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:

12699183_10208533164908240_1205083462_o

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foto (3)

mostrino_ali (1)

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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!).

Screenshot10

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.

woodlehomepage

woodlescreen

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! :)

 

MailWoodle3