Announcement : Introducing 'The Isle Of Bobbin'

Introducing The Isle Of Bobbin

Wow, this is a special moment in our lives; today is the day we finally announce our game 'The Isle of Bobbin' to the world. 

This adventure specifically started over 1 year ago, but have to say that it really started since childhood, and what we believe makes our game so unique.

Ok, so let's start with the basic premise of the game. You play as Madeline, a bunny who is married to a famous journalist and adventurer. One day she sets off on an assignment to a mysterious island called the 'Isle of Bobbin' to report back on its inhabitants and history. 

Madeline - The Isle Of Bobbin thinking - The Isle Of Bobbin

Madeline waits for 4 seasons, but he never returns; not being the type of bunny to wait until it's too late; Madeline leaves their home behind and sets off to the Isle herself in search of her husband. 

So, pretty simple stuff really. But what makes this game different from most other survival, stuck on an island game... for me it's about the meaning behind the game and the way the game feels. 

What we're trying to do with this game is create a need to explore but also relax at the same time, survival and relaxation are seldom in the same sentence, and it's getting this balance right that we feel makes the difference. More about that to follow, but we wanted to quickly go over the art style. 

As you can see from the screenshots, it's like fabric sewn together with a colourful bonanza. We only began to take drawing at all seriously in the last year, and we tried many different styles to get to this point.

Being big fans of Kawaii Japanese artwork and stationary originally we intended to create a game which would look similar to something like Sanrio Twin Stars or My Melody however we soon learnt that copying these styles was actually extremely difficult and maybe a little unoriginal. 

So with this blocker, we then moved on to experiment with different styles of artwork. This was when my wife and fellow game creator said we should check out something called Zakka style. 

Zakka, a Japanese term meaning 'many things' or 'miscellaneous goods,' it's a style that combines charm and homemade style that everyone can join in with. Think of little simple embroidered houses and trees made of mismatching fabric in simple colours, and you're halfway there. 

This sparked a light bulb moment - combine our favourite Kawaii and Zakka styles and BOOM! Isle of Bobbin style is born! 

Anyhow, I don't want to go into much as we will do a full post/video on our inspirations later. 

I then began mapping out ideas for the gameplay and mechanics of the game with the aim to create a game that feels like any day in Animal Crossing but still have the sense of progression and survival of something like the game Lost in Blue? So we started to experiment. 

Soon after we settled on the theme, mechanics and style, we started to put the various artworks we had drawn into the engine and experiment with animating them. It worked out pretty well, and we felt confident enough to actually start making the game. 

So what can you do in this game?

First of all, we wanted the player to be able to forage for food and then cook it. So we began to plan out many ideas for recipes for things like Apple Pies, Vegetable Salads or Mushroom Soup. Then we could reverse engineer these to know what types of vegetables or fruit the player would find. We took all these recipes and programmed a way of having a cooker which would use a plugin to create a crafting/cooking system. It's easy stuff but hard work to research all these recipes and create the hundreds of in-game items.

Now we had a way of replenishing health how would the player lose it?

This was going to be a big part of the game. We wanted the player while exploring, would gradually lose health when either interacting with the environment or moving across maps. 

So again... how do you do this and not make the game a time-pressured panic attack? We still want the player to relax... and we wanted to promote a sense of freedom and choice within the game. One way we've got around this is to not use an in-game timer which is counting the seconds the player is playing and decrease the health but to have the player loose health only when moving from one map to the other - this way we could easily balance the amount you lose vs the amount of time the player moves from one map to the next. Also, this gives the player control over deciding to move from one map to the next... for instance we wanted the player to be able to think "should I move on, or is it time to sleep or eat another meal?" 

In terms of game design, this gives a player choice and promotes freedom but within the boundaries that the developer can set. 

This tied in nicely with the time system - this system also is linked to map movements, move to a map it's plus one to the in-game clock... stay on a map, time standstill. We know this might sound awkward at first, but we didn't want to have the player feel like time is slipping away. This is bad enough in real life, let alone when you're trying to play a game! (And let more time slip away).

So that covers off a few of the mechanics of the Isle of Bobbin; there are many more things we could cover here however please keep reading/watching for more on the development of this game. 

We're aiming to have a new dev-log /dev-vlog up once every month and then make random content once in a while in between. 

Are you in the Middle East and going to GamesCon Middle East in Abu Dhabi? You can actually play the game there, so come and see us in the indie developer section. We'll be Vlogging this and uploading some footage - the show is on the 24th-26th of October 2019.

Thanks so much for watching/reading and we hope to see you again here soon!

Great to have you come on this journey with us! Follow us on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram 

Happy playing! 

The Isle Of Bobbin characters -

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