Hello Monday walks you through how to turn a rejected concept into a GPS-based arcade game
- Software ActionScript 3.0 and Google Static Map API
- Time needed 2 hours
- Get to grips with ActionScript 3.0
- Use the Google Static Map API
- Integrate Adobe AIR into your work
Clients don’t always choose your favourite concept – but that doesn’t mean you should forget about those ideas. We pitched a great concept to a big fashion company recently: they liked it, but went with another option, leaving us with an idea that we loved but no next steps in terms of development. This tutorial is about turning an idea into a useful concept and transforming that into something tangible – in this case, an app.
Beanie and the Balloonist is a real-life arcade game that hooks into Google Maps, locates your position through GPS coordinates and turns that area into your game map. You control the game by moving around in the real world.
First, we invented a storyline: a hero with a mission. Initially this was to run around the streets picking up coins, while being chased. We discussed different character options, settling on a fun, fantasy hero: Beanie – the world’s largest navy bean. The Balloonist is his high-flying, baked bean-loving nemesis. In this tutorial we’ll cover concept and character development, plus how to work with ActionScript 3.0, the Google Static Map API and Adobe AIR for mobile development.
01 First, sketch out your character and concept ideas. We liked the thought of our bad guy flying around – he needed to be able to cross water and other obstacles, after all. It was also important that his aircraft wasn’t too fast and would be easy for players to shoot down. We could almost hear The Balloonist scheming when we drew the first sketch.
02 Consider the function of your characters, and design them accordingly. Beanie is a product of The Ballonist’s obsessive food-fantasy. Conceptually he ended up as this campy, 50s-style bean with long arms and legs, since his most important task is to run around. The coins from our original concept were turned into sharp objects: thumbtacks, darts and forks – which are all perfect for puncturing The Balloonist’s aircraft.
03 Also consider where users will play your game. Beanie and the Balloonist will be played outside, in the real world, so we chose a black-and-white palette to contrast with users’ colourful surroundings. Normally we draw all characters ourselves, but this personal project allowed us to collaborate with Argentine illustrator Martin Cocchi, who we've always wanted to work with. We contacted him with some rough sketches and a character brief.
04 After an initial draft and some minor feedback from our team, Martin drew two complete character sheets. The game interface is very simple, based around just the two characters and a collection of sharp objects.
05 In the gameplay, we skinned the map that the player is walking around on, opting for a simple black-and-white style and some randomly placed ‘Beanie-style’ trees and mountains in the areas where there are no roads.
06 Due to our small budget, we searched among friends and family for voices for our characters. One of Hello Monday’s wives had the perfect Beanie voice, and a friend did an awesome Scottish imitation. If you need voices and money is tight, simply grab your friends and rent a studio for an hour.