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From a dusty old blueprint...

Magnetic Billiards

...to a brilliant new video game!

Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint

 

Magnetic Billiards: Seriously Casual

Concept and promo artwork from the game's development

Victoriana

When we started work on Magnetic Billiards: Seriously Casual, we decided right from the start that we wanted to capture the look and feel of the Victorian period when the game was first conceived.

A lot of the design and graphics work in this version has been aimed at recreating a Victorian-era billiards hall feel. There are certain British elements to this design work, but we also tried to make it match a kind of 'wild west' look from around the same time period in the US - occassionally using the TV show Deadwood for inspiration!

UI

We put a lot of work into the UI design for this game. The starting point was that we wanted almost every part of the UI to be something physical or mechanical - wood, brass, paper, etc. - rather than glowing video game numbers or text floating on the screen.

We also built a fairly extenstive in-game help / hypertext / windowing system, with loads of pages of instructions and background information.

Characters

We really went to town with the UI windowing system, and created several characters to introduce the game to the player.

Each character is in charge of a different domain within the game - the Help system, the Card Deck, the online Member's Club, etc. - popping up on the appropriate windows at different points in the game to explain what's going on. They even appear in full-sized form stood around the table when it's displayed in 3D.

It was great fun getting flat-coloured, hand-drawn characters like this in the game, rather than slick, rendered, video-gamey looking characters, and we think they really contribute to the look and feel of the game.

Character sketches

We did quite a few roughs and concept sketches for each character, shown here.

Graveyard

The way we create games, designing and iterating as we develop, tends to lead to a lot of reworking or (surprisingly rarely) abandoning of finished graphics. We say rarely as one would expect the method we use to lead to lots of abandonded work, but we tend to have pretty good instincts, and our experience allows us to avoid going up too many blind alleys or dead ends.

Below are some of the rejected or abandonded graphics, including some very early prototypes of the look of the game, before we settled on the Victorian theme.

View the Magnetic Billiards: Seriously Casual (PC) summary page

 

Magnetic Billiards is a fresh familt of puzzle games by The Pickford Bros.

The first game, Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint for iOS, is available for download today.

We're currently working on the follow-up, Magnetic Billiards: Sardines, coming to iOS devices very soon.

Plok Vol 2 now available on Kindle, iBooks and in print

Buy Pickford Bros prints on BigCartel

Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint now available on the App Store

Support Plok on Patreon

 

A game by The Pickford Bros

The Pickford Bros

Metacrtic ratings:

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Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint, Tap! Magazine 100 Greatest Apps of All Time 2011

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