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Hatch Tales: How it started vs. How it's going...

by Jools Watsham on 10/26/20 10:18:00 am   Expert Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

This was originally posted as UPDATE #32 on the HATCH TALES Kickstarter (previously known as Chicken Wiggle Workshop).

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Howdy Hatchy Hatchertons!

 

I hope you're doing well this fine Friday afternoon. I thought it would be fun to post some comparison images of how things were in the original Chicken Wiggle game on 3DS and how they are now in Hatch Tales, to give some insight behind the changes and a way to see them side by side. Let's pluck those feathers!

 

MAIN MENU

Updating the main menu for the console release, and what has ultimately become a sort of reimagining of Chicken Wiggle into the new and improved Hatch Tales, was a really fun challenge. I liked the original main menu screen layout for Chicken Wiggle, as it presented the core features, Play, Create, and Share, equally to the player. But, Hatch Tales had changed and evolved. That meant the way in which the game presented itself to the player had to change too!

 

I saw the console release of Hatch Tales as an opportunity to address the issues that players had with the original 3DS release and to improve upon areas that needed it. One of the key areas I wanted to focus on was the amount of built-in content in the campaign. So, what did we do? We doubled the number of levels by adding a second campaign: Holly's Nightmare. We also added a few more levels for Max's Dreamland, but more about that on a different day.

 

Chicken Wiggle was originally positioned as a platformer with a built-in level editor and online level sharing - all equal parts (more or less). Even though the level editor and online level sharing is still featured in Hatch Tales, I wanted to push the game away from being considered an "Indie Mario Maker", and more towards a fully fledged platformer in its own right. A fully fledged platformer that just so happens to include an awesome level editor and powerful online sharing!

 

As you can see from the images below, the new main menu puts a large emphasis on the campaigns and puts the online and level editor buttons as smaller circular options below. In addition to the different balance of features and how they are presented, I felt it was important to embrace the higher resolution of the Nintendo Switch and ditch the pixelated font. The periwinkle-colored sky behind the menu buttons is a separate layer that slowly scrolls, providing a nice extra sense of depth to the scene.

 

Why on earth downplay the level editor and online sharing, you ask? Well, it is certainly a personal thing, and for me I love the idea of someone buying Hatch Tales for the fun platforming it offers, and later discovering it has a legit level editor with the ability to share levels online as a pure bonus to their expectations. That, to me, would be a magical treat on top of what is already a very enjoyable experience.   

 

How it started...

 

How it's going...

 

LEVEL SELECT

Much like the main menu, the level select screen needed to step up its game to present the game effectively to the player.

 

The original level select screen for Chicken Wiggle embraced the construction vibe offered by the level editor. It presented a vibe similar to Mario vs. Donkey Kong in the way it did little to contextualize the levels or place them in a world or land. Each level was a abstract button that provided access to a level.

 

I felt it was important the player's sense of adventure was emphasized in the way it is with New Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario 3D Land, and other games that have a overworld of sorts. But, I did not want to completely reinvent the wheel - just present the existing content in a more exciting way!

 

Presenting each level as its own tower and visualizing Hatch traveling between them immediately changes the perception of the levels and their weight in the game. That small delay of time it takes Hatch to walk from one level to another adds so much!

 

Revamping this screen also offered the opportunity to present other vital information to the player to improve the overall experience and sense of progression. Super Gems (previously, FUN letters) and Gems can now be seen for each level, as well as the player's total count of these. These "currencies" have also been utilized to unlock certain levels along the player's journey. This all contributes nicely to the player's greater sense of place in the adventure, and the rewards for their accomplishments.

 

In a similar way to the main menu, the cloud layer in the background slowly scrolls to the left, giving a sense of movement, progress, and gently encouraging the player to soldier on to the right.

 

How it started... 

 

How it's going...

 

I hope you enjoyed seeing the images side by side and hearing a little more about the thoughts behind some of the changes and improvements we're making to Hatch Tales. Oh, one more thing...

We hope you're doing well and staying safe. <3


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