Match Threes and Ghibli-esque Trees

I dropped the sci-fi adventure game prototype I’d been working on at the end of March. There were a couple of reasons for this decision: firstly, the scope was far too big – I didn’t see how I could cut it down to a reasonable size without compromising the project as a whole. Secondly, I realised that I’d set out to make something that I wanted to play, rather than something that has an established market waiting for it. As developer Winterwolves can attest, sci-fi doesn’t sell (very well, to women).


I was raised on Star Trek: TNG, so I’m a bit of an outlier. For my first game, I can’t afford to innovate. It hurts to have been so invested in something that’s never going to see the light of day, but that’s the games industry for you. Fail early, fail fast, fail often.

I decided instead to lean on my (not insubstantial) experience of building match-3 games to make – wait for it – another match-3 game. No matter how many of them I build, it never gets old, and there’s a market ready and waiting to snap up the latest titles. Selling to a saturated market has it’s own challenges. But better that than trying to sell something no one wants.

I expect to have the game on iOS at the beginning of September. If all goes to plan, I’ll follow up with an Android build in short order, and then, maybe, a PC build for the Big Fish crowd.

I’ve finished the core game programming, in-game graphics, the music, most of the sound effects, the user interface art and game animations (I’m on a tight budget, so I’ve been implementing everything myself). The (slowed down) GIF below shows one of the match animations, animated in After Effects. (It’s a borage flower – they’re fantastic for pollinating tomatoes :))

I’m currently struggling with the last of the graphics. I’m vaguely pleased with how the trees for the level map turned out – not too shabby, for developer art. I absolutely did not know how to paint before June. Necessity, it seems, is the mother of getting sh*t done. I look forward to the day when I can afford to hire an artist.

Here’s another screenshot from the level map, part of a garden allotment.


Can you tell where I draw my inspiration from? :p


My tomatoes aren’t doing too badly, either :p