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The Boston Games Forum is really taking off thanks to the tireless leadership of Rohit Crasta. Dave had the chance to speak on game design earlier this month to an awesome audience of both experienced and aspiring game designers and developers at a Games Forum Deep Dive!

Last time we were in Microsoft's awesome headquarters at 1 Cambridge Center, it was for the Games Forum Playtest Party, a gathering of indie studios, gamers, families and students and a great opportunity for us and other developers to get player feedback in person (and spread the word about Bigfoot Hunter)! 

You can find out what awesome madness the Boston Games Forum is up to next on their Meetup page!

Crowd 1

When Dave set out to cover the topic of Universal Design Lessons, he knew he had a pretty daunting task ahead of him -- so the very first (and possibly most important) lesson was that there's simply no such thing as universal design. Ultimately, it depends, but the lessons he laid out formed a super useful overview of game design best practices that apply to almost any game, regardless of platform.

Dave pulled from a lot of mobile games that serve as a great example of powerful game design -- Clash of Clans, Temple Run, Fruit Ninja, Monument Valley, Tiny Wings... From prototyping & playtesting to focusing on the FTUE, not baking text into assets, not hiding purchase options in the store menu and always aiming to show more than you tell, these best practices go a long way towards bringing your game into awesome territory.

If you missed it, fear not. You can check out the slides and video from the talk below:

Universal Design Lessons - Boston Games Forum from Dave Bisceglia

A big thanks to Rohit and the Games Forum for fostering the Boston gaming community in a big way. If you have any feedback on the content of Dave's talk, want to add a few lessons or just want to talk game design, get in touch at info@thetaplab.com :)

When Dave's not sharing his experience at the Games Forum, Casual Connect, PAX East and more, he's hunting Bigfoot non stop here at The Tap Lab! Sign up below to find out when our new game, Bigfoot Hunter, is on the loose on iOS!

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We're so excited to be selected for the Casual Connect Indie Prize Showcase in San Francisco next month!

Indie Prize Usa Blog Szie

We'll be demoing Bigfoot Hunter alongside other awesome indie games like Pathogen, Cypher, Nomosaurus and even our Intrepid Labs neighbor, The Counting Kingdom, an awesome learning game by our friend Jenna at Boston Indies :) 

Liz & Dave will be in San Francisco this July to share the game with attendees. If you're in the Bay Area, keep your eyes peeled! Who knows, there may be a few Bigfoot sightings to report.

Are you in Boston tomorrow?

Join us at the first ever Games Forum Playtest Party to play the latest version of Bigfoot Hunter and 40+ other awesome Indie Games from local developers! RSVP Here.

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The Making Of: Ancient Mountain Yeti

by Liz on June 9, 2014

The terrifying beast lurking in the snowy peaks of the Himalayan Mountains has a long and colorful history central to the culture of Nepal and Tibet that dates all the way back to the 1st Century AD.

Roman historian & traveler Pliny the Elder wrote in Natural History:

"Among the mountainous districts of the eastern parts of India…we find the Satyr, an animal of extraordinary swiftness. These go sometimes on four feet, and sometimes walk erect; they have also the features of a human being."

It wasn't until famed British scholar Brian Houghton Hodgson returned to Britain with tales of a 'hairy bipedal ape' in 1832 that the Western world would share the locals' obsession with the mysterious mountain dweller. 

The One and Only Abominable Snowman

The Yeti, like Bigfoot, has inspired imaginations across the globe. It's been immortalized in The Simpsons, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Bugs Bunny, even a record-breaking Disney World ride in Orlando, Florida.

Simspons

The Simpsons' Yeti lives in a cave on Mt. Everest, and is supposedly Moe's father.

Rudolph

In the 1964 TV special, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, the 'Abominable Snow Monster of the North' is also known as 'Bumble.' 

Everest

This roller coaster in Disney's Animal Kingdom was designed by Joe Rohde, Executive Designer for Disney Imagineering, who traveled to Nepal many times to collect first-hand stories about the infamous Yeti. 

When we set out to create a virtual reality adventure game where players could hold their device like a camera to track down an illusive legendary beast, we actually started with the idea 'Yeti Hunter,' not Bigfoot Hunter.

Before There Was Bigfoot...

Amy started visualizing our Yeti before the game was even confirmed. There was a wildly wide-ranging collection of imagery, preconceptions and personalities to work with, but a complete Yeti figure came to Amy's mind immediately.

"I made my very first yeti concept around two months before I actually started working on Bigfoot Hunter. There were whispers of the then titled Yeti Hunter being our next game, and I had this fully formed picture pop into my head of a creepy little yeti that always smiles because all it really wants is to make friends."

Og Yeti Concept

Amy's first ever Yeti Hunter concept art! You may recognize this little guy as the predecessor to Boggy Creek Quickfoot. 

When we decided to make Yeti Hunter a reality, Amy set out to create as many variations as possible. The early yetis were all hunched over, tubby creatures with hulking arms and little legs, but they eventually branched out into every possible body type and fur style.

As Amy puts it "our diverse cast is wedded together by a few key similarities that showed up in many of my concepts: short legs, cone-shaped heads, and big eyebrows." 

Yetis

Our original cast of characters, now Quickfoot, Bigfoot and grumpy old Yeti.

Ancient Mountain Yeti Takes Shape

Ancient Mountain Yeti has a very distinct personality in the game. This particular character really stumbled into its current designation as the sole yeti, starting with 'ol green face vase head below, all the way to the birth of its pet cardinal, Keaton. 

Yeti Concept17

One of the very first iterations of Mt. Yetimanjaro's most feared beast.

"When I refined the design I happened to add horns because I knew I wanted at least one horned character and they really complement the exaggerated head shape. That feature struck me as pure abominable snowman, so, thanks in large part to the horns, it's Ancient Mountain Yeti not Ancient Mountain Bigfoot."


Elder Yeti1

Elder Horn takes shape, pet bird and all.

Yeti is the most pear-shaped of our characters. Its less than cheerful demeanor evolved naturally. As Amy says, "although the emotional content then was neutral the progression to grumpy elder was an easy one. Everything sags, the fur is white, and the horns are an unkempt mess. The face in particular lends itself to the archetypal crotchety codger yelling at all the blasted whippersnappers that won't vacate the lawn." 

Elder Yeti Roar 500px

Scram, you good for nothin' spoiled rotten teenagers! 

So what about that cardinal?

According to Amy, the horns provide such a natural perch, lonely old Yeti's bird companion was a no-brainer when working on ways to add additional character to the cast. It's a North Cardinal for two reasons: "first, red is a great pop color; second, I worked on a birdwatching game at my last company, and the mascot was initially a cardinal named Keaton. Keaton lives on..."

Keaton Sass

Keaton is quite the cheeky little fellow.

We're hard at work on shiny new environments so that Mt. Yetimanjaro, along with Bigfoot National Park, Boggy Creek and every corner of the Bigfoot Hunter universe, sparkles with surprises at every turn.

Ancient Mountain Yeti, like the Abominable Snowman, Bumble, and Satyr before it, may be hard to track down on the snowy peaks of the Himalayan mountains, but that doesn't stop it from striking fear into the hearts of all who venture there. Nor does it stop it from filling millions of believers with hopeful curiosity. In 2013, British scientists gave us even more reason to remain faithful when they identified that possible Yeti remains actually did resemble the DNA of a very rare polar bear that lived 40,000 years ago.

Yeti could still be lurking in the mountains... and it's up to you to track it down.

Sneak Peek

SNEAK PEEK! Here's a never before seen look at the new Mt. Yetimanjaro levels!

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