Submitted By:
Spaces of Play
Watch Their Video
Game Type:
Core
Game Platform:
iPhone
Class:
Professional
Credits:
Mattias Ljungström

team leader, game design, level design, code

Marek Plichta

game design, level design, art direction

Martin Straka

music, sound design

Andreas Zecher

promotion, web development, level design

Game Title:
Spirits
Game Description:

Spirits is an action-puzzle game about wind, indirect control and creativity. Guide the spirits towards their destination by using them to manipulate wind, dig tunnels and build bridges of leaves. Find your own creative solution for each of the 40 beautifully hand-drawn levels.



Spirits lets you play at your own pace. Pause the game at any time to get an overview over a level. Try to save as many spirits as possible and pick up the hard-to-get plants to reach a higher world rank. Sound and music are done completely with orchestral musical instruments giving the game a unique poetic feel.





What was your inspiration for making the game?

The design goals for the game were that it should be about manipulating game spaces and player creativity. We started out with a prototype of the basic gameplay with ants in a lush forest. Later this was transformed into a dark world with sleep-walking ghosts, which ultimately ended up being the leaf spirits we have now. The game mechanics of the wind was an idea that we got from the characters’ leaf-like look. The wind made the gameplay more dynamic and at times chaotic. However, we decided to downplay the chaos dynamic so that the game always feels fair.





How is your game unique from others out there?

We wanted Spirits to be a calm and relaxing experience. At the same time it should provide a challenge and force you to think actively to solve the puzzles. It’s a somewhat dark game world, but not depressing. And while playing the game can be hectic at times, we didn’t want it to be stressful.





How long did it take you to make your game?

It took a bit more than a year to go from the first idea to a finished game.





What was the hardest part about making it?

It’s always hard to balance the game elements so that they fit well together and create the experience you want the player to have. Since we have some complex game mechanics, such as dynamic wind and destructible geometry, this was something we spent a lot of time on to get it right. We went through many iterations on the exact properties of the wind and its dynamics. We also tweaked how the spirits walk and fall quite a lot. But this is what makes game development fun!





Any other unique or interesting facts about your game we should know about?

The foreground and background graphics look like they are hand-painted pictures, but the graphics for all the 40 levels are actually composed (with lots of work!) from hand-painted tiles that fit into one 1024×1024 texture.





How did you pick the name of your game?  Did you have any others in mind?

Yes, we considered a few other options, but none felt right for what it was that we had built. Some other options would have been “Wind Spirits”, “Leaf Spirits”, “Return of the lost Spirits”, …





Questions for the Team Leader
Hometown?

Currently live in Berlin, Germany, but I’m from a small town in south-west Sweden.





College?

I have a Master in Computer Science from the University of Linköping, LiTH, Sweden.





What is your gaming background?

My gaming career started back when my older brother got a C64 for Christmas in 1984. We played a lot of games on this, and I learned to code in Basic, Simons Basics, and 6502 assembler. Later, I had an Amiga, and was briefly in the so-called demo scene in Sweden.





How long have you and your teammates known each other?  What’s the story behind how your team got together?

I’m from Sweden but live in Berlin. Andreas lives in Stockholm but is from Germany. Marek lives in Berlin but is from Poland. Martin comes from the same area as Andreas and lives in Karlsruhe now. Three of us met at the University of Applied Science in Potsdam where I was teaching Game Design, and Andreas and Marek were design students.





What game or games are you playing right now?

I have been playing lots of Drop7 lately, a highly addictive iPhone game. Other than that Osmos, Starcraft 2, Critter Crunch, Cut the Rope, and League of Legends.





What is your favorite all-time game?

Hard to pick, but if I can only choose one, it would be Super Mario Bros.





What is your least favorite all-time game?

I don’t think I have one. But although I enjoyed Quake III a lot, I stay away from most new first-person shooters.





What is your best game-related story?

My girlfriend once hit a wine glass while playing Wii Tennis. She was very into the ongoing match and as I started to pick up the glass splitter she proceeded to knock me out by hitting me in the head. [This was before Nintendo released those rubber protection cases].





First video game system you owned?

C64





Current favorite system?

iPad





When you and your team aren’t making awesome games, what other hobbies are you involved in?

In no particular order: Snowboarding, Cooking good food, Reading Books and Comics, Acroyoga, Soccer, Traveling, Playing games with friends.