Help Dozer jump to collect commuters, avoid hazards, and cruise along on his endless commute.
It'd been about a year of stopping and starting projects. From team members coming and going, to new jobs and celebrating life milestones taking priority over learning, it'd been a year since we launched anything. A need arose to build an application, a utility, that leveraged patterns usually only found in games. That said, we found ourselves dabbling in Unity once again, combing through tutorials and lessons on building (the utility through) game development.
Similarly to our focus on PolyColor, we maintain no delusions about becoming a AAA game developer or competing with the likes of games already dominating sales leaderboards. Charging down the path of learning from online courses and guides, we found opportunities to build animation, original music, and even original art, around the base prototype we put together. Since we'd already built animations into Commuterific (including some that never made it into the transit alarm), it was merely a matter of recognizing we could drop in Dozer animations into what would become this addictive, cute, and deceivingly difficult endless runner.
There are two major pieces to this game that we have to note, that marketing seldom notes as cornerstones of these casual arcade games. The music and the artwork. While working through the challenges of building a prototype (or at least navigating the tutorials and guides to build this game that would educate us on the utility we're looking to build, sharing the prototype became fun an easy. When a pair of unrelated friends noticed the prototype and Dozer's animation, they volunteered to fill in the two sensory gaps that had not been planned out: sight and sound.
The original artist and illustrator of Dozer and much of the Commuterific aesthetic came back to join Double Bear Rolled to build the cityscape, tracks, and Chicago-esque silhouette that serve as the backdrop to the game. Separately, a new team member joins the fold, putting aside his software engineering chops and breaking out the old music studio to bring original music to Dozer's Adventure. The trio of adorable visuals, catchy original music, and novice-yet-delightfully-easy game mechanics makes for a challenging and enjoyable experience.
We went all out with two waves of outside testing for this app. Since this is the most involved (and closest to publicly available) app we've made in a year, we wanted to be sure we received and acted on as much feedback as possible. We went two rounds of User Testing: first for Friends and Family, and second we sought out people from our professional or 3rd-degree-deep-friends' network to snag anyone from fellow mobile engineers to peers in our professional spaces, to give them a crack at playing our first attempt at a small indie game. The positive feedback about the visuals and music has been overwhelmingly good. The feedback about gameplay has been laced with expletives, chuckles, and pleas for an easier set of challenges; all in an effort to reach that elusive 1500-commuter milestone. One player even to the point where he consistently snagged enough data - based on straight hours of play - where we can estimate and baseline the average number of commuters that could be picked up every 10 minutes of gameplay. (We later put a pause button in for that dedicated player.)
Dozer's Adventure is a curiously deceiving game of cuteness, earworms, and a Chicago-themed aesthetic. To maintain a competitive streak, we've built leaderboards into the application to keep players challenging one another. We've also added small hat tips to more famous platformers with Dozer earning extra lives every 100 commuters he picks up, as well as a 'hidden' speed boost when your score gets really high. As is the intent with all of our applications, Dozer's Adventure is ad free. And in the interest of fun, Dozer's Adventure will also be free.