Ice Cream Disaster is the first game I've ever developed. UI design, 3D meshes, programming, soundtrack, I did it all by myself. I gave myself a nine-month deadline to complete the game and release the outcome. The main goal was to publish a finished simple game and learn as much as possible in the process.
Logo & App Icon Designs
A demo version of the game was released firstly on January 30th with its own logo. I had a few months to A-B test the app icon and choose the one that worked best.
Character & Player Designs
Players came along after deciding which levels I'd develop. It made sense to have a lost tourist as character on a volcanic island or a slacker dinosaur mascot in an amusement park. Varying height, shape and colour I managed to design nine simple and fun players that, even when reusing face expressions, looked very different from each other.
Nine little short animations helped introduce the characters on social media.
The turtle and Vanbert are supporting non-playable characters.
Ice Cream Cone Designs
Cones can be unlocked and are used to catch ice cream scoops as they fall. Some of them have special abilities that make the game easier.
Originally, cones were supposed to have an expressive fun face that would react to the amount of scoops they were carrying. I also intended to give them many different shapes to make them more distinct.
The game felt too cluttered with an extra face that was half-hidden by the character's hand and the player's finger. The cone wasn't even fully visible for most of the game. Eventually I came up with a simpler solution which only involved changing the cone' skin.
Level Background Designs
There's nine unlockable levels that signify the player's advance through the game. When deciding which would be the stages the player would visit to beat the game I asked myself, which could be fun places to be catching ice cream scoops?
Even though the level backgrounds seem two-dimensional, in-game they're actually flat 3D objects designed on Illustrator and extruded in Blender. Placing one in front of the other creates a sensation of depth and height. Also, using 3D meshes instead of transparent PNG images improved the game's performance greatly.
Ice Cream Flavour Designs
Ice cream scoops come in different flavours. Some are very common and worth little but others are rare, hard to find and very valuable. One of the secondary goals of the game is collecting all of the more than 60 different flavours available through the levels.
I developed 4 different functional versions of the scoop expressions after finding the right one. Originally they would react to inclination or power-ups, but this supposed a high toll on the device's performance. Once again, simplifying further was the answer.
Obstacles & Power-ups
Funny things that may fall on your ice cream. Obstacles will mess everything up while power-ups improve your score or your cone's balance. Obstacles can melt, smash or abduct the ice cream scoops while some power-ups or cones may prevent it.
I released an early four-level demo with the idea of using other player's feedback to improve and debug the game. I also designed a few assets to promote it with the very limited materials I had to work with.
An animated countdown hyped the game's social media accounts during the last 5 days before the demo's release.
UI & Icons
Like many other elements in the game, the user interface went through a simplification process in which only the most essential elements for the game remained.
During the first week of the development phase I created a quick prototype version of the game to test if it was fun. It was fun! So I went further and added a point counter, a cone button, a score screen, a menu... and slowly built Ice Cream Disaster.
I animated the game's intro using Unreal's UMG function to keep the game lighter than it would have been if I had just embedded video files on it. It also allowed me to create little dynamic variations that can trigger depending on the selected level or character.
Using tweaked game sprites and concept art I designed a series of promotional illustrations to showcase the game's themes and feel to new players.
Social Media Content
In order to build brand hype, attract as many players as possible before launch and become visible to search engines I started publishing content on Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, Youtube, Reddit and Facebook seven months before the release of the game.
Trailers & Adverts
Finally, I put together four adverts / trailers combining gameplay recordings, social media content, in-game animations and After Effects sequences to pique new player's interest after the release of the game.