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
July 29, 2008
This is going to be a great week for me because it’s the start of Shark Week on the Discovery channel!
Yes, I’m a total shark geek! My very first memory of sharks was when I was three or four – my Dad had rented a videotape of Jaws and was watching it with my older sister, and the combination of the music and the sight of the large creature on screen scared me to the point that I bawled nonstop until my Dad resignedly stopped the movie halfway through. To this day, I can’t go swimming without the passing thought of a shark creeping up behind me…even if I’m in a swimming pool! Hey, don’t fault me for my overactive imagination – it comes in handy when I have to design dog toys. :)
Of course, after seeing multiple documentaries about sharks, it is now clear to me that sharks are really quite complicated and misunderstood creatures. And to pay homage to this magnificent creature, I decided to do a Room Candy version of the Great White.
Like any toys that we do, it all starts with a sample.
This shark sample needed some serious editing! There are three key things I needed to get right – the teeth, the fin and the tail. I knew that if I can get these features to look good, I got myself a shark toy that’s big, bad but also cute!
My edits, done in Roxio photosuite. In real life, sharks have multiple rows of teeth because they are continuously replaced, but I simplified our shark toy with just one row of *sharp* teeth made of felt. I also “fattened” up the toy so it looks more tubular in shape. While real sharks actually don’t make any sounds because they do not have vocal chords (funny how the movie version always roars like a lion!), our version squeaks!
Sharks – they always make my heart beat faster!
Extra yummy: You can read more about sharks on the Discovery channel’s website. There is also a feature where you can upload a picture of yourself and change your smile into a shark-tastic smile!
Tiki’s Before Picture: The Great White Maltese
Tiki’s After Picture: The Great White Smile?
Room Candy – always yummy
July 7, 2008
I think it’s fair to say that no one is immune to the cuteness of a panda. Those big black patches around the eyes, the sweet goofy demeanor coupled with the puffy rotund body – a panda always reminds me of a real life cartoon character!
To pay tribute to this adorable creature, I decided to do a Room Candy version of a panda toy. It wasn’t really hard to design – all I had to do was draw a few circles and ovals like so:
I decided for the second look because it’s more jolly. The first sample back from the factory was pretty much spot on, which is really rare because most toys usually take at least 3-4 tries to get right. Like I said, pandas are just like living dolls!
Initial panda toy sample. The only thing I had to do was switch to a furrier fabric and add a tail.
Here’s the final version of our Wally The Panda toy:
Big black eyes? Check. Happy expression? Check. Furry body? Check.
Bushy tail? Check!!
More yummy: I named our new panda toy after my dog Wally, so just for fun, I had Wally’s puppy picture photoshopped to look like a panda.
Wally the maltese puppy
Wally the pandanese!
Even more yummy: In 2005, a Japanese man made headlines when he decided to dye (with temporary dye) his rescued poodle/maltese mix to look like a Panda. Here’s a video of Columbo, the Panda Dog!
Room Candy – always yummy!
June 17, 2008
Spring and summer is prime wedding season – I know because I can never drive by a church on the weekends these days without seeing a wedding taking place. Anyway, that got me thinking about what I love most about weddings – the wedding cake, of course! In fact, if you haven’t guessed by now, the Room Candy Lemon Buttercream Rosette Cake is fashioned very much like a wedding cake:
It didn’t quite start out that way, though. The original idea was to make a fruit cake with white frosting. Here was the first sample made:
Yeah, it’s too yellow. Here’s version 2.0:
Now the cake looked too…pale? Here were my actual notes that I e-mailed back to my factory:
The third version with the pink on the outside still didn’t look right (I lost the picture – darn!), so I decided to go back to the drawing board and rethink the design. The “fruit” toppings were not cutting it, but I still needed something with color on top to balance out the cream fabric. Something pink…like a rose? Then it hit me – a wedding cake! Oh, I was so happy, I actually got up from my computer and did a little jig (the one where you kick one foot in the air sideways followed by the other foot; tapping the heels in midair. Repeat on the other side.). So finally, here’s the fourth version of the cake:
Now you know – just like real life baking, it may take a few tries to make plush cakes look right!
Hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at our toys!
Room Candy – always yummy!