PocApp Studios is a product of a very successful Microsoft Game Camp event in Skövde, Sweden. We were seven game developer students who went along to the event in order to pursue our passion and to break into the industry. As a result we joined forces and developed our first game, Carpet Kitty, which won the local SAGA award.
As a studio, PocApp follows a niche to create simple yet challenging mobile games, preferably involving cats and focusing on high-quality 2D graphics. As our first game, Carpet Kitty, focused on speed and action, we wanted our next game to be more puzzle-oriented. That is how Sling a Kitty came about, a new game about cats, this time testing their nine lives!
Sling a Kitty was developed through the course of several iterations. Each iteration was made within a two-week time, bringing something new to the table each time; everything from graphical improvements to completely new game mechanics. As much as each iteration was planned out to reach a specific goal or stage in the developing process they were also our testing grounds. Sling a Kitty was an iterative project on every level. New ideas for the game were always tested rather than discussed. Instead of spending days trying to come up with something perfect on paper, we took each idea in its first form and simply put it in the game. If it felt good, we made it better. If it didn’t, we scrapped the whole idea.
“This holistic approach meant the idea/prototyping phase for Sling a Kitty was fairly short.”
This holistic approach meant the idea/prototyping phase for Sling a Kitty was fairly short. In just a few weeks, we had constructed the core mechanics of our game. The cat could be dragged and slung with the slingshot, all done within the Defold engine. We also made sure to define the aesthetics of the game early on. The main idea for Sling a Kitty was to have a family of cats in a forest park and that one of the kittens was easily distracted, in this case by butterflies. The game was about this one kitten getting back to his family with the use of a makeshift slingshot. It’s a crazy idea, so we wanted graphics and sound to match the madness! At PocApp Studios we create simple, yet challenging games, games that are fun to play and are aesthetically pleasing for a wide range of people.
Having a high-quality standard for a 2D game means there will be a lot of big sprites, so in our case, Defold’s usage of tile sources worked particularly well for sprite animations and gathering same type sprites in one place. The engine also allowed for fast building and testing on several devices, which is very much needed when making these types of games, both from technical aspects as well as game design aspects.
When we had built up the core of our game, implemented the mechanics and found the proper aesthetical design we moved on to making more advanced features. Although just shooting a cat with a slingshot can be fun, we wanted more. We wanted obstacles for our levels. Each of these had three requirements: They had to be fun, challenging and they had to fit the art design and theme of the game. For example, we wanted an obstacle to work as a trampoline, something that really made the cat bounce. Having a simple trampoline would have worked but it didn’t fit with the game narrative. It was too simple. Instead, we incorporated bouncy tyres, a feature that fit the forest park theme, had the capacity for good player interactions and felt crazy and fun to use.
“...it was an otherwise easy process to build, playtest and reiterate each level until it met our requirements.”
As more and more obstacles were added, the levels of the game got more and more interesting. Of course, more options also meant that every level was a challenge for the team to design. Each Sing Kitty level had to test the player and fit into the story. Defold worked nicely as a level editor for us. We never made any mechanic or feature of the game specific. Every obstacle in the game had to work the same on every level. Having this in mind made it even easier to build the levels we wanted. Although it required intense thinking at times, it was an otherwise easy process to build, playtest and reiterate each level until it met our requirements. If it never did, we simply threw it away and started from scratch again.
As many game developers already know, development isn’t finished at release. Sling a Kitty will require many months of development before we will feel completely satisfied with it. More features will be added but each feature needs to be well thought out and tested. Many features do not automatically create a good experience. We aim to make features that are seamlessly part of the game. What can be promised, however, is that we will not stop working with Sling a Kitty until we have reached at least one hundred challenging and fun game levels.
PocApp Studios focus on creating games for all mobile platforms. Based in Skövde, Sweden, we are 7 game developers who strive to create fun and entertaining games, that are simple yet challenging, for all ages.