Wednesday, 7 March 2012

A Grin Development

   Today marks exactly two years since I had an idea, so I thought for today’s blog I would share a grin development, or how my game Grindle got to where it is now from that day.

A Simple Idea – Grindle Prototype

   I came up with the original idea for Grindle on the 7th March 2010, after my friend discussed with me about doing a game together for mobiles and if I had any ideas. 
   At that point I didn’t have a clue, but when I went to bed my strange mind got to work and when I awoke the next day I had Grindle in my head, a game where you are shown a row of four grins of different colours and then after are asked to pick a certain colour. A simple idea that I felt would be easy for my friend to program but would also make for an interesting game. So that next morning I set about doing some rough graphics and even knocked up a basic version of the normal game in Game Maker to show him what I had come up with. There were also three additional modes – Time Attack, Full House, and Grindle Mode.

   So with the Prototype complete my friend set about doing a version for Android. A number of months passed and progress was slow, with eventually the project seeming to die, but I wasn’t willing to let it end there and as I am one never to look at something and say I can’t do that, I decided to do a version of my game myself.

A Foolish Plan - Grindle Extreme

   Returning to Game Maker I set about implementing the other three modes. I had no experience with programming so this was very much a learning process, trying to work out how to make random grids, having countdown clocks and various game play ideas that I hadn’t a clue how to do. 
   At this point I came up with the design having a tribal tattoo feel to it, which would hopefully appeal to the a modern Alternative market. 
   After a few months of hair pulling work I eventually had it done and in November of 2010 released Grindle Extreme on the Game Maker site. It got a few good comments and made me realise a number of things that needed adding, but it was an achievement for me to have got the game complete and working to how my initial design had laid out.

   The game then sat there twiddling its fingers until in 2011 when I decided to submit it to the publishers of Game Maker, as they also published some of the games made with GM. The creator of Game Maker replied to me a couple of months later and said he felt that the game was interesting and well executed, but he didn’t think there was enough in it. I asked him if I gave it an update would he be willing to have another look and he said he would.

The Final Fantasy - Grindle Oni   

   With the goal of adding more I then spent two months making the next version of Grindle, which I called Oni. The Alternative tribal look was refined, the graphics were all redrawn for a potential HD product and a lot was added. The game now had an additional nine game modes including a follow the light pattern game, a variation on Find the Lady, and a twist on the picture puzzle games. 
   I learnt a lot during this time about programming and it was even trickier doing it as I had to add the new elements while also building them around the existing ones. But two months later I had Grindle Oni finished, it had 120 Challenges, a tweak system to alter the game, and two new tunes to go with the original, yes I did the music also.

   So there is stood Grindle Oni, and again I felt I had achieved a lot with this. Looking back on the original what once looked good now looked very crude in comparison. And then I submitted it back to the publisher. 
   A while later I got the response, an extensive list of feedback on my game and apart from some cosmetic elements that could be improved the overall comment was there was too much. Yes the game now had too much content, is it possible for a game to have too much?

   In typical Winterflood fashion I had made the game too much. 

   Later he put me on to another company who was now handling the publishing of their games; the man there looked at the Grindle Extreme version by mistake and said he was interested but when I showed him the Oni version they pondered it for a couple of months.

   In the end they felt it didn’t fit their idea of the mobile market today, so I had manage to produce a game that matched my books and art, something distinctly me but without a possible market. With this apparently final nail in its being published I then decided this month to share the game with the rest of the world, it would just be sitting on my computer doing nothing otherwise, and I still think people will enjoy it.

   I hope you enjoyed this little recap of the games journey from quick idea to final product, I don’t know if there may be still some development in it but it is there for people to play and hopefully have fun with. So please now raise a glass and wish Grindle a happy birthday and if it had a cake it would no doubt have a Grin on it :)


  1. That's so interesting. I never really thought about the work or even HOW games like this were created.

    1. Glad you liked it, obviously it was only a brief overview leaving out much of the dirty details and swearing :)

      I worked as a game designer many moons ago but this is the first game I have completed, so it was a very interesting and rewarding project, and in the end I only had myself to chase up about getting things to work.