Making Jewel Galaxy

We tried to understand the reasons for the massive success of Candy Crush Saga. We realized that our next move should be making a match-3 game with a similar monetization system. At the same time, we wanted to create our own, unique game mechanics.

We struggled between casual, pink and juicy graphics style versus something more deep and gritty. We also had some trouble with the graphical theme for the gems. Candies and pets were very trendy back then, but we felt there were too much of them in the store already. We concluded that it’s better to return to the roots, and we settled with Bejeweled-style gems. The final graphics style ended up somewhere in between the scale – a magical but not too sweet cosmic theme.

Dark background allowed us to expose the bright particle effects, and colorful jewels created a casual mood.

At first, the game was called Gemstone Drop. The name was to indicate our most basic game mechanics, where you could drag a jewel and drop it anywhere on the board. In time we decided to rename it to Jewel Galaxy.

The level menu also came a long way, as usual. At some point, we tried using the menu system to teach the game mechanics. So in order to play the game, you had to drag a ball and drop it into the black hole. Surprisingly people had absolutely no idea what was going on, and they were unable to enter the game without help. In case you wonder – do not use the menu to teach anything! 😉

Do not overcomplicate your menu system!

We also had a lot of trouble making our game less dark / more casual. No matter what we did, our version of space ended up influenced by Starcraft or The Aliens. We hired a person to draw a pink Jewel Lady, but it was a disaster after all. We even had a fish-like spaceship floating around! Bottom line is – the casual style is really hard to achieve, as you bounce between too serious and too childish. It just takes time.

Evolution of the main screen (now removed entirely)

Finally, we decided to remove the main screen from the game. It just served no purpose, other than presenting some graphics we were unsure of in the first place. Instead, we jumped directly into the level menu where created an awesome, constellation level menu with Facebook integration. As the player beat new levels, he unraveled the new constellations. It was a very fresh idea (and very time-consuming to implement!)

Level menu system revealing hidden constellations
Evolution of the icon is a separate story in every game. Here is a brief summary for Jewel Galaxy 🙂
Kids, learn math! This is how theorems of Tales and Pythagoras can be applied to making an electric beam 🙂

We have put everything we had into this project. Our friends and families were worried because we were working so hard. How could we not? It was now or never! We had a solid plan and we executed it flawlessly. If only we could avoid these dead-end streets that we walked into, the project might have lasted half the time!

Our TODO task list on the wall, at the end of the project