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.


Monday, March 27, 2017

SXSW, GDC, and Framerates

Pig Eat Ball still has single-player work that continues to be done by myself and Matthew. We are currently working on the World 4 boss (the "Kitchen Chaos" area).
But several other areas of work have been happening recently as well!

I took several trips to promote the game and make connections with publishers.


The first trip was to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. We were featured at the "Intel Juice Bar". It was nice to have free space around the expo hall, and also pretty laid back. We got this deal through applying to a special promotion and showing Intel the game. They liked it!

The theme was to "juice" your game with their amazing processors. That probably made more sense for a high-end 3D game, but hey, they picked Pig Eat Ball for this, so I'm not saying 'no'! It was 2 hour slots for a few days of the show.

I had a publisher meeting at the show as well. It went okay, but I'm not sure if they can really promote our game much more than we can. Talks continue.

While walking the expo floor, I found another game about barf! It's very different than Pig Eat Ball, but hey "Eggggg" is pretty cool! Plus they called it 'puke' instead of 'barf' for the alliteration. It's out now on mobile!

And another game on the floor had this beautiful diorama.


Moving from San Francisco now to Austin Texas, I just recently returned from SXSW. I was invited to a "game pitch contest" for Pig Eat Ball. The goal was to present the most compelling pitch for your game. It was an exercise only, and had four 'industry judges'. There were no actual investors. Still it forced me to focus more on promotion of the game and to consider the target market more and to make some promotional art. I learned about promoting and pitching "the reason you made the game" in addition to what the game itself is about.

We didn't win the contest though as it sounds like we didn't go on and on about the millions of sales we'll have with our game. It feels hard to just wing some numbers out there, but hey, lots of other pitch people do that, so you probably should too.

Before the event I painted this picture of Princess Bow.

Here is what the space looked like for the actual pitch.

That was the end of our recent trips! Here's more about other development occurring with the game.

PS4 Framerates

At Super Soul, the company in Kentucky that is helping port the game to consoles, they are working hard to get the framerate up to a buttery-smooth level. It started a bit ago, around 1 frame a second! Ouch! Then they got it up to 10fps.. much more recently, things have been around 40 fps!
Pretty good, but still progress to be made.
Here's Shea working hard.

And here's a pic of the game in action. Off to the left is the development kit! But I blurred it out so we don't get in trouble. Trade secrets and all that.

Now that the trips are finished I can get back to helping Matthew work on World 4. I'm excited to see how this crazy boss will turn out!

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!