it’s been a while since my last post, too many Monday meetings messing with my schedule and I don’t feel like writing these on Tuesdays, but this week I can finally give a little insight into a project I’ve been working on for months.
The Port of Antwerp Security game is a serious game made possible by the yellowmole initiative of Innotek, which I made together with Sakari Games. You can find all the details on http://www.portofantwerp.com/en/news/port-authority-introduces-serious-game-boost-port-security and the iTunes link on my main page. Be sure to check it out, especially the iPad version is nice!
Now what is it? Well, it’s a sort of point and click adventure game that plays more like an RTS. You oversee a standard facility in the port of Antwerp and you have to spot, handle and report all irregularities that can occur in real life. The game is split in 6 levels each with 5 unique scenarios.
Now, let’s get to the how it’s made? Well early on in production, Pepijn of Sakari Games made a mockup of the environment and graphics and it seemed like a cool idea to work with colours. All interactable objects would be in colour and the rest grayed out. The RTS view and navigation made it easy and quick to explore the game and we soon decided to take a more adventure game approach to handling all the scenario’s. Talking, collecting, managing,… in a very clear and easy way. I created a simple adventure game engine, where everything is handled with actions. You have a look action, talk action, move,… and everything could just be stacked as components on objects and call each other, simple action stacks. I made these very clear cut and simple that anyone could work with them and eventually Pepijn was creating scenarios with these action stacks. If there was more time, I’d add a more visually aesthetic way of using them.
I did all the coding for this project and while this included GUI coding, I designed most of the interfaces myself, looking at the website style of the Port Of Antwerp. Red, black, white and grey those were the colours and then working with different font sizes to get everything looking as great as it does now. Early on in production, I thought it would be cool to have an iPad version of the game, because the navigation and play style would transfer easily. So the entire GUI was made scalable to handle all resolution and dimension up to 2048×1536 (the new iPad resolution) and which device you might check out, it always looks crisp and clean and I’m rather proud of that.
We had the base and 1 level done rather quick and the customer was pleased giving us the green light to continue. Working from a list of possible intrusions that happen from time to time, we chose about 30 and started creating levels. Due to the action components being so easy to use, Pepijn and I could make our levels independently and just combine them at the end. Ofcourse being developers, we added some funny dialogue and surreal scenarios, some of which were scrapped, but most of them are still there. Pepijn even added some time to getting the environment looking as top notch as it does at the moment, by adding ambient occlusion and shadows. It all looks really simple, but the amount of detail would surprise you.
Eventually when all the scenarios were set up, the port of Antwerp did an amazing job of testing the game and reporting all the small bugs or spelling errors in a detailed fashion that made it a breeze to fix these. They saved us a hell of a lot of time by being that thorough resulting in the polished game that it is today.
Once it was done, it was still a long wait till it got released, but the wait did add the functionality for multiple languages (now only Dutch and English) and the amazing iPad version that I hope many of you will check out!
And that’s about what I can tell you about it, I hope you enjoyed it!