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

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.

GDC

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.





SXSW

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?

January 

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.

February 

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!




March 

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.



April 

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!

May

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.

June

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!

July

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.

August

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.

September

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.

October

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!

November

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!

December

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: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=817468967
Thanks!

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!