Is there such a thing as too much fluff or game juice?
Got Game Juice?
At what point does fluff (jazz, juice, sparkles etc.) become too much and start to detract from actual enjoyable game play. If everything I’ve ever read on the internet were true the answer would be never. In all reality if you had asked me that question a month ago everything I know from game development would have told you that there could never be enough juice in a game, and that still may be true for most games. However I reached a crucial point in developing our latest game “Going Bananas” recently.
Going Bananas is about Joe Jones a boy treasure hunter that has his gold stolen from him by a pesky ape named Ding Dong. Joe chases Ding Dong to the jungle and must climb trees in order to get back his gold. While climbing the trees Joe must jump from tree to tree dodging flaming bananas being hurled at him by Ding Dong, Gaps in the trees and man eating plants growing in the trees. At the same time as grabbing his dropped gold coins.
What we normally do is develop the core game play and then start adding in some of the juice to enhance some of the effects, transitions, interactions, etc. What we had planned for this game pretty much from the beginning was the following fluffy extras.
- There would be a separate set of trees in the behind the trees that we were climbing that would move in parallax to us jumping left and right giving the game a feel of depth in the jungle.
- the sky would change from day to night and back the longer we were playing the game and start over when we restarted the game.
- a sun would move across the background showing time passing and then set on the opposite side of the screen. At which point a moon would enter the other side and move across the night sky.
- during the day there would be dust particles floating around highlighted from the sun, and at night the stars would come out in the night sky and twinkle and move slightly
- clouds scrolling across the screen blocking some of the trees to mask some of the obstacles
To be truthful I didn’t set out to simplify the fluff or remove any of these items, I loved the idea of each. However we were having a performance issue where the screen would slightly stutter once in a while, so we started disabling the fluff one by one to discover the problem. What we found is that once we disabled all the fluff, the game actually became more enjoyable to play. It had a much cleaner look and just flowed better. After we had discovered what was causing the lag, we decided not to put the fluff back in.
Thanks I learned…
- This definitely won’t apply to all games. Some games look very awesome with their juice
- It hasn’t changed how much I love juicing up a game, but it has opened my eyed that maybe not all games need that much juice.
- Don’t be afraid to change the juice factor, even if it was planned from the beginning
Going Bananas is now released in the App Store, check it out Link To The App Store. Here are some screen grabs from the actual release minus all the fluff n stuff. Think that we made a mistake removing the juice? let us know in the comments.