Ugly: How Indie Hardship Created Something Beautiful

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Workforce Ugly is a studio or workshop, as we prefer to name it, shaped by 4 entrepreneurs and builders blinded by the romanticism of the indie sport world. It began greater than 5 years in the past when Gerard Singuerlin, the primary stray bullet of this story, was making an attempt to remodel some serviette drawings right into a online game.

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This man together with his head within the clouds went on to have his first assembly with a programmer however, even with quite a lot of preliminary enthusiasm, Ugly didn’t go ahead… The concepts weren’t sufficient to drive the sport’s growth, and the encounter ended as a failed try, with Gerard stuffing his napkins in his pocket.  He saved dreaming whereas his coronary heart sank as he toiled away as an animator for a mega-commercial F2P sport.  

Sketches of enemies in Ugly.
Sketches of enemies in Ugly.

Sooner or later the skies stopped being so grey, and Gerard attracted the eye of one other programmer – David. He noticed in him one other alternative to carry his concepts out to create one thing. This new duo clicked, and the technician’s obsession with squaring the circle helped the indomitable artist, and little by little, they started to develop the primary prototype. 

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The central mechanic of the sport is a mirror, and the sport stars a prince who’s as ugly as a potato. Utilizing the mirror, gamers can create a replica of the prince, who, properly, mirrors your entire actions. This mechanic was expanded and allowed for quite a lot of puzzles to resolve. When platforming mechanics have been launched, the sport started to turn out to be very addictive. Designing the mirror mechanics and determining all of the potential methods the mirror might be used was an important step within the course of.

Along with the mirror mechanic, one other key ingredient to fixing puzzles is amassing keys. There have been now two principal mechanics to the puzzle design. When the mechanics have been carried out, we might see how enjoyable they have been working in tandem. Subsequent, we centered on the sport’s story and lore. We additionally knew we wished to focus on round 5 or 6 hours of gameplay, and we wished the artists to concentrate on the small print in every room. The sport depends on quite a lot of visible cues, so every room deserved quite a lot of consideration to element. Earlier than beginning manufacturing with the entire staff, we determined that solely the most effective degree designs would survive. We began playtesting and picked out essentially the most enjoyable puzzle rooms, then labored on the storyline.

A diagram of the game's world and puzzle locations.
A diagram of the sport’s world and puzzle places.

The sport and staff behind it was coming collectively, and the clouds round Gerard’s head dissipated, despite the fact that an vital piece was nonetheless lacking. Gerard and David weren’t accustomed to – and even snug with – pitching their sport to get funding, nor did they even know the way a lot growth would value. They fulfilled the outdated stereotype of introverted sport builders with little need to place themselves on the market. They’d higher relationships with Unity and Photoshop than with actual folks. Plus, there have been too many palms lacking to have the ability to remodel this little sport into one thing achievable.  

That’s after I, Rita Fortuny, got here into the image. At coronary heart I’m an artist, however on the time I used to be working as a mission supervisor and artwork director for an e-learning firm. I left all the things behind, traded in my excessive heels for some trainers, and my enterprise jackets for a Crash Bandicoot t-shirt. Now my interest had turn out to be my occupation! I might assist with portray backgrounds, making logos, main the communication. I took the position of the front-woman, and I talked about Ugly in all of the locations that I might probably consider. We received quite a lot of recognition and managed to enter a enterprise incubation programme (Recreation BCN). After that, we already knew the scope of the sport, and subsequent could be speaking to publishers to get funding. We had a plan. And what I at all times say is: Higher to have a nasty plan than no plan in any respect. I used to be the one driving that plan. 

Ugly screenshot

Throughout the pre-production section, a glow appeared on the street to launch. We thought it was a star or perhaps a treasure chest to be opened. In truth, it was Jaime Vicente, an artist, and the following member to hitch the staff. I’ve by no means met somebody so distinctive in my life – he’s a kind of individuals who sees the opportunity of an overflowing glass in an empty glass (or perhaps he doesn’t even see the glass in any respect, however a stupendous unicorn). It was the sensibility that we would have liked. Ugly didn’t have any visible results (VFX), no fancy lighting – it was lacking that particular glow. Now with Jaime’s inclusion, we have been able to tackle the massive number of duties at hand.

Oh, however yet one more factor. Cash. We didn’t have it but. At this stage, all the things we did got here out of our personal blood, sweat, tears, and pockets. Then David, our engineer, left the mission. Time was tight, I used to be residing on financial savings and so was Gerard. Workforce Ugly was 3 artists with a failed plan proper now. However the battle isn’t misplaced should you don’t surrender.

We managed to lift some cash with the prizes we gained in indie contests and used that to pay a brand new programmer to assist us crystallize a demo. However then he left, rightly so, as we… had no cash once more.

Ugly screenshot

We put out a name for programmers as soon as extra, and it was Francesc Porta who replied, coming to save lots of us all from bugs! He was simply as enthusiastic about indie video games as we have been. He was a programmer, however he had an absolute empathy and understanding for artists, and he additionally performed music in a band. He began debugging and iterating mechanics with Gerard continuous. Franc had an unimaginable symbiosis with us. 

And abruptly, our pitching to publishers paid off. We met and signed a contract with Graffiti Video games to publish the sport. With their assist, we have been lastly going to make it occur. We might fortunately feed ourselves and stay quietly whereas we end the event of Ugly

From that second on all the things turned simpler. Composers joined the mission in addition to an audio staff (Jan Fité, Andre Nascimbeni and Pau Busquet). A staff of unimaginable artists (Nerea AAAA, Miriam Miriam Ocaña, Nerea Cano, Javi Roldán, Javi Chaler and Manel Soto) joined the ranks to assist out. The staff was full, and the sport was rising and getting higher each week. 

Ugly screenshot

With a plan and the most effective teammates we might think about, we spent the following yr ending the sport and, now that we’re about to hit launch day, we’re so excited for players to expertise all of the onerous work and love that went into making Ugly.

Ugly involves Xbox Collection X|S and Xbox One on September 14.

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On this darkish and twisted fairytale, nothing is because it appears. Discover the desolated recesses of a tormented nobleman’s thoughts as you progress by way of difficult puzzle rooms and topple towering bosses on this reflective puzzle platformer.

Use an modern mirror mechanic to create a shadowy reflection of your self that you would be able to swap locations with to resolve puzzles and make your means round this depraved place filled with secrets and techniques and awash in tragedy. It’ll take logic and ability alike to outlive this perilous journey of self-reflection.

A deeply stirring narrative is ready to be found as you attempt to untangle the cobwebs obscuring your previous. The mirror reveals all…however beware. Generally, the reality is ugly.

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