Sprint 7 major development ceases and we start to polish all the materials and artwork. Some features, like dried flower and potion mixing, will need to be cut from the vertical slice as a result and while this is a shame it’s essential that the trailer, video and all the marketing materials look their absolute best.
My ambition for Flora Fatalis is to have a well-polished vertical slice, paying close attention to details. I would like the game to play smoothly and rather than focus on extra features, make sure what works, works well.
Winding up the features
Some of my spawn points are broken
New Pet has arrived
New Seeds have arrived
Fig 1. Masters 2021. Pet Arrival
This last sprint I finished programming a new pet to arrive! When you plant a certain number of plants you attract a brand new pet! The Pet number is then updated on the UI so you can see how many you’ve collected.
Last Minute Features
I’ve added a win condition, you unlock a new garden Fatal Funghi when you reach 10,000 diamonds!
You can also unlock equipment like the greenhouse when you reach 100 diamons profit!
Fig 2. Masters 2021. Win Condition
Mobile Phone Suitability
Fig 3. Masters 2021. Mobile Mockup Vid
I have designed all the elements to fit a mobile phone (optimised to be displayed landscape).
Fig 4. Masters 2021. Mobile Mockup
Fig 5. Masters 2021. Video
Final Juice & Polish!
Camera Shake & Thunder
ProCamera2D has preset shake options including ‘large explosion’. I programmed this in time with a flash of a yellow image at low opacity on the Canvas and accompanying sound effects. Storms will randomly appear along with snow, rain, cold and heat while you play.
I’m pretty happy with the result!
Fig 6. Masters 2021. Thunder
Pay for Store Mockup
Fig 7. Masters 2021. Mockup
The store mockup is just to demonstrate a way you could implement in-game purchases.
I have added all the cards to view, on a phone you would probably want just one to view at a time and a swipe option (ran out of time to implement it that way).
Fig 8. Masters 2021. Collect Cards
Juice that UI
Animation & sound for new new seeds, pets, equipment and unlocking a new garden!
Fig 9. Masters 2021. New Garden Unlocked
So many particles
And lastly I added more particle generators to each individual plant and to the forest, so that they looked extra beautiful.
Zuckowski (2021) discusses ‘humanizing your studio’ in relation to email marketing but this is something that I think is relevant to a general social media presence. “Humanize your studio. So many indie devs try to make themselves sound legit by calling themselves “a studio” when really they are two guys working part time on their game. Don’t hide. Be true to who you are and show that you are a real person, not a bland studio” (Zukowski 2021). The game studios that off personality and human element to their tweets, posts and videos can connect with the audience and build a relationship. Above you can see that while Genshin Impact’s Twitter holds 2.6M followers and fans the account isn’t a faceless corporation. Genshin Impact’s Twitter retweets bento recipes, follower art, new content and definitely humanises the studio.
Instagram VS Twitter
Taking part in social media marketing to promote my services as a photographer I also understand the subtle differences between Twitter, Instagram and so on. The differences are immediately apparent in the social media for Green Panda Game’s Instagram compare to Genshin Impact’s Twitter; one is focused on text and the other images. Followers will expect to see different content on each, and even if they have accounts for both will be more likely to engage in content that allows for the mood of the app.
The Announce Tweet
The most important part of my social media presence is the announce tweet, with my announcement trailer included. Zuckowski (2021) suggests an announce tweet should be structured in the following format:
Description of your game
Clear Call to Action
your best Gif or Trailer embedded in the tweet
Getting friends and supporters to retweet it so the algorithm is triggered.
“Also remove hashtags (it is not genuine), line up your supporters way before the tweet goes live so they RT it as soon as it drops, and consider putting the link to your store page on a tweet reply (there are rumors links make the algorithm limit visibility” (Zukowski 2021).
List of figures
Figure 1. Metacore Games 2021. Merge Mansion Twitter [screenshot] Twitter [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/GenshinImpact [Accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 2. miHoYo 2021. Genshin Impact Twitter [screenshot] Twitter [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/GenshinImpact [Accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 3. miHoYo 2021. Genshin Impact Twitter [screenshot] Twitter [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/GenshinImpact [Accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 4. Green Panda Games 2021. Twitter [screenshot] Twitter [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/greenpandagames [Accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 5. Green Panda Games 2021. Twitter [screenshot] Twitter [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/greenpandagames [Accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 6. Green Panda Games 2021. Twitter [screenshot] Twitter [online] Available at: https://twitter.com/greenpandagames [Accessed 1 Dec 2021].
UCKOWSKI, Chris. 2021. ‘Email Marketing for Games’ Available at: https://howtomarketagame.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/EmailMarketingBasics.pdf. [accessed 16 December 2021].
ZUKOWSKI, Chris. 2021. ‘How to do an announce tweet’. Howtomarketagame [online] Available at: https://mailchi.mp/e4de35731257/how-to-do-an-announce-tweet?e=46de3226f6. [accessed 16 December 2021].
Sprint 6 largely focuses on bringing all the different elements I’ve been working on together, adding sound and music and adjusting the balance and mechanics of the game. I will also be simultaneously working extensively on my trailer during sprint 6, so progress may slow a little.
Note: The UI looks terrible! It’s a work in progress!
Icons, UI & Mechanics
I designed a set of icons in Sprint 5 that looked adequate on Canva and then looked terrible in the game. The lesson learned is to prototype next time, fortunately, I designed a few different icon sets trying them out and an older version of the UI looks much better.
Planting the seeds
You can gather seeds, purchase them and then plant them in your garden! You can also collect cards as you gather and plant a species. I programmed these features with PlayMaker and because the gardening game mainly focuses on UI the mechanics were fairly simple. When you gather enough seeds you can click on a flora icon and it will check if you have >0 seeds and then spawn a game object in designated planting zones. In the future, I would like the player to be able to choose where to place a plant but this would be more complicated to develop.
Using ProCamera2D I also set up rooms and boundaries so the player cannot tap off-screen.
Fixing the UI
I reverted back to an old UI design, which looks much better!
Orthographic Camera and change in the winds
Switching between the 3D camera and orthographic camera during Sprint 6, I realised my lighting weather effects and artwork looked much better in a 3D perspective.
I changed my mind again, and switched the camera back to a 3D view, just in time to create the weather effects in full 3D effect.
Post-processing (global volume) will create both a warm and cold looking effect.
Adding in all the Art Assets and Final Adjustments to the Lights
Creating Super Pretty Mist
Fig 11. Masters 2021. Mist
Following a tutorial by Nemric (2019) ‘How to Create Mist in Unity’ I adjusted the mist to look good in a 3D space and then played with the settings to get the right atmosphere. The mist rolls across the ground, creating a sense of time and speed, you can also see the light from the sun/moon rise.
I also created snow and rain using particle generators and programmed them to appear at random intervals while playing.
Sound & Music
Background Music for the garden, wind chimes and forest ambience:
At the end of Sprint 6, there are many features that I have not had time to implement for the vertical slice but I am pleased with my progress overall. At this stage of the project, I believe I over scoped slightly at the beginning of the project but my planning has been generally realistic.
The game is starting to take shape and it was a relief to add all the art, sound and music together. I’m particularly happy with my rolling mist.
List of figures
Figure 1. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Mechanics.
Figure 2. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Icons.
Figure 3. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Icon set.
Figure 4. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Fog Creation.
Figure 5. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Creating Sun.
Figure 6. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Creating Cold.
Figure 7. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Progress
Figure 8. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Progress2
Figure 9. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Progress3
Figure 10. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Progress4
Figure 11. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Bring on the music.
Figure 12. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Snow
Nemric. 2019. ‘Tutorial: How to Create Mist in Unity’. Renderosity [online]. Available at: https://magazine.renderosity.com/article/5563/tutorial-how-to-create-mist-in-unity [accessed 21 Dec 2021].
Mutazoine has one of my favourite app pages for aesthetics, while some of the app store pages for Merge Mansions, Shop Titans or Idle World might have more targeted content and information the moving GIFs and images are very attractive.
A closer look at Terrarium: Garden Idle
Terrarium includes the genre, in it’s title and has some moving gifs and images under preview. “Your app’s name plays a critical role in how users discover it on the App Store. Choose a simple, memorable name that is easy to spell and hints at what your app does. Be distinctive. Avoid names that use generic terms or are too similar to existing app names” (Apple 2021b). The game name Flora Fatalis was already chosen but it is memorable and simple.
Flora Fatalis: Strategy, Sim & Story
“An ideal Poster Frame complements your Icon and first screenshot and features the core values of your app. You are encouraged to edit your App Preview to make sure it has an effective Poster Frame candidate” (Moar 2021).
Fig 11. Masters 2021. Icon
List of figures
Figure 1. Tactile Games. 2021. Lilys Garden [Screenshot] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/lilys-garden-design-relax/id1437783446 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 2. Metacore Games. 2021. Merge Mansion [screenshot] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/merge-mansion/id1484442152 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 3. Kabam Games. 2021. Shop Titan [screenshot] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/shop-titans-craft-build/id1361253233 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 4. Die Gute Fabrik. 2021. Mutazoine [screenshot] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/mutazione/id1466920014 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 5. Green Panda Games. 2021. Terrarium [screenshot] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/terrarium-garden-idle/id1401837582 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 6. Green Panda Games. 2021. Terrarium [screenshot] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/terrarium-garden-idle/id1401837582 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 7. Green Panda Games. 2021. Terrarium [screenshot] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/terrarium-garden-idle/id1401837582 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 8. Green Panda Games. 2021. Terrarium [screenshot] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/terrarium-garden-idle/id1401837582 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 9. Green Panda Games. 2021. Terrarium [screenshot] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/terrarium-garden-idle/id1401837582 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 10. Green Panda Games. 2021. Terrarium [screenshot] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/terrarium-garden-idle/id1401837582 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Fig 1. Die Gute Fabrik 2021. Mutazoine 2021. [GIF]
Mutazoine – The Press Kit highlights the beauty of the hand-drawn illustration, part of the USP for this game.
Fig 2. That Game Company 2021. Sky: Children of Light [Image]
Sky – A big-budget mobile game that is glossed with beautiful serene animations and artwork.
Fig 3. Ustwo 2021. Monument Valley [Image]
Monument Valley – A Short Hike and Monument Valley both value an uncluttered, simple but beautiful approach to their press kits and marketing materials.
Building The Press Kit
“A press kit, also known as a media kit, is a little sliver of your site dedicated to making journalists’ lives easier. If you’ve ever wanted coverage for a game or a notable company update, do yourself a favor and make it simple for media outlets to cover you with a kit” (Carriker 2017).
What to include?
App Preview Video.
Platform Release Information ( App Store / GooglePlay / Amazon / Steam etc… ).
Price ( Paid / Freemium ).
Game Title and Description.
To work out what to include, I thought of everything a journalist might need. One of my favourite press kits is Luna and the shadow dust, which takes a crammed full of beautiful images and amazingness approach similar to the Hades Press Kit. On the other hand, a minimalist approach like Monument Valley or A Short Hike both from Ustwo games is equally as attractive
A Press Kit shows off the personality and USP of the game while not forgetting to highlight the personality of that individual studio. Flora.Games and Flora Fatalis are a little eccentric, busy and exuberant!
The best way to start to write my press release was by reading examples from other game studios. Mutazoine, Merge Manion and Cats and Soup all display a similar tone of excitement and fun in their press release’s – it’s important to tell a story, be unique and certainly not dry! “Follow the basic guidelines for the form but your content has to be catchy, spicy, adorable, funny, surprising…it has to be different, unique!” (Yohann 2018). The most important part is the headline, which I have called on my copy and SEO skills to create something catchy, succinct and eye-grabbing.
My boiler plate is also an important part of a press release, who, what, when, where and why (how) are Flora.Games. “A boiler-plate is also what goes at the very end of a press release, if you ever go down that rabbit hole. You can check out some recent ones on Gamasutra– just scroll to the end and you’ll usually see an “About” section at the end of each release” (Carriker 2017). Boiler Plate “This is the summary of your company in a nutshell. It’s no bigger than a paragraph and you probably already have a good idea of what it should consist of, even if you’ve never written it down. It’s that 30-second overview you give when someone asks what your company does. (Carriker 2017). More than just Flora Fatalis, or deadly gardening, what is a games studio I would hypothetically found about?
See the Press Release below!
Fig 9. Masters 2021. Angels Trumpet Concept
‘FLORA FATALIS, a build your own garden game with a deadly twist!’
Figure 8. Hidea. 2021. Cats & Soup [Image] Game News 24 [online]. Available at: https//game-news24.com/2021/12/02/make-up-with-cats-in-cats-and-spoup
Figure 9. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Angels Trumpet Concept.
A Short Hike. 2019. Adamgryu
BOOM, Creative, Katy COWAN and part of the Guardian Culture Professionals NETWORK. 2012. ‘Press Releases: 10 Common Mistakes’. The Guardian, 16 Feb [online]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/culture-network/culture-professionals-blog/2012/feb/16/common-mistakes-writing-press-releases [accessed 27 Dec 2021].
CARRIKER, Megan. 2017. ‘Making a Press Kit on Your Site’. Game Developer [online]. Available at: https://www.gamedeveloper.com/business/making-a-press-kit-on-your-site [accessed 27 Dec 2021].
Cats and Soup. 2021. Hidea
DIE GUTE FABRIK. 2019. ‘Mutazione Is a New Adventure Game with an Artistic Twist’. GamePress – Databases, Guides, and News for Your Favorite Games. Available at: https://gamepress.gg/mutazione-new-adventure-game-artistic-twist. [accessed 17 Dec 2021].
DIE GUTE FABRIK. 2021. ‘MUTAZIONE Presskit’. [online]. Available at: http://mutazionegame.com/presskit/ [accessed 10 Dec 2021].
Hades. 2020. Supergiant Games
HIDEA. 2021. ‘Make-up with Cats in Cats and Soup’ Game News 24 [online]. Available at: https://game-news24.com/2021/12/02/make-up-with-cats-in-cats-and-soup/ [accessed 17 Dec 2021].
LUNA – the shadow dust. 2019. Lantern Studio
LUNA – The Shadow Dust, https://www.lantern-studio.com/presskit. [accessed 17 Dec 2021].
Merge Mansions. 2020. Metacore Games
METACORE GAMES. 2020. ‘Merge Mansion: Mystery Game Is Now Available on Android and IOS’. GamingonPhone [online]. Available at: https://gamingonphone.com/news/merge-mansion-mystery-game-is-now-available/ [accessed 7 Dec 2021].
Monument Valley. 2014. Ustwo Games
Mutazoine. 2019. Die Gute Fabrik
Sky: Children of the Light. 2019. That Game Company
SUPERGIANT GAMES. 2021. ‘Hades – Press Kit’. IGDB [online]. Available at: https://www.igdb.com/games/hades–1/presskit [accessed 17 Dec 2021].
THAT GAME COMPANY. 2021. ‘Sky: Children of the Light – Press Kit’. IGDB [online]. Available at: https://www.igdb.com/games/sky-children-of-the-light/presskit [accessed 7 Dec 2021].
USTWO. 2021. ‘Monument Valley – Press Kit’. IGDB [online]. Available at: https://www.igdb.com/games/monument-valley/presskit [accessed 7 Dec 2021].
YOHANN, Miniere. 2018. ‘The Power of Press Releases for Indie Games in 2018…’ Game Developer [online]. Available at: https://www.gamedeveloper.com/business/the-power-of-press-releases-for-indie-games-in-2018- [accessed 17 Dec 2021].
My favourite trailers and what makes them effective in meeting their goals and how they suit their target audience.
Looking to purchase a game on the PlayStation store, Switch or Steam I find the most effective trailers are focused on showing you the gameplay, story and genre of a game without telling you.
Sky: Children of Light
Sky Children, has a very cinematic style trailer, showing off the beautiful art direction, dramatic music and showing some narrative clues for the game like friendship and togetherness. Again the trailer doesn’t give too much away.
I love this trailer for the way it plays with visual design, creating shapes and symmetry. The music and level design tell a story without any dialogue or text.
Cats & Soup
Cats and Soup is sweet, polished and fun to play. I like this trailer because it’s simple and effective, what you see is what you get.
The Garden Path
Gameplay Announcement Trailer
The Garden Path shows off the unique contemporary visuals in this announcement trailer.
Merge Mansion, Lily’s Garden and Gardenscapes all play on a particular type of narrative advert to gain attention for their gardening games. The success of this type of marketing is obviously in wanting to know the bizarre plot twists and turns and playing on what you’re expecting to see. The entire part of the story where someone’s died, is alive, and grandma is going to jail is missed out, so you want to play to fill that gap and to find out how it all ends.
‘Game Trailer Representation Responsibilities’
While considering a game trailer, it’s important to consider what you will be showing. “If a game trailer is intended to be a summation of a game, then one of many factors it’s important to consider is how it represents different genders, cultures, ethnicities, ages, etc” (Lieu, 2021). On release, Flora Fatalis would have a choice of many different profile images represented by different genders, cultures, ethnicities, ages etc but for most of the gameplay you won’t see the duchess on screen. For this reason, while different images of duchess’s may appear in marketing materials, I’m going to keep an illusive mystery to the duchess’s image. The important thing is, the duchess is many different people.
Making a Trailer
Define your idea
Draft your story
Plan your scenes
Define pace & timing
Define visual approach
Plan the production process
Fig 1. Chambers 2021. What is an Animatic? [table]
Stage 1 Concepting – A cinematic trailer
My cinematic trailer will depict a fantasy for offshoot gardeners, growing and collecting plants as a strange and poetic duchess. “When making an announce trailer, you have to take a good look at all aspects of the game like its: story, game mechanics, art style, setting, character design, animation, sound, or music, and identify the ones which stand out the most. Ideally, the strongest one is the hook of the game; every other element will act as support” (Lieu, 2021). Flora Fatalis is an alternative kind of garden mobile game, with a strange story, the hook is not just the poison plants but the strange and eery world.
Stage 2 Scripting – Adaption of a poem
The trailer features an adaptation of a poem I wrote (Masters 2017), the original version is several verses longer and punctuation, words and rhyme has been changed/emphasised for suitability to the game.
“My body grieves the absent sun, the cold smiles
on her scratches of my glass-like skin.
Sharpened swords sail on chilling winds,
slicing through my shattering shell and widening my wounds.
The weeping tree, she fouls my throat,
her branches binding bitter wounds.
My heart screams and sinks, in her hollow trunk,
the limbs limp, they hold a tarnished soul.
Flora Fatalis, a strategy, simulation and story game for the mobile.”
Stage 3 Storyboarding – Pathetic Fallacy (it was a dark and stormy night…)
The weather will represent the emotions of the duchess and add an allure to the garden and it’s a mystery.
An ambitious start
Each box represents a 5-second window and when I planned to draw out an animatic/ fit the drawings with script – I found no one can squeeze all these frames in!
Fig 2. Masters. 2021. Storyboard
Still too ambitious
I started again, and was still too ambitious!
Fig 4. Masters 2021. Storyboard25
Scoping down with ProCamera 2D
Fig 5. Masters 2021. Cinematics
The timing for my storyboards were too ambitious to complete, so I began again. I decided to pan along the garden and display one or two weather types at the same time.
To create a cinematic effect for my trailer I am using ProCamera2D’s options to target different areas to ease to and from.
In addition, this will make a nice intro for the start of the gameplay.
Stage 4: Animatic
An overly ambitious start ate away into my time, so instead of creating an animatic, I planned the pace of the trailer through programming the right timings and ease in Unity to fit nicely with the script.
Stage 5: Design – A sad story
Sound & Music
Sound and music are fast becoming my favourite part of a sprint. I want to create a sad and dramatic atmosphere, so when I found A Sad Story by Setuniman (2013) on Freesound I knew it was perfect.
The materials suggested we might contact a voice-over artist, and fellow students have built incredible demos and trailers working with a professional voice actor. My trailer is a little obscure, and a little unusual so the brief was difficult to write, I consulted Dereck Lieu’s insights: “The joy and fun of working with voice actors are the choices which sound totally different from your initial idea but add nuance and character which are fun an unexpected. Try not to be too rigid about what you’re looking to hear because otherwise you might stifle the creativity and close yourself off from some amazing possibilities!” (Lieu, 2021).
Voice Over (Iljaobrien 2021).
Stage 6: Logistics
I recorded footage on NVIDIA ShadowPlay and then transformed the footage in Premier Pro and After Effects to tell a story, adding all the elements together.
A list of software and services used:
Professional Voice Artist
Polish & The Trailer
Finally, is the genre, hook and content of the trailer satisfactory?
“The Genre helps the audience know if they’re interested at all
The Hook tells them why it’s notable beyond basic interest
The Content indicates scope and variety” (Lieu, 2021).
I watched over all the elements I’ve stitched together many, many times to check for fit, atmosphere and nuance, adjusting animation transition and so on until I was happy! The genre should be abundantly clear, and the hook and content will hopefully come across in the script, juice and atmosphere!
The Level Design for Flora Fatalis is inspired by some of my favourite strategy games and mobile games combined. I started by brainstorming an overview of features, collecting flora and pets was always going to be one of the main appeals of the game. The vertical slice should show some of the features I am pitching for like strategy, simulation and story.
The player will be able to collect up to six flora and six pets in the vertical slice. Plants and pets were chosen for a range of rarity, you can collect:
Flora: Foxglove, Water Hemlock, Wolfsbane, Angels Trumpet, Nightshade, Castor Oil
Pets: Snail, Earthworm, Ladybird, Black Ladybird, Garden Spider, Deathwatch Beetle.
Brainstorming Strategy Properties
A common pet that brings a small chance of gathering more common seeds, and attracts gentle rain.
An uncommon pet that brings a higher chance of gathering uncommon seeds but less chance for common pets. Also attracts rain.
A rare beetle that brings a higher chance of rare seeds but also a higher chance of disease.
Better known as foxglove, a common plant that attracts snails and common pets to the garden as well as gentle sunshine.
Better known as Angels Trumpet, an uncommon plant that attracts ladybirds and garden spiders but also heat.
Better known as Wolfsbane, a rare plant that attracts beetles to the garden but also high winds and torrential rain.
Level Design Flora, Pets & Weather
Once the overall level design had been decided I focused on detailed levels and qualities for each item.
Concept Art & Game Art
Originally I planned to only focus on three different plant and pet species but I found I had time to draw and create 6 of each; this meant during sprint 6 I created concept art and assets for Castor Oil, Water Hemlock and Nightshade plants while also adding the snail, earthworm and black ladybird.
The User Interface (UI)
I began designing the UI as part of the main mechanics of the mobile game, with daily missions, new seeds and a flora collection and planting page.
Deadly flowers you’ve collected will appear on pretty cards with their properties attached in a description.
An overview of your garden looking pretty in 2.5D is available to explore in the app.
To plant, tend, and assign pets you’ve attracted you will need to use the UI Screens.
To design the cards for Flora Fatalis I searched for inspiration again. Mutazoine has seed cards that are designed in a simple, easily readable and attractive design. While I would like to design something more complex, there’s little time!
Flora Fatalis Seed Cards
The cards also have properties and lore attached, so I took some time out of this sprint to make the cards. For inspiration I looked to books like Botanical Curses and Poisons: The Shadow Lives of Plants (Inkwright 2021) as well as traditional gardening books.
Fig 12. Masters 2021. Card Set Flora Fatalis
UI Icon Set
Fig 13. Hidea. 2021. Cats and Soup [image]
Fig 14. Green Panda Games. 2021. Sushi bar Idle [image]
Fig 15. Homa Games. 2021. Idle World [image]
Designing the layout of the garden
Garden Concept Designs & Garden Design
Inspiration for designing the garden layout came from my own modern garden design practice.
To make the artwork for my game simpler to reproduce for mobile and combine my 3D and 2D aesthetic I have decided to use an orthographic camera in a 3D space. *I changed my mind again later and switched back to a 3D space.
Sprint 5 felt productive but all the elements of the game are still ‘in the air’ and the vertical slice feels far from finished. The art is more rushed than I would have liked but there could be time to go over some of these elements in the next sprints.
List of Figures
Figure 1. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Flora LD.
Figure 2. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Pet LD.
Figure 3. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Weather LD.
Figure 4. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Water Hemlock.
Figure 5. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Nightshade.
Figure 6. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Ladybird.
Figure 7. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Snail.
Figure 8. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Earthworm.
Figure 9. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Castor Oil.
Figure 10. Die Gute Fabrik. 2021. Mutazoine [image] Mutazoine [online]. Available at: http://mutazionegame.com/presskit/ [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 11. Die Gute Fabrik. 2021. Mutazoine [image] Mutazoine [online]. Available at: http://mutazionegame.com/presskit/ [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 12. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Card Set Flora Fatalis.
Figure 13. Hidea. 2021. Cats and Soup [image] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/ph/app/cats-soup/id1581431235 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 14. Green Panda Games. 2021. Sushi bar Idle [image] The App Store [online]. https://apps.apple.com/us/app/sushi-bar-idle/id1438089337 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 15. Homa Games. 2021. Idle World [image] The App Store [online]. Available at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/idle-world/id1410042592 [accessed 1 Dec 2021].
Figure 16. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Icon Set Flora Fatalis.
Figure 17. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. New Seeds Flora Fatalis.
Figure 18. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. OrthographicCamera.
Cats and Soup. 2001. Hidea
Idle World. 2021. Homa Games
INKWRIGHT, Fez. 2021. Botanical Curses and Poisons: The Shadow Lives of Plants. Epsom, UK; Liminal 11
Mutazoine. 2019. Die Gute Fabrik
PLAYRIX. 2021. Fishdom User Interface. Behance. [online] Available at: https://www.behance.net/gallery/129249445/Fishdom-User-Interface?tracking_source=curated_galleries_game-design [accessed 27 Dec 2021].
PLAYRIX. 2021. Gardenscapes User Interface. Behance. [online] Available at: https://www.behance.net/gallery/129250811/Gardenscapes-User-Interface [accessed 27 Dec 2021].
To start creating a pitch deck I researched the information that should go into a typical indie mobile game pitch. I modelled the deck on ‘The Game Company Pitch Deck’ (2021) by The Games Fund while taking inspiration from gorgeous looking pitch decks for Backbone and Bear and Breakfast. Colour pallets and typography had already been decided in the art direction document for the game.
My first draft had all the facts and information that I needed but lacked a story. I realised I had made the “first mistake entrepreneurs Make” (Baker 2015). “The first is probably the easiest to say and the hardest to do they fail to tell – A story this is not bread. This is a collection of ingredients right, this is flour this is egg this is garlic, this is time a lot of pitches actually look like this because entrepreneurs think that they want they need to have a revenue slide and a product slide and a traction slide and a team slide and they just they do it like a checklist and then they end up having a pitch that sounds like and here’s the problem and here’s the solution and here’s the product and here’s the traction and here’s the market and it doesn’t flow it doesn’t convince anybody” (Baker 2015). And this is what my slides sounded like, a checklist of good information but no story. Fortunately, Baker (2015) has five things we can do better. Looking back over my pitch, I tried to do better at telling the story of Flora Fatalis.
Try to tell a story
Why is this the time to build Flora Fatalis?
Be exciting, what is exciting about us
What is unique about us
Try not to be like verybody else
The story is a strange and unique game, a gap in the market and an alternative to your average gardening game. We need to build it now before someone else has the idea and it is an exciting idea, a unique one inspired by The Poison Garden at Alnwick.
To answer these questions I added more in-game screenshots and images, as my concept art and game art progressed the pitch deck started to take a better shape. I also re-wrote some slides, paragraphs and headings, to have a beginning middle and end, a metaphor for a garden growing.
Figure 8. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Pitch Deck Cover Final.
Backbone. 2021. EggNut, Raw Fury
BAKER, Brendan. 2015. ‘5 Pitch Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make, and How To Fix Them’ [online lecture] YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr1PKaoflLo [accessed 27 Dec 2021].
Bear & Breakfast. 2021. Gummycat, Armor Games Studio
Games Industry Biz. 2021. ‘The Perfect Publisher Pitch Deck’. [online] GamesIndustry.biz . Available at: https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2021-08-17-the-perfect-publisher-pitch-deck [accessed 27 Dec 2021].
LIEU, Derek. 2021. ‘Derek Lieu Creative – Game Trailer Editor’. Available at: https://www.derek-lieu.com [accessed 27 Dec 2021].
KEEVAHH. 2021. ‘GUIDE FOR PITCHING TO PUBLISHERS’. Chucklefish [online]. Available at: https://chucklefish.org/blog/guide-for-pitching-to-publishers/ [accessed 27 Dec 2021].
THE GAME COMPANY. 2021. ‘The Game Company Pitch Deck by The Games Fund’. n.d. Available at: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1xoFUWgW9msRkaWZZZVThccnE_35Gt1ltkn2HfyuJRt8 [accessed 27 Dec 2021].
WINGS. 2021. ‘The (Nearly) Perfect Indie Game Pitch’. WINGS Blog [online]. Available at: https://medium.com/wings-blog/the-nearly-perfect-indie-game-pitch-5297182a7146 [accessed 27 Dec 2021].
To create a gradient sky, stars, sun, moon and fog. I followed a combination of tutorials from Boysen (2020), The Game Guy (2021) and Minions Art (2020).
Reaching for the stars
How to make a Gradient Skybox with Stars in Unity | Shader Graph Unity
Shader Graph : Stylized Skybox
To program a day-night cycle I set up an empty field and programmed the sun rotation with PlayMaker using a tween, I tried a few different options and times to get it to work.
Iteration 1 of Skybox Shader
Iteration 1 of Skybox Shader and day/night cycle
A 3D Greenhouse in Blender
Drawing the textures for the greenhouse.
Where it went wrong:
I started with ProBuiler which couldn’t model the greenhouse the way I wanted. Blender was a better choice but the hand-drawn textures I created were too detailed and complicated for a Mobile game and I was overworking it. The greenhouse also just looked awful!
How I fixed it!
I stated again with a much simpler concept, and modelled a basic shape in blender, then imported the model and used transparency on the import.
Indie Game Development for a small company or studio is a balancing act. I found myself making slow progress this sprint, submitting a business plan at the same time as a business plan involved putting on many different hats and spreading myself thin. In the future, I will plan sprints more realistically around my other commitments.
Sprint 4 was also my first foray into shaders and the first 3D model I’ve put into a game using Blender (although I have practised with Maya/Blender and previously used ProBuilder for a project). The shaders were easier than I had imagined and my favourite part of the sprint, the sky still needs tweaking but I felt I made good progress with the sky.
I have grown a little frustrated at my progress with blender, the environment and the background of my game. My work with shaders has gone well. The art asset creation will be carried into sprint 5 where I am working on the user interface and level design. I still need to design cards for the flower properties and other UI details, as well as animate what’s there with extra ‘juice’. Towards the end of Sprint 5, I hope to have some of my work polished enough to start recording a trailer, creating wallpapers, icons and begin adding sound and music and begin polishing my work for sprint 6.
I am also creating a storyboard for the trailer (which you can find under the blog post Creating a trailer), drafting wallpaper and extra artwork for the press kit this week.
List of Figures
Figure 1. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Shader Sky.
Figure 2. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Shader Materials not working.
Figure 3. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Fog, Sky gradient.
Figure 4. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Fog, Sky gradient2.
Figure 5. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. ProBuilder Greenhouse.
Figure 6. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Blender Greenhouse.
Figure 7. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Blender Greenhouse2.
Figure 8. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Blender Greenhouse3.
Figure 9. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Greenhouse sketch.
Figure 10. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Greenhouse concept.
Figure 11. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Greenhouse 3D.
BOYSEN, Jannik. 2020. ‘Reaching for the Stars ✨’. Medium [online]. Available at: https://medium.com/@jannik_boysen/procedural-skybox-shader-137f6b0cb77c. [accessed 6 Nov. 2021].
THE GAME GUY. 2021. ‘How to Make a Gradient Skybox with Stars in Unity | Shader Graph Unity’ [online lecture]. YouTube www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yw2J9NWRdow. [accessed 6 Nov. 2021].
Fig. 1 Greg Edwards created this fantastic sketch #MadeWithMentalCanvas. With amazing texture and expansive depth, it’s a wonderfully immersive scene. We can’t wait to see more amazing work by you all in the$100K #ReimagineDrawing Challenge 15 October 2021.
The Art Direction sprint started with researching 2.5D inspiration from games and prototypes like the crafting adventure Wytchwood, The Garden Path and 2D games like Mutazoine that have a gardening aesthetic. I also researched cool techniques and new aesthetics like Greg Edwards sketch made with Mental Canvas.
Art Direction Document
Flora Fatalis will be layered with 3D and 2D elements to create a distinctive art style for mobile phone gaming. SImple drawn and hand-painted ground, rocks, background and illustrated and eery aesthetic.
Retrospective on Sprint
I spent the last two weeks researching budgeting, funding, development, to iterate on the business plan and present something I could be proud of. I also made many logistical decisions in the process about my game, researching what will look and work well. The output of this sprint looks small but concept art and project decisions will save time in the future if you get them right now. I can also use concept art in my press kit, business plan and pitch.
List of figures
Figure. 1 Greg Edwards created this fantastic sketch #MadeWithMentalCanvas. With amazing texture and expansive depth, it’s a wonderfully immersive scene. We can’t wait to see more amazing work by you all in the$100K #ReimagineDrawing Challenge 15 October 2021.
Figure 2. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Angels Trumpet Concept.
Figure 3. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Foxglove Concept.
Figure 4. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Wolfsbane Concept.
Figure 5. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Spider sketch.
Figure 6. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Snail sketch.
Figure 7. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Worm sketch.
Figure 8. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Duchess1.
Figure 9. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Duchess2.
Figure 10. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Duchess3.
Figure 11 Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Moodboard.
Figure 12. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Concept.
Figure 13. Sarah MASTERS. 2021. Art Direction Document.