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Milo's Magic Beans - A Mobile Game Proposal
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Milo's Magic Beans - A Mobile Game Proposal

by bluesardine on 1 Jun 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

Milo's Magic Beans is a mobile game concept I developed for my UI for Visual Development and Visual Development for Web and Mobile Gaming classes. It's a dog-themed mobile RPG about retrieving and farming the titular magical beans.

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The final version of the game logo. I aimed for a lighthearted, goofy tone, and picked a different color and font for each word to add variety and emphasis.

Some exploration sketches and in-progress versions of the game logo. Drawing a holiday version was a fun exercise because it let me look at the logo from a new perspective.

The final isometric vectors for the playable characters Milo and Gypsy, and related sketches. Milo is based on my own pug. In the game he owns a farm on a bone-shaped island called Isla Medula, where he spends his retirement farming magic beans. He hired Gypsy, a Chihuahua mix, to help him with heavy lifting and other labor, and they developed something of a father-daughter relationship.

Making these character assets was the first time I used Photoshop's vector tool. I was surprised by how much I grew to enjoy it, given how badly I struggled with vectoring at first.

A character selection screen. This was one of the first times I used Photoshop's pattern tool. Unlike the vector tool, I found it simple and intuitive. I went back and forth on the background color for a long time before settling on this sprout green.

Two possible app store icons, and twelve thumbnails. I couldn't decide whether I liked thumbnail #3 or #4 better, so I finished them both. The final version of #4 is a touch more polished, but I ultimately prefer #3's more dynamic composition.

Two boards of sidescrolling levels, from rough concepts to final versions. These are action-RPG levels with light platforming where Milo traverses fantastic environments to retrieve his magic beans from the monsters who stole them.

The first board contains work from my UI class, so the background is more of a framing device for the UI elements. These drawings prepared me for making a better realized final version. I chose a squirrel as a boss monster since dogs are famously suspicious of squirrels. The dog treats on the left side are equipped items.

The second board is all work from my Web and Mobile Gaming class. Here the background is the main element on display, so I simplified the UI elements. The real Milo hates baths, rain, and anything that gets him wet, so it made sense to design a level that would feature lots of aquatic enemies. This level is called Bubble Beach, so the seahorse Milo's fighting shoots soap bubbles.

The final isometric game board. This screen is the player's 'home base' in between sidescrolling levels, and depicts Milo's farm on Isla Medula.  This piece contains the final versions of the forward-facing character assets, the third stage of the buildable asset, the harvestable and destructible assets, and the game board background.

Iterations of the home menu UI for the isometric game board. This was the first time I combined assets from my UI and Mobile Gaming classes. It really helped unify what at first felt like homework into a coherent game project.


The background game board, from thumbnails to final version. I explored a few dog themed ideas, such as a bone-shaped island and a forest of tennis balls. The waterfall scene is full of 'canine' plants, like dog roses and dogwood trees, but that connection isn't immediately obvious, which is what made the bone island a better choice.

The three stage buildable asset for the isometric game board. Milo's home starts as a doghouse-shaped garden shed before evolving into a barn shaped like a carrier crate. At the end it gains a rooftop lawn and a fire-hydrant shaped grain silo. The crucial part of these assets was designing them to be modular - reusing assets from previous stages while still looking distinct.

The harvestable and destructible assets from the mobile game board. The harvestable assets are all plants grown from magic beans, so they produce things that the real-life Milo finds tasty, like chicken and macaroni & cheese. The destructible assets are pests the player has to keep away from their crops. They're themed around things that scare dogs or are bad for them, like fireworks and chocolate.

A weapon shop menu. This is where I developed the Sticky Spoon Milo's using to throw peanut butter in the beach level. This piece was fun because it let me develop my layout skills in addition to painting and UI design. I have a whole list of pun-based weapon ideas, 5 of which appear here.

Two boards of work for a title screen assignment from the UI class.

The first board is my first attempt. It's not as well developed as the second version, but I had lots of fun with it, and it gave me practice at how to keep my paintings consistent with my isometric assets. It's also where I made the first 'final version' of the game's logo.

On the second board, I reimagined the painting into an in-game loading screen, displayed while the player waits for a sidescrolling level to load. It was drawn concurrently with the loading screen. I had recently seen a picture of a hot dog with the ends sliced so it looked like an octopus, so I took that idea to the next level - a giant octopus with sausage links for tentacles. Giant octopuses are scary, but they're also goofy, which matches the tone of the project.

This 'inventory menu' depicts what a player might see when they pause the game during a sidescrolling level. The tabs at right are for a character menu, a stats and equipment menu, the player's usable inventory, and a summary of the beans and other magic loot they've collected so far.

Color sketches and iterations for some of the already featured screens.

The 'stat and equipment menus' are the first passes for both the inventory menu and the weapon shop screen. At first, I tried to fit as much as I could on one screen. Then I cut superfluous elements to create a cleaner composition.

The bottom thumbnails are concepts for the loading screen painting. In addition to character-focused scenes like the one on the left, I also considered the kind of seasonal events the game would feature. (The lower right thumbnail actually was drawn on Earth Day!)

Some sketches of character concepts. None of the characters here were developed into completed assets, but you can see silhouettes of the dogs in the inventory menu above. The icons are portraits of boss monsters.

A variety of sketches and UI elements. I enjoyed coming up with bean-based and canine twists on classic game UI elements, and will likely make many more of these in the future. In keeping with the dog theme, the status effects that slow the player down and reduce their traction are represented by peanut butter and bath soap, respectively.

Whatever sketches didn't fit on any of the other boards. These include some of my earliest explorations for the project, thumbnails that were developed on other boards, and enemy concepts drawn in between other pieces.

The Storm Giant is the villain of Milo's Magic Beans - a giant baby whose mood swings are responsible for the weather. His minions stole the magic beans from Milo in their ceaseless quest to find things to keep their master entertained. Before I adopted Milo, he was owned by a couple in Los Angeles who stopped taking care of him when they had a baby. I combined that with Milo's fear of rain and thunderstorms to make an idea for a boss Milo would consider unquestionably evil.


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