Saturday, March 6, 2010

Blind Sighted

So how do you go about creating a game for a device you have never seen, and all you know about it is an emulator and marketing pitch? The best you can do is to try to minimize the risks.

For Zen Bound we knew from the past that the touch screen transformed the inputs much more tactile. It almost feels like you're holding the object. So in order to guess how the bigger screen of iPad might change the game, I created a 1:1 model of the device to see how it affects it.

The thing we noticed was that at that size you don't use your finger anymore, but the whole hand. Also it helped us to decide the size of the object on screen and to estimate how we might need to change the rotation speed, etc. We will see how these things work out in practice.

So the bottom line is that if you have something unknown, you can transform it to an educated guess by probing the idea with a prototype. It is wonderful how you brain reorganizes stuff when you have some point of view to it. Let it be cartboard box and masking tape.


  1. That's so cool. I wasn't going to get an iPad but you're wearing down my ability to resist here :-)

  2. Great stuff :-) I first saw this approach described as the "wizard of Oz" style of GUI design, creating a mockup of screens with bits of card or powerpoint slides, and manually switching between them according to the users's described input. I find most developers are surprisingly reluctant to create such mockups - perhaps they think its always easier to just code it up. But look at the rendering and physics you got for free :D

  3. I love Zen Bound, but I'm hesitant to pay for it again :( I've been stung by paying again for Orbital HD and a few other games only to find they are the exact same game.

  4. ZB2 is not exactly the same game as ZB1. There are new gameplay mechanics, new levels and more rewarding tree structure. I think it is a whole new experience on iPad, but I might be biased :)