrelated to design, you can see that we have spent a lot of time making sure we are compliant with all the rules and policies.
Now, we're a little bit safer, and we can dedicate our time to creating beautiful games.
Although the featureless version of the game looks cleaner and better (from the designer perspective), we had to provide some additional elements to improve the user experience when gaming.
To show off a little, we're going to show this example with our new skin called Vice.
As you can see, we have added the dynamic Coin Counter at the top, that updates the game score live.
Boosts owned can be activated from the bottom of the screen. The badge shows how many you have available, and those you don't have are again shown in B&W.
We wanted to make Aero Attack little bit more challenging, so we added the Bullet Bar and Bullet Counter.
You only have 8 bullets, and the ammo regeneration is 4 times slower than the shooting frequency you can achieve, so be careful with your guns!
It's important to start building your audience and following right from the start, which is why we have created and filled our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin profiles with content right away.
We have also redesigned and largely improved our official website.
Well, this is also one of the ways we are trying to reach out to the world, meet some new people, game developers, publishers, freelancers, designers, and let them get to know us.
Our first mobile game Aero Attack is finally released on the Play Store, and will be live on the App Store by the end of February, so make sure to follow us for the latest news and releases!