O n January 2019, at the ICONIC Lab Team, we asked ourselves … how much of a game’s POC can we build in a two-weeks sprint?
The idea was to try new technologies and define basic POCs based on core gaming mechanics. So we decided to take action and brainstorm together. We managed to come up with 20 game ideas. We voted for our top 10, and the results were 5 amazingly fun POCs we are sharing with you in this post.
Description: in MonstAR you are a monster from a Japanese movie. You can attack a city using fire and laser superpowers. Nevertheless, humans will try to stop you, so you must survive the wave attacks.
Inspiration: MonstAR is a face tracking/ facial expression recognition based retro style wave-based action AR game.
Learnings: Looking back some of the biggest learnings were to properly use the modeling technique of blend shapes. We improved our skills in face tracking and facial expression recognition. Also, we merge static digital content and Augmented Content using ARKit.
Description: Bumpy bus is an infinite runner made for mobile and later adapted for tvOS. While playing it you get to be a reckless bus driver. Your mission is to pick up passengers so you can earn credits. Be careful to evade traffic, if you crash into other cars, you lose.
Inspiration: The team wanted to capture the essence of urban Latin American street transportation.
Learnings: By creating this game we better understood the use of shaders by giving the road a curve effect. Also, we learned to smoothly spawn an infinite road and procedurally generate the game’s environment. Heads up! … If you want to adapt a mobile game into a tvOS game by using UNITY, pay close attention to the UI and UX adaptations.
Description: Piñatapocalypse is a continuous-tapping game where you have to tap piñatas to defeat them. It was built using Unity 2018.2, Maya, Photoshop, Audacity, Z-brush, Illustrator, Sketch and Visual Studio.
Inspiration: Our team L-O-V-E-S Zombies … who doesn’t, anyway? … So we combined zombies and piñatas as a clicker game
Learnings: Piñatapocalypse was by far the most fun to develop. We learned how to build 2D characters in Unity to later animate them and bring them to life with facial expression, sounds, and movement. We had lots of fun creating the power-ups store as well. It also gave them experience on idle mechanics.
Description: Project War is a multiplayer game where each player is located at each side of the field, they both have 1 tower, 2 tanks, 2 airplanes, and 5 soldiers. The player may move or attack with 1 troop per turn. Whoever destroys the enemy tower first wins the game.
Inspiration: We love AR and we’ve talked about it in other posts, so we wanted to explore how would it be if you could use the same mechanic using a turn-based, table-top, multiplayer, chess-style AR game for teens.
Learnings: Since it was the first time developing a turn-based mechanic game, it ended up being a great way to practice it. Another important learning was how to quickly prototype a game idea. Always remember that the use of post-its and pen is never out of style.
Description: Robot Anarchy is a space shooter game where in order to gain a high score, your main goal is to destroy as much amount of enemy waves as possible.
Inspiration: We wanted to combine space invaders games, Touhou Projects, which is a series of shooting games, and hacking games like NieR: Automata.
Learnings: Since Robot Anarchy was the last POC we built, the biggest learning was to realize how important it is to have a well define idea before getting to the coding part. Anything from markers to Post-Its will add value to the definition of the gameplay. Robot Anarchy was not in the initial brainstorming, it was added later after the team got involved in other projects.
The original result was to create something similar to a hacking game called Nier: Automata. Nevertheless, after analyzing the gameplay we concluded it was not compatible with mobile devices and it was decided to change the game to a new one in which the assets that were already created and could be reused. It finally ended up being a bullet hell game with a stage similar to space invaders and stays in that loop until the player loses his 3 lives.
One last thought
By doing this experiment we learned that a two-week sprint is a good time frame to create the game mechanics and coding of these games. It is also important for any PM or PO to consider an extra week to polish those POCs with basic UI or UX.
Would you like to try any of these early POCs? Let us know on the comment section below and we will send you an invite to the testflight build.