Since last month we have a full house of dedicated, smart interns at the Happy Volcano offices. And we love them dearly :). Lisa Janssens and Jasper Lemmens have joined us for a three-month internship. They will both be working on Winter. While the core team is working on a secret client game, new art, special effects and animations are going into Winter.

Winter

Jasper started working on bringing the world in Winter to life with some snow, wind and rain effects. Stylised particle effects in flat white colors go really well with the flat shaded 3D environment. He also worked on a few interesting shaders which we’re not showing yet because spoilers.

Winter - snowstorm particle effect
Winter - rain particle effect

Lisa on the other hand started creating the second level of the game, which takes place in the suburbs. She started out with a moodboard, followed by a simple blockout of the level.

Not soon after Jasper joined in and they started modelling simple environments to test geometry and colors. We’re doing a lot of different tiles quickly as an exercise to get a good feel about the direction the level is going into. We’re not sure if any of these tiles will end up in the final game. But in this stage quantity of and iterating on the models is more important than making detailed artwork.

Lava Fever

We hit a brick wall designing Stonebound and decided to let it rest for a while, in the hope of seeing it with new eyes and a fresh mind. So, while our two new interns got sucked into the cold world of Winter, Tom’s been working on our scorching hot mobile game Lava Fever. We always liked the gameplay mechanic, but the game itself was seriously missing some juice. Tom implemented new unlockable characters. They each have unique behaviours and lead to different styles of gameplay. (We wrote about the design process behind the original characters a while ago)

The witchdoctor

We also decided to make the game free, by adding advertisement. We know, we’re not a fan ourselves, but this is the way the mobile world works right now. But we’re good guys, so we added three unlockables to remove the ads. How about that, beatable ads: the better you play, the quicker the ads will dissapear. And finally, we added some challenges to keep you on your toes.

We’ve got an Android release planned as well, so you finally get to play it on the two biggest mobile platforms.

Secret client project

The new mobile game for kids we’re making is nearing the vertical slice milestone. The game is challenging and fun to play. It sucks we can’t show you more, but we’re having a blast making it. We should be able to tell you more in a few months.