The game has had great coverage so far, being featured on websites like The Independent and Design Week.
My new iPad game Strawberry Thief is now available on the App Store here - AppStore.com/StrawberryThief.
The game has had great coverage so far, being featured on websites like The Independent and Design Week.
We are holding an event at the Apple Store in Regent Street, London where I'll be talking about the game and giving a live demonstration. This takes place on 31/10 7pm - 8pm The tickets are free, and you can book on the Apple website here - Apple.com/uk/retail/regentstreet/
Tomorrow (October 24th) is the official launch of my new game Strawberry Thief for iPad. Please keep checking back here for updates on my launch activities! In the meantime, why not check out an interview with BBC Scotland's science correspondent Kenneth Macdonald where you can see some early footage of the game?
My new game Strawberry Thief will be playable tomorrow at the Dare Protoplay Festival in the big tent outside Caird Hall in Dundee. This is the first time the game will be on display to the public!
Dare Protoplay is a free event on 7-10th on August. There are over 40 games to see, as well as talks and contests.
Take a look at the Dare Protoplay website to see all the events taking place over the next four days.
We have recently added some exciting features to the game ready for Protoplay in a few weeks time. In the video you can see some of the new backgrounds for the game, and see how the levels transition. We have also added a new way to move the bird by simply drawing a line, although this still needs to her perfected.
Here is a preview of our game logo and main menu:
Last month, I shared pieces of concept art, videos and music on my new game Strawberry Thief, as well as a short piece of early gameplay footage. Now some of the art assets are starting to be implemented in the game along with interactive elements.
First of all, you can see that newer backgrounds are in the game. It has a scrolling effect, kind of similar to how my early prototype I made at the V&A worked. This way, the player can explore more of the pattern and see it repeat, just as it would on a curtain or wallpaper.
You can also see that the player can now collect flowers (Which I often referred to as pollen in previous posts) These flowers will enable the player to colour the level. When they run out of colour, they will have to find the flowers again. At the moment, the colour level is represented by something that looks like a health bar, but in the final version, it will be shown in the petals trailing the bird.
We also have new artwork for the bird. We decided to change the character from the brown thrush from the pattern to the blue and white bird, as it is the one stealing the strawberries in the original print. We still need to include all the animations for the bird.
Cameron has also animated sections of the Strawberry Thief pattern. These animations will trigger when the player has coloured certain sections of the print.
The next stage of the project will be adding in the separate levels, carefully planing how they transition from one to another. We will also need to include things like a loading screen, in-game menus, and preparations for the Dare Protoplay Festival, where the game will be shown off for the first time.
Now that my team is working on assets for Strawberry Thief, I want to share some concept work that has been completed in the last few weeks.
This short video is made up of storyboard frames (by Ellen Brown), which shows how the game will run from start to finish. The audio in the gameplay section, by Neil Cullen, is sample of how the adaptive sound track will work, with the complexity of the music growing with how much of the pattern has been coloured. The audio in the menu and loadings screens is by Johannes Brahms.
These clips are visualisations by Cameron Moore, which show how the sketches could become colourful, and how it would bleed out once a section of the pattern is complete.
Here are some concepts for the line that the user draws for the bird to follow, also by Cameron.
Finally, here is a quick video of the build so far, with the colouring mechanic implemented (but not finalised)
In this past month, my development for Strawberry Thief has been coming along well. I have been thinking a lot about the game’s new mechanics, which involves bringing colour to a William Morris sketch.
In the first iteration of the idea, the player would use the same bird from the Strawberry Thief pattern to collect colour (represented as small flowers and berries) and deliver it to ‘colour points’ in the level. The level would be made up of light sketches that the player could fly over, and darker sketches which were walls / barriers, turning the Morris pattern into a maze. The player would completely colour the sketch, and then move onto the next level. As I want to make a short game experience, I thought 2-3 levels would be enough, each with a different Morris pattern.
I took this idea to my programmer Erin (from Quartic Llama) and we discussed ways we could improve the concept. We decided to forget the idea of having a level designed from motifs with colour points, and instead chose to allow the player to fly over everything. The first part of the game would be a zoomed in portion of Strawberry Thief, and the player would paint a few basic colours by collecting the small, colourful flowers. Once that section is complete, the level changes, the sketch zooms out to reveal more patterns, and the music would become more complex. The player would then be able to add more colours to the sketch, as well as added detail. This would be followed by a final transition for adding even more detail and texture to Strawberry Thief.
I recently had artists join me on the project, so I am looking forward to sharing new visuals in the next few weeks, as well as short videos of the build.
Now that my six month research and design period has finished at the V&A, its now time for me to start development on my Strawberry Thief game. I spent April back home in Norfolk preparing for my move up to Dundee / Abertay University, and the break game me more time to think about how I can develop my game to be more in touch with William Morris' artwork.
In the British Galleries at the V&A, there is a wonderful display showing a cutting of a William Morris wallpaper next to a sketch which has been partially coloured. I thought it would be a fun idea to have the player bring colour to Morris sketches by using the birds from the Strawberry Thief pattern. I feel this would make for a more creative and collaborative experience than my first Strawberry Thief iteration. The mechanics for this game will be simple and hopefully easy to understand, as I want the game to have a wide appeal, which would include people who are unfamiliar with games (but perhaps loves the work of William Morris.) My next step is to start working with a programmer, and getting the game to feel right.
I worked with some trusted games designers and academics in April to pinpoint elements like the vision of my project and who it will be primarily targeting. Narrowing elements such as how the player will feel, what they will see and hear was a fairly difficult task, but an important thing to think about.
During my time at the V&A, I took part in an in-depth workshop with year 7 students, setting them a game design brief. The students from Highgate Wood School were given galleries to look at for inspiration then design a game and make a small section of it.
The project was structured by having a day to explore the museum and learn from me about game development. I went over the different roles in the industry, what my next game is being inspired by, and let them try the older games consoles in my studio, such as the GameBoy, PS1 and Dreamcast. It's really interesting to watch children play on consoles that were around before they were born, as they approach playing so differently to people my age. The students then explored a few different galleries, formed groups and came up with some initial ideas. We gave them V&A postcards with questions on the back to prompt game ideas, and what mechanics to think about.
The students then had a 6 weeks to work on the concepts in their computer club at school. Me and Cara Williams from the Learning Department at the V&A took a visit to Highgate Wood School to see how they were getting on, and I was able to help with any technical or design problems they were having. When returning to the V&A, they worked hard to finish off their ideas and present them to each other and the V&A staff.
Most of the games were inspired by the Chinese and Japanese galleries at the museum, with the students creating Samurai and dragon characters. The students approached the task in a few different ways. While they all made game concepts and ideas, some made small snippets of the game, such as a game over screen, or animatics or a section of gameplay.
You can read more about the workshop on the V&A Blog
February Half term ran from Saturday 15th to the 23rd at the V&A. This year, they decided to theme the half term events around my residency and games.
One of the activities was a live, interactive performance, which was inspired by my game development. In the performance, a parent and their two children had been sucked into the Strawberry Thief fabric at the V&A and turned into thrushes. The children in the audience had to help the parent break the curse by collecting strawberries and following an on screen map. I think the performance was a huge success, as it incorporated lots of little game elements (collecting, timed quests, following maps, decision-making etc ) into a show that the children engaged with and enjoyed. The meetings for this show were early in my residency, so there are elements of my idea to look at the animals in the British Galleries. For example, I looked at vases with lizard designs on them, and this was turned into a game in the performance.
During this week, I also decided to put on extra open studios so that the public could chat to me and see the Strawberry Thief game I'm working on. The numbers for these sessions were more than any I've had before and so I'm happy that many people got to see my developments.
My prototype Strawberry Thief game is currently like an arcade game, where there is no way to win and you just have to get a high score. Rather than putting in a virtual scoreboard for the event, we thought it would be a good idea to have a paper one like we had before at the museum of childhood.
All of the game playing took place in the corridor outside of my studio, where I also had a NES set up and a few gameboys (to draw attention to my studio). I then had my studio set up to talk to people about my development process. Many parents ask me how their children can start making games now, so I often show then programs like Scratch, Game Maker and Game Salad.
I also got some badges and stickers made for the event that children could take away for free, displaying my logo and game background.
Other activities included making your own tops trumps style card game based on objects in the gallery. There was also digital game making workshops, building game environments and workshops by The Conductive Craft Company.