the world (of goo) wasn’t built in a day — part 4 of 7

october 11, 2006.  our baby is two months old! isn’t it cute?

notes from ron: now that the core mechanic is in place and the balls are juicy, focus has turned to adding some structure around the core mechanic.  there’s a loading screen, a main menu, player profiles, a world map (just when you thought we were done with copyright infringement), and we’ve added the ability to put flash movies as cutscenes in between levels.  you can also finish a level now and have that unlock the next level.  before the pipe, we thought of the “exit” from each level as a mysterious animated vortex which at this point looks like an ugly spiral that a programmer would draw (sorry ’bout that).  also, notice that the balls bounce when they hit the ground, another feel/experience enhancement that has no meaning for the game mechanic.

here’s a download link if you want to try for yourself.  if you like digging around in files, you’ll see that we added an xml file that describes the order in which levels are played (<root>/res/worlds/default), that the main menu is itself a level (<root>/res/levels/MainMenu), and that we started working on a level editor (<root>/res/levels/LevelBuilderDefault), which we never got very far on.

Notes from Kyle: Man, this game sucks so far!

What is the game even about? What do the goo balls even look like? What are they climbing towards in each level? A spinning vortex? A bucket on a stick? (actually a possibility at one point) World of Goo Corporation didn’t exist yet, so we didn’t yet know there would be an international network of pipes, sucking goo out of each level! (more on that in the next edition)

But first – How are the levels arranged?

Are they presented as a list in a big menu and you get a little star next to each level when completed? (No, that would be underwhelming.) Maybe each level appears as a point on a map like Mario 3? (We eventually went more towards this direction.) Here are some menu options we were considering early on, and rolling on a bit into the future as we gradually discover the game’s eventual WORLDMAP->ISLAND->LEVEL layout, and … World of Goo Corporation.

Maybe the main menu would be like a casual game? Choose a button to start the game, some options, whatever?  We eventually discarded this idea, because the text and buttons were too obviously removed from the fiction of the game:

What if the menu buttons were more a part of the world?

Hmm… Better, but still a bit too artificial.

Meanwhile, you can see below, we’re starting to get closer to the concept of a series of “islands”, each containing a series of “levels”. I wonder what ever happened to the giant rocket ship and the tentacle monster? The art style is getting a little better, but it is still too fluffy and innocuous, like something that would come out of an egg on Easter.

The center island was still something other than World of Goo Corporation – I don’t know what it was, but the idea here was that each “island”, when complete, would transmit some useful resource to the center island (like electricity, water, whatever) and when all 5 were connected, the light bulb would turn on, and then something would happen, and you win.

Another sketch, maybe with a little more terrain detail?

Meh. Too complicated. Too much stuff on one screen. Maybe if you click an “island” it will zoom into a more detailed island view?

You can see below (click to see higher res image), the idea of World of Goo Corporation is beginning to materialize. The last “island” was going to take place inside the corporation. And you can see there was a separate island for the sandbox building mode called “Tower of Goo Island”. It seems obvious now, but at this point, we had not considered merging World of Goo Corporation with the sandbox building mode:

The world is still too cluttered and confusing. And our logo sure sucked! But, when you click on an island, you go here! (click to enlarge) The world is starting to look a bit more familiar:

This flow of world->island->level seemed to work well. But how would we transition between them? Here’s an early prototype. (Notice a very early version of “Impale Sticky”!):

For comparison, here’s the final main menu (we went with a simple silhouette, where islands light up as you move over them), and final version of Island 1:

That’s all for now. “How we learned about pipes” in the next edition!

23 Responses to “the world (of goo) wasn’t built in a day — part 4 of 7”

  1. Vince Says:

    Holy crud!

    I just went to go eat dinner, then when I came back, I noticed this post!

    I just had to make sure I had the first post, so I haven’t read it yet, but I’ll read it now!!

  2. Vince Says:

    Cool! I’m making a game, however, I’m taking a different aproach: Design everything, then go through the long, boring slog of programming (sorry, Ron!). But, anyways, love you guys, and hope to be your stalker. Someday. Don’t get your hopes up. Yet.

  3. soad667 Says:

    Wow, this gets more and more interesting as we get closer to the Apocalypse, also known as the final version of WoG! Let there be goo… ;)

  4. GermanSeabass Says:

    Awesome stuff – great to see the progression of art and concept!

  5. Kyrre Says:

    Making games looks so much more fun the way you show all the things you have done! Keep up the great work!

  6. Vince Says:

    You know, this is really interesting… almost like the evolution of Goo…

    (I suppose that’s what this is supposed to be. Hmph.)

  7. axcho Says:

    Wow, I’m really liking this detailed look into the early design process of World of Goo. :D Thanks!

    I’m really hoping that someday I will look back on the way Foldit is right now and reminisce about how bad it was, confident in the knowledge that it has evolved to become a truly awesome game. At the moment I can only laugh about how bad it is, and hope that it will someday live up to its potential…

    Any advice for me?

  8. Robber Says:

    Very interessting post. Can’t wait for the next one. :D

    Also, it’s always chrashing when I click the first level.

  9. MatrixYoshi Says:

    It’s too bad you guys didn’t finish the level editor, it could have been a lot of fun…

    Anyway, it looks great! And I can’t wait for the next!

  10. David Roberts Says:

    That’s a hell of a lot of progress in such a short space of time! Puts my own personal progress / lack of work ethic to shame :(

  11. XDboy Says:

    Yeah, it’s cool to see the Goo evolve. (hmmm… evolution sure is fast these days.)

    I noticed those ball.readme files… Fascinating!^^
    If you’d publish any documentation you have on the XML parts of the final WoG, too, that would be great for a couple of modders/wannabe modders. (like me ;-) )

    I hope that’s not too much to ask for.^^

  12. Elyriah Says:

    Don’t ask what happened with the Tentacle Monster! It was necessary.

    Everything needs some “Tentacle rape!”

  13. rick Says:

    you should mention some of your sales numbers

  14. Frank Says:

    Muchas gracias por crear un juego tan maravilloso, el favorito de Leandro Nehuel
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grcJPL9ow5A

  15. Porklovsky Says:

    Reading the 4 articles while hearing the WOG OST is kind of… Epic. It’s fascinating to see how this game evolved, and what could have WOG been if things turned out different in the main development phase.

    Now I would love to know, when you started developing this game, what where your skills on game/software development? And also what kind of graphic engine do you use for this game?

    The fact that you are just a bunch of people (and not a large company) is what I found awesome. You entered my top # list of independent developers.

    The only other developer on it is Chris Sawyer, for his Transport Tycoon game.

    AWESOME JOB! And keep up with the great development posts!

  16. JT Says:

    wow… i really appreciate the way ur telling us how u made the game. Its oddly interesting and not at all geeky except maybe for the debugging thing… But keep it up!!! and howd u figure out that you were gonna have exactly seven parts???

  17. Dylan Says:

    Wow very interesting. The island world idea reminds me a great deal of Kirby’s Dreamland 3 for some reason. Though now ill always wonder what happened to the giant tentacle monster. Save the monsters!

  18. Stickybomb67 Says:

    I liked this post. But I am wondering what that fourth island is. Is it a rock formation, or simply a dead human (Smoking causes lung disease!)?

  19. World of Goo: Wo ist mein Klops? | WeizenSpr.eu Says:

    [...] world (of goo) wasn’t built in a day” kann man sehen, wie sich das Spiel über die Zeit entwickelt hat (inkl. Download der damaligen [...]

  20. LC Says:

    Must say the planet with the island was quite good. Maybe more than the “black menu” :)

  21. Random Girl Says:

    Some of those title screens were kinda neat :) I love the one world of goo ended up with even more though

  22. Bashers » Blog » Beeld: zo zag World of Goo er ooit uit Says:

    [...] download beschikbaar heeft gesteld: zie The World of Goo Wasn’t Built In A Day deel 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 en [...]

  23. James Says:

    I would have liked more levels though…