How we made What’s The Time Mr.Fox?

Our new game helping young toddlers explore concept of time and daily routines What's the time Mr.Fox? is on app store for a week now and to celebrate this we decided to share some behind the scenes with you.

How we did it

Everything starts with an idea. In our case it was relatively easy as we always try to develop our new game to the needs of our son, Adam. (Why? Read our story)
Immediately we had an idea. We started to sketch out both on paper and iPad. While pen & paper is great for quick sketches, on iPad we can see in an instant how it will looks in 1:1. Which is really helpful.

In the beginning the concept and game-play was not very clear and it was a little bit complicated. We always try to focus on the only problem the game is all about. In this game we could have also included aspects of linear time concepts over periods of weeks, months and years. We could have also made puzzles and included ‘mini games’ - but this was not our goal. Our goal was to introduce the abstract notion of time so children could develop understand of daily routines.

 First sketch vs Final

First sketch vs Final

As soon as we had a clear idea, we started to code a playable prototype. No animations, no sounds, only rough image placeholders and sketches. If everything is working well and we are satisfied with the game-play mechanisms, game length, we the start to develop "the Game".

 What about you?

What about you?

We are wearing various hats, we are able to do everything except of music, sound effects and dubbing. On this part of project we outsource talents. Although we are not doing the sounds and music, we find it very hard to describe the sounds you have in your mind so it's not that easy to find some music and SFX references.

After couple of weeks when the game is playable we launch closed and then open beta test where we are looking for all types of issues (logical problems, if game is not crashing, sound issues, animations problems, etc.). If everything looks stable and nice, we launch the game. 

How much time

Everybody loves diagrams, right? Here is one showing how much time we spent on each part of the game creation process.

 Time tracking summary for What's the time Mr.Fox game

Time tracking summary for What's the time Mr.Fox game

We wish we could work on the game for 16 hrs a day together. In fact it's less than 8 hrs / day.

We are trying to split the day so I'm working in the morning while Edit is playing with our son Adam, preparing some food and doing whatever is needed at home. Then we switch in the afternoon. With this system we are able to complete the game in the time period you see bellow and enjoy both work and family quality time.

3..2..1...Launch

We wrote and sent promo codes to several email addresses. It seems like you really have to use all 100 promo codes to get at least small feedback. For promoting and writing we have booked one week and it looks like for our next game we will take at least 10 days. We use promo codes mainly to ask for review and giveaways.

Launch day was a little bit hectic, because we are moving from Prague nowadays and we were without internet connection in the middle of mountains on that day. So we had to go to the nearest city, took some coffee and made a huge scheduling of tweets and facebook posts.

 Launch week on Apple AppStore -What's the time Mr.Fox? vs. Mr.Fox and shapes HD

Launch week on Apple AppStore -What's the time Mr.Fox? vs. Mr.Fox and shapes HD

 UPDATE: What's the time Mr.Fox got home page feature after couple of days!

UPDATE: What's the time Mr.Fox got home page feature after couple of days!

What we use

Speaking of tools we are pretty conservative and we are trying to use as few tools as possible. Here’s a list of what we used to produce What’s The Time Mr.Fox?

Development

Utils

  • Clockodo for time tracking
  • Trello for project management, bugs tracking, to-do lists
  • Buffer app - definitely saves our launch day

Illustrations and graphics

Sounds

Trailers

We hope you have enjoyed the article and you now see a little better how much effort and knowledge is needed for two people, parents like us, to develop and promote a game. This is why it's not possible to make games for free. As much as we would like to.

If you want to support us on our journey, please don't wait for our game to be free. Every purchase makes more and more possible for us to develop next games. Also sharing with your friends, family and your positive comments on app store are more than appreciated and we are thankful for everyone.

Thank you for reading :)