If you haven’t yet, please check out the first part of the series about how the idea of our game was born.
The next morning came and with it a bunch of questions to put our idea to the test:
There is a gazillion number of Christmas games out there. Do we really want to create another one?
Would it become annoying to make “Ho-Ho-Ho” sounds, one after another?
What if the chimneys are really close to each other? Wouldn’t it be hard to drop gifts in all of them since the momentum of the “Ho-Ho-Ho” sound is quite long?
Isn’t voice recognition hard to get right? A “Ho-Ho-Ho” sound would have to be recognized by people of any age or gender. Also, it should not accept “No-No-No” sounds as valid ones!
How would we replace the “Ho-Ho-Ho” interaction if someone would like to play the game in silence-mode?
These are only a few of the questions that violated our idea. I wasn’t sure if we would manage to find a solution to all the questions we asked ourselves, but I loved the noble spirit of our story. Deliver gifts to as many kids as you can sounds really inviting, satisfying and encouraging. I wanted to stick with this noble spirit, even if it would be the only thing to survive in the story.
The “Ho-Ho-Ho” part of our idea was becoming more and more challenging to cope with, so my girlfriend and I decided to put it on a side for a moment and focus on the good deed of the story and on the fact that we have to present it in a unique and fresh way.
Todays mobile game-market, is super saturated. You really have to stand out from the crowd to be seen by someone. It’s not enough to create the next Flappy Bird with slightly different game mechanics and graphics. You have to be bold.
I believe the key ingredient to be really different is to have a unique story, never seen before graphics and extraordinary game mechanics.
You see, I’m a programmer. I love to draw and I’m really passionate about design, but I can’t provide the illustrations and graphics needed to build a game. This got me thinking: I need someone to help me. An illustrator with a unique style and a lot of passion and drive to shoot this game into the stars.
Calling Dribbble out for help.
In case you’re not familiar with it, Dribbble is an online community where people, mostly designers, showcase their artwork. You can find artworks in categories as graphic design, illustration, photography, web design, mobile design and more. I use it as a tool to nourish my passion for design. Instead of checking Facebook, which I don’t use for personal matters, I rather check Dribble. It’s a nice way to start work in the mornings.
Over the course of a few years, I saw quite a lot of interesting artworks on Dribbble. One author always stood out to me, even before I had an idea to create this game. Meet Lea. Lea is an amazing illustrator from the Netherlands. She was my top choice to join me on this project, so I immediately searched for her contact info on her website and reached out to her, briefly explaining my idea and my intentions.
You see, joining a project like this is a big deal. You have to fully dedicate yourself to make it happen. Timewise and moneywise. It’s a full-time project. My budget has been and still is small, so I couldn’t afford to offer Lea a salary. The only things I had and still have are big dreams, huge passion, hard work and knowledge. So I offered Lea just that (along with the ability to share the ownership of a project with me). Then, I crossed my fingers and hoped for a positive response.
But after a few days, I still didn’t hear anything back from Lea. This got me a bit worried so, as a plan B, I made a list of a potential designers/illustrators that I could contact in case Lea didn’t answer or decided not to be a part of my project.
Look at that massive bookmark folder with potential illustrators from Dribbble: 😊
Bookmarked list of potential illustrators
Fun fact: the bookmark folder is named “HoHoHo” because I had no better idea to name the game at the time.
On August 11, 2014, I received a response. She was interested! 🎉