MatchyGotchy’s world continues to grow with MatchyGotchy Z, a colorful expansion to the Matchy Star universe. MatchyGotchy Z is a fresh virtual pet experience now with currency, stores, new characters, and zillions of options to customize your tamagotchi-like experience.
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December 6

Matchy Colors and Star Shapes

Designing a set of Stars for the Matchyverse required so many iterations I’ve lost track. We needed memorable shapes that stood out and were distinct and they eventually took on personas and characteristics of their own. Here is some more info on how we did it:

We really started from nothing and got a whole universe. At first we were calling these seven just “gems” or “shapes.” It would take months before we realized they were Stars and the Matchyverse was born. Getting the final shapes for the Matchy Star “Stars” took a lot of design work. The first Star, Matchy was pretty straightforward to put together but we needed a set of 7 which meant color and shape differentiation to make it very easy for players to tell which shape was which. For the colors we started with the color palate from Don’t Shoot Yourself which was designed to be bright and vibrant but not to have the colors clash or compete with one another.

The first step was figuring out a set of spacy out of this world shapes that would both fit the theme and also stand out from one another. After Matchy Star, a crescent Moon was a pretty easy choice and I guess the phrase Blue Moon had entered my unconsciousness so I decided to make this Star blue.

The basic moon shape took 2 iterations. The first one was a bit too thin and my mom pointed out that it should be a bit beefier to be a cuter shape so I tweaked it and got the final version.

The next idea I had was for a space satellite which was originally orange. It required a lot of simplifications before it became a red sputnik. I had a sputnik character in Speedway Heroes which was part of why the iconic lil’ spud was in my brain and I knew it was a great iconic space related shape so it made it into the game.

Once it was clear the Sputnik would be red, I made a ringed planet that was Orange. By Rotating it 45 degrees it seemed much bigger despite not taking up more texture space:

The next Star wasn’t so clearly defined so it needed a bunch of iterations. It was supposed to be a galaxy expanding into space. I figured the spokes and points would make it stand out from the rest of the shapes. Getting the number of spokes and their curves took a lot of fidgeting. Some iterations looked like saw blades, others looked like gears.

I knew I had to have a robot and I guess because of the Android logo I assumed it would be green. We had to compact it a little bit to avoid being too similar to the Android android and changed it to being a “Lander” instead.

The last Star was the most complicated. It was meant to be a space ship before I had the concept of using a set of ships to collect matches:

Similarly there was going to be a UFO to sow chaos and cause all kinds of trouble but the Ship and the UFO would switch places with the UFO becoming a gem and the Ship traveling above the grid. Its possible to tell what direction the Ship is moving in by looking at it and players needed that to help predict which direction the characters would be moving in.

Thus we got the final Star, a UFO:

Even after getting the shapes right, we still had more iterations on the combined colors of everything to make sure different Stars stood out, we would even make the images black and white to see what the different intensities of the colors were to make everything stand out as distinct as possible:

Finally Jimp stylized all the Stars and added faces, giving the complete look and completing this epic design task:

Eventually we punched up each Star to have a set of clothing and a profession based on their outfit and even designed personalities for each one that affect how they work in the various Matchy Verse games. It was a long, complex, and difficult process, but the Matchyverse finally has its Stars!
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December 4

Designing the One and Only Matchy

Creating an original character felt like I had to create an entire universe, but really it was just one star.

The literal first thing I did on this project was come up with the name Matchy Star. I knew I wanted to do something Sci-Fi, and I knew I wanted a main character that would stand out and really be able to get people behind him. So, the first character I designed was a star shape based on a number of sources.

The process for how I did it was complicated:

The initial star shape for Matchy was a little off set for its perspective and based on the classic Nintendo star icon shape. I wanted an exuberant face and I always had the old meme emoji “Exuberant Bliss” stuck in my head, so I sort of fused the two together. The Nintendo star is a bit less expressive because its not supposed to outshine Mario, but for the Matchyverse, Matchy needed to really be an expressive exuberant character that would communicate with players the feelings that the series is supposed to evoke. Next, I added a black outline that was again not perfectly aligned to add some character. This style of cartoony outline was inspired by the sort of offset lines in Angry Birds.

For the next iteration I added some hair and a bit of a sense of vanity and ego that comes with having great hair. This could only mean one source of inspiration, Johnny Bravo:

Of course, as the creative director, I had intended Matchy to have shades. Later iterations would change them to goggles and remove the hair which was sort of a compromise with the people on the team – and Jimp, the artist who did the final designs of Matchy. I don’t like being too firm in imposing my creative direction on the team because it sort of becomes more of a creative dictatorship, and I understand that the team has a say in these things too but here is the SHADE version of Matchy:

I did a lot of iterations that involved small tweaks to shapes and shading, but idk where the files went even though I intended to save them. Some of the details were so small even we have a hard time noticing them, sometimes the changes were big and obvious. Designing takes a lot of small tweaks and iterations and sadly a lot of those details will be forever lost. To some extent each change almost felt like aliens were contacting me to help me design the character. Sometimes I’d make a change and have an itch or hear a noise and it would make me think about modifying that change even more. It was sort of surreal to put together the character and I went through 12 iterations that all had differences.

And I suppose no one can escape Simpsons Mania, so I decided to add a nice set of blue pants to complete the look:

Of course it would take even more work to get the final versions of everything, but this is how the whole thing started. We eventually hired Jimp from Massive Monster, and he added his own lick of paint. We defined the style of eyes and lines based on some feedback from our mailing list from a bunch of options Jimp presented. We also discussed the idea of making Matchy a wizard or redefining the character, but I added some more references to the list to cement the direction including Sponge Bob, Andy the Mechanic from Advance wars, and other spacey characters to define the final direction as an enthusiastic derpy goofball scientist and as a result we got even more iterations:

It really took a phenomenal amount of work to design this character even though it might seem sort of obvious now that Matchy already exists. I know that Matchy seems like a very clear cohesive simple character, but it was not at all obvious or clear on how to land at this end result, it took a lot of work!

☆ You can wishlist Matchy Star right here on Steam ☆
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About This Game

MatchyGotchy Z continues the MatchyGotchy spirit of childlike wonder and casual fun, introducing Zoot, the one true universal currency. Use Zoot to unlock places in your home Starbase like Zootlandia, the largest intergalactic currency exchange, and MatchyMart, a monster convenience store that ate several smaller stores. Immerse yourself in a new richer experience while building thousands of ships to reach Xanadu.

The MatchyGotchy cast is back, including Matchy Star, Spacey Galaxy, Pirate Planet, Loony Lander, Guru Moon, Speedy Sputnik and Doctor UFO. These Stars need your love so they can build ships, reach Xanadu, and become the rocket surgeons they always wanted to be. Look after your Stars' food, health, cleaning, games, and important selfie every other day. The better you take care of your Stars, the more productive they are and the faster they level. With four life stages: smol egg, tiny baby, awkward teen, and rocket surgeon adult, make sure to cycle through the activities to boost your Stars' productivity. They need your guidance to grow and work to visit Xanadu’s legendary Space Water Park, BIG X!

Starbase’s interdimensional ship building laboratory is full of new surprises. You can buy more kinds of food that affect your Star’s growth, personalize your clothing, and unlock more mini-games with custom options available for your little Star. Now you can trade in all the ships your Stars build for Zoot: take advantage of market fluctuation and sell, or simply save up money - however you decide to make the most out of your hard earned Zoot. Since there's plenty new items, there will be a MatchyDex to help you keep track of all 'em upgrades.

Meet a whole new cast including the galaxy's most efficient and friendly robots: Era, MatchyMart's funtastic clerk; and Zee, Zootlandia's smartsy pants analyst. Eventually you can invite Era and Zee to the lab to play a brand new min-game once you complete your MatchyDex. To guide you through all this universe of fun there will be a bubbly assistant named Stardust born from the collision of two derpatudinal novas and capable of understanding the universal astrological language. As a special bonus, you have a chance of discovering a new pet in Xanadu: Asteroid! They are a temperamental challenge, but if you treat them right they can be very sweet and can shower you with surprise gifts.

Game features:

  • Total of 9 new minigames: cards, follow the cup, hackysack and many more, all fully customizable. In addition, you can unlock a new action: the magic 8 ball.
  • New areas to work in the laboratory expansion. New areas to visit, MatchyMart and Zootlandia.
  • All sorts of customizations for games, consoles, and Stars's outfits available for purchase at MatchyMart.
  • Zootlandia offers different trade and banking transactions. Save or spend your Zoot.
  • New Matchyverse characters: Era, Nom, Zee and Stardust! Plus a new pet to level, Asteroid.
  • MatchyDex inventory screen to keep track of all your Zoot and items.
  • Over 40 achivements, leaderboards, could save, and Steam cards as soon as they are available to upload.

MatchyGotchy Z is an expanded and revamped experience in the MatchyGotchy series, including a universe of fresh new options for returning players. For new players, we would like to welcome you into the Matchyverse. MatchyGotchy and MatchyGotchy Z are part of the Matchy Star world, which is still in development and you can follow on Steam here:

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 7+
    • Processor: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo / AMD® Athlon™
    • Graphics: Nvidia® / AMD® with 1 GB memory
    • DirectX: Version 11
    • Storage: 512 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX® 11 compatible

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