26 Jun Creating the Pet Creator
One of the major aspects of Sky Pets is the ability to create your own pet. We wanted this super early in the project and put a lot of time into the real creator so you would have simple and powerful tools. Although they’re now pretty awesome it took some time for the pet creator to become what it is today.
It used to look like this. It was barely functional and extremely buggy. This was just to get things moving obviously but we needed this for our first demo back in March 2013. The back-end was in place and the pets needed data or else they would just be blobs of parts. So Ryan created this early version of the pet creator within an hour to facilitate our needs even though we were only showing 3 pets. The three X’s represented what pet to load with brown being Boomer; tan being Rusty; and gray being Luna. The sliders would move the pets parts and change the colors of them. Since we were working with pre-made pets we didn’t have to change parts textures just reposition them. I’m so glad that we don’t have to use this version of the creator anymore.
Since the first version was a hot fix for our March demo we didn’t mind it looking and feeling bad. But once we got back from the Game Developer’s Conference we decided to create one that actually works well. It was a challenge for us to come up with an interface that would fit the needs of the game. The pet creator needs to allow the ability to easily find parts, move them around quickly, and change their colors all while being on a mobile screen vertically which provides a spacing challenge. The pet takes up a ton of space on the screen so you can see every change immediately so the menus are placed in a way that wouldn’t cause clutter. It took us a few tries with our concepts.
We finally decided on one while at our favorite place to work/eat Village Inn. It divided the screen into two parts where the pet would be on top and the menus would be on bottom. The need to be able to show the pet and the content easily was really important to us and we really didn’t want to compromise either. After deciding on the layout we created the first prototype and added in things like the ability to randomize you pet for silly creations.
The layout was simple, it allowed us to showcase the content, and the tools were easy to use even in this early version of the editor. You have the part category grid on the orange bar to switch between the available parts, the toolbox which houses all the sliders to make changes to your pets, and the paint panel to quickly change the color of the parts. The last thing we needed was the ability to change the pets voice profile and pitch along with the ability to name your pet.
After a few weeks we polished up the creator by replacing the placement graphics and adding in transitional animations to the menus. The buttons are now bigger for easier pressing and beautiful graphics. The sliders show up when you press the blue tool button on the right hand side for quick editing. This way we’re able to show the great options available and give the tools needed in a way that does not clutter up the screen as you create the pet.
I’m excited to see all the great creations made with our tools from the community when we release Sky Pets.
Check out the rest of the screen shots and let us know what you think in the comments below or on our Facebook page.