In 2011/2012, I worked on Kawi Park with Allokids. Kawi Park was a french F2P MMO game project for children, created in partnership with France Televisions (main french public TV channel). Kawi Park was a new animated series they produced, and this game was set in the same universe.
I joined the project, tasked with implementing the game’s quests. The game was made with a proprietary engine, and development outsourced in another country. I was the only developer on-site and had only access to a custom made scripting language based on XML that was very limited and lacked documentation.
The game was free to play, monetised by selling cosmetic items as well as quest packs (which were higher quality quests with an appealing storyline that players could buy).
As the development was outsourced, I was the only developer hired on-site, and was responsible of implementing all the quests. I had to communicate with the other studio in order to learn to use their system. Eventually, another developer joined the team, and I taught him the custom scripting engine.
The game quickly went in beta, so I was developing quests in continuous integration: Every wednesday, we would push new content to the players.
As the in-house team was rather small (due to the development being outsourced), I had the opportunity to be very close to and even influence key decisions about the game.
This project was a good exercise of creativity with big limitations. I tried to make quests as interesting and interactive as possible with the limited scripting I had access to.
Eventually, as I figured out more about the scripting language, I was able to script new features into the game. For example, I added quality of life features (such as having exclamation marks on characters with new quests, or having an outline around important items).
I also managed to develop a prototype of farming game in the game, with the possibility of finding seeds and planting them in the ground to grow your own vegetables. At this point I was really pushing the scripting engine to its limits though, and it didn’t make it into the actual game release.
During this, I learned some key things:
- Working on a live game, and regularly pushing content with weekly deadlines
- Massively online game development
- Quest development
- Many aspects of F2P games and monetisation strategies
- Working with people remotely in other countries
- Rigorous QA testing to avoid pushing bugs to a live MMO
Unfortunately the game has now closed as the animated series concluded, and can’t be found online.