MEET THE DEVELOPER
How Oddmar Set Sail
The story of a Nordic adventure game by way of Turkey. Tap to read.
Oddmar is a 2018 Apple Design Award winner. This award celebrates the creative artistry and technical achievement of developers who set the standard for app design and innovation on Apple platforms.
A Nordic setting may not be an obvious source of inspiration for a Turkish game developer, but that’s where Ozgur Taskin and team turned when creating the acclaimed platformer Oddmar.
Everyone was obsessively watching Vikings on the History Channel while working on the development tools and framework, according to Taskin. “Norse mythology is deep enough that we could create an alternate-universe story on top of it.”
The result is a richly imagined cartoon landscape in which a Viking outcast leaps over obstacles, solves puzzles, and rides an animal or two. Everything from the sparkling seas to frightened sheep are lovingly rendered.
Here, the 29-year-old director, level designer, and cofounder of MobGe (short for “mobile generation”) speaks to the importance of prototyping—and the key to getting to the finish line as first-time game developers.
What problem were you trying to solve with Oddmar?
We wanted to provide a lot of fun. Oddmar has four to six hours of gameplay. There are no ads, no hidden energy system or anything that disturbs players from the pure experience.
What were your biggest challenges—and how did you overcome them?
As a team, we have never developed a game before. The prototype and the final product are completely different, and all the design was created along the way as we tested on players. We gave ourselves plenty of time to learn the game development without pressuring ourselves to be successful.
How, when, and where did you work on the app?
We started developing Oddmar in early 2014 with a team of four at Anadolu University’s campus in Eskişehir, Turkey. My cofounder, Ferhat Aydoğan, and I were university friends; even then we wanted to develop games. After we graduated, we worked on some other projects under the name of MobGe. Once we had enough confidence, we hired our artists and started developing Oddmar.
What turned out to be easier than you expected?
Working with remote teams is fun—and much less difficult than we thought it would be. Working with professionals makes all the difference.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Work more on the prototypes of a game before directly starting it. It saves a lot of time when the prototype is similar to the end product.
What’s next for you?
Prototyping new games. The game engine we built for Oddmar will allow us to create more platform games like it.