Mike here, good to see you!
We are getting closer and closer to having exciting news surrounding Typo. This project has been some time in the oven, and we are getting very close to release it and see if players feel as ecstatic about it as we do.
When we started developing Typo, it was just an idea. “You find a computer, you type in the word that the faulty keyboard lets you and you solve the puzzle”. That’s how simple the elevator pitch looked like. The mechanic was simple enough (Instantiate() in Unity would mostly do the job, right?) and we had a bit of experience in putting together small prototypes without much of a hassle.
The idea was to develop the game for a month, package and release it for free. It worked for us, since the three of us have
“normal” full-time jobs and couldn’t really afford to spend too much time on it. We were only experimenting, right? There was no need for a roadmap, or a marketing strategy.
Once the end of the first month came, we knew we had something better than we’d initially thought.
This is how the game looked when we started – this background was probably created one or two days after we started:
The washed out look was already here, the style of the room numbers were locked. But one specific thing was missing, which in hindsight adds so much personality to the game: perspective. The colors were too dark, and the size of the props didn’t make sense in the world, but the feeling we wanted was there.
So we went back to the drawing board, trying to come up with a visual style that was unique, and conveyed the clean, odd look we were going for.
Here is how it looked one month in:
This is one of the only screenshots I have of this part of the development process. Once we had this, it was clear that this was the way to go. I will go deeper into the pipeline and our process for developing the assets at a later time, but for now, let’s just say that the slightly tilted perspective worked as a charm.
The only problem was that it felt too bland: not enough colors or textures mean that the visuals felt repetitive. The advantage was that we could work with a clear visual style in mind: fake 3d backgrounds with 2d pixel art props.
We knew the mechanics worked – we could mix and match several concepts in order to create interesting puzzles – but we didn’t have the complete picture of how the game would feel until we had the complete vertical slice of both gameplay and visuals.
It’s been some time since we took the decision to stick with the mix of 3d and 2d. Here is how Typo looks now:
We added textures, colors and a better designed computer terminal – since you will see a lot of them during gameplay, it was paramount that this particular asset was visually pleasing.
The superposition of 3d backgrounds with the character sprite was also a fantastic decision. The world is rendered in voxel art, which means that there are no curves that would conflict with the design of the props, and pixel art fits right in – as well as being a faster way to add detail to the world than rendering actual 3d meshes for everything.
Typo has come a long way, and it definitely has a long road ahead. We’ll continue to keep working to improve the game, how it looks and feels, and I hope that you’ll continue on this path with us!
Thanks for reading and see you in the next one!