The Dare to be Digital 2015 team talks to Develop about working on their entry title Pogo Mad

Dare Blogs: Sandy’s pogo stick platformer for mobile

What’s your game?
Pogo Mad is a fast-paced platformer for mobile devices that’s about bouncing with a pogo stick. Your goal in each level is to get from start to finish as fast as possible. So it’s a race against the clock and the rewards in the game are based on this as well. These rewards are then used to unlock new levels, worlds and pogo sticks and to upgrade your existing pogos.

In Pogo Mad you move the character with simple control mechanics. The game is easy to pick up right from the start, yet there is enough depth that allows players to keep mastering the game mechanic for a long time. You can play the game with other players and with your friends too!

What has the Dare experience been like?
The Dare experience so far has been hard work. It’s really tough to get all the features that we see important implemented and polished for Dare ProtoPlay. We have a large team so instead of scoping we’ve been doing a bit crunching in order to get the game pop out when it’s time to showcase it at ProtoPlay. Luckily, things are looking good at the moment and it seems that we are going to get a solid and rich demo done in time.

Focusing so heavily on the product itself has had its setbacks. Since each member in our team owns an Android device the game has been tested and developed primary for that platform. Still, iOS has been our target release platform since the beginning. When it was time to build the game for iOS as well there were some major challenges.

Because of this and the fact that we’ve been highly attached to the game development process alone another problem has occurred to us. We haven’t been taking advantage of the mentoring that Dare competition offers as effectively as we probably should have. Fortunately this is something that we can still turn around. As it’s impossible to react effectively to advice gained from mentors at this late stage it doesn’t mean that we couldn’t use the knowledge after ProtoPlay.

What have you learned from Dare?
If you aim to create a game that has a unique backstory, strong theme and believable world behind it you need a solid pre-production phase where you plan out these kinds of things in detail.

That way your whole team gets a better overall picture and you are more likely to be able to meet your goals. Also, having a member in the team who has nothing to do with the product development could really provide value to your team’s effectiveness and energy.

Are you looking forward to ProtoPlay?
Definitely! We are excited to get the game into people’s hands and see what kind of findings and feedback we get. After all the sweat and tears that we’ve put into Pogo Mad the final session where winners of the competition will be announced is going to be quite thrilling to say the least.

What are your ambitions after Dare?
After Dare there is still lots to do before releasing the game: optimisation, fixing, tweaking, polishing, testing, additional content, finishing the meta game and balancing the game economy and progress flow. After these things are done we are ready to soft launch the game supported with our marketing plan and funding that goes straight into marketing efforts.

Hopefully the game is warmly received and we’ll be able to do a successful global launch. Then we would continue developing Pogo Mad even further by expanding and evolving it based on user feedback and our own vision.

Our next project after Pogo Mad is not completely in the dark either. We have a good vision on what kind of game we might be doing after it’s time to move on.

Follow Sandy on Twitter @Sandy_gms and Facebook to learn more about their game.

Dare ProtoPlay and Indie Fest is on 13th-16th August in Dundee’s Caird Hall and City Square, with all 16 Dare student games on show, indie games, talks, workshops and more.

Team members:

  • Petrik Sandberg, producer, University of Oulu
  • Kasperi Kivistö, level designer, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
  • Jarkko Jämsä, graphics artist, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
  • Nina Grönlund, graphics artist, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
  • Juho Ylisiurua, programmer, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
  • Petrus Hakakoski, programmer, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences
  • Pekka Kaasalainen, programmer, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences

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