My first iOS game – New Sokoban

This is my first post on this blog, apart from the Welcome! one. Here I would like to summarize the process that drove me to the point of starting the development of a game inspired on the classic Sokoban logic game.

New Sokoban first prototype vs current version

New Sokoban first prototype vs current version

In fact, the New Sokoban prototype was the fourth one I coded before starting the game development itself. Yes, I prototyped on paper and with some code four different games before deciding that the fourth one would worth the effort. The brainstorming and prototyping process has been one of the hardest parts of the game development that I have gone through until now. My mind was not used to make such a titanic creative effort…

Some of the words or concepts that I had in mind when trying to model the embryo game were: “simple game mechanic”, “casual”, “simple graphics”, “easy to code”, “action game”, “or maybe puzzle game…”. It was more than three months ago but I can clearly remember it. I can even remember my feelings of that moment. They were a mix of excitement and fear.

As you can see, things were not very defined. The concepts are very abstract and vague. However, now, with some perspective, I thing that the worst thing is that if you read between lines you will guess what were my inward feelings. Everything was approached from the commercial success point of view. Obviously, commercial success is important (unfortunately, probably the most important thing) but not for my first game. That didn’t work for me.

While working on that wrong direction I prototyped a puzzle game that played with the gravity (very original…), a Doodle Jump clone (even more original…) and a thirth secret game prototype 😉 The last one was created when I was starting to switch my mind and I think that has future potential. I shelved the idea temporally because I realized that it is a huge project.

Paper and code prototypes for the gravity puzzle game (left) and Bomb Jump (right)

Paper and code prototypes for the gravity puzzle game (left) and Bomb Jump (right)

So, as you can see, those kind of concepts and inward feelings led me to games that probably could succeed but that I couldn’t develop because didn’t motivated me. So, this gave me the first important lesson:

Mental note: When working on your first game as and indie dev, your most valuable assets are your motivation and dreams.

Yes, I know it sounds romantic and unrealistic but it worked for me. Actually, it was absolutely crucial. When I realized about that, Sokoban came naturally to my mind 🙂

I love classic Sokoban. I think that it is an incredibly well designed game. Simple rules, simple representation and surprising emergent gameplay. I have played Sokoban in lots of ways but I got really impressed when I played the version integrated in a puzzle stage of a Game Cube RPG game called Batten Kaitos. I also really enjoy the sokoban puzzles of the ice dungeons in various games of the Legend of Zelda saga.

Mental note: Designing absolutely unique gameplay for a completely new game is insanely hard. Believe me, very, very hard. Maybe I need more experience in game design to try it…

So, finally I decided to use the well designed core gameplay of classic sokoban and “renewing” it. And tadan!!! New Sokoban was born 🙂  I think that the gameplay variants and the new incorporated features make New Sokoban a very interesting, fun and unique game.

Stay tuned to know how it progressed!! Remember to subscribe to the RSS feed!! 😉 And maybe you would like to follow me on Twitter @tonisalae

2 thoughts on “My first iOS game – New Sokoban

  1. I have downloaded the New Sokoban. It’s a very good work and I think it’s complete for indie developers. I like the background of the New Sokoban, it’s fantastic.
    You have chosen a right game type. I think a good choice can make a indie developer complete his game without troubles, which he can’t control well such as the art or music. I’m a programmer. When I make my game for myself. I can’t complete it because of the art. It’s a little difficult for me to draw pictures of my game objects. I think I will change my mind to another that I can manage well with my limited skills about art.

    Expect your new game!Best wish!

  2. Thanks for your comment rock!

    Yes, choosing the right game is very important for an indie. The other options I prototyped needed high quality art, so I avoided them. Actually, New Sokoban should have been a little different in terms of art and even in terms of game design. However, my limited art skills forced me to make New Sokoban as it is now.

    Thanks again!!

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