Development on "Alien Worlds Explorer" began around September of 2011 and ended around July 2012. It was to be a toy/sandbox game app intended for tablets. Users would have been able mix and match a variety trees, rocks and skies and change the colours. Certain arrangements of scenery elements would trigger animals and insects to appear. All the scenes would have been animated; wind blown leaves and clouds, animals moving around, etc. Unfortunately, the coder had other obligations and could no longer work on the app. As I'm not a programmer, I was forced to halt development on the project.
Here for the first time is a complete overview of how the app developed.
Alien Worlds Explorer (A.W.E.) was originally conceived of as a minigame for a 3d exploration/adventure game. I felt it was strong enough of a concept to be a stand-alone game. With the emerging market for tablets, it seemed a perfect fit for touch-based mobile gaming.
Below are mockups using final assets that would have been available in the game. Also included is a timelapse of the creation of a set of assets.
The UI went through a few different iterations. I originally wanted rich, realistic textures but admittedly, it's an overwrought and confusing interface.
I decided to completely rethink the entire UI and simplify it's styling. The new design shifted the focus from the UI widgets and chrome to what the user should be looking at, the actual game.
World and scenery settings would appear in expandable menus on the left or right side of the screen, depending on where the user touched and what element and it's position. This was to give the user the best, least obstructed view of the scene from sky to ground. The menus are also contextual depending on what the user clicks on.
I originally thought that icons alone for the menus would make localisation easier. On further consideration, I realised that the icons alone wouldn't necessarily convey what they were for so I added an option to turn on text. This option would likely have been the default.
Early Alpha Video
There's a very short snippet of video from the first alpha in this first development video. The video after that includes a much longer demonstration of the second alpha.
The following are videos I created in Adobe After Effects to demonstrate how animation and particle effects should look in the game engine.
I put a lot of thought and work into "Alien Worlds Explorer". While I'm glad to finally show it, I'm also sad that it will never be released. It would be easy to be disheartened by this experience but I choose to think of it as an invaluable learning experience. And you can't learn without failure.