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We kept some animated tutorials, but decreased the size of the popups. All the other info is delivered in smallest chunks possible, with pictures, and by your villagers.
This increases the chances that anybody reads the text (and deepens your relationship with the imaginary villagers you have to care about). However, the most effective tutorial tool is the nice bouncing arrow pointing to the next element you have to interact with.
At some point while working on the tutorial, we realized how many things we have to explain to the players: that tiles sum up to resources, that you are rewarded for long chains, how exactly workers change the game, what do rats do, etc.
The solution we went for was to start with the gameplay at its minimum (no long chains, no workers, no tools, no free moves, no market) and create buildings that introduce new gameplay elements. This was a real breakthrough -- we gave the players the power to change the rules of the game, and the players loved it.
There are a few mechanisms or relations in the game that are not clearly explained. They give you the opportunity to explore and analyze the game and find out some combos or strategies by yourself. Many players like the thrill of discovery as much as we do.
We started with quite a boring main menu, and only later created a really nice loading screen, so we decided to merge them, and after some color correction we got a new, beautiful main menu.
Working on the Puzzle Craft logo, we decided to focus the two main aspects of the game: farming and mining. We started exploring this idea in our first designs.
We really liked this 3D version of our logo, but in the end we decided to simplify it show the letters in 2D. Effect bellow:
At the beginning there was a simple, placeholder icon.
Then we prepared several sketches to discuss with Chillingo, our publisher.
Then we refined them…
...and prepared several more, this time focused on showing the gameplay.
Then Chillingo prepared their proposition...
...and then we tried a totally different approach.
Finally, over a month later, Puzzle Craft's icon was ready.
Overall the whole development process took us about 12 months, with a team of four people plus outsourcing. The core team:
Bartlomiej Rozbicki - Project Lead/Art Direction
Artur Ganszyniec - Design/Gameplay
Mariusz Macieja - Programming
and Marcin Gibowski - Illustration and Animation