Dev Blog #1: Turning a Card Game into a Mobile App
Updated: Jan 28
We are turning Quirk! the family card game into a mobile app game with a minor change to how the game actually plays.
The biggest change you will find is that you won't be acting out characters or making sounds at other players. Acting is replaced by character animations that pop up on screen and human players are replaced by 3 computer players.
We've decided that if we are to release Quirk! as a mobile app, we would give you a stand alone single player experience as the card game gives you the family/multiplayer experience.
Secondly, children love to play Quirk! and from our feedback, we've heard over the years that children tend to ask to play Quirk! quite regularly with their parents. We know adults have busy lives so creating a mobile app was another opportunity to give children a fun play experience that they know will be safe.
Thirdly, it makes the most sense. When I started Emmerse Studios, I always wanted to develop interactive games, video games. I took on revamping an old card game instead that became Quirk! and now expanding in our brand of characters.
Instead of jumping straight from the card game to a scrolling or 3D platformer (which is where we are heading), it was a much more sensible idea to put our learning to develop video games, into a concept we already knows work. That's why creating Quirk! into a mobile app is our first challenge and a lot of thought has gone into it to make it a great experience.
How did it start?
We floated the idea of a mobile app in March 2021 when I was pitching for investment to turn Emmerse Studios into a video game company based on our original IP.
In April 2021, I hired a developer to help bring our ideas to life with the app. Originally, I was learning to use Unity myself because I believe it is a fantastic skill to learn to program, but in terms of pulling a project together and living by my rebrand for the company (to expand beyond myself), I had to let a few things go... including trying to do everything!
That's a hard thing for a solo business owner to do but it is the most logical step to make any goal a success. When you're trying to bring something to life, you're always working on a balance between time and money. When it's your time, you have to be able to work fast and efficiently and when it's money, you have to make sure your budget can go as far as it can. So there are still elements of the "do it all" culture as the company grows.
So far my role still includes, project management, marketing, character art and animation, environment art, audio recordings and sound editing. Please forgive me if it takes me a while to reply to your email!
As I've said above, I dabbled with Unity trying to develop the mobile app game myself. I had some success with tutorials but I lacked the deeper knowledge and understanding at this stage to fully implement my ideas the way I envisioned them in my head, in a timely manner.
So in April, I joined forces with my developer Scott, who I had met at a talk I gave to Solent University students. Scott brought some great ideas to the table which we have implemented into the game.
Working with a developer has taught me a lot of principles in developing my company into a team. The biggest one in learning how to communicate a project plan remotely, improving our access of communication when we are working on supportive tasks, scheduling in a routine to help with motivation when working from home and prioritising the tasks we need to complete before certain deadlines. This is a lot of new processes for someone that is used to working alone!
Over the time we've spent working together, our implementation plan has improved significantly since we first approached it in April 2021, to where it is now in July 2021. Helping us get under the surface of how the app should function and how it should feel to the player experiencing it.
In the beginning the brief just explained the rules of the game as if developing a card game to a mobile app was just straight forward, but as we brought the computer players to life with animation and strategy, the scope changed to cover all the nuances that you would expect from a human player. This is how we've managed to capture the feel of a real game of Quirk.
I told you, a lot of thought is going into this!
There's so many little pieces of code that still needs to be added to give the game that wholesome feel, but we are tackling the biggest issues first to deliver the best quality, before adding a whole tonne more of intricate touches to the game to make it feel seamless. You'll probably never notice we've added them! But they would certainly be elements you would miss if they are not there.
Taking on this task wasn't going to be easy, we've developed our plan as we've been developing the game and in doing so, I've learnt just how many gaps there are in communicating ideas with a team, overcoming the hurdles and how to implement clearer instructions and demonstrate the vision.
But it's the first step in the right direction!
From the Creative Director,
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Get your copy of Quirk! The Laugh-Out-Loud Family Card Game from Gibsons, John Lewis or Amazon.
A game full of sounds, actions and mischief to make your family roar with laughter. Great for children as young as 5 and adults of any age who love to unleash their inner child!