Pictopia: Disney Edition is a mobile, cross platform trivia app spanning decades of Disney magic, from animated classics and blockbuster movies to television hits and dazzling theme park destinations.
Rethink Family Game Night
Forrest-Pruzan Creative and Wonder Forge are makers of original board games and play experiences for children and families. Forrest-Pruzan Creative has created more than 300 entertainment experiences, including Disney, Hello Kitty and Star Wars branded games.
They came to us with a desire to create an iOS and Android companion app to the best-selling Pictopia: Disney Edition board game. Pictopia spans decades of Disney trivia, from animated classics and blockbuster movies, to television hits and dazzling theme park destinations. It's a game of teamwork — with a competitive twist. Forrest-Pruzan Creative provided the design, but they needed us to build it on iOS and Android using Unity 3D as the one-to-many publishing platform. The end product is an app with solid technical foundations that enhances the boardgame play while bringing great single-player modes to the Pictopia fanbase.
At the time, Unity was an unusual choice for a 2D game. It did not have the layout capabilities needed for a normal 2D game, let alone a fully responsive one. However, since we were going to hand off the game to be maintained by Wonder Forge, they needed to be able to support the app without coding. To get around this limitation, we built an editor extension for Unity that allows toggling between screen layouts, responsive breakpoints and generally everything that Unity 4 had when it came out (too late!)
Keeping it Fresh
Everyone has experienced the “shuffle repeat” when listening to music. Now imagine that happening when you’re playing trivia. We spent a lot of time making sure players aren’t annoyed by that same problem. Each question “card” appears in a certain order on the first play. On subsequent play-throughs, the cards are shuffled, and the ones already seen are removed. They will only repeat after all cards have been played so the gameplay stays fresh and engaging.
In addition to keeping the on-board content fresh using the shuffle logic, the game has a robust in-app purchase mechanism so that new content packs can be easily added. To make this process as easy as possible, we introduced a content pack structure that the game author creates using Unity. Then that pack is uploaded into a CDN, and the new in-app purchase is created within iTunes Connect and the Google Play dashboard. The next time the player launches the app, they'll be able to quickly download the new game cards. Expansion packs and bonus content are a staple of the board game industry and has been readily embraced by the Pictopia community.
FPC was eager to work collaboratively, accepting our design and gameplay feedback readily – making the end product a perfect marriage of traditional and mobile gaming.
A Fairy-tale Project
Working on a project with design and development teams in different locations can be difficult. Thanks to a great collaboration effort on both teams, this project went off without a hitch. Together, we created a game that adds a whole new dimension and longevity to a staple of their product line.