The Making of Burn The Rope (Part 2 of 2)


At first we only had an artist free, Jamie start work on the project. All of our programmers were busy on other projects so the art started out without any working prototype to test it in. He came up with the Wickman character, the cottage screen and the first pass at all the bugs. He was also able to create over 200 level designs. Then a new project had started up and Jamie’s talents were needed so Burn the Rope was put on hold for a couple weeks.

This is where Cameron B. came on the project as the lead programmer. He brilliantly somehow managed to get a prototype up and running in a couple weeks so we could see if the mechanic would be fun or not. We liked what we saw so we ramped up development and started making the full game. Because Jamie was still busy on another project we grabbed Chris E. who created all the art for another project we worked together on called Thumpies.

Creating the final art for the game was tricky for two reasons. First off Jamie and Chris both have very different art styles so trying to blend the two was a bit of a challenge. Secondly we realized once we put the original backgrounds in the game it became hard to see the different color flames. At this point we had to make a drastic decision which was to take the original day time theme and make it darker and give it more of a night time look.


While the new artwork was being made refinement of the level design was also taking place. Once we finished adding insects and different colored ropes to all of the 200 levels that Jamie previously made we then got a bunch of our testers to go through each level and rate them on difficulty and how much they enjoyed each one.  We then took this information and narrowed it down to the final 80 levels for release.

This whole process took around three months and at the end we had no idea how the general public would receive the game. Was it too different? Would it stand out in the app store? To tell you the truth I was very shocked at how quickly it took off and the next couple weeks were extremely frantic trying to create a few updates using feedback from all the user reviews. One lesson learned at this point was that due to the uniqueness of the mechanic a good solid tutorial was needed!

In closing I would like to say that sometimes to get things done you have to do what you can with what you have access to. Yes it would have been great to have one person leading the art direction from start to finish and to have a programmer create a prototype before we created the levels. It’s hard to imagine now, after the success of Burn the Rope, that this project was almost canceled near the beginning due to lack of resources. I even remember telling my boss Damir at one point that maybe it wasn’t the strongest idea and that we should maybe focus on another IP. I’m so glad that he didn’t agree.


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