How Kingdoms of GridWorld came to be




For the past 4 and half years I (Juan Afonso) have been designing game after game (while holding a job in video game development as a programmer), and for most of the ideas I would make a prototype of it. Idea after Idea, Prototype after Prototype, eventually I found (subjectively at the time) a game worth finishing.   The game was Odd Knights, a multiplayer action/RPG/card game hybrid (video), on which I was doing the 2D art, game design, concept art and programming. A couple of friends helped me out with the 3D assets and  music/sfx, but the project was getting way out of hand. It was becoming ever bigger and bigger...

   One night while browsing YouTube I came upon a channel called "Geek & Sundry", on which there is a show called "Table Top", hosted by Wil Wheaton. The first episode I watched them play a board game called "Smallworld". Also at the time I was playing an old game called "Heroes of Might and Magic 2: Gold Edition" (my old-school nostalgia blood was pumping), Hearthstone and, as always, Counter Strike. After watching the episode, my mind basically stopped and fell into a state that I can only describe as "an avalanche of ideas is coming... time to sit down".

   Once back from that little mind trip, a new game idea popped into my mind,  inspired by all the previous games I've mentioned. With the starting thought of:

Even though I find playing "Match 3" games boring, I did notice that I do always find the mechanic of popping tiles/bubbles/whatever just fantastic, simple, and fun.

I could never get into these types of games because of the purposelessness of the task you’re doing. Even if you’re completing an objective or something, the connection between it and the game is mostly something like "3 red tiles = Attack, kill boss for happiness points".

By coincidence, an old friend of mine (Leandro Usandizaga) had begun to get really into 3D modelling. On a whim, I called him up and pitched the game idea. After talking for a few hours and showing him several horrible concept/game design illustrations, Leandro expressed his interest in the idea. Leandro happened to know a 2D artist (Nehuen Defosse), whom he thought might be interested in the project.

Soon after I spoke about the game idea with Leandro, the three of us had a Skype Call that basically consisted of me super enthusiastically describing all of the ideas on how the game was going to work and why it’s awesome (for about three hours). After that, we brainstormed ideas and ironed out the game’s mechanics for about an hour or so. We agreed: "Yes, this is awesome, but let's think about it before making any rash decisions about actually fully developing it".

Three hours after we hung up, I had developed the first prototype (video). When I got back in touch with them to show the prototype I had made, Leandro by his own volition had already been modelling test assets for the game, and Nehuen was making concept art for the characters. After that, I sent the prototype to Logan Wing (who at the time was already working with me, producing the music for Odd Knights). Like Leandro and Nehuen, he also really liked the idea and was hyped to start composing.

There truly is something special about this game. Even though I understand that what makes something special is mostly subjective, this was the first time that my mind went from just an idea" to "I want to make this game" in an instant. But above all, the motivation and enthusiasm that the team has for the project made me not have a choice in the matter. We have to make it. With each passing week we became stronger as a team, and our enthusiasm has only grown.

                                                                                                              Juan Afonso