Mommy's Best Games, Inc. is an independent game developer founded in 2007. Our seventh game, currently in development, is Pig Eat Ball on which we started working in 2013. This is behind the scenes thoughts about game development and marketing.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Mommy's Best Year in Review: 2016

Another year older, and what did we learn? Or better yet--what we did we make?


Pig Eat Ball work continues. In January the work was focused on new gameplay objects and obstacles for world 5, the "Astro Farm". We worked on a sneaky gopher that can pop up and steal your balls, as well as a 'ghost dimension' that you can warp around in, to escape trouble.


Matthew (programmer) continues work on the world 5 objects such as a balloon to pop and a 'suction modifier'. I work on the "game feel" for the getting-stuck-barfing mechanics. These are super important, so I spend most of the month overhauling them.

Also our mobile, horse-racing game Finger Derpy was nominated *twice* for IMGA awards, so that's pretty amazing!


In Pig Eat Ball, I continue to improve the menus and the 'intro' for the levels. This now shows a special, super-low-res animation for what the goal of the level is about.

I also worked on the pillbugs in the game so you can knock them in arbitrary directions (not just up/down/left/right) so it'll be more fun to bump into them.

John Meister from Super Soul travels in my stead to GDC and helps show off Pig Eat Ball and represents Finger Derpy!
Here's the video of John playing with a group from IGN.


For the first half of the month I continued to work on making the pillbugs fun to play around with. During the second half, I tackled the world 1 boss the "Accordion Centipede"! He took a while to make, but the extra time paid off as he's amazing!


Continued new work on the 'game feel' for getting stuck. Still working on making this great! I added new face animations to the main character to make her more expressive during this gameplay.


Added improved stretching and squishing effects to the main character when being stuck or bumping into things.
Added a 'Pac-Man' homage level to world 1 that I'm very excited about to have people play!
Traveled to E3 to show the game to various publishers and get feedback.

I think 'world 1' is finally finished!


Matthew started work on the world 2 boss. He's giant and complicated so this took a while! I worked on boring things like improving the in-game talking menus between characters. I also fixed a lot of bugs regarding switching between worlds and levels.


World 2 boss "Octo Tako" is finally finished and he's a doozy! Three stages of attacks with special animation for his various changes. He's a blast to play!
I worked on interlude story scenes. I also added more gameplay fixes the basic levels in world 2.


Work on world 2 continues. There's a new 'floor tile flipping' puzzle element to some levels we've introduced. Also the pillbugs can sit on bleachers and chairs and the player can of course knock them off! I added some mini-games to world 2 and special NPCs.


I added new 'inter-level' transitions to the game to improve the player's understanding of where in the game they physically were and where they are going.
Finished up world 2!
Also showed the game at the first ever "LexPlay" gaming convention down in Lexington Kentucky. It was a lot of fun!


Work starts on world 3. There's a brand new boss to be created for this world, so it takes several weeks to make him.
Also worked hard on the Pig Eat Ball announcement trailer! That was tough, but it came out great. Check it out!


We released a brand new, shoot-em up game! Yeah, it's a bit crazy to make another game while you're in the middle of a bigger game, but it's also very cathartic.
Emoji Scream is a shooter, but it's only controlled by screaming. Or talking, or laughing, or clapping, or any sound you make! You can find it now on mobile iOS and Android and PC.
Also please vote for it here on Steam Greenlight:

2017 Here We Come

My plan is to actually release Pig Eat Ball in 2017. Things are looking good and we are currently working to finish up world 4. But there are 2 more worlds to polish! These two other worlds have the main gameplay and levels finished, but still need work.
So stay tuned, keep playing our games, and thanks for the support!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Emoji Scream, first ever "scream-em up"

Our newest game is called "Emoji Scream" and it's a side-scrolling shooting game in which you control a screaming emoji. The twist is, when you scream in real life, you make the in-game emoji do the screaming. The looks like "sound waves" which fire to the right, destroying in-coming emoji-fied enemies.

While there are some programs with voice activation, this is the first game I know of which is *exclusively* and entirely controlled through sound. Even the main menu system can be controlled by sound, if you hold a loud note, it activates the core buttons to play the game. And there is no other way in which to control the gameplay, other than through sound.


The game itself controls like this. Your smiley emoji player moves up and down the screen automatically as enemies move towards you. If you scream, laugh, talk, sing, clap, or otherwise make some loud sounds, it causes the emoji to scream in the game. But it also makes your emoji stop moving up and down. In this manner you can shoot, but also control your player's movements.You'll need to use this "hold" move to get past environmental objects that can't be destroyed, but will kill you if you crash into them.


The scoring system actually rewards "thoughtful screaming". As long as you are not making sound above the volume threshold, your player builds up to 3 times, a score multiplier of sorts. On the left side of the player, three colored outlines will appear. If you then scream to shoot, the next bullet will have the 1+, 2+, 3+ score addition. If you hit an enemy with this special shot, you'll then get 1, 2, or 3 extra coins that bounce out of the enemy. Killing enemies, but also grabbing coins is how you increase your score. Holding back and strategically shooting is the key to a high score in Emoji Scream.

Boss Fights

Each level culminates in a giant boss fight called a "scream duel". Here, the player can no longer move, but based on when they decide to scream, they will have a bigger or smaller mega-shot to use against the huge boss. And some bosses require you to stop/start screaming again, depending on their defenses.

Game Structure

Emoji Scream has three unlockable difficulty settings, 5 distinct levels, detailed, in-game statistics about your playthrough, and an animated ending. After each level it records your progress and let' you pick up from that level to continue.

Download to Play

Pick it up today for free on mobile!
Google Play:
iTunes Apple store:

Or for a small price on PC or Mac:

Happy Screaming!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pig Eat Ball announcement trailer!

Oh wow, I started working on Pig Eat Ball back in January 2013... it's 3.5 years later and I *finally* feel ready to "reveal" it. Sure I've been talking about it here and there.. I can't imagine keeping a secret that long, something that I've been working on full-time..but now finally I think the game looks cool enough to really start talking about.

With the end in site, I feel good saying we'll be able to release the game for Steam in 2017.
Enjoy the trailer! More info to come soon.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Creating Your Own Genre

Pig Eat Ball is a tough game to describe succinctly. I've reworked the tagline about "getting fat and barfing" many times, but I've also been working on just what category the game falls into.

Recently I've changed the genre-blend description of Pig Eat Ball to "Arcade-Adventure" which I've not seen used before.

Here is a particularly maze-heavy level with butane torches turning on/off in a maze of screens.

We've been working on the genre description since the beginning. The problem is when you're dealing with a new, strange blend of games, what can you say to link it to the fun things people have already played?
The best fit games we've come up with so far includes:
  • Super Monkey Ball
  • Battle Block Theater
  • Assault Android Cactus
Originally, we first started with "Puzzlish Adventure", a new game description.
We worked hard on the word "Puzzlish" to convey to people that the game is "light puzzle solving with action" but I don't feel like, based on reactions I've heard, that this was effective.

Intricate, busy, chaotic levels which are a blast to conquer, are the hallmark of Pig Eat Ball levels.

Then we switched to "Action Adventure", which is a very common genre name.
But Action Adventure conjures up too much fantasy hack and slash and Zelda-style games and we don't want people thinking that. Metroid is an Action-Adventure, but it has the platforming sub-genre to help distinguish it. Pig Eat Ball is a top-down action game, that has hundreds of quick-to-play levels, but is also tied together with giant overworld areas to explore, NPCs to interact with, and mini-quests to embark upon.
Another great arcade-style level, in which you're trapped, frantically dodging spike balls as they fall while eating yummies.

With our "closest games list" in mind, we switched to listing the distinguishing points of the game:
  • Hundreds short arcade-like action levels
  • Large overworlds to explore
  • Over-arching story with hand-created levels (no grinding, not procedural)
  • Top-down action (no platforming)
  • NPCs to interact with, mini-quests to embark upon (not just a list of levels)
Looking at this list, we tried to find the two closest, large categories that would fit.

We came up with "Arcade-Adventure". This name is working pretty well on all accounts. It's meant to make you think of an arcade experience, but with the longer play time and exploration of an Adventure game.

Combined with the pixel art and the short level play-times I think the Arcade prefix fits the best. 
The game also has some "arcade homage" levels that we'll be revealing down the road that will help bridge the game between the 8-10 hour gameplay time and the arcade feel.

Bosses are large, and it's lots of fun to figure out how to defeat them!
What do you think? Would any recent games you can think of fit a genre called "Arcade-Adventure"?
Sound off in the comments, thanks!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

PEB September Update: Finishing World 2

About 80% of the Action levels in Pig Eat Ball are finished. Worlds 1-4 have been worked on for months and have their first-pass Action levels finished. The Overworlds (the hub areas where you explore and play, and then pick Action levels to try to beat) are in place as well.

But it takes a lot of time to perfect the Overworlds. Honing the entire experience, playing through an entire world and making sure the difficulty balance is good, all the bugs are worked out, and figuring out all the Oveworld puzzles and secrets to add takes many weeks.
Plus each boss is getting reworked!

That's where we are currently for World 2. World 1 is great, it is "done". World 2 is almost there too!
We've added an entirely new mid-boss fight, and enhanced the main boss greatly. And we've added several new levels and new mechanics to the Action levels.

Here's some "bird's eye view" screen shots of the Oveworld levels for World 2.
Each World consists of four Overworld levels. These allow you to explore and find secrets. And to pick Action levels. By beating Action levels, you unlock new areas to proceed to, eventually beating the game and finishing the story.
 Keep in mind, these screenshots are from the LEVEL EDITOR! That's why the background is grey and some layers are greyed out.  Make sure to CLICK them to see more detail!

"Main Hub" section of World 2, the Sushi Gardens. In these 4 areas, you play around and decide what Action levels to play.

"Alpha Module" section of World 2, the Sushi Gardens

"Beta Module" section of World 2, the Sushi Gardens

"Gamma Module" section of World 2, the Sushi Gardens

And here is one of my favorite areas of World 2, this is a functioning sushi restaurant!

The Sushi Restaurant!
Click for more detail!
Check out the left side of the screen: The sushi chefs on the bottom chop up the food and the patrons at the top gobble up the sushi! The fun part is you getting inside and barfing on everything!

Next up for World 2, I have to finish up the cutscenes for beating the midboss and world 2 boss. Onward and upwards!