We caught up with Ian Richardson, Digital Producer at BBC Wales, to find our more about the game development process...
Can you sum up the game?
The Doctor Who: Time Vortex 360 game will take players on a unique and breathtaking journey through time and space as they attempt to navigate the TARDIS through the increasingly turbulent Time Vortex as they speed through time. They will tackle hazards and obstacles emerging from the future ahead of them, but in a unique (literal) twist will learn that they periodically need to physically turn themselves to look backwards in time in order to evade threats emerging from the past.
How did the project come about?
The pilot came about from posing the simple question. What would happen is we collided the worlds of casual gaming and 360?
Why Doctor Who?
I’m a Content Producer for the BBC Digital Drama team based at BBC Wales. We create innovative digital content for some of the BBC’s biggest brands. One of those brands is Doctor Who.
The Doctor Who brand has always played with big concepts, and has always innovated both on screen and digitally. The show has a wealth of iconic locations and characters, both friendly and fearsome and with it’s broad audience appeal, and rich history of online gaming, it felt like the perfect brand to deliver an innovative gaming experience in 360, and Taster felt like the perfect companion to deliver this experience.
What was the thinking behind a 360 arcade game?
Most of the 360 taster pilots to date have been either video based, or ‘experiential / immersive’ experiences, we wanted to do something a little bit different with this one. Our underlying intention was to find out if quick-play gaming would be possible in 360.
We wanted the audience to experience quick burst of super fun gameplay using their mobiles.
We teamed up with Goodboy Digital, whose calibre in mobile browser / html 5 gaming is unquestionable, and we’re delighted with the result.
How was the game built?
In Doctor Who Time Vortex 360 we take players on a visually intense journey through the iconic vortex from the show's opening credits. Designed as a mobile-first experience, we've combined cutting edge HTML5 and WebGL using PixiJS v5.0 to create a breathtaking journey that works on the widest possible range of hardware.
Using the device's accelerometer, the game is controlled by physically moving around, even giving the player the ability to turn around and face backwards in time!
How was the gameplay refined?
The game features an emergent challenge system that slowly increments in difficulty the longer people play, along with a visual progression layer that will also morph and change to punctuate their journey and drive them further into the game. Due to the more immersive and involved gameplay system, we will balance the game more in line with ‘casual’ titles so that the sessions are ‘short and intense’ rather than extended plays. This type of gameplay often results in longer overall sessions as the ‘just one more go’ mentality can easily drive numerous 60 second games, as opposed to a couple of 3 minute runs.