Zen Island OPEN BETA – LIVE

Hey everyone!

15609248_10154379404688472_2100459408_o.png

Zen Island is finally on Google Play, available to everyone with an Android device!

I am going to keep this sweet and short!

You can download Zen Island HERE.

Test it out, and have fun! If you have played Zen Island before, it might have updated on its own, that is if you kept the application. If it looks like the screenshot above, you have the right version!

Afterwards please take your time to answer a quick survey HERE.

Enjoy and have fun =)

/Dev team

Zen Island BETA Release!

Hello everyone!


Quick note, we are not dead. Sorry for leaving you hanging like we did, but we really tried to focus on creating a pleasant experience for you all, thus focusing 100 % on just improving the game.

A lot has changed. And I do mean a lot! The game took an interesting turn after our alpha testing, and all of you deserve credit for that. Thanks for providing all the awesome feedback you did, and helped us see the light at the end of the tunnel.

We are not done with the game. But we are taking a break over the christmas and new year to spend time with loved ones and family.

We are releasing an open beta early tomorrow! That means that everyone can download the game, so please, if you have any friends you think would like to try out the game, just tell them to download it on Google Play!

We will provide a survey with the game as usual. If you have some spare minutes, the questions really help us develop the product even further, so please take some time to answer the questions in the survey tomorrow!

We want to wish you all a merry christmas, and a happy new year. We will be back in january for the next milestone in our journey towards a finished product!

Much love,

Adam, Ara, Morgan & Andreas

Improved camera and more

Hello everyone!

We know it has been a long time since we blogged, but we have been very busy working on the game but here is a small update on what we have been working on!

So first of all I want to talk about the camera. Since last time we have done a few improvements on it. The entire camera code has been rewritten for a smoother experience. Truth be told, the camera code has been rewritten about 3-4 times now. As the game is in full 3D the need for a smooth camera is very important, one of the reasons of why decided on creating the game in 3D is so that you guys could rotate and move around the camera freely to view your garden in any angles you like. This means that the camera has to be just perfect, and after several tries, we were able to create the best camera movement so far. AND we also added panning to it! This means that you can not just rotate and zoom, but you can move the camera sideways which allows you to get in much better angles to line up your trees and stone formations just the way you like.

Not only did we add improvements to the camera, but we also added a day and night cycle, which you either let run automatically or set manually. With this you can take a beautiful screenshot of your garden at sunrise, midday, sunset or even during the moonlight.

We have read your feedback and we hear you, the whole floating island thing wasn’t to every ones liking, so we have worked hard to create new backgrounds for you, though it has been difficult to create something with the limitations of mobile devices. We don’t want to spoil anything yet, instead we will let it be a surprise for the release which is set to be sometime late december (shhh…don’t tell anyone I told you that!!).

One last thing before I leave you, we have found a sound effects designer who is excited to do some sound effects for us, which is super appreciated as non of us know anything about sound design. So we are super excited to work with him and we will all do our best to really bring your garden to life!

Until next time,

Ara & the dev team

Small release for Zen Island

Hey people!
alpha2screenshot.png
These past weeks we have been experimenting with a bunch of stuff, trying out different methods on how to make the game special. We have a lot planned, but we really wanted your feedback on how you think we are progressing. That is why we decided on releasing a small build, with some new design elements to things such as the UI (User Interface), and some new objects added to the scene.

Sign up for playtesting!

https://goo.gl/forms/7mqqWtCfkIUubb142

(Make sure you submit the mail you are using on Google Play!)

If you are new to this blog, scroll through our previous posts to get an understanding of what this application is about! If you dont feel like reading all that, Check out this TL;DR!
Quickly about the game:

Zen Island is a sandbox game all about relaxation and creativity, create your very own Zen inspired garden by placing objects in any way you wish.
Thanks for reading, make sure to submit your e-mail in the survey if you wish to playtest on your mobile device! (Android only!)

The weeks after our Alpha release

Hello people!
Alpha2Screenshot.png
The week we released our alpha build was quite a busy week. We got a great deal of feedback, and have been working very hard towards a better product, with the help of all of you!

The reason we did not post last week was simply because we did not get much done. We discussed alot, re-designed a bunch of stuff (including the UI!) and just decided on the path suited for us to take. We still have a lot to implement, we heard all of you and we appreciated all the feedback you gave, we are still working towards creating more objects, more animations, more ingame interaction for the player. More is coming so make sure you stay tuned!

We will be releasing a new version tomorrow, with a new UI, some new objects for you to mess around with. We will be sending out to all of you who signed up for the alpha. Do you want to playtest, contact us on facebook or on:

zengarden.game@gmail.com

A new post is coming tomorrow with more information, and a link to the next version build we will be releasing! Stay tuned!

Much love

/The dev team

Alpha testing and other updates!

Hello all!

Exciting stuff is happening today! If you sign up on the link below, you will have access to the alpha of Zen Island around 18.00 CEST today! Make sure your email is in there, otherwise you won’t receive the invitation to the alpha! (The alpha is for Android devices only currently)

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfeff6m436waxa_ec3OZeeOo8v5g46fw3Y2ApJ_iWH3VejmsA/viewform?c=0&w=1

In other news, we have updated the vegetation assets and have a few work in progress assets such as moss and grass, see below! (Only a few assets will unfortunately be available in the alpha for that reason, sadly, BUT, it will be there in future releases!)

a2e7c0a5502349e5aef3177f71c4f8b3

A feedback form will be posted soon as well!

Have a great day! 🙂

//Morgan and team.

More art assets, playable prototype soon available.

Hello all! Morgan here 🙂

This past week we have been hard at work in preparations to release a playable prototype of Zen Island!

But before we get into details, I would like to thank everyone who contacts us and already have done so, coming with any feedback, wishes and requests. It helps a lot to know what you would like to see in the game, so please continue to do so, the more we hear from you the better the game will get! Together we can make something great!

29d4705be21541429e6464f1ad76714cd721eb1a0eec47fa8c8879cb1dda4342

As you can see above we have quite a few more additions in the vegetation department, new types of trees and bushes.

And in the coming weeks we will have created assets in other categories, such as structures, buildings and props that will serve as light sources (Candles and lanterns) for night time!

I can’t tell you exactly what kind of structures and buildings yet, other than one of them will be a small garden pond.

If you have any ideas about something you wish to see in the game, do not hesitate to contact us! 🙂
zengarden.game@gmail.com

The prototype will be available early next week!

Have a great weekend!

//Morgan and team.

Art Progress

Hello dear readers!

My name is Morgan and I am responsible for the creation of art assets for the game. I will be modeling and texturing the assets for the game. Hit me up if you want to discuss anything, Zen Island-related!

Now our development have started for real, we are internally play testing the controls and soon a prototype will be available for testing!

24ea78e8fb1842129ba24934b669b504

Also, the pipeline for creating art assets have been established and now we have a strong pipeline where we can generate a lot of assets really quickly.

a287f93aed154a3896572fc143e3d537

The art-style of Zen Island is a mix between hand-painted and the famous low-poly style, the reason for this is because it enables us to be more creative since each assets take less time to make.

If you have any ideas for example for what kind of special tree, bush or flower you really would like to see in this game feel free to contact us!

Is there anything we have missed, or do you think this shouldn’t be in the game for any reason, please hit us up on facebook, post here in the comments or mail us at:

zengarden.game@gmail.com

Have a great weekend!

/Morgan

Lead Art

UI DESIGN

Hello readers!

My name is Adam and this blogpost is going to be about what I have been doing this week. Just quickly about me; I am the producer and I’m also responsible for the marketing and the PR. I am also a part of the design team, working with stuff as background visuals, UI design and gameplay feedback. I am currently doing my third year at Uppsala University in Game design and computer graphics! But enough about me.

I have been experimenting with the UI design for this week. Quickly, what is an UI? UI means “User Interface” and is everything in the scene which you can interact with. For exampel an inventory system, a menu button, etc. This has been quite the challenge. We are trying to deliver an aesthetic with our game, it is supposed to be a relaxing experience throughout the game, and we really want to immerse the player through the entire game session. Nothing in the game should be distracting in the sense that you are losing out on the immersive experience.

This is where the UI gets tricky. It has to fit within the game of course, but it also has to fit the aesthetic. I dont want the UI to break immersion. I have been experimenting for a couple of days with how I can make a visually appealing UI, that is easy on the eyes, clean-looking and not immersive-breaking.

This is an example of what I am trying to avoid.UI DESIGN.png

First of all, it has a very unnatural black and sharp border that just does not fit within the game. A big white square in the middle also just eliminates most of the background, which is immersive breaking in a way too. I want the UI to stand out from the game, but also merge nicely and softly with the background, even when the UI consumes most of the screen.

This is what I got so far, and in terms of immersion, I think I am definitely on the right track!

UI DESIGNv2.png

So the idea here is to click on the cherry blossom tree for example, and that leads to all the different trees you got in your inventory. The same goes for the stones and bushes. The background is still there, very visible but I still managed to make the UI stand out. I simply added a blur to the game when the inventory is active, which puts the UI in focus, but still keeps the scene active visually.

P.S.

The tree, stone and bush is simply a placeholder and not final. It looks kind of weird, since the bush is an actual photographed bush, and the stone and tree painted. But this is just for me to see how the UI looks with different objects.

I am sorry for the long rant, it is hard to keep it short when you are trying to get everything out of your head into text. I hope you managed to get through it!

Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or pointers, if you think I am wrong in any way, please drop a comment and let me know, it helps a ton, and I always appreciate feedback!

Kind regards,

Adam
Zen Island

Prototyping

Hello dear readers!

Since our game is all about relaxation and peace, we want the players to enter a world with vivid and bright colors, generally the color palette will try to lean towards green hues as much as possible, simply due to the fact that green generally affects the mood in positive ways.

Below is the first concept art for the game, mostly playing around with the color palette to achieve something that looks appealing to the eye.

Final_Concept.png

Whilst the concept above is way too busy to be an actual scene in-game, the mood of it is something that we want to achieve. It inspires you to play and soak up the beautiful view.

We will soon have something playable for you!

Stay tuned!

/The dev team