BEHIND THE SCENES
Oddmar: from sketch to screen
See the beautiful evolution of this groundbreaking game.
Oddmar is a beautiful platformer and one of our favourite mobile games.
The Norse-themed game sees you propel your eponymous hero through 24 worlds on a quest to prove him fit for a place in Valhalla. You’ll use springy mushrooms to reach platforms and well-timed jumps to bounce through the stunning scenery.
The hand-drawn graphical style and characterful protagonist both establish this as a must-play, but it started out as a different game all together.
“The prototype was puzzle-based, and players could spawn mushrooms freely on the screen with gestures,” says Senri producer Johan Knutzen.
The team of six at the Los Angeles-based software house knew from the beginning that they wanted to create a whimsical game based in Norse mythology. But it wasn’t sure how to tell Oddmar’s story.
In-game dialogue or static imagery would have been the sensible path, but wouldn’t have been as immersive. After much debate, the team settled on the most time-consuming and costly format: a motion comic. Every cut-scene would require meticulous planning, storyboarding, animation, music, sound effects, and voice-overs.
This is no easy feat for blockbuster studios, let alone an indie. But the team has no regrets.
“We’re proud that we created the story as a motion comic rather than something less ambitious,” says Senri designer and programmer Ferhat Aydoğan.
In early tests, the hero Oddmar trekked through Viking villages via a tap-to-walk mechanic instead of the refined dual-touch controls found in the final game. And the game’s storyline changed repeatedly, too. It was originally told from multiple characters’ perspectives, but the Senri team was so impressed with narrator Julian Casey that he became Oddmar’s sole storyteller.
“This was difficult to do because we had to rewrite all of the scenes. But the result was well worth it,” says producer Shahrouz Zolfaghari.
The overall look of the game also evolved as the team became more familiar with its tools.
“We actually remade the graphics for some of the older levels because the new techniques produced such better-looking levels,” says Aydoğan.
All the hard work paid off. Oddmar doesn’t just play brilliantly it’s a showpiece of what’s possible graphically when a dedicated team refuses to sacrifice. But don’t take our word for it: this is a game you need to play and see for yourself.