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Case Study

An extensible, repurposable and most importantly fun Bubble Pop game component!

Recently BBC aim to increase their game making ability by building on the success of the IVOR games engine and creating an engine for older players. The new engine, GENIE, required a bubble pop game component… and thats when we were called!

This project would see us designing and creating an easily re-skinable and configurable bubble pop component for genie. Rewards, achievments, levels and payoffs would all be built in to the core component, allowing for easy spin-offs to be created with no additional agency support required.

The Challenge

Create a repurposable and flexible yet solid game component based on the popular and much loved bubble Pop mechanic!

BUD-BP Challenge 1

Creating a robust component that would always deliver

Because we would be creating a core game component thats used to produce a number of "child" games we had to ensure that it had enough built in fundamental features to make every game it produced an awesome one!

The nature of a bubble pop game means there could potentially be hundreds of assets on the screen at once, so careful consideration and planning would have to go into game optimisation to avoid any performance issues when playing.

BUD-BP Challenge 2

Rewards and achievements in a repurposable game

Because the ultimate goal of this game was to create a game mechanic that would go on to produce completely new spin-offs, we would have to carefully consider how rewards, achievements and ultimately gamer satisfaction could be embedded into the game and be surfaced in a consistent but fresh way each time.

BUD-BP Challenge 3

Creating fresh, new games with each iteration

One of the main aims of this project was the ability to spin off fresh feeling games each time. To achieve this we would need to provide future game makers with enough flexibility to completely change a games feel.

All possible configurable elements would need to be considered yet carefully balanced to ensure the game integrity was not compromised (it couldn't be broken!)

The Solution

Utilise new features of IVOR to create dynamic / mature game mechanics and establish a look and feel never seen before on CBBC!

BUD-BP Solution 1

Smart use of assets and built in phaser features

Bubble pop is a game that had to constantly check for collisions between objects - potentially hundreds of objects… so we utilised Phasers built and already optimised collision detection system in its arcade physics library. This exponentially optimised increased the speed of the game, allowing it to even be played on legacy devices with no impact to performance.

In addition to this we created a system that would recycle and reuse assets in the game where possible, using texture assets where possible and for more dynamic / advanced assets such as animations we capitalised on spines built in optimisation features to export lightweight JSON files.

BUD-BP Solution 2

A game that packs a powerball punch!

Our Bubble pop component was going to offer players the ability to use POWERBALLS! A selection of special power ups that each have their own unique ability that can either aid or hinder a players progression through a level. Powerballs would be configured by game makers and unlocked when point targets are hit by players.

In addition to this, we also introduced standard visual payoffs that enrich the experience such as character reaction states for good and bad shots, point accumulation animations, bursting bubble animations and level introduction animations that could be utilised in any spinoff game created.

When combined, all these enhancements would ensure all bubble pop games had the level of polish expected by BBC.

BUD-BP Solution 3

Did we mention that it will be toggle-able?!

Our Bubble Pop game utilised a huge amount of features available through phasers various game libraries. These were then cleverly hooked up to a complex system of configurable JSON files, which game makers could then update to affect how the output game was structured.

For example, Levels, Collectable items, Powerball strengths, level design and point targets for game rewards and achievements were all configurable so that any game created could be completely unique, yet built on the same foundations.

Contained in a common game library, visual assets and the on-screen positioning of them could also be controlled by the game maker. further enhancing the skin-ability of this awesome game component!

The Result

An awesome Bubble Pop game component that’s extensible, repurposable and most importantly REALLY FUN to play!

BUD-BP Results 1

Hubble Bubble and the missing monsters

To demonstrate the flexibility and configuration options available in our Bubble pop component, we created two completely unique themes / skins.

Firstly a magical adventure where the story focused around a witch that had accidentally opened a forbidden chest and let loose and assortment of Gobbler monsters!

Players would have to visit four zones and collect the gobblers by playing the variety of bubble pop levels. Powerballs, levels, achievements and visual payoffs would all be activated for this game.

BUD-BP Results 2

Swash buckle and the lost treasure

The second skin would see players starring as a young and ambitious pirate. A character that wanted to prove his worth to his piers by sailing the forbidden islands in search of the lost treasures of Silver Tongue.

Featuring levels spread over 2 configurable zones, players would have to use their Powerballs wisely to ensure they would pop enough bubbles to hit the points target and progress to the next level - ultimately docking at the forbidden isle and collecting the golden treasures hidden in the bubble pop level.

BUD-BP Results 3

Setting the standard for GENIE vanilla skins

The level of out of the box polish used in our Bubble pop Genie component has really got tongues wagging, demonstrating the true potential of what a vanilla game component can produce.

We are proud to say that now, our Bubble pop game is being used as a bench mark for polish standards expected in any game component produced for GENIE. The small micro interactions, visual payoffs and configurability really has made this a game changer in the GENIE world!

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