Introducing Made with Mustard
Let us tell you a story.
First, there is a cat. She has a headlamp. The kitty sits in a minecart that moves with mad speed through a dark mineshaft, hopping gaps and navigating strangely angular terrain.
Next, there is a kid. He has a sword. That sword looks a little like a traffic cone that spins in a circle around his waist, but, you know, use your imagination. It’s a sword. The kid dashes through the desert and cuts down cacti and peers up into the stars at night, marveling at this strangely angular desert terrain.
Next, there is a truck. A neon space truck. This truck speeds down neon space roads and blasts floating junk balls and completes neon space missions, delivered by a neon mission board that flickers dimly on the screen. The neon space roads are strangely smooth.
Forget the truck. There’s a spaceship. It’s more of a rectangle, honestly, but use your imagination. Colored shapes crawl forth from the far side of the screen, and the spaceship lasers them, triggering a chain reaction of explosions that span the width of space. You know it’s space because we added little white dots that looked like stars.
Scene change. We’re in the ocean. Goofy little squids with goofy little eyeballs sit neatly in a grid, blinking. The squids are called Herberts, by the way, and they rocket away from your fingertips. Herbert has destructive tendencies.
Keep the ocean, but move above it. Warm bodies on a beach, the ocean creeping up the shore. The temporary title is Sexy Beach Bodies, because we’re desperate for any ounce of humor this deep into the development process. The bodies are colored squircles, but with hats. Lots of hats.
Nix the hats. Nix the ocean, the sand, the last dregs of comedy. We have colored shapes—boxes, really—on a grid, and they’re tiny. They’re kind of adorable, actually. They crumble when touched, and the grid stacks with boxes all the while, threatening to reach the top.
It’s a game, though. A proper game game. At last.
The story of Made with Mustard isn’t an unusual one. Game development is hard. It’s long, often tedious, and it stretches the idea of fun until it nearly snaps. You realize, midway in, that you hate this thing, the idea, the code and the art and everything, and then you keep working on it. You have to, because you started this long, strange journey with a solemn promise: to finish a freaking game.
It’s a noble goal. It’s also a challenging one. Eventually, though, you step over the carcasses of a half-dozen prototypes, your cats in minecarts and your sea monsters and beach bodies, and you stumble onto an idea that actually sticks. It’s fun. And then, more importantly, it’s done. Congratulations! You now have a game.
Tiny Boxes is that game. It’s our first release, the culmination of a long, strange year of development, of shaping and reshaping our expectations on how to make a fun game. We’ve learned so, so much in the last twelve months, and we’ve decided to share that knowledge here in case anyone else is standing in line for the ride.
We are not seasoned game developers. We have made a million mistakes just getting here, and we’re primed and ready to make a million more. From two dudes in Texas, though, we welcome you to Made with Mustard, and we hope you stick around. We’re going places, and we want you to come with.