iPhone / iPad native
Concept, Design, Coding
In the middle of 2010 I made the decision that I would finally write a video game. It was time. I have had many games in my past, but nothing that was from scratch nor highly graphical. It was time.
After settling on the basic shape of the project I set to work. This was truly new ground for me. The learning was exponential at every level and on every aspect. My previous skills in Objective-C were doubled. My practice at art went through the roof. In fact, the art alone on “Joe” took more than 5 months. The entire project lasted almost exactly a year.
Joe Monkey Escapes is a game where the player drops monkeys (actors) onto the level at any time and in any number of places. But depending on those choices the level can go terribly wrong.
Experimented on by the Doctor for years, Joe longs to be free. But first he and his cast of characters have to navigate the 50 treacherous floors of the lab, fighting electrifying, slicing, smashing obstacles along the way — to mention nothing of the robots the Doctor has built to guard his lair. Run Joe!
Joe was intended as a puzzler from the beginning. I was looking around for a mechanic that allow very few controls but deep engagement. The answer came one night when I realized I could have the actors in the game do most of the work. This allowed for the minimal interaction concept I was looking for. Players only had to set things in motion when they wanted to solve the level.
Joe‘s art style was set early on when sketching a few of the obstacles. Flat with illustration highlights. Fully animated, and a full-talky. Those were the goals.
Being early in the iPhone game lifecycle there was very little from Apple to guide the way for the OpenGL work. I settled on Cocos2D in an early form. That fantastic abstraction layer allowed me to work on the game logic. And with actors making their own decisions in the environment, there was plenty of that to do.