The folks at Grab Games are a versatile bunch. They're last game, Amoebattle, tasked players with coordinating an army of amoebas to strategically best their opponents. Their latest game, Picsy, is a social photography game. Quite the difference there. I was able to ask the game's Lead Designers, Greig Carlson, Hans Vancol, and Harold Vancol a few questions about their newest title and their answers have me looking forward to Picsy's planned updates.
So, going from a squad-based RTS featuring microorganisms to a social multiplayer photo-sharing game. Was it difficult to "change gears" so drastically?
Not at all! Our game designers are well versed in different game genres. Additionally, we had 2 separate teams working on those two projects
How long did it take for you all to come up with the name "Picsy?"
About 6 weeks. We had several other names but trying to secure a trademark is a huge challenge we didn’t originally foresee
Was it difficult at all to integrate so many photo uploading options (take a photo, choose existing, paste from clipboard)?
Not really. Those are all standard features one would expect in playing a photo game like this. Originally we wanted to include a lot of other options for submitting photos, such as Instagram, but figured we could get to the additional features in future updates. Plus, we didn’t want to give users too much at first as we felt it could become a bit overwhelming.
How exactly are the judges for each round selected? That was one thing I was never entirely clear on.
There is a Single Judge game and a Multi Judge game. In a single judge game, the judge rotates from round to round. In a Multi Judge game, everyone in the game is able to judge the photo submissions.
Were there any features that you wanted to include that didn't make the cut?
Tons. The challenge is getting a game out with enough features to keep the user happy, while keeping the scope contained so that you can be first to market. Otherwise, we could have been in development for well over a year.
Any that might be added in a future update?
We’re already on our 3rd version of the game and plenty of features have been added thus far. We’re currently working on more features such as photo filters, new word options, creating your own words, sharing options, etc. We’re constantly improving the game so stay tuned for future updates!
I'd think that the ability to copy/paste photos would take some of the fun out of a game if all anyone ever does is Google image searches. Might there be a chance of including an option for custom rules when setting up a game that would disable certain things, such as said copy/paste?
We have considered different game options like copy paste, time restricted games, camera only, 1 vs 1 game modes, public vote games, etc. We made it so that users get more bonus points for taking pictures with their camera as opposed to copy/paste from the web which incentivizes users to submit original photos.
I know there must've been at least a few test rounds when Picsy was in development. Who's the reigning champ at Grab Games? Any chance you can share their best submission?
There were tons of great photos submitted during testing which is why we fell in love with the game. One photo that stands out in my mind was for the word “Outrageous”. Photo has been attached [see above]. As you can see, the UI is temp from one of our early versions.
Both Picsy and Amoebattle are available right now for free and $4.99, respectively.