Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island

2010 Categorized in Game Design, Production

My Role: Game Designer/Producer
Platform(s): PC
Studio: Large Animal Games
Publisher: iWin
Released: April 2007

Game Overview:
Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island is a bird photography game in which the player travels the country, unraveling the mystery of their grandfather’s disappearance and collecting photos of both real and fantastical birds.

Responsibilities:
• Constructed environments in engine using provided assets
• Set design triggers and tuned bird behavior settings
• Allocated and balanced bird distribution across game
• Managed feedback and tracked all design changes
• Conducted external play tests to ensure designs would appeal to target demographic

Additional Notes:
This was a fantastic project and I’m proud to have been a part of it. The concept was both unique and interesting, and the game appealed to core and casual players alike. Throughout production of Snapshot Adventures I handled a variety of technical design tasks.

I worked in Torque 3D to construct the game’s environments. This included placing in-game objects using assets provided by our art team and scaling them appropriately across multiple layers. I set up design triggers that determined where birds could land and tuned various AI behavior settings to balance difficulty.

Working in part with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, we wanted the game to accurately represent the various bird species being featured. I used the provided information to populate the game’s different regions with the correct bird types. This was handled by editing a combination of scripts and spreadsheet data.

Since I was also acting as producer other tasks included running external play tests with members of the public and attending development meetings in order to track and evaluate progress. Overall I learned a lot from this project. One thing being how important research is to the design process and success of a project like Snapshot Adventures.

Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island was released in early 2007 and was met with critical acclaim by members of the casual game community. It was the recipient of Game Tunnel’s 2007 Casual Game of the Year Award, and had the honor of being a finalist for Design Innovation at the prestigious Independent Games Festival (IGF) in 2008.

Videos:

Links:
Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island – Play the game at Big Fish Games
Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island – IGF Finalist Page
Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island Review – Gamezebo