Tiburcio's Escape is a fast-paced tap game where you must help Tiburcio go back to the sea.
Hello! Aldo Vazquez here. Allow me to be the first to thank you for reading about our project. We're really excited for you to check this out and tell us what you think. Without further ado, here are some notes:
Starting Out - Preproduction
A Deadline Challenge - How It All Began
Believe it or not, the whole project originated because we needed to make a game in a month or less. Both my co-workers and I were baffled by this of course, but ultimately came to the conclusion that this was more than just a test. It was a challenge of our abilities in the developing battleground!
Now, the reasoning behind the deadline was obvious, but it led to quite an unexpected experience to say the least. We were literally a month away from Christmas, so everyone (including me) was going to travel back to their hometown and spend about six days away from work. Now, six days may not seem like a long time, but —for a small team of four — it really was everything. It could make the difference between "there's a known bug and I know how to fix it" and "there's a bug but I forgot how to fix it". That's both time and money thrown right into the trash.
The One-Day Wonder - Our Game Concept Document
Try as you may, we'll never be able to recall who and when we came up with the idea of a jumping blue fish stuck at a beach. In truth, I don't think it matters anymore, but if anyone's interested, all I can recall is that we had a blast and that there was a massive cluster of ideas.
On the last Monday morning of November, the four of us had one thing in mind: to plan the greatest game we could make in an hour or less! ... Needless to say, we failed horribly in this regard. Some of our ideas were too complicated to make, and others just didn't have a "soul", for lack of a better word. Half of our team wanted to make a puzzle game while the other half wanted to make a 2D platformer. I believe you could cut the tension with a knife at the moment; there was no conflict, yet we were never silent and never backed down from what we wanted to make.
About three hours later, however, one of my co-workers explained that he had always wanted to make a game similar to a mini-game he had played before. The game consisted on jumping from one platform to another in a smart, puzzle-like fashion and, what do you know, we fell in love with the mechanic right away!
Then again, we had to add more than just one mechanic for the game to work so... well, one thing led to another, and we finished the Game Design Document in the following hours. It was probably the fastest document I'd ever written. Hell, it taught me two things right from the get go: 1. there's always time for brainstorm, and 2. never underestimate the power of K.I.S.S (keep it simple, stupid).
Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands - Production
Great First Bites - First Week Of Production
There's a great idiom that goes "don't bite off more than you can chew". In this case, for instance, not only were our first bites right, they were amazingly accurate.
Over the course of the first few days, our Lead Programmer, Bruno Díaz, basically made the whole thing. He was passionate about the project and more than eager to step out of Fluffy World (our first game) boundaries. Our Art Director, Noél Hernández, took it upon himself to make pretty much everything we needed for the game: from the main character, to the props in the distance. Luckily for us, we had the extraordinary help of Bryan Peña, who pumped out more props, edited our videos, and polished several of our assets in less time than it would take you to say "get it done". I myself was doing great back then, trying to outline the details of what would later become Tiburcio's Escape main font. However...
Demons From The Past - Second Week Of Production
As I was working on the final touches of the font (appropriately named "Loco Font" for reasons you'll understand later), my chief and friend, Gerardo Márquez (who is also our Audio Engineer), filled me up with some unsettling data: we had yet to legally register Fluffy World. Now, this isn't to say that we didn't think about registering the name of the game before, but we opted against because we had other priorities on the top of our heads.
In either case, the game was not registered, and I was tasked to take care of it. This meant that the game's UI and font were not going to be ready for a while though, and production began to unknowingly slow down because of it.
Biting And Not Chewing - Third Week Of Producton
It became apparently clear that we needed everything ready by the second week of December. The game worked, and it looked gorgeous in my opinion... but it didn't have a font, and, subsequently, it didn't have any buttons. I insisted that I'd take care of it by the end of Friday, and yet I was bugged with more and more responsibilities that kept me from doing it. This is what I'd describe as "biting but not chewing", and it was especially harmful to me.
In the end, I did end up making my share a few days later, during the third week of production... In doing so, however, I had to delete several buttons that my co-worker Bryan had created in my absence. If anything was learned from this experience, it was that we needed to communicate more than ever if we wanted to release the game within the time limit.
Taking the Big Bite - Fourth Week Of Production
When the time was right, everything ranging from UI displays to buttons were defined by our small team in less than half a day, and eventually made a few hours later. The game was completed in time! Just as we promised ... But it wasn't "finished"; we felt like it needed something more.
One Less Mouth To Feed - Our Programmer's Departure
There's nothing quite as sad nor quite as joyful than to see one of your co-workers depart from the office. In this case, our Lead Programmer found another opportunity, but that also meant that we were out of professional programmers for good.
As a result, since no-one had touched the studio's Google account besides him, we didn't know how to launch the game in time, so we decided to wait until January.
Adapting To Change - Post-Production
An Amateur's Guide To Programming - Fixing The Game
With our Lead Programmer gone, and the game available in the Play Store, all that was left was an amateur approach to the game's recently found bugs. That is to say that I was happily assigned to "Programming Duty" shortly after our co-worker's departure.
The bugs were not hard to fix, but I certainly needed some time to understand everything that happened behind the scenes! In time, I learned to do it, and later on I learned to enjoy it.
So, What's So Interesting About This Period? - Curiosities
First of all, we really enjoyed making this game. It's one of those projects where you just don't feel like you're working. In fact, we were gonna name it "El Pez Loco" at first, until we looked the name up and found that it's a restaurant franchise.
Technically speaking, it took us 20 working days to complete the project, and 12 to update and correct all known game bugs.
Most of the bugs we found in the game were produced by Audio Source components. It wasn't Unity's fault, though, we just didn't handle them very well.