Threes! is the latest mobile game du jour. Developer Sirvo has detailed its creation process from start to finish, in an effort to show how much work it put into the popular mobile game as it struggles against clones. The result is an up-close look at 45,000 words in all, from prototypes and iterations to the kinds of minor adjustments that come as they polished it up for release.
A blog post begins by explaining its reasoning for throwing open the doors to its inner process.
"The branching of all these ideas can happen so fast nowadays that it seems tiny games like Threes are destined to be lost in the underbrush of copycats, me-toos and iterators," it states. "We do believe imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but ideally the imitation happens after we’ve had time to descend slowly from the peak--not the moment we plant the flag. It took awhile to climb this mountain, 14 months actually. So to “show our work”, we’re posting around 45,000 words that mark the trail we took."
The lengthy e-mail thread that follows gets into the nitty-gritty of game design and anticipating how players might react. It's a long-read for anyone curious about what goes into even a seemingly simple mobile game. Even at 45,000 words--roughly half a novel--they point out that this is only the really vital parts and doesn't include every e-mail, text, or Skype call that went into making it.
"Hopefully this post points to what we're getting at when we say that making these tiny games is littered with hard and painful times that are full of uncertainty and self-doubt," it concludes. "You never know if something is really going to work. It's not easy. But cloning or ripping off a design in a week, that's a bit different isn't it?"