Evolution of Jigster
PC Desktop UE4 Puzzle Game
Jigster started out as a Mobile App that I helped the creators re-invite and over the last 2 years it has gone through an untold number of changes, both in the front and backend. Near the end of last year the idea of bring the game to the desktop world was talked about. Within a short order, the game was in prototype phase. We understood that for the desktop market Jigster’s gameplay would need to expand and allow more flexibility to players.
During the Holiday season I was able to show off the early gameplay of Jigster to friends and family, which gave us ideas on some of the details players would enjoy. The result is seen in this screenshot of Stage 1 of Jigster.
Now that we felt the UI held all of the elements it would need we expanded our reach of feedback to other professions in the game dev field. We were mostly focused on getting the UI to feel right, and reflect a higher level of polish. This was Stage 2 of Jigster.
Believing that we had a solid product, Jigster went to Steam Greenlight to collect customer feedback. The campaign began mid-February and the first 8 hours were brutal. Only a single positive comment was written and that by a friend. We collected only 31 Yes votes and 203 No votes in 4 days, the writing was on the wall. At this point we could have easily thrown our hands in the air and stated this idea was a failure and moved on, but we decided to take the Greenlight campaign down and really study the comments and present the game to more people to get even more feedback. It is never fun to hear bad things about your game, but the constructive critiques we paid a ton of attention to. Jigster had launched in the Greenlight work without a unique hook, people had dog-piled on the idea that square puzzle pieces made the game too easy or that we were lazy developers with little knowledge.
We returned to the “drawing board” and took a hard look at the game. Being surrounded by a project can often lead to tunnel vision, and I believe to some effect we had fallen prey to this. Our first thought was that lower piece counts were not engaging enough for players, because they could be busted in 5 seconds or less (actual times). The next game mode to be added was Speed Run, where a player has set amount of time to bust unto 5 jigs in a row. The thinking was even at low piece counts the player wouldn’t get bored as quickly due to the steam of new puzzles. The current 4 game modes were mostly targeted at timers and thou they did add challenge to the game, they didn’t alter the basic idea of assembling a photo from small pieces. Now with Speed Run, which could be seen as a fifth timer mode, we wanted something that mixed things up, and boom Double Trouble was born. The game mode takes 2 image and mixes the tiles up, we liked to joke that the idea came from a mother, that will not be named, attempting to save space combining 2, 500+ piece jigsaw, puzzles into the same box.
With new game modes, we returned for new feedback for the UI and found people mostly saw it as a mobile game. We knew this would require another overhaul of the UI to move it more towards a desktop design. This was one of our more radical redesigns, as we were placing tons of information into a smaller space, but we didn’t want it to feel smashed. Stage 4 of Jigster for Desktop.
Now that Stage 4 of Jigster for Desktop ready, we created new screenshots and a 2 new videos, 1 solely for showing off the Speed Run game mode. With this fresh look and new content we decided to re-attempt Steam Greenlight. If you would like to check out the game more you can click the Greenlight banner here:
The campaign has gone much better than the first attempt and we are continuing to improve the game as can be seen here in the Stage 5 screenshot.
With a release of a Demo for both Mac and Windows tomorrow we are hoping to making it through the Greenlight process. Additionally, we are still taking in feedback and comments.