Life Sucks and You’re a Bird was made with a skilled team of game design students at Sheridan College, This includes Aaron Sutton, Jesse Baker, Johnlee Cooper, and myself, Matthew Murchison.
Life Sucks and You’re a Bird. This really describes the game experience well. We entered the 4th week of proof of concepts with a solid project under our belt (see Designing Stacktus) so we wanted to let loose and develop a very silly idea. That idea was… Bird Simulator! When you play as a baby bird learning to fly on route to the ground.
This time around I took art (surprise surprise), we wanted the image quality to reinforce the silly idea and semi-horrific narrative of being kicked out of the nest as a baby.
To do this we decided to use the cut-out style made famous through Monty Python. But we didn’t want the game to be only silly, so we opted for very high detail stock photos as opposed to painted sprites.
Refining this look, and identifying the necessary pieces to work in the locomotion system that had been developed was a matter of trial and error. But after a day or two, I had most assets sent off for implementation. My method when like this:
- What are we making?
- Find lots of images, visual variety is good.
- What are the 3 best images for the game?
- Edit them in Photoshop and Preview to get the choppy sides.
- Make them tileable or pivot properly.
- Ship via Slack to the rest of the team!
The game was really well-received from day one, you may have noticed I hadn’t mentioned playtesting this time, that was because people were constantly asking to test it in the labs. When we made the first version, with white boxes and circles we had three or four people test it out and loved it (in its own horrible way). That love-hate feedback has been really consistent throughout development of the game. (Just to clarify, I loved making this game. I know some readers have been confused by some of my wording, but the point of the game and graphics was to be painful, so all the negative things I mentioned where actual design goals form the start! [It was a wacky project])