Junk Odyssey: A Space Puzzle Game

The debut game of Nexrage Games, Junk Odyssey, is a mobile puzzle game. With an environmental and conservation based core message, Junk Odyssey's MARVIN takes on the task of cleaning up the galaxy one planet at a time.

Article by
Becky Chase
Article date
January 18, 2023
Mobile App

Why managing AI risk presents new challenges

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The difficult of using AI to improve risk management

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How to bring AI into managing risk

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Pros and cons of using AI to manage risks

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Benefits and opportunities for risk managers applying AI

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Our small team of indie developers brought Junk Odyssey, a mobile puzzle game, to life in just six months, launching at SXSW with a guerrilla marketing strategy.

General Client and Project Information

Client Name | Junk Odyssey

Client Industry | Mobile Game

Project Type | Puzzle Game, Branding, Marketing

Platforms | iOS, iPadOS, Android

Technology | C#, HLSL, ShaderLab, Unity, Blender

Screens from the mobile puzzle game, Junk Odyssey

Project Conception

Little known fact, Nexrage Studios started as a game company back in 2012. Crazy isn't it? Nexrage has come a long way, just to arrive back at video game development. It was no coincidence however, since the transition from game company to custom software company, Fraz Jamil kept the dream of developing games in his back pocket. Over 10 years later, who would've thought that those dreams would become reality once again.

The conception of the game, Junk Odyssey, was pioneered by Luka Hyman (Creative Game Director) and Dustin Williams (Lead Game Developer). The two of them brainstormed concepts, went back and forth from the drawing board, until it was voted on by the entire company.

The Genesis and Evolution of an Idea

The birth of Junk Odyssey evolved from numerous brainstorming sessions, unexpected inspirations, and gradual refinements. Initially conceived as "Shadow Box," a simple square-navigating puzzle game, the idea took a turn when the team began experimenting with space-themed backdrops.

This switch introduced an astronaut character, planetary settings, and a compelling mission to clean up intergalactic waste.

The development journey for Junk Odyssey was an intense four-month expedition. Their goal? To craft a game blending strategy, entertainment, and a touch of interstellar environmentalism.

Constructing The Game

Junk Odyssey's creation required a plethora of tools and technologies. Character models were designed and customized in Blender, while Unity formed the backbone of game development. 2D art was brought to life in Inkscape and Photoshop, and video editing was carried out in Davinci Resolve. GitHub, Gitkraken, Visual Studio 2022, and Visual Studio Code played a crucial role in source control and coding in C# and HLSL/ShaderLab. The game's visual style evolved from basic 2D designs to complex 3D elements, fostering a vibrant and dynamic gaming environment.

Dustin, focused on game mechanics, smooth gameplay, and the diverse environments MARVIN explores. In contrast, Luka was the visionary force behind the unique concept, ensuring the theme of interstellar environmentalism was woven consistently throughout the game.

Overcoming Challenges

As with any creative project, the development of Junk Odyssey was not without its fair share of challenges. First, the team had to balance the need for challenging puzzles with the requirement of an engaging storyline. The initial focus was to create a fun game, but the additional layer of incorporating a strong message about environmentalism added complexity. The puzzles had to be stimulating, yet the importance of the overarching theme could not be diluted.

Additionally, the limitations of a small team and a demanding timeline for launch at SXSW introduced further complications. With just two people juggling a multitude of tasks - from concept design and animation to coding and marketing - the process was intense.

Despite these challenges, the team's dedication, commitment, and constant communication prevailed. The team meticulously planned and organized tasks, using detailed to-do lists and sprint work strategies to stay on track. Beta testing and gathering player feedback was invaluable, informing adjustments to gameplay mechanics, tutorial formats, and level difficulty.

Moreover, the team remained unwaveringly committed to the game's central theme of intergalactic environmentalism. It ensured this theme permeated every element of the game, from the design of M.A.R.V.I.N. to the types of debris players encounter, effectively combining gaming fun with environmental consciousness.

Navigating these challenges not only resulted in a game that resonates with players but also provided invaluable lessons that would undoubtedly shape the team's future projects. The hurdles encountered during the creation of Junk Odyssey have only reinforced the team's collaborative spirit, creative resolve, and commitment to making gaming a medium for significant messages.

Marketing Junk Odyssey

The marketing of Junk Odyssey was an essential component of the game's success. With an infinite number of games vying for attention in a saturated market, it was crucial to find innovative ways to generate buzz and captivate potential players' interest.

The team's marketing strategy began before the game's launch, building anticipation through the creation of the MARVIN suit. This suit would not only create interest in the game but also allow the team to engage with potential players, creating a community around Junk Odyssey at SXSW and other industry relevant events.