Kids vs Goblins post mortem

It seems like ages ago when we launched Kids vs Goblins, but in reality it has only been 9 months. The months leading up to the release of Kids vs Goblins have now been captured in a post mortem for

Stolen Couch Games is a young Dutch game studio formed by six alumni from the Utrecht School of Arts who decided to continue working together after their college projects. A part of the team came together to make a multiplayer prototype for XBLA and PSN title Chime made by developer Zoe Mode in collaboration with the One Big Game initiative. Stolen Couch Games then reformed and expanded the core team with an extra programmer and artist. Their first big title fresh out of the Utrecht School of Arts was Kids vs Goblins.

Building Kids vs Goblins

The Kids vs Goblins team from left to right: Bart Delissen, Casper van Beuzekom, Arthur Koopmans, Daan Boon, Eric Diepeveen, Selma Oors and Bjorn Spies. Not featured in this image, but equally important, is sound designer Rutger Muller.

When we initially started out Stolen Couch Games, we wanted to make something that would appeal to a large audience and show our potential as a start-up game studio. It was important for us to use our first product as a kick start into full time game development. After a prototype and concept phase, we formed the core idea for Kids vs Goblins. We decided to go all in on it, and for eleven months we poured our time, energy, and above all love, into this project. We strive for high quality in all our projects, but this one was particularly important for the team. Unfortunately, attaining perfection is impossible. Sometimes things went right and sometimes things went wrong, and then sometimes things just went completely awful. We would gladly like to share some of these moments with you.

Our team has had plenty of experience with designing and developing videogames, from concept to completion. Most of this experience took place in a learning environment where many mistakes and blunders were accepted as a normal part of an educational project. Transitioning to the real world was hard, as commercial game development can be very harsh and unforgiving. Our team had experience with Unity 3D before starting the Kids vs Goblins project and the Unity engine was a logical first choice that fit our requirements neatly. We also worked with software such as Photoshop, 3DS Max, and SVN along with a free A* pathfinding plugin as well as a series of commercial plugins by Prime 31, such as the StoreKit, iCloud and Etcetera plugins. We worked on Kids vs Goblins for slightly more than eleven months in total. Pre-production, or the design period, lasted about one month.

A Light and Casual RPG is born

Kids vs Goblins is a bite-sized lite RPG action adventure game for iOS devices, but optimized for the iPad2. The story of the game revolves around a trio of young heroes that are in search of their kidnapped little brother. During a storm at sea they get stranded on a magical island. During the night their little brother is kidnapped by two goblins that take him to the evil goblin king. While the children are planning their attack they find a magical stone that transforms them into three powerful heroes. With magical spells and different tactics the player takes on the battle against all kinds of enemies in various surroundings.

The player controls the three characters with simple finger movements while attacking the enemies. Dragging spells on the enemies will give the player total tactical control over the combat situation. The goal of the game is to defeat the waves of enemies and surviving the different level conditions. For example the Roulette mode is a variant in which you get random spells which you need to use to win the game. But do not use too many because for each spell you use you pay a couple of stones (the in-game currency). You can use the stones you gather during the game to buy spells and thus customize your characters and define the strategy for the next battle. The RPG elements in Kids vs Goblins are very light and casual. With over 60 spells and 6 different levels and 30 missions, Kids vs Goblins gives the player at least 3 hours of gameplay.

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