Today we’re looking back on the one-year anniversary of Super Slime Blitz — our collaboration with Crystal Fish Games and Cartoon Network that sent The Amazing World of Gumball’s cast on a new, slimy adventure.
Available on the App Store and Google Play, it was our first full app launch following the work we contributed to the Cartoon Network Anything app. We even had a mini launch party with our friends to celebrate!
Working on this 8-month long production was a unique and exciting experience, so we decided to celebrate the anniversary properly by sharing our game design journey with all of you.
It all began with a pitch at the Cartoon Network office. Because Tiny Monster Studios is a satellite company, we used Google Slides so that everyone could work on the presentation, regardless of where they were working from.
Originally titled “Nine Inch Snails,” it later turned into “The C.L.I.M.B.” which stood for “The Curiously Long & Insurmountable Mountain Blitz.” Ultimately, Cartoon Network landed on the name “Super Slime Blitz,” which was more in line with the game show story elements that were later added. While the name and art style went through several phases, the core game design remained: an endless climber with a challenge at every turn.
Since we were working with established characters from a beloved Cartoon Network series, we had to maintain a balance of meeting the game’s needs while keeping everyone true to their original design. Our first challenge with the characters was to design them within the game’s tile size. We had to balance the characters’ scales from the show and what felt right in our game’s world.
There were several stages to style exploration; at first, we started blocky like the environments, then we jumped to something much rounder and “cute.” We inevitably landed closer to the show’s own style. And for characters like Idaho or William, photos textures were used to emulate their designs.
Thirty playable characters in total were developed — 18 unique characters (all from the show) and four costumes each for Gumball, Darwin, and Anais.
That said, we also got the opportunity to design two new characters: the game show host and referee. The host was voiced by Tiny Monster Studios owner Jeff.
Voice over session at Turner Studios
Sophie and Mateo are snails who host the newest hit game show in Elmore. We first pitched them as traveling carnies, a whole family of them in fact, with our original game theme leaning more towards “amusement park.”
Initial snail concepts
Over the course of development, the art direction skewed more and more towards a game show. We dropped the number of snails from four to two and cleaned up their silhouettes to better reflect the new game show aesthetic and stage design.
Getting the snails from creation to completion involved a lot of back and forth designing with Cartoon Network. The final character direction combined the styling of Penny and Molly Collins, which ensured that the hosts would live seamlessly within the Gumball universe.
For game development, environments are chopped up into many, many little pieces that come together as one cohesive playground for the player. Each location required blocks, crates, coins, portals, elevators, spike boxes, and other obstacles that you constantly interact with.
With four unique levels in total, the assets in those environments had to be just as varied as the locations. That meant icy blocks on Mount Frostbite, slime-covered spikes at the Slime Slopes, deadly lava at the Face Melter, and laser beams on Laser Base X.
As for creating all of these pieces, we stuck close to the rules of The Amazing World of Gumball. While most of the Slime Blitz characters are digitally hand-drawn, the props and background elements were created with a combination of Photoshop, photographs, and some textures from the TV show (such as the star BG of Laser Base X).
Taking the characters and environments, and combining them with thoughtful UI and the expert programming from Crystal Fish Games, we were able to wrap it all up into one big experience for the players.
We used Toon Boom Harmony to draw, rig, and animate all of our characters. For some of them, like Idaho and William, photographs and textures were brought in from Photoshop as pieces to be rigged and animated rather than drawn in Harmony.
We learned a tremendous amount while working on this game, and we’re taking that knowledge and building upon it to make even better content this year and beyond. Stay tuned for more posts to learn about the work we’re doing and how we do it!
As for Super Slime Blitz: We know you enjoy playing it just as much as we do. Let us know how far you’ve climbed! Tell us about all of your Blitz adventures on Twitter.