We knew we wanted to launch our latest gaming feature, Indie Game Spotlight, with a game that would really get Tumblr excited. That’s why we’re kicking this off with the creators of Ooblets (@ooblets), one of the most adorable life simulation games around. You can collect creatures, enjoy town life, discover new crops, operate a farm and all your little Ooblets compete in dance battles. Naturally.
We spoke to writer and designer Ben Wasser and programmer and art director Rebecca Cordingley (@nonplayercat) to give you the low-down of their latest game, soon to be available on Xbox One and PC.
Ooblets is often described as a mix between Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon and Pokémon. What else inspired the game?
Ben: On the writing and tone, I took a lot of inspiration from things like Bee and PuppyCat, Adventure Time, and Steven Universe. Also, our battle system was inspired by a few RPG card games, like Monster Slayers, Card Quest, and Slay the Spire.
What was the most difficult thing the team faced while making the game?
Rebecca: This is always a hard one to answer because making games often involves millions of small difficulties that add up to a giant ball of problems. I think a lot of bigger isolated issues relate to trying to please everyone and all the various platforms, aspect ratios, controller layouts etc. They're not the hardest issues to solve, but will often just involve busy work or good-enough solutions.
Game design issues are harder to solve because they involve a lot of grey areas and are never self-contained, and that's where you end up with those giant balls of lots of little problems that you chip away at day by day.
What kind of advice can you give for anyone wanting to make an indie game?
Ben: Don't wait for the perfect moment to start or think that you need other people to help you. You just have to start making stuff yourself with what you've got.
Try to enjoy the process as much as the outcome / don't become so focused on worrying about the finish line that you forget to enjoy making the game.
However hard you think making a game might be, multiply that by 10
Learn by doing!
If life were a video game, what would some of the cheat codes be?
Ben: I asked Rebecca for an answer to this and she just wrote "GOVERNMENTJOB TALLBOY" which I think are two separate cheat codes, one for getting a free cushy government job, and the other for her to be taller.
Which Ooblet would improve the world most if it existed?
Ben: I'm gonna have to go with Pantsabear.
Rebecca: Tud! She has a sweet little froggy soul.
When will the game be available?
We're hoping to launch sometime in 2019. We're still too far out for a good estimate, but it would be awesome if we could do earlier in the year opposed to later!
Need this game? Ooblets will be available on Xbox One and Steam when it’s ready to launch. Follow @ooblets to stay tuned for all the updates.
Ooblets is a farming, town life, and creature collection game inspired by Pokémon, Harvest Moon, and Animal Crossing. Manage your farm, grow and train your ooblets, run a shop, explore strange lands, battle wild ooblets and other ooblet trainers, and unlock the mysteries of Oob.
Hello friends! Rebecca & Ben here with a little summary of our year now that it has come to a close.
In case you’re hearing about Ooblets for the first time, it’s a little upcoming indie game we’re making about farming, creature collection, and town life.
We only started working on Ooblets near the end of 2016, so the majority of Ooblets stuff has basically happened in 2017. It’s been a super important/insane year for us, full of highs and lows, new friends, new ways of thinking about things, and experiences we were never expecting. Let’s talk about them!
One of the first things we did in 2017 was launch our Patreon, where folks can support us directly while we work on the game. We started it as a way to let fans get a bit more access to us and what we were doing, and I think it’s been really successful in that.
It’s always weird talking about money, and everyone has different ideas about what a lot or little something is, but the income we get from our patrons has actually been a surprisingly big benefit to development. Everyone’s been super kind, engaging, and encouraging, and that’s worth the most of all.
Getting a publisher is always a big deal, but what you may not know is that Double Fine holds a really important place in our hearts. I remember back when we had a little mailing list for people interested in the game and saw an @doublefine.com email address sign up and us dancing all around the apartment about it.
Having them backing the project means so much to us, and they’ve been really great and supportive.
Our talented friend Derek Lieu made our very first trailer for Ooblets and it got a huge amount of attention. He later made our second trailer that I think was even more popular.
We’re so happy with how they turned out. Trailers in general seem like a kind of weird tangential aspect to game development, but they’ve been really important in getting more people aware of the game.
E3 and GDC
We showed the game off at E3 and GDC this year, which was not only a huge ego boost, but I think it opened up the game to a bigger audience. Big thanks to Double Fine, Xbox, and PC Gamer for inviting us to be a part of everything!
Valve invited us to have Ooblets on Steam, so we launched the store page to start taking in wishlists and were blown away at how many people were interested. If you haven’t wishlisted the game yet, you should do it so you’ll get an email notification when we launch the game.
Ben quit his job
A big part of how we funded development was through Ben keeping a day job throughout most of development. After a while, we realized that we both needed to be full time on Ooblets and we were in a financial position to take the plunge.
We worked with The Yetee to start offering Ooblets t-shirts, pins, stickers, and posters, which has been a lot of fun. Before we opened up the store, we’d be getting lots and lots of emails and messages from people asking about merch, so it’s great to finally let everyone get their own little bit of Ooblets to hopefully tide them over until the game is released.
Oh also the game
The above might all sound like a lot, but the vast majority of our time has been working really hard at making the game. Let me try to list off a bunch of random stuff we did:
About a dozen new crops (we have too many now!)
About 20 new ooblets (mostly designed by bitmoo and modeled by Sander)
NPC and ooblet facial expressions
New farming system
Furniture shop, cafe, town hall, sheriff’s office, and more buildings
A loooot of NPCs
Badgetown houses and house interiors
Clubhouse interiors and exteriors
Furniture and object placement system
NPC schedule system
Region selection overworld with balloon system
Fertilizer system for pre-leveling ooblets during growth
Ooblet herding behavior
Character customization and starting character selection
Battle arena system
Asset icon generator
House decoration system
Ooblet move unlocking
Controller support (although we’ve let kbm support kinda lapse in its place)
A bunch of new tracks from Slime Girls
And that’s not nearly all of it! I can’t really list everything or we’d be here all day. Check out all our past posts on ooblets.com and Patreon to see a lot more.
We sort of took a break from being really active on social media near the end of the year to devote more time to development because we’re really hoping to get the game out some time in 2018.
We’ve still got a mountain of work to do, but once we’re a bit further along and less in constant panic mode (or if we get more used to constant panic mode) we’ll be jumping back into the fray to try to get more people on the Ooblets train. We could definitely use your help in telling the world about Ooblets!
I hope you’ll stick with us through our journey and I hope even more that you’ll all enjoy the game once it’s out.
Thank you so much for being a part of Ooblets, our past year, and our future!
Hey yall, I’ve got a big ol’ collection of enamel pins that I adore, and I’d love for you all to support these artists as well! So if you see any pins in here that you want, check out this Google document, where I compiled every single pin I have with links to where you can buy them, and to the artist’s page! ✨(I will also be keeping that GDoc updated whenever I get a new pin)