Evolution Of Viva Piñata

By Jim Rossignol on December 17th, 2007 at 11:18 am.

With delightful gardening/breeding game Viva Piñata having recently turned up on PC, I thought it appropriate to link to this rather interesting design article over at Gamasutra. In it developers Rare discuss the unique visual design of the game from initial conceptual art to commercial product. They discuss things such as the problems of stuff a game with quite so much cuteness:

In the original plan, non-resident Piñatas would retain their colors and markings while being indistinguishable by shape, only morphing into full form in the garden. All Piñata subsections, e.g. birds, quadrupeds, small things, slimy things etc. would have their own non-resident shape. On this slide you can see it next to their final form. The Mallowolf and Macaraccoon were almost just jellybeans on stilts; the Parrybo and Crowla retain some distinctive bird features. The cut duo of rattlesnake and cane toad both look like baby salamanders, while the Whilrm and Taffly appear to have grown ears. Pleasingly, the Whirlm has gained an eye. Although he still looks sinister.

One of the main reasons this feature never made it to the final game was because it would require yet another model for every Piñata. Given the overheads we had already, trying to free up the space would have been very stressful.

Aww.

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14 Comments »

  1. rocketeer says:

    That’s nice, but while they where thinking all that in the design process, it looks like they had no time for other, more obvious things, like, you know, being able to save your game without having to log in to a f*ck*ng LfW profile?. WTF where they thinking?.

    Just asking.

  2. Frosty840 says:

    I’m desperately trying to remain interested in VP since I picked it up the other day, but for all the hype surrounding it, it plays like nothing so much as a heavily re-skinned Amiga-era game.
    Seriously, the game’s entire premise is “Look at vaguely cute stuff. Do a maze bit every so often.” And when Rare realised they had absolutely no real content in the game, that got expanded to include “Sometimes, if you do random stuff, one of the cute things will change colour.”
    How they expected a game focused so heavily on noninteractive spectating to turn into a Pokemon-beating mega-series (and they did. Note the tie-in crappy TV_series and tie-in crappy racing game) is beyond me.

  3. Mouj says:

    That’s quite something really; i, for one, never had the opportunity to bash a real pinata so far, it feels me with joy to know that i’ll be able to do so on my PC, may the need ever occur..

  4. Jim Rossignol says:

    “WTF where they thinking?”

    Ooh, look at that enormous pile of money.

  5. AndrewA says:

    I played Viva Piñata on the 360 extensivly with my girlfreind. It was great fun trying to make your piñatas get busy, working out which ones we could sacrifice to get new ones, how to make honey etc. Theres just tons of fun content in the game which makes it a great casual game. If your planning on sitting down at your PC alone for some serious game time then Viva Piñata is the wrong game for you.

    I would argue it is far from non-interactive, there are always things you can be doing. Theres few gaps between planting things, crafting things, defending your garden, rearing Piñatas, completing challanges, etc. If you focus solely on one task such as breading some piñata then you will have dead time but not because theres nothing to do but because your not doing anything.

  6. ShaunCG says:

    Aww, the TV episodes free on XBL were quite endearing, I thought. Good for kids TV.

    VP is a game about balancing what’s going on; you could just stare at cute things all day, and if you never move beyond a low-level garden that’s all you get. But the more you do move on beyond that the more there is to tackle, simultaneously, and that’s where the challenge lies.

  7. Meat Circus says:

    Is this game coming to the DS/Wii?

    Because, corporate parentage withnotstanding, that’s where this game should always have been, however unlikely that might be.

    Poor Rare. If only they’d taken Nintendo’s filthy payola instead of Monkeyboy’s.

  8. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    The problem with the Wii is that they wouldn’t be able to do the paper effect on the piñatas properly, going by what I’ve read about the games development for the first Xbox. But yeah, it’s a good fit for the audience it’s aimed at. It is being ported to the DS though, which should be fun.

    All this VP talk reminds me that I haven’t actually touched it for almost a year, time for a revisit methinks.

  9. The_B says:

    You can have an offline GfWL profile can’t you? I mean, sure it may seem like a slight inconvience, but is it really that much different from “profiles” that have been in games for ages. It’s just this one is Microsoft branded.

  10. The_B says:

    Oh, and the kids show appears to be on the CiTV channel every morning at 6am. Lets not ask why I stay up late enough to know that, eh? ¬_¬

  11. Lou says:

    “You can have an offline GfWL profile can’t you? I mean, sure it may seem like a slight inconvience, but is it really that much different from “profiles” that have been in games for ages. It’s just this one is Microsoft branded.”

    Can you? I haven’t really looked into it, but I am slightly annoyed especially with Gears of War taking an eternity to log me in. Then again I can’t quite imagine they made it so that you can’t save your progress at all if you aren’t online, so that option problem does exist somewhere.

    As for VP, I won’t buy it without a demo – that’s not something I say often, but I really need to try this before I buy it. Not that I eve expected a demo, with Microsoft’s extremely half-arsed Games for Windows approach especially when it comes to their own games.

  12. The_B says:

    The ironic thing is, there’s a demo for VP on the 360. So if someone at MS is smart enough to think and have that demo ported across…

  13. 360 guy says:

    iv’e played VP because i bought a disc with 13 different arcade games on it and it had the demo, for 360 of course .But it was quite fun untill demo ended at level 11.