This year’s ‘Mobile Game Development Challenge’, powered by Commercial Bank PLC was launched as a skill-based competition designed to motivate and reward developers who are innovative, creative, functional and original with their mobile game apps. The competition was open to anyone over 18 years of age, individually, as a team or a business organisation. The games had to be created on an android platform to be hosted on Google Play. Applicants were free to develop any type of mobile game, be it strategy, puzzle, action etc., and given ten weeks to prepare.
One of the most engaging games that stood out at the competition and drew our attention is ‘The Trip’, created by a Sri Lankan university startup called Illusionbox. This game has an interesting concept of simple circular animations and characters that dominate and depict the environment and characters in the game. The game’s objective is to take the player on a journey through different terrains, while challenging the player with decisions and strategy until the very end.
TechAdvisor.lk spoke with Maleen Jayasuriya, one of the contributing members who said that the intention of this game is not just for fun but also to inspire and give meaning to the game play as well.
Having completed the game, TechAdvisor.lk found that they had paid a lot of attention to the artistic elements of the game more than all else and made sure that both the music and animation complemented the game’s story line and concept. The game is filled with beautifully designed and animated obstacles, challenges, character tests, and villains that you face while you direct a ‘Tahitu’ through an eventful quest where you could either choose the quickest ways to complete the game on your own, or you choose to help others along the way with a little challenge which you are duly rewarded for. The game requires a little patience at times, but was very simple and, all in all, extremely engaging.
The team had the game design hand drawn by their artist and then digitalised, animated and programmed with C Sharp. “We wanted the player to actually feel like they were taking a trip, so the environments were made different and unique to each other, so that players feel like they are actually seeing new things on the way,” says Maleen.
In a sense, this game is a metaphor for the kind of personal journeys we all take in life and that’s what they needed to prove in the game. So they focused on the artwork and the philosophical message of the game which makes it special in the mobile game space.
“What makes us special is that we aren’t your average mobile game app. Gaming has so much potential as an artistic medium, because you combine storytelling, art, music, animation and make it interactive. So we wanted to combine all of this and stand out,” says Maleen.
The Illusionbox team comprises Lochana Ranaweera, Ravyn Nanayakkara, Nishan Caseem, Maleen Jayasuriya, Janitha Samarasinghe and Rahal Wijewardnena.