Hello! This is Platonic Games, we are new around here, let me introduce us: Valeria is an always stressed, tea slurping designer/producer, and Álvaro (le moi), a Valeria-stressing, permanently drowsy programmer. Heard you like stories, and I have one! Yet another game development story, but I’ll try to put it different, hoping you will enjoy it :)
So, now that we are among fellow devs, we can nod at each other and assert that this is the best job in the world. We get to do very different projects:
different challenge and pace levels, different teams
we are able to explore at depth not only our own respective domains, but also any of the proficiencies needed to make a game
so many thematics, mechanics, art styles to invent and expand
… anything you can come up to, we really are explorers in a new land!
Only one stone in our road: time (or, time + energy, if you ask Valeria). Our projects can sometimes become unbearably long, even boring. I bet you are already thinking about some project of this kind (sorry if that’s your current one, here have a piece of love from us: ♥). But that’s why we have jams! And side projects! And Overwatch!
Symmetria has been our side project since summer 2015. At times we loved it, at times we hated it, at times we even forgot about it. And now we just published it, and it feels strange, as if we just got out of a confusing, intense relationship (hoping right now that I’m not the only one that gets this emotional about projects; don’t judge me). But looking back, I’m happy that we always had Symmetria there, stealing brain cycles from time to time, and refreshing us to keep working hard in our other games. Kind of a… lover vs. serious relationship system. I said don’t judge me.
This would be a diary for Symmetria. Let it be a token of our sins!
Late 2014, as we start our company, so has to do our first project. Amongst the hundreds of atomic ideas that came out of a week-long brainstorm, there’s written somewhere “draw symmetry, with squares”.
No activity before summer 2015. We are mentally exhausted after launching Sweet Sins: the first game of a studio is always intense!
Early summer 2015: there’s a travel to an important convention scheduled, and we want to bring something else aside Sweet Sins. Cartesian (nowadays known as Symmetria) is born. It’s easy to prototype, we love the base idea, and, having no artist, we can stick to the flat/minimalist art style trend and pretend that we know what we are doing.
A week after, there’s an ugly, grey, rough, messy, confusing prototype made by me. Players are asked to draw symmetrical patterns by tapping squares. Oh, and also triangles, diamonds, hexagons… And huuuge boards. And it moves and changes and stuff. Valeria pats me in the head, and says “Don’t worry, my turn now”.
Another week after, Cartesian looks ridiculously polished and simple.
Convention time: the prototype is a huge success. Actually, too much success! Many attendants advise us to stop showing it, as it seemed too easy to copy. Some publishers show interest as if the game was already finished and ready to launch, but we know it’s only a prototype. We freak out a little about all this, and get back to work.
We start to develop a strange relationship with the game. It seems like a good idea, but we are afraid of not being able to make the most of it. It’s not clear what the game should or could be, and its scope begins to grow exponentially. Now it has online multiplayer, social integration, a ton of modes, a HUGE campaign, and an endless list of features. I swear the game would even prepare your breakfast if you asked.
Conceptually, the game keeps growing. We don’t work seriously on it, it’s just that thing that is getting bigger and bigger in the backyard, and we don’t know what to do about it.
Enter the investors! It’s early 2016 and they like that stuff that had grown the size of a sumo whale. They ask us how much it would take to make it grow into a sumo dragon. The actual game at this point is not much more than the old prototype we brought to the convention. We really love crazy challenges, so we follow that track.
Spring 2016: investors back out, something else took our place. Once the possibility of Cartesian really being a sumo dragon vanishes, there’s just a huge nonsense and a strange half-game left. We become kind of sick of it, don’t even like to hear it mentioned. We are finishing another game at that point, Happy Hop, which is another sugar infused, warm hearted, hyper lovely game, and we focus 100% on it!
Summer 2016: after despising Cartesian, we feel bad about it. It was not its fault to become such a senseless chaos: the game ought to be simple, light, nice. Scissor time. No online-asynchronous multiplayer craziness, take away that energy resource super monetization stuff investors loved so much, shrink the campaign, keep the barebones and the 4-5 most fun mechanics, and let the result rest for some weeks.
We start to love it again. A bit of interface washing, a new design document, and good as new!
By mid September 2016, we decide to turn it into our main project. A new start needs a new name, and Cartesian becomes Symmetria!
[all the hardcore dev stuff goes here] (the usual stuff, check theMeatly.com for more information)
12th November: soft launch time! Results make us want to scrap half game to make it better, but we are mature devs that learn from past experiences (nope).
5th December: ‘Symmetria: Path to Perfection’ sees the light. It’s out there for iOS and Android, waiting for the ones that want to take a peek at the result of this dramatic journey.
As I said earlier, I’m happy that Symmetria was always there. Sure it went through some dark phases, but that just us walking through uncertain paths that would have been too risky and not affordable to walk with a main project. The value of the huge amount of things we learned by going through and finishing this side quest will surely exceed the financial income of it.
I don’t really like giving advices: my experience is tied to my context and my way of understanding game development, and will hardly apply to others. I just hope this story can be useful for somebody, maybe even relieving, or funny, to see how others struggle too!
If you want to tell us anything, be free to write at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find us too in Twitter, Facebook, and our Website!
Anyway, give some love to your side projects, and wish us luck!