Christophe Kohler, Game Design and Programming team leader talks to us about their first game, My Little Flufties.1. In this day and age of high tech shooters, blood and gore... various GTA clones. Why this route, why a kid's game... why Flufties?
As this is our first game, we decided to start with a simple game, a life simulator for kids although a lot of time and effort has gone into the game design to ensure the concept works well! Kids like cute drawings and do not take care about shaders and latest technology. We wanted to focus our work on the game itself and not on 3D engine. Saying that people have got back to us about the games great look and appeal and has created a lot of interest!2. I see from the various shots and videos that you've gone for a cell shaded look to the game, can you tell us why you went for this graphical method?
The render has been created not to show polygons and pixels. That’s why lot of elements are hand drawn. The mix of 3D / 2D is perfect for creating a cartoon universe. This endearing look will be pleasing on the eye for the younger audience and from tests we have done and also getting feedback from younger gamers we certainly have achieved what we had hoped for!
Here is a sample of what you can see in game and how it is done:
A complete making of have been written and can be seen here
. It is in French, but you can see lot of sample pictures on "production page"
.3. What are some of the design features you can tell us about, what was the most fun to design and implement?
The game is mainly based on the 5 creatures. We had lot of fun selecting them and testing the design on children. We selected the 5 most liked among 50 imaginary creatures. It is funny to see that what child prefer are divided in 2 class: the ones that prefer creatures that look like animals they know well (cat, dog, pig) and the preferred imaginary creatures (the same creature that scary the first category of child).
The fun thing in the game is the facial expression of creatures. We were really happy when we included this. The creature was brought to life.4. I'm reminded of old titles like Creatures. What is the inspiration behind the game, what prompted you to create it?
The main inspiration behind the game is “tamagocchi”. When we wrote “My Little flufties” concept, virtual animals’ games were not on the market yet and we thought that a revival of “tamagocchi” electronic game would be a good idea. One year later “nintendogs” appear and the success proved we were right. We believe we have the right balance in both the visual side of the game and the interaction offered!5. What's your most favourite feature of Flufties?
The music is certainly one of the best features. I wanted something in a symphonic style and Olivier De Riviere really composed something nice that fits perfectly the game. I’m quite proud of it, and sure that the sound atmosphere helps kids to feel relaxed (they need it).6. What is your favourite creature (Fluftie?)
The blue one with an extraterrestrial look! Saying that all the creatures have some kind of endearing quality!7. How many levels or areas are in the game?
The game is composed of three areas. The left zone is the starting zone. This is a peaceful place where creatures can find everything they need (food, games, water, shower). The middle area contains more games, and the right area is the most adventurous part, including a big lake where creatures can swim.8. What kind of features adds longevity to the game, is it possible to design/mix and match your own creature?
There are 5 mini-games inside the game. Kids can earn cups and medals on each game (depending on their scores). When a creature is growing up (3 different stages), it can access a new level of difficulty for each mini-games. So kids like collecting cups and medals for each game, for each level of difficulties and for each creature.
Some skills statistics are always computed for each creature: Jumping, Running, Swimming and Obedience. The aim is to reach 5 stars for each.
Game can be played with 1 to 5 creatures of the same species. So kids like creating several families and train them.9. Could you describe in a few words the kind of gameplay that's prominent in the game?
It is mainly a management game (always check the creature’s well being and if they need anything). The mini games learn to move and use mouse.10. What's the most important consideration when designing this kind of game, especially for kids?
Young kids (from 4) need time to understand how a game works, so the game must have a smooth learning curve. They also like simple features like the “take a screenshot” option. Graphics and atmosphere are also very important, as important as the design of the creatures.
So the game need to be though in a kid way. Keep everything simple and all will be alright.
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