Woodle Tree 2: Worlds – Development post

By September 15, 2016Games

Hello my friends!

in this new post I would like to talk about the development of “Woodle Tree 2: Worlds” (now available on Steam http://store.steampowered.com/app/495350/)

The 8 fundamental steps we used to create this new game!

1) CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT (SKETCHES)

We started developing the story and the characters with storyboards and concept art to give us a general understanding of the mood of the world we were going to build, here some few examples below:

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foto (3)

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We then started to think about the gameplay and inteactions with the environment, always with the help of drawings and sketches:

Thanks to this we were able to see the camera behaviour, the characters movements and all the gameplay basic elements of the final game.

photo

2) PROJECT MANAGEMENT (TRELLO)

We used Trello for this and all our other games.
It’s perfect for organizing the workflow when you have a team of 3 or more people. In our case we were in 6 as you can see in the image below and we divided the work like this:

  • Fabio Ferrara (Game and concept development, Gameplay programming, 3D modeling, Soundtracks and Sound effects)
  • Yan Dawid (Camera programmer and Gameplay)
  • Giulia Airoldi (Concept art)
  • Andrea Masnari (Soundtrack composer)
  • Lorenzo Franciosi (3D Characters modeler)
  • Fabio Masnari (Tester)

Since the project is now over, we would like to share with you the entire Trello card, I think could be useful for the new developers!
https://trello.com/b/wvuQUKLt/woodle-tree-adventures-2-worlds

Trello

3) PROJECT REPOSITORY (SOURCE TREE)

We then created the repository for the game files
Using SourceTree (SourceTree) with Git is the perfect combination for keep all the project on a server, in order to be able to go back to a previous version of your game (in case you brake something :D)
There are a lot of other solutions here like Github and Perforce (used at Ubisoft studios), but I think for smaller projects SourceTree is the best choice.

SourceTree

4) DEVELOPMENT (UNITY3D)

We then are finally be able to start the development!
The main engine we use for game development is Unity 3D and obviously we used it even for this new project.
I personally would suggest you to develop your games with the engine you used the most. This way you’ll be able to extrapolate the maximum from it and develop the best possibile game.

Unity3DDevelopment

For the 3D environments modeling we used Maya and blender, while for texturing we used Photoshop and Illustrator.

WoodleTree2

For the soundtracks we used a keyboard with Cubase with lots of sound libraries (VST virtual instruments) and for the sound effects Audacity and a recorder.

5) TESTING

We asked our family and friends to try out our game (with a total of 10 testers).
We started testing right after the Alpha version of the game was completed, it’s very useful to find out if the concept and mechanics are understandable and clear to everyone.

I would suggest to ask casual players for first and then hardcore gamers, this way you’ll hear both sides.

Testing has to be done even after the game is finished (you’ll never really complete your game since every game is improvable!).

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6) EARLY ACCESS RELEASE

The early access of the game was released on 27 of July 2016 and sold over 3000 copies during the first month.
It gained a lot of attention since it was even featured on the Steam home page.

The reviews were good with 140 reviews in the first month with 93% of positive reviews.

EarlyAccess

WoodleTreeHomePage

7) FULL RELEASE

The Game has been fully release on Steam on the 16th of september with over 1000 players playing at the same time!

Check out the trailer from the full release!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBSgMcnrk0k

in the first week it sold 2000 copies (added to the 3000 from the early access release) for a total of 5000 copies in a month!

The first week went pretty well even considered that we weren’t featured in the most popular releases.
During this week the game had a 25% discount, this improved a lot the selling power of the game.

In the fisrt week has been featured both on the big slider in the home page and among the most popular games.
This improved significantly the impressions and number of clicks on the game page.

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8) MARKETING

A great resource for our marketing strategies is Pixelprospector, used by a lot of developers to find tips about game development and marketing.

In particular here the Big list of videogames postmortems, a great resurce to understand development and marketing of the most famous indie games
and the Big list of game dev marketing were you can find videos and articles, super useful if you’re a beginner marketing manager.

We started writing to all the videogame web journal we knew (even the smallest ones) in order to get attention.
After that we could start sending promo codes to youtubers.

This is the mailing list we used so far, I’m sure it will be useful for a lot of developers, Check it out here.

and the Big Youtubers mailing list.

 

pixelprospector

 

 

 

9) CONCLUSIONS

Use these steps if you just started to develop your first games, since you’ll probably find your own way to manage the development and marketing of your game.
I decided to write this post mortem since if I had all these suggestions the first time I developed a game, I would have spared a lot of time!

Steam is surely a great platform where to publish your game, but I would suggest to publish yours on all the platforms you can (expecially PS4 and Xbox One).

Thanks for the attention! :)

 

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