Kid Natural: Cowabunga Cleanup
Super Hero Kid Natural is here to save the planet with his sidekick Waddles. Kid Natural has Autism. He and Waddles are here to clean up the Ocean and rid it of trash, oil, polluting ships, monsters, and oil rigs. Have fun saving sea life, racing Waddles, and helping turn an old leaky oil rig into a beautiful fish filled reef.
Project History and my Role
I began working on this game as an internship the summer before my senior year at UC Santa Cruz. A start-up company, Kid Natural Ltd., wanted to get a game designed and came to UCSC's Games and Playable Media; to fulfill this my college put together a small team of students consisting of myself, Zachary Lindblad (programmer/game designer), Max Weinberg (artist), Jane Pinckard (Advisor/Producer), Joey Santley (Producer/Client), and Doug Blake (Producer/Client). We initially began making this game only for Android devices by using the Android API. Much of my role in the project at the early stages consisted of concept and gameplay design. I also worked engine developement, more specifically getting a multi-threaded rendering engine built with OpenGL ES since the Android's default canvas was too slow to draw the amount of sprites we wanted to.
After the internship ended in late September my team and I had a functional Minimum Viable Product. Zach got busy with school and wasn't able to work as much anymore on the game. I continued to talk to Joey and Doug and work on the project outside of the internship, in which I finished adding more content to the game such as sound effects, music, different levels, comics, and collectibles. The Android version was finished late November and put on the Android Market as a Beta.
Although the game was finished, Joey and Doug wanted it also available on the Apple App Store. I took the job as an independent developer to recode the entire game in C++ with the Marmalade SDK. This consisted of learning the Marmalade SDK on my own, making my own 2D Game Engine, recoding the entire game, stages, gameplay, and also fine tuning and adding content according to playtesting feedback from the Android beta.
Working alone on porting the project proved to be a big task for me, but in the end it was also one of my biggest coding accomplishments. I spent many nights staying up late working on remaking the game while also doing senior college projects. The game was relaunched on the Android Market late August and approved on the Apple App Store early May 2012. I've learned a lot working on this project, and my engine was even used for my senior game project Microventures. I currently am continuing working with Kid Natural Ltd and expanding this game.