WizDream Games April 2024 Update

March has been a very quiet month for us, but actually a really busy one for us. As we are working on new projects that we cannot officially reveal yet (not NDA-related, but because they are not ready) we have to keep our mouths shushed. However, progress has been very good. Sooner or later, we’ll bear the fruits of our efforts.

So anyway, let’s talk about what we have been up to lately.

  • Moving Fast
  • Design Decisions between Every new Feature
  • 3D Backgrounds for faster and better Artworks
  • Additional Progress Updates

This article should have been published before Eid. Due to personal matters and being very busy, it ended up being posted today. Apologies in advance for the delay…

Moving Fast

A few weeks ago, I consulted someone on how WizDream Games should do going forward. It was a call that lasted about 30 minutes, but the best piece of advice I got was to “Move fast“. What took 1 year can be done in 6 months, what took 6 months can be done in 4, and so on.

Now and in the future, I don’t want our games to take too long to make. Maybe 1 year of dev time at most? Hopefully that’s the case!

Looking back… SparkLine took too long to develop. It started development in August 2020 and launched in July 2023. Sure, it started as a hobby and the full development actually started in July 2022, but it’s still too long for me. If I were to pinpoint the biggest causes, they would be:

  • A lack of team members
  • A lack of experience
  • Making features that brought a lot of requirements for little gains (Decision-making and over-scoping)

As I said in the previous blog post, we recently expanded our team, so issue #1 is solved. With experience we got from SparkLine, hopefully #2 as well. The experience we gained would hopefully prevent #3 from happening as well. Speaking of which, let me tell you about our design decisions these days.

Design Decisions Behind Every Feature


Consider these things when making a feature. First of all, I will talk on a design POV. I started as a programmer, so I can be guilty of thinking from the tech side first. It makes me more aware of what we can and cannot do, but at the same time it’s potentially inhibiting because it can make me reluctant to make sweeping changes.

  • What story (if any) do we wish to tell with this feature?
  • Would this make the game stand out?
  • Is this feature suitable for the game’s theme?
  • Does this feature strike a balance between what we want and what the players want?

After that, ask the programmer whether such feature is technically feasible. For now, I’d be asking… myself.

  • Is this feature something we have the know-how to develop (or otherwise, can R&D without too much time)?
  • Is this feature something we can reuse in as many projects as possible? 
  • Is this feature easy to maintain with new content? 

That’s a lot of questions to ask, isn’t it? For good reasons. These features will be part of the game’s “brand. If the game is live it may be difficult to omit them without potential backlash. Conversely, it’s one of the minus points of a live-service game, isn’t it?

In regards to SparkLine – do we have features we end up regret making? We certainly have. It’s impossible to live life without regrets, but we can remember it so that we don’t make the same mistakes in the future.

3D Backgrounds for faster and better Artworks

Amongst our new team members is someone capable of making 3D Backgrounds!

Why do we do this? Well, some problems arose from our decision to use the same locations as backgrounds. Like the Yakuza games with Kamurocho, Sotenbori, etc, we’d like to do the same so that we spend less resources, and to better tell the story. But if we leave everything to the imagination of each illustrator, we could have the same places drawn inconsistently.

As you can see in the above picture already, the 3D Dragon Lounge has many differences to what you have seen so far in SparkLine’s story. Going forward, we will refer to the 3D background for the artists to work with, when we have to use this lounge as the background.

Therefore, we believe that a 3D background would solve this problem, in addition to:

  • Speeding up work as artists no longer have to draw the background from scratch
  • Less issues in deciding artwork composition as the background is no longer up to imagination
  • Increasing quality of work as a properly rendered 3D work is hard to beat
  • Easy to adjust whether we want a day-time or night-time rendering

Usually, the backgrounds (whether 3D or not) will be blurred a bit so that the focus is on the characters. Additionally, they will have to slightly redraw it so that the background fits their art style. This concept is called photobashing

With this background issue resolved, please look forward to the implementation in our new artworks! Also, I thought of a new feature with these things. If we decide to go forward with it, I’ll tell you more about it.

Addtional Progress Updates

Finally, we have some updates for the projects we are working on. I suppose I could give you a little teaser. These are the chibi forms of two main characters in one of the new projects.

As for what game this is, and why they are given chibi forms – All shall be revealed in due time. I estimate it will be a few more months before we can formally announce it, though.

See you again in next month’s update!