- One year... We actually started last summer, in the end of july.
Emanuel Dohi of Dohi Sweden kind of chuckles when he realises that it has been one year since he and his business partners first came up with the idea that would become Lawn Mower Kids. It has been a year of highs and lows, hope and despair, but being at the end of the road he seems really pleased. And he can't wait to show off the result of all the endless late night work sessions.
Lawn Mower Kids is an easy access, casual market Iphone game about grass mowing. Set in an 1950s classic american suburbia, the player takes control over three kids – all with different mowing skills. The goal of the game is to mow lawns in an effective and neat way (ie not running over pets, cutting down flowerbeds etc). The gameplay shares similarities with immensely popular Flight Control, as the player sets up mowing routes for the kids to follow.
But while the game might not be unique, gameplay-wise, the way that it was built certainly is. Dohi refers to their business model as a ”smorgasbord”, where everyone brings their own set of skills to the table. The parties involved in the project all got to know each other through FilmArc and Umeå CIA networking events. They all sat down and brainstormed the idea, prototyped and polished it and then decided what each and every one should be responsible for. Morningdew Media wrote the menu music and produced the sound effects, Zordix was in charge of the graphics and Nomin made the in-game music. All in all there where 16 people involved in the project, ranging from voice actors to programmers.
- We had a lot to contribute with, especially regarding the graphics, Matti Larsson of Zordix says. It's really nice when companies cooperate and it's so great to see that we can buy high quality services of each other.
Emanuel describes the Lawn Mower Kids project as a learning experience, for good and bad. While this way of working might not be ideal for mid- and high level companies, it certainly was great for the small, start up companies that took part in this project. The companies got the chance to share the financial risk, learn from each other and experience the complete cycle of a game production. The feeling of actually finishing and get to release a game is something that not everyone gets to experience. For Elias Warg of Nomin, making music for a video game was a first time experience:
- I had to make a catchy, one minute theme that would fit to the pacing, the style and the atmosphere of the game. Quite a challenge!
Looking back at the year long project Emanuel Dohi recalls all the ups and downs with a smile. It has been a long trip – from prototyping the idea in Umeå to learning about the gaming industry at the Games Com expo in Cologne, and then finally finishing the game after three weeks of intense crunch. And now, finally, it's finished.
Ladies and gentlemen: start your engines.
Lawn Mower Kids is out now on Apple App Store, for Iphone and Ipod Touch.
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