An Interview With Scalak – A Thoughtful 3D Brain Puzzle Game

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Puzzle games are truly evolving these days with great visuals, dynamics and controls. Scalak by Hamster on coke, is a wonderful 3D Brain game with intriguing levels that are bound to keep you hooked. Developer Michal Pawlowski spoke with us about the game from start to finish and how he handled the overall process. He also signed off by sharing some advice for aspiring developers.

1. How did you conceive the idea for this game?

It came to me while doodling in my prototype notebook. It turned out that in order to place fixed-angle objects into 3D cube walls, it takes some interesting rotating manipulation to do that. After building short prototype and giving it to players, they craved for more levels, so I ended up creating the whole game. Also a lot of mechanics present in later stages of the game, were created somewhere in last 2-years, in the same little prototype notebook. So Scalak has already been in development 2 years ago, I just didn’t realize it then.

2. Scalak has a very interesting concept, matching patterns and shapes. What made this approach work for you?

The basic concept turned out to be super complex, once I started developing levels. I could easily create 30 levels on just this one single mechanic, and still keep the game fresh, by proper level design. It’s this kind of mechanic everyone is looking for – super easy to grasp, yet having interesting consequences and evolution capabilities. If you have mechanic like this – it’s almost like the game creates itself 🙂

3. What are the challenges you faced during the App development?

As usual during puzzle game development – keeping the pacing right, so the player always knows exactly what game needs him to do. Level flow had to be re-iterated several times, to make player feel good about himself. Another interesting challenge was the rotation of 3D objects on 2D screen. It took me a while to get this aspect of the game correctly, so the rotation feels intuitive and easy for everyone since the first minute of gameplay.

4. The game is slowly gaining popularity on Android and iOS. What’s your mantra for success?

I believe in creating high-quality, multi-mechanics packed games. The more unique content you present to player along the way, the happy he feels. I do everything to keep gameplay interesting through the whole play, trying not to keep player bored, but entertained and intrigued by what will come next.

5. What has been your marketing strategy? What marketing techniques do you use to promote your App in this heavily competitive application space? 

Honestly I don’t do a lot of marketing. Just sending trailers to few major sites, along with promo codes when it’s closer to the release date. If the game looks interesting, people will notice it. And Apple will notice it. It’s always good to ask them to feature your game on the AppStore. Having great polished game, that hasn’t been seen before makes getting featured fairly easy, as Apple loves new ideas and concepts, and is very happy to pass the game to the players with help of their store.

6. Are the users happy with the game’s pricing?

To my relief, they are. The game is relatively short (it takes around 2 hours to finish it), but is really intense with introducing new concepts and mechanics. So even if player pays 2$, he spends it on unique experience, which quality overshadows the price.

7. Do you have any other Apps lined up for the future?

I’m on yet another prototyping quest, searching for new unique idea, that is worthy investing my time in developing. And yes, it’s going to be another puzzle game! 

8. Lastly, what advice do you have for aspiring developers?

Prototype a lot, don’t develop your first idea, always be critical about your work, and don’t be afraid to dump your ideas, and look for better ones. You will spend a lot of time in developing your game, so make sure it’s unique and special, before you invest your time into it. And have fun while creating it. It’s most important after all.

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