Hello, we are Wiebke and Arnold, a small team from Berlin.
We love to build Games & Interactive-Stories for Touchscreens.


October 5, 2014

Weekly Update #28

Hello there!

This is weekly Update #28 this time with the new Zuki’s Quest update and some more Card Crawl news.

Zuki’s Quest 1.3
It’s been almost a year since we released our turn based Puzzle Platformer Zuki’s Quest. Zuki’s Quest has been our most downloaded title with over 100.000 downloads and also the worst one in terms of sales as described here: Why the monetization in Zuki’s Quest has failed.


With the introduction of the new iPhones we decided to take the opportunity to port Zuki’s Quest over from Stencyl to Unity and finally bring the game to all iOS devices including the iPad and the new iPhone 6. Besides the obvious graphical enhancements we also changed some of the core design.

The original Puzzle Design evolves around collecting 3 idols per level with the least amount of moves possible. If the player runs out of moves he has to start the level again. There are three ratings: bronze, silver and gold depending on how few moves the player has made to solve the puzzle. One of the weakest points in the design of the puzzle is that the game uses the 3 stars metaphor, but the actual act of collecting the idols is detached from the standard “collect 3 stars to gain the best rating” idea. The core gameplay of Zuki’s Quest is based on finding the optimal solution, once this solution has been found the levels don’t offer any replay value.

In the new version we want to address this problem by removing the “3 stars” rating completely. Instead we just track the highscore for the amount of moves the player has taken to complete 1) a level and 2) for the whole temple. Once the player completes a temple the sum of all moves will be submitted as a highscore to Game-Center where you can compare your solution to the ones others have found. This way you won’t be able to tell if you have found the optimal solution for a level and each level will offer you at least some replay value based on the complexity of the level it self. Additionally we cut the move limit, making the game way more generous in terms of how fast/slow you are with finding the initial solution for a level.
We did not introduced any new levels for now, but we fixed some of the levels to have a more open solution bandwidth.

The new update is already submitted and we will post once the new version will be available.

Card Crawl
Besides the Zuki’s Quest update we worked bit on Card Crawl. Mexer has been busy adding more card illustrations. In general we try to create a first basic playable version until the end of the month. We also keep the Card Crawl Tumblr up to date.
The next big thing we will be adding is a tutorial to explain the basic rules. Here are some of the new card designs:

Thats it for this week, have a nice sunday!

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September 20, 2014

Weekly Update #27

Hello, this is Weekly Update #27. This week we want to write a bit about the way we handle the new screen sizes which were introduced with the iPhone 6 and 6+.

One screen size to rule them all
With the recently introduced iPhone 6 and 6+ two new screen sizes have been added to the pool of 4 sizes. Both of the new iPhones have a screen ration of 16:9 just like the iPhone 5. The iPhone 6 has a screen size of 750px width and 1334px height, the iPhone 6+ is way larger with 1242x2208px. To get a feeling for all 6 devices we have created a simple size comparison in Photoshop first:


After some tests we found out that the simplest solution for creating a very flexible screen design for all sizes, is to create assets on the highest possible resolution and scale down / cut from there. To create a new “master” resolution we take the width from the iPad Retina (Portrait) 1536px and for the height we use the double of the iPhone 5 height which is 2272px. This has the advantage that we can scale down by 2 to support the smaller iPhone resolutions and for the iPad Retina and the iPhone 6+ we just cut away content. Our new Master file looks like this now:


Scale & cut
Designing for multiple screen sizes always includes thinking about how to fill and cut parts of your interface. Especially when your design, for example Zuki’s Quest, is based on a very rigid grid that can’t be scaled or changed for each device size. We started from the smallest resolution and created filler assets to display something for the larger screen sizes. Here is a comparison how the master resolution is scaled and cut down for each devices:


As seen from the graphic we scale and cut for each device. One minor flaw are the uneven scaling factors for the new iPhones. Unfortunately its not possible to scale them on even numbers with this approach, so we scale the game to the correct height and scale the width accordingly to it. In this scenario we loose one pixel on the side, where the game view cuts this one pixel from the original design. But as we know on retina devices one pixel is practically not visible and so we have a pretty good solution to deal with each devices size.
In our scenario we use Unity with the 2D Toolkit which does a great job on handling the different screen sizes, positioning of the game view and also the scaling for each device. Depending on what tools you will use, things might be a bit different, but you get the general idea:
One set of assets, scale and cut to fit the different devices.

Thats it for this week, we hope you like this small “technical” writeup and to see you next week!

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September 6, 2014

Weekly Update #26

This is Weekly Update #26 with more Card Crawl news.

“Final Design”
Last time i was posting about the final design of Card Crawl and that we were pretty close. Guess what, we weren’t. After some serious analysis of the Gamedesign we came to the conclusion that the design does not achieve what the initial vision for the Game was. As written in Weekly Update #24 the original vision for the Game was (and still is) to create a Dungeon Crawler Card Game that takes inspiration from Hearthstone and Scoundrel. But the game we designed until this point wasn’t either one of those.
This is why we let the old version die completely and started from the beginning. Our new version now is a way better attempt of merging these two games into a fresh new idea. One thing though we had to scrap also is the idea that we could work out the design with just a regular card deck. Even though we had to make some compromises there we have a very solid game now.

Card Crawl 3.0
The goal of the new design is to work through a deck of 54 cards and collect as much gold as possible without dying before all cards are played. The new design is based on a few simple ideas.

You get a deck of cards consisting of a fixed amount of Monster-, Sword- (Spades), Shield- (Clubs), Potion- (Hearts), Coin- (Diamonds) and Specialcards. The deck gets shuffled and 4 cards are dealt to the table. The player has 4 “slots” to place cards from the table: Lefthand, Player, Righthand and the Backpack slot. In order to use any of the equipment or special cards the player needs to place these in one of his hands and can play them from there. Monster cards deal damage to the player, these cards need to be placed on the player slot or a shield card. Once three cards from the table are played the room is complete and three new cards from the top of the deck a dealt to the open table slots.


Sword cards can attack monster cards directly on the table but get consumed by this action. Shield cards can be placed in the hand slot and reduce the incoming damage of any monster card. Potions work in the same way, once placed one of the hand slot they are used to refill the player health. Coins work a bit different. When they are place in the hand or backpack they stay there until the room is cleared (3 table cards are removed). If the room is cleared coin cards and empty potion cards get removed automatically. Sword, Shield and Special Cards are permanent and until they are consumed they stay in the player’s hands. The backpack can hold any card besides the monster cards.

There are two other options to deal with the incoming cards which are to redraw the 4 table cards (before interacting with any of them), which costs 10 gold and to sell equipment cards for additional gold to the shop. This is where the scoring of the game gets interesting. In order to get a good score the player needs to collect as much gold as possible. But the coin cards are limited to a total of 64 Gold. To gain more gold it’s necessary to sell equipment cards to the shop. This means that the more equipment the player can sell the more gold he gets, but also the more difficult the overall game will get, because of the missing equipment to deal with the monster cards. To make this general design more interesting the special cards are introduced.

The special cards are the dynamic part of the game. In the first version there will be 20 special cards in total. In each play through 5 special cards are shuffled into the deck. Special cards take a lot of inspiration from Hearthstone and can do various things. For example one of the basic special cards is “Vanish”. Vanish can be used to leave a room at any given point. The card “Swap” will exchange the card values of the selected card with the one adjacent to it. Another example is the card “Frenzy” which will enable the player to use a equipped sword card two times. The 20 cards (without spoilers) are: Sap, Exchange, Morph, Steal, Vanish, Confuse, Swap, Leech, Potionize, Buff, Betrayal, Swipe, Lucky Shot, Killing Blow, Sacrifice, Reflect, Frenzy, Bash, Midas Touch and Trade.

We will integrate two modes for Card Crawl, one where 5 special cards are randomly chosen from the pool of unlocked cards and one mode where the player can choose 5 cards from the pool to create his own mini-deck. Special cards introduce a lot of variatey and it will be very intersting to see which combinations of cards will be the best to create good scores.

Art by Mexer
As we have hinted several times before we will work with another special guest artist on this project. This time we could convince the fabulous Max Fiedler aka Mexer to help us out with his amazing art style. To finish this post and leave you with a little teaser, here is the first draft of the graphcial design of Card Crawl. Have a nice Weekend!


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