Dare to be Digital 2011 team Evolved Ape talks exclusively to Develop about working on their entry title Dreamweaver.
What's your game?
Dreamweaver is a fun puzzle-platform adventure based in a vibrant 3D world. Aimed at a young audience, the game follows the adventures of a young boy as he explores a fantastical dream world accompanied by a creature companion, helping him solve puzzles by feeding it berries. Be careful though, the dream soon becomes a nightmare, and your new friend can bite! The game is developed with PC functionality in mind. Primarily with the use of the Xbox 360 gamepad for easy accessibility, it is also compatible with keyboard and mouse.
Changing gameplay styles keeps the player engaged, both in the game mechanics and narrative. The pleasant dream state allows for slower paced exploration and puzzle solving using your throwing mechanics and your AI companion. However the nightmare state will keep the player on their toes, altering environments, transforming the creature and turning the game from calm puzzler to fast paced chase!
What has the Dare experience been like?
Dare has been an amazing experience so far, thanks to the work and support from the Dare team and Abertay staff. With such a short period of time to develop a game we are lucky that our working environment and equipment is of a high standard and the extended working hours are also appreciated. The competition standard is very high and this has helped to keep us on our toes. The atmosphere has been great with teams being friendly and supportive of one another.
We have gelled well as a team thanks to our united vision which we developed by having a number of design meetings prior to Dare. This helped us to develop our idea, get to know one another and also fully plan the work schedule for the competition. We mostly get on with our individual tasks but we check on each other on a regular basis and we have weekly design meetings to make sure we are hitting targets and discuss any issues. One of the many highlights has been the mentors who have all been very supportive and full of advice.
What have you learned from Dare?
We have learnt so much so far and hope to keep learning to develop our skills and increase our knowledge. The intensity of Dare has helped us to learn so much about ourselves and one another and importantly it has cemented our aspirations of becoming professional game developers. We have all had such a great time working on Dreamweaver and hope that it continues beyond Dare. One of our goals was to have a working prototype within the first week and thanks to Unity we have been able to provide a playable web demo (www.evolvedape.co.uk/demo) that anyone could play.
We have updated this on a weekly basis and have benefited greatly from feedback from friends and family. For me personally I have come to appreciate the need for constant communication. When things are going well people are happy to get on with the work without talking to one another and this can cause issues if individual ideas stray from the team vision. Equally as important is the need for balance between work and rest. We found it difficult to rest during the first two weeks as we planned to work non-stop. We paid for this towards the end of the third week when we were faced with a number of bugs and issues. Since then we have cut back a little on working hours and have also got to enjoy Dundee along with the local teams.
Are you looking forward to ProtoPlay?
From day one we have all eagerly anticipating ProtoPlay and it has been our motivation for development. It’s great that other teams and industry mentors have liked our idea and got to grips and enjoyed our game but the real test is ProtoPlay. From our initial design meetings we have had the ProtoPlay crowd in mind as a target audience and this shaped Dreamweaver to what it is today. We look forward to presenting Dreamweaver to the public and most importantly hope that they enjoy it.
Follow our progress at www.evolvedape.co.uk and our Twitter at http://twitter.com/EvolvedApeInc
We also have a profile on the Dare to be Digital website.