BEHIND THE SCENES
Who Made Badland Even Better? You.
The unique story behind the making of Badland.
When Badland arrived in 2013, its inventive, satisfying stage design was one of the many reasons we crowned it iPad Game of the Year. 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 playtest it right there and then.
When work on the game began, Frogmind 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 instantly test 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 added 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. “iPad’s multitouch functionality made editing fast and tangible: Moving, scaling, and rotating could all be done intuitively.”
A few months after Badland’s release, Frogmind released its internal game editor as an update for players around the world. Over 100,000 stages have been created since. 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. There are levels where you drive cars, mechs, 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 able to use the level editor to replicate some of the sequel’s mechanics.
“Players have mimicked the vertical levels of Badland 2 by tweaking the gravity and rotating the backgrounds. It’s awesome to be surprised by what people can make your tools do!”
Thanks to that ingenious editor and a dedicated community of level creators, Badland and Badland 2 are constant sources of new twists on the tap-to-fly formula. Both games are worth downloading for the developer-authored stages alone, then add in the thousands of wild player-made stages and you’ve got two games with near-endless replayability.