How did we make our first mobile game

Who we are

We are Landau Interactive, a digital agency that specializes in interface design. We never developed mobile games, but we always wanted to try.

And we did it! 🚀

On the project, we had: 2 project managers, 1 designer, 1 developer, 1 copywriter and one idea inspirer.

Not that it was a full team to create the game, but we put our soul into the project and decided to make it ourselves.

Development of mobile application on Android

1. The idea

The idea to try his hand in game development came to Ivan - art director of Landau.

Remembering the legendary toy Cookie Clicker, Ivan caught fire with the idea: to take the mechanics of the clicker and to come up with your own game based on it.

Let’s go. It's nothing. Twenty minutes adventure

— Ivan

Cookie Clicker


The plot, design and gameplay were not clear. Ivan of course had thoughts about what a setting could be, but he decided to listen to other options and invited our copywriter Polina to the project. 😉 

2. The game setting

At that moment the team consisted of 2 people. On January 13 the first task on the game was set.

First task

We came up with 5 options for setting up: from the magic world to the ancient civilization.

When you're offered to create a new world, you can't refuse that offer

— Polina

Game setting and game story


However, not all of the ideas were to the liking. So we organized a brainstorm and prepared about 20 different, absurd and unusual ideas.

From these, we made up the top three and stopped at the idea of an amusement park of the future.

3. The concept

The amusement park covers the widest possible audience - it is understandable for children and interesting for adults. We made a list of 16 attractions and described how the park will function.

The concept


After drawing a sketch, we imagined what our gaming space could look like. 

The sketch


We gave the materials and sketches to the artist. He prepared several concept arts for us, but due to personal circumstances he could not continue the work. Here our project stood up...

4. And again, the concept

The project was idle and it gave no rest to anyone. The idea of the park was good, but we decided to consider more options and returned to one of the first ideas - the Martian colony.

This time Ivan took everything in his hands and gathered the first prototype of the game.

The first prototype of the game Mars Project

The prototype turned out to be cool, stylish, and most importantly - topical (after all, we still live on the same planet with Elon Musk 😉).

5. Development

The project was handed over to our project manager, Christine.  Under her supervision, we prepared descriptions of the objects, their role and significance, and came up with several upgrades for each building. 

Descriptions of the objects


At the same time, our developer Alyona started working with the code. When we first told her that we would be developing the game, she accepted the news with due enthusiasm:

Okay. Let's do it!

To begin with, we decided to make the game on Android, using the software stack Vue + Cordova.

6. The economy

A separate stage was the development of the internal economy of the game. By this time a new project manager Volodya came to the project. Under his leadership, we have improved the economic model and completed the preparation of facility descriptions. 

Mars Project game development
Having reworked the economy, we have added a new feature that allows to increase the cost of a tap. So the gameplay has become much more fun

— Volodya

Creation of the game economy

7. Design & Interface

We worked on the design of the game at Figma. That's where we built the prototype and made the interface. Our designer Katya drew the upgrades for all the objects, which are 66 images.

When I was asked to work on the game, I was hesitant at first, but it turned out to be fascinating and not scary at all

— Katya

Mobile Game Design & Development

8. A new prototype

After testing the game in the emulator, we realized two things: first, the game needs onboarding, and second, we need to rework the interface elements.

We wanted to make the game intuitive, so we collected analogues of the most successful games to understand how their interface works.

Similar games


Then we improved our prototype: added new elements, changed the shape of icons and buttons.

New prototype of the game Mars Project


After retesting, we saw that the user has a much better understanding of the game. That's the result we've been waiting for.

9. Publish an app on Google Play

After testing, we were ready to release the game into the world. Four days of moderation and Mars Project is available for download! 

Publish an app on Google Play


The first version of the game in English is now on Google Play, soon we will roll out an update to fix bugs and make the game even more exciting.

Download Mars Project

Download Mars Project

Instead of a conclusion

The casual game genre accounts for about 43 million game sessions per year (according to GameAnalytics), which is the most popular mobile game genre.  

It distinguished from other games by ease of entry and easy mechanics, which do not need instructions.

And according to the company App Annie last year 72% of money spent by users of mobile applications were spent on games. That's $86 billion.

This and other facts have convinced us that game development, especially casual games, is quite promising.

***

It took about six months to create our game. We did it in our spare time from client tasks.

In that time:

  • We had over 200 cups of coffee.
  • We had 30 meetings and Skype-calls.
  • We've prepared 17 Google Docs.
  • We made 120 frames in Figma.
  • We've completed 10 game tests.

Our team went from the first set task to the full release of the game. 

Mars Project mobile game development


This is a small step for the gaming industry, but a big first step for Landau. ✨

 

Mars Project game ui design
 

Project team

  • Ivan

    Art director

  • Polina

    Content manager

  • Christina

    Project manager

  • Alyona

    Frontend developer

  • Ekaterina

    Designer

  • Vladimir

    Project manager

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