How Occupy Wall Street Inspired Bad Candy.
Paul Naylor – Games Developer & Founder of LandShark Games
At the end of 2011, a movement called ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protested against social and economic inequality, greed, corruption and the perceived undue influence of corporations on government. Inspired by this worthy cause, and the catchphrase “We are the 99%”, I wrote a simple Flash game in mid November 2011 that I shared with my family. The objective was simple, find the greedy and corrupt living among us, and shame them … if only it was that simple in reality.
You can play the original game here:
A year later, we were looking for a game to come after our first title ‘Aviator‘, published on Facebook, by 6waves. This one came up as an idea that would be something new and unlike anything out there. It would be cross-platform, suitable for iPhones and iPads as well as Facebook.
January 3rd 2013, we signed up for an apple developer account and 4 days later had the game running on an iPhone 5. It ran on an iOS device, but it looked awful.
The game needed a theme. Understandably the stunning (-ly bad) programmer art above did not get the approval of my Art Director, Kim. We re-imagined the game as a packet full of good candies, among which one or more bad candies have insinuated themselves.
Thus “Bad Candy” was born.
Bad Candy: Minesweeper’s Smarter, More Challenging Sibling.
But the game wasn’t finished evolving yet. The game-play involved a lot of staring followed by a single click that would mean winning the level or losing a life. Early feedback suggested that we should have multiple clicks along the journey to completing a level. Instead of looking and clicking on the one bad candy amongst the good. So we turned it around, inversed the play mechanics to make players deduce where the bad candies are first, clicking away the good candies to reveal the positions of the bad candies. Just like minesweeper you have to flag the ones that you know that are ‘bad’ (or bombs in the case of minesweeper) and click on the spaces that don’t have these ‘bombs’ to survive the level.
After this revelation, we modified the game and presented it to a select few at Casual Connect in mid-May. It helped that it had the new art, and the early levels were running smoothly on an iPad 3.
The rest of the story is adding all the stuff the game needs for production, items to purchase, more levels, boss levels, showing your friends progress for those who are competitive, and helping your friends by giving lives and keys. Performance tuning, synchronising the game across multiple platforms and devices, handling different screen resolutions, dealing with limited memory, and varying processor speeds from a iPhone 3GS to a iPad 4. And not to mention the ability to keep playing seamlessly regardless of whether you have a connection to the Internet or not, and still have your progress synchronised. That all took a lot of time: 3 Programmers and 5 more months.
In early September we soft launched the game on Facebook canvas and then continued to develop the tutorial further. It was a challenging task to get the tutorial right as the game-play was unlike many of the popular games out there. We submitted our game to the nice folks at Apple in September and twice again in October. By the time the approval came through, the canvas version of the game had changed to the point that we needed to submit a new iOS version. Finally, on Oct 30, we got approval for the version we wanted to ship and released it to the world.
We hope you’d like it, we made it for you, the 99%.