Cookie Dough Boy - iOS & Android Game

A breakdown on my experience developing Cookie Dough Boy, my first mobile game.
With a simple one-touch tap to jump style of play, you hop over gaps, toasters, mixers and ants to get from one end of the kitchen to the other, collecting a chocolate chip at the end of every level in hopes of becoming a baked cookie!

Cookie Dough Boy is a mobile game developed by myself and my brother, Markus Sadaka. In early to mid 2016, he had an idea for a simple platformer - which is any game involving jumping over obstacles, usually 2D and viewed from the side like Super Mario. His idea involved playing a blob of cookie dough leaping from counter top to counter top avoiding obstacles like toasters, mixers and open stove top flames.

My previous experience in game development

I had some basic experience in game development, specifically in Gamemaker. I had meddled in GM as a kid and though it wasn’t as powerful as popular commercial engines like Unreal (BioShock, Batman Arkham Asylum, Rocket League) and Unity (Pokemon GO, Assassin's Creed, Rust, Temple Run), I was confident I could pick it up again and build Cookie Dough Boy in it. I started building in July 2016 and it was my first attempt at mobile gaming as I had only ever developed for PC. It was quite a rush to see the game working on my iPhone for the first time.

Cookie Dough Boy gameplay breakdown

Cookie Dough Boy consists of 9 levels total, divided into 3 worlds/kitchen styles. Each world has different obstacles and playing styles as well as unique colour schemes and patterns. With a simple one-touch tap to jump style of play, you hop over gaps, toasters, mixers and ants to get from one end of the kitchen to the other, collecting a chocolate chip at the end of every level. The end goal is to beat all the levels, collecting all the chocolate chips and baking yourself into a real cookie!

Switching game engines

I got quite close to finishing the game, but ran into a few problems with GM and its way of converting projects to Xcode, which is the platform for building to iOS. Furthermore I really didn’t like the process of implementing advertisements due to having to deal with third parties in order to make it work. I also though Gamemaker was quite limited overall. It uses its own language, making it a non-transferable skill and it does not really support 3D. What sold me was how easy it was to pick up, how straightforward its language was, the vast amount of solid games built with it (such as Hotline Miami) and how much support there was in GM communities online. In spite of these, I decided to learn a more versatile engine. I ended up choosing Unity, which I really enjoyed learning. It gives you the option of coding in Javascript or C#, and I chose the latter as to me it seemed easier to pick up. 

Although Unity works in a 3D space, it lets you tailor your workspace to a 2D game. The camera becomes orthographic, eliminating perspective, and Unity has a built in 2D Physics engine as well. I was able to get going quite quickly and used my previous build in Gamemaker as a guide. Building the levels was a lot of fun and much easier to manipulate than in GM. I was able to splice sprites together into objects and construct custom colliders on them. Unity’s built in physics engine allowed me to immediately put some gravity on Cookie Dough Boy and watch him interact with the world objects. Unity is by no means perfect of course, it took a lot of tweaking, researching and head scratching to get through this and I’m super thankful to the Unity community online. I got loads of help by searching through the Unity Forums as well as discussing problems with the community on reddit at r/unity3d.

Adding a soundtrack

 

I also composed a minimalistic soundtrack for the game consisting of 7 tracks which you can listen to on the left.

I used Logic to compose the music and was inspired by games like Super Mario. Cookie Dough Boy has an innocent childlike feel to it and I wanted to emulate that with some funky and playful tones. Very happy with the result as I managed to keep it simple, fun and most of all pleasant to loop.

Cookie Dough Boy was released in April of 2017 - you can watch the trailer below to get a look at the gameplay.

 

All in all I loved the game development process and am positive it will not end here. I'm most excited to see the feedback we get and look forward to my next gamedev adventure!