The Making of Snacksss is a series where we reveal what went into making the Snacksss game, from concept to a finished product on the App Store.
In this update, I’m having a Q&A with the CEO of Saizen Media, Davide Bianca. Davide is responsible for the art direction of Snacksss, and his team did the concept and final art for the game. Davide and team are simply amazing to work with, and we often partner with Saizen Media specifically because of the level of creativity they bring to everything they touch.
What were the inspirations for the style you chose for Snacksss? Anything from your childhood?
Davide: Ever since we started discussing the visual look and possible visual approaches for Snacksss it was obvious that the game needed to have a very vivid and humorous look and feel in terms of art direction. We needed something that could dedramatize the survival aspect of the gameplay, and immediately connect with the user-base. We wanted to focus on giving a very cute, humorous and vibrant experience to the users, so the choice of the color palette, the facial expressions on the characters and body language, as well as the visual effects, were all done in a specific way that would allow for high-pace gameplay, and yet have a good laugh every time you play the game.
As far as inspiration, it definitely resonates with a lot of the classic cartoon genre, a Looney Toonish feel in terms of backgrounds, and warmth of the color palette, even if very loosely referenced, while the characters are definitely more of a modern twist on stylized character design. Everything was created in traditional style 2D with Photoshop, then animated with After Effects, and plugged into the Unity engine which the game runs on.
How do you feel your team’s art separates Snacksss from what’s out there now, and what are some favorite styles from iPhone games that you play or like?
Davide: The app market is full of great titles and successful IPs, and of course inevitably the success of some titles sets the bar for whole new genres and the standards of new products and franchises to come. With Snacksss we wanted to have a very unique approach with visuals from the get go, something that can be easily identified and remembered. Each game needs a specific approach for key visuals and characters that fits the style of gameplay, storyline and game mechanics; given the simplicity and fast pace of Snacksssʼ gameplay we focused on a style of shapes, body language, animations, and overall mood that would set the game apart from the rest and make it a unique experience.
In terms of my favorite styles, as said above, I think the style-choice needs to live in conjunction with the choice of mood and story, tightly weaved into the fabric of the game as a whole. What happens in the game and how the user interacts with it dictates the rules for visual representation, so that the experience comes across as coherent and organic. Games like Aurora Feint, Angry Birds, 1112, JetPack Joyride and Hero Academy, even if radically different between each other, have proven to be perfect examples of the above, and are my all-time favourites.
What was the greatest challenge with producing the art for Snacksss?
Davide: Probably the greatest challenge was creating a set of animations that would work well within the gameplay even at high speed, without losing detail and seamlessly integrated into the environment. We wanted to create simple yet effective character movements and visual effects (clouds of smoke, power spins etc) that even if short in terms of cycling/looping would be representative of the style and overall choice for art direction; so we opted for very few animations with a lot of personality, this allowed us to bring the game together organically and focus on how to trigger the right animation at the right time, avoiding memory hogging, delays and performance optimization; a lot of work and attention smoothening the animations and gameplay, so we worked in conjunction with the dev team to integrate them smoothly and flawlessly.
What’s your favorite character in Snacksss and why?
Davide: Definitely the rabbit! He is so deserving to be eaten! Ahahah
Top score? C’mon, you know you haven’t reached more than 50,000.
Davide: 483,000 … for now
483,000 is not bad… I guess I’ll refrain from sharing my score after that
Thanks to Davide for taking some time to tell us about the art of Snacksss! Next update, we’ll talk a bit about some of the challenges we faced during the game’s development.