Gamba Spider Fight is a mobile game developed in Unity 3d & Rails.
hellofuture was tasked by Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas to develop a Philippine focused game which would appeal to a wide audience. After some initial meetings with their team, within which we discussed a number of different possibilities, we determined that we would be able to take a childhood game, which Apl.de.ap himself played, as well as some of the youth in the Philippines today, and build an app version of this game.
The game which is played in many of the poorer areas of the country is spider fighting, and here is the Wikipedia definition:
The sport of spider fighting occurs in different forms in several areas of the world. Among them are the Philippines, Japan, and Singapore. The fights that occur in the Philippines and in Japan are staged between females of various species of web weavers. Female spiders will kill a rival if the loser does not quickly flee or receive the aid of a human handler. The contests that are staged in Singapore are fights between male jumping spiders. The males fight only for dominance, and ordinarily the loser will flee, though sometimes they will lose a leg in the fight.
We set out to develop a spider fighting game for both iOS and Android devices. However, we didn’t just look at developing a game, we wanted to build a whole property, one that had the ability to start as a game, but then extend into other media, such as TV shows, collectibles, movies etc.
Initially, we set out to research spiders and spider fighting. We began by looking at how spiders evolved and the species started, grew and died out. We determined that there were initially 3 spider species, all of which were around approximately 300 million years ago. About 50 million years later, two of the species died out, and two younger species were born. This gave us the backstory, three ancient races of spiders, two of which died out mysteriously, and two younger races. Armed with this information, we developed a backstory and a set of characters and attributed of each of the characters which mapped to the different species.
For example, the oldest race, the Liphis, are wise characters, like Yoda, who perhaps harbor a great secret about the demise of the other two ancient races. The two younger races, the Megalos are big and chunky spiders like tarantulas, they move slow but are very strong, and the Araneos, a smaller, light breed which almost all actual spider fights use. We also gave the spiders two different aspects, a cute form (so when you collect the spider they are fun and cuddly – this was with an eye to creating collectibles such as stuffed animals) and an “aggro” form, which they would convert into once they got into the arena. Once in this form, they would fight.
Against this backdrop, we created a storyboard for a game which was a cross between a puzzle game and a fighting game. In real spider fighting, you go out and catch spiders to fight, feed them, then have them attack each other on a twig when they fight. So we broke the game up into two parts – a catch a spider minigame, where you could travel to 4 different areas and catch spiders, and an arena where the spiders could fight, patterned loosely on Streetfighter. During the minigame, if you tapped a spider three times in quick succession, you would catch it. On the field, you could also find powerups, extra time and other cool things. In the arena, you could swipe back and forth to move your spider forward, back and around the stick, and use a combination of spider type attacks (like bite and web) along with more fighting style attacks (like punch & kick).
With music from Apl.de.ap, we developed and launched both an iOS and an Android version of this game.