A while ago, we built a suite of games for BBC Bitesize, featuring the loveable Max & Molly character. We’re often asked what exactly goes into building a suite of games like those, so we thought we’d put together a bit of a summary of what we do…
After nailing down some rough concepts, we start doing sketches, for both the clients benefit, but also for our own. You can’t beat a good sketch!
Once everyone’s happy with the sketches, it’s important to fill those out into complete storyboards. This avoids any confusion about how the games work, but also help us figure out exactly what additional illustrated assets we’ll need further down the line.
After the storyboards were done, we then knew exactly what characters would be needed. Each game has either Max or Molly as a lead character, often supported by Pablo. So the challenge was to really push the limits of how far we could take the characters to make them feel unique to each environment. So by the end of the job we ended up with a pretty impressive array of outfits for them all!
It was also at this stage that our illustrators had to start thinking about all the different poses, walk-cycles, celebrations and expressions that each character would need – often bespoke to each environment. Here’s a few poses we did for Max for the Rock n’ Roll game.
And here’s a bunch of poses we did for Molly for the Deep Sea Phonics game.
And here’s the many faces of my favourite character in the games… Pablo!
Across all the games we came up with dozens of different environments – with lots of the games having very different environments for each of their three difficulty levels. Here’s an expanded view of one of the scrolling Enviro-spotter levels:
And here’s just a quick snapshot of a handful of the other environments we came up with.
And where would all our characters be without some interesting objects to interact with? We reckon that across this job we’ve illustrated pretty much any animal you can think of, and endless amount of objects… from pirate treasure chests, to witches cauldrons and jars of popcorn.
It was at this point, once we had all the illustration assets and voice-over recordings done that we then started making the games themselves! All done in Flash, there’s a stack of lovely animation we put in, sometimes for things which only appear on screen for a few seconds, and because of his animation prowess, Adam even created his own genre off the back of the project… Adam-ation!
As is always the case with big projects like these, there were lots of things which got drawn up which unfortunately never made it to screen so we thought we’d finish by showing some of them off to you here, so at least the effort gone in wasn’t completely in vain!