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.

Nathan

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!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

No Pig's Sky

I'd like to introduce you to our upcoming game.




Pig Eat Ball is a science-fiction game set in a finite, carefully-designed galaxy.
Every object in the game was placed by our team, intentionally, with purpose. Every pixel, every sound effect, every gameplay mechanic was made with the sole intention of making the best action-adventure game about barfing ever dreamed.


A Truly Barfy Universe

Whether a distant ball or a pillbug playing tennis on the horizon, you can barf on it.
Barf on balls. Barf on walls. Barf on pillbugs. Barf on floors. The galaxy is yours to soil.


Unique is Playing Things You've Never Played Before 

Eat dozens of balls. Grow fat. Barf your guts out. Slurp it back up.
Dodge sizzling frying pans. Race space pigs to make sandwiches.
Battle Accordion Centipedes. Break toilets. Get pillbugs drunk.


Compete in the Royal Games

With every level, in every space station, you are vulnerable. Vulnerable to losing your future. You must win the Royal Games or your crack-pot, cake-headed father will force you into marriage. But you can choose. You can choose to barf your way to freedom.


The Team

Pig Eat Ball is being developed by Mommy's Best Games, a tiny indie studio in Indiana, USA. We previously made Shoot 1UP and Serious Sam DD XXL, but now we're casting our eyes to the toilet.


Community


Pig Eat Ball is coming in 2017. Follow us on Twitter, and on the game's Official Facebook page.
Get ready to pig out.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Is Pokemon GO the Donald Trump of Games?

Yes, Pokemon GO is great, we play it with the kids and they love it.

Now then... 
It's interesting that any "how to" guides on game development and PR are pretty much defied by this game or could be by any really high profile product.
It did so many things wrong at launch and it just didn't matter. 
Is Pokemon GO the Donald Trump of games?


It had a terrible launch with servers down constantly, activation emails not returned from the Pokemon Trainer site over the course of a week, a fuzzy launch date with relatively little awareness built for such a big brand, no tutorial in the game, the software hangs frequently, and there are bugs everywhere (and not the kind of bugs you're supposed to catch). There are so many problems most small indie devs work hard to eliminate, but here were ignored by players or happening in full sight.
I've been working on our current game, Pig Eat Ball, for over 3 years, and for instance, I just spent 2 weeks further polishing the menu transitions and fixing tiny bugs in the music player. These details matter for an indie dev's games and reputation, but what about for the launch with a giant brand?

What does this tell us? These things don't matter? Or is it simply the strength of a brand? Or that if you get your core idea correct (catch Pokemon in 'real life'), it's all fine? I don't know. The dev in me is bitter and angry that the "normal rules don't apply here", but it's hard to deny all the positive outcomes of the game even in its current, half-complete state. Regardless, whatever you do, don't use the Pokemon GO launch as a model of how to release your own game, because it simply doesn't apply.