Pigeon Invasion was a three month project that took place as part of a Production class where we were able to learn the process of developing an app from the idea stages to the release and promotion. It is now a game currently available in the App Store.
For the assignment, we were asked to create a casual mobile game based off of an existing game. The reason for this was because it was a three month project that was to show us the process of releasing a game/app. By picking an existing game to work off of, we didn't have to spend too much time on game design and mechanics. It allowed us to hit the ground running and have a prototype made quickly. As a result, by the end of the second week we had already decided on a game, reimagined the theme and had a prototype working.
Pigeon Invasion is based on the old classic 'Choplifter'. We chose Choplifter because it is a simple game that could be reimagned in endless ways. The game was simple enough to be recreated into a casual game (with some changes made) but complex enough that there was tension and suspense in the game. It also had mechanics that could allow for a story of some sort to be introduced. Ultimately, it was the perfect fit for what we wanted and needed to do.
The goal of the game is to collect food for the baby pigeons. Players play as a pigeon that flies through parks, streets and abandoned factories to acquire food and return to the nest with it. All the while, there are obstacles that the players must overcome in order to do this. This includes dodging dogs, teenagers and toxic material from the factory. It is a simple game that borrows mechanics from Choplifter and applies it to a fun and humourous setting.
Pigeon Invasion was a three person project. It developed by myself, Michiel Rheiter and Gabriel Pavan. Michiel was the art designer, creating and designing all of the graphics for the game. Gabriel worked on the project as the audio and gameplay designer, where he designed the levels and audio used in the game. Finally, I worked on the app as the programmer and producer. The game was developed in GameSalad and my role involved implemented the controls and mechanics of the game as well as implementing the art work and audio work into the game when the files were received.
My role in the project also included setting the tasks for each week in order to keep the project on time. As we were working on a tight schedule it was important that we met our marks each week in order to complete and release the game in time. I would work with each team member to decide the weeks' task; balancing what was achievable for the three of us and what was essential in order to stay on time.
Results and Experience
Pigeon Invasion was the first group development project that I had worked in and it was a major learning experience in that sense. The project taught me how to communicate and work with others in a team. It showed the importance of established roles, communication and team work. It was clear that those aspects were able to make or break a project and a team. Working in a group is wholly different to working on solo projects and it was a learning experience that I am grateful for. It taught me the pros and cons of working in a team and prepared me for future group projects. Understanding the importance of communication and team work allowed for smoother group projects in the future.
Pigeon Invasion also taught me a lot on game testing and refining. The mechanics of the game, although based on Choplifter, took many iterations. This was due to the translation from console and controller to mobile and touchscreen. What the team initially taught would be an simple enough job turned into a much larger and tedious project due to the translation. The implementation of the new controls changed the game significantly. Many iterations were made during development as a result. This process not only taught me the importance of testing and how testing can make major improvements in the game. The development of Pigeon Invasion was also a great example for learning the importance of control design and how it can change a game entirely.Return to Game Design