BEHIND THE SCENES
Badland was Made on iPad. Here's Why.
The unique story behind the making of Badland.
Game of the Year Winner
When Badland arrived in 2013, its inventive, satisfying stage design was one of the many reasons we crowned it iPad game of the year. And it turns out there’s a good reason why every level feels honed to perfection. Finnish developers Frogmind created every stage in an ingenious iPad-native level editor, which meant they could design a stage, tap a button and test it, then jump back into edit mode to tweak the level to perfection.
Right when work on Badland began, Frogmind initially put together the gameplay mechanics and level editor on a MacBook, but then packaged everything up and exported it onto iPad. “We felt it was important to be able to test instantly on the same device the game would be played on,” says Frogmind boss Johannes Vuorinen. “We could implement any idea into the level within seconds, even lying down on a couch. This worked great for fast iteration and for having low friction to try out new ideas.”
That freedom to create and test pushed Frogmind to experiment more than it would using slower, more traditional development methods. It made for stage design with a great sense of variety. “Many of our crazy ideas ended up in the game,” continues Vuorinen. “This is one of the most important reasons to have a short iteration loop: you need to be able to test with ease. iPad's multitouch functionality made editing fast and tangible: moving, scaling and rotating could all be done easily and intuitively.”
In the months following its 2013 release, Frogmind decided to polish up its internal level editor further and add it into the game for real. Players around the world could now create their own Badland levels, and over 100,000 stages have been created since. And many of them, says Vuorinen, are even more creative than those Frogmind was able to put together. “It’s crazy what clever players have been able to make with the editors. There are levels where you drive cars, tanks, even ride a horse. There are autoplay levels with crazy mechanics pushing the character through the most imaginative traps. There are levels mimicking other games, shoot-em-up levels…crazy stuff that we didn't foresee at all.”
Frogmind’s 2015 follow-up Badland 2 was created on iPad the same way, although as it turns out, some players of the first game were even able to use the level editor in the first game to replicate some of the sequel’s mechanics. “Players have mimicked the vertical levels of Badland 2 by tweaking the gravity, rotating the backgrounds and instructing to play by tilting the device into portrait mode. It’s awesome to be surprised by what people can make your tools do!”
Thanks to that ingenious editor and a dedicated community of Badland level creators, both games are constant sources of cool new twists on the intuitive tap-to-fly platforming formula. Both Badland 1 and 2 are worth downloading for the developer-authored stages alone, but add in the thousands of wild player-made stages on top and you’ve got two games with near-endless replayability. If you’ve not downloaded both already, get on it now and thank us later.