Gaming company Big Fish is showing the steps behind creating it’s latest offering for the iPad, called “Fetch”. It’s a story about a boy trying to save his dog, named “Bear”. WSJ’s Jason Bellini has the story behind an app.
Chris Campbell, a 39-year-old game director at Big Fish Games in Seattle, wanted to make a mobile game about his dog, Bear. That personal inspiration kicked off the lengthy process of creating “Fetch.”
In a video interview (watch above), Mr. Campbell discussed the five steps to making the game, which took a team of nine people an entire year and cost Big Fish just over $1 million. The game, due out this month, follows the journey of a boy trying to rescue his dog.
Mr. Campbell says the development process began a year ago with artists sketching hundreds of drawings, starting with the game’s two main characters, the boy and dog, and moving to the setting and story line. The sketches and story boards helped the company come up with a single premise, which supported every decision in the production process. For “Fetch,” the premise was, “What if a boy’s dog was stolen by a hungry fire hydrant?”
- An original sketch of the boy in the game “Fetch.”
The team then went to work for three months building the first 10 minutes of “Fetch.” Illustrators converted the concept drawings into computer renderings. 3-D animators gave the characters a digital “skeleton,” which they then used to “rig” and “weight” the models.
For the next nine months, artists, animators and game developers collaborate on a production map to program in different “if-then” scenarios, depending on the choices the players make. For example, “if” the boy has a dog bowl, and he touches the sink, “then” the bowl fills with water. To make the characters and other objects respond to the human touch, developers relied on math, logic, and physics.
At the end of the process, the game was handed off to a quality-control team, which spent all day “trying to break it,” Mr. Campbell said.
After three weeks of bug fixes, “Fetch” was sent to Apple Inc. for approval in the App Store. The game is scheduled to launch on March 21 and sell for $4.99.
The making of “Fetch” is currently an exhibit at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle. Here are more photos courtesy of Big Fish:
- Some initial game play ideas for the park, the game’s third chapter. Big Fish says most of these ideas were refined and implemented in different ways. The crow for instance became a paper airplane.
- A series of sketches showing how the art team created the final look of the boy and his dog.
- This is the original design for the first area of the game. At each location (A – X) the boy could perform a certain number of tasks. This document helps the developers understand what the possible actions are for each of those locations.