This was my first project as a professional games designer but I am sad to say did not have a happy ending. The aim of this project was to produce a game suitable for the iOS platform to be submitted from conception to completion in a timeframe of 8 weeks with a team of 4, a colossal task.
It started of brilliantly! Within 3 weeks we had a working prototype in Unity, over 100 level designed and corresponding mechanics. A Peggle-like ball-tosser, in which the player would have to utilise the limited number of projectiles to puzzle out how to destroy all the mushrooms and collect the bonus gems. And hey, it was really fun!
Credit for these early successes must go to the team I worked with too!
However, the failure of the company’s previous title to produce many funds meant that orders came down to change the game into a freemium model. My arguments that this would be unwise as the gameplay flow does not accommodate this and would require a major re-design to produce a fair and successful monetization model, were not headed. It would have been better to design a new title from the ground up and keep Truffles in our back pocket to continue later.
I was not opposed to change, I often welcome the challenge. However this was simply wrong. It was like trying to put a V12 on a push bike. It just wasn’t going to fit and I knew it.
Suddenly everything required premium funds to collect and unlock, levels became too difficult to complete due to artificial difficulty spikes that acted as payment barriers. The game was being torn apart in front of my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it. My futile attempts to re-lay the tracks before the train went over the cliff only caused resentment amongst the upper management and tension amongst the rest of the team.
So I left… I wasn’t being paid anyway. It was too painful to watch, let alone be party too.
18 months later, some form of the game seems to have been released on Steam and Android (Not iOS?). Renamed “Truffle Saga” it appears to be everything I feared it would be. Advertisements after every ball is thrown and with zero attention paid to user flow or enjoyment. I notice I also have a credit, “Additional Design” — Urgh!
For now I choose to remember Truffles in Paradise as it used to be, pure. For obvious reasons I could not leave with a development build, but I will hang on to my few early screenshots and personal design documents. Perhaps one day I will make a game with similar mechanics to how I had envisioned it, perhaps…
Programmer — Sam Clark
Artist — Tom Poon
Artist & Animator — Tom Pemberton-Parker