The Making Of Pimple Popper for iPhone
May 1, 2009
Hi, all -
I’m so stoked to announce that the first game out of my new game division (Room Candy Games) called Pimple Popper is now available for the iPhone and iPhone Touch! Pimple Popper plays exactly as you would expect – lots of morbid sound effects, graphics, and realistic squeezing motions on your iPhone when you “squeeze” the pimples. And of course, like in real life, there’s plenty of icky splatting! :)
I’ve always enjoyed writing about the behind-the-scenes work involved in developing Room Candy products (whether it is cake dog toys or a pimple game), but more importantly, you’ll be surprised just how much work and analysis were put into this silly, gaggy game!
Check out the video of me demonstrating to the developers the mechanics of the pimple game.
LOOK OF THE GAME
I wanted the game to look cartoony but still have the different types of pimples somewhat recognizable. The original concept was to just have one face and have the number of pimples increase with each level.
Hmm, this one is way too cartoony. I wanted the game to have a mini hidden object element built in where you zoom in on one part of the face and then scroll throughout the face for a pimple to pop, so the face will have to be more realistic.
Much cuter! If you notice, the alternate art on the right side is for when you finish the level, where the girl breaks out into a smile. I have a compulsive habit of naming things even though they are inanimate, so she’s fondly known as Vivi because she looks a little bit like my older sister. Which of course is extremely ironic because the real Vivi has the most perfect skin ever! There are a total of five different faces in the game (3 girls, 2 guys), one different face for each level.
Now that the faces are set, time for the sound effects (my favorite part!). For each character, I needed sounds to convey that the player has squeezed the pimples successfully, and ones to indicate that the player is squeezing too hard. Rather than post the final cuts of what is used in the game, I thought you’ll get a bigger kick of listening to the ones that were NOT chosen. These two clips are actually a guy impersonating as a girl – what can I say, there are not many women in the game development community available for voiceover work!
//Folks, the way WordPress embeds sound files is really funky. Click on one of the sound links below, which will bring you to another page. Click on the second “Pimple Popper Fake Girl #x” line that you see on the page to hear the audio clip.
//If you still can’t hear the files, here are the direct URLs to the sound clips
CHOOSING AN ICON
The developers were nice enough to whip up 3 choices.
This one was a no brainer – I chose the first one because it basically summarizes the game in a nutshell.
That pimple looks ripe ‘n ready to pop!
SUBMISSION TO APPLE – ATTEMPT #1
After debugging and compressing the app multiple times (the original file size was 24 mbs – oy!) with the developer over the course of a couple of weeks, I finally hit “submit app” in the Apple’s developer center at 5:32 am in the morning. “I hope they are okay with the groaning sounds in the game,” I jokingly said to the developer. “It would suck if we had to take the sounds out because it’s what makes the game funny.”
….cut to 5 days later. I got an e-mail from Apple with the following text:
Thank you for submitting your application to Apple’s App Store. Unfortunately, your application, Pimple Popper 1.0, cannot be added to the App Store because it uses standard iPhone screen images in a non-standard way, potentially resulting in user confusion. Changing the behavior of standard iPhone graphics, actions, and images, or simulating failures of those graphics, actions, or images is a violation of the iPhone Developer Program agreement which requires applications to abide by the Human Interface Guidelines.
In Pimple Popper 1.0, there is an image of a cracked screen when the user fails to pop a pimple successfully. See attached screen shot.
Seriously??? To think that I first wanted to change the “cracked effect” to something that looked even more realistic because it looked somewhat cheesy to me. Oh well, what doesn’t “break” you makes you stronger (play sad trombone sound effect here). Here’s the revised version of the “splat” when you squeeze a pimple unsuccessfully.
New sound effect: Pimple Popper Splat Sound
Resubmitted the revised build, waited a few more days, and voila! I am officially an iPhone publisher. :)
Look, Ma, I got a game out on the iPhone (lower right corner). And I desperately need to check my e-mail inbox!
You can get Pimple Popper at the iTunes store for a pimply $0.99. You can also easily download the game directly from your iPhone if you’re connected to the internet via wifi (Go to “Settings”, and turn your Wi-Fi settings to “On” when you’re in a wifi hot zone).
The feature that required the most edits for Pimple Popper was actually the background music. The very first background music had too much synthesizers which I found to be grating. Background Music Version #2 came back to be too “zen”.
This is sounding to be like the goldilocks & 3 bears story….music is too irritating; music is too relaxing…good thing my developers were good sports about it. I actually ended up using a royalty free music loop that is used for the main game, although we still needed an intro music that would be similar to the background music.
Okay, this one is sounding much more snazzy. I’m starting to like it….
This was meant to be in the intro clip where you see the Room Candy Games logo and the Pimple Popper logo, but alas, due to the original game file size being too big (24 mbs), the developers hacked and slashed and compressed the file down to 17 mbs, and ended up leaving the intro music out.
Room Candy Games
http://www.roomcandygames.com – site is now live!
Room Candy – always yummy