Announcing EVADE, our first Arduboy Game

Evade Annoucement, our first Arduboy Game

Today, I am pleased to announce EVADE, our very first game for the Arduboy platform. We developed this game as a gift to our clients and team members abroad to say thank you.

This is the story of how a highly performing team can create a great application very rapidly using collaboration as a central pillar.

Eleven team members, 4 weeks, 100% awesome!

2016 has been an amazing year for Modus Create and we wanted to say thank you to all our clients and team members in a big way. In the last week of October, while planning our end of year activities, the executive team decided to do something different for our clients. Instead of sending cookies, fruit baskets or even wine, we decided to produce something that demonstrated the many facets of our creativity. The executive team landed on a game, but we left it up to our design and development team to set the scope and deliver.

To facilitate delivery, I selected four from our design team and six of our senior developers who had the bandwidth to contribute.

Our first meeting was simple. Here was the high level plan:

  • We need to develop a game.
  • It needs to fit in an Arduboy, which has 32KB of usable storage.
  • It needs to be fun and memorable.
  • We have less than 5 weeks to make it to production.
  • The work needs to happen at times that does not impact your client work.
  • The Design team comes up with the plot, art, animations.
  • The Development team integrate those visions into the working codebase for a device that has extremely limited specifications.
  • We have to program in C.
  • Lastly, have fun doing this!

Within 5 working days, we had a plot: You’re the sole survivor from a space colony who had been decimated by an alien invasion. Your only mission was to escape and evade (the enemy). It is from this plot that we came up with the name Evade for the space-shooter themed game.

With the plot now secured, three separate threads of work streams began in parallel; designing game assets, programming and lastly music and sound effect production. You see, no video game is complete without music to take you along on the adventure.

The design team immediately began working on designs for the game’s assets, which include the player ship, enemies, bosses, bullets, and the top menu. One awesome idea that the team came up with was to make a 1-bit version of the “Graffiti wall” that is in our office.

Evade announcement, our first Arduboy game: graffiti mural at Modus Create Headquarters
Graffiti wall at Modus Create Headquarters

Evade announcement, our first Arduboy game: graffiti mural, 1-bit version
1-bit version of the graffiti wall

This image would become our “boot up” screen.

During development, our teams were faced with many challenges, mostly revolving around the physical space of the device, and using our Agile experience, we pivoted on an as-needed basis. The creativity of our team members allowed us to jump over hurdles with ease and within the next 4 weeks, the game was feature-complete and ready to ship with:

  • Custom sprites
  • A star field
  • A menu system
  • Three enemy types
  • Three boss types (watch out for boss #2!)
  • Custom explosion effects
  • Custom sound effects
  • Custom fonts
  • A musical soundtrack. Stage 1 can be heard here.
  • An insert explaining how to play the game.

Along with the video game, we created a cinematic trailer.

Sharing what we learned

Open source is part of the Modus Create DNA and we’re pleased to announce that the source code for EVADE is available for and can be found on Github. We’d love you to fork, star or even contribute to the codebase.

Through this project, our team has fallen in love with the Arduboy and learned a ton about working with the Arduboy platform. We are eager to share what we’ve accomplished and are working on a series of blog posts, which include things like overall programming of the Arduboy, squeezing code in, writing music, animating sprites and more.

In closing

We really enjoyed working on this project and hope that our clients enjoy the game as much as we did making it for them. Let us know what you think of the game, and tweet us a photo of your high scores using the hashtag #evadehighscore.

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