Halububum

by Dilara Semerci (Programming & Design) & Regis Frey (Design & Art)

Document

Out now on the iPad App Store!

Toss little messy monsters called BUs into your opponents courts while keeping your own area clean. Face off in two or four player matches on a single iPad. Board game meets physical game meets touch screen.

Press Kit: Screenshots, Logos, and Information

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Samples of Play

Brainstorming & Background

In order to get ideas on the table we took a stack of notecards and two sharpies, set a timer for 90 seconds, and started scribbling. This was a technique Dilara picked up in the Game Design Workshop at GDC. We wrote down everything we thought might be part of a good game that we wanted to make. Our table looked like this when the alarm buzzed.

notecards laid out on table

Our design was highly influenced by Regis' exploration in the Mountains of Madness assignment. His paper was on the communal tablet and the growing number of board games on iPad. Building on that he developed a structure to take the best aspects of board games (people playing together face to face) and merge them with the best aspects of computer/console games (instant math, special effects, sounds) in order to create multi-player games on a communal screen.

Based on that desire to do a multi-touch tablet game we began formulating games from what was on the table. Competition was important to us, this wouldn't be a cooperative game. A time limit seemed like a good mechanic to create intensity. We talked about wanting direct interaction and maybe physics as that could lend itself to some juicy effects. The game was formed when we added cute monsters to that mix and came up with the rough template of HaluBuBum.

Rules

Initial Rule Set:

Final Rule Set:

Post Mortem

(-) The biggest mistake we made on this project was aiming for multi-touch physics simultaneous with learning the platform. Though we accomplished it, the level of code required meant our game wasn't fully testable until very late into the week. We mitigated this somewhat by creating approximate prototypes of features and testing those. If we did this again we would set the technical difficulty lower so we had more time to test the design.

(+) The best thing we did was make a toy first. We grabbed a prebuilt copy of the physics library with a bouncy ball all set up and slapped our cute character on top of it. It didn't have multi-touch, splats, or anything but it was enough to know that throwing around this little monster was fun. We were also able to test people's reaction to our monster and that confirmed that we were on the right path stylistically.

It lives! A final note in this brief post-mortem is that HaluBuBum is not done. We hope to polish it, place it in the app store, and present it in the Spring Festival. With the hard work of building a multi-touch physics game behind us, we now face the hard work of tuning the gameplay and developing a marketing plan in order not to disappear into the app stores depths.

Playtests

Playtest #1 It’s a TOY!

Date & Time
3/31/2013 @ 7:00pm
Participants
Dilara Semerci, Regis Frey

What’s being tested: Tossing the character with Box2D physics in the court.

Observations

Decisions after this playtest:

We decided to make more research about multi-touch handlings on iPad and add leaving splats behind the character.

Playtest #2 It’s a MESSY TOY!

Date & Time
3/31/2013 @ 9:00pm
Participants
Dilara Semerci, Regis Frey

What’s being tested: Tossing the character who leaves splats behind him.

Observations

Lots of splats means lots of DOM objects which means slow renders. If we go this direction we need to find another rendering method. Otherwise we need to limit the splats through gameplay. Lots of splats look cool though and seeing the trails is fun. We need to figure out the multi-touch handling.

Decisions after this playtest

Adapting the current gameplay to multi-touch and adding cleaning feature.

Playtest #3 It’s a MESSY TOY but we can CLEAN the mess!

Date & Time
3/31/2013 @ 11:00pm
Participants
Atulit Kumar, Akshaya Venugopal, Dilara Semerci, Regis Frey

What’s being tested: Tossing the character which leaves splats behind him and the players can clean their areas.

Observations

Decisions after this playtest

Since we have got the splatting and cleaning working, we need to focus on the multi-touch handling.

Playtest #4 We have MULTI TOUCH PHYSICS working!

Date & Time
4/2/2013 @ 2:00pm
Participants
Sahana Vijai, Akshaya Venugopal, Dilara Semerci, Regis Frey

What’s being tested: How do people like the multi touch physics in a 4 player game? How do they behave for tossing the Boos around? The game is 3 minutes long, it starts with 4 Boos randomly positioned in the courts, they get split into 2 after the 1st minute then each Boo splits into 3. After 3 minutes, the one with the highest number of Boos in his/her court loses.

Observations

Decisions after this playtest

Playtest #5 It’s time to SHORTEN the gameplay!

Date & Time
4/13/2013 @ 8:30pm
Participants
Eric Frey, Regis Frey, Dilara Semerci, Roberta Gilboe

What’s being tested: Multi-touch physics Boo tossing game. Gameplay is reduced to 30 seconds. Is this time enough for a good experience? We have reduced the number of Boos to 1 for starting, 2 for splitting for the first time and 3 for splitting for the second time. Are these numbers satisfying?

Observations

As we were using the Box2D objects as they are while testing, it was hard to distinguish the balls from the background. 30 seconds gameplay is too short for this game. We should try with 45sec - 1min gameplay. People liked playing this, they put almost all their fingers to the screen.

Decisions after this playtest

Playtest #6 It’s time to ADD the GRAPHICS!

Date & Time
4/14/2013 @ 10:00am
Participants
Erica Hampson, Dilara Semerci, Regis Frey

What’s being tested: We have put the Boo graphics and increased the duration to 45 seconds.

Observations

When we put the background image and the Boos, the game became more enjoyable, especially little Boos are so cute. We need to add the splats and scoring mechanism to make the gameplay better. 45 seconds of gameplay is satisfying.

Decisions after this playtest

Adding the splats and scoring are the next tasks. We should start adding background music and sound fx.

Playtest #7 Let’s ADD SPLATS!

Date & Time
4/15/2013 @ 2:00 am
Participants
Atulit Kumar, Dilara Semerci, Regis Frey

What’s being tested: How do the players feel about splats with new mechanics?

Observations

Boos wandering around and leaving splats behind them is so cool. They again became messy guys :) Players enjoyed tossing the Boos.

Decisions after this playtest

We need to add the cleaning and scoring to our game.

Playtest #8 Let’s CLEAN SPLATS with MUSIC!

Date & Time
4/15/2013 @ 9:00 pm
Participants
Sahana Vijai, Akshaya Venugopal, Atulit Kumar, Lei Feng

What’s being tested: Overall gameplay with sound. We start with 1 Boo, it splits into 2 Boos after 15 seconds and then splits into 3 Boos after another 15 seconds. Players are trying to clean their courts while tossing the Boos to other players’ courts. How satisfying this activity? Player with the dirtiest court when the time is out loses. Sound rhythm increases with time, how does this make players feel?

Observations

Decisions after this playtest

We have to make necessary warnings before the gameplay as it can get violent.

Playtest #9 Let’s PLAY HALUBUBUM!

Date & Time
4/15/2013 @ 9:10 pm
Participants
Ying Yuan, Yunxin Zheng, Mayank Grover, Lucien Chen, Scott Chen, Brian Lee
What’s being tested: Overall gameplay: We start with 1 Boo, it splits into 2 Boos after 15 seconds and then splits into 3 Boos after another 15 seconds. Players are trying to clean their courts while tossing the Boos to other players’ courts. Player with the dirtiest court when the time is out loses.

Observations

They liked the art style and game play a lot. There were lots of fingers’ fight. We are only showing the loser, but maybe we should indicate the “Winner”, too.

Decisions after this playtest

We are going to show the percentages of the “dirtiness of each court”.

Playtest #10 Let’s PLAY MORE HALUBUBUM!

Date & Time
4/15/2013 @ 9:20 pm
Participants
Evan Li, Garrett Kimball, Dilara Semerci, Regis Frey
What’s being tested: Overall gameplay: We start with 1 Boo, it splits into 2 Boos after 15 seconds and then splits into 3 Boos after another 15 seconds. Players are trying to clean their courts while tossing the Boos to other players’ courts. Player with the dirtiest court when the time is out loses.

Observations

Decisions after this playtest

Evan’s comment about having multiple Boos, especially the cleaners was in our first gameplay list but most probably we will not be able to put this into this version of the game.

Playtest #11 Let’s PLAY EVEN MORE HALUBUBUM!

Date & Time
4/15/2013 @ 9:45 pm
Participants
Keyin Wu, Frank Hamilton, Bora Kim, Himanshu Vartak

What’s being tested Overall gameplay (as described above, no changes).

Observations

When a boo travels under your finger while cleaning it becomes “rubber banded” to your finger until you lift it. (-) This can be negative because you dirty your court while trying to clean. (+) but it also means you have to be attentive to what is happening. We discussed a “broom” like mechanic where your finger is a collider bumping the boos away not flinging them.

Decisions after this playtest

We decided to test limiting the number of fingers allowed per player as freestyle caused lots of chaos.

Playtest #12 Let’s PLAY EVEN MORE HALUBUBUM!

Date & Time
4/15/2013 @ 10:10 pm
Participants
Philip Chung, Katherine Lowe, John Baxa, Christian Cashman
Playing on a table

What’s being tested: Overall game (no changes from above).

Each player can only use his/her 2 fingers.

Observations

Decisions after this playtest

Playtest #13 Let’s PLAY EVEN MORE HALUBUBUM!

Date & Time
4/15/2013 @ 11:00 pm
Participants
Heem Patel, Shine Li, Tushar Arora, Regis Frey

What’s being tested: Overall gameplay (no changes from above)

Observations

Decisions after this playtest

Playtest #14 Let’s play Halububum in Alumni Gathering!

Date & Time
4/18/2013 @ 6:00 pm
Participants
Rebecca Grabman, Mike Lee, Dan Lin, Shawn Patton, Dilara Semerci

What’s being tested: Overall gameplay (no changes from above)

Observations

Decisions after this playtest

Playtest #15 Let’s play Halububum in Alumni Gathering!

Date & Time
4/18/2013 @ 6:30 pm
Participants
Mike Christel, Salvador Barrera, Katie Correll, Regis Frey
Entertaining at an event

What’s being tested: Overall gameplay (no changes from above)

Observations

Decisions after this playtest

Credits