Tuesday, 08 February 2011 18:48

Bird Assassin, 3 versions


Well, we did it, we finally released our 4th Xbox game "Bird Assassin".  It started on Thanksgiving with my wife's joke about making a game where the player is shooting turkeys, we could call it "bird assassin". We promptly started making other jokes and came up with a simple game that seemed like it would be fun. We thought we could whip it out in a couple of weeks, but as you will see below it didn't work out that way.

The game went through several different revisions.

Original game design:

The original game was just the hunter standing on the screen shooting tons of birds, the hunter was going to have a fixed location on the left side of the screen and he would mow down wave after wave of birds.  While it was funny and fun for the first 30 seconds, it got old rather fast. There was no plot, no reason why you are killing birds, and no progression for the player. This original game design is still in the game, but you now know it as the Minigun bonus round, and it only lasts for about 10 seconds. This version took us about 3 weeks.

2nd game design:

With the second revision we added the map screen, Gun-Mart, and multiple auto-scrolling levels. For the player to advance through the levels the player had to purchase hunting licenses for each new level, this was later dropped in the 3rd design. For you old timers like me, you will remember a game called "Moon Patrol" where you would control your moon buggy to shoot and jump, but the scroll rate was fixed, we based this 2nd version on that concept. In this version we also added the bushes and bear traps, the player needed something to jump over. Still not very fun, but it was better. This version took us an additional 1.5 months.

3rd game design:

This version became the version that shipped. From the third version we added a ton more content, platforms to jump on, suicide chickens & pigeons (birds that explode), bombs dropped by owls, huge boss chickens, coins, the golden goose, the two in game videos, the chickens trying to run the player over in his stolen truck, and the boss ostrich. This version took us an additional 1.5 months.

So overall time spent on the game ended up being about 4 months, we had a lot of scope creep, but the game is 10 times better than it was after the original version. I'm very happy how it turned out.