Screens From Abandoned Prototypes

As I mentioned in my main post, Isaac and I built and discarded about seven different prototypes in succession before finally arriving at How I Roll. A few of them were kind of fun, but mostly let’s just call them good learning experiences. Anyway, here’s some screenshots and animated gifs I dug up.

slug_problems / “So Many Slugs”

Slug Evolution This game started as an iPhone app to test out our engine.

Slug Intro Evolution And then the new Apple TV came out, so we decided to try putting it on the TV.

Slug Game Evolution Sadly, the Apple TV never really took off, and the game wasn’t enough fun to justify continuing.


Burj Concept Next I had this ill-fated idea for a one-touch platformer. The twist: the only way to change directions was to hit a wall.

Burj Hitting Walls I really should’ve seen the problem earlier.

Burj Is Tough The interaction is just too counterintuitive. Too much mental load.

Burj Menu At least it had a good menu system. Ha.

Burj Flying Into Walls There were some fun game mechanics though.

Burj Actual Graphics We even built out some programmatic graphics using shaders and metaballs (not meatballs). But just then we realized the game was too hard.

And some terrible animated gifs:

(I promise these games all ran super smooth (60 fps), even though the gifs are super choppy.)


Valence Fun Times I thought maybe a matching puzzle game would be easier. It was easier to program, anyway.

Valence Different Modes We tested a bunch of different modes and rule sets, but they were all far too confusing.

More terrible animated gifs:


Vertical Title Screen Vertical actually wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t anything special.

Vertical Running Upward It was too hard to add interesting mechanics. Everything pretty much boiled down to tedious timing.

Even more terrible animated gifs:


Roll Great Menu Another great menu system. Hehe.

Roll Burj All Over Again If it reminds you of Burj, that’s because it’s mostly the same game.

Roll Funky Colors Except this time when you hit a wall, you just die.

Roll Into The Sunset We added more graphics. Which was dumb, because we just threw them away.

Terrible animated gif time!

donut / Owls

Donut Welcome Screens For the last prototype, we tried revisiting Valence. This time with a weirdly incoherent owl/donut theme.

Donut Tutorial Purgatory At least we learned some new graphical techniques. And you can bet we’re going to refine and reuse these in How I Roll!

Donut Fun Shapes Donut was actually fun… as long as you could make it past the learning curve. The problem was that we could tell most people wouldn’t.

Donut Trees With Birds You probably think those owls are prerendered. They’re not. You probably think they’re 3D models. They’re not. We came up with our own system for real-time 3Dish lighting that involves only textures and shaders.

Donut Programmatic Owl Generation I was playing a lot of No Man’s Sky, so I figured why not programmatically generate the owls?

One last set of terrible animated gifs! I’m afraid the colors got pretty garbled on these.

What’s next?

So we threw out a lot, but we also learned a lot. We’re pretty psyched to show off the techniques we developed along the way in our latest project. And we promise this one is actually fun. ;) If you have an iPhone or iPad, please sign up to help us test it!

Click here to sign up!

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