Oct
25
2011

The Origins of Fling a Thing

“Suckies”

The initial idea for our brand new iPhone game Fling a Thing first popped into our heads back in early March 2011.  Dave K. had emailed me about 4 different game ideas that he wanted to get my take on. All 4 of them had a lot of fun potential and I instantly visualized them all in the same visual style as Thumpies, one of our previous game titles. We thought it would be cool to keep it in the same vibrant and eye-catching Thumpiverse and to keep the art, music, and sounds familiar. One of Dave’s game ideas involved having little creatures that floated around and they’d spit when a player touched them and the spitting would cause chain reactions.  I took that idea and drew a simple little critter that was ‘hocking up a lugey’ and spitting it at another critter. That little doodle with its lips sticking out ‘mid-spit’ became the original impetus for Fling a Thing.

 

(Initial doodles of critters that became the 'Things')

 

It looked like the creature had a little suction cup for a mouth and Dave felt it could be a fun game mechanic to play around with. I remember it instantly reminded me of those rubber octopus wall-crawlers I’d get in a cereal box as a kid in the 80′s. You’d throw them at a mirror or window (or the fridge) and they’d stick and slowly crawl downward as gravity pulled on them but their sticky body would cling to the surface making them kind of crawl. Then you’d get the Windex out and clean up after, right Mom ;)

I did a few more very rough doodles with these critters stuck to glass with the idea you’d pull on their tails and stretch them until their eyes bulged, and then release them, sending them flinging through the air at collectibles like butterflies or music notes or something. I thought it could even be a 3D game where you fling them through obstacles and they’d stick to certain targets, or explode into splashes of colourful goo if you hit things you should have avoided. Another idea was to have them stick to balloons and with enough weight they could pull them down into goals and puzzley stuff like that. I think I had too many ideas for this weird stuff so we made sure to pare it down and keep it very simple. The key to this new game pitch was to make something extremely simple and accessible with a core mechanic that can be picked up instantly and hopefully doesn’t get tiresome.

 

(More loose concepts for what "Fling a Thing" could be.)

 

 

 

“Working for the Weekend”

Over the weekend, Dave had worked on a Flash prototype set up like one of my sketches and I threw him some ugly placeholder artwork to drop in to try and get a feel for the game. We thought getting a simple prototype together with some basic art would be a good “proof of concept” to show off how fun it might be.  Dave got pretty excited about its potential and showed it off that Monday before we got it looking pretty, but it worked! At its most primitive state we could all tell it was a pretty fun game mechanic.  Just flinging the little Things (or Suckies as we referred to them) against the walls and collecting placeholder coins was an addicting and simple exercise.

 

(Progression from doodles to prototype to final game.)

 

“Design and Refine”

The prototype “got the go ahead” and over the next few months the Flash prototype grew and became more and more refined.  Dave is a producer here at Big Blue Bubble and has his roots in music and sound design, but I was amazed at his knowledge of getting a game together in Flash. We used that Flash version to hash out what was working and what wasn’t and refined it so much that once we added Wes to the team to program the iPhone version we hopefully had a lot of the trial and error of design behind us. There’s even a few cool mechanics we left out for now that might crop up in some future updates!  I obviously hope the game does extremely well because we’ve got tons of ideas for extra content and other “Things” to add!

 

3 Comments + Add Comment

  • [...] For more information about the development of Fling a Thing, visit the artist’s blog. [...]

  • Fling a thing has been great! …but nowadays it keeps tilting. When I reach level 50 (about) my phone HTC Desire Z resets itself. Please doooo somethiiiing!!! I want to keep playing!!

  • [...] For more information about the development of Fling a Thing, visit the artist’s blog. [...]

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